Jinx Strange is the wickedly charming Editor in Chief of Dirge Magazine, an online magazine focusing on “dark culture.” In between editing and life, Jinx allowed our Mistress of Death to ask a few questions regarding himself, Dirge Magazine, and the culture of the dark.
FGN: For the uninitiated, how would you describe Dirge?
Jinx Strange: Dirge is a dark culture magazine. As to what “dark culture” is, I feel about that the way late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart felt about porn: To paraphrase, “I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it.”
I started Dirge with a simple concept in mind: My interest in dark lifestyle and entertainment didn’t extend to just one area. I had to dig through other, more mainstream websites to look for things I cared about. Horror sites are numerous, but tend to focus just on movies, and then only hardcore horror movies. Where could I learn about games and comics I might like? Where could I regularly be served dark art from artists I’d never seen before?
I put it all in one place. If it’s dark, you can find it at Dirge; whether it’s sex, serial killers, grindhouse or fashion.
FGN: How would you describe it if you were explaining the site to someone’s mother?
Jinx Strange: “Remember how in the 80s you were really worried about Satanic cults? Well, there are people who make sexy underwear for those cultists. We interview those people.”
And then her daughter would come running out of the house and jump on the back of my Baphomet-shaped rocket cycle, and I’d be like, “Don’t wait up.” and rev it really loud, but not too loud because it really bugs me when people do that, and then we’d ride off to the world’s only strip-pizza parlor, and then make out at a roller derby match before wrapping up the night by splitting a milkshake and denying Christ.
Then I drop her off at her house and I walk up to the door at a reasonable hour, and her mom is like, “You’re alright, Strange.”
And then we laugh, and the credits roll.
FGN: Why the name “Dirge?”
Jinx Strange: It all comes back to death and beauty, in the end.
That’s what a dirge is, a mourning song. Something beautiful amidst the dark. Art and creation is an act of defiance in Death’s shadow, and that spoke to me. That we make something, we connect, and that it’s always about transition; Honoring what came before while looking forward.
I wanted something that would set us apart from pure horror sites and goth lifestyle magazines. We are both, and yet neither. On another level, I think our name portends in a time when publishing is changing and the way people consume and interact with stories is changing. There is definitely a death knell for the Old Way.
FGN: What prompted you to start a magazine like Dirge? What were some of the aspects you knew you had to have? What was the creation aspect like?
Jinx Strange: Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. I simply wasn’t (completely) satisfied with what was available to me. It’s a big internet, and I could find almost anything, as long as I was willing to wade through mainstream sites.
When you’re looking as genre and niche sites, to be perfectly honest, the writing often just isn’t that great. There are few things more frustrating than finally finding an article about something in which you’re interested only to have it be garbled, riddled with mistakes, and barely lucid.
In order to deliver the product that I want to see as a reader, I have to require excellence of our writers, and they consistently deliver. Our first year has been an upward campaign in both quality and quantity. We publish daily, which requires a group of committed, talented writers backed up by a first-rate editorial staff.
Creating Dirge was a challenge, given that no one was really doing what we do the way we do it, so I had no real model to point to when it came time for direction. Things either just worked or they didn’t, and in those early days, there was a lot that didn’t work.
Finding the right people has been the key to our success, and I could go on at length about that alone. Suffice it to say, as of right now, I am working with some of the most intelligent, generous and dedicated people than I ever have, anywhere before in my life.
FGN: How did you discover that you enjoyed the darker aspects of life and lifestyle?
Jinx Strange: I grappled with this question for a long time trying to figure out not only how to answer it, but if there was an answer. I honestly don’t know! I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I was fascinated with Inhumanoids. Growing up in the 80s, there was something titillating about Satanic Panic. Scary Stories To Read In The Dark was my favorite book. “The Hearse Song” made me feel so uneasy and awful and I used to read it over and over.
I was a curious kid, and it’s curiosity, after all, that leads us into the dark.
FGN: How do you decide which types of books and music make the cut for Dirge reviews?
Jinx Strange: Early on, I solicited reviews for books I’d read and enjoyed, like Helen Marshall’s Hair Side, Flesh Side, and Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy . Those books were both quite new at the time, and have since gone on to great acclaim, with Helen having just won a World Fantasy Award, and Jeff’s series being adapted to film.
Lately, writers bring me pitches for books they want to review, and I almost always say yes, because they pitch me amazing books! I require of a review that it leave me feeling something about a book, that I either actively want to read the book or want to avoid it. My “To Be Read” pile has grown exponentially in the last few months, thanks to Dirge.
Music is something we’ve only started handling recently thanks to editor and veteran reviewer Less Lee Moore, and we’ve just taken that on a case-by-case basis.
FGN: Do you listen to any particular types of music when editing articles?
Jinx Strange: I love Emilie Autumn, and soulful female cellists, like Unwoman, Rasputina and Sister Ursuline. I have an interview with Emma of Sister Ursuline coming up and four hand-made copies of her beautiful new EP to give away!
On my work playlist, you’ll find Snake River Conspiracy, Mindless Self Indulgence, Ego Likeness, NIN, Revolting Cocks and Kidneythieves. I also have dedicated playlists of rock, rap, old school country and about 12 hours of classical music.
As for editing articles, I have to give most of that credit to the badasses on our editorial staff. I still take pitches and do final approval on every article we publish, but Amber, Renee and Less Lee do 90% of our editing these days, and they are very good at what they do.
FGN: What have been some of your favorite discoveries while running Dirge? The strangest?
Jinx Strange: One of the best things about Dirge for me is that people are constantly telling me what they’re into. If I started Dirge as a means to consolidate my interests, then our contributors have expanded those interests a hundredfold in our first year.
And those are just a few.
FGN: Your profile marks you as the only “official glampire” on Linkedin. Can you tell us more about that?
Jinx Strange: No.
FGN: Where are the best places for our readers to follow Dirge on a regular basis?
Jinx Strange: Pick your poison!
Facebook: New articles, contests, announcements, disturbing .gifs, poems about your mom, inappropriate sex advice.
Twitter: New articles, live-tweeting, commentary, humor.
Instagram: Mostly dark art, with a spattering of Dirge HQ.
Tumblr: Dark art, articles, anything that’s too explicit for other social media.
And of course our beloved mailing list, where we announce submissions and often give first cracks at contests!