Making a Scene is a new feature focused around discussions about the Iowa music scene. The inaugural edition features an exchange with Oliver Young, who publishes the Iowa Outcast Zine, which is a self-released zine that “document[s] the Iowan punk and metal scenes,” covering the “oddball goofy bands, the serious ones, and the angrily militant ones.” We connected via email, where Oliver expanded on some of his local favorites and the need for more all ages venues in Des Moines.
villin: What type of work do you do related to music?
Oliver Young: I run the Iowa Outcast Zine, a zine dedicated to documenting Iowan punk and metal. I’ve meet a lot of cool bands, cool people, and been able to have cool experiences because of that. I’ve also joined a band called Complete Collapse, released a solo ambient album called Holy Light, and I hope to play live shows soon with both of those projects.
villin: What are your favorite venues/places to see live music?
Oliver Young: Lefty’s, mainly because I’m not 21. The Dark Slide, a skate shop in Merle Hay Mall, is also starting to do purely all ages shows so I’m really excited about that!
villin: Who are some of your favorite local artists?
Oliver Young: Animals on LSD, Bovinophobic Bile Puddle, Frontal Assault, Modern Life is War, Closet Witch, Dose, etc. Too many to count! There are a lot of great Iowan bands.
villin: What’s the last local concert/show you went to?
Oliver Young: I went to a Vein.fm/City Morgue show on the 14th; shit was awesome even though Vein only played for like 20 minutes. I’m not too into City Morgue, but I liked their set and the wall of death they set up.
villin: Are there any local shows that stand out as favorites you’ve been to?
Oliver Young: My first show was a Modern Life is War show at the Village Theatre. It was a lot of firsts for me: first show, first stage dive, first time moshing. I remember my mom taking me and standing in the pit trying to record, then quickly exiting the pit.
Oliver Young: Another one would be a Animals on LSD/Ill Omen show at the Gas Lamp that turned into a all ages show after Frontal Assault and a out of state band had to drop. That show was fuckin’ amazing. Animals On LSD ripped and it was their best performance I had seen. There was an improvised song thrown in their set that was great. It was also my first time seeing Ill Omen and they played all my favorite songs. Both of them gave me signed copies of their set lists which I’m very grateful for.
villin: What do you think about the Gas Lamp closing down and how do you think it’ll affect the scene there?
Oliver Young: As far as the Gas Lamp closing, I think it’s very shit. It’s been, to my knowledge, a great venue for bands to play at and only shows the need for DIY venues in the Des Moines area. Don’t take this as a sign of the end, take it as a sign to begin doing shit for the scene. Make your own venues!
villin: What’s missing from the scene there?
Oliver Young: All ages venues, at least in Des Moines. So many great shows go on here, but I can’t go to basically any of them because they’re 21 and up shows.
villin: What changes could help improve the local music scene there?
Oliver Young: A better sense of community, more all ages shows, more people, and more merch buying! Seriously, go buy bands’ merch. It’s not cheap to get a guitar and amp to play and can easily go into thousands of dollars, drum sets are not cheap at all, and making merch costs money. So please, go buy merch! Go out to shows! Create all ages DIY venues!
For more from Oliver, subscribe to the Iowa Outcast Zine online, or follow along via Instagram and YouTube.