BY: GABY MORENO
Hello Hip Hop Heads and Horror Fans,
I had the opportunity to send over some interview questions to Jamie Woodward who runs a Horror Comic Pull List on IG. We met through social media before I even started this blog and he was always showing love and support. He even sent me some free comics! Thanks again Jamie! I thought I would interview him since we both love hip hop and horror. I also believe what he is doing is unique. There is not a lot of pages that center on horror comics and Jamie is savvy with his knowledge on them. Without further a do please read below to know a bit more about Jamie.
1. Please introduce yourself to those who might not know who you are.
My name is Jamie Woodward, bonafide Hip-Hop & Horror fanatic from back in the day! I was a DJ from 1989 to 2005 cutting for various UK rap crews, playing clubs, slanging mixtapes, etc. Horror has always been my preferred choice for entertainment and I have a particular interest in comics and graphic novels of that genre.
2. How did you become an expert and knowledgeable in horror comics?
I was really into comics as a kid, mainly Marvel stuff, but I kinda lost interest when Hip-Hop and DJ’ing came along. Around ten years ago I used to take a Sony PSP to work with me loaded with music, movies and games for break times. I added their digital comic-reader app when it became available and downloaded some of the comics which were available. I really wasn’t feeling the superhero titles anymore, but there was the first issue of a comic called ‘Y: The Last Man’ on DC’s Vertigo imprint that really caught my attention, by the time I’d finished the first volume I was hooked! I’ve been reading practically all of the independent horror releases ever since.
3. The Horror Pull List, how did that concept come about? When did you begin this journey and how has the feedback been on social media?
There’s no shortage of comic book fans on IG, or horror fans either. But I noticed whenever people post up their comic selections for that month is invariably dominated by offerings from the ‘big 2’ with a couple of indie titles, maybe one of those will be a horror comic. Considering how much of an impact stories which originated in independent comic books have on popular culture, they are tragically underrepresented. I created The Horror Pull List account late last year to try and focus solely on horror comics. The response from creators has been very positive, and it’s steadily growing in followers despite being as niche as it is.
4. What is your favorite horror comic series? Why?
The series which immediately comes to mind is Allen Moore’s Providence, published by Avatar Press. Besides being one of the most literary comics I’ve ever read, the attention to detail and historical accuracy in each issue, in combination with Jacen Burrow’s dope artwork is insane.
5. What is your favorite scary movie? Why?
The Thing (1982)! John Carpenter is unquestionably my favorite director, and in my opinion The Thing is a perfectly crafted horror movie which still holds up really well even after 37 years. The quality of the SFX are self explanatory, but the atmospherics, the sense of claustrophobia and paranoia are what really makes the movie something special.
6. Any plans of possibly ever writing your own horror comic series?
Doubtful, but I have written short stories in the past so I guess anything is possible.
7. What do you think about Jordan Peele starting a mainstream lane once again of original screenplays in horror movies? Or do you just enjoy remakes more?
Get Out was dope! I’m generally not too comfortable with remakes, unless there’s a really good reason for that remake, so I was kinda concerned when it was announced he was rebooting Candyman. But then shortly afterwards he dropped US, which I haven’t actually seen yet, but by all accounts is a very worthy successor. I trust Peele’s vision, and I’m sure with the advancements in CGI and such since the OG released a Candyman remake could be cool, but I’d much rather see original content.
8. You also love hip hop. When did you fall in love with hip hop and the culture?
My first memory of Hip-Hop was watching Malcolm McLaren’s Buffalo Gals video which would have been around 1982. I had no idea what it was I was experiencing at the time, but I still remember it vividly today.
It wasn’t until 87/88, when I was around 12 or 13 that I began to understand what this subculture actually was, and that I wanted to be a part of it.
9. You mention in your posts you used to DJ/scratch. How was that journey ? Did you get to perform with well known artists?
I started DJ’ing at a local community centre in 1988, it wasn’t until ‘91 I could afford my own turntables. I was making mixtapes and DJ’ing for a few local emcees, but it was always about the cuts for me. I always wanted to have the fastest, most complex scratches, DJ Aladdin from Low Profile and DJ Supreme from the UK crew Hijack were my heroes. I started performing live with a swingbeat crew called BBM in 1993 and I was also the original DJ for a rap crew called The Hoodz Underground who had moderate success. Though most of the artists I performed with were from the UK, I did meet some big US acts, De La Soul, GURU, Lords of the Underground and Funkdoobiest, etc.
10. What is your favorite hip hop album and song of all time?
Unfinished Business – EPMD
Definition of Nice – DJ Paul Nice feat. AG, Babu & Gennessee
11. Who is your favorite emcee or emcees dead or alive?
Overall it might be Esoteric. I also really like Chester P from the UK crew Task Force.
12. What do you think is unique about your horror pull list or differentiates you from your peers or competition?
I’m not sure there actually is any competition, at least on IG. There was an account dedicated to indie comics, but that disappeared a while back, even when it was live it featured a broad spectrum of content whereas The HPL is strictly dedicated horror.
13. Do you feel the horror genre in general whether movies, comics or books is thriving or do you feel it could be more popular like the attention the avengers/superhero movies garner?
I definitely think horror is becoming more accepted. Recent movie releases no longer seem to be shunned by the industry and are actually being considered for awards, previously this would have been unthinkable. Due to its very nature horror will never be as accessible as the superhero genre for example, but I do believe it’s currently very healthy.
14. What made you fall in love with the horror genre?
When I discovered Stephen King books! I went through a phase when I was at school when I had to read every novel he’d wrote. This lead to reading James Herbert, Clive Barker, Lovecraft, etc. Although I was already a fan of horror movies at the time, it was the books which had the most profound impact on me.
15. Favorite DJ or Producer of all time?
Definitely Premier. I prefer sample based production and his scratch composition choruses are perfect. Honorable mentions to Prince Paul, Diamond D, Paul Nice and Mister Jason from Porn Theatre Ushers.
16. What legacy do you want to leave behind either creatively or in your personal life?
I respect humility in people above all else, so I always strive to be as humble as possible. Even when I’m being creative it is always with a view to self-improvement. If I can raise my children to be good human beings, respectful of others, I’ll be content with that.
17. Anything you would like to share or new to announce to your followers and supporters?
Please check out The HPL. I have years worth of content to post and these stories deserve to be read.
18. Being from the UK do you feel the hip hop scene is different from the US if so how so?
Back when I was actively DJ’ing I think jams in the UK closely mirrored what was happening in the States, musically the same influences were there, reggae, funk, soul, jazz, etc. Over the past 20 years other predominantly British sub-genres have had much more of an impact on the UK sound drum & bass, garage, grime, etc. I think there’s now more of a distinctly UK identity there.
19. There are a lot of dope emcees that travel overseas to perform and mention how Europe in particular is more appreciative of the culture. Would you say being from the UK that in Europe they have still kept the 5 elements of hip hop more alive and that is why emcees feel like that?
In mainland Europe there’s still large festivals such as Hip-Hop Kemp that not only feature music, but also b-boyin, graffiti and turntablism. It’s now quite rare here in the UK though, even back in the ‘90s jams here tended to more resemble the US model. I know artists who still put on workshops for young people to educate them about the culture, I used to do DJ workshops myself, but it’s definitely not something that happens in the mainstream Hip-Hop community anymore.
20. Being from the UK any dope horror films either underground or mainstream that you feel should be more popular or any recommendations to horror fans?
Creep (2004) is highly recommended if you haven’t seen it. I’m looking forward to watching The Hole in The Ground which released recently too.
Thanks again Jamie for your time it is appreciated. We will have to meet soon in person when I go visit the UK! Please go follow his IG page at @thehpl to keep up on the latest horror comics! To my readers and supporters hope you all enjoyed reading this interview. Until next time horror fiends and hip hop heads. While you’re at it please feel free to follow my blog on social media @7octoberz and Facebook!