He’s booked countless shows, in pretty much every South Florida music venue, current and defunct. He’s hosted a radio show, promoted bands, co-owned a record shop, and most recently, established a label, Camp Thunderbee Records. He also started a local music website — The Honeycomb, then PureHoneyMagazine.com — and manages to regularly put out a fold-out printed zine with collectible posters. Damn. Steev Rullman has done a lot in two decades. But the good man took a break from the hustle to chat just before PureHoney’s upcoming fourth anniversary jam at Respectable Street:
New Times: What does a day in the life of Steev Rullman look like?
Hmmm. That’s top secret. [laughs] It’s hard to say. Every day is different.
You’ve been around the South Florida music scene for almost 20 years; what is the current state of affairs?
Everything is cyclical. Historically it seems to me that every three to five years, we see a positive bump in activity and good vibes. There is always good and bad. Things are generally pretty good right now. Hoping to see a solid spark soon.
Are you ever disappointed?
Well, it’s going to be what it’s going to be. That’s due to the diversity and the transient nature of the [scene]. By diversity, I don’t mean just the ethnic nature but also the age differentials — we’ve got a lot of older people down. The transient nature — there are a lot of people that come and go in Florida. It makes it difficult. A lot of young people grow up and go away to college; they don’t stick around here. We’re not really a college town. It’s gotten to be a little more college-town-y over the years, but it’s not like you’re sitting in the middle of the country, where the scene kids are gravitating toward a central area and people can come from all the way around.
When you first began your music blog, The Honeycomb, in 1998, what was the goal?
Turn people on to music and bands that fly below the radar, share local events info, support the South Florida community.
Where do you get most of your music intel?
Playlists are mostly generated from new bands I come across online, usually through Last.fm. They have a lot more “undiscovered” content than the usual sources. We also share songs from bands that are affiliated with festivals who purchase our large fold-out posters. Of course, local acts submit songs as well.
You have the upcoming four-year anniversary show for PureHoney; any thoughts on ever having a PureHoney festival in the same vein as Pitchfork? Yes, but that will require a solid sponsor, a mysterious, silent benefactor, or at the very least a Knight Foundation grant to get the ball rolling.
Tell me about the anniversary show: How did you decide on the participating bands?
A.J. Davila [y Terror Amor] came through an agent friend. It [their tour] was going to be around the time as the anniversary party. I like having a solid, touring opener for it. The locals I chose based on... I try and get a little something from each county. Plus, I try to book stuff I really want to see. Chaucer and Kremlin and Cog Nomen are three of my favorite bands right now, so that’s why I chose those three.
How does a free and independent paper like yours manage to thrive in the current economy of print journalism?
[laughs] Credit-card debt, basically. I wouldn’t necessarily say “thrive.” We have been in the black from day one, but that income doesn’t cover living expenses. It definitely could, but we really, really need a national brand or two like Red Bull, Heineken, Perfect Vodka, or Converse to take the back cover or sponsor our event listings. It’d be really nice to receive a grant as well or meet a superkind arts benefactor with pockets deeper than Jack Handey. A few more local venue ads would be great too. Maybe we should partner with a larger existing publication.
Tell me about the record label, Camp Thunderbee Records. Why did you decide to get into that game?
Games are fun. CTR isn’t a primary focus. It’s more of a freshly planted seed that could exist in reality one day. Right now, I need to find a job... You know, baby steps. I’ve taken a lot of baby steps. [laughs] There’s no money to be made in the record label business. It’s just one of those things you do for fun. Like a lot of people do art and they don’t get paid for it. A lot of bands create music; they don’t make any money doing it.
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Are you happy doing all of this?
Most of the time. [laughs] It beats having a real job. I’ve had real jobs on and off over the years, but we’d all prefer to do the things we like to do, right?”
Pure Honey Four-Year Anniversary Jam
Featuring A.J. Davila y Terror Amor, John Ralston, Cog Nomen, Chaucer, Kremlin, Milk Spot, Pocket of Lollipops, and Sweet Bronco. 8 p.m. Saturday, September 12, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. The show is for ages 18 and up. Visit purehoneymagazine.com.