Side-line was started in 1989 by two university students David Noiret and Seba Dolimont, who noticed that there was a distinctive lack of media interest in the independent music scene, and especially a lack of coverage in the darkwave, dark electro, endzeit, gothic, gothic metal and electro industrial genres. Initially, Side-Line was written in French, but, aware of the lack of information and communication in the independent music scene, Dolimont decided to change the magazine’s language format to being published entirely in English.
In 1990, the German label Celtic Circle Productions offered to become the magazine’s publisher. The magazine also took on the added feature of moving to a glossy format with an attached CD compilation. After weeks of negotiations, Side-Line N°17 was released with a circulation of 7,000 copies. Side-Line was immediately recognised as the leading English-written magazine on the underground genre and received support from the record companies and media throughout the scene. After 6 issues, Claus Müller, chief editor of Germany’s popular music magazine Orkus, approached the magazine to start collaborating; however, it was short-lived and Side-Line became a fully independent magazine again.
Side-Line reached a circulation of 6,000 copies, spread throughout Europe and America. Metropolis Records, Isotank, and Hot Topic distributed the magazine in America, plus an array of various record shops and mailorder companies. In Europe, the distribution network was also progressively being intensified with new sale points in the UK, Italy, GAS, Australia, Baltic countries, France, Greece, Spain, Scandinavia, Benelux, etc.
In 1997 Bernard Van Isacker joined the ranks of Side-Line and attracted bigger bands and names to the magazine due to his work as a journalists for several mainstream newspapers and magazines. By then (and up until now) the main reviewer of the magazine had become Stephane Froidcoeur. 2 years later Bernard, who in the meantime had started working for a Belgian e-commerce start-up, launched Side-Line.com. The site brought daily newsupdates from day 1, a huge difference with the other news sites back then that only published news every now and then. In no time the website became the most important English spoken news outlet and remained it up until today.
With several new social media platforms being launched, Side-Line picked out both Facebook and Twitter to establish a presence. With success, since then the team has been spreading thousands of news items and reviews.
In mid-2000 3 members of the magazine also launched their own record company project Alfa Matrix, which nowadays releases electronic artists such as Front 242, Ayria, Freakangel, Kant Kino, Essence Of Mind, Recoil and so on. On January 10, 2008, Side-Line announced on our website that Dolimont had suffered a viral cardiac attack in December 2007 and that he was stopping publishing the magazine with immediate effect, continuing only with Alfa Matrix.
Both Bernard and Stephane took over all the duties from Seba acting as co-chief editors and continued the magazine purely online. Since then Side-Line has been serving news almost 7/7 and enlarged the team with the addition of Scandinavian correspondent Jan Ronald Stange, French envoyé spécial Elise Din and Belgian correspondent Filip Wildhoney. In 2013 Romanian photographer Viviana Ball joined the ranks adding her own visual touch to the magazine.
In the meantime the chief editors decided to pull the immensely successful Side-Line forum offline. The forum had by then amassed somewhat 35.000 users, but it had also become an uncontrollable beast with abuse and hate mail being a daily experience for both admins and users. Since the forum itself was a pure financial loss on top, the plug was quickly pulled and all data destroyed. And that was that.
The staff behind the magazine also launched a smartphone app mid 2011 to satisfy a growing number of people looking for info on their smartphone. In 2 years, the app got downloaded over 15.000 times and was servicing daily news roundups and flash news. However, due to the App hosting company not fulfilling their service and payments to Side-Line, we were forced to kill the app. These things happen unfortunately and were entirely out of our hands.
But time doesn’t stand still when it comes to technology. In May 2015, Side-Line waved goodbye to its old CMS that had served the website since 2003. Fully powered on WordPress and a ton of plugins, the website is now ready to face another 10 years of industrial mayhem, both for desktop and for mobile.
To date Side-Line.com has published over 55.000 news items and reviews, making it the biggest database ever for the darkwave scene.