Greek-Aussie editor 'headbangs' her way to the top
Heavy metal fan Michela Rabia gets up close and personal with heavy metal editor Olivia Reppas
I knew before I moved to Melbourne - about a year ago or so - that its heavy metal scene was heavy. People went as far as describing it as 'the heavy metal capital of Australia'. As a heavy metal fan myself, I was intrigued and pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the amount of good local rock/metal bands and couldn't help but notice the big underground scene that Melbourne has to offer. Melbourne's bipolar weather seems to be inviting to all the die-hard heavy metal fans. However, for some reason, a lot of Australian bands don't seem too 'translate' as well overseas. So what is the problem?
As part of distinct genre, Melbourne's heavy metal scene is like a close-knit family. Everyone knows each other and seems to come together towards their love of heavy metal music. One of those die-hard heavy metal music fans is Olivia Reppas, a Greek Australian determined to promote Melbourne's local heavy metal scene.
Olivia recently launched the heavy metal magazine Heavy. And so far, the future looks bright for her. Friendly, outspoken and honest; the heavy metal publishing industry couldn't have picked a better representative.
Olivia's parents were both born and raised in Greece and arrived in Melbourne in their later years. Raised in a Greek household, she went to Greek school and speaks the language fluently. Olivia loves Greek music and is proud of her Greek background; so much so she dreams of having a base in Athens and Melbourne.
The heavy metal scene first took over her life in grade five. She started with just hard rock and later went heavier. When she finished school, she worked for the government for 12 years and about five years ago she started running events. She started off with a charity gig which was about raising money supporting the people who were affected by the Victorian fires.
"Someone approached me because I used to go to all the local gigs, and said that I could be the right person to help them to get some local bands or rock bands. And I was up for the challenge, and that was the sparking point for me in order to wanting to do more events. Since then at that time I had been already running countless events across Melbourne."
Before Heavy, she worked for magazine femme fatale as a writer of their small heavy metal section but she soon realised there just wasn't enough room for the sheer amount of content.
"Ι needed a whole magazine to be able to work on my ideas," she explained.
In April last year, she decided that she was going to do her own thing, and started researching and approaching people. She gradually noticed further that people were extremely excited about it as there hadn't been an Australian focused, metal magazine for at least a decade.
"The main focus of this magazine was not only to read about the most well-known international bands but also to highlight our local bands, which are underground yet fantastic.
The intent was to also give fresh and updated information to local musicians too. And also to support local Australian metal bands.
The first launch of Heavy magazine was last January. It managed to garner at least 600 people - previously unheard of for a local metal venue.
"It was very successful. The whole thing was about all of us coming together and celebrating everything that is heavy, hard rock, punk and hardcore. Though it was more about bringing our community together and having fun."
The Reppas' Heavy team includes about 25 members and as she describes it's a "close-knit metal family!" But not only does she edit Heavy, she managed two local metal acts, and juggles a nine-to-five job and is also a young mother. Tough stuff for this very 'Heavy' editor.
For more information about Heavy magazine, visit http://heavymag.com.au/
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