Dimming the Lights and Locking Up at Coilhouse

Illustration by Star St. Germain. (Larger version here.)

Five years ago, we launched Coilhouse Magazine + Blog: A Love Letter to Alternative Culture.

Six beautiful issues, two grand soirees, and thousands of blog posts later, we’re dimming the lights and locking up. Coilhouse is going on hiatus. Which is not to say that Coilhouse is ending. Quite the contrary, as you can see! There’s no wrecking ball, here. Only a shedding of skin.

We can’t tell you what exactly is coming next, or when; we just know we have no intention of quitting. Potential directions that Coilhouse may move in somewhere down the line: books, apps, limited edition print/art objects, video, fashion collaborations. Smaller, more manageable one-shot projects that don’t break our backs. But first, we will have to re-strategize our business and production plans. Nothing is set in stone at the moment because, simply put, we need a break. We need to rest.

In its current form, Coilhouse is not financially solvent. The tireless and all-too-often selfless efforts of our incredible staff and contributors, in tandem with the generous support of readers and small-business advertisers, enabled Coilhouse to come this far. No small feat, is it? However, the business never had the chance to fully stabilize in such a way that it could remain sustainable long term.  For a time, it can feel okay to pour every waking moment into a labor of love, but after a while –five full years, in this case– that sustained effort can take a massive toll on both one’s body and one’s bank account. Health issues have also played a big role in our decision to put things on hiatus. Repeating for emphasis, with astonished glee: five full years. That’s a whole lotta love, a whole lotta labor. And no regrets. But it’s time to step away for a while.

This hasn’t been an easy decision for us to come to. We love doing this so much. We don’t want to disappoint anyone. For those two reasons, we’ve stuck it out for many moons by leaning on each other and our respective families a whole lot. But it’s far beyond time for both of us to take a step back, and regroup.

When we started writing this love letter over half a decade ago, we could not yet conceive of the humbling and inspiring amount of support that Coilhouse would receive. In our first few months, what kept us motivated were the thoughtful, hilarious, vulnerable, and insightful comments on our blog. Thank you, readers, for keeping us going. That was all you. As we hit our stride, in addition to this lively discussion, we were gifted with artistic contributions, valiant volunteer efforts, generous ad buys, and kind words of encouragement from friends. Beloved contributors, advertisers, interns, volunteers, editors, and patrons – Coilhouse wouldn’t exist without you, and it’s an honor to know each and every one of the kindred spirits who have come together to participate in this project. Thank you.

So. To reiterate, the magazine is done, the blog is going into cryogenic freeze… but! This is not the end. As you can see, we’ve cleaned up and redecorated the place to mark this moment in Coilhouse’s continuing evolution. Illustrated by the talented Stuntkid, co-designed by Nadya and Star St. Germain, the new site is a bright and colorful joygasm of some of the strange, beautiful ephemera that we’ve obsessed over together with all of you. We’ve also reorganized the categories, added a “search” feature, and put together a page of our favorite blog posts from over the years.

Have fun exploring those Featured Articles, and be sure to take a look at our newly updated Staff Page, now brimming with dozens of wonderful, dearly loved faces, and hundreds of contributor names. (If you’re a contributor and your name is missing, please just let us know and we’ll add you in immediately.)

To offset the costs of keeping the site up and its massive archive accessible, we’re offering one final round of merch: a limited-run set of Love Letter stationery and stickers, designed by Dorothy Schmidt, featuring Stuntkid’s new Coilhouse art. Half the proceeds will go directly to Stuntkid for crafting these beautiful illustrations, the other half will help us continue paying for web hosting, keeping our Flickr photostream accessible, renewing our domain name, and other random costs. Additionally, there are still printed issues of Issue 06 available for sale, and a small number of Molly Crabapple’s beautiful prints. All these items can be found in our shop.

On a personal level, the future is uncertain and exciting for both of us. Nadya is learning to see the world in a whole new way – literally – and for the first time in her adult life, she finds herself with no future projects. She’s embracing this state of flux, and feeling inspired to turn over a new leaf. Mer, having finally taken the plunge after two decades of being too timid to present herself as more than a session/backup musician, will soon be shooing her own music –both solo and co-produced– out into the world. She’s also eyeing up a potential Coilhouse community-oriented book project, to be undertaken in late 2013. In the meantime, she’ll be working on a couple different DIY projects down in New Zealand.

You can keep in touch with us here:

Nadya Lev – Twitter, New Website/Blog

Meredith Yayanos – Twitter, SoundcloudTumblrKickstarter

If you’d like to keep tabs on what Coilhouse is doing, please sign up for our mailing list. You can also stay subscribed to the RSS feed, join our Facebook group (we’ll both be keeping an eye on it), and follow us on Twitter. Also, we’d love to hear from you in response to this post! It’s been a while since we all introduced ourselves in the comments thread. Any old-timers still here? Who’s new? What are you all up to, these days? Tell us your story. Link us to your projects. We want know all about them, and all about you. We’d love to keep in touch.

We’d like to conclude this chapter of Coilhouse by offering up one final token of affection to our community, on behalf of the entire core staff, past and present. Since we have no plans to reprint our back issues, we’ve decided to release them as free, high resolution PDFs. You can download the PDFs at the Magazine Page.

Cherished Coilhouse comrades, thank you again, all of you, for your incredible support and kinship. There are no words to adequately express our gratitude.

Nadya & Mer

November 21st, 2012

97 Responses to “Dimming the Lights and Locking Up at Coilhouse”

  1. Kai Smart Says:

    Thanks for all you’ve done. Stunning and interesting, and the place online where I could find my interests represented. A sad day, but understandable. I hope you both find good health!

  2. Paranoid Android Says:

    I never commented much here, but was a reader for most of your existence. Thankyou for your beauty and wierdness. And that is all. Xx

  3. Dan Borg Says:

    What you have accomplished so far is more and better than any other publication I have found on the net or elsewhere covering alternative culture. It is sad reading when you tell about Nadyas and Mers health problems but it also proves your commitment which I admire. I promise to sacrifice to the old gods for your soon recovery.

    It is stunning that the problems you have dealt with seems to have had no effect on the quality of your work. The width, stylishness and sheer enthusiasm you lot have communicated has been a joy and centerpiece in my explorations.

    I am looking forward to what you will come up with next and whatever it may be, it will be worth waiting for.

  4. D Says:

    Thanks for the ride!

  5. Jeffrey Wengrofsky Says:

    Sad to see Coilhouse belly up on a slab. Thanks so much for allowing me to pontificate on all sorts of crazy stuff, like how a lack of infrastructure and generally poor urban planning would soon lead to a flood in New York City: http://coilhouse.net/2012/06/where-have-you-gone-lando-calrissian/ Thanks also for posting the first four films I’d ever made on the site.

    It’s been a real thrill to be part of this project.

    See you in the future!

    Jeffrey Wengrofsky

  6. joasakura Says:

    I love you guys so much.

    I am so sorry there’s been so many rough patches behind the scenes and I’m sending you all the good vibes I can possibly.

    For more than a few years now, Coilhouse has been a constant source of inspiration and entertainment for me (even if some of the videos have been a bullet train to Nopesville YOU KNOW WHICH ONES I’M TALKING ABOUT) – I’ve thrilled to the print issues (which I keep close at hand) and the PDFs (which I keep on my tablet) . Even if I don’t comment all the time, there hasn’t been a single day that’s gone by where I haven’t stopped in here.

    I am so grateful for the space you’ve made here, and the awesome things that you’ve shared with us all.

    Nadya, Mer, Ross (did you let him out of the subbasement before you left?) – everyone. THANK YOU.

    Drop me a line if you ever need a foot soldier on tumblr – I’ll be happy to do whatever I can for you ^_^;

  7. Arachnid Says:


    So. Um. Hi? I really don’t ‘write’ or ‘talk’ much on the Internet. I read… I read a lot. I read articles and I look at pictures and I listen to songs and I watch videos and I am informed and inspired and infected and I do my best to pass these sacred memes out into the real meatspace. I lurk. I don’t do what I am doing now — post things. Buuuuuut I have been in love with Coilhouse for a couple of years now so I am quite shocked to see it end. Thank you for adding so much to my life. I wasn’t really aware that there were so many people like me until I found this website. Thank you.

  8. Ashiikankwe Says:

    You guys have done an amazing thing here, I’m looking forward to whatever comes next!


  9. Celephais Says:

    Much love and many thanks. Since I picked up the first issue on a newsstand, Coilhouse has been my number one magazine love (and that’s a tough spot to claim). Best wishes to all involved, and I look forward to supporting future projects. I’ll still proudly wear my t-shirt, scarf, and hoodie, and I’ll even more proudly regale anyone who asks about the glory that was/is/shall be Coilhouse. Coilhouse is dead! Long live Coilhouse!

  10. Owl Pellets: Napster School, Occucards, Gilliam/Spielberg/Kubrick, Opium, Sonic Weapon, Coilhouse » The Grumpy Owl | The Grumpy Owl Says:

    […] Dimming the Lights and Locking Up at Coilhouse: Coilhouse, that love letter to alternative culture, has closed down. It was a really good site and magazine and one of the first places that many of us heard other people talk about the death or mutation of alt culture. […]

  11. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    I’m still too wiggly-in-da-brains to articulate anything past THANK YOU right now, but seriously. Thank you, all of you. And gobs ‘o lurve. And… well… remember, should you need us…

  12. Allie Says:

    Well, toodles for now then. I just can’t handle any more grieving this year. So I’ll say congratulations on this amazing body of work, and congratulations on getting your lives back and transitioning to new projects!
    Of course, like everyone else, I can’t quantify the joy it has given me reading and linking along with you from very early days. Luckily, I’ve missed much of the last year and a half or so, so I can look forward to trolling back through the site and pretending that there’s plenty more to see, at least for a while.
    I’m so happy that I was able to contribute in some way to print issue #5. I’m really looking forward to your future projects, and maybe collaborating some day.
    Now please, for the love of cornflakes and bananas, take care of yourselves and your health, and keep us posted. <3
    P.S. Love the new background. You should get it printed as fabric on Spoonflower or something, I'd be all over that.

  13. xenia Says:

    oh….first zoetica then this!! I am so sad.

  14. xenia Says:

    I too am a lurker and coilhouse has definitly been a reason to participate. It is one of the few invitations I have ever accpeted (on the internet) and one of the few “comunities” i have ever felt apart of. Thank you for enriching my life coilhouse.

  15. John Says:

    Long time reader, and I’d just like to say I love the work put forth here. You filled a vital niche, and I am sad to see an end to an era. Coilhouse to my mind goes up there with the best of zines, the best of underground mags. I have enjoyed the thoughtful and enlightening pieces here and in print form. I however will not weep for the loss of Coilhouse, but instead look forward to hailing the new flesh in whatever form it may take in the near future. I wish you all the greatest of luck!

  16. xtiaan Says:

    As a long time lurker and reader I have to say Im very sad to see this, my favourite “grown up goth” corner of the internet go. Many thanks, youll be missed.

  17. nixie Says:

    Thank you Nadya and Mer for everything you’ve done over the years. I have followed you since the beginning and loved you every step of the way. I’m so sad to see you go!

    To my fellow Coilhouse lovers, if anyone wants to buy my incomplete set of Coilhouse issues, I’m listing it on Ebay. I’ve loved them tremendously but the digital issues are more practical for me.

  18. Kahimi Says:

    “The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you’ve burned so very brightly…”

    I will say I’m not that surprised, as something done this well and with this much obvious love and affection can take a lot out of one, and may need to change form to be sustained.

    But as a (print) magazine-ophile (not sure if there’s an actual term), I am sad to see it go, as there’s not much I find interesting out there nowadays. I was hooked with the first issue, and through it found this website where I pored through the dozens and dozens of pages that I had missed, invariably finding something I loved, or something I was happy to discover (foremost among them the All Tomorrows feature, but many others as well). Coilhouse was a desperately needed presence, and it will be missed.

    I was sorry to hear of health troubles for you, as I have been going through them myself. I wish the best for you Nadya and Mer and thank you and everyone who worked on this project for all the inspiration.

  19. Nadia Says:

    wow! feels like the end of an era! Well what to say but thank you for being a source of comfort and inspiration throughout my young adult years, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
    -Nadia G.

  20. Steff Says:

    This has been my favorite source of entertainment/inspiration in the last year (yes, I’m a newbie!), and I’ll definitely keep visiting to mine the archives. Thank you for being you.

  21. valerie Says:

    I’ve only known about you for a year or so, but I’m a big fan. I hope you find a way to keep in touch with all of us because we’d love to see what you do next.

  22. MishyC Says:

    Not the best with sentimental stuff… I am humbled and honored to have been able to contribute to Coilhouse. A little over two years ago, I stumbled upon this glorious magazine in Barnes & Noble and instantly fell head over heels in love with it. Nadya and Mer, you’re inspiring, amazing women. Here’s to an even brighter future!

  23. Samantha Says:

    I’ve known about Coilhouse since the beginning. I can’t believe it’s been this long. I don’t know what to say other than thank you for making me feel like being into weird and strange things is totally cool & rad! I’ve always wanted to be a part of this community. I only wish I had participated instead of lurked for so long. I look forward to Coilhouse’s future. Best of luck to you all!

  24. Blue Stahli Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the hard work, dedication, and passion you brought to Coilhouse. Fiercely and defiantly creating this love letter to alternative culture. Whether you were aware of it or not, seeing that print totem appearing in a bookstore was not only a source of entertainment for many, but a refuge for some. I still remember the day I found issue one and the effect it had. I had just moved across the country away from family and friends for an opportunity to pursue music, and was freshly in a state I didn’t like, sleeping on a floor, and felt pretty damn alone. Coilhouse was a comfort and catharsis knowing that there IS more out there, amazing people, and a beautiful reminder to stay weird…stay connected to what makes us all *need* to create. I have every issue, and was feverishly reading both the blog and the print mag while struggling to stay afloat and continue this crazy pursuit of music. Flash forward to now, and I’m about to release album #4, appear in numerous movie trailers, traveled the world jumping around on stage for some insanely cool people (whom I always loved talking to and continuing the spirit of “It’s okay to love the weird, unique, and niche” that you both displayed so well). Thank you, Nadya and Mer for your (continued) passion and infectious inclusiveness. I’ve no doubt that this is all merely part of the cornerstone, a building block of long careers and artistic fulfilling endeavors for both of you! Through it all, know that there are many out there (whether they write in or not) who fully support you, and cherish the work you have already done.

    I wish there was more I could offer as a thanks for all the tireless efforts, but making noisy music is the only thing I’m good at. So here’s a few songs for everyone, people who supported the print mag, to everyone dedicating themselves to providing this incredible content for the world to enjoy and learn from. Thank you.


    Bret / Blue Stahli

  25. Beetle Says:

    I stumbled upon Coilhouse in my first year at university (4 years ago) which was, to put it simply, not a good time. This place helped me to feel less alone, and proud of the awkward, geeky person that I am. I think it’s also fair to say that it’s positively impacted the way I think and look at the world. I’m happy to have been able to share in it (though I wish I could have been more a part of it), and look forward to any new things in the future.
    Thanks for everything <3

  26. Rob Says:

    As sad as this is, I really just want to mention how grateful I am for this crazy, fevered dream that was Coilhouse magazine. Starting a magazine at a time when magazines weren’t doing so well, about alternative culture at a time when alt culture was hard to define and somehow you guys made the best publication I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I guess you realized (or believed) that somewhere out there there were people who wanted to read about the Manhattan Project and then go on to future fashion and oil paintings.

    Every issue was a full experience and I loved setting aside a night to just immerse myself in the content. Every feature felt personal, heartfelt and endlessly engrossing, from the contributors’ content to the editorial direction. I’ve been a reader since issue 1 and even the irregular release dates felt like part of the experience; like waiting for dispatches in a Coilhouse cargo cult.

    I doubt there will ever be another Coilhouse. It was too weird, too well made. By conventional wisdom there should never have been a Coilhouse, but there was, and we got to share in your unconventional wisdom for 4 fantastic years.

    So thank you for everything.

  27. Skippy Says:

    I found out about Coilhouse just before Issue #4 came out in print. If I remember correctly I was sent over this way by Warren Ellis. I loved how Coilhouse covered so many diverse topics. I will miss the blog and magazine. Now whenever I wear the Inform Inspire Infect hoodie I scored from the store on the 2 run I will feel even more awesome, and I felt pretty awesome wearing it to begin with.

    Coilhouse in part helped me muster up the gumption to go through with some projects that I had been thinking about. I crowdfunded a writing project and set off across America riding almost entirely by Train s and public transportation. I wrote about the experience on my blog http://skippyofthewired.posterous.com/. Currently I am working on turning the project into a book that I will self publish. I am also working on starting a business with my sister. We are going to run a Used bookstore in Lowell Massachusetts. If all goes well we will be opening our doors within a year.

    Thanks so much for informing me, inspiring me and infecting with with a desire to continue to inform, and inspire others.


  28. Lex Says:

    It’s a sad day. I started reading Coilhouse from the beginning, when I was in high school. It’s had such a formative influence on me and I will always appreciate the strange and wonderful worlds it has shown me. I wish the Coilhouse family the best! Take care, Nadya and Mer!

  29. Leonor Says:

    I loooved Coilhouse….followed it as well since Zoe introduced it on her livejournal….I was so excited about it’s launch and always looked forward to waking up the next day checking every lunch hour just to see updates and looking forward to purchasing the new issues… =( YOU ALL ARE SO AWESOME. Best Wishes, GodSpeed and sending the most positive vibes to you both…I hope the health issues get better.


  30. January Says:

    Sad times. Thank you so much for years of wonderful posts. I’ll miss you like crazy.

  31. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    I, and many others, will continue posting compulsively in the Coilhouse Facebook group for many moons to come, I’m sure. Come and visit!

  32. Cass Says:

    I know how hard this was for you to decide, lovely ladies. Belatedly wishing you all the luck in the world in new projects, and musing over how Coilhouse has touched my life, and in many ways run parallel to it. You are both amazingly talented women and I am sure have many exciting things to share with the would in future. LOVE.

  33. jessu Says:

    I’ve been reading since the beginning, and I love you guys. Coilhouse has been and constant and epic reminder that there were and are so many magnificently awesome things existing in a world that wants to trick us into banality. Being connected to this community, even via silently reading the blog to myself, always made me feel like everything I was seeking was out there, and we were all going to be okay. We are all going to be fantastic, we are going to do fantastic things, and we are going to spread the word. It is going to be beautiful.

    Be well.


  34. RCC Says:

    I’ve ony just found you, so I’m really sad you’re going on hiatus, but you clearly need a break, so – thank you for everything you’ve given us so far, and best of luck with whatever projects you prusue in the future.

  35. april Says:

    if things are started up again…. let me know if I can be of any help, no matter what it is. This blog has brought humor, culture, and pure nonsense to my life, I would love to give back. Enjoy the break, I appreciate all of your efforts so much.

  36. Tabitha Says:

    Sad to see coilhouse go; glad to have seen it.

  37. Ian Says:

    I discovered Coilhouse quite by accident shortly after the publication of your first print issue and have followed it closely ever since. It is truly with sadness that I note its movement into the eternal night of internet history, and indeed I hope that your health issues are resolved successfully and soon. I also wish you the best in your new endeavors which, doubtless, shall rise phoenix-like from the glorious embers of the flame of creativity that was Coilhouse. I am an archaeologist, I deal in bones and dead things, and so this sadness is tinged with a respect for a crystallization that will lend itself to interpretation and re-interpretation in the years to come, giving birth to new stories of the joy that was Coilhouse. Echoing april’s comment, if ever you need aid in a new endeavor, contact me. Need a mummy head for a photoshoot? I’m your guy. Or at the very least I can proffer a panoply of ridiculous stories of sand, sun, and the acrid taste of death mixed with knock off coca cola. Will miss you guys, more than I can say.

  38. Robert Smith Says:

    Thank you so much for this inspiration and intriguing discoveries.

  39. Richard Caldwell Says:

    I am still waiting with baited breath to see what happens next. Best of luck to the entire coilhouse cadre in any and all future endeavors.

    You women are goddamn inspiring.

  40. Lohe Says:

    Found this page through Gothic Charm School archives and will be looking towards to digging through archives of Coilhouse too :)
    While I’m sad that such place is closing down, it’s understandable. Life moves on and I keep my fingers crossed that your health issues will get better and you all will have wonderful future.

  41. Bleaq » Blog Archive » Magazine Love #1: Coilhouse (with free download!) Says:

    […] Jessica Joslin for instance) and still browse trough my print issues every now and then. Sadly Coilhouse dimmed the light last november, and the blog (and magazine) has been on hiatus ever since. Fortunately the website is still online […]

  42. katie Says:

    NO! I just found this site like yesturday :( why must i be so supper tarty for the party?

  43. Pagan Radio Network Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup) | Pagan Radio Network Says:

    […] alternative culture magazine and blog Coilhouse is shutting down, though the creators are promising that this is a mere hiatus and that Coilhouse will return in some form in the future. Quote: “We can’t tell you what […]

  44. Johnny, Serbia Says:

    Sad to see Coilhouse closing down. One of the original Coilhouse devotee here (my introduction from 2008, http://coilhouse.net/2008/07/who-is-on-the-other-side/). But the future is bright and may I just suggest you using your Twitter more often? I like it more than Facebook, and would like to have your feed in my inbox every morning. Thank you all for great 5 years! and see you all soon.

  45. Another Meredith Says:

    Coming back to this post six months after I first read it, still brings back a sharp stab of emotion. Hence the post… Coilhouse has been a constant inspiration for me since the age of 16.

    For a shy, bi-curious, slightly odd teenager in a fairly conservative environment it was a breath of oxygen. I don’t want to be too dramatic, it was a South London boy’s school, not a Madrasa. Still, I acquired the confidence to love the art I love. Love the music and the parties I love. Love the dark, the curious, the intelligent and the literary. I think that Coilhouse has had no small part in the development of the happy, successful and willfully independent individual I am today.

    I want to thank everyone who was ever involved in this project. I miss Coilhouse madly. If there is ever a way I can pay my debts to this site, you can count on me.

  46. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    Oh my goodness! Thank you, Meredith! These are the kinds of messages that remind us it was all worth it. HUGE hugs and love to you.

  47. Coilhouse magazine and blog ends. And I’m not ready for it to go. – Loraine Kanervisto Says:

    […] an collection of all things weird, steampunk, futuristic, nerdy, alternative, and queer is closing shop after a five year […]