Filmmaker Billy Stever examines three decades of heavy music in his new film, Maritime Metal – The Documentary Film.
If you look hard enough you can probably find a documentary film on just about any topic that suits your fancy. In recent years, practically every imaginable subculture has been the subject of a film or two, thanks in part to the accessibility of good cameras and editing software that exists in this day and age. Like the home recording renaissance that empowered so many musicians with the ability to bypass expensive studios to record and produce their own albums, the world of film has enjoyed a similar shift. More and more people are taking advantage of these opportunities to tell their own stories and explore their passion both as filmmakers and cultural archivists.
Billy Stever is a perfect example. Originally from New Brunswick, his involvement in the Maritime metal scene dates back nearly twenty years. A skilled photographer/videographer now based in Montreal, Stever has combined his experience in music and film to create his latest project, Maritime Metal – The Documentary Film.
“In 2002 I started a website called The UnderGrowth,” said Stever. “In the beginning it was just a site reporting news on metal bands and reviews I wrote. By 2003 I turned it into a label and promotion company. The UnderGrowth released two Maritime metal compilation CDs along with albums by Black Frost (Moncton) and Amnesty (PEI) along with a few other limited run albums.”
Stever also spent three years promoting concerts as The UnderGrowth and worked with numerous bands from around the Maritimes as well as several touring acts before moving to Montreal in 2007.
He landed on the idea to create a documentary film on metal music in the Maritime provinces last year while on holiday in Sweden.
“I wanted to do a video project but couldn’t find the right topic to cover until June 2018 while vacationing in Sweden,” said Stever. “I was visiting a friend who used to live in Moncton and Halifax and we were reminiscing about the Maritime metal scene from the early 2000s. I realized at that point I had everything I needed to start a film project tucked away in boxes at home this whole time. I used to film the shows I put on so I had a box full of old tapes, posters, CDs, and many back up disks of data I kept from my time as a promoter.
“Once I got back home in July 2018 I started looking into what I had and researching and documenting all the bands and albums I could find online. I came up with a list of 300ish bands from the late 80s until today with over 650 albums released in the last three decades,” he said.
By the fall of 2018 Stever has assembled a team for the project and began conducting preliminary interviews, supported in part by an active IndieGoGo campaign.
This summer Stever and his team will be traveling to five Maritime cities to speak with musicians, promotors and supporters who have each contributed to the ongoing history of metal music in the Maritime Provinces.
“I think this documentary is important because the Maritimes has so much talent and a rich history in its metal scene,” said Stever. “The scene has continued to grow over the decades and it is time to have something like this documentary to really get the word out to the rest of the country and the world.”
Visit maritimemetaldoc.com to stay up to date with this project and see new content including teaser videos and an active message board.