Interview: Cynthia Lee, My Chemical Collective Founder & Admin

Cynthia is a 28 year-old student living in Texas. She started My Chemical Collective in 2012.

When and how did you become an MCR fan?
It was about a year or so after the first album came out. A friend I knew always mentioned them but I never really got around to listening to them until a while after that friend unfortunately passed away. I was pretty much hooked on first listen. The raw edge and sincerity in Gerard’s voice paired with the lyrics were a perfect combination.
What prompted you to interact with other fans online?
Pretty much having no friends “in real life” that liked or even heard of them. I wasn’t ever terribly social and the schools I went to weren’t very diverse. My biggest escape besides reading and listening to music was getting to talk to people online with similar interests and tastes. Since MCR was one of my favorite bands, other fans were people I often lurked and sought out.
When and why did you start My Chemical Collective?
Pretty much because I got a bit sick of seeing MCR sites that didn’t update frequently, were unorganized, or had a lot of posts that leaned more towards personal. The Twitter and Facebook accounts would a majority be a lot of personal posts and back and forth between other fans, which is all well and good, but I felt like I wanted to be following MCR accounts for access to quick and easy information regarding the band itself or strictly if a fan were organizing or needed help with a band related thing. This is why I try not to post personal things on any of the MCC site too much and I leave any personal thoughts or spins on articles or interviews completely out of news posts. I’ve got a personal blog and other social media accounts for that reason.
A lot of fan pages stopped being updated when MCR ended. What made you continue to post the members’ individual news?
Probably because I knew that would be the case. It was a very hard decision for me to continue running the site after the break up as I took it pretty hard, but I knew that if the guys continued on with individual projects after that, I cared enough to keep informed, up to date and supportive of them, and I knew that other people would want that as well.
What is the most challenging aspect of running MCC, and what is the most rewarding?
Definitely the fact that I do it all by myself. I honestly don’t know anyone else that is as invested on a personal level  that I can trust to keep the site up to date. It gets frustrating because since I’m the only one, as real life piles up on me, updates to the site get slower, I miss some things. I wish I had help or that I could be more efficient but, I do the best I can do. Even though I personally paid out of pocket for the current coding of the custom theme, I designed it myself, including made all the graphics myself, I spend hours transcribing articles when I can, paying for the magazines with which to do so. I pay for the domain name and partial hosting of some other things I’ve been working on but is taking longer than expected because lack of help. Currently the domain is set to expire and I don’t have the money to renew it. Without donations I won’t have the domain until I can afford it again, and I can’t launch the extra content without the domain. I guess the satisfying part is whenever anyone says I’m doing a good job or they found the site useful. It’s a lot of work and I don’t profit off of it what so ever, it’s more a fan service, so hearing it’s serving it’s purpose is good.
MCC screenshot

My Chemical Collective site header.

Do you have any plans or ambitions for MCC in the future?
Yeah, I’m thinking of ways to make it a little more interactive. I want to do more contests, give people more chances to get creative, since the band is done and there’s no new ideas being thrown out from the source itself, if I can help anyone who leans on that aspect of their art have a little spark of creativity, that will be great. I want to better archive things like articles, videos and audio. That’s a little about what the extra domain space is for.
If you could change one thing about the MCRmy, what would it be?
To be completely honest, the way the react to any opinion or thought they deem “negative” about the band or things the guys have done or said. To me being a fan is yes, supporting an artist you love, but what appealed to me most about MCR is that they never put up this facade of being perfect, sounding perfect, saying or doing the best or right things all the time. They were about embracing humanity, finding creative outlets for the bad, learning from your surroundings, taking the negative and over coming and throwing better things back out into the the world. I felt attacked a lot within the fandom, especially those last few years. For some reason I could kind of sense and see an unraveling and a lot of faltering within the band and things they were doing and saying, but anytime I mentioned or alluded to it, I was hounded. There was sort of a backwards superiority complex within the fandom that I never really liked. I feel like I would have made a lot more friends and connections if people were a little more open to discussion surround dissenting opinion and the complexities surrounding.

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