When you got the idea to start Barrelhouse, were you trying to fill a void/niche/need in the writing community? Or was it more impulsive than that?
Dave Housley: I think the one void we were trying to fill was something that published serious writing but didn't take itself so seriously. Also, a literary magazine that recognized that pop culture was real and important to lots of people. So many of the literary magazines out there, especially the ones connected to academic programs, seemed like they were run by the kind of people who would brag to you at a cocktail party that they didn't own a television. We felt like we were the kind of people who would throw a beer on those people, so in the early stages, Barrelhouse definitely grew out of that kind of impulse. We also wanted to fill that community void a bit, so we always said, let's have readings, but let's make them fun, non-academic. Let's have them in bars, with music, or with a pub quiz, something to make it loose and fun.
Aaron Pease: Our decision to start a journal was impulsive and beer-fueled, but I think we were trying to fill a niche in producing a journal that could back up its good looks with high-quality content. Kind of like a hooker, but with a heart of gold.
Dan Brady: We wanted to put out a magazine that published the kind of writing we liked—smart, funny, maybe a little edgy, but also engaged with real life, writing that wasn't afraid to name drop Real Housewives of D.C. or Magnum P.I. We wanted something less stuffy than most of the literary magazines we saw out there, but that maintained a high standard of writing. The whole venture was pretty impulsive. Now, five years later, we still keep things pretty loose, but we've learned a lot along the way.