Seit einigen Jahren beteiligen wir uns am International Zine Month, so auch in diesem Jahr. Die Beiträge bündeln wir unter dem Hashtag #IZM2020. Bisher haben wir als Mitarbeiter*innen hauptsächlich Zines vorgestellt, die uns wichtig sind oder die wir neu in der Sammlung haben. Für dieses Jahr haben wir uns eine neue Rubrik überlegt: „Who‚s that Zinester?“
Wir stellen euch in den kommenden Wochen Zinemacher*innen vor, deren Zines wir toll finden und in der Sammlung haben, mit denen wir arbeiten oder einfach so in einem engen Austausch sind. Wir haben eine kleine Auswahl an Menschen unsere Fragen geschickt und hier sind ihre Antworten.
Den Anfang machen wir mit Nina aus Belgien. Nina hat uns in den vergangenen Jahren schon mehrmals im Archiv der Jugendkulturen besucht und immer die neueste Ausgabe ihres Zines „Same Heartbeats“ mitgebracht. Los geht‚s….
Tell us about your zine/ project
Hi, I’m Nina and I make a lot of zines under the name “Echo” or “Echo Zines” and have been doing that since 2001. Currently “Same Heartbeats” is my main zine series (a DIY feminist perzine in which I write about gender, body image, activism, craft projects, travelling, zine fests, and other things that interest me) and I make a lot of mini-zines as well, for example about how to play guitar, how to make your own zine, and self-care. I’ve also made some 24 hour zines (zines made in 24 hours as the name suggests), such as “From Spice Girls to Riot Grrrls”, “Space Invasion”, and “CuNt & Paste”. At the moment I’m working on a lockdown diary comic in two parts which should come out soon. As you can tell I really enjoy writing and drawing about music, personal stories, and political stuff. I love the oldschool cut & paste photocopied zine style most as it looks so punk and is very accessible. You can find my zines and more info at https://echopublishing.wordpress.com.
What was the reason to start your own zine? Did someone or something inspire you?
As a teenager I read about zines in biographies about Courtney Love and in zine anthologies like “A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World”. But it was hard to actually find or order zines because it was the end of the 90s and I lived in a small isolated town. A few years later I discovered the Dutch riot grrrl zine “Bunnies On Strike” at a Sleater-Kinney concert in Amsterdam and I became friends with them and with other international feminist zinesters soon after that. Of course I immediately wanted to make my own zine. I used to love creating booklets and comics as a child and the combination of text, collage, and drawing really appeals to me. I also like that zines can feature very radical and free content. From the beginning I felt a part of an encouraging DIY / riot grrrl / zinester subculture which was very motivating.
What is the first zine you ever fell in love with?
Definitely “Bunnies On Strike”. It was full of support for feminist struggles, animal rights, DIY subculture, and riot not diet messages so of course I immediately connected to it. And what a great title! Bunnies On Strike was also the name they used for their radical cheerleading team, punk band, DIY events, and the collective behind all of this. Wow, I miss those days…
A zine you would recommend because it deals with issues you care about
There are too many zines I could list here but I’ll choose “Scorpio Moon” because every single issue always amazes me. The topics the author Jade writes about range from autism to anarchism, witchcraft to self-care, and relationships to finding a home. I can relate a lot to what they write about, have learned from their beautiful writings, and have found inspiration and affirmation in them.
Zine related places you visited or want to visit in the future? Tell us why!
Firstly: the Archiv of course! And also Housmans, a radical bookshop in London, the anarchist infoshop at 56a in London, and Fort Van Sjakoo, an anarchist bookshop in Amsterdam. I’ve also enjoyed spending time at the Salford Zine Library and the Manchester Queer Zine Library. The anarchist centre in Ghent where I live has a library with a great selection of zines too and I should really go check it again soon because it’s been a while since I was last there. One day I’d love to visit the distro shop of Portland Button Works but I’m so sad I missed the chance to see their former place before hey moved out because it included an amazing indoors tree house/reading nook. I’m also curious to see the Schikkimikki zine distro and library in Berlin!
What projects are you involved in besides publishing zines?
I’m in a feminist band called Lavender Witch. We’re releasing our first album called “Awakening” in July which I find super exciting. I make music on my own too as Lost Luna, do some (home-recording) music projects with friends (one started during the lockdown), and have recently started recording songs with my former band mates of Vangina Dentata again.I’m also a member of the feminist collective FEL in Ghent but at the moment we’re taking a break. Get in touch though if you’re interested. The Tweede Sekse Voorbij blog by FEL is still active and I use it to post about zines and other feminist stuff. Related to zine-making… I draw a lot and make illustrations as a freelancer, often for feminist or queer projects.
A collaboration you are dreaming about?
I hope Fliss of the zine “Athemaura” (which I also recommend to check out, it’s a beautiful perzine) and I can one day do a split zine. We have been brainstorming about writing about being librarians and about the importance of libraries in these times of horrible austerity measures. She also suggested organising a zine reading some day which sounds very exciting (though I’ll be sooooo nervous). I’d love to do more panel discussions with other zinesters in the future because I love sharing ideas about the politics of self-publishing and DIY media and I also hope to do some more research on these same topics, maybe for a feminist archive or in collaboration with other autonomous media activists.
What would you be more interested in? A zine about cats or dogs?
Cats!!!! I’m a total cat lover but am unfortunately also allergic (to cats and dogs and bunnies as well). So I stick to stuffed animals at the moment… and to zines about cats. Did you know this wonderful website? https://zinecats.tumblr.com
A zine about your teen crush would be about?
A little while ago I wrote a fanzine about guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen in which I wrote about the complexity of queer crushes. Is it a crush or just admiration? Do I want to be with them, be friends with them, or BE them? These questions remain…
I didn’t have many fan crushes before my mid/late teens (except maybe football player Josip Weber) but once I got into music that changed a bit. I think I’d choose Donna Dresch who just seems like an overall cool person as she played bass and guitar in Team Dresch, ran her own record label Chainsaw Records, and used to write a zine called Chainsaw. Team Dresch was also the perfect lesbian band for me with their romantic dyke love songs, queer politics, and their cool butch/androgynous/sporty looks. They even started a self-defense project called Free to Fight that put out a CD with self-defense tips and queer music and spoken word and Team Dresch included self-defense lessons at their concerts too. So yeah, very crush-worthy for teenage me as well as current me!
Which fellow zinester would you rob a bank with and why?
Haha, this is a great question. 😀 But I think I should keep this a secret! 🙂
Your life motto or a message you want to share
I’ve had this quote by Simone de Beauvoir as my email signature for years now: „Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.“ Still very relevant today and it’s not only about making the most of my day for my own wellbeing but also about trying to make some change happen in the world around me. Not easy but so very necessary. It can also be applied to DIY media: go make a zine now, don’t wait for others to do it for you!
Thank you Nina for taking the time and all the great answers!