When I was a younger I used to order fanzines from the back of Melody Maker and NME. I’d send off my postal orders and wait for them to turn up. Homegrown and photocopied it was always pot luck in terms of content quality. When I contributed a couple of articles to this year’s Colchester Free Festival programme, the editor Jonathan Dadds said he will be heading down the zine route for his next project, following his successful 7Bit Arcade blog.
On Saturday 19th September, the said zine hit the streets and it’s really good and well worth grabbing a copy. The traditional zine is back! I asked Jon Dadds to tell us more…
You may (with a little bit of luck!) have seen a new little music zine dotted around town in the last week, or being mentioned by some local bands on Facebook? Paper Champion’s the name and we recently released our first issue, a Colchester Free Festival special, the first in a new monthly zine focusing on Colchester’s genuinely excellent music scene. It’s full of reviews and previews – in future issues we’re looking at adding interviews, regular features and more.
The whole idea came about around three months ago; my previous project, 7BitArcade, on the wind-down, I was looking for new projects to sink my teeth into. On a local level this was a bit more difficult – considering the quantity of excellent bands around here I felt like it was lacking something and so I decided to start something new to fill the gap. After four years of running a fairly hectic website, I was reluctant to start another online site and, besides, there’s so many music sites around now, I thought it’d be good to start something a bit different.
My interest in making zines was sparked around two years ago when planning for The Great Escape in Brighton, when myself and a couple of other writers put together a zine for the Alt Escape which was very well received. I originally planned on launching Paper Champion for Colchester Free Festival; however upon discussing my plan with the creators I ended up much more involved and created the official zine, an opportunity I’m incredibly thankful for!
From an entirely editorial point of view, I much prefer the way these things come together compared to running a blog or website; everything has to be ready for a deadline and more thought has to go into how articles flow. I think how it’s consumed is the important thing though; we spend a lot of time looking at our phones and laptops (and I’m probably more guilty than most here!) and, while online material is easy to access when you need it, it’s nice to have something physical to flick through and read. It’s printed in a limited number too, so hopefully as it gets more popular there’ll be a bit of a buzz around releases.
Finally, the plan is to put on a monthly live night to coincide with the release. I’ve wanted to get into promoting shows locally for a while and I think this is the best way I can do so. I look at this from two points of view; there’s some tremendous talent locally who could always do with more showcases but also there’s a lot of mid-level music nationally (or even internationally – we’ve got a band from the USA for our January issue launch!) who I want to introduce to people in Colchester. Hopefully people will show up, check out some excellent music and grab a copy of the zine to read!
Paper Champion Issue 1 is available now from Three Wise Monkeys, Colchester Arts Centre, Firstsite, Queen Street Brewery, Best Days Vintage, The Soundhouse and Purple Dog while stocks last. They’re currently looking for writers, contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. Bands can submit music and shows to the same address for consideration for review.