Top 10 Tips For Writing A Fanzine

“The biggest and best thing about a DIY zine is having the freedom to do and say exactly what you want. There are no rules and nobody to answer to so the possibilities are endless.”

Rob Stone has been working tirelessly on the brilliant Positive Creed Fanzine since 2001. In that time, he’s experienced the joys and harsh realities of DIY publishing, and he’s kindly shared this guide… for punks who aren’t afraid of a few papercuts.

Before I begin this article I would just like to make it clear that I do not regard the following list as any kind of rule book or structure to writing a zine. It is merely a catalogue of things that I have learnt over the twenty years that I have been involved in DIY publishing. I also do not consider myself as any kind of authority on the subject. I have made a lot of mistakes during that time, discovered some utterly fantastic music and made contact with some extremely talented people. I hope that the following will help people out and perhaps inspire some of you to produce your own fanzine. Good luck.

10: Safety In Numbers

It’s important to carry enthusiasm but don’t allow yourself to get carried away whilst organising your first issue. Start off small and get a good feel for the potential sales that are possible. Perhaps begin with 50 copies and then gradually work your way up with each issue.

9: Research

When I use the word research, I am coming from the angle of putting together interview questions. I have read more zines than I can remember over the past twenty years and have come across many interviews where a zine editor has managed to arrange an interview with an interesting band/musician, only to ask the most basic and mundane questions.

If your approach to writing questions is lazy and soulless then there’s every chance that the answers will return to you lacking in substance. With the internet and social media now at hand, there is no reason why you can’t delve into the history of a band and construct in-depth questions. This will not only get you a better response, but it will also give your readers a far better insight into your subject. Continue reading “Top 10 Tips For Writing A Fanzine”

One Story Of Recovering From Mental Illness

Sarah shares her story of a year of recovering from depression, exploring the challenges and the stigma attached to it.

Written by Sarah Williams for World Mental Health Day 2019. Trigger warning: suicide.

On Mental Health Awareness Day last year, I somewhat ironically published an article about the horrors of depression, and the relief of overcoming it. I say ironic, because a few days after publishing it, I tried to kill myself.

I fucked it up, and then tried again about a month later. And then again, a third time, in December. 

At the time I remember being frustrated and embarrassed that I couldn’t even do that properly. Suicide is really fucking difficult. Also, the chairs they have in A&E treatment rooms are so uncomfortable it’s really not worth the hassle. 

That was a year ago. Three suicide attempts between October and December 2018. Looking back, my sole focus for the last 12 months has been on trying to get better. And you know what? I am better. Continue reading “One Story Of Recovering From Mental Illness”

EP Review: PI$$ER – Wretched Life

Punk session super-group Pi$$er have released a rare 7” that brings a fresh perspective to old school hardcore. FFO: Doom, Discharge, The Domestics, Beat The Red Light

Written by Ollie Stygall.

Can such a thing as a super-group exist in punk rock? Probably not, but when you have a band consisting of past and present members of The Domestics, Doom, Anti-Cimex, Sore Throat, The Shitty Limits, Revenge Of the Psychotronic Man, Wolfhour, Bring The Drones, Hobopope & The Goldfish Cathedral, Lazarus Blackstar, Dissidents, Bugeyed, Dis-tank and The Filaments it’s hard to call it anything else. The difference is that most super-groups are a cynical cash-in on the members’ previous careers: in punk rock the super-groups exist to make more noise… and PI$$ER make an awesome noise. Continue reading “EP Review: PI$$ER – Wretched Life”

The Best Ways To Support Independent Records Labels (From The Labels Themselves)

Sarah speaks to the owners of small, independent record labels, to understand the best way people can support them and to demystify some preconceptions about small music businesses.

Written by Sarah Williams.

We’re currently running a competition to support small record labels, where you can win a massive bundle of vinyl, CDs and other goodies. Head to our Instagram to enter.

The role of the record label has changed in recent years. Small, independent DIY labels are popping up all the time, but they don’t have the capital to fund recordings or the clout to market bands to a mainstream audience, as a label would have done traditionally.

Instead, many of the record labels we love are started at kitchen tables by keen music lovers,often to help their friends or to release their own band’s music. Nowadays, record labels are a helping hand, a word of advice, financial support and a labour of love.

Outside of Shout Louder, I’m part of a team that keep the cogs turning at Lockjaw Records. Although we’re relatively well established, we’re not doing anything for profit. The reward for our hard work is seeing our bands reach new listeners and play bigger stages. Many label proprietors are passionate punk rockers, who simply want to keep the scene alive.

I spoke to some of the small labels I respect the most, to understand how best to support them. Continue reading “The Best Ways To Support Independent Records Labels (From The Labels Themselves)”

Win A DIY Punk Rock Mega-Bundle!

We’ve teamed up with TNS Records, Lockjaw Records, Charlie’s Big Raygun Records and Less Talk, More Records to give away this huge bundle of vinyl, CDs and other goodies!

Here at Shout Louder, we try our hardest to champion independent record labels. They work hard to support small bands, with no expectation of financial return. Although we’re all for doing-it-yourself, small record labels are an essential cog in our musical machine.

To celebrate some of our favourite labels, we’ve teamed up with TNSRecords, Lockjaw Records, Charlie’s Big Raygun Records and Less Talk, More Records.

We’re offering you a one-off chance to win this huge bundle of vinyl, CDs and other assorted goodies.

To enter head over to our Instagram page. Find the competition post, follow the record label accounts and tag a friend. You have until midnight Saturday 6th October to enter, and we’ll choose a winner on Sunday 7th. Continue reading “Win A DIY Punk Rock Mega-Bundle!”

Shout Louder Print Zine #1: Submission Guidelines

DIY punk rock has created a unique community of open-minded, socially-conscious music lovers. To celebrate this, Shout Louder is making a one-off print zine: a collection of stories about people’s experiences in the community.

Tell us the story of how you first stumbled upon DIY punk rock; the best gig you’ve ever been to; the anecdotes you shared over a smoke between bands; the time someone you’d just met lent you their van to move house; the time you fell in love; the time a gig saved your life.

Continue reading “Shout Louder Print Zine #1: Submission Guidelines”

Exclusive: Fabled Mind premiere new single ‘Entangled’

Be the first to watch the new lyric video from Danish melodic-punks Fabled Mind.

Shout Louder are proud to bring you the second single from new Danish punk rockers Fabled Mind.

Fabled Mind released their first single Before The Slaughter to a great reception in August. The band is the brainchild of frontman Dion Finne, who’s been crafting their exceptional full-length album for months. Although new to the music scene, they bring a modern melodic twist to RX Bandits-style fast punk, using combined experience from their other bands (including Shout Louder favourites Forever Unclean).

Entangled is my attempt to write an uplifting song,” says Dion Finne, on the latest single. “We all face situations and times in our lives where everything seems hopeless and inconsequential. Some people are stuck in a toxic relationship, some hate their work life and 45% of the Danish population feel lonely. Loneliness is a powerful and gripping feeling that can provoke anxiety and force you to avoid social situations in the belief that people don’t need you and that you don’t need them. Continue reading “Exclusive: Fabled Mind premiere new single ‘Entangled’”