Words by HEATHER CONNOR
Out Of Step is a monthly night based in Wolverhampton at Alchemy Bar and every last Monday of each month with live bands and DJs. Their Birmingham clubnight takes place every first Thursday of each month at Island Bar. Their playlists cover alternative, electronica, shoegaze and punk showcase and their gigs usually feature up and coming bands. At their events Out Of Step give away a free zine, so far they’ve put two out which have featured the likes of Hot Club de Paris, La La Vasquezand Atta Girl.
We sent them a few questions to find out more about their zine.
Who is behind the fanzine?
The fanzine is run by two people, myself (Richard Cartwright) and good friend Ben Adset.There are also a collective of writers, bands and illustrators who we have featured in the pages.
How often do you publish each issue?
We bring out the zine every month before a live show. Yet sometimes it can run behind schedule with self funding.
It started when I asked the question for a post on our blog in the start of the year “what are the three records that changed and inspired your life”.The feedback was brilliant and the thoughts on the records chosen by the people, some as far as America was well worth the reason to print it. Also no one in Wolverhampton was doing it at the time.
Instead of flyers printed for our night I thought the zine would be the ideal method of printed material to get people to the nights we put on. With flyers people tend to throw away when given but a book I think people take notice.
What influeneces you when you’re putting together an issue?
The D.I.Y culture of late 70’s and 80’s punk. But I would say drinking Earl Gray till the late hours of the morning, slumped over my Mac and scanner listening to My Bloody Valentine. But no the influence is in the love of D.I.Y and music helping spread the word about new bands in our area.
Production wise what kind of methods do you use? i.e. scanner or cut & paste for example.
Well it’s cut and paste really, I will type it all up then print all the pages off. Add the artwork and pictures by hand. There are no computers involved in the final layout of the zine pages. Then it’s just the photocopier and me for a few hours.
Tell me how you distribute your zine
I go around to all the shops, bars and record shops myself and hope the owners don’t throw them away after I leave 30 odd there. If you go on the blog there is a distribution list up there somewhere.
You can also get them from our live night at Alchemy Bar Wolverhampton and our DJ nights in Birmingham’s Island bar and Cheltenham’s Two Pigs
Why print a zine instead of other methods such as blogging?
We do have a blog too. I like the idea of someone picking up the zine and spending time reading my printed thoughts on music. Most things on the net are very disposable nowadays.
The connection to the people I feel is lost in blogs because anyone can do it. When I pick up a zine I look after it, I put it on my book shelf for safe keeping because I know someone spent time and money on that.
What was the first zine you ever read?
I never really read zines that much at all but I came across the American zine ‘Touch and Go’ via a friend and thought that was pretty rad, reading Ian MacKaye cooking guide the straight edge way and the way the pages are put together in its cut and paste structure I think was a real big influence on the way Out Of Step zine looks.
My friend James Nash does this great comic zine that documents his daily life through drawings.
Also a great zine from Norwich called “What would Henry Rollins do”it features hardcore punk.
Are there any other zines you feel an affinity with?
ATTA Girl zine is great. It comes from a club night in Birmingham at the Island bar. It’s influence comes from the Riot grrrl zines from the 90’s
What is the future of self-publishing?
For any Birmingham/ Midlands based people go check out ‘Birmingham zine social club‘ they are on Facebook and they’re all on there that do it.
I think it’s good and healthy right now. There is so many Zine fairs up and down the country it will never stop. You go to any show in Birmingham and there is a table set up for zines all for sale.The worry I have is soon the zine will cost more to print. We only make 200 of each issue and now people are asking for more or back issues. Also the more things that go in there the more pages needed and being self funded it can be hard to do it for free. But until then we will keep it free so please don’t hate us when we ask for £3 in on the door at shows. Hopefully if all goes well we will be bringing out Bronze Medals and Moondad on a limited tape cassette run in June/July of this year so very excited about that.
Do you have a website?
Yes we have a blog it’s www.outofstepalchemy.blogspot.com
We also have a shop outofstep.bigcartel.com you can get zines from their and other hand-made things
Or find us on facebook