Meet this Zinester: Joseph Carlough

Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Joseph Carlough, and I’m based in East Falls, Philadelphia, PA, USA. I make zines as Displaced Snail and cassettes as This & That Tapes.

What are zines to you?
Zines are the ultimate expressive, free medium.

What was your first encounter with zines?
I made a CD booklet to accompany a mix CD I was giving to friends in 2008, using a zine template I found online. I didn’t know what a zine was, but someone I gave the CD to told me about them and invited me to my first zine fest the next year.

Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
To date, I have made about 260 zines. In the beginning, they were all perzines and magazine-style zines. Then I started making them for hire for poets and writers. Now I make a lot of zines for record labels, including my own tape label, This & That Tapes. My own zines still tend to be perzines, usually about animals or music.

What inspires you to create zines?
I don’t know, it’s just something I do. It’s a good place to put my creative output.

What’s your favorite thing about zines?
Too many favorite things to name. The immediacy of a release? Talking to people at zine fests? The variety of shapes and sizes? I love it all!

Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
Yes, it was called Today Terrific, and it was a mix of comics, music reviews, short stories, and CD tracklists. It was the one I talked about above. I went on to do 11 issues of Today Terrific before retiring the series.

Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
It’s mostly digital now. I design my zines using InDesign (which I learned for work a few years after beginning to make zines), and I have what one could call a print studio in my house: I have a large format inkjet printer, a laser printer, a 400-sheet paper cutter, a booklet folding machine, a long-arm stapler, awls, thread, needles, dozens of reams of paper, the whole kit & kaboodle.

What do you hope people get out of your zines?
Enjoyment, mostly. Though I mostly write perzines, I always try to make them funny. When it’s a zine I’ve made for someone else or for my label, I want people to appreciate the artistry and to realize that you can make something beautiful with your hands from your home.

Name two of your favorite zinesters.
Well, easy answer is Katie Haegele, but she’s my partner so I’ll give you two more. Lately, my favorite zinesters have been Frederick Moe and Brandy Erdmann.

Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Don’t get hung up on worrying if something is “good” or not.

Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Antiquated Future is great! Also, We Make Zines, DoDIY, Microcosm Publishing.

Check out more of Joseph’s work on Instagram:
@displacedsnail

Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Photos provided by Joseph C.

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