Meet this Zinester: @scuffzine

Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Caylan. I am based in Reading, UK. I dabble in a lot of different things but have particular interests in music, video game and zine culture, and graphic design.

What are zines to you?
This is a tough question, there are a lot of different aspects. On a personal level, zines allow me to create an affordable product that combines several of my interests with pretty much complete freedom. In general, I think zines are an important, raw litmus test of society and subcultures that are (mostly) void of the more sterilised, air-conditioned blandness that is delivered by bigger publications.

What was your first encounter with zines?
Punk, which was a magazine from the 70s that was sort of half proper magazine, half fanzine. Full of silly comics and interviews. They released a big annual of the issues a while back, which my parents got me as a present. I think I was probably about 16, so 7 years ago now!

Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
My most notable zine is called Scuff. A (mostly) music zine that in reality covers a whole bunch of stuff. It features two characters called Scuff Boy, a sharply dressed ex-corporate mascot, and Kontrol, a lazy, apathetic, anthropomorphic rabbit who appears in comics and certain other articles. It covers everything from noise music to PlayStation 1 video game soundtracks with some comics and artwork chucked in for good measure. Basically, it just covers the stuff I like and want to show to others.

I have also just started a design role for !GWAK, an international art group. And will be working to help create their art mag, which should be an interesting change of pace!

What inspires you to create zines?
Sometime during university, I realised that I become pretty miserable and restless when I don’t have creative outlets; that is still a big driver. I also found I didn’t resonate very well with a lot of bigger publications, particularly on the subject of music. I feel that there is a lot of musicians and artists that deserve some love so I am trying to do my small part in giving them the credit they deserve.

What’s your favourite thing about zines?
The variety and diversity of different zines and the community in general. I’ve seen zines that are similar to Scuff all the way in America and zines being made down the road that are completely different. It’s nice to see that difference.

Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
I’m not sure if it counts as a zine, but my first zine-like thing was Circulation, a student-run music magazine based out of the University of York. I didn’t really have any graphic design skills so it was a fun, and very stressful journey that I learned a lot from. I was proud of what we created though, and some of the people I worked with remain good friends and collaborators! It also paved the way for my paper-based baby SCUFF.

Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
I like to let things come to me naturally usually. I spend a lot of time scouring the internet for artists and creators that I find interesting and might want to interview. I then email them asking if they would be interested in being in the next issue, sometimes I get no response, but lots of people are pretty happy to spend some time talking to me, which I really appreciate.

I have some other people who contribute now and again as well, whether it’s an article or some artwork/photography. And for any non-interview stuff, I usually just write about things I’m into at the moment. It’s pretty casual!

The design process is a big thing for me. The layout is pretty simple, and the whole zine is black and white, but I put a lot of thought into the fonts, text spacing, and things like that. I always want the zine to be really clean and minimal, and as readable as possible. And I like to have some fun with some vector graphics here and there!

For some issues I print the covers using an old home screen printing thing called a Print Gocco. It’s from Japan and the supplies are pretty scarce, but the result is a really cool DIY, colour print that is surprisingly accurate.

What do you hope people get out of your zines?
At the end of the day, I’m aware that none of my zines are ever going to be groundbreaking, I’m not trying to make a splash in music journalism, so really, I just hope that people have a chance to sit and read SCUFF in a relaxing way. It can be hard to find time for yourself, especially since the world is so heavily connected (for better or worse), so I hope people can use SCUFF as an excuse to make a brew and chill out for a bit.

Name two of your favorite zinesters. 
It’s hard to choose two, so I will pick two who I think deserve some more recognition. Arnox (@arnoxfactory), a risograph zine that features photography (so far) from Japan, some of the most creative stuff I’ve seen from a zine maker. My other pick is Joao Cadoso, I’m not sure if they will make another zine, but I traded an issue of Scuff for an issue of their photo zine “in the waiting line”, it’s a really nicely put together DIY photo zine, worth a look!

Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Ignore trends and create the way you want to create. Don’t try and fit into the crowd. Convince people why they should pay attention to what you’re doing instead! I believe in you!

Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Instagram. A surprisingly useful resource for finding zine pals and to look out for shops that might be willing to stock your zine, whether its cafes or book shops!

Caylan’s Instagram: @scuffzine

Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Answers and photos provided by Caylan.

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