Alex is the author of the zines: hetic lifestyle, thermodynamics and cupcakemonsters. When we analyse the issue stats (which being good zine librarians we do from time to time), Alex’s zines always come out near the top. So even though we have interviewed Alex once before, it was a long long time ago so we thought we best do it again.
Many zine makers start making zines because someone else encouraged them to do so, would you say this was true in your case? How did you get into zines? Were your first attempts similar to CupcakeMonsters?
The first proto-zines I made were little comics about skateboarding. My mum had an amzing collection of independent comics and small press publications from the 60s to the 90s and I spent hours reading them as a kid and then trying to make my own. They were all one-offs and I never really shared them with many people. My first attempt at a recognisable zine was with my girlfriend, in sixth form. It was called Print and was all about the music we were into. That was inspired by Blink, from A Low Hum, showing me some of his old zines from before the magazine went professional. I started Cupcakemonsters in seventh form and my other zines flowed on from that, with each encompassing different aspects of my interests that didn’t sit well within the music zine format.
CupcakeMonsters is an awesome name for a zine. Where does the title come from? What does it mean to you?
The name came about through a word association exercise. I’m not that personally attached to it to be honest- it’s just been around for so long that it’s impossible to change. I’m very cheerfully resigned to using it for the rest of my zine-life, though.
I’ve noticed that your zines reflect a lot of thinking and planning. How long does it take you to put a zine together? Where and when do you usually make them? Do you have a studio in town? Do you personally find the process of making them enjoyable or a bit overwhelming?
It takes an age. Mostly in finding enough people I want to write about and then emailing back and forth, over a period of weeks to put the interviews together. The actual design and production is comparatively rapid. I’ve set the design in stone now, which simplifies things- I used to go nuts thinking of new things to do but now I always use hand cut layouts, typeset in Lucida Console on black backgrounds. It’s very nice and simple. I do manage to speed things up by doing almost all of the content myself. I enjoy all the work but I do find it quite intense. I’m a very driven person, though and I do think I thrive on stress more I’d like to admit.