Zine Q&A with Andrew Benson

If you could ask Andrew Benson ANYTHING about zines, what would you ask him?

1. What do you feel are the top two elements that make an engaging zine?
I feel like zines are successful when they tell funny, real and raw stories or ideas. They lack any air of pandering, because they're not made to make money or gain success. Also, colored paper.

2. If you were to write a zine to your 22-year-old self, what would it be about?
10 Steps to Not Taking Yourself so fucking Seriously, you lil' prick.

3. What is your most memorable zine and why?
Probably the Literary/Arts collection that came out of Edmonton a few years ago, Here & Noun Vol.2. Awesome writing, incredible art, and a screenprinted chipboard cover glued to a perfect bound book. It's beautiful!

4. Some people say the Internet is a fad, why will the zine ultimately win in the end?
People love feeling like they're part of something secret. Zines still have that incredible punk rock attitude and feel and when you pick one up make you feel like you're part of something most people don't know exist yet. 

5. What type of information is best expressed with a zine?
ANYTHING! That's the beauty of it! You're not bound the usual constructs of the publishing industry, so you can say whatever the hell you want. I know incredible survivors who have published brave and beautiful zines about overcoming sexual violence. I've seen bizarro zines exploring the dark and twisted world of the OwlCat. I've stumbled through poorly photocopied zines about the place of anarcho politics in vegan kitchens. As long as it's meaningful to the author, the zine is successful in my eyes.

6. The topic of the first zine you ever made?
It was a collection of interviews of my friends and heroes in the Canadian punk rock scene. It was photocopied and poorly perfect bound with a bizarre silkscreened cover on found manila paper. I don't even have a copy.

8. What tips would you give someone just starting out their first zine?
Don't get bogged down on the details. Just do what feels natural, make it real, make it raw and don't worry about it being perfect.

9. How many zines of you collected?
I have about 50-75 zines in my collection. Not huge, but always growing. I've collected them from artists, bands, weirdos, and freaks. I really love how different each one is too.

10. Why should someone take this class?
Because it's fun! It's awesome to turn your ideas into something tangible that you can share with friends. I hope that people will learn to work with this medium with little to no inhibition. You're going to leave the class with a collection of your peers zines too and that's super fun!

Follow Andrew on Twitter for more Andrew. Tune in tomorrow for our equally amazing interview with Gord Montgomery! And seriously, why don't you have a ticket to this workshop yet? Get it here!