I wrote about what Queer Out Here before, but that was a long time ago. So here’s a recap:
We’re about to open submissions for Issue 02, so we thought it would a good time to talk about the zine again. But rather than write about the concept, we wanted to give you an insight into what it’s like to be a co-editor of a zine with this interview. You can read my answers below, and find Jonathan’s answers on his blog, In Which I.
Did you have any expectations for the zine – and how did they match with the reality?
I’m not sure I really had expectations for the zine. I had no idea what people would be comfortable sharing and if anyone would pick up a microphone and record.
I knew we would have an issue of sort, if only with submissions from friends and acquaintances. That was as far as my expectations went. I didn’t want to set my hopes too high or think about it much to avoid being disappointed. I also didn’t want to shape the zine in my mind to be able to let it develop organically as we received submissions. That way, I didn’t end up wanting to mould the first issue into the idea in my head. In that regards, the result far exceeding the reality. We received submissions from people we didn’t know and we received so many, the issue ended up being 1h40 in length!
If you ask me this question again after issue 02, my answer is probably going to be different. I have more of an idea of what we can do, what people are happy to submit and share, and what we haven’t achieved.
What has been the most interesting thing about making Issue 01?
I enjoyed the whole process but the most interesting for me has been the audio editing (which probably doesn’t come as a surprise). I had never put together a project like that, and finding out how best to do it with my software ended up being a lot of fun.
There was a fair share of Googling problems, but I loved seeing the different audio files come together to slowly become the issue that is out today.
What has been the most difficult thing about creating the zine for you?
Surprisingly the entire process has been a lot easier than I expected. What I found the hardest was time management. I had other projects on the go and a full-time job (I still have that one) which sometimes made it difficult to get home, open the laptop and get to work on the zine when all I wanted to do was slouch on the sofa.
But like most things, the hardest was starting. Every time I opened the laptop and got to work on the zine, time flew by and I enjoyed every bit of it. So now, I know that what I need to do is get to work. The rest (mostly) flows from there.
How did you go about organising the pieces into a coherent whole for the issue?
This was surprisingly fun to do. I listed all the pieces with notes such as (male voice, American, diary, interviews, themes, etc.) and tried to find a coherent whole without too many repetitions for the listener. For example, I tried to avoid having all the interviews together. I decided very quickly on the opening and closing pieces (which ended up being the one you hear at the start and end of Issue 01) and worked from there. It involved a lot of moving contributions around and seeing how they worked together. I never listened to the entirety of potential order for the zine. Having listened to all the pieces multiple times beforehand, it was easy to remember them.
After that, Jonathan and I had a chat, compared our notes, discussed our choices, and tadam! The order was decided. We settled for loosely themed block of contributions, trying to avoid repetition in voices and formats. In the end, this was almost an arbitrary way to organise the issue. We discussed other options, and there definitely were many different ways to organise the issue, but I’m happy with the choices we’ve made. Let us know if you’re think otherwise.
Are there any podcasts (or other media) that inspired you more than others for the creation of the zine?
Probably but I’m not aware of much.
A lot of what I listen to is very different what we wanted to achieve with the zine. It’s often short (under 30 minutes), highly produced, and overall not that outdoorsy. In a sense, you could say that it inspired the zine because nothing like it existed.
What are your hopes for future issues?
In short: more submissions!
I would love a range of submissions that keeps being more and more varied. That includes, the files themselves – we didn’t receive music for the first issue so it would be great to have some in the future. But it also includes the people submitting. Issue 01 is a representation of white Western experiences, and that is limiting.
I would also like to have more contributors exploring the question of being queer out here. As much as I would like it not to be a question, it is. The answers to it can be as varied as there are people answering it. From political and social issues to ecology and adventures, I would love to hear more of what being queer out here means to queer people.
On a personal note, I’d love more play with sounds and field recordings but I also understand that this is a more daunting sort of contributions to make if you have never created anything in an audio format. That being said, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking of giving this a go but need some support, get in touch.