Sunday, February 21, 2010

Effort Fanzine

Effort Fanzine issue 3

I love printed fanzines and to be quite honest with you, in some ways I wish Double Cross was a physical, hand held, printed fanzine, but the truth of the matter is that we do what is convenient and works best for us, which happens to be the online format. Hopefully some how at some point, you will see Double Cross in some sort of printed format because I know that is a definite goal for us. In the meantime, if you want to see an example of a great printed hardcore fanzine, look no further than Effort.

Unquestionably and easily Effort Fanzine is one of, if not THE best fanzine I have seen in many, many years. These guys cover all the bases; great design, awesome photos, honest reviews, a perfect mix of old and new hardcore and on top of all that, they've gotten better and better every issue.

Because Effort has stood out to us, we wanted to show support and help bring their work more deserved attention. Meet the guys behind Effort and more importantly, get your hands on an issue ASAP. - Tim DCXX

Ulf and Kalle of Effort Fanzine, Photo: Alexander Peters

Tell us about yourselves, how and when you got into hardcore, and what each of you bring to Effort Fanzine?

Ulf: My name is Ulf, I'm the youngster of the two of us, at age 21. I got into hardcore in 2002, which means I've missed out on some great bands for sure. I was in 8th grade and was into all kinds of things musically. I always liked Iron Maiden, Metallica and various heavy bands, but I wasn't passionate about it. However, I always had a thing for heavy music.

I grew up in a very small town, where everybody knew each other. So, I knew that there were some kids that were into some kind of crazy music. They were going to shows all the time, and I think they rehearsed in the basement of our school, but I didn't have a clue what kind of music they were playing or what this "hardcore" thing was all about. That changed when the kid next door, who I've been friends with all my life, started going to shows. I got really curious about it, started asking all kinds of stupid questions, and after probably being a real pain in the ass for a while, he let me tag along.

I then found out about this thing called "Straight Edge" which I totally connected with, since I never had any interest in alcohol or drugs. Shortly after, I bought my first electric guitar and started my first hardcore band. After some half assed attempts in my basement for a couple of years, I was asked to play guitar for a band that was starting out, Go For Broke. That's how Kalle and I met each other.

When it comes to Effort fanzine, we both work together on pretty much everything. Kalle does all the layout work, with some input from me, but the rest of it, we do together. We're into the same stuff, so there's never any trouble.

A Chain Of Strength photo spread from Effort Fanzine issue 3

Kalle: My name is Kalle and whenever I'm around Ulf I realize how old I am (27). I got into punk rock at the age of twelve (1994), both the mainstream stuff (Bad Religion, Green Day, Offspring etc) and older stuff like Asta Kask, Stiff Little Fingers and Sex Pistols through an older acquaintance. Growing up in Sweden in the 90's you'd also have to live under a huge rock to miss out on Refused and in a way I guess they're the reason I'm here today.

I also got heavily into Shelter and later on, obviously, Youth Of Today. I fell in love with fanzines pretty quick, and I started my own at the age of 14 (or perhaps 15, can't really remember when we started out). It was complete crap but you have to start somewhere I guess. Me and two friends did three issues, then me and another friend did a fourth one. After that I did a more hardcore related zine called Send In The Clones Fanzine, which lasted four issues. I also do a newsletter/free zine called Get Involved, which is less pretentious than Effort. It's usually something I just throw together whenever there's a cool show.

Effort Fanzine issue 1

What was the motivation/inspiration for starting Effort? With the whole internet age, fanzines definitely are not as common as they used to be, so what pushes you to still do it in this classic format?

U: The idea of starting Effort came to us when Go For Broke were planning to do some shows outside of Sweden. We were going to go on tour for a week, with shows in Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. Kalle had previously done Send in the Clones Fanzine, a really good fanzine I might add, and I had done a fanzine called Changes. We both had kind of started working on new issues, but we just got stuck, we had no motivation to really push ourselves to finish our respective fanzines, so we just kind of threw it out there, "Well, why don't we do a fanzine together instead?" It made sense, and with the motivation to have it done in time for the tour, we did the first issue.

What pushes us to keep this going is really that we have a love for what we do. It's really one of those things that's so great about hardcore, if you want to know more about a band or a person that you've encountered, just shoot an email and ask, and you'll probably get an answer. And we do believe that this is more than music, so having the chance to talk to our favorite bands and people that inspire us, and giving them the chance to express themselves in a more relaxed setting than on a stage, it's special to us.

But you're right, fanzines are not as common as they used to be. We've had kids who've come up to us and asked "What's that? A fanzine? What's a fanzine?", and it's so easy to kind of lose faith in current hardcore when that happens. But then again, there we are, with a fanzine and the opportunity to show them what we're doing, and why we're doing it. But it all comes down to that it's what we love to do. Both Kalle and I are persons with creative minds and a need to express our ideas, be it through music or print.

K: To be completely honest, Effort Fanzine was originally the brainchild of Marcus Ericsson (Damage Control) and myself. We had talked about doing a fanzine together for quite some time but nothing ever happened. So basically, two months prior to the tour Ulf was referring to, I just asked Ulf if he would be into it and he was. I knew that he's both a solid dude and that we saw eye to eye on most things hardcore. I don't think either of us ever thought about doing a second issue until we realized how much positive feedback we got. For me, doing the zine online was never an option, I really have a soft spot for a quality printed fanzine and there are few things that can beat that feeling of holding it in your hands.

A spread of The First Step from Effort Fanzine issue 2

Give us a brief run down of the first 3 issues, what have been some the highlights in each and what have you been most proud of?

U: Ok, the first issue was put together in two months time for the Go For Broke tour, as I said earlier. We interviewed Get The Most, Right Idea, Aram React!, Lion of Judah, Common Cause and On. It was released in the summer of 2008, 200 printed, and it sold out quite fast. What I'm most stoked about with this issue, is probably that we actually did it. And with a pretty tight deadline as well. We got so many emails from people who were really in to the zine, and I was surprised. Not that I wasn't stoked about the zine myself, but people were really contacting us just to let us know how much they liked it. It gave us inspiration enough to do #2.

With issue #2, we wanted to focus more on in depth interviews, and with both The First Step and Justice calling it quits, we felt like both bands needed some heavy documentation, from how they started, to why it ended. So, with those two pretty massive pieces, especially the TFS one, plus a Mindset interview and a feature about the Radio Silence book (with some In My Eyes and Ten Yard Fight talk as well), we released this 76 page zine on January 31st 2009. We had a release show with Balance, Go For Broke (our last show), Hårda Tider, Loud And Clear, Rhythm To The Madness and True Colors. Justice also did a surprise set, which was something I'd never expected. We printed 200 copies here in Sweden, and React! Records printed 300 overseas. React! still has copies.

Common Cause spread from Effort Fanzine issue 1

I'm very proud of this issue, in several ways. The TFS piece was mostly Kalle's work, but I'm stoked that we could have such a huge feature on them, really asking everything we wanted, and Stephen seemed to be really into it as well. The Justice piece is special to me, cause that was mostly my thing in #2, and with them playing that surprise set at the release show, my mind was blown. They've played several shows since then, but this was the first one since they had broken up. Really something special.

#3 is going to be released Friday, February 12th, at the Floorpunch show in Linköping. It features interviews with Espen Follestad, Mark Palm, Remission, Give and Not Sorry, plus tons of other stuff. This issue took a year for us to put together, so that's a pretty long time for us, since we started working on the first issue in May 2008, and had the second one released in January 2009. This is my favorite so far though, but I guess that's always how it is. TGhe interviews with Espen and Mark especially turned out really cool, and it gives a nice back story to where they both are in their lives today.

K: After the first issue where we covered pretty much all the bands we were into, doing a second issue got sort of complicated. Mindset were one of the few bands left so we took the opportunity to cover two of the most important bands in modern history; TFS – well, what can I say that hasn't already been said about this band. If I didn't have to hang up the phone there's no doubt in my mind that the 26 page interview could've been almost twice as long. Justice – there are few modern European bands that made such an impact in hardcore. I don't care what people say these days, Justice were solid people and I can't really think of more passionate people. Along with the Espen and Mark interviews those are really the highlights thus far.

Effort Fanzine issue 2

What goals have you set out to accomplish with Effort and what can we expect for future issues? Any certain interviews you're hoping to get?

U: We never really set any goals. But we both have genuine interest in hardcore...I guess some would call us nerds, or obsessed. So be it, they're probably right. I guess our interest makes Effort good, because we are really interested in the bands we interview, which gives us an opportunity to ask about stuff we wouldn't care about otherwise, and since we do care, we usually get really good answers. We've read so many interviews with the same standard formula, and it gets boring. Not only for the reader, but for the bands or persons interviewed. A mutual interest in the interview is important to us.

About future issues, I'm not sure... I never thought we'd make a second issue to begin with, hell, I originally doubted that we'd finish the first issue. But when the first one was released, we found ourselves making plans for #2 already, and here we are about to release #3, so you never know. When it comes to interviews we're hoping to get, well...we're both massive Chain of Strength fans. I'd love to have a huge, in depth Chain piece in the next Effort. It's no coincidence that the first Effort shirt design was green and black ink printed on a white shirt. Sure, we want to focus on current hardcore, but for Chain, we'd make an exception. I'd be really interested in hearing their perspective on their band. And well, every fanzine makers dream, Mike Judge.

K: There are a few bands that I'd love to interview, one being Praise. I also feel that both Common Cause and Mindset have come a long way since our interviews in #1 and I feel that it could be interesting doing a follow-up interview. I also have high hopes for Peace.

Dag Nasty photo that appears in Effort Fanzine issue 3, Photo: Phillip Fuller

What five fanzines of the past and present are your favorites and why?

U: Can't say I'm that good at keeping up with current fanzines, not good enough to make lists anyway. However, spending a lot of time on tour, I tend to buy a lot of fanzines to read in the van. My current favorites include Sight Beyond Sight, don't know if a new issue is in the works but that first one was amazing. Wake Up And Live out of Portugal keeps putting out quality stuff. I always enjoy reading Soulcity, by Marcus Damage Control. I Drink Milk Fanzine from Hungary is pretty sweet as well. As for past zines, Schism, Boiling Point, Open Your Eyes... Let's just say that the classics have really made an impact on what we're doing today with Effort.

K: I Drink Milk and Heat are two fanzines that I think stand out today. They're my favorite ones, another one is Powered Fanzine which is rather short but then again it's free. Looking back I think of [besides the above mentioned classics]: Impact, Start Today, Best Of Times, Extra Life and Town of Hardcore as quality fanzines. I can't even think of five fanzines today that I will consider classic in a few years. 

Five favorite bands of all time and five favorite current bands and why?

U: Youth of Today
Bad Brains
Chain of Strength
Minor Threat

No surprises there, but I guess there's a reason for that. Youth of Today is my favorite band, period. They just have it all. Chain of Strength, well.. as I mentioned, I'm a huge fan. And contrary of what people usually say, I think that the fact that they staged the TTD cover photo only makes them cooler. There will never be a band harder than the Cro-Mags, and I really have a soft spot for Best Wishes. Bad Brains cause they're probably the most energetic hardcore band known to man, even their records sound like mad live sessions. And Minor Threat for being a band I could completely, 100% relate to at age 14, and today.

Get The Most
Common Cause
True Colors

ON spread from Effort Fanzine issue 1

Mindset is my favorite current band. I guess a reason why would be that they really sound like Youth Of Today. However, I'm constantly stoked hearing new stuff from them and seeing how Ev really put time and effort into his lyrics. In the new Effort Zine, we actually have a feature on the new Mindset 7", where Evan gets to elaborate on his ideas presented in the new songs, and I totally connect with the whole vibe Mindset are putting out. From videos I've seen they're a pretty awesome live band as well, so I'm looking forward to seeing them on our continent sometime in the future.

Just yesterday I was visiting Common Cause in the studio when they were recording their new 7", and the stuff I heard there is enough for me to put them on this list. Their previous releases are solid as well, especially the LP, but the new stuff is blowing my mind, and live they just kill it. True Colors have enough releases to speak for themselves, I love that band. Too bad they're breaking up, but I'm really looking forward to that last 7". ON was great when I saw them this summer on their Euro tour, and I like the fact that they're not promoting themselves as an "ex-members of" kinda band. Get The Most is just wild, awesome hardcore. Too bad I couldn't catch them on one of their Euro dates last year. Basically, React! Records - Quality label, with a quality dude behind it.

K: There are a few reasons we do this fanzine together, and to keep it simple you can just ask us about our favorite bands. I wouldn't change a name on that list.

True Colors photo from Effort Fanzine issue 1

What would be the most memorable show you went to and why?

U: Most memorable show for me would have to be the Outlast reunion show in Linköping 2003. If you're not familiar with that band, I'd say that when it comes to Swedish hardcore, we all can pretty much agree on Refused being the big name. In Sweden, Outlast is in that league as well. One of the most important bands for the Swedish hardcore scene, and I never thought I'd see them. That show was really something else. More recently, seeing The First Step was amazing each time, definitely my favorite band of the past decade.

K: The first show that comes to mind is Shelter at Café Eloge in Vänersborg 2001. We skipped school and took a flight there and it was just everything a hardcore show should be. Perfect stage, huge crowd, amazing bands and the support act Subject To Change played "Put It Aside" with Porcell on guitar and Ray on vocals during the mosh. It was almost unreal.

Any final words, plugs, info on where people can order copies of Effort Fanzine?

K: A huge thank you for helping us out, we really appreciate it. It's truly overwhelming to be a part of such an incredible thing as DCXX, considering past features. Also a huge thank you to Aram React! Effort #3 will soon be available through and effortfanzine on myspace. Issue 2 is still available at both React and at Revelation.

U: Thank you for supporting us since the first issue. It's really motivating and rewarding to do a zine when we get all this positive feedback. We're stoked to be on DCXX! Also, thanks to all the bands and people who've been as stoked about being a part of this as we are. Peace.

Agnostic Front photo from Effort Fanzine issue 3, Photo: Phillip Fuller


ROA. said...

Chain's first show was in a town that a lot of new school bozos lived.

It was not staged-the music was so awesome the people could not help but go off. They did not have to jump around but they did.

Most of the photos on the seven inch layout were from that show.

Anonymous said...

This was a cool read. Made me think of all the times I would look forward to going to See Hear and picking up the MRR's & Flipsides & Schisms or going to Some for the local zines like New Breed, In Effect, BS Monthly.

In the true spirit of DIY, much respect to the of luck and keep it up!

Anonymous said...

ulf and kalle are soo solid!
i read effort front to back as soon as i bought it couple of weeks ago.

the mosher said...

very comprehensive. will be getting #3.

Malik said...

one of the best zines around.

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