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by Anil Kunnel, staff writer

Thursdays Rocks at Detox Lounge is a weekly must see for anyone who is interested in the local underground music scene. On Nov. 30, six acts–Missing Dave, Shawn Davenport, The Malcognitas, Büsekrüs, Grand Theft Audio, and headliners Supersonic Space Monkeys–hit the stage. Fans of alternative music enjoyed a huge variety of sounds, from genres like indie-pop to screamo. Among the small crowd was Katie Whitman, 28, founder and editor of The 808 Scene Zine.

A zine (pronounced zine like in magazine) is a self-published mini-magazine with a punk-rock attitude. In these times of Myspace.com and Internet journalism, a publication like this celebrates the idea of independent journalism in an old-fashioned way. In big cities with an active underground scene such as New York, one can find dozens of zines on the streets, in record shops, or in clubs. Now Honolulu has its first local one.

“ A year ago I suddenly had this great desire to start a business. I didn’t know exactly what business, all I knew was that I like media,” explained Whitman, who came to Hawai‘i as a graduate student and now works at the University of Hawai‘i astronomy department. “I’ve taken pictures of local bands for two years,” she said, ”and somehow I just came up with this idea to do something with media.”

Honolulu’s young night life is dominated by popular music genres such as pop, hip-hop, and reggae. New to the city, it wasn’t easy for Whitman to find an alternative scene or people who weren’t following the trends.

“ First I discovered there was a scene, and that there are a lot of really great musicians. There weren’t too many people who knew about going out and watching the bands,” said Whitman. “Then two things started to happen. I wanted people to know that I was out there, and I wanted to get involved. So I started to write reviews online, but I was really worried about how people would receive it. That people would go, like: ‘Who is this Katie girl? Why does she write about it?’”

But people were responsive, and Whitman realized that there was a larger audience. That was when the idea of The 808 Scene Zine was born.

In Feb. 2006, Whitman created her first edition without any knowledge of editing, layout, or publishing. Less than 10 months later, the magazine has become a well-known addition to the Honolulu underground scene.

“ When I started writing these things,” Whitman said, “people really started to like them, especially in the rock and punk scene. There is a pretty good support for traditional Hawaiian music here, and for Reggae. These genres are well promoted here. They play it on the radio. The genres which are least supported are rock, punk, and ska. I guess it’s not ‘island music’ or maybe people don’t know that it exists.”

Events such as Thursdays Rock are a great opportunity to get an introduction to the small music community. “Basically the artists are all musicians. It’s a real family, and people support each other,” said Blane Nishizawa, guitarist of the Supersonic Space Monkeys and organizer of the Nov. 30 lineup. “There is the punk and rock community, the jazz community, and the art scene. It’s nice that we can put up an event like this and see what’s going on. It keeps us alive,” he added.

“ The 808 Scene Zine is great,” said lead singer Cisco Saribay. “It is for us, for the underground scene.”

Later that night the Supersonic Space Monkeys gave an energetic performance on stage, and Whitman thought about the release of the December issue. There were some problems with the printing, she said, and she had a big “folding party” where she and her friends folded the 1,000 copies.

Making The Zine has become a full-time job, she said. Advertising partners have to be found, interviews need to get done, and the layout, which is individual for each issue, takes a lot of time. She still doesn’t make any profit, but she has found enough promoters to cover expenses.

Even if The Zine is getting bigger and bigger, she can only dream of making a professional publication: “I want it to be like a real, big magazine that you could sell and that is professionally done–with everything about the scene. But I would still keep a small-sized one that just has show listing information, the handy stuff, so that there’s still a free part of it. But that’s only an idea,” she added.


Shawn Davenport opened the evening with an acoustic set.The singer-songwriter is part of Honolulu’s underground music scene.

Photos by Katie Whitman

Ara Laylo (vocals, left) and Yvonne Harada (guitar, right) of The Malcognitas gave a sexy performance with their mix of indie-pop and alternative music.

Photos by Anil Kunnel

Daena Dempsey (right, vocals) and Erica Aloang (rhythm guitar, left) of Missing Dave. The 5-piece band was formed in 1999.

Photos by Katie Whitman

Cisco Saribay of Supersonic Space Monkeys.The band rocked the crowd as headliners with their screamo sounds. Lead guitarist Blane Nishizawa organized the event.

Photos by Anil Kunnel


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