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
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
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.