The dudes of U.K. slacker-pop band Fanzine started playing together at the age of 12. “It was always dumb, funny stuff—joke rap and metal songs, that sort of thing,” says singer and guitarist Jock Norton. “We didn’t start taking it seriously until we were about 18, at which point we realized we’d always found it easy to make quite accomplished-sounding songs, even in a dumb way, and that if we tried to do something properly, it’d probably sound quite good.”
Suffice to say, when Fanzine sets its mind to something, they accomplish it. Honing its grunge-pop sound and DIY ethos, live shows led to management and eventual exposure to U.S. label Fat Possum, which released the band’s “Roman Holiday” single in 2011. Playing with the likes of Oberhofer, Here We Go Magic and Porcelain Raft, as well as long-time friends Yuck and fellow newcomers Gross Magic, Fanzine is working to solidify its spot in the U.K.’s contemporary drone-heavy indie-pop scene. And yes, Fanzine does make actual zines.
Listing Buddy Holly as well as Pavement among their major influences, the members of Fanzine employ infectious melodies and Weezer-worthy riffs that allow them to create a sound that’s familiar yet unique. The fuzzy surfer-pop single “L.A.” marks Fanzine’s first release on Best Fit, the label that may release the band’s debut album. But the previously almost entirely DIY group doesn’t foresee the partnership causing any major alterations in the creative process. “Nothing’s changed in the way we do things really,” says Norton. “We just try to keep in mind that we’re making music for fun and not to get too caught up in anything as far as the industry goes.”
That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few hiccups along the way, like during an early show at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival. “We played there a few years ago when we used backing tracks, and the whole thing was a bit more electronic sounding and completely bombed,” Norton recalls. “It was our second show, and we had no idea how to play live. We were shit scared, and our manager stopped answering our calls the next day.” The band got the chance to play the festival again recently, and Norton says the show felt, “like a real victory.”
Though temporarily on live show hiatus while they finish up their album, Jock and the band want you to know that music isn’t the only thing you can look forward to at a Fanzine show. “Ed’s got quite incredible hair,” he says. “It’s not as big as Jonny’s [from Yuck], but he’s up front so he’s got perspective on his side. I sweat at quite an alarming rate too, so by the end of the gig I look like a NASCAR driver after a race. They lose like two stone in water weight, don’t they? I was told that. Maybe it’s not true.”