A Q&A with Saxon’s Zine creator Luis Kramer
Following Underground’s latest exploration of historic ritual creation of fanzines, we fast forward a few decades and find that this tradition still lives in underground creative subcultures across the country.
So, while the era of zines by creators like Tony Drayton seems behind us, it is not quite so as the punk DIY zest for all things hip in the current climate of new artists and budding musicians is still alive and thriving. While there are a variety of zines on offer for your average indie reader, one handmade zine seems to be keeping the flame alive for the archetypal fanzine styles while at the same time giving it a nuanced spin. Cue Saxon Zine.
Similarly to the origin story of Ripped and Torn, Saxon Zine is a one man show: written, published, lived and breathed by its creator Luis Kramer.
Founded at the end of 2017, Saxon zine was conceived through the comingling of a desire to create a platform for talented artists and the ability to be a master of multi-tasking. Fast forward a year, and three issues later, and Saxon Zine is slowly becoming less of just a fanzine and more of and multisensory experience.
Claiming to be “ for the freaks and for the geeks” Saxon Zine is an advocation for individuals to break free from the shackles of the status quo and leave that shit behind you. Unsurprisingly the zine doesn’t follow convention and, unlike many current magazine publishers posting articles online, Luis strays down the beaten track of his predecessors and sticks strictly to physical publications.
While this may seem out of touch with the modern age, this choice gives Saxon Zine a unique organic flare which finds it regularly attracting the attention of those looking to finger its pages to find the latest up-and-coming creatives.
Acting as most good fanzines should, Saxon Zine encapsulates what’s hyped in the present so that it lives on in the future. Almost as the storybook of our time, you the reader are implored to not only take the small chunk of millennial come generation X history home with you but are encouraged to be part of it too by being the blood, sweat and cheers behind its creation.
With such an alluring invite its hard not to let Saxon Zine fill one of your hands with its content and drag you by the other into the mosh pit of the next big thing.
As supporters of the same cause, Underground spoke with Luis Kramer to understand how he breaks out of the box of the mundane, how the zine came to be and get the scoop on the latest artists who are making waves on the music and art scene. Join us and be lured into the weird and the wonderful world of Saxon Zine.
Underground:Can you tell us a little about yourself, your style, and what you outside of zine making?
Luis Kramer: I’m 25, born in Finchley, North London. Currently residing out of Hitchin. I’ve been working as a freelance photographer for the last few years. Mainly in the music industry, shooting with bands at show’s and on tour. I do press for Brighton band DITZ and manage Meat Candy.
I also walk dogs on the side when I’m not snapping photos… which is the best job I’ve ever had. Aside from that I paint and draw, occasionally selling the odd bits.
Is there a story behind the birth of Saxon Zine?
Luis: I initially started the zine as a platform for artists. I had a bunch of pals with amazing work that I thought deserved highlighting. It was also just a way to for myself to keep creative, as I interview, collate and edit the whole thing myself.
Are there any creators who inspire Saxon Zine?
Luis: I love So Young Magazine, Cool Brother & Loud & Quiet. I think they’re all at the top of their game with what they do. I’m inspired by hard workers, people who don’t stop and can adapt to a variety of creative disciplines or just different jobs in general. A couple of people that spring to mind are Lindsay Melbourne, a photographer, business owner & band manager and Laurie Vincent, musician, artist, father and all round g.
It’s Saxon’s first birthday, how much do you think it’s grown up since this time last year?
Luis: Yeah it was a great night at our spiritual home that is The Old Blue Last. That was where we held our first ever gig. The event’s side of things has definitely grown, sometimes making it hard to cope on my own aha and the mag is always getting really interesting projects and people in it so I guess I’ll just keep going and see what happens.
Is there a reason you chose physical print as your primary format for the zine?
Luis: Not really, I love physical format myself and knew I wanted to do Saxon as exclusively physical. We have a website where you can order the zine and merch. Maybe one day we’ll stick the zine online as well.
The zines are short for “fanzines” (obvs) and saw a real rise in popularity during the late 1970s, historically zines are like time capsules containing chunks of the youth subcultures before our time. Do you think Saxon Zine works in the same way?
Luis: Yeah for sure, that’s why I think zines like So Young and Cool Brother are so important because they’re capturing a scene, a moment in time in their own way. It’s different to a giant publication because they’ll just cover whatever the craze is at the time. As you said, zines are for the fans by the fans, so there will always be that extra touch of love to a zine.
You’ve had some big names on the underground music scene such as Dream Wife’s Rakel Mjoll, Yowl and Pussyliquor, do you have a favourite article or artist that you’ve featured?
Luis: Having Dream Wife as the feature interview for the first issue was great as I was a big fan at the time, still am. I’ve gone on to shoot for the band a few times and will always try catch the shows. I’ve got some folks featured in the next issue that I’m really stoked on though.
Are there any artists or individuals you aspire to feature in the near future?
Luis: Too many to list. I’m a big fan of Bruce Gildan’s street photography work and he’s a right character, so I’d be awesome to interview him.
Is there an individual or artist who you think is really breaking the mould with what they do?
Luis: Slowthai for sure, people try to pin him down to a genre but can’t which I love. He doesn’t give a damn and speaks his mind which I admire. IDLES of course are doing wonders for speaking out on social issue like mental health and the toxicity of masculinity. There’s a few new bands on the scene at the moment like Black Country New Road, who don’t sound like anyone I’ve ever heard, they’re just completely doing their own thing.
How do you spread the word about Saxon Zine?
Luis: Regular social media spam. sorry not sorry.
Can you walk us through some of your creative process?
Luis: Basically a mix of unorganised mess. Half finishing one thing then starting something else. It all eventually comes together though. Somehow.
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Word By Aimee Williams-Maynard