Maximo Tuja is a prolific producer living in Barcelona. His titles include Revolucion Juvenil (Youth Revolt), Zine, Alludd:Un Fanzine de Max-o-Matic, Algo Sobre (Something about),and Contenedor.
Tell us something about why you started doing fanzines?
I started my first fanzine in 1995. I´m not sure why i did it, but without even noticing it i had texts, collages and pictures layed out (awfully) in a proto-fanzine. Then I wasn´t aware of what a fanzine was or all the history behind independent publishing. I think i just needed to express my anger, disappointment, confusion, etc. in a positive way.
After that i met some really interesting people with different backgrounds that had a much more rich idea of what a fanzine could be. There i discovered a whole new world and fell in love instantly with it. Not only i felt great publishing my ideas and sharing them with pairs, but also felt really identified with the DIY ethics that´s deeply related with the fanzine culture. Doing fanzines, for me, was always related with learning something. And that´s what kept me doing fanzines for so many years; it was a perfect way to learn, experiment and have a great time.
What do you think the smaller, mini-zine format adds to the message of the zine (for example, Alego Sobre or Contendor)? How is the visual important in your zines?
I started doing fanzines because i wanted to write. Design was just a necessary thing to display the content. But as fanzines and years went by i became interested in the design as well -till the point I became a designer myself. So now the visual aspect is as important as the content. Contenedor and Algo sobre have only in common their mini format, but the rest of them is quite different. Contenedor is a visual exercise. It´s just playing with images. Also it was a container (that´s what Contenedor means in Spanish) of small visual gadgets (stickers, pictures, etc.). This was the first fanzine i did after many more conceptual and text based ones. This was the result of a couple of ludic afternoons playing with images with a friend. The size in this case was just a way of making something slightly different using a standard paper size (A4 paper folded into an A6 fanzine). Also the folds helped us to divide the content in only one sheet of paper. On the other hand, Algo sobre (Something about) was a fanzine about people we knew. Each number was about one friend. Each number was written by different people and it was written in a way that the personality of the featured friend could be best described (one number is only a copy and paste of emails; another is a list of obsessive compulsive behaviors...). The design of this fanzine is basic and there´s no intention of adding visual elements that could distract from the main element of the zine: the text. Design was meant to be invisible. The visual elements of the fanzine (pictures mainly) had to work along with the text to help the reader to make a portrait as real as possible. In this case the size had no special meaning. We just liked it to be thick, and that was the only way to make it with the amount of text we had.
You live in Barcelona, so what's the fanzine scene like there?
Barcelona fanzine scene is quite interesting. There are many talented people doing interesting things and there some great projects that are helping the scene to grow and become more self-conscious.One of Barcelona´s greatest projects is 'La fanzinoteca ambulant' (www.fanzinoteca.net). It´s a public and mobile fanzine library with a huge collection of classic and rare fanzines from Spain and other parts of the world. The library is a mobile module that goes around showing their collection, which is categorized in a data base that help the reader find what they want between all the great stuff they´ve got. Also La Fanzinoteca is an organization that every year organize Fanzine Jam sessions and other kind of activities related to the independent publishing world. The guys that run La Fanzinoteca are really passionate about fanzines, super friendly and work really hard. They publish two fanzines: Minca (fanzine about fanzines) and Minca Ilustrada (a visual zine showing their favorite illustators).In my opinion, La Fanzinoteca is responsible of a big part of the rebirth of the fanzine movement in Barcelona.
What fanzine would you recommend for us to read?
For those who hadn´t already read them, I would recommend Harmony Korine´s Collected Fanzines published by Drag City. They are wild, fresh and with a great attitude. They made me want to make more fanzines.