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KEROUAC'S DOG TALKS

Joesafriend asks Magazine Creator, OJ some burning questions
Oct 2010

JAF:First off, please tell us a little about your background and how the Kerouac’s Dog Magazine ® came to be

KDM:The whole project began as an itch in my head that simply refused to go away. I was travelling Australia in 2008, and one hot summer evening in my apartment in Surry Hills, Sydney, I sat down and scribbled down what I wanted.

KDM:I wanted a magazine that was truly independent, with no advertising, no classifieds, and no editorial-led advertising. I wanted a magazine that oozed pure creativity, with a free-thinking, uncensored, underground-press feel. I wanted to give aspiring creatives of all disciplines, from all over, the opportunity to exhibit new writing/new design/ new illustration/ new photography/ new whatever, in something beautiful and tangible. And at the same time, pay homage to the philosophy of the Beat Generation. Kerouac’s Dog Magazine was born. I suppose the idea was conceived long ago, but born when I actually put pen to paper and started putting things in place to make Kerouac’s Dog a reality.

JAF:Why Kerouac's Dog? Why now?

KDM:Because I genuinely believed it was needed. I think keeping print alive in a truly independent publication in a digital world is really important. In a digital age, getting stuff in print; in something real and tangible is incredibly exciting. I think having something that you can hold; that you can thumb through - rather than click-through, scroll through, or touchpad flick-through - is still an exceptionally beautiful thing. It still means something. It’s evocative, resonant, and it stays with you.

JAF:Who out of the people that you're working with should we be keeping an eye on?

KDM:I’m not going to pick anyone out, mainly because the work that has been submitted for the inaugural issue, and Issue 2 next year is of such a great standard. But yes, there are lots of people you need to be keeping a serious eye on.

JAF:What format is the magazine? What magazines do you see it sitting alongside?
Issue 1 is A4 – and we’ve got other format ideas for future issues too. (Except digital – Kerouac’s Dog will exist solely in printed format).
Well, I hope it stands out on its own. I don’t think I’d be doing it any justice if I tried to group it with other magazines.

JAF:As you aren't having print ads are you looking to collaborate with brands at all?

KDM:We’ve started as an independent, and we want to continue to be independent. Many ‘independent’ magazines that exist today, started off the same as we did, and have, for one reason or another, given in to advertising, and brand and organisation collaboration – mainly for financial reasons. True independence is a tough ideal to live by, especially when you’re totally self-funded, but I think it will be worth it.

JAF:What are your favourite magazines?

KDM:Wow. Where do I start. I love EYE magazine. I love Wallpaper* Magazine.
I also read a lot of ‘Mad’ while in Australia too – that was great.

JAF:Where do you see Kerouac's Dog in a year?

KDM:Still having fun; still getting new creative work out there; still believing in ourselves, why we’re doing what we’re doing, and the people who submit such awesome work; still holding on to that creative fire that got us into this.

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>> Freelance Journalist, Alex Benady puts our creator, OJ in the hotseat.

Nov 2010

AB: What makes you think that the middle of the worst economic down turn in 60 years, which in turn comes in the middle of a major structural change away from traditional publishing, is a good time to launch what sounds like a high-brow arts mag.

KDM: Weirdly, I don’t think there’s been a better time for independent publishing. Yes there’s a downturn, yes there’s a lot of doom and gloom, but with new niche-titles released every month, catering for those audiences dissatisfied by mainstream titles, independent press really is flourishing. Kerouac’s Dog has really resonated with creative people, as well as aficionados of Kerouac, of the Beats, of print, and of underground press.

AB: Why would you further hamper your chances by having no advertising? What is your 'business model'?

KDM: (Laughing) I’m not sure how comfortably the term ‘Business model’ sits with us. It’s more about passion and creativity than anything else. We’ve started as an independent, and we want to continue to be independent. Many independents around today, started off the same as we did, and have, for one reason or another, given in to advertising, and brand and organisation collaboration – mainly for financial reasons. Having said that, there are countless independents that have no relationship with advertising whatsoever; still going strong but ironically not making a profit. True independence is our USP; it’s our raison d’être. Unfortunately it’s a double-edged sword, and a tough ideal to live by, especially when you’re totally self-funded - but it’s something we think is worth fighting for.

AB: Not content with that, you say you refuse to have anything to do with the internet? Why? Is Kerouac's Dog the last hurrah of analogue culture?

KDM: ‘Refuse’ is a little strong, but yes, we simply want to keep the magazine in a purely printed domain. I think keeping print alive in a truly independent publication in a digital world is really important. We’re not trying to say that print is in any way archaic but in a digital age, getting stuff on paper; in black and white, in something real and tangible, is incredibly exciting - especially for creative people. I think having something that you can hold; that you can thumb through - rather than click-through, scroll through, or touchpad flick-through - is still an exceptionally beautiful thing. It still means something. It’s evocative, it’s resonant, and it stays with you.

AB: How are you financing the mag? Why are you doing it? What are your ambitions?

KDM: I’m a Copywriter by day – but Kerouac’s Dog has been a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The whole project began as an itch in my head that wouldn’t go away. I was travelling Australia in 2008, and one hot summer evening in my apartment in Surry Hills, Sydney, I sat down and scribbled down what I wanted. I thought it was about time I put the wheels in motion to get this thing, ‘out there’. I wanted a magazine that was truly independent, with no advertising, no classifieds, and no editorial-led advertising. I wanted a magazine that oozed pure creativity, with a free-thinking, underground-press feel. I wanted a platform for new writing/new design/ new illustration/ new photography/ new whatever, in something beautiful and tangible. And at the same time, pay homage to the philosophy of the Beat Generation.

Regarding financing, well we’ve raided the piggy bank. But generally, it’s a lot easier to get projects like this out there now. The stigma of vanity publishing has gone, and in its place is a resurgence of self-publishing and print on demand. A flurry of online funding platforms like kickstarter.com and indiegogo.com mean all manner of independent creative projects can pre-fund into production. It’s all really exciting. Passion and recognition seems to be more important than making money for a lot of people doing this kind of thing. Hopefully in the spirit of ‘creativity breeding creativity’ more and more people will be inspired to do just that.