grrrl zine network about rsources writing messge board contact


An interview with Trent
from Singapore

by Elke Zobl

2002

 


Can you tell me first of all a little bit about yourself? How old are you, where are you originally from and where do you reside now?
Well, I'm a 17 year old dyke punkrocker from Singapore, an island 22 hours away from where you're at. I'm still residing here but I guess I might be emigrating to San Francisco or London when I study overseas soon. I'm very impulsive and impatient and also very short tempered. A very bad combination if you ask me. I especially hate it when people do not take me seriously. Still, I'm really nice to people who're nice to me. They just have to ignore the fact that I'm a loud-mouth. Heh. People wonder why I use the name 'Trent' when I'm obviously female. Well, the name was given to me by my first ex-girlfriend so it has sentimental value to me. She said I reminded her of 'Trent Reznor' from Nine Inch Nails because I was so quiet and I don't know, mysterious, perhaps? I use it as a pseudonym for
obvious reasons and all my dyke friends have come to call me 'Trent'. I guess it's more butch.

What do you do besides your zine?
I play guitar for my own riot-grrrl band and also write and compose songs. Other than writing poetry, I'm also currently writing a novel in parts. I've finished part one so far. It's called 'The Shooting'. Part two is called 'Like Someone With A Secret'. The novel tells the tale of the life of a lesbian writer and it revolves around relationships with her religious mother, alcoholic girlfriend and her punkrock friends. It's almost autobiographical. (I'm not ripping off Lynn Breedlove's book 'Godspeed') When I finished part one, I discovered that Lynn had just released her novel too. Other than that, I'm the one behind the Riot Assembly, an all grrrl punkrock group that aims to stop female oppression and sexism in the punkrock community. The response received was very disappointing. I guess the girls here are still not ready to stand on their own feet yet. Nevertheless, I'll not give up.
:

For how long have you been running your zine now? How many issues did you put out until now? Are you the only editor or is there a team?
Oh jeezus you have no idea how hard it is for me to start this zine. The zine's been around for almost 4 years now and I've put out 12 issues. I'm the only editor/writer/journalist/ photographer/graphic designer of the zine. I used to have a writer once but we didn't agree on most of the content and layout of the zine. She's more to the mainstream side of things and I'm fervently punrock so there were many clashes that ended in us not contacting each other anymore. But it's alright. I've always preferred to do MY things
MY way. It's not about being selfish. It's about being independant and
re-discovering potentials that I haven't had time to look at. I have
always
believed that zine-writing is an art. It is an art that I'd like to
have my
name on.

What made you decide to start this project? How did
you come up with the idea and the name?
Actually, this whole zine business started when my ex-bassist showed me
a
zine called 'Zerox'. I didn't know what a zine was back then but when I
held
that thing in my hand and read everything that was written, I
thought,
'This is BRILLIANT'. I mean, to be able to publish your OWN writings
and let
other people read it and get paid at the same time, that is amazingly
wonderful. I have always loved writing anyway, and I saw this as a
great
idea to let
other people know that I exist, that my opinions count too and so on,
so
forth. So I started my own newsletter at first called
'Drugged-Aesthetic'.
It was only about 6 pages each, the columns are mainly mindless rants,
and
I sold it for about a dollar each. But nobody wanted to buy it coz I
have to
admit that it sucked. After 2 issues, I've decided to ditch the project
because I've ended up giving the thing away for free. It's not about
the
money that I'm upset about. It's the lack of interest and appreciation
from
the readers (if they even read the thing.) So, in a fit of rage, I
unveiled
the zine 'Trippers'. It was conceived after alot of soul-searching and
self-hating and eventually self-loving, days of cutting and pasting,
e-mailing, writing rants late into the night. It wasn't a specifically
punkrock zine at first. It wasn't a dyke zine either. But as the zine
progresses and I mature, readers are able to journey through life with
me,
how I was suddenly became aware of my sexuality, how my love for
punkrock
intensified and things like that. Therefore I decided to turn Trippers
into
a lesbian punkrock zine. It's like, the zine's gone through many
changes,
just like I have, and this change is the final one. I am aware that
like the
Riot Assembly that I am organizing, my zine is the first and so far the
only
zine that caters to the lesbians in the punkrock community.
People who consume the drug acid are said to be 'tripping on acid', but
I
don't want my readers to 'trip on acid'. I want them to 'trip on
information', like, get a high from the things I write and review. So,
people who read my zine are called Trippers. (I know, it's lame but
it's too
late to change the name now. :P) Anyway, I thought names that have
words
like 'Grrrl' and 'Riot' and 'Revolution' and 'Rebel' all sound so
common.
Once I htought of renaming my zine 'Catpuke.' -laughs- I don't know.
I'll
see how things turn out for this zine.

What topics are most often discussed in your zine?
Lesbianism and all things punkrock. Also homo/transphobia and a little
bit
of feminism. Nowdays, I tend to feature queer bands/writers and also
alot of
emphasis on grrrls that made a difference in the punkrock scene.

What do you hope to accomplish by establishing your
zine?
I've decided that I want to produce something that'll CHANGE people's
mindsets, make them think and talk about it, make them angry, make them
stand up and spit, scream and stomp on it. I want them to fucking feel
for
something. People are getting more and more jaded and bored as the days
go
by and they cannot seem to emote anything in their senseless and
aimlessness. I want to stop that. I know I cant single-handedly start a
revolution and overthrow the government or anything like that. All I
wanted
was to start a tiny little revolution in all my reader's minds and
hearts
that I hope'll lead to bigger changes.

What does zine making (and reading) mean to you? What
do you love about zine making? What’s the most
challenging aspect of making zines?
Making zines started out as a hobby and then it turned into an
essential. I
cannot fanthom a future without me making zines in it. It's like an
outlet
for me to vent my frustrations, it's like writing a diary but this
time,
people are allowed to look what's inside. It's very progressive and a
very
transistional and transcendent experience. Reading zines, to me, is
like a
journey. There's an exploration to be made and things to discover and
people
to get to know with. It not only widens my knowledge but also allows me
to
keep an open mind and also gives me ideas and inspirations for many
issues
to come.
Zine making allows me to meet alot of people. Not just the readers but
also
bands and other really interesting (if not eccentric) people. That's
what I
love about zine making. When you get to meet different people, you are
inevitably exposed to different views, tastes in music, whatever. It
makes
you want to find out for these things yourself too becasue you'd want
to
know what is it about these things that changes people. Other perks in
zine
making also include A LOT of free stuff in the mailbox. I love
collecting
letters, CDs from esoteric bands, flyers, whatever. There are some
things
you just cant get anywhere else.

What was your first exposure to zines? How did you
find out about them? What have they come to mean to
you?
In the ealier part of this interview, I've already stated that my first
exposure to a zine was the one that my ex-bassist showed me. It was
called
Zerox. It was a hardcore/personal zine that I really loved. (The font
size
of that zine was so miniature that you have to squint to read them. I
love
zines with small fonts.)Later on, I discovered that some of my friends
are
doing zines of their own too and before I knew it, I started one of my
own.
Zines are really like windows to me. They show me that the reality I'm
living in right now is not the only reality there is. Until recently, I
did
not really care that much about other people's zines because I have one
of
my own to fuss about. But suddenly, there's this amazing desire to
collect
and read as many zines as I could get my hands on.

Do you consider grrrl zines as an important part of a
movement of sorts? Do you think zines can effect
meaningful social and political change?
Yeah, I do consider grrrrl zines a crucial part of a movement. My zine
IS a
vehicle for The Riot Assembly as I've said earlier. Without it, people
would
have no idea about what's going on. This goes for other zines too. It
doesn't have to be only grrrl zines though. And yeah, I do agree that
zines
can effect meaningful social and political change. You must remember,
that
the Marxists in Russia did achieve this with their newsletter 'Iskra
(The
Spark)'.

What does the zine community mean to you?
The zine community here is a very determined one. There are only 2
shops in
the whole republic that cares to carry our zines but we still do not
give
up. At gigs, we open our own tables and booths and sell our zines
ourselves.
It's pretty amazing really, when you have a rather big zine community
and
yet you have a very small readership. In the end, I guess, we're
ultimately
distributing zines between other zinesters. It's a good start I guess,
but
since I'm always the impatient one, I try to go international.

What advice would you give others who want to start a
zine?
Just do it. You'll never know what your imagination and boredom can
make you
do.

What are some of the zines you admire?
I really love Zerox zine. It's a local zine. Another zine that I really
like
is 'Bring On The Ruckus.' Its an anarchistic and extremely political
zine
from Eugene, Oregon. I've not been exposed to much foreign zines,
especially
grrrl/persoal zines even though I am desperately trying to get hold of
some.
It's very hard for me because postage is quite expensive and I'm not
working
or making much money from the zines that I sell. Thunderpussy, this
dyke
zine from Australia seems interesting though. And yes, one has to
mention
AlexWrekk. I think she is the most amazing editor ever. And she even
makes
buttons and patches, you know, for zinesters and zine readers that says
'Copy And Destroy'. I think that is amazing. I ordered them myself from
Screamqueen Distro. Speaking of Screamqueen, the owner of that distro
is
also a zine maker. She's got a zine called 'The Day I Quit Punk' and
judging
by the title of that thing, I really totally agree with her. Being a
punk
feels like highschool again! One is never 'cool' enough. There's
expectations to fulfill, dress-codes and fucking rules to comply to.
Where's
the hyped-up nihilism and 'we dont care' attitude gone to? (I'll rant
on
this nextime... :P)

Could you please describe a little bit the grrrl zine
community in your country?
Well... the grrrl zine community here is alright I should say. We've
got the
first and only grrrl straight-edge zine called xDignityX. Despite its
religious undertones and its hardline approach, you gotta have to
admire the
guts of the writers. And then there's Cherrybomb Press, perhaps the one
and
only truly feminist e-zine that I'm really proud of. It started of as a
print zine though. We've got a new grrrl zine called 'Puink!'
Unfortunately
the editor moved to New Zealand just when the first issue came out but
my
god, she's so fucking dedicated to her work and the community. Issue 2
is on
it's way and it will actually be distributed in Singapore from New
Zealand
by one of our distros. Besides that, she's also doing this newsletter
called
'Attn:scene' made for and by the 'Zinenation', as she puts it. We've
also
got the only activism/hardcore/feminist zine called 'Re-Directed'. It's
free
and it's a sole grrrl effort. There's not much personal grrrl zines in
Singapore and we grrrl zinesters do not really communicate much with
each
other though the support is there. I guess you'd have to give us more
time
because the whole zine community here is rather new, I suspect. You can
check out all these zines and others at my website.


Feminism

Do you define yourself as a feminist? What are the
most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily
life (as a woman/feminist)?
You know, there was once a time when I was actually afraid to be
labelled as
a feminist. But then again, feminism is not a label and each woman is a
feminist in her own right. So yeah, I grew out of that naivete and now
I do
consider myself as a feminist because if believing in your principals
and
rights and standing up for it equates me as a feminist, then yeah, I am
one.
A liberal one that is. Once you actually BELIEVE and FEEL for
something,
once you dare to stand up for it, speak your mind about it, fight for
it,
once you are actually doing something to achieve it, you are a
feminist.
There is no doubt about it.
Because I'm a woman, a punkrocker and a lesbian, I am constantly dogged
with
discrimination and prejudice but I do not really mind. As long as they
don't
catch me at the wrong time. There are people I know of who'd scream,
'GO GET
A DICK! to me or 'TRY FUCKING A GUY!' I've never agreed that penises
are the
symbol of 'machoness' or logic. Sometimes you really wanna fight back
and
stamp your foot on it and protest, but you gotta think about the
situation
you'd get yourself into so you walk away. Walking away doesn't make you
a
loser. It actually allows you to think rationally and avoid a
consenquence
that you would have been too blinded to realize in your anger.
Girls in my family are expected to do most of the housework, wake-up
early
and all that whereas my dad and my brother can just laze and do
whatever
they please. This is simple sexism at work here. In the scene, most of
the
crowd view grrrl bands or grrrl fronted bands as ridiculous or they
cant
manage a tune and that they're not worth supporting for. These fucks
don't
admit it if you ask them but it is evident in the way almost no-one
comes up
to the stage to support. There are certain grrrls in the scene I see
that
are desperately trying to fit in with the rest of us but the skinheads
and
some of those arrogant punks keep on making fun and taking advantage of
them. I know because I've been treated the same way. And I am starting
to
get sick of it.

Are you active in the feminist movement? How?
Yeah, you can say that. As I've said earlier, I'm currently trying to
estabalish an all-grrrl punkrock organization called 'The Riot
Assembly'
that is currently lacking response. I am fervently against
female-oppression
and I support all grrrl efforts. It's not like I walk around passing
flyers
that scream, 'WE NEED A REVOLUTION NOW!' and bare my tits or burn my
bras or
whatever to prove that I'm active in the feminist movement. I was
never a
political person. I believe that before you can make a change you have
to
change yourself first. There's alot about me that needs change,
improvement,
so big revolutions can wait.

What do you think about feminism today? Do you see
yourself as part of “Third Wave Feminism” and what
does it mean to you?
I think feminism today is more active than it was years ago. The
further we
move into a future of technological and social progression, the more
problems there are to attend to at hand. And women nowadays, I have to
admit, are getting bolder and wiser and stronger. Feminism will
inevitably
be part of our lives.
The first and second waves of feminism have already brought to us women
the
much needed respect and equlity that we deserve. There's nothing much
to
fight for nowadays except the same issues like the unresolved Equal
Rights
Amendment and some more radical stances like femmestruation which I
really
find totally uncalled for. Pardon me, but I think the 'third wave'
feminism
is just unnecessary. To me the 'third wave' doesn't exist. We're still
in
the second wave, as far as I can see. (again, I shall rant on this
nextime...)
Yeah, I do see myself as part of feminism although I know there's still
alot
for me to learn. What does feminism mean to me? It means that I too, as
a
woman, have the right to choose whatever I want to do with my life,
whatever
I want to wear, say, see, hear. I have the right to choose whatever I
want
to be without the restrictions based on gender, race and background.

Internet:

Which role plays the Internet for you? Does it change
your ideas of making zines and doing/reading zines?
I'd die without the internet. It's where I get most of my music from
and
where I get most of the materials for my zine. I get loads of ideas
from the
net by other zinesters, and it shows me different ways to layout my
zine and
I get introduced to alot of great zines/distros/zinesters and stuff.
Man,
without the internet, I wouldn't even be doing this interview!

Do you have any suggestions? Something you want to
add?
Suggestions... yeah. Maybe you could add an mp3 section on your site to
introduce new grrrls to the scene the different styles of music there
is.
And I'd just like to say, you have a great site here, elke. You must
realize
that you've done a great favour for all the grrrl zinesters and
would-bes
all over the world with the Grrrl Zine Network of yours. Dont even
think of
quitting!


Hey, it's great to be able to do this interview. I'm sending over my
zine
soon. I cant wait to get my hands on the zine that you'll trade with
me.
Anyways, I'm sorry, I don't have any images to give ya coz I don't have
a
scanner. Maybe you can take some stuff off my website. I don't mind.
But
I'll check and see if i got some stuff. I'll e-mail them to you as soon
as I
find em.

peace, trent

 




BACK TO INTERVIEWS


home
:: about :: zines :: resources :: writing :: message board::: contact


2001-2008 elke zobl