Friday, 24 December 2010

Interview 19

Matt Sidebottom is producer of Snap - a short story and literature zine out of Manchester, UK. Here he talks about his time at University, literary magazines and the role for print. Oh, and he wants you to know that he is travelling across America between February and April 2012 and is looking for new writers and project collaborators.

Tell us a little something about yourself and why you decided to publish a zine called 'Snap'?

Hi, my name’s Matt Sidebottom and in my spare time I’m the editor and art director of SNAP, a short story and literature zine. I studied Design and Art Direction in Manchester. While I was there, I found myself surrounded by a lot of artists, photographers and designers who were very interested in books and zines. Everybody was making little one-offs for their projects. I made a few at the time, but my work focused on Pulp, the student magazine I art directed and designed. I loved doing it, and got us nominated for a Guardian Student Media Award. After I left university I didn’t really have another output like it, but I was constantly looking around for one, but never finding another opportunity like it.

But about 9 months ago me and my little brother went to London. He had a university interview, so I had a few hours to kill. I went to The Tate Modern and saw the Van Doesburg exhibition. The whole exhibition was great, but what got me was this little exhibition case focusing on publications of the time. There was a copy of Merz. Reading the information explaining the contents in the case, I realised that this legendary publication was only ever produced in extremely limited runs. It was then I decided to put together SNAP. It was only three weeks later before SNAP Zero was released.

Where do you see 'Snap' sitting in relationship to traditional literary 'little magazines'?

I’m not really sure, to be honest. I know of them, such as McSweeney’s and Popshot, but I haven’t picked them up. The zines and magazines that I read and that inspire me are totally different from what I produce. The only exception is The Ride, which is a huge influence on SNAP. Its short stories are easy to digest in one sitting, which was the aim of SNAP. Saying this, I am completely surrounded by books. I have hundreds.

The magazines I do read, such as Esquire, Dazed and Confused, and Little White Lies have all interestingly taken to running literature sections, Esquire having a regular short story and Dazed have had a literature review section in the back. I like to think this has been influenced by its readership becoming more interested in reading fiction.

'Snap' also has an online presence. How do you see print zines and digital spaces operating in self-publishing?

SNAP’s online presence is constantly evolving. At the moment, SNAP is a print zine, with no true plans for the final product to go completely online. I like actually putting together and producing final copies to hold, and I know that my audience likes this too. But this might change, if the right platform comes along. I’ve dabbled with Issuu for other projects (see We’re Growing Up, Wearing Shirts, Getting Haircuts) but I don’t think it’s the medium for SNAP.

I’m really interested in making a more immersive project, using technology to create a short story based, multimedia ‘zine’ project. We’ll see where this will get us in the future. I do feel like moving online will be the way forward. I just don’t know how to quite yet.

Is there a zine you would recommend us to read? And, please tell us why.

I’ve three, actually. There’s Tourist Magazine, an online only magazine. It’s a hybrid of a website and a magazine. The content is always interesting. The page has been beautifully designed throughout all of its incarnations, and definitely worth a look, if just to see how an online only ‘zine’ can succeed. Then there’s the work of Mandi Goodier. She’s got loads of brilliant zines, and they’ve been a huge source of inspiration for SNAP. She’s helped me out a lot over the last 9 months, and has contributed stories and illustrations to both issues. Finally,Pull Yourself Together is simply brilliant. A music zine in its truest form, I always pick it up when I see it. It’s got great writers, and with Teacake Design art directing it, it always looks great.

The current issue of SNAP has just been released.
Find it at

I'm always looking for new writers, too. Anybody interested in writing for SNAP, please contact me at,