This weekend, the San Francisco-based Zum record label, website, and zine is celebrating its 12th anniversary with shows in the Bay Area and SoCal. We've been friends with co-founders and siblings George and Yvonne Chen since the first issue and maybe even before, since my cousin was a classmate of theirs at Cal. The publication's early issues had interviews with the likes of Fugazi, J Church, and Devo, but later ones went on to document the early twee scene (Boyracer, Aislers Set) before taking a left turn and releasing more experimental and noisy music (including George's own bands, such as KIT). I hit up George with a few questions and he typed back with lightning speed.
GR: You made the transition to online a while ago. Was that a tough choice, philosophically?
GC: Transitioning to online made sense at the time we did it, since we had many other projects and wanted to maintain a quality level of our magazine. What I probably should have done, and this was brought up as early as 2000, was turned Zum the website into a blog. The frequency of updates that people do now would not have been sustainable with two people working on a volunteer basis, and I didn't really catch on to the importance of daily updates. I channeled a lot of my writing energy into doing freelance music writing for a while, so now if I post something for free it's just to do it. But I still love print magazines and zines. I might want to try doing a one-off