Since 2008, the Spanish city of La Coruña has seen Fanzine founders Roi Grobas & Pablo Cubeiro organise events, manage a record label, and develop the next generation of talent at their own music school.
Now more than a decade later, their Fanzine Festival is a fully-fledged, week long affair of music and art, and their label has seen releases from names such as Orlando Voorn, Eduardo De La Calle, and Johannes Volk.
We spoke to the two founders on the latest edition of our Behind The Brand series, where we chat about how they came to launch the project, how things have developed over the past 14 years, and what they have planned for 2022.
You launched the Fanzine brand back in 2008, what inspired the idea in the first place?
Before Fanzine, Roi & I were involved in a collective called Frequencies, alongside our friend Diego Villa. For 3 years, we promoted a couple of events at different venues in our hometown and they worked really well with a nice response from the crowd. We felt there were not many options to go out and listen to good electronic music in La Coruña, so we understood that opening a club could be the next step.
On December 5th 2008, we opened the Fanzine Club with the idea of creating a family around electronic music, offering a spot to Galician talent, and inviting international artists. This was quite ambitious because it was a small 200 capacity club, free entrance, and quite far from bigger cities like Madrid or Barcelona.
Then in 2012, after gaining a ton of experience and knowledge about the scene, we decided to close the club and begin with the rest of the project. We started by creating the Fanzine Records label and kept on working as promoters, until we transformed our anniversary party into Fanzine Festival. And since that point we have kept building Fanzine into what it is today.
And what were some of the biggest struggles you faced in the very beginning?
Well, when you start a project from the ground up it is obvious that you’ll face a lot of problems. It’s difficult to choose which was the hardest to overcome. But to give you an idea, we had to wait one year for the opening license from the city council, that was a ‘great’ start.
And of course you have a new brand in the market, and sometimes we had to be really creative with convincing international artists to come to a small venue in a small town.
You now have a record label, an events brand, and a music school, were these all part of the original plan?
In some ways yes. From the first moment we knew that we wouldn’t be running a club for a long time, but it was the best way to start the whole project. We didn’t know when that would happen and what exactly would be developed after, because for every single project you need to have a proper team to run it, and that’s something that isn’t always possible, you depend on finding the right person at the right moment.
What’s something about your journey so far that makes you incredibly proud?
The thing that makes us feel proud is to have created what we call the ‘FanzineFamily’, all our collaborators that make it possible to create something like Fanzine Fest, all the artists with whom we have collaborated and stayed friends with. Also to be able to share our passion for electronic music with our audience. Without them it wouldn’t be possible to keep this dream running.
So finally, it’s the journey itself that makes us feel proud.
And what’s a typical day in the office look like in 2022?
We don’t have ‘typical days’ in the office, everyday is there’s a new thing. We coordinate each of the projects differently, the main thing is to keep everything on a timeline, and to split tasks between the team. We don’t really get bored.
What’s the worst job you had before starting Fanzine?
I have to admit that I’ve never had a really bad job, but of course, this one right now is much better.
What are your main goals for the project this year?
We’re not used to talking about things that aren’t officially announced yet, but what is obvious is that with Fanzine Records we’ll have a steady calendar of quality EPs throughout the year, from both new additions to the family, and our regular artists.
We also expect the school to keep on working as well as last year and see how our pupils kick-off, or improve their musical career. And of course in December we’ll have a new edition of Fanzine Fest. Almost a week long, in some very representative places and venues in La Coruña.
And lastly, what’s one track you can’t seem to turn off at the moment?
That’s easy, Lefrenk – The Panic Room.
Find more info on Fanzine here.