Size does not make the zine, but at 100 plus pages, Filler can lay claim to not only being Canada’s fattest music and cultcha zine, but one of its best. This is a zine that allows its interviews to develop, but doesn’t allow them to flounder in irrelevance — a crucial distinction, especially when your zine is mostly lengthy q+a interviews. Take Sandy Atwal’s extensive interview with Cerebus creator Dave Sim. It covers vast ground travelling the hills and valleys of paranoia, misogyny and Sim’s Beatles obsession — and while the interview does get a little simpering at times, it is obvious that Atwal is pressing for answers, and not just accepting the usual pat garbage. Hudson Valley Hipster Jonathan Donahue (former Flaming Lip now Mercury Rev frontman) was also the subject of an extensive interview. Again, the questions are strong, and the answers, as a result are extremely interesting — when Donahue discusses being stopped at the Canadian border for trying to bring in drugs and a gun Fisher and Weiler ask: “What were the drugs?” and “What were you doing bringing a gun into Canada?” rather then just laughing the incident off. The fact is, these boys know what they are doing. They ask the questions that make an interview happen. They interview the Tristan Psionic guys (who also run Hamilton indie label Sonic Unyon) and they ask, in so many words, ‘so, how much money has the label made?’ An interesting question, but not one many zines or even journalists would ask with such forth-right curiosity. If everything in pop culture is filler, then this zine is the king of the extraneous, the champions of everything you didn’t need to know.
zine #4 main creators: Sandy Atwal, Dave Fisher, Derek Weiler $4 PO Box 111, Student Life Centre Postal Outlet, University of Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G0