The retro 1970s styling of Gusher appropriates the design of pulp novels and pop culture magazines from years gone by. But if this Sydney-based publication is interested in history, it’s only for the sake of re-writing it. Co-editors and co-founders Isabella Trimboli and Juliette Younger are two university students with an agenda: take back rock journalism for female music fans.
Entirely crowdfunded through Pozible, the first issue of Gusher features an annotated listening of Pulp’s classic album Different Class, an essay comparing the New York City experiences of Kim Gordon and Richard Hell, and an interview with Swedish girl group Dolores Haze. Speaking to The Creators Project, Younger says she and Trimboli deliberately sought out contributors who had something fresh to say. “We want our writers to be passionate experts who can both celebrate and critique rock music and culture. Historically, rock journalism has come largely from a white, male perspective, so we were seeking to represent a multitude of viewpoints and experiences.”
Younger, who is also Gusher’s creative director and designer, took a zinemaker’s approach to creating the magazine. “The bright colours and graphic style probably stems from my love of pop art band posters and album art—especially punk singles from bands like the Buzzcocks or X-Ray Spex,” she says. “Having never designed anything before, I think I took more of a DIY approach, ignoring the conventions of a literary or music magazine in favour of something more handmade and fun.”
The magazine’s centrepiece is its throwback red and white logo. “I wanted the cover to look like a modern version of a '70s magazine or paperback," says Younger. “Something like Jenny Fabian’s Groupie or an old issue of Creem.”
Trimboli and Younger’s choice to launch a print magazine was a very deliberate one, and Younger links the medium to the message. “There is something inherently political about print —it asserts authority through its physicality and permanence. Online websites and collectives are great because they have incredible accessibility, but for us, it felt important to take up a physical space and curate something that people could hold and keep forever.”
By re-visiting the past, Gusher is able to draw attention to what once went overlooked. “I love our feature on documentary filmmaker Penelope Spheeris, whose cult trilogy, The Decline of Western Civilisation was finally reissued last year,” Trimboli says. “Her films are the ultimate chronicle of L.A ’s punk and metal history, capturing not only the bands but the lives of die hard fans. She was such a cool, funny and intelligent woman to talk to, and she had some really interesting insights about both the film and music industries.”
Gusher isn’t just for girls, but being a girl helps. “It is made for anyone interested in reading a fresh take on rock and roll,” Trimboli says. “I think there’s still the assumption that rock music is the domain of men. It’s an assumption you see written into rock magazines that typically target male readers, and consequently treat female fans as a minority or a novelty. We wanted to create a publication that we, as female rock music fans, would like to read.”