Recently I was cleaning up my desktop and came across this interview I did for an independent publication from my hometown, QPunx magazine. I’m not sure if it ever ended up being printed? I’m not sure if they’re still going anymore even? I haven’t seen an issue in a long while. Anyhow, I thought I’d share it with you! I even dug out some old photos from my archives to go with it. If you have any questions you’d like to ask me in relation to all that I do feel free to drop me a line: conversationswithbianca [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ve been putting together a series of posts featuring questions people have been emailing me asking. Want to know about zines? What to know about interviewing? Write me. I love connecting with you all.
Tell us a little about yourself on a personal level?
I value my family and friends dearly. I enjoy intelligent thought-provoking, thoughtful conversation. Writing and creating is like breathing to me—if I don’t do it, I will die. Singing makes me happy. Both love and creativity are sacred to me. I wish my artistic technical ability matched my ideas! I tend to always see the positive side of people. I really, really love interviewing people. It helps make sense of my life, the world and my place in it. This year I decided I wanted to live life a little braver and have been facing fears and challenges in my life head-on. My friends make me way cooler! I have the raddest friends on the planet; they’re the smartest, funniest, most loving, super talented people. I draw the greatest inspiration for those closest to me.
And on a professional one?
I am self-taught in all that I do. I come from a very entrepreneurial family—members have owned motorcycle, bicycle & skateboard shops, hair salons, restaurants, car yards etc. My parents inspire me greatly. My dad drove race cars in the 60s and my mum flew tiger-moth aeroplanes! I draw a lot of strength and inspiration from my grandfather Jose also. He was a playwright, actor, speech writer for parliament and fluent (and self-taught) in many languages.
Being a pro-active member of the punk community (making zines, putting on shows, having run a mail order) has taught me a lot. All of my business skills have been learned via my work in the punk world. Making a zine on the scale I did 15th Precinct, I had to fill many roles which also taught me many skills. Interviewing bands and artists over the years has taught me amazing communication and people skills. I feel that those I have interviewed over the course of my fifteen year writing career have been my greatest teachers.
I am constantly researching for my work. My mind is always on and open. I find inspiration in most things. I’m constantly working on my craft. It’s been really hard at times for me to learn and grow my writing in such a public way.
I started making zines around 1994. My first zine was called Social Stupidity, which was followed by my most well-known zine 15th Precinct. All my zines have been inspired by the punk community. I basically started making zines to share my love of all the wonderful local bands I would go see. First and foremost, I will always be the biggest fan!
I have made a handful of one-off zines to cheer up my friends when they’re sad. Recently I have made a couple of zines with a more personal focus Conversations With Bianca and At The Edge Of The World (if people want a copy they can contact me through my blog). I’m in the process of making a zine that uses punk lyrics as positive affirmations for daily life. We all know how pumped the lyrics: rise above / we’re gonna rise above gets us. I have also written for Brisbane street press Rave for fourteen years as well as various other national and international publications in print and online. I have recently formed a zine collective the Paper Cuts Collective with two fellow zinesters. We hope to create networking opportunities for zine lovers and makers and celebrate the awesome-mess of zines in general. Zines are really important, independent press is one of the most powerful tools we have to be heard, to express ourselves and share information and experiences.
What drew you to punk?
I first came to punk rock via way of my big brother Barrie’s record collection. My sister Julie also gave me a Sex Pistols tape. Growing up I idolised my older siblings and thought they were the coolest people ever so naturally I gravitated towards what they were into and it’s what I was around daily. Until my bro gave me the records I was listening to (and still do) Janet Jackson, Salt n Pepa and the like. I also have my brother and sister Juanita to thank for my love of hip hop.
The energy was a big attraction for me as well as the lyrics in both punk rock (and hip hop). I’m a huge fan of lyrics! I really enjoy the work of Matt from The Bronx, Efrem from Death By Stereo, Cinder block from Tilt, Brody from Spinnerette/The Distllers, Jesse from Operation Ivy/Common Rider, Jason from Strung Out, Rob & Vic from 108, Exene from X, Ray Cappo from Shelter and many more. Punk has been a platform for me to explore myself and in which I feel I have a voice. Punk has empowered me to believe that I can do anything that I want to in life.
Tell us the inspiration behind your work and what makes it so worthwhile to you?
As I mentioned before it’s my friends and loved ones closest that inspire both me and my work. Also I think a desire to want to know more and utilising my ability to question why. I’ve heard a lot of punkers say over the years that punk inspired them to question everything—the system, authority etc. I’ve always been the million and one question kid (just ask my family) from the get-go. Maybe that’s a reason I was drawn to punk?
In regards to the Conversations With Punx project it was inspired out of many things. One of those was a deep depression that I had found myself in. I was in a really weird place at the time. I knew there had to be something more than what I was experiencing so I went on a search for something more, something better; my truth. I choose to explore that through what I knew, and that was the punk world.
What makes it worthwhile to me is the fact that it’s helped me so much in my life; it’s helped and inspired those that I have spoken to for it. Imagine sitting across the table from someone you grew up listening to and that had inspired your life telling you that you’ve inspired theirs—it’s unbelievably surreal. The project’s taking on a life and energy all its own. I hope people get something positive out of reading it.
Tell us where this journey (best way to describe it I think) began?
The Conversations With Punx… journey started as a feeling, an urgency that I had to do this. Often I found myself asking questions directly related to me or someone in my life and what we have been going through. I remember talking to Duane Peters about his ten years of drug addiction at the same time a friend of mine was going through similar troubles. I knew my friend really loved Duane and paid a lot of attention to what he has to say so maybe in some way I figured I could help my friend by talking to Duane about his battle with addiction and giving it to my friend to read. Pretty much all my work centres on helping others in some roundabout way.
What was the highlight for you doing the books?
There were so, so many. For real! I am thankful and blessed for the whole journey and where it will continue to take me. The highlight would be the connections made and friendships forged. Hearing all of the stories from everyone was mind blowing. I was really thankful that I got to spend some extended periods of time with some of the interviewees. Also, another highlight was getting to spend a lot of time with my niece, Leasha who I did the layout design with. She’s one of my best friends. All the people that have reached out and connected with me because of the project has also meant so much to me. It may sound a little corny but it’s just a project that keeps on giving and keeps on unfolding. I’m excited to see what happens next.
Is there anyone you wish you could have had in the books not there?
No not really, the people that were meant to be in the book are. There were a few people I approached that declined to have a conversation on the subject. Spirituality is a very personal thing and not everyone wants to talk about their beliefs which I respect. One guy had me pay him for an interview! I’ve spoken to Mike Muir about spirituality and I wish I could have included that but he choose not to be a part of it. As a rule he chooses not to be a part of ‘punk’ related projects/books/docos. There were a few instances too where artists managers were super rude to me, not returning calls as promised, hanging up on me etc. One artist’s manager declined for the artist and then at a later date I interviewed the artist and asked them myself and they hadn’t heard about my request at all (and were pretty pissed they weren’t told). There are a lot of bogus managers and self-important PR people out there… luckily there are many, many more lovely ones too. Thank goodness.
Are there any bands from Queensland you absolutely love (past or present)?
Yes, many! I adore (in no particular order): Blister, Hobo Obituaries (plus Jhonny’s solo stuff is AMAZING and Hobo DJs), the Death Set (originally form the Gold Coast), Pangaea, Dick Nasty, Knaw, Operator Please, Against, Felinedown, Mad Occupants, Reichelt, Mouthguard, the Greys (and Mark Duckworth solo work), Bantha Fodder, A Secret Death, Blowhard. Fur from the Gold Coast is one of my all-time favourite bands. I loved and was affiliated with the Gold Coast punk community for a long while so bands like Vicious and the Freuds will always have a place in my heart. I know I have forgotten a whole lot, sorry guys!
If you could ask the one question what would it be?
What does love mean to you?
Where to from here?
More creativity, more zines, more blogging, more writing, more interviewing, more music, more art, more magic all the time! I’ve got my Hip Hop Insight project underway. I’ve already spoken to twelve people in the hip hop world for that. It’s similar to Conversations With Punx but I’m talking to hip hoppers. Plus I’m working on music projects and several other exciting things that I can’t reveal just yet. I eventually want to become involved in a lot more ‘cause’ related work. My pal Heidi Minx has a really great D-I-Y approach to helping the world with her Built On Respect project–she inspires me greatly. I love surrounding myself with good people doing positive, constructive, creative things. My biggest inspiration is my Jhonny, he is an artist and musician. He has taught me so much about creativity and inspires me to be better and do better every single day. In all my travels I’ve never met another person like him, he is very dear to me. I’d really love to start my own print magazine again… you never know, anything is possible!