Ditto is a very specific publishing house. How did it all come together?
I've been interested in publishing long before I went to college. I started making fanzines when I was 11 or 12 years old. When I went to college I kind of remembered that I really liked creating fanzines and magazines and so I started doing that again. At the end of my bachelors degree and during my masters degree I started publishing a fanzine and worked on different magazines. All of that together led me to start Ditto.
What advice would you give young people who want to do publishing?
I think there are two good approaches. One way is just trying to make money, which is fine. Some people just find a place in the market and they start publishing books and magazines for a specific group of people. The other way is to do what we do, which is just doing exactly what you want and being really honest about that. We don't really think so much about money or the market. On the other hand there are people in publishing who make magazines and don't think about the fact that it's the same as lots of other things that already exist. This approach is not going to make money and it's not original.
How important is originality and the fact that something has never been done before to you?
It's more about our personal interest. It wouldn't be true to say something we did has never been done before. Probably everything that we've done has some relevance to something that already exists. But it's not the same as anything that already exists. A good example for that is the book Skinhead: An Archive which we did.
What are the characteristics a publication has to have to be published by Ditto?
I used to have this ambition that people look at the things we do and say »I don't know how they did that« or »I couldn't do that«. That's changed a little bit. Right now I'd say the main characteristics are talented, a bit weird, original and culturally aware.
How much are you involved in the creative decision for a publication?
I'm very involved. There's only one person we publish where I don't really get involved at all and that's James Unsworth because I completely trust him. To everybody else I'm a massive control freak.
The full interview is available in the printed issue of Point of View.
- Skinhead: An Archive is a landmark new publication and exhibition exploring one of the most controversial, misunderstood and radical subcultures.
- After the wildly successful (and now contraband) Ninja Turtle Sex Museum, the notorious James Unsworth returns with this new body of work entitled ›Dead Boys‹.