|Executive Director / Editor-in-chief||Todd Taylor|
|Managing Editor||Daryl Gussin|
|Founder||Todd Taylor, Sean Carswell|
|Based in||Los Angeles|
Razorcake is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that publishes the Razorcake fanzine, a DIY punk rock fanzine published bi-monthly out of Los Angeles, California. It was co-founded by Todd Taylor (former Flipside managing editor) and Sean Carswell (author and Gorsky Press co-founder) in 2001.
As Flipside was going under, Taylor decided that he did not want to cease to write about music. His initial idea was to create a webzine instead of a print zine because of financial restraints. Taylor told Carswell, during a trip to Florida, about his plan for a webzine. Carswell suggested that a print edition be produced. Taylor concurred, stipulating that Carswell needed to move to Los Angeles in order to assist with the production of the fanzine.
The name for both editions was chosen while searching for a domain name. Many of the 300 possibilities, such as “Born to Rock” and “Barbed Wire Asshole,” were either taken, too expensive, or thought to be a name that “would trap [them].” “Razorcake” was suggested by Katy (a.k.a. KT), a friend of Taylor and Carswell. The name was chosen since it meant nothing and was economical, and Skinny Dan (a.k.a. Danny) set up the website at www.razorcake.com.
March 2001 saw the first issue of the print edition of Razorcake. The inaugural issue was the only one to bear a newsprint cover. Every issue since the first has had a glossy cover. As opposed to the cover, the focus of the content within Razorcake has never changed. Also, the fanzine’s circulation has more than doubled (to 6,000) since the first issue.
In late 2005, Razorcake was approved by the IRS as an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Razorcake is America's only fanzine dedicated to punk to obtain nonprofit status. The new organization combined the Gorsky Press and the zine, and is now officially called Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc. This meant that not one person could individually benefit from Razorcake. All money earned goes back into day-to-day operations and keeping Razorcake afloat. Razorcake wanted to show that its business model was out in the open in order to demonstrate that a sustainable business could be ethical, fair, and true to its ideals long after its first issue.
Razorcake provides consistent coverage of do-it-yourself punk culture that you won’t find anywhere else. Razorcake believes in positive, progressive, community-friendly DIY punk. "We do our part."
DIY punk culture is often misrepresented, misunderstood, and the target of corporate exploitation. Razorcake supports a legit community of punk music and culture as the only bona fide 501(c)(3) non-profit music magazine in America.
Razorcake's bi-monthly fanzine is a one-of-a-kind resource for the DIY punk community. Over the years, Razorcake has developed this resource to help document every facet of this culture. The Razorcake Gorsky umbrella also includes book publishing, record pressing, live shows and readings, and a thriving web presence that maintains weekly podcasts, webcomics, and videos.
Razorcake's open participation policy means anyone can become a contributor. Currently, Razorcake offers a forum for over 180 long-term independent volunteer writers, photographers, illustrators, and musicians from around the world. Razorcake takes pride in the DIY punk scenes and represents them internationally. Razorcake also distributes the magazine to over twenty countries.
DIY punk is an exciting, evolving culture that can thrive outside of corporate interests. Razorcake's goal is to continue operating a modern framework where this community of independent, DIY punk can continue.
From the interviews it runs (contributors interview bands based solely on their appreciation), to the advertising allowed (no major labels and “below-market price” advertising to those in the DIY community), to the method of the zine’s distribution (not via chain stores, but directly to individual stores and people), Razorcake operates outside of the corporate structures that a traditional music magazine would embrace. With only two people on staff, all of the material offered in both editions of Razorcake is donated.
Razorcake sees itself as a constant celebration and criticism of contemporary DIY punk rock. Every piece that Razorcake runs is exclusive. Razorcake provides long-format, detailed interviews with contemporary punk bands (including Dan Padilla, Toys That Kill, Fucked Up, Shang-A-Lang, The Ergs!, The Marked Men, Tenement (band)) and with punk pioneers (such as The Adolescents, Dead Moon, T.S.O.L., Jello Biafra, Ian Mackaye, Joe Lally), and a variety of musicians under the DIY punk umbrella (Hasil Adkins, Superchunk, Kenneth Higney, At The Drive-In, The Melvins, Pere Ubu), with an ongoing attention to its own roots of East Los Angeles (publication of the East L.A. Family Tree, and including interviews with The Brat (punk band), Alice Bag, Los Illegals, and Circle One).
Razorcake not only interviews bands from all over the globe (Gorilla Angreb, Career Suicide, The Regulations), but punk-affiliated artists—photographers (Edward Colver, Bev Davies), comic artists (Nicholas Gurewitch of the Perry Bible Fellowship), movie directors (Alex Cox dir. of Repo Man (film), Curtis Harrington), actors (Kevin Murphy (actor) from Mystery Science Theater 3000), graphic designers (Diane Gamboa, John E. Miner), writers (Brad Warner, Chris Walter)—and political thinkers such as Howard Zinn, Christian Parenti, Noam Chomsky, and Candace Falk and Gary Pateman (curators of the Emma Goldman Paper Project).
Besides Todd Taylor and Sean Carswell, former Flipside writers Donofthedead, Jimmy Alvarado, Designated Dale, Kat Jetson, The Rhythm Chicken, Jessica T., Nardwuar the Human Serviette, and Rich Mackin all wrote for the premier issue. Many of them remain with the publication, but Razorcake also has a raft of columnists who are well known in the DIY punk rock community as zinesters, musicians, and artists including:
In addition to these columnists, Razorcake has one staff member, Daryl, several dedicated reviewers, and guest contributors.
Gorsky Press, the book publishing arm of Razorcake, founded by Sean Carswell and Felizon Vidad, predated both the Razorcake website and zine. Its mission is similar to Razorcake in that it focuses on high quality material from marginalized and disenfranchised writers. Gorsky Press has released books by underground writers such as Patricia Geary, Bucky Sinister, James Jay, and Jennifer Whiteford.
In 2006, razorcake.com was revamped. To reflect its non-profit status, the website’s official url became www.razorcake.org. The website provides an almost wholly different set of content than the zine, while retaining the same focus on DIY punk rock by publishing live reviews, photos, columns, and interviews different from those appearing in the print edition.
By 2007, the razorcake.org website had been updated over 10,000 times, primarily by the posting of individual record reviews. The website is updated with a new home page story everyday. Also, Razorcake made early issues available on the site in .pdf format for free. March 2008 saw the launching of Razorcake’s first set of podcasts. For the first time since its inception, people could hear directly from Razorcake the music on which Razorcake focuses.
Razorcake also distributes various DIY items from their website, such as records, zines, and books.
In 2007, the Razorcake Records label was launched. Razorcake Records is also a non-profit venture. It conscientiously selects bands from the DIY punk rock community that share the same values as Razorcake. The first two releases were part of what Razorcake calls “The Sister Series.”
The Sister Series is a cultural exchange that aims to connect bands from different areas. This is done by simultaneously releasing two separate 7” records by two similar independent bands, with each band providing some originals and cover of a song by the other band. Bands that have been featured in the Sister Series include Tiltwheel (San Diego) and Toys That Kill (San Pedro, CA), The Arrivals (Chicago, IL) and Grabass Charlestons (Gainesville, FL), and The Hex Dispensers (Austin, TX) and Young Offenders (San Francisco, CA).