Hamilton Underground Press is a regular music zine being published out of Hamilton. Born initially from the frustration of cool bands skipping the Waikato town from their tours, the non-profit group (led by Welsh expat Rob Shirlow) are dedicated to re-cultivating the once lively indie music scene of Hamilton by putting on shows, producing podcasts and a zine, and for the first time next year, a festival.

With three issues out already, and another due in about a month, HUP aren’t messing around. The zine records and is simultaneously a part of increasing activity in the local music scene. The bulk of it consists of interviews with local and visiting artists, and the impressive photography of Ngamihi Pawa. The latest issue features Auckland bands ‘The Naenae Express’ and ‘Hospital Sports’, while Issue Two chronicles the history behind hometown favourites ‘Inchworm’, including a detailed musical family tree. 

But the zine is just one part of a larger holistic project. By providing print and podcast coverage, bringing out- of- town bands through and curating friendly and regular local shows, HUP is essentially a structure designed to bring together a community. Let’s hope it fosters some more incredible bands as Hamilton has in the past (see for example ‘Damsels’, ‘Yokel Ono’).

Overall, HUP is a well- produced, handy resource about an often-confusing musical destination, and a valuable record of mid-2010’s Hamilton music in years to come I expect.

Want to know more about zines?

Auckland Zinefest runs 15th-30th July, with workshops and performances happening around the city, including lots of free events at Central City Library. Hope to see you there!


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