Kane Hibberd’s Versus zine

As a teenager growing up in Melbourne, the wealth of fan zines initiated Kane Hibberd into the DIY aspect of the music and performance scenes. Unrestricted and unrestrained, these zines offered a genuine and authentic alternative to commercial magazines.

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Kane Hibberd

Hibberd has been shooting music on tours, for magazines and directly employed by performers and brands for 13 years. “It’s my full-time gig,” he admits. “I shoot a lot of artist portraits and do some documentary work, some magazine work and direct for bands.”
With the zine idea bouncing around his brain, it wasn’t until a chance meeting between Hibberd and Bec from Deathproof PR that Versus became a realistic proposition. “Bec had been talking with Melbourne Bitter about opportunities for them to support the arts and music scene. I’d had the zine idea in my head for a while and at first I thought, ‘that sounds too good to be true’; that Melbourne Bitter would allow me to create something and it’s all my creative freedom and control.”
Not sure what to expect – from either the process of creating the zine nor the sort of response he’d get from his sponsor or the public – Hibberd took a pragmatic approach. “I’ve worked with brands on their own projects, so I was used to that and wasn’t really sure if this would work, but I wanted to see what would happen. Melbourne Bitter put a lot of trust in me, letting me create something with them despite not knowing how it was going to turn out. Luckily, the first edition featuring Luca Brasi was really popular.”
A printed publication in the Snapchat era is a brave concept, but one that Hibberd stands by as a relevant creative product. “It’s about being able to tell a story creatively using multiple images that need to be able to sit together logically. It’s about control over which images are used and how they’re viewed. The design and layout is totally out of your control, usually, in the commercial and freelance process.”
“I do the whole layout, the flow of images, how they’re displayed,” he adds. “Callum Preston, from the Everfresh Crew, does the cover design and text. I provide him with the whole layout, the flow of images and how they’re displayed, then it’s a collaborative process to make the final version of Versus. Callum was my number one choice because we knew each other from growing up in the same live band scene and had a lot of mutual friends.”
There is no set contract when it comes to the sponsorship deal with Melbourne Bitter, but Hibberd is determined to see it continue on.
“I think it’s a time when everyone’s asking why we need paper, but there’s already a trend to get off the phone and take a digital detox. I’d like to think the zine is something people will keep. We spend time choosing the paper and how it’s printed. Hopefully people want to pick it up and keep it. It feels good in your hands, you’ll revisit it multiple times and notice different things each time.”
Hibberd is also hopeful that Versus will appeal to a broader audience than simply fans of the featured artists – in the latest edition, The Living End. “I’m hoping that people who just love good imagery and artistry respect that the photography is great it’s not just for fans. First and foremost, it will appeal to those people but I’d like to think it will garner a broader audience. I’d like to think the images transcend an emotional connection with the band or the featured artist, and that photograph triggers something in the viewer.”
By Cat Woods

To find out more or pick up your own, head to versuszine.com.