Celebrating its 20th anniversary, chickfactor throws parties for music nerds
"[The 'twee' label] used to really bother me, because we were writing sad love songs with a lot of meaning packed in. We weren't singing about daisies and ice cream," Sbragia says. "But we got lumped in with that. Maybe if you weren't singing about political '90s issues then you were twee by default. It doesn't really bother me anymore."
chickfactor itself was often mentioned in the same breath as twee, but in truth, it was simply intertwined with indie music and indie pop from the start. "I worked at Spin and took full advantage of advance tapes, free concert tickets, and everything else music related in the early '90s," O'Hara explains. "Most of my friends were music intensive nerds too. I had a big Manhattan studio so I put a lot of bands up over the years and set up many concerts at Fez, Under Acme, Tonic, and Mercury Lounge...and I hired musicians to work as writers and/or copy editors at Spin and Time Out New York when I was there."
She also asked musicians to contribute to chickfactor, including Carrie Brownstein and Stephin Merritt — an aside, O'Hara later co-directed and co-produced the documentary Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields. And many of the interviews in the zine were casual riffs with soon-to-be-famous indie artists (Stephen Malkmus, Superchunk, Neko Case, Cat Power).
So what's up for the 30th anniversary, next decade? Who's left for O'Hara to pester for live shows?
"Well, since you asked. I plan to head into the woods in Northern California and find Kendra Smith and ask her to play. That would be my number one dream. I recently read an entry in a journal from 1995: 'Kendra Smith called and left a message. She is still working on the chickfactor interview I gave her two years ago.'"
We're still waiting on that interview, Kendra.
CHICKFACTOR 2012: FOR THE LOVE OF POP
With Stevie Jackon (Belle and Sebastian), the Softies, Lilys, Kim Baxter, Allen Clap, and MC Daniel Handler
Sat/22, 7:30pm, $20–$25
155 Fell, SF (415) 861-2011