Singapore Launches Inaugural Issue of Epic New Zine ‘ROTTEN TIMES’ [Singapore]

Woah…this is how you know a scene is crazy healthy with a huge amount of local talent not just in terms of bands but also photographers, videographers, labels, and basically an entire ecosystem that helps hold up an entire community of like-minded individuals.

The Singapore scene is well-known all over the planet due to the immense level of quality bands that is birthed from this small country. Bands like Wormrot, Doldrey, SIAL, Fuse, Forests, the list is frickin’ endless.

So let’s add the inaugural issue of a massive new zine called Rotten Times helmed by photographer Cherny. Cherny himself has been involved in the Singapore scene since the 90s and recently reconnected. “I started taking gig photos after Covid restrictions were lifted and gigs started again, but always felt it was a shame that photos were primarily disseminated through Instagram, with its downsides: loss of control over the presentation, reach, usage, longevity, etc. I have an attachment to printed zines because I grew up in the punk/hc of the 90s when they were a major channel of communication, so naturally I thought it would be great to disseminate photos in a printed zine! And also to feature the works of the other sick photographers in the region.”

When he states “zines” what immediately came to mind to us were those typical A5-sized zines that are photocopied in your neighborhood copier (or at your place of work!). When we clicked open to see what his zine actually looked like we were floored at the quality! Certainly looks more like a magazine than a zine!

“Initially I planned something smaller scale: just some bands and accompanying tidbits of information about them. To my surprise, most bands responded to my interview questions with deep, thoughtful answers sharing their experiences, memories, and aspirations (though not all bands could: Forests were on their USA tour so we kept that interview very short). To do their efforts justice, I incorporated more pages and photos for each band, resulting in the pretty dense work we ended up with. I still love punkish cut & paste photocopied zines (that would have been my preference), but of course that wouldn’t work to showcase high-quality photos. I considered simulating that kind of punk zine aesthetic but it’s actually a lot of work! So I ended up with a kinda professional-looking “normal” layout. I’m totally new to layout design, so I learned by looking at other magazines and online tutorials. I’m pretty happy with it, but in the future, I’d love to have more diversity in the layout.”

Something this thoughtful and of such high quality, hopefully, would be something that has a consistent release date as it continues to document the passion of the community in that Rotten Times is immersed. “Honestly I had no big goals beyond “it would be cool to have these rad photos in a printed publication”, and I didn’t take it for granted that people would be interested in a print magazine today. But I’ve been surprised by the response! Many people who bought it so far have loved it, as well as the featured bands and artists. Right now I guess the idea that this zine could bring some international exposure to regional (Asian) bands is pretty exciting. Eg. Azadghei Distro bought a few copies to include as freebies for overseas customers, to share info about local bands, and that sounds rad to me. As for how frequently an issue will come out: I’ve no idea right now, but given work constraints, maybe once or twice a year? I love the local (& Malaysian) photographers who contributed to this issue (massive shout out to them!!), but I would love to include more regional bands and photographers in the future.”

Mad respect to Cherny and all the other photographers and members of a community OUTSIDE of bands that truly help keep a scene/community stay alive and relevant.

Go grab a copy of this scene HERE. is an underground Asian music news website created for the sole purpose of supporting our own world. We support all bands and genres HOWEVER we do not support nor have any sympathy for homophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric in lyrical content or band material. UNITE ASIA!