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Q&A with Julio Rölle of 44flavours {printed in Art Bureau 15}

Why 44flavours and not 66, 69 or 77?

The name comes from a Brooklyn ice cream van you see all over the hood during the summer, which Sebastian Bagge, who is my partner in crime, saw in a film. And no joke—it really was called 44flavours. The name is perfect because when we decided to start a magazine, that was exactly what we wanted to show people—different flavours concentrated in one format. To top it off, no matter how you write the name it's always typographically dope.

Why a magazine?

Sebastian and I love zines so, we wanted to make our own version. We both spend so much time working on computers and as a result most of our work is never tangible. For a change, it was nice to make something that's physical, something you can actually flip through. Also, we know so many creative people, and we’re all involved in several different projects, so we wanted a platform to present our work to the world.

But 44f is more than just a zine, right?

It's also an artist collective where we organize projects and openings. When we are pressed to make money to support our madness, 44flavours becomes a design agency too. But you have to understand, that even in the corporate world we keep our sense of humor and honesty. To quote one of the greats: "if you don't know, act like you know emm eff ucker!"

Talk about issue zero.

The first issue was called Estilo Utopico, because back then we were deeply inspired by the Brazilian new school of graphic design. Eduardo Recife's MisprintedType was one of our favourite websites. The freedom in his work, and how he mixes the grunge style of design with a very clean design technique, is great. His design work uses all kinds of different stamps and stains and a touch of graffiti—and this naturally spoke to us.

Sfaustina was also an influence, I mean he is not Brazilian, but his Bloodwars Magazine is killer.

In the end our first issue was like any classic magazine's first issue—quite thin and printed digitally. We only made a limited edition of 150 copies or so.

You're big on limited editions. Every issue of 44flavours comes in a completely different format with a unique design, some of the magazines are even handmade or come with handmade accessories. Why the extra effort?

We make what we would like to see in other magazines. There are already a million boring zines out there and honestly the world doesn’t need another one. Our goal is to create something new every single time. You will see our references and our inspirations in every issue—everything comes with our own personal touch. 44f is always searching, always learning new things and I think this will never change.

The recent issue is available in several editions—can you tell us a bit about each one?

We printed 1,000 copies of the issue this time, which is a lot for us, and we broke it down into 10 editions of 100. To keep with the hand-made character of the mag, we made different covers for each edition by sewing additional covers and individually screen-printing on them. This way every magazine is more of a collector’s item rather than just another mag. We also did an edition with Al Haca—so, 100 copies of FFF come with their 7-inch record entitled Citrus and includes specially-designed stickers too.

You are currently based in Berlin, which happens to be the global hot spot for creative minds—how has the city influenced your work?

Moving to Berlin was the only logical step after my three-month New York trip. I mean, after New York, Berlin is definitely the graffiti mecca. You can walk through Berlin and see more quality art on the city walls than you would see in most contemporary galleries. Writers and street artists from all over the world visit and leave their marks here. For example, I follow the work of a French writer called Jamer. He has been in Berlin for only a couple of weeks, but his name is all over the city. There are so many inspiring writers and artists here, like the cats from U.T.—especially Richard Schwarz. Of course, I love the stuff the CBS crew is doing—especially Kripoe. You can't forget about Roger and the DSF crew, the KHC shit and the more traditional writers like Jack, Phos and Odem.

What's next on your agenda?

I guess that would be our New York-Berlin show that we are putting together in cooperation with Brian Procell from NYC. Plus, I'm planning a show with Alexander Gnida in Hamburg at the end of 2007. Hopefully there will be a lot more exhibitions, but, as usual, it all depends on the money.

The next issue of the magazine is waiting to be published so we need funds for that, but I think it will be out later this year. I'm also in touch with Bert from Art Bureau magazine. This interview is for him and I'll be doing the cover for the same issue.

44f has a couple of t-shirt designs coming for some new Berlin brands; Topdollar and the South African / Amsterdam-based Faith21.

Last, but not least, I plan to release a book about the recent The Tape vs. RQM's "Public Transport" exhibit we had. I want to print all the cassette designs and have a write-up about the project.

Julio Rölle's interview was conducted in the summer of 2007. The questions were asked by Lukasz Polowzcyk a.k.a. RQM. Sebastian Bagge & Julio Rölle are artists and publishers of 44flavours Magazine, based in Berlin. All rights reserved.

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