Fast Forward Magazine
Fast Forward was an audio-cassette based music magazine conceived and edited by Bruce Milne and Andrew Maine. Both had music programs on radio station 3RRR and Bruce ran the successful independent record label Au Go Go Records.
Fast Forward was essentially a tape-recorded radio show. Michael Trudgeon joined them as the designer for the magazine, to create a seductive package that would let the cassette magazine stand out visually and conceptually against a sea of graphically intense and sophisticated lp record covers that sat on the retail shelves of music shops. [There were no cds in 1979]. Independent music was flowering in the late 1970s and early 80s in Australia but as local bands could not easily get recording contracts, no one could hear it unless you saw it live, in the city of origin. Fast Forward’s innovation was to not onlywrite about this music but to also deliver it to you to listen to at your leisure. [In 1979 there was no Internet].
Fast Forward was the world’s first audio-cassette music magazine. The cassettes interspersed interviews with music and were packaged with printed artwork and sold in record shops around Australia and abroad. Thirteen issues were produced between November 1980 and October 1982. Regular contributors included Jeff Holland, who created elaborate sound collages which were combined with elaborate illustrations in the booklet that accompanied the audio cassette.
Many ground breaking Australian bands were first published on Fast Forward tapes including Hunters and Collectors. An international audience was first exposed to music from Australian bands including Laughing Clowns, the Go-Betweens, Rowland Howard’s ‘Shivers’ as performed by The Young Charlatans, The Scientists, the M Squared label, Dead Can Dance and Pel Mel’s ‘No Word from China’ recorded as a ‘demo’.
As the magazine’s presence and reputation grew, international acts began to submit material for publication including The Cure. Interview subjects included Nick Cave, The Cure’s, Robert Smith, Mark E Smith of The Fall, and the manager of The Clash. Delivering the packaging concept proved to be a production challenge. In the beginning no commercial printer would screen-print the vinyl package art as they did not believe it was technically possible. So, with a team of art students I did it myself until I could convince a commercial printer that it was possible to do predictably.