Article by Cassandra Baim
Twenty-one year old Indiana native and Brooklyn resident Jeanette Wall used to publish her own magazines as a preteen. She would fill them with her own short stories, though, “They never got past my parents’ fridge.” She now runs the contribution-based online music and art magazine The Miscreant, along with her own record label, Miscreant Records.
She gained inspiration for her ‘zine from a Music and Gender class she took in her early college years. She rifled through a collection of 90s ‘zines and was hooked. The content is primarily contribution based, calling for submissions from its readers to be published online every three to four weeks. Like most music publications out there, each issue features an interview with a different artist, but readers send in their original pieces to fill up the rest. She does not heavily edit the contributions because when writing about art, it’s especially important that it be “deeply personal.” She wanted to start a publication that promoted personal relationships with music, and have open lines of communication with contributors because, “you have more fun and learn that way.” She formed her record label shortly thereafter, to support the bands she loved. Simply put, Miscreant Records is a “platform for friends who make music.”
The Miscreant ‘zine and record label have evolved into a brand of its own. It has become part of Jeanette’s own personal identity, and fortified connections between herself and other music communities. All artwork is hand-drawn by Brooklyn resident Elizabeth Scafuto. The two met as undergraduates at Syracuse University, and have been publishing together since its first issue. Relocating to Brooklyn from upstate New York has allowed the brand to grow as well. The Miscreant features larger names in the music world with each issue, and reaches a broader audience. Elizabeth is beginning to experiment with different forms of art, such as 3D drawings. Publishing has become less frequent, but each issue features more pages of content. More artists and writers are getting involved nationwide, and the brand continues to grow by the day.
As a young entrepreneur, Jeanette has faced challenges in getting the publication and label off the ground. The biggest challenge is figuring out how to make her passion lucrative. And the most rewarding part is being a part of a sharing process. “I love when people tell me their submissions helped them work through something, or made them appreciate what they were writing about more. Each piece in each issue comes from a whole new perspective.”
Jeanette has big plans for the future of the publication and the label. She aims to start printing the issues, as opposed to having them all featured on her website. She wants to broaden the genres of featured artists and reach out to more readers and writers with each issue. She hopes to one day earn enough to open her own record store, a lifelong dream. The Miscreant brand has taken off in upstate New York and Wall is slowly making a name for herself in the music industry in Brooklyn. Even if the brand never takes off, Jeanette is happy to offer writers the chance to have their voices heard. “I love hearing stories and having a soundtrack. It’s definitely about personal connection through music—a shared human experience.”