“I made the fucking record I wanted to make”

by Kitty Drake in February 2019
Music

Opening with an editor’s letter written deep in self-described “panic mode”, Gold Flake Paint is a charmingly personal music magazine based out of Glasgow. Founder Tom Johnson writes his features with a similar candour: his lead interview with American singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten begins with a reflection on how much he “draws on other people’s woes to try and negate the impact of [his] own”.

Pieces are opinionated (“The number of homophobes who cite themselves as Freddie Mercury or Elton John’s biggest fans is startling”); and the typography is experimental: lines are often arranged on the page like poetry, which can feel a little pretentious, but once you get over yourself and sink into it it’s actually quite nice. And interviewees feel like they’re actually sharing things and being recorded accurately, not just reciting stock lines as journalists angle for that sexy pull-quote. Although there are some sexy pull-quotes, like Van Etten on how she *hasn’t* sold out: “I made the fucking record I wanted to make”. Another high-point is a section of essays and interviews dissecting the records that helped us survive 2018.

From the mag’s Scottish roots, to the joy of free stuff, to feeling inferior, Tom gave us a five-step guide to the new issue.

Untitled-1
play

1. Sharon Van Etten; the Comeback Kid

We’re so thrilled to have Sharon Van Etten as the cover star for issue two. Her new record is truly special, and a huge leap forward. Sure to be one of 2019’s best. We’ve interviewed her a couple of times in the past for our online site, and it’s always nice to revisit and re-connect with an artist, especially with someone as wonderful as her. Although, in the last couple of years she became a mother, returned to college, starred in a brilliant Netflix sci-fi series, toyed with stand-up comedy and classical composition, and made her new record — all at the same time. Prepare to feel inferior.

2. A personal touch

Alongside the more standard music writing, for issue two we’ve given extra space to personal essays — and I’m really proud of what the writing team have delivered. We have an essay on lone women attending gigs, which was driven by (literally) hundreds of stories gathered from Twitter. Then there’s an essay on the queer persona in pop music, and how that’s evolved over the years, from initially being erased by a homophobic industry to being (occasionally) championed by the likes of Christine & The Queens and various others. Then there’s a really beautiful essay on grief and how much of that is underpinned by the music we absorbed before, during, and after.

3. Close to home

We cover a whole host of artists from all over the globe — and have always done so. We’ve never tried to be pinned to the place where the magazine was born, as that feels reductive somehow. However, we’re also very proud of our Scottish and Glaswegian roots and it’s always nice to give some space to home-grown artists. Issue two features a huge interview with The Twilight Sad, as they release their brilliant fifth album, and we also profile Free Love; a wonderful upcoming duo from Glasgow who make spacious and alluring electronica.

Our aim is always to find that new song/album/artist that will change the shape of your day/week/life

4. Free stuff!

Everyone likes free stuff! Issue two comes with some free music that isn’t available anywhere else in the world (for now). It’s a pair of EPs from a brilliant songwriter called Nate Amos (Water From Your Eyes) who we’ve covered a couple of times on our website. It’s coming out on a Chicago-based label called Sooper Records. He makes strange but beautiful/contemplative pop music, all glitches and samples. It’s very pretty and surreal and we’re very excited to give it away alongside the journal.

5. New music

As always, we’ve given up much of the magazine to music discovery. Alongside a couple of interviews with people releasing brilliant new albums this year (Tiny Ruins, Jessica Pratt, Martha), we’ve got a big review feature of 2018 where we basically list all of our favourite records from the past 12 months and write lots of pretty words about why we love them. Our aim is always to help our readers find that new song/album/artist that will change the shape of their day/week/life.

goldflakepaint.co.uk





Close Icon

Gold Flake Paint issue 2 Interviews, Music, Longform

Buy the Magazines
Close Icon

Join our magazine club! Subscribe to Stack and every month we'll pick a different independent title and deliver it to your door. You never know what you'll get next...

Subscribe now