“No one’s ever sniffed an iPad, have they?”
At 310mm x 420mm, Marvin is an unusually enormous music magazine. Created by Marvin Scott Jarrett, who founded RayGun in 1992 and Nylon in 1999, this eponymous new project is a treat for anyone who knows their music journalism: Josh Jones, who was UK editor of ’Sup and co-founder of art zine Pavement Licker is the executive editor, and contributors include Tori West, founder of Bricks Magazine, Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson, founder of Trench Magazine, as well as Mat Osman, co-founder of the band Suede. Fittingly taglined ‘The Rebirth of Print’, this debut issue harks back to a simpler time for music magazines: when the internet was extremely slow and you could still physically go to a gig.
Marvin is based in LA and Josh is here in London, and the magazine has been made through various lockdowns, via shared Google docs and Zoom calls at odd hours. We wanted to know more about this big, loud, brilliantly impractical new title, so we asked the two men to continue their digital back and forth to give us an idea of where the idea for the magazine came from, and what it feels like to have launched a brand new music magazine from kitchen tables 5,000 miles apart.
Hey Marvin, how’s it going?
I’m great Josh, very excited about the launch of Marvin, as well you know.
So why did you decide to publish a high-end music style magazine? Don’t you know print magazines are all shutting down?
Great question, I love magazines, I always have. I still love the tactile nature of a great print publication.
No one’s ever sniffed an iPad for a fresh website have they? So the initial kernel of an idea for Marvin came during a visit to London last year?
I had been thinking about doing a new magazine a while and was in London last year for the RayGun book launch. I went into a cool store in Shoreditch called Artwords and was super inspired by the selection of magazines. I started thinking about making a magazine from a different perspective. With Nylon there was so much pressure to build quickly, compete with corporate publishing and this time I wanted to do something with the freedom to just create something cool.
Why did you decide to go for this massive size?
There was a magazine that I loved that was around just before I got into publishing called Manipulator. It always made an impression on me; the size was such a statement and the physicality of it was incredible. I found it a huge inspiration about the possibilities of print.
And why go for something unbound?
A few people have asked me that. I love the feeling of it, every spread of the magazine is like a poster. The reader can interact with it. I want it to be possible to literally put it on your wall.
After the success of RayGun and Nylon, did you feel any pressure launching a new one?
I never felt “pressure”. I just wanted it to be fucking cool! It had to have a wow factor and I think we achieved that.
Wait — is it RayGun or Ray Gun? Because you say RayGun but I’ve seen it written Ray Gun in all kinds of places.
I like the first version but I answer to both.
I ended up coming on board after you messaged me on Instagram —
Yes, you did. Thanks for that!
Can you remember what happened there? How did you come across my instagram profile?
Thank god for Instagram! I think this is how it happened: you liked a post of mine and I wasn’t really posting that much then. I looked at your page, and liked the zine mentality of the print projects that you have done in the past, so I just reached out to you.
What’s it like working with me?
You’re amazing Josh. I mean that, I think it was the right time and the right project for us to work together.
BLUSH. Was there any feature that we did in the magazine that made you think ‘yes, this is definitely gonna be something special’
The cover. The cover feature with Yungblud. It always starts with a cover for me. If we nail the cover the rest of the issue generally falls in place.
Were there any bits that disappointed you — there was some talk of taking Yungblud to Japan for a launch party at one point but Covid put paid to that…
Yes, I had a vision of doing big launch events in LA, London and Tokyo. But you know what, so many great things happened too. Some of the best creatives have come on board and I absolutely love every page of the magazine.
When’s issue 2 coming out?
I guess I’d better get to work then…