Record magazine’s intimate look at musicians

by Grace Wang in February 2017
Music

When I first came across Record Magazine, I was taken by its tasteful design. On pocket-sized, glossy pages, they packed assertive photography, punctuated with an elegant custom typeface, profiling some of the most interesting individuals who work in music.

But it wasn’t until I read an interview with Tim Sweeney, the authority behind online radio Beats In Space, that I got completely sucked into their world. The long form interviews, paired with intimate photography of homes, studios and neighbourhoods, make you feel invited into musicians’ creative sanctuaries. We talk to editor Karl Henkell to find out more about the magazine.

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What makes Record magazine different to other music titles?
The motivation for doing the magazine is to get an insight into the artists’ real lives. The most likely interaction you might have with these artists is by seeing them live or listening to their music, so there is a fair amount of mystery about their day-to-day lives. We’re more interested in what an artist listens to at home, than what they are putting on their new album, for example. It’s about getting to know the artist behind the music.

I really enjoy the long format, Q+A style interviews — I find them more intimate and conversational, especially when paired with images from the musicians’ homes and neighbourhoods.
We want the reader to feel invited to enter the artists’ worlds. Ideally people will feel like they know the person being interviewed much better after reading the long form interviews, and the photos of the artists’ homes or studios give a better idea of the life they lead. We hope these things combined, make for quite an intimate read.

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How do you select the artists to interview?
They are all people we are curious to talk to, mostly ones that are involved in music in some way, either as a producer, DJ, radio host or record label owner. Often the artists are connected to each other in one way or another. By choosing subjects from all around the world, we get a global perspective on similar topics, which is nice. The internet makes the music world very accessible, and we find it interesting that common threads exist between people that live in different parts of the world.

Tell us about some musicians from issue two, who you were especially excited about.
I was particularly excited about the Mark Barrott feature in issue two. He lives in Ibiza, so it was a challenge to produce the photoshoot, but the photographer Bastien Lattanzio happened to be on holiday there so it worked out. Mark is a curious character. He is originally from the UK, and now lives in a quiet part of Ibiza producing quite calm, healing music full of nature sounds. He runs the record label International Feel, that has been a leader in the resurgence of balearic influences in dance music. It fits the sunsets of Ibiza perfectly. He has an interesting perspective on meditation and simplicity when it comes to producing music.

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Speaking to Luke Jenner was also particularly insightful. He is the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of The Rapture, who really rode the rollercoaster to the top of the indie pop world. He spent months on tour with Robert Smith of The Cure, and even had the late David Bowie tell him he listens to his music while doing his laundry. What’s interesting about Luke is that he has had time to process all of the things that being in a successful band entails. For him that involved confronting the fact that despite the enormous success of the band, he was still unhappy.

The Danny Krivit interview is a history lesson in the New York disco scene of the late ‘70s. He touches on his friendship with Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers, his time supporting legendary DJ Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage, and about downsizing his enormous vinyl collection. Am I giving too much away?

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Are you seeing a parallel between the resurgence of records and print magazines — an increase in people wanting something permanent and tangible?

I’m seeing a lot of new record shops open up, which is great to see, and points to the fact that people are buying them again. I think we are at a point where the tangible and intangible is finding a happy medium. There is no denying the ease of streaming music from your phone, but it’s hard to feel as invested in music you access easily. Like with anything, adding an element of risk and challenge enhances the experience. Playing a vinyl record, taking an analog photo, reading a print magazine, are all still enjoyable experiences.

If you could recommend some protest records/music for dark times, what would they be?

When I think of protest music, I think of the first record by The Clash. A song that resonates with me in these times is ‘This Is Not America’ by David Bowie and Pat Metheny Group. I think uplifting music is the right antidote though, Sade’s ‘Stronger Than Pride’ from ’88 is a good one.

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