Like some kind of strange pulp fictional premonition, there’s a scene in the 1984 movie Ghostbusters when Egon (Harold Ramis) says to Janine (Annie Potts) “Print is dead”. Toby Creswell would beg to differ.
Toby is the editor of StrangeLove, a new free print magazine about music and film that will make a welcome addition to the near barren landscape of the Australian music-publication environment. The maiden issue, which will celebrate its launch tonight with a party at Sydney venue Oxford Art Factory, boasts a fine content mix including features on Rat Vs Possum label, Jean Luc Godard, Mercury Prize winner Esperanza Spalding, J Rocc and more.
Toby spoke to Pedestrian about how the magazine came into fruition with thanks in part to a collaboration with Australian record label Fuse Group, the romantic axiom of print, and the advantages of doing it for the love…
Pedestrian: Firstly, tell me about Strangelove. What’s in it? What’s it all about? Toby Creswell: Strangelove is a magazine about music and film, and some other stuff*.
Why did you decide to make the mag? The idea came from <b>Steve Kulak</b> who used to be a music writer but now owns the TITLE music and DVD stores and distributes music as the Fuse Group. Basically he thought there should be a magazine that encouraged good writing about things that were related to the kinds of experience you have in shop but without being a catalogue. The brief was to be interesting and provocative.
Making a magazine from scratch must be a pretty interesting and challenging process. What have been some of the major obstacles or unforeseen issues that you’ve had to deal with? It’s been pretty smooth really. There was a long gestation process so some copy went out of date. Once Bridie Connellan [from Fuse] came on board it was pretty smooth. The first issue is about 50% of what we hope for the second issue. Debuts; it’s always a bit suck it and see.
We love print, but it seems the market is getting smaller and smaller with everything going online these days. Why did you decide to make a printed tangible publication; and what’s your favourite thing about print? You know people always want to see a zero sum game. Print will be around for a while yet. What you lose in immediacy you make up for in the tactile experience, the kinds of portability, the encouragement to pick it up and put it down. Sometimes you want to see a film in the cinema and sometimes you want to take home a DVD. It’s just different.
You’ve had a background working for some pretty major publications like Rolling Stone. What did you take from your previous experience that taught you what to do and what not to do on Strangelove? The one advantage we have on Strangelove is that we’re not tying ourselves top the entertainment media cycle. We’re not competing with other street press or magazine we’re just running things cause we want to. We don’t have to have an agenda so we didn’t. People will pick it up and hopefully like some things and hate some others but you know it cost you nothing.
Tell me a bit about the first issue? What’s in store for us readers. The first issue has plenty of contemporary music and a bit of film. Most of those subjects are things that are really under the radar, we have some art features which are pretty random and the major features are about really interesting but obscure topics like gospel singers, folk music, road movies.
You’re into music. What are you listening to at the moment (new stuff or old stuff)? Bit of both. The second Television album, Mavis Staples’ You Are Not Alone, the last Hubert Sumlin album, Robbie Robertson, Neil Young, the Strokes, The Black Keys.
Any final words? Bridie Connellan: So Toby’s letting me take the floor and say my little piece as Managing Ed after I could be found sobbing into the pages when we first held copies. Print emotions, all about it. Toby and our gangbusters Art Director Michael Inglis have embodied everything Bowie was yarning on about when he coined the phrase, to be ‘the nazz’. Absolute superstars. Strangelove is just one of those things you read, you kinda get, you read it again, you think you’re in the know, and then it slaps you upside the head and blows your mind with more force than Jane Fonda’s Barbarella. And that’s FORCEFUL. Sheesh, what a ride. Get amongst it. Hell, I plan to.
*Downright amazing stuff.
Strangelove is launching with Sydney venue Oxford Art Factory tonight, June 14 featuring performances by Ghoul, Oscar + Martin and a whole heap more. Tickets are very cheap and available here.
Strangelove is free. It will be distributed nationally with an initial print run of 20,000 in 1,000 outlets Australia wide, such as quality music retailers, bookshops, restaurants, veterinary offices, cafes, cinemas, specialty stores, museums, radio stations, live venues, design outlets… plus the TITLE stores.