Amelia’s Magazine | Dans La Vie: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Review and Interview

Dans La Vie by Sarah Underwood
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Sarah Underwood

For Dans La Vie’s new A/W 2013 collection Invisible Enemy, Threat Found Japanese designer Rira Sugawara revelled in a mish-mash of fabric textures and the bold yet intricate prints that she has become known for. But this time she eschewed the brightness of previous catwalk shows, choosing instead a sombre theme inspired by cyber attacks: the head of the Mona Lisa appeared in swirling prints, but models sported sinister balaclavas, gothic black lips and giant crosses as they stomped down the catwalk to a suitably dark soundtrack.

Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans La Vie by Chloe Douglass
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Chloe Douglass

With an academic background in both print design and art history Dans la Vie takes inspiration from Pop Art and traditional Japanese printing techniques to create collections centred on the concept of ‘Clash Beauty’. A few days before her catwalk show Rira Sugawara answered these questions.

Dans la Vie London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans la Vie London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans La Vie by Angela Lamb
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Angela Lamb

Your collections are certainly not for shrinking violets, what are the main characteristics of the women who wear your clothes?
Intellectual, independent and strong woman who have a strong outlook on life I can see wearing my clothes.

Which public figure do you dream of dressing?
When I was growing up Madonna was a huge inspiration to me, so to dress her would be a dream come too. I’d also like to dress Azealia Banks, Jessie J and Rihanna: they would also be great.

Dans la Vie London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans la Vie London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans La Vie by Claire Kearns
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Claire Kearns

You’re from Japan but have lived in France and have traveled a lot- which place has influenced you the most?
I find inspiration in every city and every street I visit. Paris brought me fashion intelligence based on the philosophical spirit to be liberated through culture and diversity. In New York I experienced the exciting energy, and in Milan, an abundance of new techniques

What led you to move to France? How easy was it for you to get used to the classic French style compared to typically edgy Japanese fashion?
I moved to France to gain experience in a fashion atelier, I feel it was one of the best moves I ever made as it was after this that I set up Dans La Vie. I think the French style influenced me a lot, it wasn’t hard to get used to at all.

Dans la Vie  London Fashion Week AW 2013
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans La Vie by Sarah Underwood
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Sarah Underwood

Would you ever consider taking part in any of the main Fashion Weeks other than London? How about Tokyo, since your collections seem to reflect the city’s renowned street style?
One of the key elements of my collection is ‘Clash Beauty’: pushing the boundaries of conventional beauty. London enables me to push these boundaries, I would consider showing at other Fashion Weeks including Tokyo as the Street Style is like no other. However I want to concentrate on London for the time being.

Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans La Vie by Isher Dhiman
Dans La Vie A/W 2013 by Isher Dhiman

Which other designers inspire you?
Alexander McQueen was such an inspiring designer: I love the structure of his pieces and the way they were made.

Do you ever incorporate current trends into your collections?
Yes, I try to incorporate current trends into my collections as much as possible, at the moment everywhere you look is print!

Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Dans la Vie A/W 2013. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Last season you used prints from Jasper Jones’ ‘Target’ painting from the late 60s, and Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Brush Stroke’ and ‘Explosion’. What artwork has inspired or will be included in A/W 2013?
The new collection entitled Invisible Enemy, Threat Found is an altogether darker collection and has older influences such as Italian Renaissance Art, with inspiration being drawn from Botticelli.

Categories ,Alexander McQueen, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Angela Lamb, ,Azealia Banks, ,Botticelli, ,Chloe Douglass, ,Claire Kearns, ,Clash Beauty, ,Cyber Attacks, ,Dans La Vie, ,gothic, ,Invisible Enemy Threat Found, ,Isher Dhiman, ,Italian Renaissance Art, ,japanese, ,Jessie J, ,Madonna, ,Milan, ,Mona Lisa, ,new york, ,paris, ,Pop Art, ,print, ,Rihanna, ,Rira Sugawara, ,Sarah Underwood, ,Street Style

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Amelia’s Magazine | David Longshaw, Father Said: New S/S 2012 Season Preview Interview

David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Abi Hall
David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Abi Hall.

We’ve been following David Longshaw‘s career since we spotted him at Fashion Scout back in 2010. His work continues to evolve in intriguing directions, utilising his illustration and animations skills more than ever before…

We last spoke to you in 2010, what have been the biggest changes since then?
I’m now selling in Harrods as well as more shops in a variety of countries.

David Longshaw SS 2012
What was the inspiration behind Father Said, your S/S 2012 collection, and where does the accompanying story come from? (it’s quite dark!)
I created the story a few years ago for TANK magazine – but never used it for a collection. This season felt like the perfect time to use it and develop the characters. The story is a bit dark – but I think it can be fun to have a dark inspiration from time to time for something as frivolous and light as fashion – I like the contradiction. Here’s the story:

Father said it would have been… by David Longshaw
Father said it would be nice to go to the seaside. I’m not sure mother would have agreed; here I go getting all Alan Bennett. It wasn’t Alan Bennett like at all. That’s why I brought you here, a little nostalgic trip for me, unchartered territory for you. I was driving of course. Well you’d come to see me hadn’t you?
I didn’t expect it to happen. You know I didn’t. I hadn’t planned it. I mean I was all tired out from the drive. It was just these memories coming back that did it. I hadn’t told you about them had I?
“We could go round the castle you said,” but then we spied the purveyor of local delicacies and were ensnared by the intoxicating aroma.
Well, it would have been rude not to.

David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Mitika Chohan
David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Mitika Chohan.

Monies were exchanged and we floated out on the emerald green sea of tiles, shimmering from the hedgehog that had just mopped them. It was you who pointed out she was a hedgehog- all little and bristly and nose twitching as she mopped that chip shop floor; scared by the preying silver fox in the corner (Trevor they called him from over the counter) with his suave, debonair mask- under which lurked a wild, preying animal ready for its next victim. At least that’s how he looked, sitting, pouting but that gentle trickle of saliva and the abstract motif that speckled his jacket- formed from chips and gravy, suggested otherwise.
We did laugh about that, chuckling, as you do, walking towards the sea. You spotted that sign, “Boat Trip to Puffin Island.” £4.50 each, but it was worth it. We saw seals, and jellyfish and went up really close to the island and there were so many little birds. I’m not sure if there were any puffins though, you said you’d seen one but that was you all over.
I’m sorry the rest of the day didn’t pan out quite as well for you. It’s just these memories coming back. Now I think of it, I was reading a book at the time with a puffin mentioned in it, so perhaps that’s what it was.
I’m awfully sorry all the same. Anyway not much I can do now other than tidy things up I suppose. Well there you go. You’re wrapped up now. It was handy I had that spade in the boot wasn’t it. I’ll just cover you up- the soil will keep you warm.”

David Longshaw SS 2012

How did you put together the animation for Father Said and why did you decide to put the story together in animated form?
I’ve always been fascinated by animation – I love creating characters and the idea of bringing them to life for people to watch in a little version of my world. It’s a massively time consuming medium – even for something as crudely done as mine, but that’s part of its beauty. I thought it was a natural next step for me to explore animation as I create a story and illustrate it each season. It’s a fun tool to explain my collection and to build interest in my label, and it’s a point of differentiation. There are so many fashion labels out there and the big fashion houses have huge adverting budgets to promote their collections – so by doing something creative it helps showcase my ideas and the plan is that people will hopefully enjoy what I do and want to keep seeing more.

David Longshaw SS12 by Janneke de Jong
David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Janneke de Jong.

Putting it together was tricky as I’d never done it before and I thought it would be fun to do it all myself from a series of my illustrations (apart from the voice over which I got Jessica Bumpus to do). I did it using a very old mac – which seemed a good idea at the time until it became apparent that it was so old it wasn’t compatible with any others, or with upload programs to put it on Vimeo… which was unfortunate. But after a lot of pfaffing around I finally managed to get it on there and now it’s linked to my website as well. In the short term I’m planning to work on more short animations to develop with my collections. At some point in the future I would like to work on a more ambitious project with a much larger animation – perhaps even a stop motion model animation But I’d need a larger budget and a lot more time.

David Longshaw SS 2012
Why are narratives important?
Narratives help create the theme and tone of the collection – they inform everything from print and silhouette to the colour of the fabrics.

David Longshaw SS 2012
What was the inspiration behind the extravagant silhouettes in the S/S 2012 collection?
The idea was from the point in the story where Sophie accidentally kills her boyfriend, buries him, planting flowers over his burial place. The flowers grow and flow in to the dress she’s wearing. For the rest of her life she wears a flower to remind her of him. I wanted to convey the sense of the flowers growing and taking over what the wearer has on.

David Longshaw SS12 by Janneke de Jong
David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Janneke de Jong.

How did your time at Max Mara equip you for working as an independent designer, and do you have any tips for those just starting out?
My time at both Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti was really useful for starting my own label – aesthetically my style (and indeed the style of the other labels) are very different, but in a way that works out better than if I was just doing a smaller version of either label. Day to day there are things I put in to practice that I learnt there. When you work for big fashion houses you get to see how very successful businesses and design houses work and what’s helped them to get there. But there’s always things you think you would do differently as well.

David Longshaw SS 2012
For people just starting out it’s good to get as much experience in the industry as possible, whether it’s from work experience, or actually designing for a label – if you want to start your own label straight away then try to get as much business advice as you can. Design schools teach how to pull a collection together but you have to know how to be a business person – if you don’t then you won’t have the money or the structure to be able to continue. It’s also really important to think what you want your label to be like – what’s your point of difference and what do you think you can do better than is already out there. It’s good to be aware of all the pitfalls with running your own label: financial, emotional, time constraints, constantly questioning yourself, knowing all the things that can go wrong, all the reasons not to do your own label… Then just go for it anyway!

David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs
David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs.

You are not just a fashion designer but also an accomplished illustrator, how do the two fit together?
They go well together – I use my illustrations in the prints of my collection. Both my design and illustration work inspire each other. When I illustrate for a mag it’s a fun way for people to see my work and see which other designers I like (as I get to select who I interview or illustrate) and it gives people another window in to my thinking. Then when I’m designing I think back to my illustration work and why I selected certain designers/pieces. I’m not trying to be like another designer but it makes me reflect on why I would choose one designer’s work over another.

David Longshaw SS 2012
How do your partnerships with footwear designer Heather Blake and milliner Katherine Lee work? What is the process of working together on a collection?
With Katherine Lee we work together throughout the season on different projects for the collection – from looking and reviewing the collection’s designs and progress to specific pieces she creates for me. With Heather we look at my designs and work out what would be cool to go with them – what elements we can bring out from the clothes and in to the shoes.

David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs
David Longshaw S/S 2012 by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs.

You also collaborate with girlfriend (and another Amelia’s Mag favourite) Kirsty Ward. How was the Christmas break with the Longshaw Wards? Did you do anything fun?
Christmas was great: there was a Maude fairy on top of the tree – there was still some pfaffing around with fabrics and pens (aka work) but also lots of fun – road trips to visit our families and friends. Then on New Year’s Eve we had a studio party in London and had some friends over.

David Longshaw SS 2012
What can we expect from A/W 2012? any tips?
More Maude: this season Maude’s taken over my collection and mashed it up with her own style… so basically she’s covered most of it with herself – from prints to bags, to scarves, to products…

David Longshaw SS 2012
Make sure you also check out our previous interview with David Longshaw here.

Categories ,Abi Hall, ,Alan Bennett, ,Alberta Ferretti, ,animation, ,David Longshaw, ,Father Said, ,Harrods, ,Heather Blake, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Janneke de Jong, ,Jessica Bumpus, ,Katherine Lee, ,Kirsty Ward, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Maude, ,Max Mara, ,Mitika Chohan, ,Puffin Island, ,S/S 2012, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,TANK magazine

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Stratis Kastrisianakis, co-founder of Nakedbutsafe magazine

nakedbutsafe front cover-NATALIA-ZAKHAROVA
Nakedbutsafe magazine is a beautiful new arts, fashion and photography magazine with a conscience, produced in Greece, printed in the UK at Principal Colour, and available worldwide. Co-founder Stratis Kastrisianakis explains the thinking behind the creation of his new publication in more depth:

Nakedbutsafe dreaming of another world
Nakedbutsafe dreaming of another world
What does Nakedbutsafe mean and how did you decide upon the name for your new magazine?
Nakedbutsafe means that our magazine tries to be ‘naked’ from any form of ties and connections to standard industry pressure points like PRs etc… which makes it highly independent. I think readers don’t trust magazines and the media in general any more because there is no more news, only commerce. Magazines today (including many so called independent ones) are just sales platforms for major brands. As a freelance photographer I witnessed last minute calls from major brands in Paris to an otherwise quite credible publication, asking for clothing items to be used on the cover shoot even when they had nothing to do with the theme of the shooting. Additionally ‘naked’ means naked from any form of post production that cannot be done in the dark room. This could have made the magazine feel a bit nostalgic, but this is not the case. We celebrate photography and our research into young artistic and photographic talent shows that there is a strong trend towards not using post production. We want our fashion photographers to enjoy the process of taking photos in the moment, and not to rely on the lab. Naked is also naked from any fear of press censure. We encourage freedom and the breaking of boundaries every day, not just in the magazine. The choice of name was a natural decision from the state of mind we found ourselves in at the start of 2011.

Nakedbutsafe your joy is my low
Nakedbutsafe your joy is my low
Nakedbutsafe your joy is my low
Who is behind Nakedbutsafe? Can you tell us a short history about its creation?
Myself (Stratis Kastrisianakis) and my partner Manos Samartzis are the creators and driving force behind the magazine. We do everything in house from design to proofing, and from art curating to monitoring distribution and sales. Happily we are blessed with many talented friends and old collaborators that jumped on the idea of giving a hand to a project that started out shy but now is a full time commitment. One day in december 2010 myself and Manos were so frustrated by a commission that we decided NOT to work for these kind of publications any more. So nakedbutsafe was born out of frustration. Then we started a task of entering into a world that already seems so natural, even though it was all news to us back then. We chose to work with consultants and not actual collaborators so we could keep the schedule under control (it is hard to ask people to work for free under pressure) and so that we would not offend anyone’s artistic expression by rejecting them. Nakedbutsafe is 100% an in house process with 95% of its material shot especially for us. Today things have changed dramatically. Every day we get requests from artists and collaborators of every kind that want to be part of nakedbutsafe. This is all very exciting. Our new roster is a very selected list of young and emerging talent in their fields.

Your press release speaks about living life with intellectually fulfilled integrity, how is this best manifested in the magazine’s content?
Our take on lifestyle aims to show people that we are humans with brains and not just simple forms of life who react to outside influences. We do not need toys and wealth to live a rich life. Wealth comes from bettering our lives. There are alternatives out there that will create conditions for a new experience. We don’t just need things to show off to other members of our circle. Our planet is a wonderful thing and it is ours. Freedom from needing stuff but encouraging new experiences is our biggest tool towards independency from the media promoted garbage that fills our lives. This is clearly stated in many parts of our magazine – we want it to be a magazine that is read and not just a coffee table item. Magazines are not decorative items.

How difficult has it been to launch a magazine in Greece in this time of financial crisis?
Amazingly difficult and challenging. But also this is one of the reasons why we manage to keep editorial integrity. Once you hit the bottom you can only go up. Also the anger that exists inside everyone in Greece right now has transformed itself into a creative force.

I love the statement that you ‘appreciate illustrators, but not the ones who call themselves photographers’. Why is it so important to you to use images that are not airbrushed?
See my previous answer for part of this explanation. All readers, even non industry ones, are so familiar with post production that they have lost their trust in the colours of a sunset, of a fruit and eventually the beauty of human form. It’s a crime. We are living in the era of temporary plastic surgery through imagery.

Nakedbutsafe let it fall
Nakedbutsafe is published in English. What was the decision about this, and where can you buy the magazine?
English is the most commonly spoken language and the one that suits most of our international team. It was a decision based on practicality. In the future we want to have multilingual articles in the magazine (in their original form) as well as in English, but this will not be the case anytime soon. Pineapple Media and Comag International are the people behind our global reach. We have somehow limited printing numbers (under 15,000 copies) so our reach is global but targeted. In January 2012 we will have full details of where to buy nakedbutsafe but for the moment please check out Where to Buy on our website.

Have there been any difficulties in ensuring global distribution, if so what have you learnt?
Yes. As always a new craft brings excitement and also problems which need to be dealt with. Not knowing the actual distribution locations until the magazine is already in the stores was news to us. Now we know and it’s ok. We are not an urgent magazine to buy in terms of news.

Nakedbutsafe all signs point to no
Why is it important to you to create a magazine from 100% sustainable sources?
I will reverse the question; why is not so important for everyone else? There is too much intellectual garbage out there, never mind actual garbage. Let’s all be sustainable – it will make everyone happier.

How did you discover Principal Colour and why did you decide to use them to print Nakedbutsafe?
Their take on natural and ecological printing was a big attraction, but I also like that Principal Colour is run with an informal mood that is in line with the playful (but still extremely serious) character of nakedbutsafe. They are amazing and I have no hesitation in recommending them to others. I received their press proofs by mistake for issue 1 and there was no difference in quality between mine and theirs.

To read the rest of this article hop on over to the Principal Colour tumblr blog.

Categories ,art, ,brazil, ,Circle of Transformation, ,Comag International, ,eco, ,Greece, ,magazine, ,Maike Ludenbach, ,Manos Samartzis, ,Nakedbutsafe, ,Ned Sewell, ,photography, ,Pineapple Media, ,principal colour, ,Print Design, ,Stratis Kastrisianakis, ,sustainable

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Amelia’s Magazine | Wood Festival 2011 Review: Goodnight Lenin, Thea Gilmore, Telling the Bees

Tents by Lorna Scobie
Tents by Lorna Scobie.

Wood Festival is billed as one of the greenest festivals in the UK, treat a fully sustainable event that takes place in the lovely sun dappled meadows of Braziers Park in Oxfordshire. It is the brainchild of the Bennett brothers, dosage who started having babies and decided that they needed a more family friendly festival than their longer running Truck Festival, now entering its 14th year.

Wood Festival 2011
Wood Festival 2011
Wood Festival 2011
Wood Festival 2011
Wood Festival 2011
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

We arrived as dusk was falling after a hellish drive out of London, parked in a bordering field and walked past an immaculate recycling point with signs made out of old records to enter the festival a few yards down the track. As we waited for our press passes a man with his bike picked up a free beer token with his ticket, a thanks for cycling to Wood. It’s the special touches such as this that make Wood Festival quite unique.

Goodnight Lenin by Rukmunal Hakim
Goodnight Lenin by Rukmunal Hakim.

Once our tent was up it was time to check out Goodnight Lenin in the Tree Tent, where a protracted soundcheck was made light of with a humorous discussion about the various merits of certain crisp flavours.

Goodnight Lenin Wood Festival 2011 Goodnight Lenin Wood Festival 2011 Goodnight Lenin Wood Festival 2011
Goodnight Lenin.

If you’re a fan of Mumford & Sons and ilk then the sweet harmonies of this Birmingham based band should be right up your street. A real find, catch Goodnight Lenin again soon at the Moseley Folk Festival.

Goodnight Lenin by Lou Cloud
Goodnight Lenin by Lou Cloud.

YouTube Preview Image

Then it was a short trot over to the main Wood Stage (when I say main, I mean it wasn’t inside a tent) for Thea Gilmore, who from afar sounded a bit 80s but up close was a bit middle of the road folk for my tastes. But she’s got a great voice and she had a good line in banter, bemoaning her lack of festival cider due to pregnancy.

Thea Gilmore Wood Festival 2011Thea Gilmore Wood Festival 2011Thea Gilmore Wood Festival 2011
Thea Gilmore.

Back at the Tree Tent the last set of the night came from Telling the Bees, at which point I must confess that I have a bit of a soft spot for protest folk. Telling the Bees are best described as Levellers meets Circulus – a mix of tuneful folk, protest lyrics, unusual instruments and a certain sartorial extravagance. Bagpipes and pearls should be obligatory at all festivals.

Telling the Bees Wood Festival 2011Telling the Bees Wood Festival 2011Telling the Bees Wood Festival 2011
Telling the Bees.

Before bed there was just time to hang out for a bit at the central camp fire, a lovely way to end the evening.

Wood Festival 2011 camp fire

If you want to know more about Wood Festival why not read my preview interview with Robin Bennett? More to come in my next instalment soon.

Categories ,Birmingham, ,Brazier’s Park, ,circulus, ,festival, ,folk, ,Goodnight Lenin, ,Lorna Scobie, ,Lou Cloud, ,Moseley Folk Festival, ,Mumford& Sons, ,Protest Folk, ,recycling, ,review, ,Robin Bennett, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,sustainable, ,Telling the Bees, ,The Levellers, ,Thea Gilmore, ,Tree Tent, ,Truck Festival, ,Wood Festival, ,Wood Stage

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Amelia’s Magazine | Record Store Day: Let’s Celebrate

VOD Music Record Store Day
Record Store Day is like the Christmas of the music world. Music lovers from all over the world come together in unity to support their local record stores and favourite artists. In an age where digital music is overtaking the market at an incredible speed, it’s wonderful to watch people celebrating actual, real, records and all that they embrace.

Luck would have it, records are back in fashion. Hipsters, we salute you. This is good news for the independent record store market and according to the official Record Store Day website more than forty new shops have opened in the UK high streets in the last 5 years, with sales of vinyl albums already up 74% this year alone. Despite the recent increase in vinyl sales, the digital transformation of society and the music industry is progressively replacing our physical music collections with online streaming services, which we now rely on to hear our favourite tracks. Let’s hope the internet doesn’t do a dinosaur on us and become extinct.

Record Store Day poster
Record Store Day was founded in the USA back in 2007 when over 700 independent record stores came together to celebrate their incredible culture. A year later the UK followed suit. Artists, record store owners and music fans rally together to acknowledge and support a culture and art form the world would be lost without. Watching the passion on music lovers faces as they queue for hours on end to join in the celebration and take the time to indulge in the physical act of finding their favourite record is something downloading an MP3 will never replace.

The culture of how we listen to, and our interaction with music has changed dramatically since the internet became a player in the industry. We want our music like we want our food- fast. We don’t think about the ingredients, where it came from, who made it. We want it cheap and to satisfy our immediate needs. We’ll pay £3 to a company with questionable ethics for a skinny, no whip, decaf, hazelnut latte without much thought. We’ll even queue for ten minutes to receive the monstrosity. Pay a few quid for a record that someone’s spent years perfecting, not to mention the years and money spent mastering instruments, that has helped you through that difficult situation or always puts you in a great mood? It’s like you’ve asked someone a complicated maths problem. It confuses them. A new generation of music consumer has been born, and in their mind, music is free. Most of the arts are free actually. Is it time for a society overhaul yet?

Banquet records
Most adults can remember the first album they ever bought. They can remember the artist, the album title, their absolute favourite track, where they bought it. How excited they were when they had it in their hands. They remember what the cover looked like and the smell of the freshly printed sleeve. It was a memorable moment. It was sacred. The interaction we once felt by owning music has been replaced with online playlists and ‘likes’. The artwork on the album cover is looked at as an afterthought as is seeing who wrote and produced each of the tracks. Music has become a fly on the wall. It’s there whilst we are busy doing everything else. With so much new music flooding the internet every day, its shelf life, and our attention, is becoming much shorter too. What are our children going to remember? The first time they opened their own Spotify account? The first music video they watched on Youtube? Streaming services definitely have their pros. They have made the music industry accessible for smaller, unsigned artists. Artists no longer have to rely on major record labels to release their music and it can be heard all over the world for free. That’s a fantastic opportunity. But this new era is also killing off the need to buy records and CDs.

Record Store Day is a little like the Valentines Day of the music world. Record stores can’t survive on one good sales day a year. Just like your love can’t survive on a bunch of roses every February. It’s important to show your significant other all year that they are appreciated and that you love them. Why wait for a commercial day to buy flowers and whisper sweet nothings? Record Store Day will see record stores flooded and my, will it be a beautiful sight. Thousands of music lovers stroking handsomely designed record sleeves and paying hard cash for creations that are full of blood, sweat and tears. But just as every day should be full of love, every day should be filled with the desire to pay for your music.

Artists have always been at the bottom of the money ladder when it comes to revenue, with record labels right at the top. With the advent of streaming, it’s actually still the record labels that are winning, not the streaming hosts and definitely not the artists. The big labels receive millions in licensing fees so that companies like Spotify can stream the artists signed to the labels. The artists receive pittance, regardless whether you pay subscription fees. It’s a similar situation with record sales, the artist receives the least in the financial equation, but it’s still more than the pennies they receive via streaming. Steve Albini wrote an insightful article back in 1993 in The Baffler, pre streaming, entitled ‘The Problem With Music’ where he highlights these financial disparities. Perhaps the real answer is addressing the distribution of revenue in a fairer manner.

More and more musicians are having to resort to full time day jobs on top of writing, recording and touring, just to afford to continue making music. Many musicians can’t take the heat and quit because it’s just too much of a struggle. Streaming isn’t creating revenue, the current economic climate means many fans aren’t going out to watch live music, touring is expensive… That’s just the tip of the enormous iceberg. But as challenging as the music market may feel at the moment, music itself is far from doomed. People have been creating music since the beginning of documented history and will continue to do so until our planet explodes. We need it for our souls. Rather than resisting the digital transition, we should absolutely embrace it but in a positive and responsible fashion. As consumers we need to find new ways to use technology to support musicians and build exciting new communities. Crowdfunding websites like Patreon might be the future. Patrons pay artists monthly or per creation, as much or as little as they like. In less than a year and a half over 125,000 people have signed up and are donating over a million dollars every single month. From these figures alone it is apparent that a lot of people want to pay their favourite creators directly. Perhaps the new generation of music consumers aren’t so bad after all. Maybe they just need a little education. Eat that Doom.

Music is a collaboration, a journey, a communal experience. Just as Facebook can’t replace the feeling you get from a real physical community, digital music can’t replace the magic of owning your favourite artists craftwork. Looking at your favourite piece of artwork on the computer is an entirely different experience to seeing it on your wall. If you’re streaming your new favourite artist every day on Youtube, go out and support them and your local record store. In a matter of seconds you’ll remember just how much you appreciate the entire experience. Gosh, you might even make a friend.

Categories ,2015, ,hipsters, ,MP3, ,Patreon, ,Record Store Day, ,Spotify, ,Steve Albini, ,The Baffler, ,Vinyl, ,Youtube

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