Since it’s creation nearly two years ago, Bristol Live Magazine has managed to carve out it’s own special place in the hearts and heads of Bristol gig-goers and musicians. Part listings magazine, part music zine, Bristol Live strides across classification and prides itself on promoting the best local music that Bristol has to offer. Since its 2nd birthday is fast approaching, we thought it would be cool to catch up with Loki Lillistone, all round good-egg and Editor of Bristol Live, to give us the lowdown on all things local.
Counterpoint: As a fellow music publication ourselves, we know how frustrating it is when people label your as something you’re not. Bristol Live’s been called everything from a zine and magazine to a listings guide. How would you describe Bristol Live to someone whose never heard of it? What inspired it’s creation?
Hey, thanks for having us. Well I would say we’re a monthly print magazine, offering interviews, reviews, and live music listings for the cities of Bristol and Bath. Of course we’ve also got a web portion, where we publish lots of bits from Monday to Friday, helping people to get excited about what’s coming up and plugging new acts. It’s always interesting to hear how other people think of you, helps you keep perspective; I’ve always said we were either a really DIY magazine or the Rolls Royce of zines. Part of this medium-straddling is owed to the fact that we kind of did the whole thing backwards. Rather than being a publishing company, or even journalists for that matter, who decided to write about music, we were live promoters and music-lovers who dropped their jobs to make a music magazine.
As many may know we started in February of 2012 as ‘Fear Of Fiction’, but since our inception have introduced various new features, culminating in our re-brand to Bristol Live Magazine in July last year. It’s surprising that a new print magazine has taken off in the modern climate, but thankfully there are a few things that make us special – not least always putting a local act on the cover. In addition we exclusively review local releases in print, and cram this, touring news and live listings into a portable pocket-sized guide. We’re the smallest magazine you’ll meet. This being said the listings scheme has around twenty-five involved at present, making for a really comprehensive resource. It’s massively encouraging to be doing this in such a rad city.
I think it’s really important to provide a stepping stone to rising acts and venues, whilst teaching people how to get their music heard by the press at large. I regularly recommend you guys as having your hearts and heads in the right place.
Counterpoint: You celebrate your birthday on Friday 7th February with a massive gig at Start the Bus. What would you say have been the highlights of the year so far?
Yes we do – and you should all head down if this is published in time! Highlights of the year so far would be working on our birthday issue, and contributing to BBC Introducing’s list of ‘Ones To Watch’ in 2014; mostly because it involved hearing so many great tips from others and bigging-up as many acts as possible. One such act tipped was Casimir, whom we released last year. Their new stuff is all under-wraps currently but is sounding very cool indeed.
Counterpoint: Any exciting plans in store for the future?
We’re really enjoying just growing naturally at the moment. 2014 will be a year of developing the website to reach as many people as possible between print issues – luckily we’ve got some really talented writers on board. We’re also working hard on our London counterpart, London In Stereo, which we launched in February of last year with listings website of the same name. It’s really taken on a life of its own since then, owing in no small part to clever LIS editor, Jess. We were even featured in The Guardian last week along with fellow Bristol export Crack Magazine and other great ‘zines’ – mind boggling!
Counterpoint: Give us a few of your favourite Bristol-bands/ artists at the moment.
How long have you got?! For our birthday issue we caught up with around twenty of our favourite acts from past covers, so I’ve got heaps running through my mind at the moment. My personal favourite right now is probably The Naturals, whose experimental musings I can hear from my own flat on a weekly basis. Their album will hopefully drop this year. Towns have shown relentless quality in their output since we started, so I can’t wait to see them at the birthday show. And of course I’ll always be a die-hard Idles fan.
Counterpoint: Last question; what’s your guilty music pleasure?
Egads, maybe it’s best to embarrass others first? I know our designer Harry has a penchant for Paramore, as does one of columnists, Ben. Rhys, Harriet and Joe are far too tasteful… I guess mine would have to be Grouplove at the moment. Sugar-sweet pop rock for pretending it’s summertime.
You can read the latest edition of Bristol Live, here. Their birthday party is on Friday 7th February at Start the Bus, and features Towns, Idles, The Naturals and Howling Owl DJ’s. Go.