navigating the in-betweens with Karl Henkell of Record Culture Magazine
As we constantly find ourselves dabbling in the space between music, design, culture and lifestyle, we feel a strong pull towards concepts and endeavors that resonate with this mindset. Record is an independent music publication that highlights unique music subcultures and communities around the world – but it’s more than that. Music is just a starting point for Record and simply a lens to see the world.
We are very excited to collaborate with Record for an edit – a selection of eight records that match our eight moods together with a complimentary copy of Issue 8. It’s an ode to this year’s issue and a celebration of mutual interests.
Karl Henkell, editor-in-chief and driving force of the magazine, tells us more about his picks and also gave us a little bit of insight into the world of Record:
Tell us about Record and how it all started.
It all started in 2015. I was living in New York back then. I’ve always wanted to start a print magazine and I found it really strange not finding a print magazine that represented the music I was listening to.
There’s so much great music in the underground – or the fringes of it at least – as people like Tim Sweeney from Beats From Space and Veronica Vasicka from Minimal Wave are all kind of a little bit underground, but at the same time not really at all. There’s a lot of online media covering them and they were all doing club nights every week with hundreds of people. I just felt there should be a print magazine about this.
There is also often a huge mystery around record labels and people in the music world in general. They operate under a lot of aliases and sometimes you’re enjoying the music but you just don’t know who it’s coming from. I wanted to know who these people actually were and where they came from.
What was the preference towards doing it in print?
An aversion to digital.
I was an online editor for a website and I was just on a computer all the time. The idea of the magazine was to get off the computer and to interact with something physical, which I find to be just more enjoyable. It also ties into record collecting where you could easily listen to the same music digitally as well, but there’s just something about not looking at a screen while you do it that makes it a lot more enriching. It’s kind of an antidote to the screen overload that a lot of people feel at the moment.
Also as with anything that needs to go to the press – be it vinyl or a magazine – you definitely think about stuff at least ten times over. You want to make sure there’s no typo in there before you send it off to the printers. Whereas if it’s online, you can always just go back and edit it very quickly.
There is something really final about printing a book or pressing a record, but I’m not a purist by any means. I like to listen to music both offline and online. Same with the stuff I read. Both just occupy a different space in my life.
How do you go about finding the people you interview?
When we start putting together a new issue, we do some sort of litmus test worldwide and check out what is happening all over the world. We cherrypick different people from different local communities, because I think that also keeps it interesting and keeps the point of views quite different and also refreshing.
The magazine is now eight issues deep. Have you felt like you’ve already interviewed everyone on your wish list?
The first issue was definitely a personal wish list. A dream team of people that I admired and followed, like Tim Sweeney, Andrew Hogge and Philippe Zdar, who passed away unfortunately. From there, it kind of became like a family tree that keeps branching out and we just kind of hop from one person to another who definitely have some kind of connection with each other.
As it goes on, it’s just become kind of a never-ending wish list. By researching one artist, you come across three more. Also when someone is brought up more than three times, you can’t help but wonder what that person is up to. It’s a nice and also natural way to keep things going.
Is it mostly only collectors you put in the spotlight for Record?
Not necessarily, but a lot of them happen to be collectors definitely. The thread that binds everything together is simply people who are passionate about music. Whether they make a living out of music or not.
We don’t only just feature DJs, radio hosts or record label founders. We also feature fashion designers and art curators like Matthew Higgs from White Columns who don’t make their living through music per se, but whose art and life are definitely influenced by music.
This connection between fashion and art seems to be very central to the magazine. Has this always been an intention since Day 1?
Definitely. I’m interested in the crossover between music, design and art. That is the crux of the magazine. We’re never really trying to be just a music magazine, or just a lifestyle magazine. We are kind of occupying this in-between space, which is a nice space to inhabit.
Having interviewed people from many different backgrounds, what scene do you most relate to personally yourself?
That’s an interesting question. I grew up in Melbourne and spent 24 years of my life there. I have a lot of nostalgia for the time in Australia before I was born, like 70s post-punk and 80s electronic stuff, which labels like Noise in my Head, Efficient Space and other labels in Melbourne are really trying to capture in sound. At the same time, my parents are German, so I always had a link to Germany and I have a bit of a nostalgia based on nothing in particular for Krautrock and Neue Deutsche Welle.
Having said that, a nice thing about doing the magazine is finding likeminded people all over the world. I was always quite glad to grow up in Australia, because skateboarding and music were very heavily represented. You had American skate teams coming every week and in nightclubs there were always Japanese, American or European DJs coming to play, which felt quite rich culturally. But I think through chatting with people from all over you realize you could probably have had a similar upbringing everywhere. There are always people from all over who are totally into the same things. I was maybe aware of that in an abstract sense, but chatting to people really makes it concrete.
For example, I could really relate to the life story of Phillip Lauer, the German DJ and musician that’s in the current issue. He grew up skateboarding as well. Sometimes, I also meet people with a totally different life story. Laraaji comes to mind right away. He started out as a comedian and then moved on to healing communities. That diversity is totally interesting and keeps me going.
Has your relationship with music changed by doing the magazine?
Yes, undoubtedly. It becomes your job, rather than just something that runs parallel to your life. The funny thing about making a magazine about music is that while it’s all about music, it’s not that I listen to music 24/7. I am not someone that can write an email with music with lyrics playing. I still kind of have that fun playful relationship to music, because 80% of making a magazine is about other stuff. It’s still fun to discover new stuff and dig into things.
If anything, you realize that music is just this ever-expanding universe. It’s like that thing where you think you know it all, but you’re just scratching the surface. Even when you chat to people like Danny Krivit, the legendary disco New York DJ with 40,000 records in storage, they are very aware that they haven’t heard it all. It just shows you can’t really go to the bottom of it. Which is a really nice thing.
It’s definitely a gift that keeps on giving. We’re curious now, what does your personal record collection look like?
It’s not that over the top actually. Maybe two hundred odd records I love and have picked up just randomly all over the place. You know that feeling when you are not really looking for anything particular, and then you just find something that sounds right in that moment? I like those finds the best.
You’ve selected one record in each mood for the Record Edit. Can you share with us why you resonated to these records specifically?
· Having a Blast | Leon Lowman – Liquid Diamonds
This happens to have been the first release on Music From Memory, and what a way to kick things off. It’s idyllic, classy, cocktail hour music for the fantasy bar in my mind.
· Ready for Action | Trance – JD Twitch / Trance Not Trance
One side of this record is titled “Contemplation”, and will have your mind pleasantly floating off in all directions in a meditative expanding horizon kind of way. On the flip what JD Twitch, of duo Optimo, delivers is hypnotic in a different way. Well suited to the club, or strobed up living room.
· Emotional Rollercoaster | Georgia – Immute
Georgia, whose minds we delved into in the pages of Record Issue 6, are prolific and always delivering up surprising, healing, and mind-expanding music. “Bendires Trasher” is a highlight on this record.
· Lost in Dreams | Wilson Tanner – II
This is a really lovely record. It’s contemplative and emotional. There is a theme of water that runs throughout. The collaboration consists of Andrew Wilson, aka Andras who features in Record Issue 7, and John Tanner. Efficient Space, run by Michael Kucyk who features in Record Issue 5, put this one out. Many reasons to pick this one up.
· Taking it Easy | Liquid Canoe
As the title suggests, this record is a bit of a mind-expanding psychedelic canoe ride down a calm river. Quite a ride.
· A Sense of Melancholy | Annelies Monseré – Happiness Is Within Sight
This record suits the winter months ahead. Plenty of room for thinking here. Another great one from Stroom.
· Floating on Clouds | Suso Sáiz & Suzanne Kraft – Between No Things
A modern supergroup of sorts, this record is the collaboration between Suso Sáiz, who features in Record Issue 4, and Suzanne Kraft. Both excellent producers in their own right, this record is an uplifting meeting of the minds.
· Calm & Collected | Ruins – Occasional Visits
Another stand out discovery from Stroom that you didn’t know you needed until it was here. Self-assured in an ’80s leather jacket kind of way. This would surely make for good driving music.