• Hero2
Publication

An interview with one of Vice's main men on 10 years of the magazine, growing up and p*ssing people off

Posted by Rob Alderson,

It’s gone from being the magazine your mum hated you bringing into the house to an innovative addition to the way news and pop culture is covered in this country. But as the UK version of Vice celebrates turning ten is the enfant terrible of the mag world still discernible in say, the recent sober and thought-provoking Syria issue?

“The aims are still the same – to cover stories either that other people won’t cover or to cover stories in a way other people wouldn’t do them,” European managing editor Bruno Bayley told us.

He compares the Syria issue with a 2006 poverty issue which saw the entire editorial team decamp to Nottingham to investigate everything from variety clubs to single mums – a letter from the council leader sits just pages away from a guide on how to rob people. It’s this sort of irreverence Vice is known for, but Bruno is keen to stress the mix of topics has always been an important part of the magazine’s DNA.

“I think some people think we intentionally try to piss people off but it’s not like that.”

Bruno Bayley

“Take the Poverty Issue and the Syria Issue – it’s the same process, throwing ourselves into one situation or one physical location and getting to the bottom of all the little stories other people hopefully wouldn’t cover.

“There’s been a massive step up in the amount of serious news stories we cover so there’s no need to crowbar in punk music or skateboarding. If it’s a great news story that’s just what it is but you can still do something more irreverent elsewhere in the issue.

“I think some people think we intentionally try to piss people off but it’s not like that. There is no need to make jokes for the sake of making jokes – that would be borderline perverse.”

Design-wise Vice has always been known for its covers, which are given over to big, eye-catching images which sear themselves into the memory by dint of being “funny, weird, scary, depressing or just startling. In some way there’s no pattern but they all really grab you.”

  • Uk-v2n9-education_300-copy

    Vice: Front Covers

  • V7n2-cover

    Vice: Front Covers

But looking inside at some of the earliest issues the consistency is striking. “Overall it’s amazing how little has changed,” Bruno says, ”but there’s slightly less hot pink going on than there used to be. If you think the stuff you are writing is interesting enough or funny enough then you don’t have to get too precious about design.”

And with Vice’s video arm really ramping up the standard of online television, what future for the magazine?

“I still think – obviously from a biased point of view – the printed magazine is the flagship for the whole company. If people have heard of Vice they tend to have heard of it through the magazine. That might change quite soon, because we’re making so many films and they’re so good. But I would like to think the magazine the most concentrated, direct way of looking at Vice.”

If Bruno and his team can keep up this combination of defined brand values and the flexibility to evolve and grow, don’t bet against a 20th anniversary in 2022.

  • Fashion-cover-(us)-copy

    Vice: Front Covers

  • Worst

    Vice: Front Covers

  • V9n6-cover-(8mm)

    Vice: Front Covers

  • V9n1-coverb

    Vice: Front Covers

  • Heroes-(us)-copy

    Vice: Front Covers

  • V15n4-cover-us

    Vice: Front Covers

  • V7n12-cover

    Vice: Front Covers

  • V9n8-cover

    Vice: Front Covers

  • V7n5-cover-copy

    Vice: Front Covers

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Publication View Archive

  1. Hatopress-book-5-int_copy

    I stand by my assertion that the opening scene of Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets, when Harvey Keitel’s character throws his head down to his pillow and the opening seconds of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby play out is one of the finest moments in cinema. It’s great. And as well as a great ear for soundtracks, Scorsese has discerning Italian-American tastebuds that he stirs through his movies like you would parmesan to a pomodoro.

  2. Invitation-strictly-personal-list-int

    Fashion show invites might be among the most highly revered of all printed ephemera – they serve a purpose which goes far beyond simply specifying a time and a place for a designer to show a collection. Invites are the key into a hallowed space reserved for those who have been selected, they present the first magical glimpse at what radical new direction a designer might be taking in the new season’s collection, they take every form imaginable – marked pill bottles, origami peacocks, bags, mock credit cards – and they are incredibly collectible. And one man who has taken stock of all these factors is Iain R. Webb. 

  3. Fontanel-dutch-design-talents-int-list

    Here at It’s Nice That we love discovering young creative talent – and feel a responsibility to identify and promote new artists and designers – but the challenge can sometimes feel daunting. So anything that can help point us in the right direction is hugely appreciated, such as this new book from Dutch creative site Fontanel. It has run a feature called The Fontanel Finals for the past five years, a scheme which showcases graduation shows and identifies the most interesting practitioners it finds each summer.

  4. Breakdownpress-studio-2-int

    Independent comics publisher Breakdown Press grew out of common interests, shop floor flirtations and conversations about the potential of a magazine that would champion young artists and provide a space for critical comics discourse. With the realisation that the best way to achieve its aims would be to publish comics that felt important, rather than writing critically around the subject, Breakdown Press sidelined producing a magazine in favour of publishing the work of artists who deserve to be recognised.

  5. Hipgnosis-portraits-p193-int-list

    You can almost smell the creativity, hash and late late nights behind the images in Hipgnosis Portraits. Or perhaps that’s just the super-shiny, huge full-colour pages. Either way, the enormous tome from Thames & Hudson transports you into a world of surreal scenes formed of surreal characters, taking us into the archives of the Hipgnosis design agency that helped form the mythologies surrounding some of the biggest names in music in the 20th Century.

  6. Juliahasting-akademiexmain-int

    A few weeks back, an enormous book the colour of a tube of Love Hearts landed on my desk. It was Akademie X: Lessons in Life an Art. Not often does a book look this succulent: the weight, texture and little details were enough to have the whole editorial team cooing over it. Published by Phaidon, it’s a collection of lessons written by artists such a Miranda July, Katharina Grosse, Walead Beshty, Marina Abramovic, Tim Rollins, John Stezaker and many others.

  7. Draw-down-cleon-peterson-int-list

    If you’re a fan of the explicit ultra violence prevalent Cleon Peterson’s work you already know Draw Down’s latest monograph on the artist is going to be an essential volume for your collection. If you’ve never encountered him or you’re faint of heart then this might not be one for you. Either way there’s a foreword written by Shepard Fairey, an essay discussing Cleon’s place in art history by Christopher and Kathleen Sleboda and of course plenty of Cleon’s magnificent work. It may be graphic in the basest sense with its visceral merging of violence and sex, but we’ve always been fans of these chaotic monochrome orgies and can’t wait to own some in print. Get pre-ordering!

  8. Newyorker-90th-int-list

    Here’s a piece of useless trivia you never thought you needed; what is the name of the monocle-wearing dandy who appeared on the first ever cover of The New Yorker and has gone on to become its mascot? The answer is Eustace Tilley, and for many years the magazine published his image almost unchanged when its birthday rolled around at the end of February.

  9. Sarah-hyndman-the-type-taster-int6

    Over the past couple of years, I’ve eaten sans serif, I’ve made huge typographic swear words with an ex, I’ve wandered Dalston taking pictures of kebab shop exteriors and I’ve seen Bodoni predict my fortune. Hell, I’ve even tried typographic dating. Why? Because of Sarah Hyndman, the one woman tour-de-force behind the Type Tasting enterprise, which takes a fun approach to typography and how it affects us emotionally.

  10. Sambradley-court-1-int_copy

    The result of countless late nights in a college studio watching NBA games, COURT is Louis Bennett and our sister agency INT Works’ very own Callum Green’s editorial answer to the trade rumour reports and power ranking speculation that litters basketball journalism.

  11. Closeyoureyes-list-1

    Close Your Eyes, the newest publication from Northern Ireland-born and London-based photographer Gareth McConnell, is one of those books which seems to boil history down and to present it for inspection. Gareth describes it as a “frenzied reworking” of his accumulated archive; it brings together over ten years worth of photographs of rave culture, of civil gatherings and of riots, all of which is placed side-by-side with found imagery from the internet, shots from historical moments and personal and political perspectives. 

  12. Michaeldeforge-list-int

    If you were to pick up Michael DeForge’s First Year Healthy struck by a wave of naive curiosity, you’d be making a grave mistake. Pink and sweet-looking though it may be, it couldn’t be further from a children’s story: rather, the newest publication by the Toronto-based cartoonist is a bizarre and mysterious tale about mental health, magic cats and very big hair.

  13. Philip-jodidio-taschen-cabins-int-list

    If you were under the sad misapprehension that a cabin was nothing more than a timber shack in the woods then think again sunshine because publishing powerhouse TASCHEN has just dropped a weighty new tome designed to prove you wrong. It’s recently released Cabins, a 450-page epic by Philip Jodidio that explores the many and varied forms that the traditional residence of shepherds and hermits might take – from brutalist mountain-top penthouses to more traditional timber structures tucked away on the forest floor. The photography, texts and format of the book are all pretty stunning, but the entire package is tied together with luxurious vector illustrations from Cruschiform that show floor plans and idealised renderings of a selection of these superb structures.