Here we are with a brand new rather self-explanatory feature called Behind The Scenes. We’ll kick it off with the lovely Michael Renaud, who has taken time out his busy schedule to chat with us. His time, I assume, is usually filled up with really boring, mundane stuff like commissioning the world’s best illustrators to make hilarious comics, listening to cool music and chatting to photographers about bread.
We tracked him down to get some insights into the making of their difficult second issue. Turns out it’s still a dream to produce, and he’s enjoying it even more than before…
You’ve had a few months to let the last issue sink in, were you waiting to see the feedback before you started on the next?
Not really. By the time we sent the first issue to print we were already knee-deep in the second and third issues. It’s definitely a work in progress in the sense that we are going to let it mature in an organic fashion, and a big part of that is feedback from people.
The comics in the last issue were incredible. Tell us about the illustrators and artists you’ve got in this issue and why you chose them.
Yeah, I’m very proud of the comics. This issue has almost 25 pages! It’s a bit insane—Aisha Franz, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Simon Hanselmann, Michael DeForge, Edie Fake, Johnny Sampson and Alex Schubert are all in there. Raymond Biesinger, Kate Prior, Caroline Andrieu, and Irkus M. Zeberio also contributed illustrations. With the illustrators, they’re always chosen based on how they pair with the tone of the piece, and if they can help to advance the storytelling. With the comics, we’re looking for artists that have a certain aesthetic sensibility that pushes what comics can be, not to mention an untraditional sense of humour.
Did you work with any new photographers?
We worked with Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler on a 32-page photo essay from Matthew’s latest project, River of Fundament. They used an excerpt from the five hour-plus film of a very visceral and auditory moment, and they lead you through the process of how they integrate sound into their work. Aside from that, much of our photography in this issue is archival or shots from staff photographers. In the end, we really leaned heavily on illustration this time around.
What is it you look for in editorial photographers?
A point of a view, a sense of humour, an acknowledgement of the under-appreciated nuances in everyday life, a sensibility for new and exciting movements in the collective aesthetic consciousness. It really has a lot less to do with how polished the work is or what kind of equipment is used, and is more about the person’s ability to find or make beautiful moments. And the cover was shot by the brilliant David C. Sampson, who I love dearly. He’s one of my favorite people in the world to work with.
Is issue two still sending out the same message as the first issue?
I hope so, although the only real message is that music is something that is meant for us to spend time with. The Review aims to give people an outlet for that notion, a tool for slowing down and appreciating what is meaningful throughout the day to day churn of our modern grind.
Two issues in the bag, what have you learned and can you predict any changes for the third?
Things are a little less mysterious to us, and we’re starting to understand our own identity in the print realm. I think this comfort level lets us be a bit more free-wheeling with our voice, and we’ll also start integrating regular features and snippets that people can look forward to from issue to issue.
Best bit of the magazine?
Hard to say, but Mark Richardson’s piece on his relationship with music via Sun Kil Moon’s Benji is required reading in my opinion. And the fake advertising section by Alex Schubert is a nod to all of the ads I loved growing up from the back of mags like Maximum Rock’n’Roll and National Lampoon. So hilarious.