Clash #108 is themed around freedom; “individual and creative freedom is the lifeblood of the summer edition of Clash”, creative director Rob Meyers tells It’s Nice That, “in this issue, we praise the inspiring artists that assert their own unique essence through inventive and distinctive means of expression”. The four cover stars traverse the four poles of what Clash represents musically — high profile pop music, hip-hop/urban music, independent music and a “next wave” artist, and each musician stands true to the theme.
Although it is crucial that the “imagery is timeless”, Rob argues, “we always try and theme our issues thinking about cultural relevance”. The summer issue truly “represents a moment in time”; freedom is a hot topic, with the restraints of society preventing many from being who they want. The first cover features “liberated pop luminary” Troye Sivan, who “having abandoned the rulebook in pursuit of an authentic representation of himself, has explored and embraced the stigmas that once confined him”. Next is Anderson .Paak, a “dynamic soul adventurer, who’s spent over a decade building the foundations upon which his progressive legacy stands”. Third is Billie Eilish, an “unconventional Californian prodigy”, who “juxtaposes shimmering and ethereal cuts of pop profundity with the glaring demeanour of a teenage tearaway”. Last but not least, the fourth cover features Pharrell, one of the most influential creative minds of our generation.
Rob Meyer tells us, “I’d like to think that our covers feel bold and modern, while at the same time nodding to the incredible heritage of music publishing”. In the last two years, of eight seasonal issues released, over half of Clash’s covers have gone viral; it is clear that the creative director has established a reputation for creating memorable imagery. “When I started at Clash, the magazine looked like every other music magazine on the shelf”, he explains, “it felt like the magazine was trying to ‘fit’ in, which is not something I had any interest in; I wanted it to feel original”. These four covers are no exception, and they perfectly conjure up the mood of the artist. As Rob comments, when choosing the right photograph “I like to think about the mood and the expectations we had for the imagery before it was shot; I also like to talk to artists on set — for this issue, one artist told me they’d punch me if we ran a picture of them smiling”, he laughs. With each issue, he tries to better the one made before, and succeeds marvellously.
The insides of the issue have also had a revamp. The “reason we like to ‘evolve’, rather than totally change”, Rob tells It’s Nice That, “is because we have a core fan base that we need to think about when designing the magazine”. However, this time, instead of introducing a new, “seasonal issue font”, Rob has chosen to warp the title fonts in a way that eludes to “Martin Sharp and the punk and new wave work of Barney Bubbles”. The result is “part 1967 summer of love promo art and part ‘Nevermind’ — distorted, funky typography that eludes to the free, hazy feel of summer.
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