Ever the purveyor of relevant journalism, we interviewed Tim Noakes, Music & Deputy Editor of Dazed & Confused Magazine
(the first of many wasted hyperlinks to come, one may as well be a capybara) in the Old St office-come-warehouse on a busy Thursday morning.
Flo: Hi Tim. So what do you do?
Tim: Well it’s a varied role, but basically I commission all the music features and co-edit Dazed with Rod Stanley, the editor.
Flo: So you don’t have a separate music editor, you’re deputy and music editor?
Tim: Yeah, that’s the thing with Dazed, because it’s an independent magazine, we haven’t got a huge budget to hire a lot of people, whereas in bigger companies like Conde Nast they probably have 20 people trying to do what 3 people here do so, we wear a lot of hats.
Flo: And what did you do to get there?
Tim: I slept with a lot of people.
Flo: That is the way.
Tim: I didn’t… Well it’s been weird, I was kinda trained as a photographer. I wanted to be a photojournalist, travelling the world, going to warzones but somehow I’ve ended up in a fashion bunker in Old Street.
Basically, I had to do a work placement unit for my college in East London. I sent out about 300 letters and one of the only people who replied was Dazed. It was an interesting time, Rankin had his shoots going on, Jefferson was going out with Kate Moss, you’d see Bob Geldof and Bono walking through, I thought, ‘what is this place, this is crazy.’
I got on really well with Callum McGeoch who used to be the music editor and he gave me a big break, by saying ‘why don’t you try doing a few record reviews?’ We had a lot of musical taste in common, both being hip hop heads back in the day. I then went on to work at a record company, Ninja Tunes, Big Dada, getting paid in free records, then someone left Dazed and I came in as the editorial assistant. Gradually people left, so just worked my way up really.
Flo: So how do you pick what goes into the music sections, are they your personal likes or what you get sent from PR?
Tim: Generally music content gets sourced by myself and my team of contributors whom I trust, young fresh writers who love everything from dubstep to lo-fi rock, glitchy electronica. We try to cover the whole base of genres, to expose brand new talents but also big artists, like Madonna, orJustin Timberlake.
But I guess all of the music comes from a variety of places. There is a lot of PRs sending me CD’s but I’ll be honest, 90% of them are shit. Terrible, terrible music.
Flo: If they were that good, surely you would’ve heard of them already?
Tim: Yeah exactly, and you can’t blame people for it, they obviously need publicity to get noticed. But generally the bands we put in are mainly bands you find on Myspace, out playing gigs, I talk to a few people and check them out or find them myself.
Flo: What are you listening to right now?
Tim: Well I’m getting married in a few weeks, so mostly bad 80’s pop music. But I listen to everything. I used to be a really big hip hop fan but I got bored of it in the last few years, I don’t think anything fresh or interesting has been released in ages, apart from the Clipse record which was amazing. There are a few exceptions like the new Mos Def album, but that kind of genre’s really died out for me. I really like old music, ‘60’s psyche stuff, the new lo-fi sound.
Flo: Wavves thing?
Tim: Yeah, Wavves maybe not the best, I prefer like, Thee Oh Sees, I like Eat Skull a lot. I just like new music that has an original voice and a good energy about it, a good persona, if your band’s cool, having fun with what you’re doing then..
Flo: Ah, I’m probably on the opposite end of all that, more minimal tech-house, a lot of Turbo, which you had a teeny tiny thing on in the last issue?
Tim: Oh really, yeah Turbo Recordings! I like all that electro stuff too, a few years ago we were bang in to all the Justice Ed Banger when it was going off. I’m not the biggest minimal tech house fan in the world.. but I can definitely appreciate the good stuff. I like this new guy Gold Panda, he’s not too ‘minimal’ but he changes his sound quite a lot, I think maybe you’d like it.
Flo: Yeah there’s been a lot of blog coverage on him recently.
Tim: Yeah actually, blogs… We’re like everyone else, we always look at blogs, obviously the internet is so important to journalism these days, I guess blog writers aren’t particularly that great..
Tim: MOST of them! I mean there are a lot of great ones, I really like Gorilla Vs Bear, Discobelle, 20 Jazz Funk Greats, I like all that stuff, they usually have great taste and can get away with things that we can’t.
Flo: Posting mp3’s readers can listen to immediately..
Tim: Exactly, if we did that we’d get a big lawsuit and get closed down. I do like the freedom bloggers have and see how they set their own agenda of taste, so I definitely admire and respect what they do.
Word. Check http://www.SocialStereotype.com for all of Tim’s Dazed articles and interviews.