As the effortlessly cool and crafty online platform celebrates the eminent release of its first-ever print edition, we talk to its founder and artistic director Michael Marson about what it takes to launch a paper publication today – “It’s a lengthy process, but I’ve always liked a challenge.”
Most people would consider you crazy for launching a print publication in today’s media landscape. What made you take the plunge to do so anyway?
I agree that it’s quite an adventurous journey, but there’s nonetheless a real scene for these kinds of print publications. It’s completely different than other, more classic, print media. We’re talking about a biannual release here, BehindTheBlinds sits somewhere between book and magazine. I really believe people and art lovers will always feel the need to have something tangible, to see things on paper, instead of just on a digital screen. It’s a lengthy process, but I’ve always liked a challenge.
Which are your biggest inspirations in terms of (print) media?
I’m inspired by a bunch of different things, that go from vintage magazines from the 90’s and the 2000’s as well as by radically new media such as Instagram. It’s all about re-interpretation and mixing things together with a new vision. I still have images in my mind from 90’s MTV; music videos by Radiohead, Hole and Sonic Youth, mixed with the pre-Madonna Erotica mood. And there are images from Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel and Fabien Baron that have always haunted my mind.
I really believe people and art lovers will always feel the need to have something tangible, to see things on paper, instead of just on a digital screen.
Did you grow up with magazines around you?
Yes, absolutely. At the age of 12 I was already collecting editions of magazines such as Vogue, Dutch Magazine, ID and The Face. I also remember running to the library to find the newest and freshest inspiring media. This sure got me some strange looks from other kids, as buying magazines the likes of 7Extra was more common at the time.
Who was instrumental in getting this first print edition off the tracks?
I’m really grateful to have had the strong support and help from my close collaborators such as Kim Poorters and Remy Russotto, who have been there from the very beginning. Kim is BehindTheBlinds’ co-editor as well as my third eye; his vision and advice are totally essential. On the other side, Remy brings something fresh – raw – synthetic with his own words. When we started the online adventure about a year ago, both of them weren’t very familiar with the fashion scene, and that has brought something extra to my initial vision. For the print process, we work with a talented duo of graphic designers: Aurore Lechien & Gregoire Vanderheyden. We’re on the same wavelength, and both of them bring about different approaches for BehindTheBlinds. I also really want to thank Xavier Bourgeois who’s in charge of press and media and who helps me a great deal too. But there are a lot of different people involved in this process and project; this list is without end, honestly.
Some features are more raw, some are more romantic, some are black and white, some colourful, but together they are all in balance.
Which features are you most proud of? And is there one specific feature that symbolises BehindTheBlinds the most?
I sincerely am very proud of all the productions and features this first issue contains. It’s really impossible for me to choose one in particular. They are all very different and each of them represents a unique facet of BehindTheBlinds’ spirit. Some are more raw, some are more romantic, some are black and white, some colourful, but together they are all in balance.
Is the “Belgian” tag important? Is it reflected in the content that BehindTheBlinds is a Belgian publication?
The Belgian touch is obviously present and important. I think it’s evident; I grew up here, the Belgian spirit is ingrained in my mind. I really want to push established an burgeoning Belgian talents and confront them with international contributions. Unconsciously, it’s part of my universe, but BehindTheBlinds goes further than that; I don’t want to make the claim that this is a purely Belgian media. It’s a mix of a lot of things, ideas and inspirations. I was always very close to the American youth spirit, subcultures and music. They continue to inspire me and give me the impulse to come up with new ideas.
When can we expect the first edition and where can we find it?
This issue is like an introduction and talks about ‘Firsts’ in a bunch of different ways. First Crush, First Love, First Fear, First Obsession, First Collaboration … and all of these are expressed through fashion stories, artists’ portfolios, backstage memories, and intimate interviews. I really like the crossover and interaction between talents. To give some examples: there’s Walter Van Beirendonck who interviewed his former student Glenn Martens, Hari Nef in conversation with Kim Peers, Matt Lambert who captured through his lens a first date-fuck in Berlin, an intimate discussion with Sebastien Meunier, and lots of other stuff to be discovered inside. The edition is in English, and will be distributed worldwide, with a focus on Paris, Berlin, London, NYC and Tokyo, through selected shops, libraries and museum bookshops. In Belgium it’s in shops like Peinture Fraîche, Smets, Hunting and Collecting, Filigranes and Rewind Store. A list with stockists which will be available online very soon. The issue will be out from mid-to-end of September. And for the really impatient: it can be pre-ordered on our website, and will be shipped out directly when it’s ready.
What advice would you give to bloggers with dreams of launching a print media of their own?
Be focused, be passionate and trust your desires.