Launching a magazine for a music institution like Rough Trade isn’t a task for the faint-hearted - the record store-turned-label has a loyal global following, and is revered by industry insiders and music-obsessed teenagers alike. Brought on board earlier this year to distil the essence of the iconic 40 year old brand into a 64-page magazine, Liv Siddall has produced a charmingly eclectic monthly volume that’s true to Rough Trade’s slightly anarchic roots – with the most recent issue selling out entirely. No doubt her experience as Contributing Editor at Riposte, the ‘smart magazine for women’ (and a Women Who favourite), which she’s worked on since its inception, came in handy. Formerly Online and then Features Editor at It’s Nice That, Liv also occasionally writes for magazines including Another and Dazed. Read on to find out about life as a freelance writer, what it’s like to launch a magazine, and how she basically manifested her dream job.
ON HOW SHE GOT STARTED AS A WRITER
I got into writing totally by chance. My teacher at university very kindly awarded me a one-week placement at It’s Nice That when I was in my second year. I didn’t even know what It’s Nice That was back then, but when I walked into their teeny office on Rivington Street I realised that it was my dream come true.
The task in hand when I began working there was just: bring stuff to the table that you like, and then tell other people about why that thing is great. Blogging, essentially. I’m a real enthusiast for all kinds of crap, and at the time I was obsessed with album sleeves, comics, illustration, graphic novels, music videos – so the chance to tell people exactly why they should be into that stuff too was easy and genuinely fun. At that stage I couldn't “write,” necessarily, but anyone can gush about stuff that they’re really, truly passionate about. It just happened that there were people willing to employ me to do so at that moment in time. At the end of my third year, when my whole world was crashing around my ears and all my pals were going off to get design internships (I studied Graphic Design, and was terrible at it), It’s Nice That emailed me and asked me to come in for a ten-week internship. I stayed for four years and ended up working across the magazine, podcast, online, and events. It was like a dreamy finishing school, I loved every minute of it.
I never went out into the world and said, “I want to be a writer!” And I still don’t think I’m a writer. I still only write about stuff I’m super into, and I fully, fully believe that anyone else who tried their hand at that could do it too. Anyone can check your grammar and make sure your sentences aren’t too long, but if what you’re writing about is coming from a pure place, then you can’t go wrong. There’s a reason why I was never any good at writing paid-for content or advertorials. As soon as the passion was gone, my writing reverted to being like that of a lazy GCSE student.