How to make a monthly music magazine for a 40-year-old record store

Liv Siddall didn’t know what she was doing. She didn’t have much time. She didn’t have any money. She didn’t even have a front cover for the magazine that was going to print the next day. Yet, she knew what she wanted and she made it happen. The Rough Trade Magazine editor taught us that by asking a huge community of creatives, bands and people who love music to help you out, something truly unique can be created.

by Tyrone Stoddart

»Oh sh*t, I have no idea what I’m doing!«. Foto: © Gerhard Kassner / Monotype

Siddall loved Rough Trade when she was younger. »If I could tell my teenage self that I was going to work for Rough Trade, I would just die.« Now she’s a grown up, she’s still alive and she just finished up her 15th edition of Rough Trade magazine.

What’s great about watching her explain the journey that she has taken is her honesty. She admits that she had no idea what she was doing when she started but was lucky enough to be surrounded by creative people who did and they helped her to realise the magazine.

»What if a magazine was a person? What kind of person would they be? Would you want to be friends with them?«

Siddall quickly realised that this magazine was hers and that she could do what she wanted. However, she also thought: »Oh my god, I have to make one of these things pretty much every two weeks.« This lead to horoscope sections written by bands, a feature where one of the staff writes about what he’s scared about and interviews with famous folks shopping for records. Not only does this help to fill up the magazine quickly but it adds an incredible personality that helps it stand out from its competition within the music magazine industry.

Liv Siddall is punk rock. She believes in a truly hands-on approach to working and her collaborators continue to relish in this wonderful community that she’s created to keep Rough Trade magazine going.

Further Links

Liv Siddall Website

Rough Trade Magazine

Rough Trade

Liv Siddall

Liv Siddall

Editor (London)

Liv Siddall is the Editor of one of the UK’s most loved music institutions, Rough Trade. Working from their Rough Trade East record store, Liv edits their monthly print magazine and curates and records their podcasts and radio shows. Prior to working for Rough Trade, Liv spent four years at It’s Nice That where she was Online Editor and Features Editor – working across their website and print magazine Printed Pages. She is also a contributing editor of Riposte Magazine. She also writes for numerous independent online and publications, is a visiting lecturer to numerous universities and regularly gives talks about magazine publishing. Rough Trade Magazine is a 64-page monthly print publication sold worldwide and in all Rough Trade record stores in London, Nottingham and New York. The magazine – made solely by Liv, in collaboration with designer Bruce Usher – is less of a music magazine, more a “shop” magazine. Made up of pieces of writing by shop staff, regular features from musicians and in-depth interviews with legendary artists and bands, the zine-like publication provides a personal, friendly, humorous glimpse at the music industry. The magazine prides itself on allowing bands to be represented as they want to be, often handing over pages to them and inviting them to fill them in however they want. It’s a music magazine that wants to be as far from your average music magazine as possible.