The Beat Goes On
According to some industry experts, print is dead. But if you ask Hanna Hanra, a Britain-based DJ, journalist, and culture vulture, it’s only certain forms of print that are destined to go the way of the Walkman. “People will always buy magazines,” insists Hanra, who contributes regularly to glossies like Love, Elle U.K., i-D, and the London Times. “But the readership has changed. I’m part of the last generation for whom The Face, i-D, and Dazed & Confused are important magazines. An 18-year-old who wants to know what the cool bands are and where the cool shows are doesn’t need to run out every month to buy the newest issue of The Face. He can just read the blogs.” And so blogs—and more importantly, blogs with corresponding free zines—are where Hanra has been devoting much of her attention over the past few years, when she’s not writing for the man or deejaying runway shows for the likes of Matthew Williamson and Sienna and Savannah Miller’s Twenty8Twelve line. After closing down P.i.X, the popular free music paper she started with London scenester Princess Julia earlier in the aughts, Hanra has just debuted her latest project, Beat. “What I’ve done is take the visual sensibility of a fashion magazine and the content of a music magazine and made them one thing,” she explains of the newspaper’s first issue, which hit select coffee shops, nail bars, and similarly hip hangouts in London this week.
Don’t let the zine mentality fool you—this is no amateur project. Beat is art-directed by Dean Langley, who was art director at i-D, and features work from Alasdair McLellan, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, and Clare Shilland, who just won the National Portrait Gallery’s photography prize. And though it’s not short on fashion content, its focus is squarely on music—which, for Hanra, means letting musicians dress themselves. “You can always tell when a band’s been put in someone else’s clothes,” she says. “[Beat] is not anti-fashion, it’s anti-fake fashion. Like, we featured Grinderman and Nick Cave always looks amazing. Then there’s Alice Dellal on the next page with ripped tights and Dom Jones earrings and a slayer leather jacket. There’s also a section on how to dress chill wave, that’s literally just street style and Flickr pics of people embodying the trend, like Victoria [Legrand] from Beach House.” The first issue features a boy cover and a girl cover on alternating sides (represented by Josh Ludlow of Turbogeist and Jenny Lee Lindberg and Theresa Wayman of L.A. band Warpaint, pictured, respectively) and, of course, there’s already a full-throttle blog, www.thebeatjuice.com. There’s that digital/print divide rearing its head—and Hanra is nothing if not opinionated on the strengths and weaknesses of each. “There are certain things you can’t do online—a great picture doesn’t translate, for example,” she says. “But I wanted to have both things. As long as people have walls, they’re going to want things to stick on them.”