Magazines are mostly dependant upon advertising for survival and that’s increasingly hard to come by when it takes a month to update what’s happening, compared to a website’s few seconds. If it’s news you want, magazines lose out every time but the best of them look good, employ decent writers and bring us closer to whatever we’re interested in. They’re hopefully here to stay and who knows, you may even make a few quid selling them on eBay one day...
Echoes (formerly Black Echoes) celebrated its 40th Anniversary in January 2016. When I joined in 1990 it was a weekly newspaper and a mainstay of the UK reggae industry, although it’s always covered other forms of black music and especially soul. I was soon writing three features a week, as well as singles and album reviews, and making regular trips to Jamaica. This was during the early 90s when artists like Sizzla, Buju Banton and Luciano were on top, and the flood of roots and dancehall releases – from the UK, as well as Jamaica, surpassed anything I’d heard in years.
In 2000 Echoes underwent a change of ownership and was transformed into a glossy monthly magazine. The look of it had changed but it was business as usual inside the covers as Echoes continued to provide first-class coverage of key genres, and live up to its billing of "the UK's essential black music monthly." It’s been an adventure writing for them all these years – just ask editor Chris Wells.
“Riddim magazine covers up coming, established and forgotten artists, sheds light on current developments, takes trips down memory lane, addresses issues, sparks off debates, looks behind the scenes and out of the box, is hardcore, yet never narrow-minded.”
Based in Cologne, this specialist reggae quarterly is widely respected thanks to editors Ellen Koehling and Pete Lilly, who know the music and the culture inside out. I’ve contributed to Riddim since it started in 2005, but confess that I still can’t read German. It’s a treat to look at though...
Reggae Vibes is France’s No. 1 specialist reggae publication. I’ve been writing for them since 2008, and can’t thank editor Gilbert Pytel enough for regularly granting me the freedom to explore subjects in depth, and then enhancing the text with such arresting graphics. Salut!
This London based magazine had attitude, and kept us on our toes. I was a regular contributor for most of its short lifespan, circa 2004/5.