Behind the scenes: Brick magazine

by Stine Fantoft Berg in July 2016
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More than a year after the magazine’s initial launch, the second issue of Brick finally hit shelves last month. With its split-run covers featuring A$AP Ferg and Vince Staples, it offers a distinctive and in-depth exploration of contemporary hip hop culture.

Interested to learn more, I caught up with founding editor Hayley Louisa Brown to talk about the process of creating Brick magazine, the gap between the issues, and why she’s looking to the US for future growth.


Your debut issue launched in April 2015 and in your editor’s letter you say that you came out of it feeling exhausted and panicked at the thought of a second issue. What did you find so challenging?

I think the first time doing anything is challenging. I’d never made a magazine before, and neither had anybody I was working with on the project, so it was a very steep learning curve for all of us. And although the reception was really positive and kind, I felt a little lost in it.

We had a reshuffle of our editorial team, and moving forward alone, it took an incredibly long time for me to gather the confidence to start again. It felt like the house of cards I was starting to build had been blown over, and I just wasn’t sure I could re-stack them.


But you did! How did you manage to build the motivation to do it again?

I started taking baby steps, making lists of artists I’d like to feature and reaching out to record labels again. Once I’d taken that first step and sent that first email, I mentally committed to making the second edition and now we’re here.


What has the process of making this issue been like? What have you done differently, and are you feeling less exhausted from it this time around?

I’m now working alongside a managing editor, which has really changed the way I work. Having a solid – albeit tiny – team to work with has made me much more focused and the process is a lot easier to deal with. We’ve made a real point of having a weekly meeting, which has made a world of difference – just saying everything out loud and being aware of what’s finished and what needs to be prioritised seems to make my brain a lot clearer. It sounds basic, but it works for me.

I’m still exhausted from the process, and I don’t think any amount of organisation will prevent the weeks before print deadline being crazy. But I’m so happy with the outcome that it’s definitely worth all the sleepless nights and stress. It feels very different this time around, I’m much more in control and ready to get started on edition three.

I heard you’re stocked in Barnes & Noble – how has the reception been generally, and in the US specifically? 
The interest has been overwhelming – it was a pleasant surprise to hear that Barnes & Noble were interested in us, and it’s really exciting to see the magazine expand and have representation outside of the UK.

I think the US is an obvious market for hip-hop, and a lot of the artists we feature are American so it kind of makes sense that they’d be in demand there. We’re hoping to do an event in the US at some point to alert people to our availability there, as we’re such a new magazine.

The world is such a big place, and we have a lot of work to do to raise our visibility and presence in all the places I think we should be, but America is a great place to start. A lot of people assume the magazine is American, which is funny to me.


Looking at the artists you feature it’s quite male dominated – is that something you’ve been conscious of during the process?
I think it’s really difficult to find a balance in such a male dominated genre, without it being forced. I always want to work with talented artists that I believe in and find exciting, and I try to do that regardless of gender. Interestingly, the two features that fell through for this issue were both with female artists, which was disappointing. We featured Tinashe in our first issue, we have the amazing London vocalist RAYBLK (below) in the second, and the third issue will have a female on the cover, which I’m incredibly excited about.


You’re also relaunching your website – what part will that play?

The website will act as an extension of the physical publication. The whole point of creating a print magazine was because I love the physicality of it and the value that’s added to the content when it’s in book form, as opposed to online. So the website won’t be a digitised version of the magazine, but rather a place that enhances it. We’ll be working on pushing original video content, such as behind the scenes on photo shoots and filmed extracts from interviews. We’d like to build the video content and make exciting short films and documentaries eventually.

Come and see Hayley at our next Stack Live event on Thursday 4th August at The Ace Hotel. She’ll be digging down into the stories behind the stories from the latest issue, playing some music and meeting her readers…

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