May 27, 2016

An independent music and arts mag based in Amsterdam, Subbacultcha is our go-to for all things new music and talented young creatives. We caught up with the editor, Andreea Breazu, and the art director, Marina Henao to find out a little about their latest issue, (which incidentally, you can pick up at our Utrecht store opening), the value in clean and simple graphic design and the burgeoning creative scene in Amsterdam.

UO: Tell us a little about the Subbacultcha quarterly magazine.

In a previous life, the quarterly magazine was a pocket-sized monthly publication focused on showcasing our monthly music programme and highlighting the new acts that our members and readers should know about. After six years, we had an amazing team of photographers and contributors and suddenly the small magazine felt too small. That motivated us to reinvent the magazine in a new format — still in print, but bigger and better, which gave us more room to be inventive both visually and editorially. We started looking beyond our monthly music programming, selecting relevant artists from a diverse range of genres and countries, so the quarterly features a roster of carefully curated artists and musicians. We’re loving this newfound creative freedom.

UO: Issue 04 just came out, what can we expect from it?

We’re super excited for this one as it tied together so nicely – the red thread running through it being collectives who are changing the music industry from within. To name a few highlights, we spent a day with GRGY and KC from SMIB Worldwide at the Westerpark fun fair, we tried something new with the Young Echo crew – all 11 members wrote us a story about their collective, we talked to some of the most empowering and inspiring women in the electronic scene right now – Discwoman and mobilegirl.

UO: How would you describe the ethos of Subbacultcha in three words?

Subbacultcha is a chaotic vortex of curiosity, enthusiasm and good intentions.

UO: What kind of stories do you like to tell?

Personal stories. We enjoy getting to know the artist on a different level rather than the usual shortfire album-promo interview. We love discovering the personality of an artist, their sense of humour or take on life; we’re inspired by creators and we believe that revealing personal stories inspires others and keeps good ideas flowing. This approach translates visually as well in the sense that we work together with the photographer and artist trying to find concepts which reveal a new or lesser known story about the musician. The bottom line is that we strive for organic, casual shoots, which have even led to long lasting friendships between photographer and artist.

UO: How would you describe the visual aesthetic of the Subbacultcha magazine?

It’s hard to describe the instinct behind our aesthetic language. We have a very clear visual idea of how we want to portray each artist but it’s difficult to sum it up in words. For years, we have been building a strong network of photographers around the world, and in doing so have been very lucky to find a solid team of creatives who possess the same aesthetic values as us. So due to this shared understanding we have been able to manifest those indescribable instincts into photography we are proud of. The layout fundamentally revolves around clean, simply typography, but we try to be playful by introducing variations in colour and type forms to suit the different artists being featured.

UO: What do you love about the creative scene in Amsterdam?

It’s an inspiring place to be! Everyone is doing something creative, there are shows and openings every weekend, it’s extremely dynamic. Being from two different countries ourselves, where the creative scenes pale in comparison, this energy is unlike anything we’ve experienced before — it’s contagious. This is why we love showcasing young, local visual artists — graduates from Dutch art academies — in a special artist’s feature in every issue.

Issue 04 is out now and available in the Subbacultcha webshop.