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Guest Interviews

NMC Guest: Claire (Founder & Editor at NARC. Magazine)

How long have you been active in the north east music scene and what do you do?
I’ve been going to gigs in the region since around 2002. Music and writing have always been a passion and I started freelancing for local magazines and newspapers but ended up a bit frustrated that there wasn’t an outlet for me to talk about the amazing talent I was discovering in the region, so I set NARC. magazine up in 2006 to fill a gap in the market – both for likeminded writers, but also for musicians to get a wider platform. Since then, we’ve become an established part of the region’s cultural landscape, a source of alternative music and culture news, reviews, interviews and opinions, with a dedicated audience and a trusted voice.

How did you become involved in music and what have you done to get where you are today?
Mostly by good old fashioned networking – if you can call going to gigs and talking to anyone who’d listen to me ‘networking’! In the early days, attending as many gigs as I could and meeting new people was absolutely essential in building a picture of the region and understanding the scene. It’s often at gigs that I meet writers who are keen to join the team, and hear bits of news that end up turning into articles.
I’d like to think we’re approachable and open to anyone who wants to be featured in our pages, and we treat musicians and creatives in a fair and friendly manner.

What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music?
When it comes to writing, just doing it a lot will serve you well! When I was first starting out for at least a year I read nothing but music magazines – across every genre and style imaginable – and I read them from cover to cover. It helped me to understand the style of writing I liked (and that I didn’t like) and helped to shape my own voice.
When I first started out, there wasn’t really anyone to ask advice from or get any insight into the industry, so I largely forged my own path and made it up as I went along for the most part – now I’d like to think that there are more resources out there for budding writers, and I’d certainly like to encourage people interested in music and culture writing to get in touch with us at NARC., I’m always happy to give advice to writers as well as bands looking to get a bit of an insight into the world of press and promotion.

What are your favourite things about the north east music scene? Are there any particular highlights from your experiences?
We’re a small region, but I think we have the potential to make a lot of noise. Being somewhat isolated from the rest of the country has its plus points, I think the music scene is largely quite supportive and there are a lot of well-meaning people and organisations who can help steer musicians on the right path (like Tees Music Alliance, Generator and Tracks). I think it’s this aspect that makes me feel the most proud to live here and be involved in the music scene.
In terms of personal highlights, right now I’m feeling very wistful about the events we’ve been involved with in the past – things like NARC. Fest and Stockton Calling – these festivals are always a highlight of my calendar, as I get to see so many bands and meet music fans, which is really at the heart of what we do at NARC. I can’t wait to get back to a sweaty music venue and some loud music!

Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch?
Our monthly magazine can be found on Issuu while we’re digital-only – www.issuu.com/narc_media and when we’re in print our list of outlets are on our website www.narcmagazine.com, where you’ll also find loads of original content including videos, features and exclusives. NARC. TV is our magazine-style online programme, which features performances and interviews by local artists filmed in local venues – that’s available to watch at www.youtube.com/NARCmagazineTV.
And we’re on the usual social media channels too: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
Anyone is welcome to get in touch by emailing me at narcmedia@gmail.com

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