We are very pleased to have you onboard here at by:Larm, Rob Young!
The former chief editor of The Wire, moved to Norway as an economic migrant (and of course because he is married to a Norwegian woman), are now ready to join the by:Larm team, and started his career in by:Larm by booking Kim Gordon as the first key note speaker for by:Larm 2013.
1. Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born in Bristol, in the west of England, and moved to London in 1993. Bought my first record in 1979: ‘The Number One Song In Heaven’ by Sparks. Worked in a classical/jazz/avant garde record shop in the early 90s, and began writing while there. Like a lot of music writers, I started out as an enthusiast rather than a trained journalist, but I identified The Wire as the magazine that reflected my tastes early on, and they began publishing my work in 1992. Shortly afterwards – one of those ‘right place, right time’ stories – I began working in the (small) editorial team and eventually became chief editor in 2000. Since 2004 I have been semi-freelance, writing about music, film and art, curating stuff and writing books, including my history of British visionary and folk music, Electric Eden.
2. Why did you move to Norway?
Have you seen the state of the UK right now? I’m an economic migrant! Oh yeah, and by complete coincidence I’m married to a Norwegian woman. I have been visiting the country for work and pleasure since the early 90s and feel a strong connection to the place.
3. What is your impression of by:Larm seen from an outside perspective?
It gives Oslo some zing! In the middle of winter, and makes the whole Nordic music world feel vital, energetic and significant. It gets the balance just about right between the ‘music industry’ stuff and the real reason for what it’s all about: the music itself. And it’s run by really enthusiastic people who seem to being doing it for the right reasons.
4. What can you say about the job that you are now going to do at by:Larm?
5. How would you think you can make a difference and an impact on by:Larm?
Those two questions are kind of connected really. I was super-happy to be invited to join the team here, and I’m hoping to use by:Larm’s fantastic resources to encourage some inspirational talks and debates to take place in Oslo. Hopefully we can enjoy face to face encounters with legendary musicians, producers, managers and people who have made a real difference in the world of music. Especially those figures whose work extends beyond just making and writing music, but into other fields. At the same time our panels will tune in to the most important debates and questions about contemporary culture.
6. What other projects are you involved in now?
As well as running The Wire’s Oslo office(!), I’ve just edited a book called ‘No Regrets: Writings On Scott Walker’, in association with The Wire magazine, which collects new essays on this great artist, and I’m actually involved in a very exciting project with his label 4AD in connection with his forthcoming album. I’m working with Universal Records on a series of compilations connected to my Electric Eden book – the first one, a double CD, has just come out. And I’m working on a new book, a kind of unconventional, occult history of British cinema and television. It’s called The Magic Box, and it’ll cover British sci-fi, horror, the obsession with the past and time-travel, weird children’s TV, how the English landscape has been represented on film, and much more. Plus, of course I’m trying to learn to speak Norsk fluently in an Oshlo stylee.