I love pouring over the inspiring stories and beautiful photography in Bristol-based independent magazine Another Escape. With the fourth volume on the horizon, co-editor Rachel Taylor tells me about the publication’s journey to date.
Please can you tell us a bit about Another Escape?
“It explores people and their passions, and the ideas and stimuli behind their inspirational lifestyles. We begin with quite disparate yet interesting subject matter, or a loose theme (such as ‘wood’ in volume three), and then find individuals practising in this area or living this way of life. We consider our readers to be intelligent lateral thinkers, and we aim to deliver content that’s both editorially and visually stimulating, with strong narratives throughout.”
How did it all start?
“Another Escape began back in late 2012, and the first volume was published in April 2013. Jody (my co-editor/partner) and I had previously collaborated on a couple of projects, but the magazine allows us to lend to each other’s strengths and truly enjoy working together. Both of us have a background in visual communication, so documenting and sharing stories has always been a big part of our lives. We’ve also had involvement from other fantastic individuals, all with unique areas of expertise.”
How has the magazine evolved?
“Dramatically, I would say. From volume to volume, we critique what we can improve and how we can better the content. Progress can sometimes feel a little slow due to our modest budget – a problem of being independently run. But being independent also gives us a lot of freedom that commercial titles don’t have. We very much listen to what our customers have to say, and we’ve taken some time to really understand and discover our voice. This is why our earlier volumes were much softer and gentler in nature; we didn’t want to come across too strong. But more and more, I think Another Escape is coming into its own. Now that we really understand the motivations of the magazine and have affirmed our ethos, we hope to take it a step further – our upcoming volume will be our most confident yet, and we hope it will really set us apart from other independent titles in terms of content and direction.”
How do you source so much fascinating subject matter?
“That’s the hardest part and what takes the most time. We usually have starting points – things that we’ve read about or found interesting – but from there a lot of digging and researching is required. With the next volume we’ll be structuring the magazine slightly differently, in a way that allows us to delve much deeper into subject matter. We’ve made this change because we don’t want to merely skim the surface of topics and miss the really interesting ideas. You’ll have to wait and see how this materialises!”
What do you want readers to take away from the magazine?
“We genuinely want them to be inspired by the people we feature and the topics we discuss – whether that means a way of thinking, a physical action, or even just those few moments when you read a page and pause for thought. My favourite written pieces pick you up, challenge you and plonk you back down with a new perspective on a familiar idea.”
What do you think indie magazines can contribute to the publishing scene?
“Independent titles thrive when they have a niche focus – when they can tap into people’s way of thinking and almost become an extension of them. It sounds odd, but personally I think Modern Farmer is a great example of this – it’s thrown farming into 2014 and highlights a lot of concerns surrounding the industry (the environment, meat production) in an easily digestible way (no pun intended). I’m a vegetarian and I still love reading it.
“For us, our niche is our ethos, rather than a particular subject area. A lot of new indie titles paint a picture of an aspirational lifestyle where you will only be fulfilled if you become an artist in some capacity, and that really bugs me. What we like to recognise is that everyone has different things that excite them and make them tick, and that’s fantastic.”
Out of everyone you’ve featured to date, who has been the most inspirational for you?
“That’s a tough question because there are so many people that I find inspiring (hence why we feature them!). From the last volume, I think kayak maker Kiliii Yu and papermaker Aimee Lee were highly inspirational. Even though I didn’t physically meet them (they live in the US), we conversed via Skype and email. Urban beekeeper Camilla Goddard from volume two was incredibly fascinating, too; I actually had the opportunity to tend bees with her on a London high-rise, which was an unforgettable experience.”
What are your future plans for Another Escape?
“Who knows? We’ll have to see. There are many ideas being bounced back and forth, but our main aims are to continue to push the magazine and to make the content stronger and even more interesting.”
Photography by Abi Dare