Socially Distancing Playlists - Claire Alleaume
Skateshops heavily rely on a powerful soundtrack, music is there to resonate with everyone who comes through and now that the physical store is closed under government guidelines I'm missing 8 hours of music a day, so I started getting people from across skateboarding to put together playlists.
I think I might be a fan of Claire Alleaume, we've never formally met or got to skate together but she's an asset to the British scene through her writing and skateboarding. I had a feeling that she would put together something special for everyone to listen to.
Last year Claire launched Two Set Zine, a self published magazine which solely relied on receiving contributions from whoever wished to produce work whether that be an essay, poetry or art all under one subject.
Hopefully you'll read this interview, get stoked and consume some new music whilst your socially distancing.
You were the first person to message me and say your playlist might be too long.
My first cut – bearing in mind I thought it was maybe an hour long – was actually over 4 hours long. I trimmed it down extensively and it’s just over 2 hours long now. But I guess a lot of the songs are quite long, so there’s not a million tracks.
I suppose the whole point of a ‘playlist’ is to be curated. I didn’t just chuck any song I liked in there! But it is a little bit longer. Everyone’s probably got a couple of hours to listen to music at the moment, hopefully someone will enjoy it.
There’s a lot of Jazz in here, could you explain your choices?
It's mainly jazz, although I use the term broadly. It's pretty much all instrumental. My guiding thought was that it's good to work to and walk to, obviously people are stuck inside, working from home… Reading too. I thought this was a good playlist for that.
A lot of jazz. A lot of British jazz, a lot of London jazz actually but there are some others throughout the mix. Some well-known names and some obscure artists that people hopefully won’t know and will discover.
Could you take us through a day-to day routine?
I'm actually really busy, I'm working from home full-time now. I’m lucky and grateful as I’m definitely not bored. I should be in Vegas right now and then I was supposed to be in Boston so that’s changed but I can work here, it keeps me busy during the day…
I’ll go out at 5ish and try to get some time outside. Skating with the dog for a bit. It’s not massively exciting but you know... It’s boring in the sense that ‘I’m just working’, but I’m thankful because I can work, and I’ve got loads to do.
Is the timing of 5pm a secret way to use up your allocated hour without getting an extra skate in because it gets too dark?
Yeah it’s a weird one. It's a case of 'Do I go out first thing or not?'. But I can look forward to 5 o'clock… I go out with the dog and push down hills, really going for it. It's tempting to go out in the morning but I need something to work towards.
Have you got any goals? You're killing it on the piano on your Instagram. We shamelessly started Runescape accounts.
I wish I had an inspiring goal, but my main goal is working hard and succeeding at that to be honest. The business I work for, like most, is affected by all this. We are all working even harder, even though we are at home. So that’s kind of my goal but I realise it’s not inspiring for anyone else.
I’ve been home for 20 days now. Not that I’m counting haha. If this whole thing is going to last, I’ll figure it out and find a goal to concentrate on then. I’ve always got something going on anyway, whether that be some writing or working on my zine, just no specific goal yet… Maybe I'll read some of the other interviews and get inspired.
Thats cool, I’d like to bring up Two Set, we have a copy here. Its refreshing and different. Its skateboarding without the act of skating, it literally could have removed skate photos. It's the feeling of opening up a mag and finding something you enjoy. The whole thing had something interesting. That was inspiring.
Awesome, thanks. For me it's about bringing something different. There’s a million and one skate zines and mags, and I’ll enjoy reading anything out there, but there's not necessarily that many that are very different either…With Two Set I guess there’s the focus on writing. It doesn’t at all have to mention skating and it’s not about skateboarding but what ties it together is all the contributors are skateboarders. Which is neither here nor there really but it appeals to me because we have so much talent in the pools of ’skateboarders’.
I’ve pretty much got the second issue ready and it’s completely different but also more of the same. It has more contributors, it's more international too, it's more diverse. Essays, poetry and even sculpture is in there, it showcases another side to the subject. I make Two Set as something I’d want to read so it’s a little selfish in that sense, but I figured there’d be likeminded people who would also be into this kind of stuff.
I like it when zines or other content in that way, especially if it's issue based. If it doesn't adhere to a running theme, so each one in its self has a curatorial presence and then you buy a second one and it has a different overall vibe. I want to see someones curatorial vision in lots of different ways, then it doesn’t get stale or boring too.
Exactly! That was important to me, the first theme was Nostalgia. It’s good to showcase different art and photos as well as writing. Virtually all the content is original, made for this zine based on the theme. All the pieces are different because of the contributors’ interpretations of the theme. I’ll continue to push Two Set in that way.
If it's available we can plug it!
Unfortunately, the second issue is delayed. You can follow the twists on Instagram, and we have big cartel too… It's a personal project and it's something I do on the side and the current crisis has created a few delays. It's not something which will come out often but I’m aiming for 2 or 3 issues a year. It takes time, especially when people are writing and producing specific content for the zine. But I’d rather have it that way. I’ll let you know when it’s available, won’t be too long now.
When it comes to making content and zines, when your not regimented about it or not being disciplined creating the issues do you think that gives you a lot more creative freedom and how important are deadlines?
I feel like I’m split over this haha. On one hand I feel pressure because contributors work hard to create content and some readers enquire about the next issue. And I’m really glad people are waiting on the second issue, but they might have to wait a bit longer because I want to get it right and give time to contributors who are putting in the effort. So on the other hand I have been annoyingly terrible at deadlines because I'll extend it to makes a piece happen for example…
I’m also really keen on having lots of different ‘types’ of things in the issues as well. Two Set isn’t something you'd read cover-to-cover necessarily. You might read a piece here and there, look at it once in a while.
Do you think that kind of freedom to not make deadlines is something you enjoy about self publishing because you can be tactile? Do you try to finalise work with a set criteria?
I would say I’m big on criteria in my work life, but with personal projects there's definitely a difference. I have a very corporate job that’s all deadlines and set criteria and I enjoy it actually. But, even if it's unconsciously, with my personal life, I work very differently.
Working on projects like this, you start to ask yourself questions. Should I even do this? Should I rewrite this sentence? You can definitely mull over it all too much, so at some point you have to finish.
I set the release party before the first zine was ready which was a way for me to make sure I stopped tweaking it. There's always another issue anyway!
Could you give us a semi-preview of whats going down for the next issue?
I mean, it's meant be an exclusive… But here goes. The theme is Chance. Just like Nostalgia it can be open to interpretation. It's positive, it's negative, it can be torturous or beautiful. In French ‘chance’ actually means luck. There are lots of dimensions to it. This issue spans internationally from the States to Palestine and Scandinavia… They are all different people and different skateboarders. That’s what this is all about.
Words by Fraser Doughty & Sam Hutchinson
Photography by Sam Hutchinson