Writing About Music


We’re approaching the stage in Electric City Magazine’s development where it’s becoming a little-known fact that we started out as a local music blog. Electric City Live had been around almost four years when we launched the magazine at the start of 2016. Its live music listings were widely trusted and widely consulted, and are still the backbone of the magazine’s web presence.

Nowadays, though, when people talk to us about the magazine, it’s generally about our two other focus areas: politics and culture.

At the start of this year, Electric City Magazine was purchased by the Resonance Centre, and we are launching a collaborative project with our new owners to combine journalism and community dialogues around four key themes: Deepening Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Gender Equity, and Inclusion and Accessibility.

Last month we published our inaugural articles on these four themes, and we continue that work this month in many of our articles. Last month we also had Kate Story on the cover, who has played music, but is better known for her theatrical, dance, and literary work. It was a reflection of our ever-expanding focus in our pages on culture, which we define both as artforms other than music and as activities that people engage in together.

Still, writing about music is at the heart of what we do. When we started the magazine, people warned us that we’d run out of musicians to write about, but we’ve never worried about that. We hope that, issue after issue, we are making the case that Peterborough’s music scene is bigger than even musicians think it is, and that it is forever continuing to expand, with new artists and new ambitions.

Some of our cover artists have been predictable big names—the Silver Hearts, Lonely Parade, Serena Ryder—but we also try to put artists on the cover who, while not unknown, will still be new to a lot of readers, like Garbageface, or Television Rd, or Emily Burgess. And we still have a long list of artists we want to have on the cover when the stars align.

It’s worth noting that, when we put out the call for story pitches, we rarely get music story ideas. Maybe it’s because all but a couple of the music features have been written by one of the editors, so people presume we know who we want to feature and what we want to say about them. And there is some truth to that, or there has been in the past at least.

But a major factor has been, to be blunt, budget. It was cheaper, all other things being equal, for one of the owners to write at least one of the features. We prioritized getting a greater diversity of voices in the politics features, so we ended up basically taking turns writing music features, writing about whoever was next on our wishlist and available that month.

But that policy is inherently limiting. Though we pride ourselves on our wide knowledge of the local music scene, our scope, as anyone’s, is limited. There is simply too much music in this city for any one person to know it all.

And so, we want to hear from other writers. We want contributors who have things to say about artists we don’t know about or think much about, contributors whose map of the local scene is different, and whose burning insights about the creative process or the nature of fandom are attached to a band or a scene that they want to write about.

If you are that writer, we would like to hear from you.

Fields marked with an * are required