Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Kim Hillyard

KimEver wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, A&R, and even positions you may not have known about make the music you love come alive! We spoke with Kim Hillyard to get a grasp on what it takes to edit a successful online music magazine and help bring us behind the scenes of our favourite bands!

AMBY: How did you first get into your industry?

KH: I started Uni, wangled my way on to the campus radio station and quickly realised how amazing it was to dig out records and play them for people. I started running the entertainment pull out in the Uni paper, which is where I began writing about music. I did lots of work experience and writing online for free. I then worked for Q Magazine reviewing bands at Glastonbury, spent months researching for BBC Arena on their Phil Spector documentary, then I Like Music asked if I’d like to become Editor. That was four years ago!

AMBY: Explain to people what you do.

KH: I’m Editor of We’re a cross-genre music magazine and have been online for over ten years. I listen to all the music we’re sent then schedule and manage who we’re going to feature and in what way. Since being there I’ve interviewed over 500 artists – my favourite part!

AMBY: Your online magazine has been around for over ten years. What are some of the key things to running a successful online magazine?

KH: Hard work. Believe in your ideas. Cover what you feel passionate about.

AMBY: How vital is it for you to expose new music to your listeners?

KH: It’s important and hopefully our weekly new music playlist –– caters for that. For me though, new music is as much about new releases as new bands. Often bands releasing their second or third record can get overlooked because they’re not a new band. For me, if I haven’t heard it before and it’s good, it’s just as important for our audience to be aware of it.

AMBY: What is the craziest work related thing to happen to you?

KH: I interviewed John Lydon (Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols / PIL) for well over an hour. We ended up having quite a deep conversation about music and life in general. I came out of the interview in a bit of a daze. My dad used to play the Pistols in the car.

AMBY: What are some of your favourite moments while being at I Like Music?

KH: I’ve had some hugely inspiring conversations with some incredible musicians. Mike Love from The Beach Boys sang Good Vibrations to me down the phone, I chatted with DJ Shadow in his dressing room about digging vinyl, I interviewed De La Soul and chatted to them about old school hip hop, I interviewed Noah and The Whale in their beautiful loft-conversion studio, I spoke to Squarepusher about philosophy, I sat with Amon Tobin in Ninja Tune HQ and talked about mind-blowing sound creation,  Jessie J started to tear up when we were chatting about her music and the other week I went to Willy Moon’s house and he played me some of his records! J

AMBY: What do you do for fun outside of work?

KH: I listen to a lot of music I might not discover at work. I’m massively into old soul, Motown, Stax Records and I’m slowly building up a monster playlist of incredible soul and funk rarities. I’d like to play them out at some point. I’m also making a patchwork quilt (it’s taking AGES).

AMBY: What is the best and worst thing about your gig?

KH: Best is all the music I get sent. Worst is not having the time to feature everything I like.

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

KH: Radiohead – Kid A, Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine, The entire back catalogue of Nina Simone (I know that’s cheating a bit…)

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

KH: I’ve stolen the Ikea monkey.


Thank you Kim, for giving us your answers!

Alicia & Yaz Atout

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