Local Heroes

STEPHEN WHITE – THE LAST MIXED TAPE

6th October 2017

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We caught up with BIMM Dublin‘s Stephen White for a quick Q&A on his blog, The Last Mixed Tape.  

What is The Last Mixed Tape?

The Last Mixed Tape is an independent Irish music blog.

How long has it been running?

TLMT will turn 4 next February. Every year we celebrate surviving another 12 months with a gig, which I’m currently trying to organise. The past few birthday events have had a really good vibe to them, so I hope I can put something similar together this time around.

What is the aim of TLMT?

When I began The Last Mixed Tape my aim was to shine a light on new and exciting music, and I’ve tried to do that as best I can. That’s where the name comes from, a medium for sharing music I like.

I also wanted to offer a different take on the scene as a whole. Being a solo blogger has allowed me the freedom to express my opinion on the music Ireland produces, be it good or bad, without a filter.

How would you describe the Irish music scene right now?

I think the Irish music scene is constantly redefining itself. All genres are now accessible and catered for via streaming, Youtube, etc, so tastes have gotten bigger and the potential audience for bands has gotten wider. The spectrum of music available has been completely open for some time now, so the effects are starting to appear in the music being created.
Different sub-scenes are coexisting, thriving and in some cases merging into one another. Bands like Beauty Sleep, Le Boom or Soulé have sounds that could come from anywhere in the world. That’s not to say we’re losing our individuality. Instead, we’re expanding into genres that would not have necessarily been associated with the Irish music scene before.
Right now, particularly in Dublin, there’s a great sense of community and creativity going on. There’s something happening everywhere. Whether that be with BIMM and the impact the college has had on Dublin’s live music scene or collectives like Word Up and Homebeat. There are people bringing new ideas and approaches to the table unchained by the old way of doing things. That is having an effect on how music is presented, created and experienced in the city, which is so refreshing to see.

What advice would you give to young music writers?

Be honest. Finding your voice as a blogger takes time, it’s something I still work on. But if you start out in an honest place people will relate to what you are saying, even if they disagree (don’t be afraid of that either). People want to read what you have to say, not a press release. It’s your voice that makes you stand out.

Write as often as you can. Make time for it in your week, even if you don’t hit publish. Read over it and think about what you would change next time. I can’t look at some of my early reviews without thinking “what the hell was I talking about!?”, but I can see how I’ve improved. A huge part of that was finding out exactly what I was trying to say, and what’s the best way to say it. It’s trial and error.

I used to work for other blogs/sites, but once I found my own style and way of seeing things, I immediately felt the need to break out of that system and start doing things myself. Collective music sites with teams of writers are great and the opportunities are awesome, also the emails are fewer! But they can be limiting in other ways. So, if you’re like me and you want to put your own stamp on things (without having to worry about going through someone else’s writing sensibilities/criteria) then learn WordPress, set up your own blog, go to gigs, and just write about things from your perspective because no one else can.

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Author

Sinead Furlong