Interview with Patrik Lindgren of the Swedish Lira Magazine

If you’re familiar with Jazzfuel already, you’ll know that we try to talk to as many other ‘industry’ people as possible to extract great advice, strategies and insight that you can use as an independent musician.

Of course, releasing music and getting international press coverage for it is a hot topic.

Today’s guest – Patrick Lindgren – is well-placed to talk about this, as editor of one of Scandinavia’s main music magazines.

Lira was founded in 1994 and is a quarterly music magazine covering the scenes of folk, worl­­d and jazz music.

Their main market is Sweden but have readers in all Nordic countries.

Stay tuned for the full interview with Lira’s chief editor, Patrik Lindgrenm, below – but first, a quick takeaway:

“Anybody can make a fancy web page and videos etc. but you can’t fabricate or buy support from respected journalists”

It’s true: you can (and should!) write great bios and produce great visual content, but being able to tell a festival or promoter that “this person you know and trust likes us” is so valuable!

And, as we’ve seen first-hand, connecting with international jazz journalists and asking them to review your music is totally doable as an independent DIY musician with the right preparation and the right strategy!

Anyway: please welcome Patrick Lindgren!

Lira is not only a jazz magazine. How big is the team and how much space is dedicated to jazz?

Our main focus is on jazz, folk and roots music from around the world, and maybe 30-40 percent of the magazine is dedicated to jazz.

Lira started out as a folk/roots magazine in 1994, but in 2001 we decided to include jazz as one of our major focus subjects.

Since then I think the different scenes have moved closer to one another, and jazz/folk crossover projects are getting more common.

The core team working with Lira is pretty small, just me and a co-editor and a couple of designers.

But we work with a large and widespread team of freelance reporters, reviewers and photographers.

What’s the reason, in your opinion, that ‘Nordic jazz’ has established itself as such a recognisable sound in the world of music? 

I believe that one of the reasons is that you often can hear a traditional folk sound underneath the surface in Nordic jazz.

Sometimes obvious, sometimes more hidden deep in the harmonies and sounds and melodies.

North American jazz was embraced very early in cities like Copenhagen and Stockholm but we were pretty quick to add local flavors to the music, especially in Sweden and Norway I’d say.

How do you see the role of jazz magazines in ‘building’ an artist career today?

Maybe a magazine can’t build a career like in ”the old days”, just through articles and reviews, there are so many different ways to build a career, from playlists to social media.

But it is obviously still very important for artists to be featured in professional publications.

Anybody can make a fancy web page and videos etc. but you can’t fabricate or buy support from respected journalists.

So, being featured in for example Lira is still an important part of the puzzle, I reckon.

In terms of new artists, does it make a difference to you whether you’re contacted by the musician or a publicist?

Not necessarily, but since I as editor is constantly bombarded with messages, phone calls and e-mails about new releases and new artists and tours, leaving the job to a good publicist with a good network might be a worthwhile thing to do…

lira musikmagasin

How do you/your team decide on what albums to review? What are the criteria?

We try to review most of the Swedish releases in our fields, as well as music released in the rest of the Nordic countries.

Beyond that we look at what the big labels are up to internationally, but also try to keep up with interesting releases from anyone, anywhere.

Things that catch our attention and interest.

What should a new musician *never* do when pitching to jazz magazines by email?

Some musicians find it very difficult to accept a no for an answer.

They might get personal and that can get pretty awkward and annoying sometimes.

So, if your pitch is rejected, there’s probably a good reason for it – it must not be that we hate you or your music or are just ignorant. Maybe it’s just not the right timing.

I always tell people that a set of professional press photos is vital. And a basic but informative biography or press release.

What do you wish every musician knew about your work producing a music magazine?

That we need time!

Don’t contact us one week before releasing your album – contact us three months ahead!

And if the album material is not complete at that point, give us a heads up and a plan! 

Thank you, Patrik, for taking the time to answer our questions!

If you’re looking for more information about media outlets, check out our other interviews as well as our Jazz Journalist Survey results

Also don’t forget that you can follow Lira Magazine on:

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