CONCEPT: Graceland Day Book is where we revel in the intelligent, inimitable and totally mesmerising women we come into contact with during our travels; both across the globe on buying trips and en-route to the local dance floor. A series intended to engage and inspire, this précis collection of interviews represents the backbone of Graceland’s ethos: feel stirred, be superb.
The first issue of Love Letters was released just months ago, yet co-editors Pamela Boland and Lola Stephen are already disturbing the status quo with their self-published zine. Inspired by a breakup playlist, Issue #1 is an ode to female/non-binary musicians that help when times aren't so peachy. Pam and Lola have cleverly curated a collaboration of interviews, words, art, and photographs from inspirational femme / NB contributors, showcasing 'love letters' written to the likes of Patti Smith, Erykah Badu, and Kate Bush. Read below for our chat with Pam and Lola about the zine world, music, style and what’s next in store...
Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourselves...
Lola: I’m 23 and currently based in Dundee (wow that rhymes), Scotland and spend my time working on all things Love Letters, writing and playing music, working in an art gallery, and freelancing as a graphic designer making posters and artwork for bands. Pamela: I’m nearly 22 and currently living in Fremantle, Western Australia. I’m finishing off my journalism degree at university, waitressing and taking photos when I have the time because that’s what I really lurve to do alongside working on Love Letters.
Lola Stephens and Pamela Boland of Love Letters
How did Love Letters Zine come to be, and what is the inspiration behind it?
Lola: Love Letters is dedicated to femme/non-binary musicians and is a space to celebrate and say thank you to these people in the music industry.
The idea was born in the middle of a break-up and the want to put my energy and focus into a new creative project. I’d made a playlist which I titled POWER full of artists like The Runaways, Suzi Quatro, Sonic Youth and a bunch of other loud women which I played on repeat to drag myself out of the feeling-sorry-for-myself-I-just-got-dumped hole I was in.
Listening to this playlist really helped to make me feel confident at a time when my feelings had been a bit bruised and I knew others will have had similar experiences. That’s where the idea of curating a zine of ‘love letters’ came about to say thank you to these women for helping and dragging us out of these funks.
I met Pam at a party a couple of months later and already knew that she is a really great photographer after previously seeing her work online. I asked if she wanted to get involved in the project and thankfully she did and I’m so glad because since it’s grown a whole lot of arms and legs and working with Pam has been a whole lot of fun and has helped create Love Letters what it is today.
Issue One of Love Letters features an impressively diverse range of words, photos, and art from Australian female / non-binary creatives – what was your creative process behind putting together the first issue?
Pamela: I think the creative process was one that happened naturally sort of, along the way. The images, art and writing we received for the zine really informed the creative process for us and as they came together we started to see the zine. We scribbled away at lots of draft layouts and dream portraits and constantly sent images we’d seen which usually featured a lot of pink and/or a lot of glitter. Lola and I both loved similar magazines and got lucky that we could agree on most aesthetic decisions for the zine. Usually, those decisions were made late at night after an entire packet of chocolate digestives were consumed if you can call that a process? There was a lot of back and forth and working with another person was really good to be able to create something that wasn’t just representative of one taste, or one eye and having all different contributors allowed us to give a platform to all different experiences.
Holly Findlay of Stonefield Band in Issue #1. Photo by Eliza
What do you think is the driving force behind independent publishing in Australia?
Lola: I think it’s that want to create something permanent and physical in the present fast, ever-changing digital world. It allows us to be more present and take our time to sit down and read something and appreciate the work that’s gone into it.
Tell us your top five favourite musicians of late...
Lola: The Breeders, Dream Wife, Slowdive, Talking Heads and Say Sue Me. I was recently in South Korea and saw Say Sue Me at a bar by chance and they make this really cool 60s surf inspired music which is so worth checking out.
Pamela: Aldous Harding, Kali Uchis, Chastity Belt, Body Type and Demon Days. I saw Aldous Harding at Laneway this year and was just captivated by her voice, go listen with a cup of tea. Body Type has a new single ‘Arrow’ and I’m obsessed with the video, they are actual angels floating around in the clouds all clad in fantastic red outfits.
How does your love for art and music influence your style-aesthetic?
Lola: I really love 70s punk and new wave music and that is something that constantly feeds into and that I tend to reference in my work. It’s also something that comes across in my own personal style, always living in a flared jean, band t-shirt, big hoops, and a leather jacket.
Pamela: I’m really into 70s folk and all of the golden colours that comes with the imagery of that time. I’m also really drawn to pink, overtly “girly” imagery, similar to the kind you see in Sofia Coppola films, so I try to merge the two in my own photography and explore the female gaze. I think this comes across in the clothes I like to wear, I love a good ol’ cotton nightgown, doc martens and big earrings.
We hear that the second-hand shops are seriously lush in WA, what is your all-time favourite vintage find?
Pamela: I found mine in a fancy dress shop closing down sale bin. It’s a huge black jacket with big puffy sleeves, maybe 80’s? It has sparkly silver stars all over it and it’s made from this accordion-like material. It goes perfectly with a pair of 501s and an old tee.
Lola: My favourite ever, ever is from a vintage shop I used to work in when I lived in Edinburgh. When I left they let me choose something as a leaving present and I’d been eyeing up this beautiful floor length pink kimono which they very kindly gave to me. I moved to Australia for two and a half years and didn’t bring it with me and I thought about it so often...regretting leaving it at home. I was reunited with it recently and wear it constantly. My favourite pairing is with a t-shirt, my shiny black pvc mini-skirt and boots.
What’s something you have your sights set on achieving in 2018, and what’s next for Love Letters?
Pamela: I’ll be finished university by the end of the year which is exciting to finally be free! I’m planning on working on more photography projects and hope to help out more in the WA music scene working with organisations such as Girls Rock, putting on events and creating a space and voice for women in all facets of the arts here.
Lola: I’m currently back in my hometown so to make another move elsewhere and also record and perform my own music for the first time. I’m also aiming to organise more events that support femme/non-binary musicians here in Scotland as diversity and representation in the music scene is so important. Coming from Australia, Perth specifically, where there are so many important conversations around this and people actively curating diverse lineups and creating spaces for everyone, is something I definitely want to bring that over to this side of the world.
In terms of Love Letters, we’re launching our online site as a place in between issues as we’re currently an annual publication. We want a space where we can share conversations, interviews, and music that we love more regularly. It’s going live at the end of June and we’ve got some really exciting things planned for it, as well as a couple of accompanying events to celebrate so be sure to look out for it.
Words: Lucy Giblin
Check out more of Pam & Lola's work:
Love Letters Website