By Lena Sukhova
A magazine created by students has done what few non-commercial publications achieve — it has survived.
Created in 1994 by two teenage girls “in support of starving musicians,” the free Toronto-based RHiG magazine released its fifth anniversary issue Feb. 16.
“We’re not interested in making money or becoming the next Spin magazine,” said Krista Lamb, RHiG‘s editor-in-chief and a third-year journalism student at Ryerson. “We’re interested in supporting independent musicians, artists and photographers.”
The magazine’s main goal is to bring publicity to independent bands through interviews, concert and album reviews. The magazine can also be helpful to beginner musicians, with lists of independent music labels, career tips about issues like copyright and publicity, and free classifieds. RHiG also looks behind the scenes of the music industry, putting producers, vocal coaches and managers into the spotlight.
The magazine was founded in February, 1994 by Eva Chan and Anat Finkelstein. They shared the publishing and editing duties, while Lamb was a publishing assistant and an advertising representative. The three young women also wrote most of the articles.
“There was an idea that young girls going to school couldn’t do it, and that we’d be out of there in a very short period of time,” said Lamb.
But RHiG‘s staff of about 10 people has managed to keep the magazine afloat for five years. In fact, Lamb said some people consider RHiG’s team experts in indie music. She has been quoted as an expert a number of times in Eye, a Toronto-based entertainment weekly.
The biggest challenge in producing RHiG is coming up with money.
The magazine is published bimonthly and is funded mostly by advertisements. It costs about $700 to put out an issue.
The magazine is distributed mostly by friends of the staff and the bands who offer to help out. RHiG can be found in record stores and clubs around Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, New York, Buffalo and Detroit.
Despite all the troubles of production and distribution, Lamb is grateful for the experience she’s gained while working for RHiG, which she hopes will help her become a “real” music journalist. “You don’t want to go to Spin if you haven’t interviewed a real rock star, because they’ll eat you for lunch,” she said. Some of the bands and musicians featured in RHiG include Korn, Bif Naked, Marilyn Manson and Beck.
Lamb became editor-in-chief in December, 1997, after Finkelstein left to work in television and Chan went to law school. However, the two founders are still involved in RHiG‘s production; Finkelstein is still the publisher, and Chan is responsible for layout.
RHiG‘s fifth-anniversary issue is currently available at record stores like Sam the Record Man and Tower Records, various clubs, and the journalism lounge at Ryerson.