Constantly evolving and capitalising on an ever-growing web presence, Leisure is the D-i-Y community that unearths new talent with an uncensored attitude.
Fronted by 7 foot something business head Blaise Bellville, Leisure is a virtual army of talent that lives on the internet. Run and enforced by officers Rhys Coren (editor), Bob Foster and Joe Iley (staff writers), Kingsley Ifill (photo editor) and Toby Evans (in-house design and odd-job man) this six man strong wolf-pack strolls into their Hackney road HQ each day to bring lighthearted joy to their audiences. An extension of Platform, the now independent company that supports a number of innovative online and offline ventures, Leisure is a sister portal for up and coming innovators, curated by Bellville enterprises and run akin to ISYS and Boiler Room. Constantly on the hunt for fresh meat, filmmakers, artists, illustrators and designers are nurtured and encouraged to get in touch with the dedicated team who run the joint. Working out of whatever greasy spoon didn’t kick them onto the curb after hours spent sipping a single tea, to their current premises, a veneer-clad office brimming full of talent, things are on the up and up for these lads of Leisure.
Currently exploring the first thematic centre point of Leisure’s content Hedonistic Imperative: A Month of Psychedelia, the site has taken the form of a blog-roll, interspersed with a lot of glitchy, bright animations and offline celebrations of psychedelia varying from tie-dyed t-shirt gatherings in fields, to big psych parties. New, exciting, confusing and uncontrived this is an unbounded celebration of youth culture with a strong voice and a lot of support. i-D online caught up with Rhys to chat through their plots for world domination.
What subcultures do you represent and aim to inform? I don’t think I can positively identify a subculture that has or was derived from a shared enjoyment of creativity, humour and stuff in such a broad sense. Looking at the kind of people who work here and contribute, we’d look very weird walking down the street together. A bit like when you’d see goths, indie kids and proper towny kids all hanging together in a town centre in the late 90s. One had a guitar, one had a Ben Sherman, one had a skateboard, one did well at school, one got expelled.
Tell me more about the Hedonistic Imperative theme the site is currently exploring? Perhaps a risky first subject to launch with, but we were all firmly grasped by summer and the highs that brings when we chose the subject, and tie-dye and hippy sensibilities all seemed fine and exciting in the sun. But then we went on to unearth the theories and philosophical writings that formed the basis of the familiar 60s/70s youth cultures, which led to us exploring rave cultures, various trippy artists and utopian theories for example. It turned out to be strangely informative and go beyond our initial preconceptions (whilst also embracing them slightly too).
What’s the next theme in store? The colour spectrum.
Which websites and blogs have inspired the site? Mid 90s fractal gallery websites.
What up-and-coming talent are you excited about right now? Tommy Viney, Tom Hobson, Sabrina Ratte, Stan Still, Emma Sheridan, Haddaway, Weegee, Charles Manson, Ricky Kasso, Arv and A Guy Called Gerald.
What blogs do you regularly subscribe to? spaceghetto, ISYS, vvork.com
Is the age of printed magazines now over in your opinion? Never. We may want information easily and for free, and publications may not be able to support moving image, but actually having a handsome artifact in your hand is something special. For our next theme we hope to bring out several publications through our various projects to do with colour. One month in the not so distant future we will probably just chanel work into a publication.
What are some of the most integral magazines, from time gone by that you would like to see brought back? The original punk fanzines from the late 70s and 80s. Some of the football ones in the 90s. Big Brother skate mag was a true inspiration and definitely formed my love of writing in a time when school made me so disillusioned.
What is the 5-year plan for Leisure? To employ someone especially to make cups of tea so we aren’t forced to make 15 every time we fancy supping a brew; to be able to promote and support creative excellence and, with the inevitable fast-paced evolution of the technologies we currently work with, to still use GIFs.
Who are your top 5 heroes of all time? Martin Keown, Dave Carnie, Normski, Sergio Tacchini and Yoshiro Nakamatsu