Exclusive photos, rare interviews, and surely months of work have gone into the composition and preparation of Thoughtforms, the expertly-presented Lush fan magazine approved by the band itself. Buzz had surrounded Lush’s reissues late last year, and that enthusiasm has extended to the first new music from the band in decades. The release of their Blind Spot EP on 15 April marks an amazing comeback, and a fresh examination of a sound Lush mastered and championed over a quarter century ago. With the release of the Thoughtforms fanzine, Lush gets the royal treatment they deserve. Richly detailed with exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes photos, and observations from those who were there from the outset, this is a labor of love that celebrates the return of one of the genre’s founding bands. We sat down with Thoughtforms‘ creator Richard Lewis, and asked him about the process, and the final product.
DKFM: Tell us a little about the background, the genesis of Thoughtforms?
RL: Interestingly, I had an idea back in ’95 or early ’96 to publish something about Lush but that never got off the ground, for various reasons. So, when the band’s reunion was announced, creating a publication about them came into my mind again; it seemed like the perfect way to celebrate their return. Last September I created two social media fan pages for the band, both of which were received well, but I felt that the band deserved something more special than just a few online posts and tweets and so Thoughtforms began to take shape. I love the social media aspect of what I’m doing but I don’t think you can beat an actual physical product.
DKFM: How did THIS team come together, to tackle THIS project?
RL: I’ve actually done everything by myself apart from creating the final magazine layout templates as that’s one skill I just don’t have. I was lucky to meet a graphic designer called Paul Lambert who really understood my ‘vision’ for the magazine and made some suggestions regarding the layout, colours, etc. Apart from that, everything else was down to me. I work best when left to my own devices generally, and this was very much the case here.
DKFM: Tell us about the finished product?
RL: I’m really happy with how the magazine has turned out. It’s been an incredible amount of work, but I definitely think it was worth it. A lot of detail went into how it was going to look; I had very specific ideas and, as I mentioned before, Paul Lambert made it all come together and work. There are some really interesting interviews in there; I tried to go into as much detail as possible with each interviewee and I think there’s a nice balance there; it’s informative and interesting. I think it’s nice how much of the content refers to the band’s reunion and their new record, so it’s very much looking at the present and future of the band, with the occasional glance back at the past.
DKFM: There are fanzines, and then there is Thoughtforms. This is no Xerox-copied indie/punk fanzine, but a slick, professional production. Any ‘zine experience in your youth?
RL: Actually, yes! I wrote a couple of fanzines in the 90s. The most popular one was called Germ, a title that I never liked, but it sold really well and featured some great bands like Cardiacs and Levitation. Then there was a punk zine called Subversion that featured lots of underground punk bands from the UK and then another called Headfirst that was handed out at gigs, which featured bands like Huge Baby, Map and Funzig. A cassette compilation titled Automatic Mind Control accompanied that and featured some of the bands I just mentioned plus others like Homage Freaks, Under The Gun, The Skraelings, etc.
DKFM: Did you get the opportunity to see Lush play live, ‘back in the day’? Tell us about the experience?
RL: My first show seeing Lush was at the Old Trout in Windsor with The Sandkings supporting in 1990. Then I saw them a few weeks later at the After Dark club in Reading when, I think, the band were supported by Slowdive. I saw them just two or three more times after that.
DKFM: You got full cooperation from Lush putting this together, and got contributions from all the current band members AND Ivo Watts-Russell, co-founder of the seminal 4AD label. Tell us how you got everyone on board, and about the input they gave?
RL: The band have been amazing, dedicating lots of time to me which I really appreciate as they are all extremely busy with their jobs, families, etc. Miki kindly put me in touch with Ivo; 4AD inspired me so much when I was growing up, and so to have the opportunity to talk with him was very special indeed. His passion for the band as people and their music just shone through. Chris Bigg, who worked in collaboration with Vaughan Oliver at v23 and who worked on much of the artwork and design for Lush (including the band’s new Blind Spot EP), was amazing too. He designed the front and back cover of Thoughtforms, with photography by Martin Masai Andersen, who also co-directed the band’s new ‘Out Of Control’ video. It’s an absolute honour to feature their work.
DKFM: Lush have implied this might not be their only new release. Does that mean Thoughtforms may also be a continuing enterprise?
RL: Absolutely. I’ve never thought of Thoughtforms as being a one-off. In fact. I’ve already begun to think about ideas for the second issue. I’m hoping to have it ready for the band’s North American East Coast dates in September.
DKFM: How can fans get their hands on the premiere issue of Thoughtforms?
RL: You can order the magazine at lushfanofficial.com. The band will also have copies to sell at some of their shows.
DKFM: Where will you be catching Lush on tour this go-’round?
RL: I’m actually on my way to London now for the band’s first gig in twenty years tomorrow evening (April 11th) at the Oslo in Hackney, London. Following that I’ll be at the band’s two Roundhouse shows in London, a show in Berlin where the band are supporting Pixies and I’m also planning a week-long trip to the US in September for the band’s East Coast tour.