Running a sustainable clothing brand, art collective/promotional company with a punk aesthetic, founder of DENIAL Joe Taylor has recently published his latest zine Communion to celebrate grassroots live music venues and commemorate the good times of the live music community before the pandemic.
Communion was released with a mission to raise money for live music venue The Windmill and Marsha P. Johnson Institute, a charity that fights for the rights of black transgender people. A compilation of photos from their gig nights, writings and poems; Communion was born with the idea that live music resembles a glorious religious/spiritual experience. Today, we chatted with Joe Taylor about his personal experience with the local live music community, the inspiration behind his zine and the joy of working with talented creatives.
What is Communion about and what inspired you to create the zine?
Communion is primarily a celebration of live music and the amazing grassroots music venues that have been, and still are, struggling with the changes caused by Covid-19. For a lot of people, these venues create an amazing sense of community. In this piece of work, I want to explore this, as well as the parallels live music has to religious or spiritual experiences.
It is interesting how you describe the idea of live music being a religious/spiritual experience. How did you make the connection between the live music scene and religion/spirituality?
There are a lot of similarities between a religious service and a gig. The gathering of people to face an altar and lose yourself for a bit. You can make of that what you will, but I just think there is something very beautiful about the community and worship that occurs.
Communion is set to raise money for The Windmill (a live music venue in Brixton) and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute that fights for the rights of black transgender people. What led you to focus on supporting these institutes and their causes?
Initially the project was aiming to raise money for the Windmill, the infamous music venue where we were lucky enough to have our launch party a year ago. However, after the events of the last few months, we decided that it would be more fitting to split the profits between the venue and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. It’s horrendous the fact that black transgendered people are targeted and constantly victims of violence. We feel it is very important to show our support, especially considering the fact that black trans people paved the way for movements such as pride.
Tell us more about the creatives that have participated in this zine and what their works are about.
The artists involved in this publication are a few we had been planning to work with before the pandemic and a few we have worked with before, such as Sienna Bordello from the band Black Bordello and post punk band Legss. All of them have provided incredible poems and writings. It was an absolute honour to work with them.
It has been a difficult time for all live music venues since the pandemic hit, what do you look forward to doing or celebrating once things are going back to normal?
We have some big things in the works and can’t wait to get back to putting nights on but to be honest, it will just be nice to be back with friends supporting artists and venues that we love so much.