In today's LA Weekly online I do a Q&A with Raymond Roker, founder and publisher of Urb magazine. He announced earlier this month that he's putting the print version of Urb on hiatus in favor of a digital edition and a new online experience to be launched at the end of October.
We asked: The focus of your coverage changed a lot over the years, from techno and raves to indie hip-hop to even some indie rock. Was it hard to keep ahead of the musical trends?
Roker answered: "I was never a fan of making Urb answerable to the rock music world. I always felt dance music and hip-hop was a world unto itself. However, as hip-hop and dance music started to abandon its own beach head and started to cross collaborate, I couldn't ignore this indie-rock chatter. At some point I stopped standing in the way of that and we evolved into that area. Some of the hip-hop and dance purists weren't down with us covering TV On The Radio, so it became harder and harder, and this was the limitation, again, of print. The music was demanding more and more diversity. Overall we served as a pretty strong voice. If you were to look at Urb and didn't have the music in front of you could you trace our covers and see where the music was going. We were one of the first magazines to acknowledge that the indie kids were the next DJs. We did that before Spin an others. We were the first covers for TV On The Radio, Kid Sister. Flosstradamus. Our Next 100 [annual issue] was the rally the place to see where things were going like the Diplos of the world and even A-Trak when he was a turntablist b-boy. We have done a good job of it, but it absolutely got more difficult for any publication to keep up with the diversity of the music."
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