A Music Magazine Made of Candid Snapshots
In an age dominated by music blogs and digital photography, Oklahoma-based magazine publisher Morgan Tepsic might seem like a luddite. His tools are decidedly analog: disposable film cameras, cardboard mailers, sharpies, a printing press. But for TEPSIC, his newly-launched music magazine, that’s all part of the allure. He gives artists tricked-out disposable cameras (a diamond-encrusted one for Killer Mike; one doused in gold spray paint for A$AP Rocky) and lets them document their world. The result is revealing — as long as he can get the cameras back.
You’ve given cameras to Kreayshawn, the Flaming Lips, Reggie Watts. What kind of photos do they send back?
Anamanaguchi took photos at this haunted house and Go-Kart track for issue No. 1. The craziest would probably be George Lewis Jr. of Twin Shadow. He played a show in a bathroom in Los Angeles and there’s this photo where he’s being sprayed with the shower head while singing. The funniest is a photo that Das Racist took somewhere in Europe. There’s this giant billboard that has a photo of Heems and Dap with “DAS RACIST” written all over it, and Kool A.D. is just standing in front of it — they didn’t include his photo on the billboard — just waving at the camera like, “Hey… uh… I’m in the group too, dude.”
You custom-make the cameras, right?
I don’t want it to look like a regular, store-bought camera. So whenever I send one to an artist, I want it to be something that fits them. For A$AP Rocky, he dropped that single “Goldie,” so I sent him cameras that were spray-painted gold. And Ariel Pink, I sent him a nice pink camera with kiss marks all over it. I sent one to Unicorn Kid and since he’s really into Japanese, neon-type art, I did one like that. I want it to be something cool for them to bring out, not just some dinky Kodak camera.
Have you ever had an artist who didn’t send their camera back?
Yeah… Killer Mike. I sent him a diamond-studded camera. The whole thing was just blinged out and I never got that camera back. He started dodging me and I was just like, “Alright, fuck it, I’ll just move on to the next one.” Really that’s kind of the risk, when you’re dealing with these people who are touring all over. They have more important things to worry about than a disposable camera.
Wait, were they real diamonds?
Hell no, I’m not even at that level yet. Definitely fake.
Your day job is as a web designer, and you’re obviously very active online. Why start a magazine that’s all about print?
TEPSIC started out as an art and photography magazine in 2010. After about a year, I started getting kind of burned out on publishing things that were already available on the internet. So my buddy suggested sending out cameras to musicians for a special music issue. I immediately knew this is what I was meant to publish.
You live a few blocks from the Flaming Lips in Oklahoma City. Is it weird trying to put out a magazine from, well, Oklahoma?
Um, well, the rent is cheap.
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