At work with: Mindy Abovitz, Tom Tom Magazine

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Tom Tom is ‘the only magazine in the world dedicated to drummer girls and female drummers’. Taking Moe Tucker, Meg White and Karen Carpenter as its heroines, the 76-page full-colour quarterly has been produced in Brooklyn by Mindy Abovitz since 2009, and it reads like an uncompromising descendent of classic music mags and riot grrrl zines. We catch up with Mindy as she starts her week finalising the release of issue 23.

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Where are you today?

I am at my office (Tom Tom Magazine HQ) in Brooklyn, NY. Our office is the top floor of a massive music rehearsal space Dan Bro Studios. On any given day there are 300+ musicians rehearsing below us and so there’s always music coming through the pipes.

What can you see from the window?
I can see the Brooklyn skyline (mostly projects) and smoke stacks from the Ramen Noodle factory next door.

Are you a morning or evening person?
I am both!

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Which magazine do you first remember?

I remember National Geographic we got at home and it’s beautiful mind expanding photos of people, places and animals I have yet to visit.

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What’s your favourite magazine this morning?

This morning I am in love with Pitchfork Review (a lot of mornings that is the case). I also love Makeshift today!

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Who’s your favourite female drummer this morning?

Thanks. I can actually answer this because it allows me to have many favourites (which I do). This morning it’s Stella from Warpaint.

A magazine for female drummers sounds niche, yet you have a big print run when compared to other independent titles. Are all your readers women percussionists or do you think that Tom Tom has a further reach?
We most definitely have a wider reach. I hear from feminists and bass players and librarians and music lovers from all genders and occupations who read it. That’s our goal as well. To reach everyone and anyone. Our magazine is about female drummers but anyone can get something out of it. We design it that way.

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You’ve recently celebrated your fifth birthday – what have you learned about the independent publishing industry over the past five years?

I have learned that it is a painful process. And also the Wild West. Which is probably why I am still here! I love calling my own shots and working hard. The publishing world in today’s time requires this creative way of thinking that I am obsessed with.

What are you most looking forward to this week?
I am excited to be giving a talk at the Apple Store about Gender & Music. Later this week I will be interviewing Wynne Greenwood of Tracy & The Plastics and I look forward to seeing issue 23 in print (it’s due to be delivered to the office this week!)

What are you least looking forward to this week?
Computer work (the administrative side of Tom Tom) that seems to never end.

What will you be doing after this chat?
The computer work part!

tomtommag.com

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