Christos Kontos, editor, Kennedy
This morning we’re in Athens, starting the working week off with Kennedy magazine’s editor-in-chief Christos Kontos. The interview heavy ‘journal of curiousities’ started when photographer Christos lost his job as a result of the Greek economic crisis. Now nearly three years later, the title is still going strong. We catch up with Christos after the release of issue five.
How was your weekend?
My weekend was pretty chilled and relaxed. Usually me and my girl work on weekends too and this one we tried to refrain from that a bit. We have been obsessing over Hercule Poirot, an 80’s TV show from Granada. The art direction is just unreal and the whole styling reproduction of 1930’s art deco apartments is a marvel to watch. So our weekend routine was watching a lot of that on the couch, sleeping early on Saturday night and enjoying an extended family dinner on Sunday which led to an extended afternoon nap. Pretty good for change, I think!
Tell us about your journey to work.
Actually work is at home. My office is at my place and the only detour from that is going to my local shop for coffee and checking emails and Instagram feed for a couple of hours. It’s better than staying in all day! I’m also a coffee obsessive and take the whole process too seriously. I like discussing the taste of the coffee with my friend at the shop and drinking a couple of espressos before I head back home.
After that I usually walk around my neighbourhood. I live in the centre of Athens and everything I need is within a two miles radius. So I walk a lot and never get on the tube.
After getting some things done and enjoying the town I get back home and work until 19.00 to 20.00. Today I was listening to a record from Canada called ‘Vini Vidi Vici!’ It’s a really peculiar and special dance record from 1989. I also read a bit of the Document Studios book for Lee Cooper and the new Outpost magazine.
Describe the state of your desk.
My desk is usually a mess and even if I tidy up, it looks like a battlefield after a while. It’s quite a big desk and filled with every sort of magazine, books, records, my desktop computer, my amplifier and my turntable. Also lurking around are cameras, film and loads of small notes!
Which magazine do you first remember?
I think the first magazine I started buying was i-D and The Face. It had to do partly with being too much influenced by British culture and music back in the 90’s. I was buying i-D for years until I found it to be too much like everything else out there. After that period I think I got more into Vogue Homme International, and Purple takes up most of the space on my shelves.
Which magazine matters to you the most today?
I think a staple was and still is Apartamento. I always enjoy the interviews there. I'm visual but I like reading a lot and a good interview always inspires me and makes me dream.
I buy Popeye a lot although I cant read it but I like it visually and am a bit of a menswear obsessive. I also like Vestoj, and The Happy Reader. But to be honest I think that I don’t buy as many magazines as I did. Too many out there are lacking real spirit.
Which cultural figure matters to you the most today?
People outside of the establishment I guess. Some artists I admire are Lawrence Weiner, Ad Rock, Ed Ruscha and Wolfgang Tilmans. Most politicians are disappointing. As well as philosophers. They don’t appeal to anyone anymore.
But I think tech people are the future. They could change the world. In the end art never really changed the world. It’s audience was always too limited.
What do the interviewees that you feature have in common?
They are with unsung heroes most of the time. Some are really well known but still not mainstream. That was the case especially with Lawrence Hayward from the British band Felt, featured in our new issue. The same with Tina Barney or Pierre Le Tan who are legends in their own right!
It must have been a particularly difficult time to launch a printed magazine in Athens just after the Greek financial crisis. Now you’re onto issue five - any advice about how to fund a new title for magazine makers starting out?
I believe most people that start magazines have a business plan. Or some funding to start with that might involve sponsoring.
I did not have any of those when I started and still don’t. Kennedy was and still is a personal project finances solely by me, it’s sales and the help of a few friends that collaborate with us on an editorial basis. There's also the help of small brands that get featured in the magazine. We believe in small businesses since we are one ourselves. We also distribute Kennedy independently which saves us some money. Kennedy was not made in order to make money. It’s a labour of love.
Pick a spread from the new issue and tell us what it says about your magazine.
This spread is from the interview with Lawrence Hayward. I’m really proud of this feature and how it shows the direction of our publication. We try to be sincere and this is a sincere interview.
What are you finding most frustrating about your work this week?
EMAILS EMAILS EMAILS.
What’s going to be the highlight of this week for you?
Finishing my portfolio hopefully! And a going back to my favourite sushi bar.
What will you be doing after this chat?
Replying to more emails!