It's a bold move to have your first ever issue with a cover that simply says, 'This is not a music magazine'. But That Dam! magazine is exactly the sort of publication to be able to get away with it. The independent bi-monthly Amsterdam-based magazine, covers music in the broadest fashion whilst cheekily indispersing it with stories, photos, art and graphic design.
Housed in a disused ballet school studio, it's run by two men - Bas Jacobs (29, musician, teacher and part-time poet) and Bas Morsch (31, graphic designer and musician) - who have watched their little baby grow and develop. That Dam! started off nearly one and a half years ago, after the two Bas' dissatisfied by the slowness of things happening in Amsterdam, decided to kick start an idea they had for a magazine. The readership was there as the lads had, through years of living and playing music in Amsterdam, gathered quite a collection of artists, musicians and general freaks around them. They made one issue and put it out in the city to see the reaction. It was good. This inspired them to do another and now on their 7th issue, the magazine has developed a reputation for honest, original and interesting content.
One of the things that characterizes it, is the emphasis on using various contributors within the magazine, whether it be for writing, illustration or photography. This is so important to both Bas's, that they even suggest they might introduce a rule whereby you can't contribute to subsequent issues, 'It's really vital to stay fresh and original. Only by allowing new people to get involved, do you avoid the risk of ending up appealing to the same crowd every time.'
However it's not just a magazine that the guys have created - it's also a music label, 'not limited to a genre of music but more about the people who make it'. Apart from the excellent music compilation CD's that accompany the magazine, the guys have also released stand-alone singles for artists signed to That Dam!. The label's first release was an unique white 10" piece of vinyl by Pfaff, ('Think raw and essential rock'n'roll with two drummers ... or...headless chicken music) followed by some CD's for other artists including Dress (think poppy melancholy postrock) and Sykosonics. The most popular element however has been the compilations attached to the magazine, 'because of it's regularity it becomes a great showcase for a band's music'.
Speaking of showcases, That Dam! are also involved in the Krawattenklup which also act as a launch night for the new editions of the magazine. The idea is to present a variety of different bands set among other performances which can include poetry, film, classical music and even magic. Their choice of location is also an important factor with one of the most successful being an evening at Zaal 100 in Westerpark.)
With plans afoot to relocate That Dam! to larger and more accessible premises, things are looking good for the Amsterdam duo. They are also currently working on expanding the That Dam! brand to include self-published books including one currently in development which is based around Bas J's poetry, 'the idea is to illustrate it plus also attach a CD with accompanying music. We want to promote it via our existing distribution channels for the magazine, which are mainly record shops, so we can offer it to a much wider audience than the usual arty bookshop crowd.'
The next issue of That Dam! magazine will be out end of September and you can also catch them live at the Crossing Border festival in Den Haag 11th-15th November. For more information on magazine subscriptions and to hear their latest music releases, check out www.thatdam.nl
That Dam! magazine
Address: Tweede Weteringwarsstraat 27, 1017 SR Amsterdam The Netherland