Monday, February 4, 2008

Puffy's PAPER Magazine Cover Story - Yeah, in 2005

This is three years old now, but I'm posting it for a few reasons:

a) Nobody else seems to have it up anywhere. Their Japanese magazine covers are all over the internet, but the biggest American magazine cover story they've ever had is nowhere to be found.

b) As mentioned, it was, in my opinion, the biggest PR coup they've had in this country so far. Yes, bigger than the Thanksgiving parade. PAPER is a lot more targeted at the people who might actually buy their albums.

c) With honeycreeper about to get a US release, it might eventually end up being fun to look back and see if anything's changed about how they're presenting themselves here.

Go ahead and click that image. There's a much bigger version behind it.

For those living outside the US, or too young to be reading it yet, PAPER Magazine is a New York City-based indie culture mag. Their web site is here. This is a magazine intended for twenty-something hipsters living in Williamsburg and going to NYU. I mean, it's hopefully a little broader than that in practice, but that's the type, that's the demographic they're writing for. It's got a monthly circulation of nearly 600,000, all over the country. So Puffy making the cover was a big deal. This was a direct appeal to the indie crowd that they were trying to cultivate from around 2003-2005.

The issue itself was a look at pop music from around the world, not just Puffy and not just Japan - but they chose Puffy for the cover, probably thanks to their looks and their US cartoon. Not all of the articles (including Puffy's) are entirely flattering - they're not fluff pieces, they're meant to be an honest appraisal. Puffy's article in fact has some of the same inaccuracies that I've touched upon before, and calls them out for a lack of "credibility" due to their commercial endorsements.

Still, I think this is the kind of thing they need more of here, and I have no doubt that some people read this and thought "they're cute, they're indie rock, they're Japanese, I'm gonna check 'em out." There is a market for that, as PAPER themselves point out - Cibo Matto, Pizzicato Five, etc. The criticisms really don't matter; exposure to the right kind of crowd is what matters. And some of the things Puffy themselves say in the article are pretty interesting and enlightening - and ditto for their A&R rep. This is probably the most honest they've been in a US interview. (One example: they don't care about the Hi Hi cartoon, though both they and Sam Register had hoped it would cross over to older fans a-la Pee Wee's Playhouse.)

Ok, enough teasing. You want to read it? Here it is on PAPER's web site. Or, if you want to see it exactly as it was in the magazine (more or less), complete with big photos, Santa Claus has brought you a PDF. Be warned - it's 8.5MB in size. Better have a fast connection.

Incidentally, this wasn't the first time Puffy appeared in PAPER. In 2001, the mag did a short blurb on the upcoming SPIKE, complete with a mini-interview and a (small) photo I haven't seen anywhere else. Check it out.

We'll see if they make a play for another mention in 2008.

1 comment:

  1. Reading your article, I understand magazines like PAPER helped the popularity of Puffy in North America. Anyway the picture (definitely in Tokyo) is nice. I used it at SUMAIRU site.