Going undercover in Portugal's indie mag scene
This interview first appeared in the Coverage newsletter on March 15, 2018.
Under The Cover is one of those shops that makes you wish you lived near it (and have a big enough monthly magazine budget to make it worthwhile!)
I know next to nothing about the magazine scene in the shop's home town of Lisbon (nor Portugal for that matter), so I got in touch with Luís Cunha, one of the founders of Under The Cover to find out more...
Dan R: Can you give a quick background to the shop and your interest in magazines?
Luis C: We've [Luís and Arturas, his co-founder] always been passionate about magazines, even though we come from a different background. Our trips abroad always included a stop at the local magazine shop where we would stuff our luggage with magazines to bring back with us. We were inspired by some great places in other European capitals and felt Lisbon was lacking a shop specialized in indie magazines.
DR: Sourcing indie magazines from around the world seems like a difficult task. How do you select magazines for your shelves?
LC: It's hard but not because there's not enough good publications; it's the opposite. We don't have enough room for the many good titles that are being created out there. Instagram is a great platform to meet new projects and to let editors know about our existence. The selection process is based on several aspects of the publication like the design, layout, paper, content, even smell, and the overall feeling we have when holding the magazine in our hands: is it a desirable object?
DR: Have you seen the Portuguese indie mag scene develop since the shop has been open? How does your local scene compare to the rest of Europe?
LC: I would say there's still a lot to be made in Portugal when it comes to independent publishing. But in the almost two and a half years that we have been open, we've witnessed the birth of great projects headed by a younger generation, like Cabeça, Nevoazul, Casa Mãe, and photo books by Kid Richards. Almost every week we get someone at the store seeking inspiration for a magazine that they are working on, so we are very excited about the future of print in Portugal.
DR: Which three magazines excite you and your team at the moment?
LC: Kajet from Romania, is a journal of Eastern European encounters with issue 1 focusing on the notion of community inside Eastern Europe. Fare from the UK, exploring the heart of a city through its food, community, and history - Issue 2 takes us to Helsinki. Polpettas On Paper, published by Margherita Visentini, an Italian living in Madrid, is a journal about artists and their stories. All memorable publications and excellent examples of what indie print can offer.
You can browse (and buy from) Under The Cover's stunning selection of magazines—without buying a plane ticket to Lisbon—at underthecover.pt ✨