Jess Hope

Jess Hope

Bad Seed

Everything I do involves some manner of content creation, marketing and writing. After many years as a music journalist (Kerrang! And more) and digital content editor, I co-founded Bad Seed (a small creative content agency)

Where are you based?

Right now I’m in Melbourne, Australia, where I’ve been based for almost four years after relocating from London. I gave my heart (and soul) to London for almost eight years but I’m originally from Bristol in South West England.

Where do you work? What do you do?

I split my time between Frankie magazine (I’ve been Marketing Manager there for the last year or so) and Bad Seed – where ‘officially’ I head up content. What that tends to mean in practice is relentlessly coming up with new campaign ideas and all things strategy, content marketing, social media, paid media, brand partnerships and influencer/PR outreach. Somewhere in between all that, I also run a podcast called Don’t Fret Club, which provides a platform to help music fans talk about mental health. Bad Seed has some other bits underway too, like a brand-new magazine called Hammerhead which is centred around alternative style, culture and heavy music.

What are you listening to?

My playlists have become even more divisive since the world went into lockdown, but I’ve been loving Idles, Creeper, Orville Peck and the astonishingly-beautiful debut album from Hayley Williams.

How do you discover new music?

I’ve always relied heavily on recommendations from people I admire – whether that’s friends, folk I follow online or even trusted publicists. Once I’ve locked into people that are on my wavelength, I try to check in with what they’re listening to and that’ll usually be via their socials. But playlists are notoriously helpful for me and I’ve really tried to utilise local playlists like ‘Homegrown + Heavy’ since moving to Melbourne. Playlists are also handy when using voice activation (and Alexa practically runs my house), as I find it easier to request a genre rather than one specific artist. I still spend a lot of time looking through Spotify’s ‘fans also like’ section (though you’re less likely to find something new there) and daily scroll through Instagram stories. Radio still plays a big part in my music discovery actually; I try to make a habit of catching up with BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show online but having the radio on in the car can lead to hearing some nice new gems! Another big one would be turning up to see support bands. That’s always my biggest tip for discovering new music – get down to the shows early!

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?

I’m digital but my vinyl collection was thriving before I moved overseas. Having duplicates of your favourite records can get quite expensive! Digital is definitely the most convenient format for me and from a lifestyle perspective, my tiny apartment isn’t very CD-compatible. That said, there’s nothing quite like filling the house with the slightly scratchy sound of real records on a sunny weekend.

Playlists are also handy when using voice activation (and Alexa practically runs my house), as I find it easier to request a genre rather than one specific artist.

Where do you do most of your music listening?

Commuting is a big one for me, which explains why my music habits have altered slightly during the lockdown. As I’m usually writing during the day, I can find it distracting to listen to something new but will happily have anything familiar in the background. We have an Alexa device in every room and each has either an in-built speaker or is attached to a decent amp. But when I’m commuting, or just really enjoying a record at home, I rely on sound-cancelling headphones with extra bass.

How do you find and listen to pre-release music?

I’m lucky enough to receive pre-released music to review or get a grasp of before interviewing the artist. These streams can be limiting to playback on mobile though, which is usually how I control my house speakers or headphones, so it can occasionally impact the experience. Otherwise, the majority of premieres I see will be directly on the artists’ own social channels, as it’s easy to watch in-app while I’m already scrolling.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

My emails can be overwhelming, so sometimes I’ll simply miss a stream link or not get to it before it expires. Streams generally are useful when reviewing music, but the delay between tracks loading can impact the overall experience of listening to an album in full.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

I wish I was more organised and could tell you I routinely create custom playlists but in reality, I rely heavily on algorithms to know me better than I know myself.

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Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

I’d like to think my incessant sharing of Instagram stories and Twitter has helped someone discover something great. I usually see the most feedback from gig photos or reviews, so I try to shout out new and amazing support acts I’ve seen as much as possible.

Anything you want to “promote”?

We’re really excited to share the first issue of Hammerhead with the world. It’s been the collaborative effort of many like-minded creatives and we’re pretty proud of the first issue. For me, and for so many, fashion and style is so intrinsically linked to music and the link between alternative culture and heavy music is no exception. Hammerhead exists to celebrate everything in one place and being able to chat to great artists about their wardrobes, thrifting habits and tattoo collections has been a lot of fun. Oh, also my podcast Don’t Fret Club, you can hear here on Spotify and Soundcloud.

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