• ‘Love Injection’ Brings the DIY Back to Brooklyn

    ‘Love Injection’ Brings the DIY Back to Brooklyn

    The saying “Everything is as it was” feels extremely apropos of electronic music in 2016. If you listen to the media, the fall of SFX seems not unlike the death (and rebirth—of the sound, at least) of ‘90s rave culture; everything is circular. However, too often when one pontificates in a grand way about a scene or a time or a place, they overlook the niche aspects that are left in its wake.

    “From a design point and a content point, it was rad and awesome. It was everything I loved in one place.”

    Paul Raffaele’s Love Injection is just that: a throwback to a simpler time of punk zines, made by outcasts who know their shit. Inspired by early dance music zines such as Heather Heart’s Under One Sky and Boy’s Own, Love Injection looks to capture that DIY spirit that comes from getting off your computer, going to the record store, reading ink on paper, and hopefully connecting with like-minded individuals IRL.

    When profiteering is taken out of the equation, you really can get a clearer view of what matters most. Moonlighting as the curator, ad salesmen, designer, and primary interviewer, Raffaele does it all for the love of the scene; Love Injection is his gift to the electronic music world. He does this all while holding down a full-time gig as an art director at VICE. Over afternoon tea at Verb Café in a very hip area of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the humble Raffaele discussed with us at length the inspiration behind the zine itself, and what makes dance music such an integral part of the Staten Island native’s life.

    Raffaele’s love for the underground was inspired by a Ben Watt set at SoBe Live during his first trip to Miami Music Week in 2007, and the rest is history. After the demise of his now-infamous party the Dog & Pony Show, in 2013 he filled the void with the record label Most Excellent Unlimited. As his first solo venture, he looked to learn about the other side of the business. “The idea was to be genre-less and just put out anything—no matter if the artist was big or small—that I was digging,” Raffaele says about his all-vinyl side hustle.

    With the brand in check, the zine came out of a left-field inspiration. Red Bull Music Academy came to New York City for the first time in 2013, and they brought along something called the Red Bull Music Academy Daily—which ultimately inspired Raffaele to create Love Injection.

    “From a design point and a content point, it was rad and awesome. It was everything I loved in one place,” he reminisces about the Daily. “My friends were in there, and they also had a lot of articles about old-school artists, such as Larry Levan and Grace Jones.”

    “The only time I will ever cut anything is if it is way too long to fit within the 24 pages that I have. I literally have cut paid advertisements to get the full story in there.”

    And so, Love Injection was born—out of love, and more importantly, out of a wish to infiltrate and understand underground artists around the world. The first edition hit the shelves in February of 2015; 300 copies were printed at a buddy’s place in New Jersey and delivered to spots across the city. It hit a nerve with clubbers and curators throughout the five boroughs and spread like wildfire—300 a month evolved into 500, 800, and eventually 1,000.

    Love Injection is truly all about the content. Raffaele does not cut any of the interviews unless absolutely necessary. “The only time I will ever cut anything is if it is way too long to fit within the 24 pages that I have. I literally have cut paid advertisements to get the full story in there.”

    The zine is text-heavy and brutally in-depth (transcriber Nik Mercer must hold godlike prowess). It informs and entertains—it is The New Yorker of the electronic music world—aiming to appease both the scene-savvy reader and the newcomer. It explores everything from anniversaries of infamous party brands—such as Giant Step and 718 Sessions—to interviews with legends like composer Peter Gordon. That alone is a testament to what Love Injection is, as one does not get an interview with Peter Gordon overnight. This is a magazine for the people, by the people.

    Past favorites of Raffaele’s include a feature on Mangiami, an old hangout spot/Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side, as well as one on Colleen “Cosmos” Murphy, which eventually led to his becoming the producer for the New York chapter of Classic Album Sundays.

    And he does this without any ego at all. You really have to consider the predicament he is in by the nature of what a zine is. The only online version of the work featured is a downloadable PDF you can receive for $2, or an article here and there on Medium, in rare cases. There is no retweet in it for him to add followers. There is no humble brag he gets by receiving a shout-out. There is literally no knowledge by most of the world that he puts in these hours and hours of work; it is as anti-millennial as you can get. He does it for himself, alongside those who help to make the project possible: Mercer, Barbie Bertisch, Nathaniel Jay, Jesse Rudoy, and James Friedman.

    April’s edition comes with much anticipation. In it will be an interview with Mike Simonetti—formally of Italians Do It Better—about his new label 2MR; a feature on the 10th anniversary of Brooklyn powerhouse promoters Blk|Market; and an interview with performance artist Breadwoman.

    When Raffaele isn’t hustling to get top-quality content into your palms, he can be found DJing. You can catch him playing open to close at Starvue on April 16 and on his weekly radio show at the Lot Radio every Saturday morning from 8–10am ET.

    You can grab PDFs of past Love Injection editions online for a mere $2 each, but do yourself a favor and grab next month’s for free at one of these shops: Academy Records Annex (Greenpoint, BK), A-1 Records (Lower East Side, NYC), Rough Trade (Williamsburg, BK), Co-Op 87 Records (Greenpoint, BK), Captured Tracks (Greenpoint), Other Music (East Village, NYC), Northern Lights Records (Bed-Stuy, BK), Turntable Lab, (Lower East Side), Superior Elevation (Bushwick, Brooklyn), Iris Records (Jersey City, NJ), Halcyon Records (Williamsburg, Brooklyn), Printed Matter (Manhattan), Vinyl Dreams (San Francisco), Josey Records (Dallas, TX), Phonica Records (London), Lighthouse Records (Tokyo), Oye Records (Berlin), RBMA Radio (New York City), WNYU Studios (New York City), Butcha Sound Studios (Penn Plaza, NYC), The Lot Radio (Greenpoint, Brooklyn), Dublab Radio (Silver Lake, Los Angeles), Public Possession (Munich), City Beat Records (Toronto), Betino’s Record Shop (France).