Daily Inspiration: Matthew Schnipper

peace-schnipper

After six years and 40 issues here, Matthew Schnipper’s impact on The FADER is immeasurable. He nearly got the last word on his moving on yesterday—here’s a 10-hour playlist of “later jams”—but we figured some more send-off was in order. Part of what made him a great editor-in-chief is knowing what he loves, and really loving it. Here, the staff of FADER recounts a few of his favorite things.


Being Jewish

ALEX FRANK: Being Jewish is a complicated cultural identity—it sucks sometimes, other times it rules. And that’s pretty much what makes it special, too, some screwy mix of shame and pride, up and down, high and low, that gives you as strong a sense of humor as it does a sense of tragedy. But, all the same, it’s a point of difference never not worth it, and the same neurotic things that make it difficult to do something as simple as order off of a restaurant’s menu also graciously help us become the complex, cool weirdos that Jews often grow up to be. Within this paragraph, I don’t know where a description of Schnipper ends and a description of me begins, but I guess that’s exactly the point: I feel a bond with him that’s thousands of cultural years old and yet entirely current, our friendship like a little private club built on a heritage of intensity.

Schnipper has a brain that’s beautifully complex, that processes things both harsh and joyful in equal measure, and I’m glad he had a venue like The FADER through which to express that. It is hard to ever really know another person, even harder when that person has facets and sides that feel diverse and sometimes contradictory, but this is a job in which you can at least hope to get some of that personal messiness out on to the page. We are better off for even trying to understand what’s going on in the mind of Matthew Schnipper, and though we’ll never completely get where he’s coming from, the joy, I think, is trying. And thanks to The FADER, if you’re ever lost, just pick up an old issue and you’ll find plenty of clues into the personality of one very special dude.


Girls and Girls (the Band)

DUNCAN COOPER: I started reading The FADER because I was a fan of Schnipper’s writing. I told him this when he interviewed me as an intern, and felt then, as I do now, that it’s a good thing to say. Looking back at his old Slept On column as a five-years-older person feels a bit like pointing a telescope at a mirror; I feel distant from and close to myself (and him). The column holds exactly the type of artful and confessional writing-about-music with which I most identify: criticism via memoir. My favorite installment is “Girls at Parties Singing Along to Cassie, Maybe to Deadboy, Accidental Confidence, Simultaneous Sadness, No Popularity,” and it’s a pretty good window into how I think he makes sense of the world: in terms of personal relationships. Seems correct. The last sentence of the first paragraph is unforgettable.

Another important thing he wrote, for me, was the Girls feature, because it reads not so much like a story made by observing Girls as it does one made by observing a world with Girls in it. One of my favorite bits is: “I’m dancing to Morrissey and making eyes at a girl maybe born in the ’90s.” The line is part of a specific point, but probably some people would read that and say, “No one cares.” LOL okay—it also brings up one last important thing about Schnipper and his attention to relationships: he loves pretty girls, and loves talking about that fact. This has always been a half-joke between us, my general non-willingness to indulge his crush updates, and I bet sometimes he thinks I don’t care, but of course that’s not true, because that’s what I liked about him in the first place, this unusual way he observed his world with girls in it.


Show and Tell

EMILIE FRIEDLANDER: When I was applying for a job at The FADER, Schnipper had me come in for two different interviews. The first one took place in his office, and it felt less like a job interview than what I imagine it must feel like to interviewed for a feature in the pages of this magazine. It was an hour and a half long, and it didn’t really touch upon any of the questions I’d prepared for, like which buzzy new artists I’d been listening to of late, or how comfortable I was with copy-editing or coding. Instead, Schnipper asked about my family. He asked me what it was like growing up in Brooklyn, and about the places where I used to hang out in the city as a teen. He seemed less interested in having me rattle off my accomplishments as a writer than finding out why I wanted to be a writer in the first place, and when I took the train home, I remember feeling a bit drained, like I had just relayed my entire life story to a stranger.
 
The second time we met, we sat on stools at the vegetable counter at Eataly and chatted about music for an hour; I remember telling him that I liked the new Black Dice and Frank Ocean albums, and sort of second-guessing whether this was actually meant to be our second interview, because it felt more like he’d just called me up so we could become better friends. Now that I’ve worked side by side with Schnipper for a year and a half, I know what he was up to with that Eataly lunch: he wanted to see if I could “hang,” which is Schnipper-speak for ascertaining whether a person is someone he and the rest of the crew might actually enjoy having a beer with, or soldiering through the late nights of an issue close with, or walking the long mile back to the hotel with after your fourth consecutive day at The FADER FORT.  Whether he’s listening to a new L.I.E.S. jam or reading a first draft of a cover story someone just sent in, Schnipper is always so delicately attuned to “vibe” that these days we’ve been referring to him as our “vibes manager” more often than we refer to him as our boss. If I can’t think of The FADER without thinking of Schnipper, it’s because of his feel for that elusive “something” that makes a song or a photograph or a sentence feel meaningful and alive—like a window into the wild, idiosyncratic humanity of the person who made it. Those moments of revelation are what this magazine is all about, and I think a lot of that comes from his influence as a leader, because behind it all, I think what Schnipper is most interested in is other people. Why else would he start every Monday morning meeting off with a show-and-tell session, where each of us rattles off the completely un-work-related highlights of our weekend?


The Grateful Dead

JESSICA ROBERTSON: It’s been a long, strange trip, Schnipper. You’re a damn good editor, a not-so-bad in-office therapist and a friend most people couldn’t even dream. Patch your bones and keep on truckin’ with this Dead gear. I’ll miss the 16-minute Sugar Magnolia serenades.

1) Fresh kicks for some ass kicking.
2) Two Schnipper loves, combined.
3) And again.
4) No words, really.
5) I dare you.


Spine Lines

HARRY GASSEL: Matthew “Schnipper” Schnipper and I share a love of wordplay, and in our usual bimonthly, late-night, issue-closing delirium we would often go back and forth sharpshooting word combos, brainstorming article or phantom memoir titles like two veteran pun-slingers. As any regular reader of The FADER magazine probably knows, the crowning touch, the star on the proverbial tree of an issue, is the two word spine line. From the first issue pitch meeting to the final shipped InDesign file, any time someone would utter a solid pair, it’d get an enthusiastic “SPINE LINE” from Schnipper, noting the arrival of a contender for the coveted spot. It’s certainly a silly thing, but in a lot of ways these moments and the hunt for the perfect spine line feels indicative of Schnipper’s personality and editing style. Because the spine line game was a group activity, egalitarian and communal at its core, where the best idea always won and anyone could play. And more than anything it was meant to pull us together around an inside joke, a shared concept, a central theme. So here are 40 issues of The FADER in two word increments. PEACE HOMEY.

50 GOLD STARS
51 GIRL TALK
52 WORLD POWER
53 GET HUSTLE
54 COME OVER
55 BLUE CHEER
56 TOP SIDERS
57 VISION QUEST
58 SELECT ALL
59 MULTI PLAYER
60 CLEAR MINDS
61 NOT COOL
62 PARTNA DEM
63 TRUE ROMANCE
64 HOME OWNERS
65 TIME BANDITS
66 IDEA CAVE
67 GRAND ROYALS
68 BANANA JAMMÓCK
69 DOUBLE RAINBOW 
70 RAP ROCK
71 FREE EARL
72 MOOKIE WILSON
73 BABY BABY
74 SLOTH CREAMY
75 MAN UP
76 LATER WIGWAM
77 PRINCESS MEATBALL
78 LITERARY KIWI
79 FERVENT OSCULATION 
80 TALL VIBES
81 DON’T LIKE
82 RUNNING LATE
83 DO YOU
84 BAD AMBER
85 MOM CONTROL 
86 BALENCIAGA YARMULKE 
87 O’DOYLE RULES
88 NAILED IT
89 MORE JAZZ / LESS BLUES
90 LEAN IN 


Dogs

PATRICK MCDERMOTT: Schnipper calls people “dawg” a lot. He also really likes actual dogs. Last week, he organized a full-staff field trip to the Brooklyn apartment of our photo editor, Geordie Wood, who had just broken his leg while skiing. The first thing Geordie told us when we got there was that his small dog, though adorable, would probably bite if we tried to pet her. So later, when Geordie starts recounting his mishap on the slopes, Schnipper is just sitting there, chilling, and trying really hard to get this dog to like him. Even after he was viciously growled at, he still stared at her lovingly, the look in his eyes saying “I forgive you—let’s be buddies.” If you scroll through his Instagram feed, you’ll see a bunch of pictures of FADER contributors, some cool magazine stuff, a few candid shots of his family, and also lots and lots and lots of cute pups. But the best Schnipper/canine collab, hands down, is this unreal photograph he took with Ciara’s Maltipoo, Tyson, which once ran as a full page in the magazine with zero explanation.


More Dogs

STEVEN AGUIAR: My first impression of Schnipper was “wow, cool, he got to take a sweet photo with Ciara’s dog.” Now that I actually know him, I realize how happy taking that photo made him. The cool thing about Matt is that he approaches everything he does with that same child-like joy, whether it’s making a magazine, finding new tunes, shopping for merch on eBay or scanning an endless stream of animal GIFs. He is one of the nicest dudes in the world and I will miss his face.


POSTED February 28, 2014 5:27PM IN MUSIC NEWS TAGS:

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