Chicago’s young Ashley Harp has dived, headfirst, into what she has been told is a man’s world – the world of owning and operating her own music magazine, Press Play Reviews . Knowing Ms. Harp on a personal and professional level, I took the opportunity to “chat,” via email, with her about PPR
D: First, the basics. Press Play Reviews has the good fortune of being part of the nternet age where nearly everyone in the world can access it and benefit from it but where is home base?
Ashley: Home base for us is in the great city of Chicago. We’re lucky to be in an amazing city there’s so much here for us to benefit off of I’d like to expand and make Press Play Reviews a global name. But we will dominate Chicago first. There are a lot of great local bands from here and its really easy to get an interview with them.
D: I know you have several freelance contributors providing band profiles and reviews for the magazine but tell me about who is at the core of Press Play Reviews, your main staff? Where do you come from in terms of your writing and musical backgrounds? How did everyone get involved in the project?
Ashley: Our writers are amazing I couldn’t ask for a better staff. I appointed my best friend Liz to help me with the graphics for the site and we decided that she would help me with pretty much everything after Courtney left Press Play Reviews. Mary Patterson and Starr are our main Photographers I asked them both if they wanted to put some photos up. Our writers are Jessica Rose, Liz Cortez, Starr and You of course. I basically asked everyone to join and I’m pretty sure everyone was skeptical of being apart of the craziness. I am not sure what everyone’s musical background is but I do know Elizabeth’s. She plays a lot of different interments but, she slays the bass guitar.
D: How long have you been working on this project – from the initial planning stages until now? What obstacles have you encountered?
Ashley: I officially started this in late June after I won a Sony Bloggie at Bamboozle Chicago. My acquaints Courtney initially helped me started everything as far as building the site up with graphics, interviews and some followers. She left after we had a disagreement as to how the interviews should be. I didn’t want her to have her face in the interview because I think it takes away from the bands,she had the exact opposite idea. We came to an agreement and she left. After Courtney left Liz stepped in and took over and I’m glad she did.
D: Of course, with everything there is room for improvement but are you satisfied with your young magazine in its current stage? Have you achieved what you had hoped to by this point?
Ashley: I think I will always set my standards high as far as improvement goes. I think we still have a long way to go until I’m at a comfortable leave of satisfaction. But I need to keep in mind it has only been 4 months since I started this. I’d like to see more opportunities opening for Press Play Reviews. We have had a lot of turn downs as far as setting up interviews with some of the bigger bands goes. Which always hurts. I didn’t think that I was going to keep this going for this long so i am pretty happy with our achievements thus far!
D: What is your goal, or mission, for Press Play within the musical community?
Ashley: I hope there are more younger fans who open their minds more. Instead of liking a musician for their looks they like them for their lyrics or the way they play on stage. So I really hope were able to get that message out. I’d also like to see more people going to shows and supporting bands. In Chicago the shows have been so dead as far as the crowd are, and its a bit upsetting for me. So many bands have broken up due to financial problems and its a shame.
D: Do you feel you have set yourself apart from other music magazines, and if so, how?
Ashley: I think we have, starting this at the age of 17 I think i am able to be a bit more creative with the way we do things. I can still talk to younger kids and find out what they’re listening to and,not feel like a creep doing it. I think once I push everyone to doing they’re work we’ll see a lot of different music reviews and interviews on the site as far as music genres goes. I am really hoping to have a more friendly vibe with Press Play Reviews then other press websites.
D: What are your future plans for Press Play Reviews? Can we expect a print edition in the future?
Ashley: I think that we can expect a new and improved Press Play Reviews in late spring. You will be seeing us on a lot more tours and following a few bands in the summer if all goes as planed. I have been thinking about the print version of Press Play Reviews but I need to go over our financial situation around 2011.
Please join me in wishing Ashley the best of luck in all she hopes to accomplish this project.