Push your shoulders and hands under the surface of the water.
Who: Sam Riviere, If A Leaf Falls Press
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland What: independent press
Can you tell us a bit about how your press got started?
I moved to Edinburgh for a two year residency in the autumn of 2015, and discovered I had a staff discount at the University Printing Services.
How did the name come about?
The press is named after a lyric by Lil Wayne. Hopefully the name suggests brevity, chance, the inconsequential.
What types of publications do you put out?
If A Leaf Falls Press publishes limited-edition pamphlets, typically of appropriated or procedural writing.
Can you tell us a bit about the space where you run your whole operation from? Is it an officespace, a kitchen-table/bedroom operation or just from inside a smart-phone or a laptop?
I actually have an office at the university which is where I do most of the press stuff. I design nearly all of the publications in Microsoft Word.
Can you tell us a little bit about the city in which you are based and what influence, if any, it has on your press?
Scotland and maybe Edinburgh in particular seems to have a tradition of minimal/site-specific poetry as well as a history of loads of small presses and magazines, and this does seem to have influenced things, or at least it feels like the idea of starting a press came into alignment here in a particular way. There seems to be a northern or even slightly nordic appreciation of spareness coupled with formal invention, which can feel sort of elemental, but social at the same time -- it's somehow connected to place. I'm thinking of Thomas A Clark's Moschatel Press, Luke Allan's Sine Wave Peak, Sam and Jo Walton's Bad Press, Colin Herd's Anything Anymore Anywhere, Lila Matsumoto's Scree, and quite recently zine-type publications like Zarf and Spam.
Do you see any commonality with the world of independent record labels and independent presses? I suppose we're thinking about how the two things share an independent spirit, small run fanzines/photocopied magazines, merchandising etc?
I guess there's a connection. I'm not clued up about what's going on with record labels of that size any more. My brother has just started the tape label Bleak Spring https://twitter.com/bleakspring Also, there is a similarity I think with comics?
These days every writer can get connected to their own social-media channels and promote and publish their own work, what do you see as the best role for the independent publisher now? Or do you think not that much has changed?
You clearly need some kind of platform to operate from, like your shop front. Obviously it's much easier now to reach people who have similar interests. In a weird way maybe it seems less of a commitment as most or all of your activity can be conducted from one 'station', your laptop.
Finally, please tell us a bit about a few of the next things that are due to come out?
There are pamphlets forthcoming from, among others, Georgia Haire, Chris Killen, Rebecca Perry, Jonty Tiplady, Monica McClure, Harry Burke and Oli Hazzard.