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‘In some instances I hunted certain tribes out: I went to jazz bars and folk open-mic nights, and spoke to dubstep CD sellers outside tube stations. But others like Techno popped up by chance, in the street or record shops. Sometimes a character was too good to ignore on the street, so I would stop them and ask what music they listened to.
‘Each tribe was depicted with genuine re-occurring traits and styles – if I spotted a pork-pie hat more than once in a jazz bar, then I thought that was a nice touch to use. Where there are metal fans there are chin-beards, so I had to include that.
‘The quotes were as close as I could keep them to what the real tribe members said. I would ask similar questions to all the people I found: what sort of personality does it take to be into metal or jazz or house music? Or, what obscure stuff should one should listen to to be a true fan of dubstep or folk? Or, how did they get into that type of music? Asking things like that also helped me to find similarities in the tribal personalities and decide which characteristics to draw.
‘The tribe which broke most of the rules in the series was the Psychedelic Garage Goth tribe. These characters were directly drawn from one specific couple who I bumping into on the street. They turned out to be avid Time Out readers, who actually spotted themselves in the magazine and wrote to say they were thrilled. Thank goodness.’