Freelance Journalist Focus: Ian Roullier

Can oil and music ever mix? Freelance journalist Ian Roullier tells us about his unique blend of journalistic subject matters, cheese and crackers and press release bombardment…

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
I live a double life. By day I edit and write for business to business magazines covering the Middle East oil, gas, construction and power markets, while by night I am a freelance music journalist. I mainly cover electronic and alternative music; interviewing artists, writing features and reviewing gigs, clubs and albums.

Where are we likely to see your work?
On the music side I have written for various magazines including IDJ, Mixmag, DJ, Clash and Knowledge and websites such as musicOMH and SoundsXP. My day job involves writing for, subbing and editing Oil Review Middle East and Technical Review Middle East. I also write my own blog at

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
The most memorable feature I have written so far was called Legends of Live Dance for IDJ Magazine and involved interviewing many of my musical heroes including Kraftwerk, the Prodigy, Underworld, Orbital and the Orb (see

Other interviews that stand out include the Eurythmics, Gary Numan and electronic artists Ulrich Schnauss and King Roc. My most recent feature involved flying to Oslo to interview Ost & Kjex (translated from Norwegian as cheese and crackers) and I also managed to steal a few words with Mark Ronson at the recent (successful) attempt to beat the Guinness World DJ Relay Record.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
The great thing about my work is that there are always surprises around the corner so I just love doing the job day-to-day. An in-depth interview with Liam Howlett of the Prodigy would be great as I have followed the band’s career from the start. Brian Eno would also make a great, thought-provoking interviewee. I am also branching out into environmental journalism. I think an interview with Carl-Henric Svanberg, the mysteriously quiet chairman of BP, would be highly interesting!

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
On the music side of things a lot of ideas are led by release dates or tour dates. As far as the Middle Eastern titles I write for, ideas are spawned by events in the news or technological breakthroughs.

How can PRs be useful to you?
To let me know when there is something relevant that they think I should be covering and assisting in setting up interviews, etc.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?
By email when they have something relevant and well-targeted to publicise.

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Some of them offer a good chance to network.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
There are some extremely professional and helpful PRs out there are others that bombard me with press releases that are not relevant at times. This involves both parties wasting their time.

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
This is a tricky question to answer as journalism has been in my blood from a very young age. It would have to involve words somehow so maybe writing fiction would be an option (though I realise it only helps a select few to manage to pay the bills!). Failing that, music production is an interest of mine so perhaps creating music, whether it’s seriously as an artist in my own right, making it for TV and film or becoming filthy rich by writing awful pop songs for cheesy manufactured bands!

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
I would either put it towards an extended bout of travelling or pay for a course in music production.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
I’ve just finished reading George Orwell’s fantastic Down and Out in Paris and London, which is simultaneously starkly revealing and warmly naïve. I’m now torn between Charlie Brooker’s Dawn of the Dumb and Why England Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, which are somewhat lighter (that is if you overlook Brooker’s hilarious cynicism or the fact that Kuper and Szymanski’s theories discount a repeat of 1966 for the foreseeable future!)
The magazines I read are generally music related such as NME, IDJ, Mixmag and Computer Music. As for blogs, when I’m not writing my own, I try and keep up to date with – which is written anonymously by a friend of mine and covers relationships and dating from a man’s perspective.

[img|jpg|Ian Roullier]
[lnk||_blank|Ian Roullier on the Freelance Journalist Directory]

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