“Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she’s hurtin’ ‘fore she keens.”
Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity

Sitting here looking at the new Louder Than War I can only assume it was love that kept her alive for so long when underneath the hood she was so very broken.

Love has definitely played a part in getting her fixed up and flying again. That and hours and hours and hours (seriously, hours) of very patient work by Carl Bembridge at Include Creative.

So, what do you do when something is so broken that it really shouldn’t even work? Ditch it? Not really an option with Louder Than War. Launched in 2010 by John Robb it’s grown to be one of the most read alternative music websites around today. I’m honoured and proud to be a writer for the site but also one of the four-strong editorial team. We’ve contributors all over the world writing about the music they’re passionate about, and an even wider readership sharing in that passion.

Killing it wasn’t on the cards then…which meant fixing it. Which means money. And as a completely voluntary outfit there isn’t much of that about. But, there was a little and that had to be enough. So, around six months ago I put the redesign work the way of one of the best digital designers I know – Carl Bembridge at Include Creative.

Except it was a little more than that. LTW had some serious code issues. She’d been patched and hacked by a load of people in her relatively short life which meant she was limping when she wasn’t falling over. I’m pretty sure each fix that had been put in place was put there with good intentions or because we couldn’t afford the full service option at the time. Individually that would probably have been fine but put them together and we had some issues. It wasn’t intended but most of Carl’s work has gone into unpicking the mess and then putting her back together in better order.

And for a while every time he stood her up, she defiantly fell back down and revealed another problem needing attention. Love from us in the LTW family and Carl’s refusal to stop CPR on the code means that today we *think* the site is stable. We’re still experiencing turbulence, sure, but we don’t fall over quite so catastrophically quite as often as we did.

We prettied her up some too. The design is a refresh rather than a re-do – we wanted to keep the personality of LTW, an online publication with roots in fanzine and DIY culture. We don’t want to look like every other music site out there but equally we wanted readers to have a good experience on the site.

We’ve still work to do but this post is to recognise the journey we’ve already been on. A journey that six months ago seemed almost impossible to imagine we’d ever make progress on. But here we are – www.louderthanwar.com.

We love Louder Than War and we hope you do too.


You can find Include Creative here and Carl is on Twitter.

My words about music on Louder Than War are here and I’m also on Twitter.

Louder Than War is on Twitter and Facebook.