Eleven Magazine Suspends Publication Indefinitely

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Eleven Magazine Suspends Publication Indefinitely
Photo by Kelly Glueck
Local monthly music magazine Eleven is suspending its publication.

Publisher/editor Evan Sult announced the decision in an email sent to its contributing writers (including this writer), stating that “the cost of the magazine has been greater than the ad revenue, and this is as far as we can go unless or until something changes.” This leaves the June issue as the last one to be found in the many bars, restaurants and retail outlets where Eleven was circulated. A few completed stories intended for an August issue are being uploaded to Eleven’s website over the next few days, but no more stories are being assigned.

Founded in 2008 by Washington University students, Eleven expanded its reach beyond the school's campus by increasing its distribution and moving to Cherokee Street. In 2012, then-publisher Hugh Scott hired Sult as its new editor. In 2015, Scott transferred publishing duties and rights to the magazine to Sult.

Eleven Magazine Suspends Publication Indefinitely
Photo courtesy of Evan Sult
Although mostly known around town as one half of Sleepy Kitty, a hydra that is both a band and a freelance design/printing operation, Sult brought extensive knowledge of the music industry to Eleven from both sides of the musician/music journalist divide. He served as a writer for The Daily of the University of Washington before becoming art director for Seattle music magazine The Rocket in 1997. During this time, his former band Harvey Danger released Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?, an album whose song "Flagpole Sitta" would become a major hit the following year (Rolling Stone just named it the 25th best song of the '90s). He later played in Bound Stems before forming Sleepy Kitty, which moved to St. Louis in 2008.

Sult's stewardship of Eleven was marked by a renewed focus on St. Louis artists, finding unusual angles for stories on national acts and an insistence that the magazine publish monthly, which under his leadership it did more consistently than it had previously. Sult particularly wanted to approach local artists from a different perspective.

“I wanted it to feel like certain people are famous for the purposes of this magazine,” he says over the din of basketball in Love Bank Park. “Treating Bug Chaser like they’re one of the country’s best freak-out bands is a way of reminding people I think we have one of the country’s best freak-out bands in our city, and don’t forget to go see them. Don’t forget to look at them with the eyes of like maybe this isn’t just another band.”

Also key to Sult was Eleven's status as a printed publication, not just an online one. While he admits that he prefers reading in print, Sult also finds it easier to sell ads for a physical product, as opposed to a website. “I don’t think anybody’s going to pay anyone to make Eleven Online happen,” he says. “That said, I want to use that page I built to periodically tell people about bands I love.”

Although Eleven is going on hiatus, Sult thinks it served an important function. Among many things a city needs to have a thriving music scene, a publication is necessary “to put things in perspective for people in the city and for people outside the city,” he says. According to Sult, press clips are essential for bands to book shows out of town: “If the RFT or Eleven doesn’t write about a band, who the hell’s going to?”

For now, Eleven will bow out while Sult ponders his next non-Sleepy Kitty move. He still has interest in working on a print publication but might not limit his scope to music (one idea he ponders is a magazine that acts as a tourist’s guide to St. Louis). He won’t try to act as a publisher, editor, writer and designer all at once, as he did for the past year. But Sult still feels passionate about supporting bands, local business and things about St. Louis that he likes.

"I do think that the city has a lot of really fascinating stuff going for it that I think sometimes it helps to have somebody say 'look at it this way,'" he says. "It's going to be hard not planning those in the future."
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