Danny Eccleston reading The Face Magazine
Danny knew at University that he wanted to be a music journalist (Photo courtesy of Danny).

From making history at Q Magazine to a close working partnership with an old friend, MOJO’s Senior Editor tells the story of his career in the music media.

While attending Oxford University in 1986, Danny Eccleston dreamed of a career as a music writer but never could have anticipated that he would lead two of the UK’s most revered music titles: first as editor-in-chief of Q and after as senior editor of MOJO.

Danny, now 56, says: “My friend, Jane Dowell, wrote for the student newspaper. I complained to her in a bar, one night, about the quality of their album reviews and she told me to write them instead. I did and got totally immersed thinking ‘this is what I want to do’.”

Danny learned to be a journalist on the job, after graduating. First he was a subeditor, then an assistant editor: working for assorted, small publications.

Later moving to London and finding that a friend from Oxford, John Mulvey, had become the features editor at NME, he took feature writing commissions for the magazine, before climbing the ranks to become chief subeditor at Q Magazine in 1996.

Q, at that time, was one of the UK’s most recognisable music titles. The 1996 ‘Q Awards,’ for example, had seen musician Noel Gallagher introduced to future prime minister Tony Blair: an event affirming that Q would leave a long-lasting cultural footprint.

It was an exciting opportunity for Danny to become editor-in-chief years later.

“The ‘vintage’ artists, like Sting, Kate Bush and Bruce Springsteen were some of the biggest selling of the time but they weren’t given much coverage in the weekly press because they weren’t seen as ‘cool’,” Danny says. “We gave them that coverage and the gamble paid off because Q became an enormous-selling magazine. I remember working on the best-selling issue which sold something like 320,000 copies.”

Danny left Q in 2002 and later started working at MOJO. The transition has since proven itself to be a natural one not least because, today, Danny again works alongside John Mulvey: MOJO’s current editor-in-chief.

“I commission everything in the magazine, from the main interview to the cover feature whereas John works mainly on the business and profit side,” Danny says. “I always think about the readership, what they’ll enjoy and what might challenge them, so John and I have lots of conversations about that. We do have very congruent ideas about what should go in the magazine and really, that’s all that you can ask for in a relationship between editors.”

For decades, MOJO has been one of the UK’s most well-loved music brands, known for its celebration of rock and pop music history. The team write frequently about older music and often present the ways in which it has influenced the songs of today.

This strategy continues to distinguish MOJO in a very competitive market.

“At MOJO we say that old music is still relevant today,” says Danny, adding “and I think that’s why contemporary artists like being in our magazine, because we’re not just celebrating what’s new and novel, we’re celebrating the music and artists that will stand the test of time.”