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VNDL MAGTEAM Editor in Chief Co-Founder Gavin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Co-Founder Jonathan Goldberg email@example.com Creative Director Kate Bauer firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director Trevor Gilley email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS Art: Royce Bannon, Tecnodrome1, Vandal Expressionism, Tone Tank Models: Nicole Vaunt, Hattie Watson, Rachel Dashea, Ada Martini, Andre Kivijarvi, Lindsay Hansen, Kacie Marie, Melissa Kimbro, Tarren Johnson, Inge Krohn, Caspar Peteus, Diana Carl, Katya T, Mynxii White, Melanie Blankenship Photographers: Peter Roessler, Trevor Gilley, Joeseph Balestra, Kristen Wrzesniewski, May Lin Le Goff, Noah Sahady, Dave Tada, Colleen Durkin, Cameron Davis, Gavin Thomas, Jonathan Goldberg Writers: Michael Oâ€™Donnell, Eric Witmer, Jasmine Stein, Ashley Wiscovitch, Mathew Post, Heather
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Thomas, Denise Kinsman, Stephanie Maida, Christine Griffin, Aaron Tuck, Carlos Gonzalez, Benjy Bronk, Elisa Jordana, Vince Libasci Stylists: Kyle Luu, Angela Kelly, Gina Schiappacasse, Cara Bloom, Bethany Olson ÂŠ2013 VNDL Magazine All rights of this publication are reserved by VNDL Magazine. All artwork is copyright of the contributing artists and may not be reproduced without their explicit permission. This publication cannot be reproduced electronically, digitally, in printed or any other form, format or media without the explicit written permission and approval GET CONNECTED Twitter: @vndlmag website: vndlmag.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING email@example.com
Cover Credits Natalie:top: Lie Sang Bong, pants: Yoyo Yeung Nicole: blazer: Yoyo Yeung shorts: Lie Sang Bong
YOU DON’T TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH. YOU MAKE IT. Ansel Adams
IMPOssIblE MANUfAcTUREs fREsH INsTANT fIlMs fOR clAssIc POlAROID cAMERAs Make instant photos and discover the beauty of this analog adventure at www.the-impossible-project.com Photo by Penny Felts -Nannini on PX 680 Color Protection VNDL | ISSUE 1 | 5
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CONTRIBUTORS Dave Tada
Los Angeles-based photographer Dave Tada is currently focusing his energy on photographing people, fashion, places and being awesome. He enjoys music, pleasant weather, vegetarian fare, and pugs. Running the photo blog, Analog Pics, Dave is doing what he can to keep film photography alive. You can find his work at www. davetada.com
Photographer, Motorcycle rider, bone collector. True trill beast down for the downest shit. She has a wide range of commercial and editorial clients from Nike to Nylon. Based in Chicago but deeply rooter in all things everywhere, her photography and luminous spirit can be experienced around the globe.
Trevor Gilley is a photographer based in New York City. The warm, humanistic quality native to Trevor’s work reflects his ongoing commitment to learn about and understand his subjects. With this perspective in mind and his camera in hand, Trevor employs photography as a means to document his travels and share these experiences with his audience. In effect, photojournalism is Trevor’s means of reconciling the unique and common traits between all of us.
Benjy Bronk and Elisa Jordana
Kyle Luu is a highly sought after celebrity wardrobe stylist, fashion consultant, and designer, and is most notable for spearheading the style transformation for singer, Neon Hitch. His agile and creative ability to work in many facets in the fashion industry has enabled him to work with celebrities and top industry fashion models from Marilyn, One, Elite, FORD, and NEXT, to name a few.
Benjy Bronk and Elisa Jordana are comedians, musicians, and multimedia personalities. They have been featured on Fox News, TMZ, MSNBC, MTV, VH1 and CNN. They perform together as the band affectionately called by their fans “Benjelisa” all over NYC and the surrounding areas.
Carlos Gonzalez You may have seen Carlos on such hit shows as HBO’s “Sex & the City”, NBC’s “Law and Order” and ABC’s “One Life To Live”. Also a film actor, he most recently starred in two independent films, one of which will premier at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. He also wrote, co-produced and starred in his own short comedy; When Bobby met Larry, which played to a sold out house at Tribeca Cinemas in New York City. Carlos is currently the founder and director of “The Reel Comedy Show,” which he established to use as a platform to showcase and celebrate both film and standup comedy. You can catch Carlos on the new season of MTV’s, “Girl Code.”
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JOSEPH BALESTRA Designer: Bela Shehu Model: Melanie Blankenship Makeup & Hair: Julianne Ulrich
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VANDANA JAIN Words: Aaron Tuck Photos: Gavin Thomas
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VANDANA JAIN MADE THE JUMP FROM GRAPHIC DESIGN TO MUSIC THIS LAST YEAR AND CONTINUES TO CLIMB THE LADDER TO RECOGNITION AS A LEADER IN EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONIC POP BASED OUT OF NYC. WITH A BACKGROUND IN DESIGN AND THE ARTS, WE THE LISTENER, ARE ABLE TO ENJOY A BLENDING OF UNIQUE TALENTS IN HER MUSIC.
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er unique way of spinning personal storytelling and full front just great beats makes this journey a trip worth taking. I look forward to the next trip down “Vandana” lane, I wish I was this honest about my decisions, I guess I put my trust in her choices. Next stop Vandana... Before the big move to NYC, where did you call home. India has been and will always be home. Besides being NYC why this city over other music hot spots? Because New York is tough and can be abrasive and this aspect challenges me, there is no end to growth and learning in this city. As well as, there are incredible people here doing excellent stuff, its packed with sensory overload. Electronica has gotten mixed reviews over the years, what drew you to the medium? Electronic music lends itself to being experimental and radical. For example, you can take the noise of a crane from a nearby construction site and warp it to sound like a droning hum, or chop it up and use it as a percussive element. It is a very hopeful genre. What would you call your greatest musical influences? Pink Floyd, Nirvana, David Bowie, Massive Attack, Portishead, Lamb, Air, Indian Ragas and bollywood soundtracks from the 60’s and 70’s. They used the minimoog so much and its now my most cherished instrument.
Why the jump from graphic design? I was incomplete without music. Just listening made me feel handicapped. Was there a certain situation/time where it was the genesis moment or when you just knew it was time to make that transition? It was a very organic transition actually, I started playing around with Garage Band while I was still a full time graphic designer and it was so exciting that I was losing sleep over it. It became very real two years ago when I started performing the music I was making. What do you feel you bring to the table over others? I think the fact that I am not vocationally trained in music and make everything by ear, brings a vulnerability, purity and honesty to my work. I don’t think theres been a single track I’ve made that felt coerced. I would like to think of myself as having a distinct vision, bringing an all round entity that bends the boundaries of creativity. I’m not interested in gimmicks, I crave originality and concept. But, I have yet to learn loads. How do you feel about the music industry at the moment? Its a very exciting time for musicians, not the best time for regular paychecks but so many of us who would have gone unheard and unseen now have the opportunity to expose our world.
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How much of a role does art besides music play in your career? I am a very hands on person and I like using my fingers, touching, feeling, perceiving, creating my own imagery, artwork, designing and stitching clothes for performances. Dream gig you would like to play. Headlining at the Paradiso in Amsterdam or Le Grand Rex in Paris, under a ceiling created by Berndnaut Smilde, wearing Iris Van Herpen or Hussein Chalayan, with Radiohead as special guest and in collaboration with the most visionary people in music & technology. I played Webster Hall last night and this was a little part of a big dream that became a reality. What was the situation that prompted you to write your first song? I was at a freelance web design project for an audio production company and the owner who I struck a friendship with listened to some old tapes of mine and strongly suggested that I consider pursuing music seriously. Coming from somewhat of a outsider, I gave it a shot. For your next project are you considering adding any different elements? My current project, my first full length is happening in collaboration with Yusuke Yamamoto, who is brilliant. For the album art and forthcoming videos, I am collaborating with some wild fashion designers, creative/ photographer May Lin Le Goff and creative
director Andres Burgos, all of whose works I really admire. Previously, my projects have mostly been solo efforts. How did you get involved with Yusuke Yamamoto? I met Yusuke last year at Studio BPM in williamsburg where I was recording my EP. Got him to play keys on a few of my shows and realized that we were a beautiful match. I also really like him as a person. In the art world do you feel music in general gets a bad rap? Not at all. In my opinion, neither exists without the other. I stay away from artists and humans in general who don’t have a single rhythmic bone in their body. What artist from the past do you feel most in common with? Grace Jones and Blondie. I have noticed you perfer extreme close ups in some of you imagery. Is there something behind that? Close ups carry an intensity and fearlessness which I love. Some of your songs seem to represent a sense of hesitation to embrace the world or a sense of vulnerability. Is this something you were feeling when you made the record? I was in a very difficult phase of my life while making the EP. The experience made me assume a smallness within myself and firing this through music made me feel very powerful and helped overcome the pain. Taking action is my only way out of the feeling of helplessness.
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ROYCE BANNON Writer: Michael O’Donnell Portrait: Collaboration, Gavin Thomas & Royce Bannon
What is your impression of art today as an adult versus the way you viewed it as a child?
How do you feel about the programs and software that computers use to make art easier for the general public?
Not much has changed I always loved art of any kind except now I’m a artist. When I was a kid I as just a fan.
What are these programs and how do I get a hold of one?
What is your definition of art, and what do define as genius when certain art moves you? Art is a way of expression thru being creative. Art can be musical, visual, physical and written.
How do you feel about street art and graff in NYC compared to other cities you’ve visited? There’s a lot of good Graff in NYC and [a lot] of bad street art in NYC but I guess that could be any city.
What things inspire you?
Do you have a favorite piece of art you’ve created, and could you describe it?
My friends most of which are artist and living in New York City.
I’m currently working on a painting a piano I’ll let you know once its done.
Do you have a different mindset when you’re painting on the street vs. when you’re working on a gallery piece?
What’s it like to meet fans of your work, and what is it like to hear criticism about your work?
When I’m painting on the street I usually don’t care how clean or neat anything is because I don’t have the time to. Gallery work is more thought out and executed.
Fans are cool, support of any kind is always good. I don’t get a lot of criticism so it doesn’t bother me either way.
How much (if at all) does knowing what audience is going to view your work play into each piece you do?
Not at all. I’m gonna do what I do regardless of the audience. How do you hope your art to be viewed… say, 20 years from now?
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
What was the best advice you received as a younger artist yourself? Hustle hard and never compromise. For more of Royce Bannon’s work, check out: choiceroyce.tumblr.com
I hope to still be doing it 20 years from now.
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MYNXII WHITE Words: Matthew Post Photos: Jonathan Goldberg
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A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO I HAD THE PLEASURE OF INTERVIEWING THE ILLUSTRIOUS MYNXII WHITE. AT FIRST SIGHT, ONE MAY THINK THEY KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT HER. THE UPSIDE DOWN CRUCIFIXES, POINTED SHARP FINGERNAILS, PALE WHITE SKIN, COMPLETELY TATTED UP, THE PURPLE HAIR AND DARK LIPSTICK, ALL SEEM TO PAINT A PICTURE FAR TOO FAMILIAR; ALTERNATIVE GOTH.
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owever, we are not in high school anymore and labels do not count for shit. Ms. White is gorgeous, I do not use the term lightly; I mean stunning. She is a successful makeup artist and model, two professions that definitely don’t get the credit they deserve (sarcasm). Normally I would agree, but this woman has so much more to offer, she is a self-sustainable, self-sufficient entrepreneur in the truest sense, never is there a moment when she isn’t working, or thinking about work. I think it is safe to say that Ms. White is a catch; you become entranced by her looks and finished by her brain. She is wise, charming and calculated, my friends, I have no doubt that this woman will have many a retrospective. Where are you from originally? I’m originally from Texas, I was born in Dallas and raised in Laredo, then back to Dallas. Being from an ultra conservative culture like Dallas do you find it difficult being so obviously part of a counter culture? Absolutely! Even when I didn’t have crazy color hair and before my personality reflected on the outside, I was still called Gaga on a daily basis. My personality was always a little off, I guess. What did they call you before Gaga? Weird? Yeah, haha. Do you think you have any long lasting inspiration left over from your Texas days? No, I hated it all. Even my parents live vicariously through me…it’s the life they all wish they could be living. So you are close with your family? Yeah, my parents are divorced and everyone lives in a different city but I talk to a member of my family everyday.
makeup for 13 years now. And that’s just where all my creativity comes from. I started modeling when I came here (LA) as a way to meet people, I kind of saw myself as an outlet for my own creativity, and other photographers noticed that, and wanted to shoot it. I never had any intention of being a model, come on, I’m 5’2” and covered in tattoos. I’ll slap anyone that’s under 6’ and calls themselves a model, come on you’re stupid….It [modeling] helped develop Mynxii White as a brand. When you model do you do your own makeup? Most of the time. I usually do my own hair and makeup. I used to prefer it but I realized that my hair and makeup started looking the same so now I appreciate having a hair and make up artist. They take me out of myself. Fashion is obviously a big part of your life, do you have a stylist is everything you? That’s all me. Where do you see your career leading/what is the ultimately goal? Taking over the world. No, that’s impossible. Haha, honestly, like for real for real, I really look up to people like Gwen Stefani and Daphne Guinness. My favorite thing I have ever seen… [Daphne Guinness] did an interview for Vanity Fair and under occupation, they asked her ‘what do you do’, and she said ‘Daphne Guinness’. And that’s what I want to be. I want to be an icon, that’s my ultimate goal. Mynxii White Age: 28 Location: Los Angeles Occupation: Mynxii White
You seem to model the same, if not more, than you do makeup. Do you have a preference? Makeup. Makeup for sure, [makeup] always comes first and foremost. I have been doing
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TORRES Words: Jasmine Stein Photos: Gavin Thomas
MACKENZIE SCOTT OF TORRES ANSWERED A FEW QUESTIONS FOR VNDL MAG TO DISCUSS HER LATEST “MINI” TOUR, PLAYING HER FIRST SHOW IN NYC, FINDING INSPIRATION IN THE “DARKER” THINGS IN LIFE AND WHAT IS UP NEXT FOR THE 22 YEAR OLD NASHVILLE SINGER.
Can you talk a little bit about your writing process and how long the album took to make? The way that I write is sporadic. I wrote the songs for this record all over the place: in the car, in class, in the shower, in dorm stairwells. Overall, it took about 3.5 years to complete the writing for the album. The recording process itself was a quick five days, so all of the labor pains really came prior to that.
Your record is pretty emotional, do you find it easier to write about the darker stuff in life? I tend to only be inspired by darkness. I just don’t have any desire to write unless I’m
experiencing some sort of turmoil, on some level. Even the tiniest blips of turmoil fuel my pen. I think it’s because the writing process helps me to pull myself out of my sadness a lot of times, or at least to be able to flesh it out and observe it in a more objective light. Has living in Nashville influenced your music at all…how so? I’ve been living here for four years, so everything that has happened in this city in that time has affected my music somewhat. Specifically, I’ll say that I’ve been pretty inspired stylistically by the grunge-punk scene here. There are some bands in Nashville that I’ve taken a lot of cues from in terms of putting on a live show; I’ve learned a lot about the kind
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of energy a performer has to exude to get the crowd’s blood pumping. If you haven’t heard the band Diarrhea Planet, now is the time to do so. And if you can catch their live show, that’s a million times better. You’ll know what I’m talking about. What do you hope your next year will look like?
Who are your biggest musical influences? Brandi Carlile, Johnny Cash, Tori Amos, Ryan Adams, The Cure, The Rolling Stones, Joan Jett, Fleetwood Mac, Nick Drake, Nirvana, St. Vincent, and David Bazaan have all been some of my biggest musical influences over the last few years. More recently I’ve been getting into the Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and Big Black.
Blurry. I hope to be looking out the window of a tour van for as much of it as I can. I hope to meet and befriend people that inspire me and that I admire. I’ve already gotten to do that a little bit, and it’s made this year thus far the best year of my life.
Do you have any upcoming tour plans?
This has been a big couple of months for you, have you been surprised at all by the reception of your record?
That’s a tough call. A tour with St. Vincent would be the most radical experience. I’ll go with that.
Yes. People have received it better than I ever imagined they would. I didn’t foresee such an overwhelmingly positive response.
If you could be a musician in a different era, which era would it be and why?
Are you feeling any pressure for the entire record to live up to the attention that “Honey” received? “Pressure” isn’t the right word. I definitely feel like I’m going to be held to a standard, but that’s the way I like it. It feeds my adrenaline. I’m hoping the live show exceeds expectations every time. You recently played your first two shows in New York and went on a small tour…how was playing the new material live? It was the most fun I’ve ever had. Playing with a band and exchanging that energy with the people on stage with me and with the people in the audience is what I’ve been dreaming of doing for years. It’s the greatest release and incredibly rewarding having four years of struggle and effort finally seeing the light of day. What do you guys do on down time while touring? We didn’t have a lot of down time on this first tour, but we did have one day off in New York, which was exciting. We ended up going out dancing at this place in Manhattan called Beauty Bar. That was a lot of fun. We also ate at some really great restaurants.
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There isn’t anything on the books beyond SXSW, as of this moment. If you go on tour with any band right now, who it would be?
1977 is the year that makes me lusty. That’s when the Runaways were coming onto the scene, and that’s also the year Fleetwood Mac released Rumours. The Talking Heads, the Cars, and Brian Eno were making waves. People of the late 70s got to experience the beginning of Frippertronics first hand. In my brain, the late 70s was The Zenith of music. I know most people would probably fight me on that and say that the 60s are where it’s at, and in so many ways it is, but I stand my ground. List the top 5 songs in most recently played on your iTunes. Andrew in Drag—The Magnetic Fields We Are Fine—Sharon Van Etten Everything Counts—Depeche Mode What Else is There? —Röyksopp Youthless—Beck
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MAY LIN LE GOFF
Photos: May Lin Le Goff Art Direction: May Lin Le Goff & Kamil Tyebally Stylist: Gina Schiappacasse Hair Stylist: Takeo Suzuki Make Up Artist: Liz Olivier Model: Katya T (Muse NY)
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Wardrobe credits: All wardrobe from Alpana Bawa
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DIANA CARL Hair & Makeup: Juliet Jane All Clothing Provided by American Apparel
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CASPAR PETEUS Hair & Makeup: Juliet Jane
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INGA KROHN Hair & Makeup: Tomas Erdis
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DAVE TADA Hair & Makeup: Lynn Suemitsu Model: Tarren Johnson
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VANDAL EXPRESSIONISM Words: Jasmine Stein Photos: Gavin Thomas
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Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started? Working as a graphic designer and photographer, I spent years moving things around on the page and cropping images within a frame. I developed a good eye for balance and since most of this work was done with a digital stylus in hand, the years of wielding that thing all day long improved the flow of my hand. Then in 2010, as a conscious response to having all my years of work exist only in the digital realm, I decided to venture into traditional media and within months it opened the door for a whole new chapter in my life.
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If you could describe your work in 5 words, what words would you use? Expressive, intuitive, uninhibited, unapologetic & primal What is a typical day like for you? Get up early, coffee, facebook, feed the cats, draw, facebook, music, listen to documentaries about human evolution and the fall of the Roman Empire on youtube, read wikipedia, hustle, get some fresh air, go somewhere, draw, coffee, facebook, hustle, get money, do something, plan, instagram, hang out, feed
the cats again, draw, facebook, learn, watch “The Office”. I think I left a few things out but something like that. Is there any particular era of art or graffiti style that you are most influenced by? In terms of art movements I think I draw most from abstract expressionism, surrealism, and pop art... Full abstraction, devoid of a visible human subject is not the easiest pill for everyone to swallow, but I like to take these complex and mysterious configurations and kinda float them in space present them as fun, digestible bits of art and design that you can
welcome into your space like a little shrine or conversation/meditation piece. Most of them don’t have the simplified flat spaces of pop art, but I try to imbue just a bit of pop’s levity and whimsy. And graffiti most certainly had and continues to have a huge impact on what I do. The bright and expressive colors play some some role, but the true influence is in the loose, loopiness of tagging. Quick, scribbly (and I mean that in a good way) and gestural, my impression of the lines of a tagger definitely provide fuel for my art flow.
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Do you think living in NY inspires your work? Why? Without question... The deluge of stimuli, the shapes, the grid, the variety of cultures... Take it all, put in a blender, dump it out, and then push the bits around with a stick and record it. That’s what I do. Who are your biggest influences? There are so many, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll go with Basquiat, Pollock, Haring, Steadman, Warhol. What are your favorite bars, restaurants etc. in NY? Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side has become something of a homebase for me. It began with a show I did there last October, which was accompanied by an outdoor wheatpaste installation, which led to me being asked to do a permanent mural in the staircase and downstairs area, which then led into a position curating the art shows. Live music, well stocked bar, art exhibit in the back, definitely a cool place to check out in NYC.
And graffiti most certainly had and continues to have a huge impact on what I do. The bright and expressive colors play some some role, but the true influence is in the loose, loopiness of tagging. Can you tell us about upcoming projects/shows? Over the next few months, I’ll be curating the shows at Arlene’s Grocery while I build up a new body of work for a show of my own this summer. For more on that stay tuned to my Vandal Expressionism facebook page. But aside from all that, I’m also looking forward to a photography project I have coming up April 19 at ABC No Rio with another NYC artist named Michael Alan. He does a live piece called The Living Installation which combines sculpture, painting, performance art and music and it really is something to behold... We’ve been working together for about 6 months and the photos that have come out of it are friggin unreal. We
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haven’t really put them out there yet but stay tuned because they’re really something else... And if you’re in NYC on April 19th, come down to the Lower East Side and watch it unfold live. In the next year what do you hope to accomplish? I hope to create artwork that people can dig, bring cool and talented people together in the spirit of creativity, and exceed your expectations. What are three things you can’t live without? Lights, camera, action. Do you enjoy seeing your work on the streets or gallery walls? And Why? Certainly. It’s nice to be able to share your work with others. Facebook is great for reaching people in other places, but nothing beats being able to have people see your work in person. Which is of course what’s great about having it out in the street because automatically, you’re gonna reach more people. Words of advice for beginers? Learn... Figure out what you like and why, and how you might be able to contribute something to that lineage. Practice... Do.... A lot. Make more. Hustle. Learn more, do more, get involved. Live it. Where can we find you on the web? http://www.vandalexpressionism.com or http:// www.facebook.com/vandalexpressionism
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GHXST Words: Stephanie Maida Photos: Gavin Thomas
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HAVEN’T WE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR A BAND THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE WOULD-BE LOVECHILD OF ROB ZOMBIE AND KIM GORDON IF THEY EVER SPENT A SYNTHY, PENTAGRAM-FILLED NIGHT TOGETHER IN A CEMETERY OR A DOWNTOWN METAL BAR’S BATHROOM? YOU KNOW, A BAND WITH A SOUND THAT CAN GO FROM HEAVY TO FUZZY IN ONE QUICK RIFF, LED BY A VOICE THAT’S AIRY IN THE WAY AN ANGEL’S MIGHT BE IF THAT ANGEL BELONGED TO SATAN.
ell, fine, even if I have been the only one praying to the great, dark underlord for such a sound, it seems as if my prayers have finally been answered in the form of GHXST. The New York-based “Deth Grunge” trio, who has been making soundwaves amongst the downtown cool kids since they formed in 2010, has no doubt garnered even more attention this past year with their UK tour last June and their live session at Chinatown hotspot, Le Baron, in the fall of 2012. So when GHXST invited me to hang out at the video shoot for their new single “Doom Girl,” not even a tornado warning could have stopped me from braving the storm and making my way to the warehouse-surrounded apartment in Williamsburg where they were filming—even if I did fall down the slippery subway steps to the L train on the way. In between sips of Crystal Head vodka and their respective stints in front of the camera (they even pushed me in front of it at one point!), I got to sit down with Shelley X, Chris Wild, and Nathan La Guerra to bond over our shared love of Brian Molko and 90s cult films—oh, and also talk about their music. How did you guys all meet and get GHXST started? Shelley X: Chris and I met in California at [Berkley] and we both decided to play music there. So we kind of just played around in local bands for a while but then, since we really love the mythology of New York underground music, we were just like, “Hey, let’s just go to New York and try to do that.” So that happened. But we kind of all ended up here separately. Like
we didn’t actually make that “big band move” or anything. I came out first, Chris moved here later, and then we were like, “Man, we really need a drummer!” so we remembered Nathan who played guitar for us in California for one of the shows that we did so we just asked him to come. Awesome, so where are you all from, originally? SX: We’re from all around. I was born in Shanghai but I moved to Arizona when I was four, then I spent some time in Virgina, and then California. Chris Wild: Nathan and I are from California. SX: Nathan went to school in San Diego, so that’s where we met him. But he actually dropped out to do this, so we got a dropout in the band! A musician’s life for me! Cool. But you played in different bands before, so when did “GHXST” form? SX: Yeah, a couple bands. For GHXST, I think it’s been almost two years. It’s almost our two year anniversary. We just started writing music, music that reminded us of bands that we really liked. You know, like Placebo and Sonic Youth-kind of noise rock and 90s grungy type stuff. Then someone from the UK actually found our music online and contacted us and was like, “Do you wanna release an EP?” So we put some of our songs together. Was that Evil’s Wasted On You? SX:! That was our first one. But we actually self-produced that one. Then we did No Rest For The Wicked.
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CW: We released that one with a small label called Clan Destine. SX: They were really cool and they produced that EP. CW: On tape! SX: Oh yeah! That was on tape only. Wow, how’d you distribute it? SX: The guy from the label had a store so he had it there. And also just word of mouth through fans of the label and then our music. It was really organic; it was just whoever was interested. Yeah, I found some of the music from Evil’s Wasted On You and No Rest For The Wicked, but now those songs are also on EVILWICKEDDESIRE. CW: Right, EVILWICKEDDESIRE is actually the compilation of the two EPs. They were compiled onto vinyl release with this label in Paris called Desire. SX: They put our two EPs together with some bonus tracks, so that was our first LP. It wasn’t really a full-length album. CW: It was one EP on each side of the vinyl. SX: It was a beautiful presentation. You’ve probably seen the picture online. A girl with a cowboy hat? Yes! I did see that on your Bandcamp page. I also saw the cover of one of your EPs-- it kind of looked like a scene in a horror movie? CW: Oh, that’s from a Shanghainese gangster movie. SX: We’re really into cult films. Like the video for our last single, “Black Camaro,” was really inspired by the Araki film, The Doom Generation. And I really love the song “Doom Girl,” that we’re shooting for now, because I feel like it’s a cool counterpart to “Black Camaro.” So I really pushed to do a video for “Doom Girl.” We talked about ideas for a while and we were like, “What’s one of our favorite 90s cult films?” and mine was Run Lola Run. It’s directed by Tom Tykwer and he does a lot of cool films but that one is probably my favorite, and to me it totally just represents what I thought the song was about, so that’s what we based this video on. We really like music that has that running, driving feeling. CW: Like Placebo… SX: Yeah, again a lot of the energy in our music is inspired by Placebo. But it’s more than just their actual songs, though. It’s about the delivery.
Definitely. So what kind of vibes are in the song that made you consider Run Lola Run as inspiration for the video? SX: The movie has an aggressive yet positive vibe which is what I think “Doom Girl” feels like to me. And we casted [an actress] because we kind of wanted to have this little plot twist at the end where, after all the action scenes and all her running, she goes into the venue but then I come out, as if Doom Girl could be anyone. Like any of that type of girl. You know, like you could be one. It’s very David Lynchesque at the end. We love David Lynch, too. CW: Twin Peaks has that feel as well, like the “shadow-self” personality. We’re really interested in that kind of idea. Tell me a little bit more about the “Black Camaro” video you released in June. To me it felt like a quintessential downtown night, filled with mischief. Do you have any crazy stories related to making it? CW: Since it was inspired by The Doom Generation, it kind of felt like a teenage apocalyptic road movie. It’s really frantic energy but without a general purpose; it’s kind of aimless. So we wanted to do as much as possible, really high-speed, kinetic shots that [the director], Liudi Hara, is great at. SX: As for a funny story--the guy whose car we used for the video was an ex-pro-wrestler, a super crazy guy from like Connecticut or something. CW: Well, we were like, “Oh shit, we can’t do the video without a black Camaro,” so we were looking and this guy’s was perfect. So we kept writing to him on Craigslist, like “Can we borrow your car?” and we actually didn’t know until the afternoon [of the shoot] if he could show up. SX: Shit like this always happens at the last minute. CW: The backup plan was a green Camaro. SX: But I did not want a green Camaro in my black Camaro video. It was a lovely car but we were not doing a “Green Camaro” video. So this guy drove three hours from Connecticut and he just parked the car in front of Don Hill’s, you know, that venue that we all used to go to… Yep, that was definitely one of the first places I used my fake ID. SX: Yeah! So long story short, Chris had to drive it. CW: It was stick shift and it was fucking fast.
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SX: And Luidi was hanging out of the car in front of us, the cops were around the corner, but we were like, “We need to get this shot!” CW: Luidi was actually sitting in the trunk of the car in front of us to shoot as we drove by and the whole time I was just trying to keep the Camaro under speed so I didn’t hit him. SX: That was a really fun experience. Sounds like it! So how did the name “GHXST,” with the “X” and all, come about? SX: The “X” to me is a very 90s icon, and it’s just kind of sexy and cool. Totally. So let’s talk about some of your other songs. “Flowers of Evil” immediately caught my eye on your EVILWICKEDDESIRE track list since I’m a huge Baudelaire fan and I read somewhere that it was also inspired by the Godard film, Made in U.S.A. After learning about your new singles as well, I’m guessing you guys are often inspired by film and literature? CW: I would say both of those are major for us. SX: Yeah. But also, at the end of the day, you only write music when you’re actually feeling something. Sometimes it’s hard to write if you’re like, “OK, I’m gonna sit down and write some music.” It doesn’t always happen. And then lyrics could come to you from a phrase that someone said to you once or a line from a movie. It just happens. I was listening to some of your earlier stuff— and I guess by “earlier” I just mean circa 2010 and 2011—and to me the music seems more electric, lighter, and more echo-y as compared to your newer songs, which are heavier and more distinctly instrumental. Is there anything behind that shift?| CW: We kind of imagined the music off the first EPs as being very spacious. Especially with the second EP, No Rest For The Wicked, we actually thought about what these spaces would look like—like a hotel in the desert or something. Like you use reverb as a way to convey space in the music and more recently we kind of just wanted to flatten it and go for a sound that’s really high-impact. The space that develops out of the music now comes more from the interplay of the parts. SX: Now it’s a little more volatile, a little more loud. For sure. I definitely picked up some White Zombie and Nirvana vibes from your recent singles. As a self-proclaimed “Deth Grunge” band, what are some of your other influences?
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SX: Definitely one of them is Sonic Youth. Just because our music, especially live, is really noisy and not shoegazey, so I think Sonic Youth does that kind of bright, cool noise. And I think they’ve inspired a lot of the other bands that we like, like Jesus and Mary Chain. But I just like the energy of the 90s, you know? I hate the word “revivalist” but I just feel like the music then was very lively, volatile, angsty, and all sorts of people were doing it. CW: Like people just had different takes on that same sort of energy. SX: Right, we weren’t hearing the same thing over and over again—everyone had something different to say and I think it was just a very open generation of music. What do you think of the “Tumblr 90s Revival”? SX: I think it’s fine! I think it’s really cool that kids want to remember that awesome generation. To me it felt really short-lived. I mean I was really young, Chris and I are both 28, but from the ages of 10 to 14 that was what I was listening to. CW: People on Tumblr who get into this stuff, I feel like they’re just looking for something that’s lacking in what’s being fed to them right now. So they just start reaching for their own imagery and that tendency reminds me of 90s youth culture, even if the methodology is different. It’s great if it provides a place where people can just share things. Like, growing up, most of the bands I listened to were recommended by friends and circulated on mixtapes. SX: Exactly! I remember someone just handing me the first Garbage album and being like, “Hey, you gotta listen to this!” Speaking of Garbage, and you being a female vocalist yourself, Shelley, what do you think female leads particularly lend to music of your genre? I’m thinking along the lines of Shirley Manson and Kim Gordon, for example. SX: Two of my favorite ladies! I mean it sounds cliché but there are a lot of guys in rock music and it’s nice to have a girl’s point of view. But it’s not just because you want to say, “Hey, I’m a girl in a band!” it’s because you love rock music. It’s more of a gender-neutralizing thing— we do it because we want to do it, not because we’re trying to make a gender statement. And ultimately the most important thing is that there are still girls out there who want to do it—it can’t just be Brian Molko out there all alone!
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DESNUDO Photos: Cameron Davis Model: Melissa Kimbro Hair: Jonathan Mason Makeup: Shanti Angelica Styling : Cara Bloom
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Natalie: top: Lie Sang Bong, pants: Yoyo Yeung Nicole: blazer: Yoyo Yeung shorts: Lie Sang Bong
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NINA SKY Words: Christine Griffin Photos: Gavin Thomas
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What was it like when you first got signed? It was exciting!! We were nineteen years old, and had been recording professionally since we were fourteen. When we initially recorded “Move your body,” it was supposed to be a record to test the waters and see what the public thought of us... That’s the record that landed us a deal. From there, everything moved really fast. What are the differences between before you got started and after you became established? Before we got started we were just two girls from Queens, NY.. Recording music was a hobby and traveling the world was just a dream. Since releasing our first album we have performed all over the world, and have been able to collaborate with producers and artists we look up to and respect... There have been some bumps on this road BUT its been a great learning experience. Being signed at such a young age we weren’t very educated on the business aspect of the “Music Business,” but 2 record deals and a new team later we’ve learned and are still learning!
You have been together forever, literally. Is it hard spending so much time with the same person? We have our moments. Like any other relationship there are ups and downs, we agree to disagree and as much time as we spend together, we spend time a part... But ultimately its awesome that we get to experience so much of life together. Traveling the world living out your dreams with your best friend.. Who wouldn’t want to do that? How do you balance your relationship as sisters with your relationship as musicians? Our relationship as sisters is what makes our relationship as musicans work so well. We’re best friends and sisters first and foremost.
Do you two ever feel a strain on those relationships and how do you get past it? No strains when you trust and respect your partner. Thats how we see it. We’re blessed to have eachother.
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What is your song writing process when you work together? Our writing process changes song to song. Sometimes we write together, sometimes we write separately but before any song sees the light of day we make sure we’ve both contributed to the finished product. How does your background influence your music? We grew up in one of the most diverse in the world! We were fortunate to be sorrounded by people from all walks of life. We learned to appreciate all genres of music, styles of fashion, and cultures at a very young age. How do you cope with the daily grind? We love what we do. We love the Grind. We love the challenges of being independent artists, our own bosses, making shit happen!! You had issues with your last label, Polo Grounds. What were some of the issues that lead to you parting ways with the label? We had creative differences. Generally speaking, is this a common situation to go through as signed artists? Of course, when there are so many hands in one project you are bound to butt heads. What are the hurdles you have to get over now that you are independent artists? We are [our] own bosses. Which is awesome. We approach our music like working any other job, when we’re not touring we are in the studio daily 10am-7pm, some nights longer. It’s important for us to stay disciplined . That’s something that we really had to engrave into our schedule. Clive Davis talks about the key to the industry is “to stay with it.” Going through first being signed, and now as independent artists, you have shown the staying-power that Clive Davis was referring to. Can you give other musicians advice on how to stay the course? Just as Clive says and as cliche as it sounds, “Never give up.” This business will chew you up and spit you out. If that happens, get the fuck up and keep doing you. You have to be resilient through any and everything that comes your way.
Natalie: top: Cres E Dim pants: YoyoYeung Nicole: jacket : Cres E Dim pants: Lie Sang Bong
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Who are the artists who have inspired you the most? Lauryn Hill has always been an inspiration lyrically and vocally. Outkast’s creativity is inspiring. Other inspirations.. Madonna, Gwen Stefani and J Lo.. All artists that have been able to monopolize their success and evolve with the times. You have worked with many other musicians. How important is collaborating with other artists? We love collaborating with other artists. We can learn from working with other artists and it helps us grow as musicians as well. It’s important to keep those creative juices flowing!
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What do you ladies like to do for fun? We’re both happily marrried. For fun, we spend time with our families. Words to live by? So many.. Never give up, What goes around comes around, and last but not least, they don’t like it.. Fuck ‘em!! What is in store for 2013? New music in 2013.. We have so many gems we want to release, just waiting for the right time. Which will be VERY soon!
LEFT Nicole : jacket: Cres E dim , pants: Yoyo Yeung RIGHT Natalie: jacket : Cres E dim, shorts : Lie Sang Bong
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MAG Photos: Trevor Gilley
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Who is MaG? I’m an artist still finding himself through his music, trying to create art that will help change the world and the people in it. What was it like growing up in the Bronx? Hard. But, also enjoyable. I learned a lot from the people and the environment I was raised in. The Bronx taught me how to protect myself, and also forced me to want to strive for more. I saw folks who I came up with go to jail, end up dead, in wheelchairs from shoot-outs. I knew and believed there was more out there before me then my three-block radius. But even with that, there were block parties, open fire hydrants during the summertime, twohand touch football games in the streets after school...there was a lot of love coming up. Who are some of your musical influences? The list grows it feels like, every year. But, Biggie, Jay-Z, Nas, Kanye West, Common, Andre 300, Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain,Quincy Jones and Frank Sinatra, to name a few. When did you realize music was your true calling? It’s hard to pinpoint a time period. I’ve been rapping, and in love with music, since I was five years old. Its just always been a part of my life. I used to spend hours free-styling and making up songs in my mother’s bedroom growing up. Heck, I still do that now (not in my mother’s room though. That would be weird). But, as far as a life decision to pursue this fully as a career? I would have to say around 2004. Tell us about “freedom”. Well, “freedom.” was a free project I released in January of this year in conjunction with DJ Mick of Roc Nation + RCRDLBL.com. I hadn’t put out any new music since 2009’s “I Ain’t Goin’ Back to Retail!”, so this project was a real labor of love for me. I did
a lot of growing between my last project and this one, and I wanted that to be reflective in the sounds I chose and the music I recorded. “freedom.” represents me finding myself, and finding the freedom to be who I am and to love who I’m becoming; in hopes that others would follow suit and do the same for themselves. What is it like seeing a live MaG show? Seeing a MaG show is like coming home to your mother’s soul-food cooking after a hard day at work. I’m feeding people with my music. I try and give everything I have on stage, and leave it there by the end of the night. I’m giving the audience a piece of myself with each show, praying they leave a little happier then before they came. Words to live by? Be yourself. Love who you already are. Have faith in the unexpected. Believe in magic. Follow your heart. Trust your gut. We can do this all day... Plans for 2013. To continue to ride this wave, and to continue to grow as an artist. I’m currently working on a couple of side-projects with some extremely talented folks I’m excited for the world to hear. Also, trying to book some more festival gigs. I want to really make sure people become more familiar with my music, and build off some of the buzz I created with “freedom.”, and make some new fans in the process. What do you like to do in your free time? I’m definitely a reader. Mainly biographies, and social science books. But, I can go for some good fiction as well. I really love watching documentaries, and I’m kind of a nerd so PBS is my favorite channel. Other than that, just being around the people I care about.
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RICHARD CHAI Words: Ashley Wiscovitch Photos: Gavin Thomas
ith some highly coveted awards and a pretty impressive resume, it is no surprise that this designer has been greeted by the fashion industry with open arms. Richard Chai. the 32-yearold Korean-American designer started young and started strong. Landing an internship at Geoffrey Beene as just an undergraduate at Parsons School of Design gave Chai the jumpstart he needed to launch himself head first into the fashion industry. Chai continued in Paris; as he completed his studies at the Lissa School, he worked as a sketcher at Lanvin as a sketcher. Once this New Jersey native returned close to home in New York City, he acted as an assistant designer for Armani Exchange. He soon began to work with Donna Karan as a designer for the DKNY and D collections. Yet still, Chai aimed higher. By 1998, Chai landed the position of Design Director for Marc Jacobs’ men’s and women’s collections. He even pioneered the launch of the men’s line for Marc by Marc Jacobs. As if his accomplishments weren’t sky high already, Chai aimed even higher, and instead of just being linked with some of the greatest designers, he decided to make history. In September 2001, Chai became the first person in TSE history to oversee all brands of ths cashmere giant when he was appointed Creative Design Director for all of TSE’s brands.
Chai stayed with TSE for two years where he matured as a designer and sharpened his eye for detail. After turning down the position of Creative Director for Givenchy, CHai channeled his experience and directed all his efforts into his own line. Finally, in New York Fashion Week of September 2004, Richard Chai’s first women’s wear collection debuted. And after invested $18,500 of his own money in order to secure a tent for fashion week, Chai was to find out that his money was not ill-spent, as his work went very well received. Chai continued to develop his brand, and finally added a menswear line in 2008. His great work on his men’s collections granted him the honor of winning the Swarovski Menswear Designer of the Year award in 2010. The following year, Chai launched an affordable contemporary women’s line called “Richard Chai LOVE,” which seemed to mirror his men’s line. All of Chai’s work accentuates fine detail and highlights the beauty of architectural design. He focuses on the craftsmanship and the structure of his work and makes sure of an impeccable construction of each garment. His debut showed sophistication and elegance, and he continued this style through to his men’s line as well. His eclectic colors, patterns, and textures combined with his classic tailoring techniques give Chai’s work a unique look. This whimsical designer will use his clean lines and classic , yet modern, work to keep him as a keystone in the building of young American fashion.
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TECHNODROME1 Words: Vince Libasci Photos: Jonathan Goldberg
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How do you choose which prints to embellish/create over? How often is a particular celebrity/public figure commissioned vs personal interest? I choose what to draw by what inspires me the most at the time. My day consists of a barrage of internet information, pictures, and videos that sometimes influence me a lot in terms of what I will create. Other times ideas or memories just come to me and I’ll start the day with a specific direction or goal in mind. Most of the time, celebs and pop culture figures intertwine with personal interests and that makes creating a more enjoyable and fluid process. Do you find it a challenge to balance “work” life, like finances and bills, while maintaining your life as an artist? How? I think everyone finds it difficult to balance the different aspects of life. I’m not sure how other people do it, but I see my work as my life, so creating something every day became my “Job” and after a while I realized I have been living my goal of living off my creations. Now the new challenge is to keep elevating my goals and stay hungry. When did you get into moving images (gifs)? Do you find the expression differs artistically from print to motion? Animating Technodrome1 seemed like an obvious next step in the evolution of whatever this is I’m doing. I saw how the still images and colors captured people’s attention, and I wanted to see what would happen if I made it move; all I can remember after seeing the first one move was headlines from the news, when Pokémon cartoons made kids have seizures because of the flashing colors− that wasn’t the desired effect, but that made me feel like I had made something real, because it reminded me of something that I knew was real. Your use of vivid color both shouts at your audience and draws them in; have you always been predominantly working with this mix of sketch and photo, or has it been a developing process? It’s been a long process of experimenting and getting bored with what I was doing. I know my colors didn’t start out this bright, and I can’t really say what lead up to this point. It’s definitely a mixture of constantly working and life experiences, but I think all in all I stumbled
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onto something I love and fortunately other people enjoy it as well. I see a range of generations in your art, most notably ‘60s mixed with ‘90s; do you find any particular time draws your interest? What is influencing your work most right now? Well I think off the top a majority of people are drawn to the 90’s [laughs] as it was the golden age of everything. [continued laughter] I don’t know why I’m drawn to certain time periods, but what I can say is I’m drawn to greatness. The things I discover and remember that inspire me on a daily basis all come from different time periods, but all share the air of greatness, whether it’s a domination of a profession like [Michael] Jordan, which is awe inspiring and always potent with inspiration, or the realization that the way I make art, down to what it’s created with, wouldn’t be possible or fathomable without a great visionary like Steve Jobs. So really I feed off the way people that came before me dominated and left behind legacies.
I think everyone finds it difficult to balance the different aspects of life. I’m not sure how other people do it, but I see my work as my life, so creating something every day became my “Job”... I’m particularly gripped by “CHANGE OR DIE,” your piece of a female nude in flight, so to speak. How did you come up with this piece, blending modernism withclassical artistry? Wow, thank you. The “CHANGE OR DIE” work is in my eyes another manifestation of Technodrome1/Takun Williams. I feel like longevity is based on an ability to adapt or change with the times, and that is what I want, and what I was fortunate enough to be experiencing while making this new work. It just so happens that I chose a woman seemingly “flying away”, butt naked and very liberated, to try this new style on.
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All of your subjects come from places of strong opinion, like your print of “BUELLER” or great social change, like, “GHANDI.” How do the messages of your subjects influence your art, and the pieces themselves? Hmm, the messages of the subjects don’t really influence how I draw them or anything. I draw bad guys and good guys and most of the time the common element is these people or icons made me feel something. Some kind of nostalgia was felt after seeing Ferris Bueller’s picture and that’s all it takes for me. I’m from a generation of “cable guys”− popular culture raised me. Ghandi is someone I thought was important to infuse with bright colors, to maybe draw someone’s attention that didn’t know anything about him, and maybe make them interested enough to find out. What are your thoughts on the rigidity of the art world at times? What are your own ideas on how to “make it as an artist”? I have no thoughts on the rigidity of the art world. I mean, I’ve heard things, but am yet to experience what all the fuss is about. I have no ideas on how to “make it” as an artist, except to have fun. What would you say to your teenage self? Would you give advice, consolation? “Keep on trucking.”
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KACIE MARIE Photos: Gavin Thomas
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Tell us a little about yourself I am a country girl at heart with her heels in the city. What can I say; I got big dreams and am working towards reaching every goddamn one of them, no matter how big or small. I am a Musician, Actress, and do some modeling on the side to quench my inner exhibitionist. What has it been like making the switch to living in NYC from PA? The pace is different, the energy is different, but that’s exactly what I came here for. After living in Philly for 3 years, I knew I was ready for the change. I’ll always love philly, I’ll furthermore always love Pennsylvania and call it my home; but for now I’m trying to settle into this huge city. I reside in Brooklyn, and wouldn’t have it any other way; …reminds me of home, with all the coffee shops and cute spots to walk to. If you could see yourself living anywhere else where would it be and why?
filming in June, so keep your ears and eyes open! I am also about to release a short film that I wrote and directed starring the amazing Vinila Von Bismark from Barcelona and myself, titled The ‘Tin Can Tinker’ Are you working on any other films in the future? Yes, I have quite a few feature films coming up! Very excited and overwhelmed to have 5 staring roles, so far in the next year. Just hoping they don’t all wanna film at the same time (nervous laughter) I love strong independent movies , and feel so lucky to have already been in a few great indie films, and looking forward to the challenge of the ones coming up. What is a typical day like in the life of Kacie Marie? And how do you find the time to balance everything in your life?
Creative, Passionate, Brave What have you been up to recently?
Making and drinking too much coffee, stretching, taking photos of the morning light, stalking instagram for a little while, then I get on with the rest of my life. Balance has always been a challenge for me, even though I’m ironically a Libra…I’ve always been more of a juggler even since I was small. Playing a lot of sports, playing music, and making art. I basically have the same life but now as an adult. I try and stay as calm as I can, avoiding stress, working hard, and doing whatever the hell I feel like I should be doing. What motivates you?
I’m finishing up my solo EP with Collapsible Empire, followed by a full length album. I am writing and producing a film called “The ‘O’ Pill.” We are in pre-production and will be
The weather, vinyl, coffee, Billie Holiday, time, fear, and the hope to make enough money to one day take my mom to Paris and to buy her a beach house.
Nashville. Because, it just seems like a place that I’d like. And quite a few of my favorite old time country favorites lived there and made music. I wouldn’t mind following suit since I got so much country and blues in my heart. Yeah, Nashville, that does sound nice. Describe yourself in 3 words.
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Who were your role models growing up? My Mom Mom and Pop Pop. They grew up dirt poor but still provided for their family and managed to stay in love and be so sweet to us grand kids. My pop pop played bluegrass and country music, mastering the accordion, harmonica, and guitar. Wearing western shirts every day, sitting on the porch listening to Phillies baseball games on the radio, those are my fondest memories. My mom mom was my lunch lady all my life. Sweetest kindest woman I ever knew, and she collected roosters. The real ones and the fake ones. I do the same now. What is the best part about your job? The best part about my jobs are that I get to work with and meet other artists, and also get to constantly learn, grow, and express myself. Being creative is all I’m really good at, so the world should feel lucky that I’m not operating on anyone or making any political decisions. Tell us about your music. My music stays pretty darn true to who I am as a character, being a vintage kinda gal with a bit of a dirty mind. I title my music genre as ‘Vintage Pop’ but really it’s got an old fashioned kind of doo-wop feel, with lots of harmonies bordering on old country and blues. My music is honest to a fault and sometimes I’m almost embarrassed to publish the songs because they are so real and so raw. I sing about love, and the lack there of, and the yearning that comes along with it. My EP will be finished this spring and I’m very excited to release my album titled Lemonade and Poison. Soundcloud.com/misskaciemarie. Goals for 2013. My goals for 2013 are to get an agent for acting and for music. To have a personal assistant. Get signed with an amazing record company. Make
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TO EXPLORE Photos: Noah Sahady Models: Andre Kivijarvi & Lindsay Hansen Art Direction/Styling: Noah Sahady & Bethany Olson
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SHEARE MUSIC Words: Heather Thomas Photos: Trevor Gilley
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BRANDON SHEER IS A SINGER/SONGWRITER FROM THE US. HE RECENTLY RELEASED THE SINGLE “WE MIGHT AS WELL BE DREAMING” IN MARCH 2013, THE FIRST OFF HIS NEW LP SHEARE. HE WAS KIND ENOUGH TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS FOR US ABOUT HIS LIFE AS A MUSICIAN, ARTIST AND NEW YORKER. FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND PRACTICE TO SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS, THIS IS OUR INTERVIEW WITH BRANDON.
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What first inspired you to become a musician? How early did it all begin? To my parents dismay I started playing the drums as part of the school band in middle school…I don’t think they were too keen on the noise, so I never really had a full drum set…I only had a snare drum…So I didn’t play the drums per say…I played…drum (singular). Around the same time my older brother had a fleeting interest in learning to play the guitar, and once he jumped ship with that venture, I took his guitar into custody and have been playing ever since. I never set out to become a songwriter though; it was almost an after thought. Who are your biggest influences right now? I’ve always been really drawn to the Brits. Radiohead, Doves, Travis, The Clash, New Order, Keane. I’m also a big Jeff Buckley fan. Can you describe your creative process, and the motivation behind it? I use to almost exclusively write songs on the acoustic guitar, but a few years ago I bought a keyboard, which really expanded what I could do musically. Now I usually write most of the instrumental aspects of my songs on the keyboard through Logic and then later write lyrics/melodies. In terms of writing lyrics, it kind of depends on how emotionally distraught I am that day ha…If there was a particularly emotionally crippling event that took place (usually involving a girl) it just flows out of me. Other times, it’s not until the song is finished that I find some sort of meaning in it. Sometimes the meaning behind the song is totally subconscious and it wont be until much later once that I’ll put two and two together. What messages do you seek to convey with your work? I think I just try to write music that resonates with people on an emotional level. I am by no means re-inventing the wheel with my music, but I always set out to write the most honest music I can. Can you explain what your new single “We Might as Well Be Dreaming” means to you? Ironically, that is the last song I wrote for the record and the first to be released. I think stylistically it came about after sitting in a bunch
of meetings with producer/mixer Spike Stent and his wife Tracy (who have been over seeing my record for the last 4 years). They made pointed out that the majority of my songs up until that point had a melancholy mid tempo feel. I think I had a bit of them in the back of my mind when I set out to write an upbeat song. I think as a song it really helped the direction of the EP as well rounded out the LP. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. Lyrically the song is about me being cynical about a new relationship and the uncertainty as to if it was going to work out. I feel like I am constantly flipping a coin to see if my head or heart is going to make the decisions in my life. I sort of realize now that love is the least rational thing in the world, so trying to rationalize it through music always makes me feel as if I’m gaining some sort of clarity, ha. Now that you have some new songs released, what is on the agenda for you? Playing shows and touring is the main priority now. I think the end goal should never initially be set at world domination or Lady Gaga level fame, though obviously I won’t decline that if it were to come my way. It took me 3 years to finish my LP, so up until this point I’ve been in a musical purgatory waiting to put things out. Now that it’s finally here I just have tunnel vision…nothing else seems to matter at the moment. How are you fitting in with the New York music scene? I love New York for all its beauty as well as its flaws, but I feel musically, the “scene” is rather disjointed. You are either playing in tiny a shithole, or you’ve managed to do well enough that you are playing some of the bigger venues. There are not too many places that are inbetween the two. Do you feel that different cities affect your personal sound? I think so. I’ve been fortunate enough to work creatively with people from a magnitude of cultures and countries on this record. I think being surrounded by that kind of diversity has really shaped me musically. I also feel there’s something inherently unique about growing up in New York that has greatly influenced my sound.
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What are your favorite hangout spots in NYC?
If you weren’t a musician what would you be doing?
Man, I’ve been in such hibernation mode lately. I feel like I’ve literally aged about 10 years in the last few winter months. I genuinely enjoy sitting in bed, with a nice cup of herbal tea, watching Murder She Wrote and falling asleep around 8:45 pm. But when things turn green again, I enjoy going out. The Bowery Hotel is always a fun place. I’m not that keen on going to places on the weekends where you’re constantly getting man handled because it’s too crowded. I much prefer the quieter places where you don’t have to scream to have a conversation.
I’d most likely be a Churro vender at Disney Land haha (Half kidding). I always try not to even entertain that “B plan” scenario because I feel sometimes if you spend too much time thinking about it, it will ultimately become your “A Plan”. But, I always loved art, and drawing/ painting. I took art classes every week after school prior to taking up the guitar. I still draw on my free time.
Does creating music help you to conquer your fears? Absolutely. I am a high functioning neurotic… Sometimes it feels like my brain is a dog that never stops chasing its own tail. Music on the creative side anyway, alleviates a lot of my anxiety, while music in the business side is the source of MOST of my anxiety haha. I think writing music is free therapy. What do you do for fun? I like to cook. I cook nearly every night of the week. I’m a big movie buff as well. I also enjoy a good flea market (how hipster of me).
Following you on twitter is always a treat. How has social media changed the music scene? Ha thank you. Well it’s obviously changed our entire society and the way we interact with each other in general. I feel social media has made everyone incredibly narcissistic (myself included) because we now have various platforms to be heard on a constant and instantaneous level. With that in regards to music, it has made it far more accessible to gain an audience you might not get other wise. I feel that social media should be used as a tool and things like touring and organic grassroots methods shouldn’t be negated in its place. Social media is like taking a vitamin…it will never be in place of a real meal haha.
Guilty Pleasure? Chasing the Saturdays on E!. All the other reality shows on E! are brain cell depleting, but I thoroughly enjoy that show.(I’m not sorry for it). We love your logos. Who is the genius behind it? Thank you! A guy in the UK named Simon Griffen designed the logos. Simon worked along side Howard Wakefield who has also been involved the art direction for my record. They both design a lot of the artwork for bands like New Order and Joy Division. I really wanted to work with people who had done iconic album art and luckily for me they liked my music as well, so I feel very fortunate to have had them involved. The logos will also be part of a guerilla street art campaign as a way to promote the EP. The logos are printed out by a company called Dropcards and will be attached to glow in the dark balloons that will be placed in various locations around the city. On the back of the logos are codes that you can enter onto my website that allow people to download the EP for free. My music isn’t cool enough on its own haha, so I wanted to do something unique as a way to promote the record.
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CLMD Words: Heather Thomas Photos: Gavin Thomas Your music is very uplifting. Can you explain the messages behind it? Well, we have never really thought about our music being uplifting.. Our focus has been more about delivering emotions to our audience. We want our fans to really feel our music rather than just hearing it. Could be that a lot of the times our music brings out smiles, but that is not necessary our agenda. It’s about making you feel something real and about letting our music carry your mind and heart away. (even though that sound super cheesy) How long have you been a team? We grew up together and have been friends since the age of six. Naturally we had a lot of the same interests, and got drawn into house (EDM) at the same time. So personally we been a team for almost 20 years, professionally for 5, or is it 6 years now? Since the release of your music video “Black Eyes and Blue”, what have you been up to? Wow! So much have happened in the last year! We released another single, “Falling Like Angels” and an additional Bonus EP for that track, we have released a couple of remixes, and been working on the 3rd official CLMD single! But probably the biggest thing we have done since then, is moving to NYC! This has been a dream for a long time and an even bigger adjustment from little Norway!
Let’s talk inspiration. What music can you say has had the greatest influence onyour work? Axwell from the Swedish House Mafia has always been a huge influence. We sort of say that his music was one of the biggest reasons for us to get interested in House music. But we actually are more influenced by other genre of music for our sound. We listen to a lot of Electronic, indie rock and ambient music for inspiration. Bands like Royksopp, Miike Snow ad Foster The People have always been favorites. It’s really cool to bring elements from different types of music and fuse it with the digital sound of EDM. Recently we have also been very influenced by another house producer, Eric Prydz. His music is a reaction to the way way EDM has developed in the last 2-3 years. Lately it has been more about being loud, making noise and having “sick” drops in EDM, instead of showing people the deeper sense of the music. Prydz music is totally different. Instead of massive build-ups and heavy drops, his music brings you on a journey. This reaction is the way we think the music will go when people finally realizes that it’s not “all about the drops”. Therefore, Eric Prydz have over the last couple months grown to become one of our biggest influences. Is there anything else that inspires you, outside of the music industry? There’s always inspiration! Moving to NYC has been inspirational it self. Just new impulses, traveling, seeing new places are great sources. But we are both film enthusiast, so movies can also inspire. Specially good stories.
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What are your plans for the future? See how far it’s possible to go in this business! As mentioned, we are currently finishing our 3rd single. We also want to do a Bonus EP for this one, but we’ll have to see. It’s like this when you work with music, you have to take one day at the time and make sure to drive forward! Also, last year we started our own label, so for the future we want to grow UpNorth Recordings to become a leading label for Scandinavian Electronic Music. New York is a far reach from Norway. How are you finding the transition? It has been really good actually. There is always so much going on here and we feel our career has been turbo charged. There is always so much going on that you don’t really have time to get homesick. What is the best venue you have had the opportunity to play so far? Our biggest show ever, was opening for Madonna on her MDNA Europe tour, but there were so many people there that we really did not manage to enjoy it. The nerves were taking over hehe. But the best must have been when we played the Slottsfjell Festival in Norway last year. The venue was an old rundown factory and the crowd was so into it. That is still probably the best show memory to date. What are your favorite hangout spots in NYC? Hehe there’s this café called 7A on 7th st and Ave A, which we eat at all the time. It’s the perfect hangover spot! Also the Day & Night brunch on Saturdays is a classic for us. They always take so good care of us there! We are really happy to have become friends with those guys. But when we go out for drinks you can usually find us at The Jane Hotel. With some new shows coming up soon, what are you most looking forward to? Montreal this weekend with legend Zedd will be awesome! Martins mom is from Montreal so it is especially exiting for him. He has not been there since he was 2yrs old! We are also looking very much forward to Miami Music Week! This year we have a lot of shows lined up, so we can’t wait to tear it up in the sunshine!
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Do you have any advice to other young artists out there? It might be a bit boring, but practice makes perfect. Give it time, devotion and work! Even though you’re dj at clubs and festivals were people party, you are still at work! This is not play, this a career, so if you want to make it treat it that way! What is it like playing in front of thousands of fans? It could the best feeling in the world! If you have ever been competing in sport you will know a similar feeling. You have to perform your best to win and if you “win” your crowd and hit your cues, you will experience a rush so great it is impossible to explain. What cities/countries would you like to play in next? We are really looking forward to the upcoming US tour. We have been fortunate enough to play both coasts, but we are really looking forward to seeing even more of the US! But we must admit we loved Brazil and can’t wait to go back there and play. An Asia tour would also be really cool! If you guys were not doing music what career paths would you choose and why? Carl: I’ve always been really interested in film and also studied it for a year before the music demanded full focus. There’s nothing like a well written story, and I really like how you can present your ideas through characters and their actions. Martin: I have always been interested in Film and Fashion so maybe in one of those areas. Not sure what exactly though. Or maybe in advertisement! I think that is a really interesting field and I think would make a pretty decent Don Draper! Either way I am 100% sure I would be doing something creative!
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LIONHEART Photos Jonathan Goldberg Model: Hattie Watson
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TONE TANK Words: Eric Witmer Photos: Gavin Thomas
FROM MAKING CONTROVERSIAL BOOTLEG TOYS, TO DOING HOOD RAT STUFF WITH HIS FRIENDS- I DON’T THINK TONE TANK IS LIKE ANYONE ELSE. THE FLOW IN HIS RAPS LEAD US TO THE UNIVERSE OF HIS MIND, AND ALLOW US TO REALLY SEE WHY HE IS THE KING OF SURF GUITAR RAP. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU LIKE HIM OR NOT, TONE TANK IS HERE TO STAY, AND WILL CONTINUE TO STAND OUT FROM THE OTHERS.
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When it comes to your art; are you mainly a spray paint kind of guy, wheat paste, or both? When it comes to my art I’m mainly a song and dance kinda guy. No, now, mostly resin, then I take pics of my pieces and make poster cutouts, then I postem up, that won’t really translate into spraypaint, but ummmm I use whatever’s in the house, garbage... everything. I recently got an airbrush, which is a little hifi for me but usually just whatever I can grab. What does your art represent? My art represents the type of person that can’t just sit back and like stuff. I see stuff that I like and I’m like, “I wonder if I can do that” and then I’m off... sometimes projects get finished sometimes they don’t. But it’s always exploratory for me... (them last two words rhymed, I told you I was nice.) How did you get into toy making?
How did you come up with the “Non-Racist Black Skinhead Pathro” figurine?
Well, I didn’t really plan on starting to make toys. First off, for the record I’m not a vinyl toy collector and that is not how I started. A few years back I was in a 2nd hand store and saw an Extendor, Masters of The Universe figure and bought it for 5 or 10 dollars. I had not thought of Heman figures for years and years, but I instantly found myself obsessed and compulsively buying all the toys I had as a kid (that my mom swears she didn’t throw out) on ebay (latenight). Eventually I found the South American Bootlegs and other MOTU knockoffs and liked them way better than the originals. Those were selling for more. I was hooked. I wondered to myself how many other people out there were fiends for these toys , and if I liked bootlegs, why not make my own. I made some real crude, rugged joints, till my man Sucklord put me on to sandpaper.
Well, Panthro was black, everybody knows that
What kind of crowd is buying your action figures?
When did you start rapping? Was it something you started when you were young?
What type of crowd is buying my toys... i guess maybe other fiends of bootleg culture, people that want to grab a piece of ‘at some point in time someone actually made this shit’. Oh and the Baldwins are big collectors of my work, too.
(the dude.that played Bill Cosby’s dad on the Cosby show did his voice), and I used to listen to a lot of OI music, one day I was looking at Panthro and was like, “he got the braces (suspenders), and the shaved head”, and was like Panthro was a Black Skinhead. I threw in the non-racist for those who wouldn’t know the diff btw racist skins and non racist. How does your art, toy making, and music tie together? It all ties together because I make it all, it is all an extension of me and my personality and the way I think. I used to be real hesitant to mix them all, for presentation purposes, then I realized that I was a human being, not a company and enjoyed being a h uh man being more than I enjoyed being a company... or two.
I started rapping when I was 14 or so, just freestyling, hanging out, doing hood rat stuff with my friends. EPMD ‘Headbanger’ made me want to rap.
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Back in 2009, you anointed yourself as the King of Surf Guitar Rap. For those who don’t know, can you explain what exactly being the King of Surf Guitar Rap entitles? Being the King of Surf Guitar Rap is a job all in itself, a lot of suckas try me for the title, but they’re just crumbs, they can’t hang. You seem to have a real 1990’s feel to your music. Would you say that’s the most influential era for you? I guess soundwise/rap-wise, musically, the 90s has had the most influence on me, (even though most of the music sampled is from other eras), but lately I’m trying to capture the feel and unstructured creativity I had when I was four or so, the untrained mind, vague memories are my biggest influence. Also the more I grow as a person, the less I feel obliged to stick within what’s ok as rap sound and subject matter. I’m more interested in just creating songs and they go where they go, contentwise and soundwise. The 90s and the whole NY thing, that’s just a label, that is part of who I am, but not all of who I am. I like to keep it open. If you could get 3 rappers from any era to join you in a hip-hop group, who would you pick? Powergroups always seem to kind of fall short. I would open a pitbull rescue center with DMX. Aside from music, what else from the 1990’s inspires you? The 70s and 80s. Explain how Newlyweeds came about? My man Shaka King, Scott Thorough and I were scouting locations out in Lindenhurst, Long Island for the 40s video and I was showing him where I hung out as a kid (train tracks, abandoned industrial areas, etc, who I used to hang out with, telling him crazy stories from when I was younger and he said he had a part for me in a movie he was working on. About a year later he hit me up to do a reading for the movie and about a year or so after that he came through to coach me on the part and then we were shooting. It was a real dope experience.
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Are you looking to further a career in the movie industry? Yo, Like I said, it was a real dope experience. I got a lot of free gear at Sundance, I’m def open to it. I dunno about running around and going to auditions all the time as of right now, but it was a real positive experience. It was different than the usual experience I have with art. Usually it’s me working alone in a room. This was a shared work experience of like 40+ people and a shared celebration once it was finished. It was a beautiful thing. Plus me and Scott got to hang out with Hassan Johnson (Wee Bey from The Wire) for a week, which was cool cause we are both big fans of The Wire and he is an ill dude. What’s next for Tone Tank? I want to make toys that are packaged on 7 inch records of my music. I would like to get to a point where my stuff is on the map enough to where I can leave NY, maybe go live in Mexico and work out of there, and make a living selling my toys/and other stuff over the web. Also I have been taking garbage off the ground in specific hoods and want to make sculptures with the trash I find in each hood, that also serve as planters for flowers, or vegetable plants and then install them in the hoods that I took the trash from. So kind of like ecovandalism. Basically I want out of here. I want to build a hut. But while I’m here shit is going to get a little weird.
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HENRY GAUDIERGREEN Model: Rachel Dashea
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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS Tell us a little about yourself. I’m a makeup artist who lives in NYC. Makeup is my second career, having worked as a professional dancer for a bunch of years before evolving into makeup. I have a wonderful supportive family, I am a huge fan of the absurd, and I strive to see the world with tourist eyes( but without judgement.)
Best part of the job? Everyday is a new experience. It’s like have perpetual work one nite stands. I work with some really talented, cool, fun-loving, caring folks. Having a variety of jobs/clients from baby magazines to drug companies, e commerce to a few celebs. I appreciate the variedness Worst part of the job?
Where did you grow up?
Oh that kit can get heavy, and I rarely take a taxi or car service. I get some kooky stares on the subway. Eye rolls like “here comes another tourist”
Canton, Ohio, Enkoping, Sweden, Ann arbor, MI, north Carolina and the East Village.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Describe yourself in three words. curious. Whimsical. Gypsy. How did you get started in the industry? Did you always want to be a make up artist?
I discovered pottery over a year ago. I can’t get enough of it. In taking pottery classes I have discovered the most amazing community of artist at my studio La Mano Pottery in Chelsea. I love movies and live performances, swimming, taking a nap and a little trash tv.
When I retired from my dance career, I wound up back in Ohio sleeping on my moms couch wondering what the hell to do next. I had no plan b. I went to the mall and while there a little voice inside told me“ you want to do make up” it was such a completely random thought from god only knows where. Luckily I recoginized the voice, because it was the same voice that told over and over again you want to be a dancer. I had an amazing career with dance so I listened. When I was filling out my application the person in charge of HR saw me can called me in for an interview. The next day I met her and the manager of the cosmetic dept. told them I didn’t k now a thing about retail makeup but with my theater background and being a gay man, show me once and I can make it happen. I was hired on the spot. And then I had to learn how to do makeup.
How do you like living in NYC? Could you see yourself living anywhere else?
Whats the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Plans for the future?
The only competition you ever have is with yourself! You can’t hurry love. It requires had work, if it came in a bottle, everyone would have it.
I have spent most of my adult life here, fortunate enough to always live in manhattan. It is my home and gives me so much. I have been spoiled by the accessibility and convenience of everything. Could I live anywhere else. Hell yeah. I moved out of NYC 2x before. As long as I’m comfortable in my skin and my partner John and our Pit bull Percy are with me..... I’m home. Advice for aspiring make up artists? You will work hard. When possible keep kit and attitude light. Clients will continue to hire you for the experience you create, it’s not just about a smokey eye. Always test. Keep your eyes and focus on your own career. Know your worth.
Dream big. Stay grounded. Have fun. website: GreggHubbard.org Agency: Berstein Andruilli. BA-reps.com twitter: greggmakeupnyc Instagram: greggmakeupnyc
Any simple beauty tips? Don’t smoke. Use SPF everyone! What motivates you? Improving my skill set, constantly developing my eye, adding to my pool of references. Eating.
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I grew up in the suburbs of New York. My Dad worked for Jim Henson and my Mom had a full on creative agency running out of our home. She was commissioning works from Andy Warhol for Disney and cut and paste style designing logos for Nickelodeon.
y Dad would bring me down to the Creature Workshop where they were building Dinosaurs and Labyrinth characters. My Mom was paying bouncers off so I could see blues bands in the city and teaching me photography from the click of a camera to developing photos in our laundry room dark room. I had an unreal upbringing I can’t thank them enough for. Fortunately, they instilled both a creative and business mindset in me from the very beginning. Describe yourself in three words.
When did you start to DJ? I was randomly asked to DJ 4 years ago for Topshop even though I had never touched a turntable in my life. Being the YES woman that I am, I took the gig with a DJ friend of mine, Vida Ventura, who taught me the ropes on the spot. I took to it with ease and fell in love with the craft immediately. I love a good challenge and was inspired to break all the stereotypes female djs were getting. I’ve been honored to play alongside A-trak, Drake, T-E-E-D, Teki Latex, and Fischerspooner to name a few and finally this year play internationally.
Fiery, icon-builder, pro.
What are some of the ways you promote your work?
How did you get started in the industry? Did you always want to be a stylist?
I’m not afraid to say I have an Instagram addiction! I’m shameless and try to be a little unconventional at times. Branding yourself is key. I plastered huge wanted posters all over the city with my face and website on it. Somehow, it worked magic and started me booming with work. But above all, doing quality work you believe in every time will leave the people you work with nothing to do but love and promote you.
I styled a few test shoots for fun during my studies at FIT. After college, I started as a designer for Stevie Wonder’s wife’s line, Kai Milla and Brooklyn streetwear label, Mishka NYC. I loved design but knew I had to get back to my entrepreneurial roots and start doing my own thing. After relentlessly begging a few amazing photographers to work with me I got in and the ball just kept rolling. Now I’m luck enough to be working for clients like MTV, Sony, and Google.
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What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you? My Mom has always told me to do what I love. Donald Trump said without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing. Any simple beauty/fashion tips? Water is your best friend and Preparation H works wonders under the eyes. Don’t follow trends. Clothing are merely an extension of yourself. Make them bring out the best in you!
Plans for the future? I’ve steadily been building the Haus of Yoe. My love of the overall image has led me in the last few years to delve into providing makeup, photography, image consulting and creative direction in addition to styling. Website: www.valissayoe.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/ValissaYoe Instagram: @valissayoe
What motivates you? Motivating others motivates me. Best part of the job? The best part of the job is being able to create art with amazing people for a living. The traveling and craft services are the icing on the cake. Worst part of the job? The worst part of the job is when it’s over and I’m waiting for the next fix. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I can’t say I have much free time. As a freelancer, my life is my work and I’m fully submerged. Although I do like to eat fine foods like a maniac and walk the streets aimlessly in search of inspiration.
My Mom has always told me to do what I love. How do you like living in NYC? Could you see yourself living anywhere else? London, Tokyo and Iceland have been favorites in my travels so far but NYC is my first love. I’ve been living here since 2006 and never wake up jaded in the slightest. There’s not much you can’t do here. The bitter winters and lack of romance in NYC does have me running to Miami and exploring Europe often but something about this magical city always brings me back. Advice for aspiring stylists? Put your all into every single thing your hands touch and network the crap out of this town like you mean it.
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BERTHOLD JEAN-CHARLES MY NAME IS BERTHOLD JEAN-CHARLES BERTHOLD IS PRONOUNCED BER-TOLD AND IS OF GERMAN ORIGIN AND MEANS BRILLIANT RULER. I’M HAITIAN AMERICAN. I AM A PASSIONATE MAN THAT EXPRESSES HIMSELF IN A PURE WAY AND ALWAYS SPEAKS FROM THE HEART. I AM A FASHION STYLIST BASED IN NEW YORK CITY. I’VE BEEN STYLING OFF AND ON FOR ABOUT 2.5 TO 3 YEARS. MY WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN HARPER’S BAZAAR VIETNAM, ELLE VIETNAM AND Z!NK JUST TO NAME A FEW.
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Where did you grow up? Brooklyn, New York
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you? Also, have a contract.
Describe yourself in three words. Loyal, Honest, Genuine. How did you get started in the industry? Well, I’m a very curious person and I always ask questions. This has been a big reason that I’ve achieved what I have thus far. I use to work in many retail stores and one day I was encountered a woman that would start me off in the fashion industry. I was over hearing two women speaking about photo shoots. I interrupted and one of the women introduced herself as Debbie Dickinson. I soon found out that she was the sister of the self proclaimed first supermodel Janice Dickinson and from there everything went in an unexpected direction. I was asked to style a model she was using for a hosting gig on ABC. Once I did that she asked if I would style her for some upcoming projects. The first was working with Fashion Photographer Antoine Verglas. He has shot models like Stephanie Seymour, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford and has shot for publications like Elle, Vogue, GQ, Esquire. This was my first taste of the industry. After this I just started working harder and harder. I thought I made it when I worked with this photographer, but I had so much more work to do! I just worked with more photographers and build up my resume and body of work and here we are now. Did you always want to be a stylist? No. I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. I was just working to make money and that’s all. Working to buy things that I could wear while going to different parties in the city, but something inside me keep saying... I need to have a solid career that I can be proud of and it really have an impact on my life in a bigger spectrum. So I thought to myself... hmmm? What is it that I love to do for free? And I should make that my profession. Since I loved expressing myself through clothing and people always seemed to love what I would wear on a daily basis I decided let me work towards being a fashion stylist.
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Biggest fashion faux pas? Spikes on everything. WHY? YUCK! Can we kill that trend please? For Men? Gauges earrings! Why must people damage their beautiful ears with those repulsive things. UGH! Not chic. For Women? Crocs! What motivates you? My Mom and Dad. Best part of the job? Being able to see so many gorgeous types of clothing of course! Worst part of the job? EGOS. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Listening to music, walking through the city and not having a clear destination. Getting lost is what makes me happy. I always get to see new things and the unexpected really excites me. How do you like living in NYC? It’s great, I wouldn’t change it for the world. This city is tough, but it makes you tougher. Could you see yourself living anywhere else? Yes. Paris! Advice for aspiring stylists? Don’t be yourself. Be authentically yourself. This means be the person you are when you are around your parents, close friends and when you aren’t around others. This is the person that you want the world to see and know. This is the person that people will admire most. Use this philosophy in everything you do. May it be your work, career or any other aspects of your life and I assure you things will be much easier. It’s not hard to be you.... but it is challenging to try to emulate others. So, be you, be brave and be respected for sticking to your guns. It will pay off in the long run. Also, find your point of view. When thinking of this aim towards something that you are really passionate about and put it in your work. Have a mentor and assist or apprentice under someone that you admire.
Plans for the future? Write a book, Have my own show and clothing line based on my aesthetic and do some public speaking. Website: Coming Soon Twitter: https://twitter.com/bertholdjc Instagram: http://instagram.com/ bertholdjeancharles Tumblr: http://bertholdjeancharles.tumblr.com/ Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/bertholdjc
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RACOON FIGHTER Words: Denise Kinsman Photos: Peter Roessler
Left to right; Gabe Wilhelm, Sean Gavigan,, Zachary Ciancaglini.
In one word, how would you describe Raccoon Fighter? Raccous. Who are the members of the group and how did you guys meet? Sean Gavigan, Gabe Wilhelm, and Zachary Ciancaglini. Sean and Zac kinda grew up together in Vineland, NJ. But we didn’t meet Gabe until one night at a bar in Brooklyn, through mutual friends. Turns out he was from that same small town in Southern New Jersey, and even went to the same audio engineering school that S and Z attended. Small world. The buzz has been sailing across the Internet about your ‘Kickstart project”. You guys are trying to raise money to launch the album. Can you tell us more about that? We just finished the Kickstarter campaign and are very grateful to say that we reached our goal! Now we’re currently in the process of making our first full length album. The video was shot in Vineland and was directed by Gabe’s brother Ryan and edited by Blake Johnson, who’s also from Vineland, but works here in NYC now. Once the album is launched, what are the plans from there? What is the destination? Tour tour tour tour tour...... Hopefully we can involve some people who aren’t from Vineland on this one What are your thoughts on Social Media? At this point, as an independent band, it seems like social media is your heavy hitter in the selfpromotion department. There are currently so
many different sites out there that help you network and spread your music. You gotta do it. I mean, what else are you gonna do? Go door to door with some CDs, a pamphlet, and a smile? When the three of us all share the social media load it’s not bad at all, it’s actually pretty entertaining. How do you feel about today’s music industry? In what way’s do you feel it could improve? In some ways it seems to be more forgiving for newer bands like ourselves. The fact that nobody is expected to sell a ton of records anymore opens a window for independent artists and allows room for them to step it up. People complain about things like Spotify and how the music industry is going in a direction that can’t be reversed. Although we can all agree that the industry is in the crapper right now, I think if people started focusing on how to adapt to the new environment, instead on focusing on how to change them back, the industry would be improving. Who are some of your musical influences? Lots of stuff all over the map, but we get compared sometimes to bands like The Stooges, Sonic Youth, Television, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Ty Segall, Jack White, Black Keys, Black Lips. But we’ve been known to rock out to some Van Dyke Parks and Skrillex in the same night. If you could perform with ANYONE in a show, who would it be? Does Bill Murray count?
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HOWTO GET HER TO HULA HOOP 1. Take her out for a nice dinner and don’t talk too much about work or how tired you are. 2. Compliment her outfit in a really specific way. Ex: I really love the ruffles on that a-line shift dress. 3. Ignore all other women in the room, on tv, and in any magazines or newspapers you might pass by. 4. Bring over a little thoughtful gift . Anything will work here, it just has to be sweet. A snow globe, a cute pen, a slinky. 5. Cook a home made meal . It could be burnt, raw, give her salmonella, have bones in it, doesn’t matter, it’s more about effort and presentation. 6. Buy an actual hula hoop and have it laying around. Don’t mention it at all. If she asks “What’s that?” don’t even respond. 7. Casually mention your sister hula hoops and you think that it gave her a six-pack. 8. Light candles, light incense, and play soft music on the night you present the hula hoop. 9. Look for signs she’s actually ready: nervous giggles, touching the arm, playing with her hair.. 10. If all else fails, beg.
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DJ KALKUTTA Photos: Gavin Thomas Foreword: Jonathan Goldberg Words: Dâ€™Anise Marie Makeup: Tanima Mannan Hair: Lauren Thompson
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BORN IN INDIA, DJ KALKUTTA HAS MADE HER WAY FROM BEING AN ORPHAN TO DJ AND PRODUCER IN NEW YORK CITY’S MUSIC SCENE. SHE HAS TRADED THE WHITE PICKET FENCE AND TWO CAR GARAGE FOR A PAIR OF TURN-TABLES AND AN EAST VILLAGE STUDIO APARTMENT. IT IS TODAYS AMERICAN DREAM, AND DJ KALKUTTA IS CLIMBING TOWARDS THE TOP.
Your story is very inspiring. Please tell us a bit about yourself. When I was two days old my mother surrendered me to an orphanage in Calcutta, India. I wasn’t born in a hospital, didn’t even have a name on my birth certificate... Ended up spending most of my infancy there til I was adopted by an American woman in the States. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest where I studied music and dreamt about moving to New York. Have you or do you ever plan on searching for your biological parents? I have never sought them out and I imagine they’d be pretty hard to find as we know very little about them and the information we do have is pretty old, but I definitely want to make a trip back to India in the near future and will try to reach out to them while I’m there. I’d love for them to know I’m okay and that I found happiness and success in my life. From an early age you were drawn to music. Did your Mother have any influence on your musical upbringing or was music just something you were naturally led to pursue? Oh definitely- she made sure I learned all the basics as far as music theory and pushed me to learn classical stuff. She’s also big into Broadway, which I love as well.
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Growing up you studied voice, piano, and cello. Do you still play the piano and cello today? How do these influence the music you make now? My cello lives at my mom’s house, but I play keys all the time! Learning piano made it so much easier to learn production for me. I actually prefer to look at whatever project I’m working on in musical notation rather than a series of bars and boxes. Knowing music theory allowed me to make chord progressions that made sense and songs with structure without really having to think about it. Stuff like that is second nature to me now. Who were some of your biggest musical inspirations growing up? Where do you turn for inspiration now? I was a pop kid! Loved Britney, loved N*Sync...I was a hugeeee Janet Jackson fan as well as Mariah Carey. As I got older I fell in love with rock- from Nirvana to Fall Out Boy, I loved it all during the 90’s & early 00’s. I loved catchy, sing songy hip hop like Nelly and Ja Rule, but also was curious about classic stuff like Biggie and Wu Tang. I fell in love with EDM when I experienced it in the environment it’s meant to be heard- my first big show was Kaskade! These days I find musical inspiration anywhere from the grocery store to a show by one of my favorite artists or peers- I’m always listening and watching how people react. These days I’m a big into Frank Ocean, Major Lazer, Tommy Trash, Kendrick Lamar, Sky Ferriera, and Cazzette amongst others.
What led you away from more classical instruments and ultimately to the turn-tables?
to stay relevant and keep up with their peers numbers-wise.
Well, somewhere in between the two I went to school for production. Although these days most people are getting into producing after they’ve already been deejaying for awhile, it’s actually my first love. I kind of fell into deejaying because a friend of mine pointed out that I’d probably be able to learn it quickly and start doing gigs since I was already so familiar with music technology. I wanted to quit waiting tables, and a myriad of other horrible jobs I did, so I decided to give it a shot. As soon as I started I knew I wanted to do it for a living, so I made that my goal... and here I am today!
What are some of the projects that you are currently working on or will be working on in the near future?
On your recent stadium tour with Karmin, you played everywhere from Madison Square Gardens to LA’s Nokia Theater. What is it like, that first time playing a venue as big as MSG and working with Artists as big as Lady Gaga, David Guetta and Pitbull? I won’t lie; it was pretty nerve wracking the first few times. I don’t know if I can say with confidence that you ever truly get used to gigs of that magnitude, but it definitely gets easier. Honestly, we had a blast and learned more than we ever had imagined we would. These people are super dedicated to their careers- it’s not as wild and crazy as everyone thinks- you’re pretty tired most of the time and really focused on just making it to the next city and putting on a great show. Before the Social Media Revolution, Artists like Prince and Madonna always seemed out of reach. Now they’re just a click away on Twitter or Facebook. What are your thoughts on that? How do you utilize social media to get yourself out there to the public? There are some artists today, Beyonce for example, or Pharrell, who have Twitter & Facebook accounts, but are extremely selective with what they share on them. This proves to me that being exposed to the public eye is more of a choice than it is a consequence of fame. In my opinion lots of today’s artists just feel the need to put it all out there... Rolling with the “any publicity is good publicity” theory, I guess. Mystique doesn’t seem to be much of a priority to new artists, but the ones who do care about it have the freedom to be reserved on social media. I think most new artists feel like they have to expose themselves online just
Releasing a bunch of bootlegs in the near future, as well as working on some original writing and production. The list of artists I want to work with is a mile long. I’m hoping to start chipping away at that soon! I also have some cool televised appearances coming up, as well as a bunch of travel dates. I understand that Fashion is also a passion of yours. While music and fashion are different industries, they are inherently connected. How much does Fashion tie into your life as a musician? Is fashion something you see yourself pursuing in your career? Fashion is extremely important in my life. Aside from my personal love of it; it’s a crucial part of my brand as an artist. Rachel Zoe said, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak,” and I find this to be extremely true. In my line of work I don’t always have the chance to sit and talk with people, so I try to convey at least a little part of who I really am to people by how I dress. Spinning runways and events for designers has taught me so much about the fashion industry. I’ve seen these people’s commitment to what they do, and I know if I were ever to branch into that world I’d have to devote all my time to it. Right now I’m so caught up in the whirlwind of traveling and gigs I wouldn’t be able to do it right, but I’m definitely interested in pursuing it further down the line. When all is said and done, what would DJ Kalkutta like to leave on the walls of music history? Overall I just want to create great songs that make people feel good and want to dance. I’d love to leave my mark on pop culture because when I see how happy people get when they hear a song they love it’s the most gratifying feeling on earth.
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T-SHYNE Words: Sam Harts Photos: Gavin Thomas
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Where are you from? Born on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean, grew up in East Hampton New York, and now living in New York City. Who do you rep? I represent HOME Team to the fullest. It consists of it’s founder Microphone Preview. Perrion, who is Microphone Preview’s brother. S’natra aka the smooth nigga. Will Hill the ATLien. 7Double and MSTR THMS. What type of rhyme style do you consider yourself to have? To be honest, I don’t really consider myself to have a particular style. I have styles of beats that range from trap music to what people would call “90’s” hip-hop. But honestly if I’m doing a collab with somebody and they send me a beat, the beat doesn’t have to be a certain style of music, it can just be something I fuck with. If I just feel it right away then I’m definitely going to rap to it. Who have you been compared to? I sound like T-Shyne. I sound like myself. I mean I take influence from artists but I don’t like to bite other people’s styles. People have told me that I sound like Biggie, Tupac, Nas, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, but like I said before it varies due to what type of beat I’m flowing on. Describe your work ethic/process? I like to be in a very calm environment. I don’t want to hear any commotion in the background of where I am, unless I’m with my crew. Having the right beat makes it so much easier as well. I also like to smoke and write. Weed is a big part of my writing too. Pretty much just the thought of doing well and putting my friends on is what drives me. I want the people most important to me in life to see that I’m doing well and if they know that then that makes what I do a hell of a lot easier. Weed, quiet, and a dope beat.
What are you currently listening to? Right now I fuck with NAS’s new album “life is good”, obviously I fuck with Kendrick Lamar, schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay rock, all of TDE pretty much. I listen to a lot of trap, S/O to Gucci Mane. S/O to Juicy J. S/O to Action Bronson. I like ASAP Rocky’s new album. Rick Ross. Etc. What specifically about hip-hop drew you to the genre? I’d say listening to the way people rap and the type of lyrics that they have really put me on in the first place. How people would talk about their lives, the flow, and the beats pretty much just lured me in. The music spoke to me in a lot of different ways. I always found myself asking questions like “what made certain rappers choose certain beats”, and as I got more into the genre I figured it out myself. You know, people want to hear more diverse things when it comes to bass or kicks or the general sample. What are usually the basic guidelines for a track that you will get on? When I put on the track, I want to start writing to it right away, and sometimes it doesn’t even work like that. Sometimes all this into a track and leave it for a couple weeks or months and then come back to it and then write a sick verse to it. That doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t like the beat, it just means that I’m not really on it at that moment. Influences (top 5) NAS, Biggie, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Tupac Shakur. There’s no real particular order. Oh and S/O to Andre 3000. Name: Tafa “T-Shyne” Age: 22 years old
What have you been up to recently (trips, projects, work)? I’m working on the SOULution right now. After that gets some buzz I’m probably going to go on some sort of tour. I’m also speaking with MF Grimm about collabing, but that’s another story.
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Photo by JP Sevillano
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THE FABLED, FALLACIOUS & FABULOUS LIFE OF BEING AN ARTIST By Carlos A. Gonzalez, Actor & Comedian
t’s true, there is nothing greater, more meaningful or valuable to an artist than hitting the lotto. Well, that and following our dreams by pursuing our craft. But at what cost?
As a New York City based actor and comedian, it can be tough at times to make ends meet. Waiting for someone to call you with an available paid spot, trying to fill up each month ahead of time with enough gigs to pay rent and the essentials. It’s like hustling like a drug dealer but without any of the pay back. Weather it’s pilot season, commercial work or just a regular film or TV audition, it is constantly a hustle. “Damn, I barely have enough to pay for a subway, bus and eat”. Looks like someone’s walking ten blocks as he scarfs down a slice of pizza. Luckily for me the role I was auditioning for required I talk like the roof of my mouth was burnt, which was easy for me because the roof of my mouth was in fact burnt from the slice I scarfed down. Ouch. Getting a call back for an audition is like making a good first impression on a girl with hopes she gives you her right phone number. Then again, not getting the job after a call back, is a lot like getting a lap dance. They get you excited, and all worked up with euphoric excitement only to send you home to a cold shower of shame with an ultra lathery soap of disappointment.
a while, assures you that you’re on the right path. There is nothing more satisfying than to see your hard work as an artist realized. Although he hates to admit it, Louie C.K. considers himself an artist. Standup is a craft in a category by itself. It’s the only craft where your performance can be unpredictable, but unlike following a script, you’re the one to blame for what YOU wrote and how YOU deliver it if it doesn’t go well. The early Roman civilization entertained themselves by having gladiators fight ferocious animals. Well, New York City audiences can be very similar, except for the fact that they tend to roar a bit more before they swallow you whole. People who see what we do from the outside only see and glorify the accomplishments, but not the foot work nor the disappointing rejections. If you’re a comic and they see you at a show where you happen to have a great set, they’ll come up and say, “wow man, I always knew you had it in you.” Not knowing that it cost you many humiliating and long nights working out material. If they see you on a TV show, they’ll think, “wow, this guy is blowing up!” Um, no, not really. I’m still hustling and trying to get to the next gig. Although the destination is worth waiting for, the journey is what sets you up to appreciate it. “Does anyone have money for the bus?”
It’s being able to land the auditions and get PAID that make my toes curl! Getting work and of course a standing ovation every once in
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KRISTEN WRZESNIEWSKI Model: Nicole Vaunt Hair & Makeup: Amber Lynne Wardrobe: Lechuza Blanca Vintage Stylist: Samantha Cradduck
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SEASICK MAMA Words: Jasmine Stein Photos: Gavin Thomas Hair & Makeup: Greg Hubbard Stylist: Angela Kelley
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SEASICK MAMA IS A BROOKLYN BASED SINGER SONGWRITER AND AUDITORY ARTIST WHOSE DEBUT EP “DEAD LIKE MONEY”, IS AS UNAPOLOGETIC AS SHE IS. HER MUSIC IS A SEXY, HEAVY BEAT MANTRA FOR LIVING IN THE MOMENT, AND TRYING ANYTHING ONCE.
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How would you describe the music of Seasick Mama in 3 words? OUT OF CONTROL. Who are some of your musical influences? E.S.G, Liquid Liquid, Talking Heads, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s
Is a full length coming out soon? Once I get my vibe, a full length is definitely in order. I need a story. I still have some livin’ to do.
When did you start making music? Can you describe some of your first musical memories?
California or New York?
I started playing with the idea of music when I graduated college. I started making music, for real for real, two years ago. My first musical memory was…Andres Levin (a huge producer who has done projects with David Byrne) asking me to sing something practical, like “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” and I was so nervous and he could totally hear it in my voice…That is when I realized, “Who am I kidding, I got WORK TO DO”… My confidence level has arrived since then.
What’s the worst job you have ever had? Did you quit?
Dead Like Money is definitely about relationships, sex, struggle, discovery, and making out with boys.
Do you have any life mantra’s or life motto’s that you live by?
What is a Seasick Mama live show like?
Digital or Analog?
I perform with a band; drums, guitar, and bass. We have evolved a lot since our first tour. We are tighter, getting people to dance more. I am more composed and ready to swoon people. What do you hope to accomplish over the next year? I hope over the next year I finish the next EP with producer Peter Wade (of MNDR)…I think we are calling it TIP TOP SHAPE…that is a secret only for VNDL readers!!! Also, I hope the band & I are touring a lot around the US singing the shit out of the new material. I also hope to accomplish a lot of personal growth & staying healthy! You have just released your debut EP Dead Like Money. Much of it reminds me of hot, carefree summers in Brooklyn. And making out with boys. What do you want people to get from your music? Wow! You nailed it right on the head. Dead Like Money is definitely about relationships, sex, struggle, discovery, and making out with boys.
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I want people to get…a sense of confidence… that it’s ok to speak your mind no matter how fucked up your thoughts are.
NEW YORK CITY BABY, ALL DAY.
I refuse to let myself have a BAD JOB. That is what “Quit Your Job” is about. Never settle for something you don’t love or at least think will push you to the next level. I did have a job though in college…I was basically promoting a for a company called “BIG BOYS TOYS” at a car show…That is all I am going to mention. I quit after my first day.
Try everything once. What do you hope people will remember when they think of this generation? Intelligence, fashion, and the fight against obesity.
UUUUUUhhhhhhhhhhhh……… Favorite NYC restaurant? My favorite restaurant in NYC is the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. Planning on any new cover songs? No. I plan on writing from my insides for the next few months. Covers are usually unplanned.
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