S O M E THING N E W _ 001
THOM YORKE / OCHILDREN / ISSEY MIYAKE / VANS SHOES / MARLEY
#001 xv/ xx
I N N O VAT E D T
N I N E T I E S 5_
ew rock singers of the ‘90s were as original and instantly unforgettable as Thom Yorke, as his band, Radiohead, became one of the biggest bands of the 21st century after making a career out of specializing in challenging and unpredictable rock. Born October 7, 1968, in Wellingborough, England, Yorke was born with a vision ailment: his left eye was paralyzed and shut until the age of six. He underwent a total of five operations; the last operation was botched and he almost lost all sight out of that eye (only after wearing an eye patch for a year was he able to see, albeit slightly). His family moved often since his father worked as a chemical engineering instruments salesman, and by his teens, he had turned to music as an inspiration, namely Elvis Costello, Queen, and the Beatles. After his family finally settled down in Oxford, Yorke was sent to an all-boys school, where he first met future Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien and bassist Colin Greenwood, soon after discovering such ‘80s alternative bands as the Smiths, R.E.M., and the Cure. The seeds of what would eventually become Radiohead were planted at this point, as the trio jammed with a drum machine before replacing it with another friend, drummer Phil Selway, and inviting Greenwood’s younger multi-instrument playing brother Jonny to join up, too. The group’s original name was On a Friday, before being changed to Radiohead, which they’d swiped from the title of a song on Talking Heads’ True Stories. By late 1991, the band was signed to Parlophone in the U.K. and Capitol in the U.S., as an EP, “Drill,” came and went without much fanfare. 1993’s full-length debut, Pablo Honey, appeared to be suffering the same fate, until American radio/MTV made a surprise hit out of the Nirvana-esque alt-anthem “Creep.” The band’s fan base grew considerably over the course of their next two releases, 1995’s The Bends and 1997’s OK Computer, the latter being voted Greatest Album of All Time in the British magazine Q shortly after its release. One of the world’s top rock bands by this time, the group attempted to alienate their newly found Top 40 audience with their next release, 2000’s abstract Kid A, but instead found it debuting at the top of the U.S. charts (despite the absence of a video or single being released from the album).
While Radiohead remains his top priority, Yorke has also found the time to guest on other band’s recordings as well. Some of these “cameo” appearances include the songs “El President” by Drugstore (off the album White Magic for Lovers), a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” with Sparklehorse, “Rabbit in Your Headlights” by UNKLE (Psyence Fiction), Björk’s “I’ve Seen It All” (Selmasongs), and PJ Harvey’s “This Mess We’re In” (Stories from the Cities). Yorke has also appeared as part of the ad hoc alternative supergroup Venus in Furs for the soundtrack to the 1998 glam rock film Velvet Goldmine, lending his vocals to the tracks “2HB,” “Ladytron,” and “Bitter-Sweet.” In May 2006, he unleashed a surprise by announcing an imminent solo album on Radiohead’s weblog. The Eraser, made with extensive assistance from Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, was released on XL in July.
“I know I’m paranoid and neurotic, I’ve made a career out of it.”
MUSIC_ “THIS ISNT THE GOSPEL,THIS IS THE TRUTH”
C H I L
Named after the suspension of breathing during sleep, O.Children’s second album deffinitely leans towards a dream-like dark side.
There’s a maturity to the songwriting which shows a real progression from their debut, and former act Bono Must Die.
“This isn’t the gospel, this is the truth” sings Tobi O’Kandi, the imposing, 6’7”+ front man on ‘The Realest’. Through their goth rock dispositions (the fast paced bass lines, spiralling guitar noises) there’s a definite element of indie pop. Not in a comical sense; these guys can write a chorus.
The deep, synth boosted, and very 80s, but there’s an intamacy to the lyrics combined with the rock-out instrumentation which makes ‘Apnea’ a visceral experience. An album that will win O.Children more than a few fans.
D R E N
“They were going to take me to Nigeria, all my family is based in the United States so they were basically just going to drop me off somewhere that I have no idea about and no current family ties to”. -TOBI O’KANDI
Londoners O Children are giving away their While the legal battle raged, this is an uncontrollable suspennew single (named after the retro looking Tobi started suffering from a sion of breathing, which clearChrysler) ‘PT Cruiser’ to celebrate the re- medical condition known as ly influenced the albums title lease of their sophomore album Apnea. Since releasing their self titled debut in 2010 the band faced the small problem of the UK government trying to deport lead singer Tobi, it transpired the frontman had inadvertently over stayed his visa by 15 years.
Involuntary A p n e a ,
Successfully winning his fight to stay in the UK - the experience has fuelled O. Children’s new album ‘Apnea’. Ahead of this, the band are to release their limited edition single ‘PT Cruiser’ as part of Record Store
Day. Tobi O’Kandi reflects on this, and offers a preview of ‘Apnea’. What made you want to get involved in Record Store Day? Well, I guess Mark who runs Republic Of Music - our distributor - he was keen to get us on there. We’re releasing ‘PT Cruiser’ and also a b-side called ‘Decider’- we had 24 songs to choose from, so we thought it’d be nice to get involved that way. This will be my first actual Record Store Day, so I’m quite excited about the whole thing. Have you taken part as a fan before? I haven’t, other people in the band have. This is my first sort of real Record Store Day and I didn’t really know anything about it, but then I looked into it and it seems like a very good idea. The whole record aesthetic I think it’s coming back and people are more interested in records. I heard they’ve gone up like 200%, but that might be an exaggeration. It seems like a really interesting thing. Are you still interested in the classic image and concept of an album? Well I guess these days it’s looking like everything’s streamed and you can sort of get it really quickly, but that makes it throw away. I think with an album not only can you tell a story, but you get more bang for your buck. Regardless of what’s going on in new media and music these days, there’s always going to be demand for that. I guess albums are just here to stay, because people will always be interested in hearing the full package one thing at a time, you know? So did you conceive ‘Apnea’ as being this one complete document? Yeah, I mean by the time we got into the studio with a full band we had most of the songs ready and we had an idea of how they’d link into each other, because the album is quite different...every song is quite different, but then once it had a story line I kind of thought of it as a movie or like a story: peaks and troughs... lots of things happening. With ‘Apnea’ it was definitely meant to be almost like a storytelling album, like a collection of tales recorded and put out there. A lot of thought went into it. This is a very autobiographical record, was that a decision you took or was it just simply that this is the only way you could cope with what was going on? That’s just the way it came out. Maybe in a couple of years or something I’ll be all about jacuzzis and bikini girls, and I’ll probably write about that. I kind of write very instinctively. With the last record it was more fantasy, where as this one is a lot more real.
How did the band assist with this? Actually me and Gauthier, the guitarist, we kind of shared writing credits. He wrote some songs and I just kind of arranged them. With the last record it was literally just me, but this one I wrote some songs, he wrote some songs, then we went in the studio and worked on them to try and make them as perfect as we possibly can. I think it kind of made the whole thing a lot more fluid. For one it was a lot easier because I mean not all the pressure was on me, which was nice for a change. I guess this one was very personal and very autobiographical, but everyone had a hand in it, it wasn’t just like me: it was a together thing, it was like a gang thing. I just stuck some lyrics on.
You opted to self-produce, was that important for you to take control on this given the personal nature of the material? Pretty much. It just felt like we had ideas for many different producers and stuff. We just thought why not keep it as an in-house thing, do everything ourselves and then if it goes tits up we’re the ones to blame, you can’t really place the blame on anyone. I think it’s good we did it that way because it was also like a bonding experience, it gave us a chance to - because we haven’t done anything in a long time - it gave us the chance to really get on it with no one else involved.
Musically, what was fuelling the new album? Actually with the new record I made it key that I didn’t listen to any old or new music. It kind of kept it as remote as possible when it came to putting influences on. The last record, again, we had a lot of sort of influences that we’d been listening to at that exact moment, and it came out good but it also came out as a record that was sort of more like a homage to other sounds. For this one we kind of wanted to own our own sound and develop more as a band, so there was a sort of ban on anything alternative or indie or sort of like rock based. I think that also shows on the record because it’s all very sort of raw and rough and ready, which is more of the idea, we didn’t want to rehash old sounds and make them sound like your typical rock band or your typical prog band, we just wanted to sort of do our own thing, see what sticks.
Has it felt like a learning process? It’s always learning for us. With this one we just thought more about ourselves and more about the way we should sound. We’ve always been a slow burning band, but ignored all the hype so we can focus on improving - and we continue to do that.
How do you feel personally, stepping aside from this material? Do you feel like you’ve entered a better place in your life now? Oh yeah, definitely. With all the stuff that happened, it sort of made me - for the use of a better word - a better person. It opened up a lot, it was a kind of like a really cathartic therapy session, in a way. I came out of it feeling so fresh and and once all that stuff was done, once the album and all that stuff was done it was almost like fate, like it was meant to happen like this and now we can take this on tour. But yeah, it was really nice I guess, I feel like a much better person ready to take over the world.
I s s e y M i ya k e
Conceived in the laboratory and designed on computer, Issey Miyake's new collection of statement pieces is made from recycled plastic bottles.
Born in Hiroshima in 1938, Issey Miyake is a Japanese fashion designer best known for combining Eastern and Western elements in his work. Pleats Please is his iconic line, pieces made from a single thread. He studied fashion at a renowned dressmaking school in Paris, immediately followed by intense study under some of fashions great designers. He has received prestigious awards for his work He also developed a friendship with Apples Steve Jobs and produced the black turtlenecks which would become a part of Jobs signature attire. Jobs said, So I asked Issey to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me like a hundred of them. In 1994 and 1999, Miyake turned over the design of the mens and womens collections respectively, to his associate, Naoki Takizawa, so that he could return to research full-time. In 2007, Naoki Takizawa opened his own brand, supported by the Issey Miyake Group and was replaced, as a Creative Director of the House of Issey Miyake, by Dai Fujiwara. As of 2012, he is one of the co-Directors of 21 21 DESIGN SIGHT, Japans first design museum The one-piece dress as it should be worn.
P A U L V A N DOREN Paul Van Doren is the man who started Vans and, therefore, the man you have to thank for your enormous collection of battered Vans and empty wallet every time one of their always amazing collaborations rolls around. Steve Van Doren is his son and aside from coining the brandâ€™s counter-culture, skate-themed Off The Wall slogan, has been at the helm of the company for the last 30 years. As soon as we heard he was in London we put in an interview request
WHERE Y O U R V A N S SHOES C A M E F R O M 19_
Are Vans really the best shoes to skate in? Steve Van Doren: I think they are because, you know, the roots are there. There are other companies that like to pose in the arena of skateboarding, but they don’t have true roots. We have true roots in skateboarding, so that’s why you get all these guys wearing them.
It’s because it’s a timeless shoe. Only a few brands have had them, like Converse with the All Star, for example? Yeah, and you know, you can throw them in the washing machine and they wash right up. They last a decent amount of time and go for a fair price, so I think my dad’s dream of having his own shoes and keeping the best value and quality still stands.
How did that happen in the first place, skaters wearing Vans? They came to us, we didn’t know what we were doing to begin with. When my dad started the company, he made the thickest sole he could, with the best grip and rubber and did a little bit of design too, obviously.
Yeah, for sure? My dad’s still alive today and I always tell him everything about the company. He’s 81, and you know, it hasn’t been his company for 20 years - he sold it - but me, my daughter, and my sister are still involved, so we try and keep a classic authenticity to it.
But that wasn’t with skaters in mind, that was about durability, right? Exactly. It was a casual shoe that would wear longer than any other shoe. My dad made shoes for 20 years in Boston, moved to California with that company, then decided to leave and start his own company. He knew he couldn’t afford to advertise for too long, so he made sure the shoes were as good as possible.
The Vans Downtown Showdown is the first time I’ve had friends call and be genuinely excited because you can tell it’s not Vans trying to cash in on something. It’s an authentic skate event for, and by, skaters? It’s the pulse, it’s the heart. It’s the fact that we don’t care about soccer, football, basketball, whatever: we care about skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding.
What was your dad’s reception when Vans began to get picked up by skateboarders? It was good, he jumped right on it. Tony Alva and those guys were using the phrase “off the wall” when they were skating pools, so we decided to use that logo when we launched our skate line.
Then, at the same time, there was that foray into making football boots. Those go for a lot of money on eBay now.? I know they do and they should, because there weren’t that many of them made. But yeah, I remember we did some breakdance shoes too. I took a BMX team to Tokyo in 1984, right after the Olympics ended, the next day we were flying to Japan with our breakdance team and we toured Tokyo and Osaka and had a great time over there
When was that, 76? Yeah. March 18, 1976. It’s the day before my daughter’s birthday, which was the following year, so I always remember the date. Skaters like Tony and Stacey Peralta would come in to the stores and just get a left foot if they’d ripped up the canvas on their left shoe from skating them too hard. Wow. And the essence of all those original shoes are still here now?
That must have been fun. That’s around the time you moved production to China, right? Yeah, and we have great factories over in China now, but I’m still trying to bring it back to the States. People will pay just a little extra money to have it American-made.
I’ve recently read that a couple of American businesses are moving their factories back to the States because it’s easier to get the production flexibility you need in the US? Well, yeah, that’s part of the reason I’m trying to bring it back, because that way we could do custom made shoes. Dr. Martens do that kind of thing here. All their production is off-shore, but they’ve still got one British factory they run. Yeah, I wish we still had ours and I think someday we will again. I’d like to bring in stuff like custom made shoes that you can do online and, like, if someone wanted a pair of custom shoes and a shirt, we could actually do it for them if we had our own American-based factory.
STEVE VAN DOREN INTERVIEW
Yeah. I mean, there’s the higher-end stuff - elaborate leathers and canvases and stuff like that - but the plain deck shoe is still our number one selling shoe. All the way from 66 to 2011, 46 years
FILM_ A stunning biographical documentary of legendary Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley from Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald (Life In A Day and The Last King Of Scotland). In the making of Marley, Macdonald had unprecedented access to private archive material and the resulting film is an in-depth and enticing exploration of a musical icon. This film is set to enthral Bob Marley fans and gain him countless more admirers
IN CINEMAS MAY 2012