PHOTOGRAPHER HILLARY HEAD, AUSTERE / MODEL RACHEL HARVEY, YUNGURSAMINOR
BY AUSTERE MAGAZINE
PHOTOGRAPHER REUEL LARA / MODEL TAYLOR HENDERSON
I S I T P O S S I B L E T O K N O W Y O U R S E L F T O O W E L L? I remember the first time someone told me I wasn’t humble anymore. After years of self-doubt, I didn’t realize that was possible. When I started feeling confident about the work that I was doing at Austere, I found that my new found confidence was looked down upon. I had grown an “ego.” When we begin an issue, we don’t name it until we actually start writing stories. When we started working on this one, we were talking about what it takes to be the “truest” version of yourself. That’s how we came up with the name Austere Ego. Because in its simplest meaning, ego is your sense
of self. That self-awareness reveals the truest version of you. We decided to explore where people derive this sense of identity, how it helps them be creative and how it doesn’t. For me, I feel like I discovered the truest version of myself while working on Austere. When I started being honest with myself and accepting my voice and boundaries, I finally started to feel like I could understand other people better too. To anyone who has thought about someone else’s sense of their own self worth: is a “big” ego really a bad thing if
it helps them be more confident in their work and understand the world around them? People tell you to “kill” your ego a lot. But how can you kill your ego? How can you “know yourself, know your worth,” but have no ego at all? Sadly, we never found all these answers and we can’t tell you if having an ego is a good thing or a bad thing. What we did discover, is that people perceive themselves and their self worth differently. To some people, their ego is something they fight; to others it is something they love and foster. As we often realize at the end of an issue, there is no right or wrong way to inter-
act with your ego. What’s more important is respecting yourself, respecting others and working to be the person you want to be. I know this advice is general—life is hard—but maybe something in here will help you out a little bit. I know it has helped me.
LOVE, Vicky Andres, editor-in-chief
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
34 A GOOD TIME TO BE RIKKI BLU 40 MELT-IN-THE-COUCH HIGH: HOMESHAKE 42 LET THE MUSIC RUN: IYVES 44 SUDIE 48 SHURRPRISE: LADY LESHURR 52 BANDE À PART, EDITORIAL 54 JONTI 56 BRACK CANTRELL
CRY BABY CRY*, EDITORIAL 10 FILM TALK: CHLOE & HOBBES OF RED LIGHTER FILMS 14 ELLE SE DRESSE D’ÉBAUCHES, EDITORIAL 20 DECOMPOSITION / PRESERVATION, EDITORIAL 24 A CREATIVES’ MANIFESTO: DJ YUNGURSAMINOR 26 ZEPH BY GOOD JOHN 28
MESH / POWER, EDITORIAL 60 A QUESTION OF MOOD, EDITORIAL 64 SAGA NYC COMES IN PEACE 68 VESPERTINE INCANTATION, EDITORIAL 70 ROMIE, EDITORIAL 74 TITAN, EDITORIAL 78 GREIGE, EDITORIAL 80 BLOODLINE ALCHEMY, EDITORIAL 84
90 TOO TENDER FOR YOU: PIERRE KRAUSE 96 EXPRESSION OF SINGULARITY, EDITORIAL 102 SELF-LOVE + STEAK: RACHAEL FINLEY 106 WAAS UP: BRANDY MICHELE ADAMS
PHOTOGRAPHER REUEL LARA / MODELS (LEFT) TAYLOR HENDERSON & (RIGHT) KNEAJHA BARRON
CRY BABY CRY*
Austere EGO // 11
PHOTOGRAPHER REUEL LARA / MODEL NICOLE SCATINA
Austere EGO // 13
RED LIGHTER FILMS BY ELIZA TRONO & VICKY ANDRES
A conversation with Chloe Feller and Hobbes Ginsberg of Red Lighter Films and miscellaneous, intersectional awesomeness.
Chloe and Hobbes call us while we’re laying in bed on a Friday night. We are holding glasses of $2.99 wine and string cheese. If we had it our way, these two—who we’ve already featured—would be in every one of our print issues. In their work, online interaction and ideas, they work towards a utopia of intersectional creative feminism. The two have a bit of a cult following online, but seem humbly
PHOTOGRAPHER HOBBES GINSBERG
unaware of the impact they have on this
generation. Together Chloe Feller and Hobbes Ginsberg started Red Lighter Films, a Los Angeles-based production company “with a purpose.” The idea for the company was largely conceived by Chloe, an actress, producer and feminist who was frustrated with the lack of multi-faceted female characters in film available to her
as an actress. Her partner and co-founder
But to me, acting is something I’m really
given that kind of treatment in main-
basis. Anyone who’s working with us in
Hobbes is head of #aesthetics. A photog-
passionate about and I’ve been doing it
stream media. It was made by people
any capacity also has the opportunity to
rapher and artist, she is a natural fit as a
for 10+ years. I love it so much, and I was
who experience those things [mental
be the boss and create something of their
videographer and cinematographer.
just getting work that I didn’t like at all and
illness and post-trauma]. We were able to
it was hard on me creatively. I think Red
come to the story with a certain sense of
Lighter was motivated by this idea of be-
responsibility that we want to approach all
important intersectionality is to you. Do
of our projects.
you think that being collaborative helps
In October they released a mumblecore
ELIZA: You’ve talked a lot about how
superhero film called All Encompassing
ing able to create roles for myself and for
and Everything. Directed by Hobbes and
other women and other people in general
Mackenzie Greer, starring Chloe, Anita
who are frustrated by what’s available. It
ple because of how collaborative it was,
Vora and Lexington Vanderberg.
was a slow grow, though, it wasn’t a goal
and that reflects our goals and what we
that we’ve paid attention to and is really
want to be doing. That it was a product of
important to us—to bring a diverse group
a lot of different people. It was a wonder-
of people together on both our cast and
Now on the phone, we talk briefly about
ELIZA: I love that you talk about rep-
CHLOE: I think it was also a great exam-
represent that better? HOBBES: Yes, for sure. This is something
movies, giggling when Chloe reveals that
resenting non-Hollywood women in
ful experience and we’re just hungry to
our crew. We had a lot of diversity in the
Hobbes’ favorite movie of all time might
film, because even though I have a pretty
keep doing it.
people we’re working with that brought
be School of Rock. Chloe laughs when she
standard body type, I can hardly think of
mentions some of her favorite directors,
women in movies that look like me or my
“David Lynch...and all those guys.”
friends. CHLOE: To me, that’s ridiculous—that
VICKY: Can you tell us a little more about your collaboration experience? CHLOE: Yes we can! This is our favorite subject! [everyone laughs]
We also talk about how there aren’t many
these are things that are supposed to
HOBBES: We had a pretty small crew working on this movie, and basically ev-
short films that have both a powerful nar-
represent the human experience and
rative and powerful visuals, let alone films
be super relatable, and yet the people
eryone had a multi-tiered role in the film.
made by women.
performing these things are completely
Me and Chloe, we came up with a story
unrelatable in that sense and don’t reflect
in the first place and sort of brought the
a lot of people. It’s ridiculous. That was a
foundation, but we took that to a friend
huge motivation behind doing what we’re
of ours who helped us actually write the
VICKY: Where did the inspiration to start a production company come from? CHLOE: I think that the start of the production company was kind of some-
doing. ELIZA: As your first film, do you think
script, and that we took to one of our roommates and best friends who is co-di-
thing I pioneered. I’ve been an actor for a
that, in a way, All Encompassing and
recting with me, and then we rewrote the
really long time and then I moved to [Los
Everything embodies your goals as a
whole script with the actors improvis-
Angeles] to pursue acting, and it stemmed
ing, and everyone kind of took this idea.
different perspectives. So it wasn’t just me and Chloe telling everyone how everything needed to be.
THE WAY I PERSONALLY TRY TO APPROACH INTERSECTIONALITY IS THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT TRYING TO PUT EVERY PERSPECTIVE INTO ONE MOVIE OR PIECE OF WORK.
HOBBES: It fits in line with what we’re
Amanda, who’s directing our next film
It’s more about that whatever subject
roles that were available to me not just as a
hoping to do. In the way that the story of
Revenge of the Flower Girl, was the AD
you’re approaching is done in a way that
woman, but a woman who isn’t stereotyp-
it is something we felt was very personal
[Assistant Director] on this film, and that
is nuanced and in a way that comes at it
ically attractive. I’m not super skinny and I
and very vulnerable and very empathetic
kind of also plays into how we approach
from multiple angles and isn’t just a sur-
have tattoos. I’m not a very “actor-y” type.
towards the kind of people who aren’t
collaboration. It’s not just on a per-project
from being frustrated with the amount of
Austere EGO // 15
ELIZA: I was thinking a lot about it while
an Asian American, and those are things
erything, about how that idea fits into the
that are outside of our scope. We’ve been
central story, and I didn’t even think about
meeting with a lot of really cool people
it until you said it. It’s true, it’s impossi-
within the film scene here in LA who are
ble to represent every experience in one
dealing with those kinds of issues, and
thing. I think that’s an important perspec-
we’re just trying to put them in contact
tive to have. I think a good film needs to
with each other and just share our re-
be simplistic in a lot of ways. CHLOE: I think it also relates back to our future goals, and we’re also approaching stories that deal with things that Hobbes and I don’t personally face. I think that
kind of our next project. CHLOE: We have things personally that each of us want to explore individually in regards to the future of Red Lighter and
come from having a healthy boundary
the stuff we want to pursue.
and a recognition of our own personal place to step back and let people take charge over their own stories and deal with it an autonomous way. They’ll have our undying support and we’ll help facilitate in any way that we can, as opposed to being super hands-on with it and trying to make stories that aren’t ours about us. VICKY: I think that’s a really important PHOTOGRAPHER HOBBES GINSBERG
sources and just use the community we’re building to help tell those stories. That’s
elements of the intersectionality aspect
privileges and realizing when it’s our
about things like immigration and being
I was watching All Encompassing and Ev-
I’M ENJOYING THAT PART OF FILMMAKING— THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES IS SORT OF WHERE I CAN WORK OUT MY OWN ISSUES THROUGH FILM.
part of what y’all have going. I don’t think
I’m interested in examining sexual assault
enough people try to do that. What kind of
and things like that, and my own personal
subjects do you wanna tackle next? HOBBES: What we’re doing next is probably going to be projects we aren’t really spearheading. We just did this big project and we want to bring more people
experiences in a cinematic way to get through it and to cope with it. I know Hobbes has her own ideas too. HOBBES: I’ve been playing around with a lot of vaguely sci-fi, futuristic stories in
in and give them what they need to do
my mind that are probably not going to be
what they want. We have a couple people
the next project, but sometime soon.
who we are bringing in who want to talk
CHLOE IN ALL ENCOMPASSING AND EVERYTHING.
ELIZA: One of my favorite things about
CHLOE IN ALL ENCOMPASSING AND EVERYTHING.
All Encompassing was that I watch a lot of short films, and I rarely see something that actually has a message you can iden-
“No! You first!” CHLOE: I don’t know how to describe my style, and it’s probably going to change
tify with and that looks so good. It was so
so much throughout my career, but as far
beautiful, it was insane. I often feel like I
as what I’m interested in...very complex,
see stuff that has a really good narrative
narrative-driven work with elements of
and it doesn’t hold up visually or vice ver-
surrealism, and I like to incorporate a lot
sa, and whatever y’all have going on that
of different aspects like music and visuals,
creates that is crazy.
the dialogue—just combining everything
HOBBES: Thank you, that’s definitely something I tried really hard to make sure
together. I like very polished products. HOBBES: I think that what may be the
was there. Because I also watch a lot of
biggest difference...I feel like I lean a lot
shorts, and I’m really annoyed with that
more towards doing things really subtly
whole sort of scene because it’s either
and I always want things to be [more
always just someone trying to make
minimal] than Chloe.
something that looks cool and their whole movie is just kind of based around the visual aspects, or they just wanna try out some cool visual effect thing they learned.
CHLOE: I don’t agree. HOBBES: I feel like that because, at least when we’re talking about other movie ideas, I feel like I always lean towards things being really loose.
PEOPLE JUST SEE SHORT FILMS AS A WAY TO MAKE SOMETHING THAT IS SUBSTANCELESS, AND THAT WAS SOMETHING WE REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO DO. VICKY: How would you describe your different styles? BOTH: [arguing playfully] “You say you, and then I’ll say me.”
CHLOE: Oh, you mean like you like metaphor and I like things that are a little more literal? HOBBES: No. I kinda think it’s the opposite. CHLOE: I don’t like metaphors! ELIZA: [laughs] Okay so, what are some of your favorite movies? CHLOE: I really like Showgirls. I think it’s my favorite movie ever; I think it’s really underrated. It’s a very campy movie that I appreciated a lot. I saw Goodnight Mommy recently and I really enjoyed that. I really enjoy play adaptations into films. I love that so much and I live for it. I love
Austere EGO // 17
David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino and...all
trying to do. It’s a very comfortable place
and honest. But I would also say by myself
those guys. [laughs]
to be in.
at the same time.
HOBBES: I always say my favorite movie is Slacker by Richard Linklater. CHLOE: But I honestly think her favorite movie is School of Rock. I think that’s her real favorite movie. HOBBES: But also Slacker. CHLOE: You won’t admit it, but I think [School of Rock is] really the real one. HOBBES: That’s just the movie I’ve seen the most in my life. CHLOE: And you love it so much; you talk about it all the time. ELIZA: What we’re working on right now
HOBBES: The good thing about living in a big city is that it’s not incredibly hard to
don’t not feel like my true self ever. I most
HOBBES: Her true self.
mimic the kind of group you find online
of the time feel like my true self.
CHLOE: I very much love and respect
in real life.
ELIZA: Okay, the last question—and we
that. But she’s also just like badass!
VICKY: Very last question—
don’t even have to publish it—but I just
ELIZA: Badass as fuck! Like jeez.
ELIZA: No, not very last. I also have one
want to know. Chloe, I’m obsessed with
CHLOE: She’s so smart and so kind, and
more question. VICKY: [laughs] Okay, is there a place, person or thing that makes you feel like your truest self? HOBBES: Just when I’m at home. Our house. When I’m by myself. CHLOE: I’m going to...this is going to be
Nicki Minaj and I’ve learned that you also
she’s been through so much shit. And
love Nicki Minaj, and I want you to speak
she’s so talented.
about why you love her. CHLOE: Oh! You can absolutely put this in here if you desire. I am very happy to talk about it. ELIZA: We might have to. Okay, we listen
ELIZA: I feel like everyone just wants to talk about her ass and just dismisses that she’s such a talented person. But she doesn’t give a shit and uses her perceived image to her advantage. I hear so many
a little sappy, because...now I’m embar-
to Nicki the whole time we make the
negative things and I’m just like, “Y’all are
most comfortable and the truest version
rassed to say it. I think, because of the
magazine, and whenever people are mean
totally missing out on the fact that she’s
of themselves. And we’re big internet
relationship that Hobbes and I have and
to us we play “Pills n Potions” and we’re
hella famous, hella successful, and people
junkies, so we feel like the truest versions
how it started, I feel very comfortable and
like, “We got thisssss.”
are inspired by and love her.” I just had to
of ourselves are online. We were thinking
very much myself when I’m with her. And
about how we live in a very curated inter-
we spend a lot of our time together and
like so many reasons. I’ve legit cried about
net bubble, where we are only surrounded
we live together and
this. She’s super important to me. She’s
I’m pretty sure I’m getting a Nicki Minaj
very much a symbol of non-complacency
by stuff we like and just ignore all the VICKY: Yeah I just don’t follow anything PHOTOGRAPHER HOBBES GINSBERG
sense from Nicki Minaj that she’s just very much—
is talking to people about when they’re the
HOBBES: I feel the same way. But I also
that’s so hard and it’s so risky, but I get this
I don’t appreciate or respect. How do y’all deal with life outside the bubble? ELIZA: Oh my god that was the most roundabout question we’ve ever asked. CHLOE: I think we find a lot of that in our peers and our friends. People that we create with and engage with here. We’ve been lucky enough that in LA we found
SHE’S JUST THE ONLY PERSON WHO’S SEEN JUST EVERY PART OF ME, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? I FEEL VERY SAFE FROM THAT AND I DERIVE A LOT OF COMFORT FROM THAT.
a group of people that are very aligned, artistically and morally, with what we’re
CHLOE: Really? I’m so hyped on her for
CHLOE: Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you did.
with an industry that doesn’t necessarily
cater to you, and I really relate to that. I
CHLOE: I already have Harry Styles tat-
also think she makes so much of an effort
tooed inside my mouth, but I need Nicki
to be positive and include other wom-
Minaj. Like her name in a little heart on
en of varying identities in her sphere. I
appreciate that she genuinely loves and
ELIZA: We’ll do it too, so...
cares about people. I also really like that
CHLOE: Yay, we’ll meet in Austin and
she’s so emotional and that she speaks her feelings all the time. And is just really unafraid of them. I really appreciate emotional vulnerability in celebrities who are
I think that enables me to be very open
in the public eye, because I imagine that
we’ll all get it.
Austere EGO // 19
20 HMUA ALANA & MADDIE ALPER, DULCEDO ARTISTS AGENCY / BODYPAINT IVY ROTCHIN
PHOTOGRAPHER PIER-ALEXANDRE GAGNÉ / MODEL LENA BERGERON, NEXT MODELS
ELLE SE DRESSE D’ÉBAUCHES
Austere EGO // 21
22 PHOTOGRAPHER PIER-ALEXANDRE GAGNÉ
Austere EGO // 23
24 PHOTOGRAPHER SABINE FLETCHER / MODEL DERREL HALL
DECOMPOSITION / PRESERVATION “The flowers represent beauty preserved. The pomegranate is a life plucked from nature. The man is a culmination of these things, resulting in sensuality personified.” Austere EGO // 25
PHOTOGRAPHER HILLARY HEAD / FEATURED RACHEL HARVEY, YUNGURSAMINOR
A CREATIVES’ MANIFESTO Rachel Harvey is YUNGURSAMINOR.
THE UP-AND-COMING DALLAS DJ SHARES FIVE WAYS IN WHICH, AS A CREATIVE, SHE STRIVES TO INSPIRE HERSELF AND OTHERS.
AS A CREATIVE, I WILL NOT DENY MY IDENTITY AS A FEMINIST.
AS A CREATIVE, MY BLACKNESS WILL SHINE.
Women in the creative industry are not often perceived as true pioneers in their fields. Everything is treated as a boy’s game. It’s my responsibility to honor every woman who came before me and to inspire the ones who will come after.
Being black is scary. Being black and a woman is terrifying. Standing up and being weird and honest with myself is something that could kill me, but that makes it all the more rewarding. I can help show that it’s okay to be someone like me. I can help create the safe spaces that don’t exist for us right now.
AS A CREATIVE, I MUST CONTINUE TO MOLD MYSELF IN THESE IDENTITIES.
AS A CREATIVE, I HAVE A VOICE TO SPEAK ABOUT MY ANXIETIES.
AS A CREATIVE, I HAVE NO RULES ON HOW TO LIVE, IF I LIVE WITH PURPOSE.
As long as I stand firm in my idenity as a black feminist, I will be radical. To proudly stand up and say I’m a feminist and black, and to put women first, is something that influences and inspires my art. I can only hope it will inspire someone else.
Even though I may have a mental illness, it doesn’t define me. My anxiety is a facet of myself that I use to build what I do. Even though it may be scary, if I’m honest and vocal about it I might save someone else from thinking they are damaged. This does not define you.
I can do whatever the fuck I want as long as I remember why I am doing it. If I can’t relate it back to making myself happy or adding a new element to my art, then I’m not doing it.
@YUNGURSAMINOR Austere EGO // 27
ZEPH BY VICKY ANDRES
Melbourne-based photographer Good John talks about his series Zeph, his views on photographing men and masculinity.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THIS PHOTO SERIES? These photographs were taken at the Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens and at the model’s house in Coburg, a suburb of Victoria, Australia. The man in these photographs is my friend Zeph. I chose him because I was just drawn to him; his character, the way he expresses himself so freely and because of the way he engages with people. He is a stunning and genuine person and I just needed to photograph him. When we met up to talk about the shoot we talked a lot about what we now like to call “masculinism.” We spoke about how there is this perception of men that has circulated pop culture since either of us [can remember]. Anything that operates around that representation is seen as either boyish, rebellious or feminine. These photos are a play on that—that “real” men can both be soft and hard, vulnerable and strong, and so on.
PHOTOGRAPHER GOOD JOHN / MODEL ZEPH
Austere EGO // 29
30 PHOTOGRAPHER GOOD JOHN / MODEL ZEPH
WHAT DRAWS YOU TO PHOTOGRAPHING MEN? This has been a really tough question for me to answer because there are so many reasons that draw me to photographing men, all of which are so inextricably entwined. To put it in perhaps the most straightforward way I can, it is the desire to create imagery that could shift existing stereotypical, harsh and outdated standards of male representation; standards that lend to the cultural conditioning of what it is to be “a real man.” I want to create something more fluid and honest that represents the “real” men I know, to show them as they are—human. Austere EGO // 31
A GOOD TIME TO BE
RIKKI BLU The Dallas-bred, LA-based rapper on his philosophy, future and come up.
PHOTOGRAPHER JUST FRED
BY ELIZA TRONO
to become a product of our surroundings and not everyone has that opportunity to be something else.”
I haven’t met Rikki Blu, but I feel like I have. It only took one song for me to make my transformation into a full-fledged Rikki Blu fan girl. But, to be fair, he didn’t really have any chill about doing this interview either. When we first reached out to him about an interview, his acceptance went something along the lines of: “OMGOMGOMGOMG!!!! YESSSSSSSS! I WOULD LOVE TO!” Same. The 23-year-old LA-based rapper, originally from the southeast corner of Dallas referred to as Pleasant Grove, is an unlikely candidate for success. “You have to understand the gravity of making it out of [Pleasant Grove],” Blu says. “Whether it’s socioeconomic or a conspiracy or whatever, it is not set up for us to make it out. You can only grow
Rikki, who didn’t originally have aspirations to be a rapper, left Pleasant Grove to attend Middle Tennessee State. There he studied music production and played football. It was there that he met and collaborated with Isaiah Rashad and all the members of the rap crew The House. Just when he thought he had it all mapped out, he broke his laptop and his MPC [music production controller] was stolen. After that, Rikki just started rapping. On our first phone call it’s raining, hard. We’d already had a rather ill-advised series of DMs earlier in the day, sending each other pictures of the traffic we are stuck in: his on sunny LA freeways vs. mine on pitch-black, rainy Dallas tollways. Still, it’s almost an hour later than we had planned. Rikki is at a high school football game with friends (hence the delay); it’s a pretty funny setting to take a phone call in. That being said, I can’t judge. I’m having happy hour on my porch while my editor Vicky is breathing down my neck, making sure I don’t spend this whole interview making plans to hang
out with Rikki when he comes back to Dallas. His next project, Pleasant Grove, named after his hometown, was released on Christmas Day. “Round Here,” produced by Free P, featuring Strado and Childish Major, is his latest single. The single already shows signs of his development as an artist, and reflects a level of insight and craftsmanship, that makes Rikki so powerful. On the phone now, a month before the song’s release, he compares his new songs with his music partner, Hevy Ben$, to Outkast. Vicky and I joke a little about it later, but now we see what he means. The song—and entire album—is a lot more colorful and optimistic than his past work. You can sense his rapid development as an artist. I’m drawn to Rikki’s music. His voice is raspy and his lyrics work through his difficult life experiences in a consistently thoughtful, intuitive, and complex way. “I’d like to think that we are all dynamic creatures,” Rikki says. “My mom always taught me to never let anyone steal your joy, and that’s kinda what I try to embody in my personal experiences.
I’VE SEEN A LOT— MAYBE MORE THAN MY FAIR SHARE, SO MY OVERALL TONE ISN’T MEANT TO BE SEEN AS DARK OR MORBID, BUT RATHER RAW, VIBRANT AND KINESTHETIC, SO TO SPEAK. MY MUSIC ALLOWS ME TO EXPRESS MYSELF UNAPOLOGETICALLY. Where certain feelings wouldn’t be socially acceptable, music allows me to express certain emotions and to flow a little bit more freely.” Rikki is committed to creating an aesthetic and sense of community around his work. He extends his ideas into a streetwear brand named Infantry, focused on mobilizing young creatives. “Infantry is a vehicle for the whole campaign I have coming out,” Blu says. “It’s all about mobilizing the youth and showing people that you aren’t by
Austere EGO // 35
yourself in this. The more you think you are by yourself, the more you will be. It’s all about that shared experience and collectively coming together for something greater than us. Greater than a CEO or a founder, it’s more so about respecting each other’s creativity more than anything. It’s not a clique or a gang. It’s just a group of creatives that aren’t only rooted in great music, but great ideas as well. As long as we come up with great ideas, it won’t ever die.”
PHOTOGRAPHER JUST FRED
A lot of Rikki’s vision is a reflection of his desire to motivate our generation, which is #highkey one of the things in the world I care about the most.
“We were born ‘92, ‘93, so we were still alive to see the pre-internet world. We remember it vividly, we didn’t have Facebook and Instagram to occupy our time, you were really outside with it,” he says. “But we were also there for the inception of the internet. I think having that dual experience really gave us a completely different outlook, not only from the kids coming up right now who only see the internet, but also the people who didn’t make it to that point. Growing up with that connection not only to the outside world, but to real life experiences, our [understanding] is a lot greater than normal.”
I have a chronic problem where I interrupt people when I’m excited, but at this moment I’m struck by how insightful Rikki is about creatives of our generation. People think we are all just taking quizzes on BuzzFeed and asking our parents to fund our passion projects, but here Rikki and I are both independently creating and having a constructive conversation about what we are doing to follow through with our ideas. I wonder out loud why people are all so ready to dismiss our ideas as halfbaked when we are so acutely aware of what we want to do. Rikki gets it. “That’s the thing, if we want to rise up and make changes, all we have to do is decide that’s what we really want to do because we can do it,” he says. “I think the problem with us socially is that we don’t realize how much we do have, and we are waiting for someone to save us. We are waiting on those leaders, but in reality we are all those leaders that we are waiting for.” I have to insist on a moment of silence here. Rikki’s outlook on the faults of millennials is all too real to me. But it’s a motivating sentiment, and something I don’t hear nearly enough. Rikki and I are both creators of media, and in that
we have a great responsibility to find, represent, and really be those leaders. I express this and ask him how he thinks someone can grow into this when it seems like people are so invested in putting your ideas down. “I have to rise above a lot the bullshit I am presented with. If I belittle myself and address it, I only take away from my own glory,” Rikki says. “My brother always tells me, life is what you subscribe to. If you subscribe to that bullshit, bullshit is gonna come right through your front door. Negativity is only as important as you make it. So it’s not important in my life. Fuck it, really.” By this point, I’m feeling this interview so much. Rikki and I have really varying life experiences and our crafts are so different, but the connections between our life outlook are jarring. Nothing gets me like talking about how the internet and a subscription to positivity have allowed people like Rikki and myself to connect and share our experiences. But before we finish, I have to get back to what initially drew me to Rikki, his music, and the way he uses it to express himself. I ask him what makes him feel most like himself; the answer comes easy. He tells me: “It’s performing, but it’s a
specific part of performing. Me being 6’8” and performing on stage, people stare at me for a really long time trying to decide if they like me or not. That moment when you see somebody turn into a fan, when they have the inhibitions, but you watch the hater on their face disappear, that smile, that genuine level of understanding—I can see it whenever I think about it. When you’re introduced to a straight up stranger and you are able to share your music, your soul. Through all the hate and shit, they accept it, and I guess that’s what I push for, what makes me happy as an artist, that makes me feel what I’m doing is what I’m actually supposed to be doing.” Later, when I’m on deadline, Rikki texts me with some updates on how “lit the whole team is.” And it’s true. As he fills me in on what’s been going on in the past month, he tells me, “I came to LA with $60 in my pocket and a oneway plane ticket. Now everything is lining up the way we saw it.” He’s on the come up. It’s a good time to be Rikki Blu.
“WHEN YOU’RE INTRODUCED TO A STRAIGHT UP STRANGER AND YOU ARE ABLE TO SHARE YOUR MUSIC, YOUR SOUL. THROUGH ALL THE HATE AND SHIT, THEY ACCEPT IT, AND I GUESS THAT’S WHAT I PUSH FOR, WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY AS AN ARTIST, THAT MAKES ME FEEL WHAT I’M DOING IS WHAT I’M ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO BE DOING.” Austere EGO // 37
38 PHOTOGRAPHER MEGAN DOHERTY / MODELS (LEFT) CHARLOTTE GORDON & NIAMH ELLIOT, (RIGHT) GARETH SWEENEY & EMMA CUSACK
Austere EGO // 39
A few words with the elusive Peter Sagar of HOMESHAKE.
BY MORGAN GENTRY
After attending a sold out Mac DeMarco show in Dallas this past October, it was only right that I introduced a few of my friends to the gooey sounds of HOMESHAKE—the solo project of Mac’s previous live guitarist, Peter Sagar. My good friend Justin easily described the experience as “being perpetually melt-in-thecouch high, emphasis on the melt. It’s like when you put Texas toast in the oven with the cheese on top and flip the light switch on and watch it bubble. It’s like the music is that lovely, golden brown bubbling cheese.”
While the names Peter Sagar or HOMESHAKE may not a ring a bell as loudly as Mac DeMarco does, Canada has been spewing out fire (insert three flame emojis here) with a new generation of underground heavy hitters coming out of Montreal. It’s also where Edmonton-born Sagar calls home.
yet groove-provoking, eclectic tunes.
Making his first mark behind the velvety vibes of his pseudonym in 2013, Sagar continues to take advantage of Canada’s cold, and his preference for being home, with his tasty albums for starving souls like myself: The Homeshake Tape, In The Shower and Midnight Snack. I instantly ate up his groovy sound, layered with subtle vocals drenched in melancholic lyrics and blended so exceptionally well that it’s really hard to categorize.
HOW HAVE CANADA AND YOUR PREVIOUS TOURING EXPERIENCES SHAPED YOU FOR HOMESHAKE? WERE YOU ABLE TO REALIZE ASPECTS THAT YOU DIDN’T WANT, OR DECIDED TO BRING OUT IN YOUR SOLO WORK, THAT MAYBE YOU WEREN’T UNCOVERING IN ANY OF THE PREVIOUS BANDS YOU’VE BEEN IN? I adopted the name a few years ago because I was starting to get frustrated with the formula I had been working on, and wanted to loosen up a bit. Life was so stale, and I heard it in the songs I was making, so I switched it up.
You can hear his progression and direction over these two years. While The Homeshake Tape harbors more of a chilled-out, funky lo-fi sound with hazy Dragon Ball Z-infused samples and more guitar than the other two, In the Shower still embodies that dreamy funk, but switches over to hi-fi, adding more of that infectious bassline and jazzy drums. With his most recent project, Midnight Snack, Sagar and friends get even sexier with it; the R&B influences just oozing through his mellowed-out,
During our brief interview, I had the pleasure of chatting with the man behind the music. It felt more like pulling a thin layer of onion off, but I was so ecstatic that he agreed to talk with us that I don’t even care how short he was.
SO, WHY THE NAME HOMESHAKE? It’s for a handshake my friend Ily taught me. YOU’RE EASILY ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS TO COME OUT IN THE PAST FEW YEARS, BUT WHO ARE SOME OF YOURS? Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of
electronic stuff, really into Ash Koosha and DJ Earl right now. IF YOU MADE A COLLABORATIVE ALBUM AND COULD WORK WITH ANY R&B OR SOUL LEGENDS, WHO WOULD BE ON IT? Is Brandy a legend? Definitely Brandy. I’VE NOTICED YOU ADDED MORE SYNTHESIZERS AND DRUMS FOR MIDNIGHT SNACK. WHY THE SWITCH UP FROM HEAVY GUITAR? Guitar was feeling restrictive and I wanted something new to work with. SO AS A DRAGON BALL Z FAN MYSELF, I TOTALLY PICKED UP ON SOME OF THE SAMPLES YOU USED ON THE HOMESHAKE TAPE. WHAT OTHER OUTSIDE INFLUENCES MAKE UP PETER SAGAR? WHAT CAN WE FIND YOU DOING OR WATCHING IF YOU’RE NOT WORKING ON MUSIC? WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A MOVIE BUFF? I wouldn’t say I’m a movie buff, but I do spend a lot of time watching them. Laughing and crying are both really inspiring; I like anything that makes me feel like doing either of those things.
YOUR EARLIER LYRICS. DO YOU FEEL ITS PRESENCE STILL LINGERS AROUND IN YOUR WORK, OR ARE YOU UNCOVERING A DIFFERENT PUSH BEHIND YOUR MUSIC NOW? Yeah, I feel like garbage all the time, but it’s balanced pretty good with positive thoughts these days. HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT PICKING THE RAD ASS BANDMATES THAT YOU HAVE NOW? Craigslist. Shout out to Mark [Goetz], Greg [Napier], and Brad [Loughead]. I READ IN AN EARLIER INTERVIEW THAT YOU’VE BEEN COLLABING MORE AND THAT YOU STARTED A RAP GROUP, CLIMAX. IS THAT ACTUALLY A THING OR JUST FOR SHITS AND GIGGLES? Haha. Shit, I forgot about that. Nothing has happened. WHAT ELSE CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2016? Gonna tour some new places and stay working on the next record.
YOU’VE MENTIONED YOUR DEPRESSION HAVING A HOLD ON YOU, AND IT SHOWS THROUGH Austere EGO // 41
LET THE MUSIC RUN IYVES is bringing nature to soul music with her upcoming release Let the Water Run.
PHOTOGRAPHER TAMMY LAMOUREUX
BY CATALINA CAMPOS
Hannah Taxman, a Colorado native who began her career as HANAH, currently works on progressing her music out of bustling Brooklyn, New York. With a new pseudonym, IYVES, she marks her transition into a new, promising stage of her career as an alternative soul/R&B artist. Her effortlessly fluid lyrics embody her raw talent at not just creating eccentric sounds with producer, Luca Buccellati (producer of Tei Shei, Ryan Egan, and Yellerkin), but
also at creating monumental lyrics that transcend into a sort of spiritualism for the masses. Influenced by artists such as James Blake and Otis Redding, and with her idiosyncratic edge, IYVES captures a fresh take on the alternative soul genre stemming from the juxtaposition of modernity and traditionalism. IYVES laid the foundation for her lyrics with her upbringing in the striking Boulder, Colorado. “I spent a lot of time writing outdoors and just being out in nature. I live in New York, I have to create that type of environment for myself. I think, even more so, it’s speaking in my music because there’s a longing of being back in that place,” IYVES reminisces about her hometown. She grew up dabbling in poetry and writing fiction, but her passion rested in songwriting, a talent that would flourish in her adulthood. With early influences of 90s R&B female talents Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, which pushed her to start writing her own pop songs, she never forgot the soulful, famed jazz musicians of the 1950s. Although her music reflects the modern movement of synthesized smooth sounds, her influences resonate in her style and vocals. With IYVES’ new EP Let the Water Run
to be released soon, she discusses her influences now. “As of lately, I really love James Blake and his soulful voice, how he puts it in a completely new environment and takes a lot of risks with production, I think he’s really cool in the world of music,” she says. With other influences coming predominantly from the UK, such as SOHN and Jessie Ware, she mentions that, “these are definitely the forefront of people that I aspire to be.” Her music epitomizes a genuine stance, with helpful intentions meaning to transport people to another place, even another state of mind. She explains, “I think, I realized with both production and with the lyrical content that takes them into my world, but it’s a shared place. I like to think of my music as this place between the earth and outer space, somewhere in between, whatever that is, sort of like this new world where people can get lost in that.” A lot of consideration and thought also goes into the album artwork, created by New York-based artist Nadia Westcott. Since she started releasing music as HANAH, her chaotic and geometric designs inspired by African and Native American art remain a consistent theme. “I always loved
art and thought it would fit the world of music,” she says. “Nadia said she really heard a lot of geometric, rock shapes. So we talked and I really liked to collaborate with other artists and other mediums.” Although the artwork has stayed consistent, she doesn’t shy away from designs which evolve along with her music. Authenticity is a noble quality in her work, something she stresses to aspiring musicians and songwriters. Her ego is not one that obnoxiously overshadows her work as often occurs with other musicians; she approaches it with grace. “So that gut reaction, that’s the most you. You don’t have a chance to filter whatever people might think, or take too much outside influence, but you’re still very much alert and aware of your thought and your mind. That’s an authentic voice.” It’s a philosophy that applies to advice she has for the next promising musicians. Stand by your work. Be proud of your work. Your work is a reflection of you. “If you stand by it and feel proud of it, that’s going to speak to people who listen because it’s relatable and it’s human,” she says. “People just want to feel like you understand them and they understand you.”
â€œI like to think of my music as this place between the earth and outer space, somewhere in between, whatever that is, sort of like this new world where people can get lost in that.â€?
Austere EGO // 43
SUDIE / SUDIE We met Sudie Abernathy when she was waitressing in Dallas. Months later, she's unveiling some of her most reflective work to date. BY NATASHA BRITO
Singer, songwriter and producer Sudie Abernathy is evolving as an artist. She has been performing since the age of four, but admits that she is still learning to perform as her best self, times a million. As we sit at Houndstooth Coffee in Dallas, Sudie shares with us an intimate look at what’s in store and how she’s just now unveiling her truest and most reflective work to date.
PHOTOGRAPHER NASTASHA BRITO, AUSTERE / FEATURED SUDIE ABERNATHY STYLIST KJ MOODY / HMUA JACQUELINE CREECH, AUSTERE
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW SOUND? It’s hard to talk about right now because it’s not completed yet; I’ve got one more song to do. And then it will be done and we’ll go into the mixing and mastering part of it, and putting together the whole concept. It’s different for me because this last EP was kind of a collection of songs, things that I had written, things I had done, right when I just started music. When I had first started producing. Some of the songs I had written before I produced them, even years before. So the first EP we put out was kind of just—here’s a collection of stuff that I’ve done. It kind of felt all over the place. It [was in college] when I was cut off from my parents because they were living overseas at the time, since I went to high school in Dubai. So I was by myself at this coming of age, so this first one was just catching everyone up on what has happened in the past six years. So it was like, “Hey everybody, here you go. Here’s the past six years of me trying to figure out who I am, but this is the truest possible way I can let you know what’s up with me.” And I was all over the place. I was in love and then
I hated the guy, and then we got back together, and I was in school, and I was depressed because I was studying opera and I wanted to do something else, and then I started working with other people and then they let me down, then I had to figure out how to do my own shit, so that’s when I started producing. So all the stuff in one little thing. And I was discovering so much music. WHAT HELPED YOU IN FEELING LIKE YOU WERE BEING SUPER REFLECTIVE OF YOURSELF? A lot of the subject matter, especially in this one, is kind of me realizing that sometimes I’m not really true to who I am. Which happens. That’s one of the really big themes in this upcoming EP. HOW IS YOUR REFLECTION OF YOU IN REAL LIFE? HOW DO YOU MAKE WORK THAT REFLECTS YOU THE MOST? THIS MIGHT BE DIFFERENT NOW, BUT WHAT IS YOUR SONGWRITING PROCESS? It’s honestly so different every time, all the time. Usually it will be inspired by something that’s happening. Or even sometimes I’m inspired by the fact that I’ve been a lazy ass and I’m like, ”Fuck,
I need to do something.” So I’ll just sit at the piano lounge and I’ll be like ding ding ding [laughs]. And then sometimes, like for “Heart Attack,” I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote the lyrics, and then the next morning I got a call about my grandfather having a heart attack. Then I went to the piano and wrote the chords for it. I wrote the melody and then wrote the chords later. It was a year-and-a-half later when I produced it. This new one is just me more mature. Figuring it out. In a way that’s not so frantic. More digestible. Because I know my way around a little bit better. I’m being more honest with myself. I like having that power [over my music]. Which is why I started producing everything by myself in the first place. It’s all very connected to who I am as an artist. Me as an artist and me as a person is pretty much the same damn thing. YOU’VE BEEN PERFORMING SINCE YOU WERE REALLY YOUNG, HAVEN’T YOU? I started performing around five. Because that’s around when I started taking vocal lessons and we would
put on shows at my studio. I’ve always been comfortable performing. But performing my own stuff? That was nerve-racking. I was so nervous, I almost threw up. I’ve almost thrown up more than half the times I’ve performed. I still get those nerves. A lot of the people I’m performing in front of have never heard my stuff, so instead of singing a song that everybody knows and singing it well, it’s like they don’t know what it is at all. I have to sing perfect, plus a million, all the time. I can’t just sing, but I gotta perform very well. I’ve gotta put on a fucking show. And it’s only going to get crazier down to the road. I wanna add so much shit. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR— Young artists trying to get started? [laughs] I mean that’s me. Even now, I’m like, “Damn. That show didn’t go that well; maybe I should just quit.” But I don’t quit. WHAT KEEPS YOU FROM STOPPING? Well, what else would I do? I love doing this. I just want to make music that gets people through hard times.
Austere EGO // 45
46 PHOTOGRAPHER NASTASHA BRITO, AUSTERE
“I’VE ALWAYS BEEN COMFORTABLE PERFORMING. BUT PERFORMING MY OWN STUFF? THAT WAS NERVE-RACKING... I STILL GET THOSE NERVES.” Austere EGO // 47
SHURRPRISE Don't forget the new queen of rap: Lady Leshurr. STORY VICKY ANDRES / INTERVIEW NATASHA BRITO
PHOTOGRAPHER TABZ WILSON
It’s time to make room for another rap queen. UK rapper Lady Leshurr, pronounced “Lesha,” has been making moves and getting laughs lately. Known for her “Queen Speech” series on YouTube, Leshurr is perfecting what she calls “hip hop humor” with her fast pop culture references. Her one-shot music video for “Queen’s Speech 4,” also known as the “Brush Your Teeth” song, has hit over 15 million YouTube views. And it’s pretty hilarious, with lines like:
“Some girls wake up and don't even brush their teeth”; “You've got a pot belly like Rick Ross”; “Don't think you're buff ‘cause you're wearing contour/’Cause I'll wipe your brows off”; and “I got a dark-skin friend that looks like Rachel Dolezal/And I got a light-skin friend that looks like Rachel Dolezal/
Leshurr is funny, but she’s no joke. The song was even featured in a Samsung Galaxy commercial this fall. This Christmas, she released another hit, “Queen’s Speech 5.” This one references even fresher material: Adele’s “Hello,” DJ Khaled’s Snapchat game and the 2015 Miss Universe Steve Harvey incident. Now Leshurr is enjoying the perks of success—even her idols have shared the video—and working towards more. “The people that I grew up listening to are actually recognizing me now,” Lesh tells us. “It’s just amazing. It’s a big achievement for me.” Before her “Queen's Speech” series, Lesh was already making waves online. Once upon a time, she impressed the internet when she killed it on Busta Rhymes' verse in a cover of “Look at Me Now” by Chris Brown. And what do the haters say? “Some
Which one's which? Not sure.”
people will say I’m a gimmick and stuff,
some people will say I’m not good or whatever, but I’m so comfortable in what I’m doing,” Lesh says. “I don’t really care about any negativity. Those people just inspire me to write the next lyric anyway. Some people might think I’m dissing people but [I’m] not dissing people. It’s just I can relate to people that might not voice their opinion and I am that person [who speaks up] for them.” While her lyrics are combative, battle rap isn’t really her thing. Leshurr is commonly compared to Nicki Minaj, a comparison that is mostly based on bad math. Gender + skin color + genre = identical artist? In 2013, Lady Leshurr told The Guardian that she turned down a deal with Atlantic Records in the US because they tried to pit her against Minaj. Lesh has said that as a Nicki admirer, it would be a suicide mission. She’s looking for longevity in her career, not battle records. "It pushes the gaps between us. Girl rappers are afraid to work together because we get fixed in these imaginary competitions,” she told The Guardian. “The industry just doesn't know what to do with women." We’re glad the female rap battle didn’t happen, because Leshurr often remixes Nicki songs like “Truffle Butter” and “Feeling Myself.” The Lady is her own thing entirely, though. She says it best
in her verse for “Feeling Myself,” singing, “I’m really myself, really myself/If I need help then I’m bringing myself, I’m bringing myself.” While she certainly inspires women, it’s not necessarily the focus in her music. “The lyric side for me isn’t necessarily where I’m empowering women. It’s not about telling anyone you should do this or you should do that,” Lesh says. “I’m just doing what I want to do and having fun and let other people who are listening to me have fun as well.” “From where I’ve been to now, it’s been a struggle and a journey and I always try to explain that to people,” she tells us. “I used to be broke; I never had anything. I kept on doing what I was doing and it got to where, well, a majority of people know who I am. That in itself is inspiration to empower women.” We asked her what she looks for in a collaboration. “Control,” she told us. “For me to go to any record label and them say, ‘You have to do this, or you have to do that.’ I built my own machine. For me to go in and them want to change that...it wouldn’t make much sense.” “I’ve got to always be there when it comes to the beat being made; I know exactly how I want the beat to be,” Lesh says. “The reason why that is is because I wrote it the way I want the beat to be. So when I’m writing my 'Queen’s
Speech' there’s no beat, it’s just me writing to silence.” “Then I create the beat after I do that, and then I’ll go into the studio and I’ll go produce it exactly how I want the beat,” she continues. “Then when it comes to recording the video, I tell the video guy exactly how I want to shoot and the certain things I want to pop up on the screen. So I think the reason why it looks so good, is because I know exactly how I want it to be and I know what the audience wants it to be as well. So that’s the process. I have to be involved in it.” With the rise of UK’s grime music in the US thanks to artists like Skepta and JME, it’s easy to throw Lesh in the same mix. In fact, her name is one of a handful to come up in a search for female grime rappers. She politely disagrees when we ask her about grime. “I would say I’m quite versatile,” she says. “A lot of genres inspire what I do and what I say.” Of her style she says: “It’s very quirky, it’s like what Eminem used to do. I felt like that’s what was missing in the scene. I wanted to experiment and see if I could bring that back and balance the lyrics and the personality with the visuals. It has worked, so that’s my personal style. I’ve always wanted to do that, but I’ve been afraid to come out of my shell and be confident enough
to do it. Now I’ve done it and I feel like this is my lane, this is my direction, my style, and it’s working.” Although rappers like Eminem convinced her to start rapping, she’s not really listening to music to get inspiration. “I try to not watch so much of what everyone else is doing, because I’ll subconsciously have it in my head that I’ll need to be doing what they’re doing,” Lesh says. Lesh tells us she used to care what people think. Now, she says, “Forget it, I’m going to bring all my personality and my sense of humor to these tracks,” and tells us she’s “ready to take on the world.” Leshurr was nominated for a UKbased Music of Black Origin (MOBO) award in October, something she had been planning for. Although she didn’t win, she has a lot more ahead of. “The album, and the EP, and anything that comes after the ‘Queen Speech’ is going to show my other side, my alter ego,” Lesh says. “It’s going to be more empowering and more positive. I’ve got a lot of messages saying you should talk to this, you should talk about that. And I always listen to my supporters.” Don’t miss the queen when she cements her US kingdom.
Austere EGO // 49
50 PHOTOGRAPHER MEGAN DOHERTY / MODELS (LEFT) CHARLOTTE GORDON, (RIGHT) CALLUM MCINTYRE & AUDREY GILLESPIE
Austere EGO // 51
BANDE À PART PHOTOGRAPHER MARIE-LOUISE HÄFNER
MODELS (LEFT) NORA HOLLSTEIN & (RIGHT) MARC ELSNER
Austere EGO // 53
JONTI / JONTI Ever wondered what the mechanics of your body would sound like if it had a soundtrack? BY MORGAN GENTRY
PHOTOGRAPHER KURT DAVIES
Ever wondered what the mechanics of your body would sound like if it had a soundtrack? All the intricate, yet fluid, parts working together so naturally without skipping a beat. Pieces of the puzzle we didn’t even know existed coming to light through the intricacy of layered sounds. That’s what Jonti’s music reminds me of: the fascinating complexity of the human body functioning as one instrument, but composed of so many meticulous parts.
Blending his roots from South Africa and Sydney, and following with a move to Los Angeles after getting signed with Stones Throw Records, Jonti brings a geographically eccentric palate of sounds to the music world, and more people need to get a taste. Peanut Butter Wolf, Hodgy Beats, Sean Lennon, Santigold, Mark Ronson, Gotye, Jagwar Ma, Jonwayne and many others seem to dig his work...and so do we. Check out our discussion with the underrated soul known as Jonti.
YOU’VE MENTIONED YOUR LOVE FOR PAUL SIMON’S GRACELAND, THE BEACH BOYS, STONES THROW’S ROSTER AND MORE. HOW HAVE THOSE SOUNDS INFLUENCED YOU? I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of Madlib and the Beach Boys. I still listen to those artists every day. The Graceland thing is interesting because that album was my earliest memory of music. I was one year old when it came out, but it remained to be everywhere in Johannesburg throughout the ‘90s. But I only really explored what it meant to me recently and have been listening to it quite a lot. I think it implanted the idea of music as a joyous synthesis on personalities and sounds. Like a party. Also, “Homeless” from the album had a big impact on me. Especially in terms of harmonies.
YOU’VE BEEN ABLE TO WORK IN MULTIPLE LABS (STUDIOS). WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL SETUP FOR CREATING MUSIC? I like to work in a homely space. Surrounded by paintings, lots of percussion, a dog and turtle. At the moment I’m in a garage-turned-studio that is far from luxurious and has no dog or turtle, but I think it’s a bit easier for me to find the strange world inside myself there, as opposed to a proper studio. YOUR WORK HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS TOO ECCENTRIC FOR WORDS BUT RATHER A LUCID, WILDLY BEAUTIFUL WATERCOLOR PAINTING WITH LAYERS AND TEXTURES GLUED ON. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT? That’s a very kind description. It’s hard for me to describe, because I was just trying to express the complex emotions in my subconscious and go deep-sea diving inside my soul. I was trying to find out exactly what’s in there. DO YOU HAVE ANY MUSICAL MENTORS? I would say Wally De Backer (aka Gotye) has given me a lot of guidance. In addition to Jono Ma from Jaguar Ma. He’s taught me a lot.
IT’S BEEN A BIG YEAR FOR YOU. YOU WERE PICKED UP BY STONE THROW RECORDS FOUNDER PEANUT BUTTER WOLF, YOU’VE BEEN GOING ON WORLDWIDE TOURS WITH GOTYE, AND FLYING LOTUS ONCE CALLED YOU AN “AWKWARD-ASS MOTHERFUCKER.” HOW’S IT ALL BEEN TREATING YOU SO FAR? Well, I haven’t really released music since all of that stuff happened. I’ve made a lot, but I haven’t put it out. I wasn’t ready for a lot of those deep-end things, and as a result, I have had to go on an artistic voyage of self-discovery. WHICH COLLABS HAVE BEEN YOUR FAVORITE SO FAR? I really enjoyed the collaboration with Teebs, and I’m hoping we can do more in the future. Same with Jonwayne and Hodgy Beats. Also, the time I got to go to New York and record with Mark Ronson and write songs with Sean Lennon and Santigold. Still kinda feels like that didn’t happen. I’m excited about the collaborations that have been happening recently, though. I started a band with two upcoming artists, Bus Vipers and Mohi. And the experience really made me fall in love with making music again. Also, I’ve been doing a bit with another new artist, Sampa The Great. She is so frickin’ cool. A real beautiful soul.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT COLLABORATIONS? Recently, I’ve been much more interested in collaboration. I think it stemmed out of the loneliness of being a solo artist. I just couldn’t do all this stuff on my own anymore. It didn’t feel good. But making music and meshing personalities and having musical conversations with other people just feels right at the moment. OFTEN PEOPLE CREATE BASED OFF OF THEIR EMOTIONS AND SITUATIONS AT THE TIME. CAN YOU NAME A PIECE OF WORK THAT REALLY GRASPED THE STATE THE ARTIST WAS IN? FOR INSTANCE, THE DARKER STATE YOU WERE IN WHEN YOU WROTE TOKORATS COMPARED TO TWIRLIGIG. I think most of my work is trying to capture those emotions and situations. I remember recording “Pássaros” from Twirligig, and it was a sunny morning and I was just feeling so much peace in my soul. And it’s right there in the bottle. And on this Tokorats album, I’ve had to deal with more turbulent emotions. There’s a song on it called “Staring Window,” and when I play it for people they just go a little startled and start to ask if I’m alright! But music helps me make sense of all the up-and-down emotions.
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH YOUR TRACK NAMES AND ALBUM TITLES? YOU’VE GOT SOME GNARLY ONES, LIKE “SOLAR SMOKING DOGS.” “Solar Smoking Dogs” comes from Lucia Pamela, who had an amazing coloring book called Into Outer Space [with Lucia Pamela in the Year 2000], and in it were dogs smoking in space. Thus, “Solar Smoking Dogs.” I like to play around with words and see what colors and energy come out of them. FONDEST MEMORY OF BEING A KID IN SOUTH AFRICA? YOU MENTIONED OFTEN HOW MUCH YOU’VE MISSED LIVING THERE. Sitting around a pot of mielie pap, chicken and gravy, for sure. Also, when everyone was dancing and going crazy in the streets when we won the ‘95 Rugby World Cup. WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO FROM YOU IN 2016? Tokorats will be a 2016 release. Hopefully something a little extra, too. The music of the band I mentioned earlier. Hopefully the stuff I did for The Avalanches will make it out there too. I’m just going to get out into the world again and see what happens.
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PHOTOGRAPHER ELLIE ALONZO, AUSTERE
YOU HAD A BIT OF A CULT FOLLOWING AS BALANCE PROBLEMS. WERE YOU AWARE OF IT AT THE TIME? IS IT EVER STILL SURREAL TO YOU? It’s kind of funny even hearing people say that they’ve heard that stuff before. I had a little bit of an advantage from internet buzz and projects that I had done back in the day and people I had worked with. It was kind of funny to see a little bit of a following, not even from live shows or in Texas, but solely people listening to my music on the internet. That was encouraging because I was getting positive feedback and things were happening from that. I really enjoyed writing and recording my own music. I really feel like all my endeavors have happened from that. Especially with recording solo music. Because that’s where I got my start really—was just, you know, fucking around in my room with a really simple digital recording setup and just trying to make shit sound cool. I still do that, but a little bit to a lesser degree. Recording solo music is really just what got me started in...everything. DID YOU ALWAYS DABBLE WITH MUSIC? DID YOU LIKE GADGETS GROWING UP? Kind of. I’m not super “hands on.” I don’t solder my own pedals or design
my own gear. I’ve definitely always had an interest in how sounds are made and why certain records sound the way they do. I just love hearing sound textures and trying to figure out what makes them. A little bit of that plays into what gear I use. Trying new things like running vocals through a really old preamp to get them fucked up sounding and things like that. On every one of my solo albums it’s been a drastically different sound based off of just playing around. I get into a different style of music simply because of how it sounds. YOU WERE ALSO THE FIRST VOCALIST FOR SKY EATS AIRPLANE. WHICH WAS HUGE FOR THE DFW SCENE—TO PUT IT LIGHTLY. I HAD TO—I’M SORRY. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW YOUR SOUND HAS EVOLVED SINCE? The Sky Eats Airplane thing was overwhelming because I was just a junior in high school. It evolved as another sonic experimentation for me. The whole merging of metal, hardcore, and electronica experimental kind of stuff. I thought no one was really doing it, although I know there were some bands at the time like Whitechapel and Idiot Pilot that were blending hardcore and electronica. But for me, I thought it was a brand new thing. It was just me and Lee fucking around in our bedrooms
and thinking, "This is weird as hell, let’s go with it." As soon as things started getting more serious and there was more pressure, I was ready to do something new and to focus on my solo stuff. I was with Sky Eats Airplane with Lee for about a year-and-a-half, maybe almost two years, but it fizzled out pretty quickly when things started getting more serious. I find that happens a lot with projects—as soon as the pressure mounts and it gets more serious, it can kind of change how you feel about it. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU’RE WORKING ON NOW THAT IF THE PRESSURE BUILT UP, YOU’D STICK WITH? Both of the bands I play live with I’ve been playing with for a while. Cozy Hawks I’ve been drumming with for at least four years now. We’ve put out a few albums and we’re working on our newest one. It’s kind of our lengthiest endeavor ever. I guess you could say there’s some pressure there. I really am enjoying play drums live right now. It’s something I’ve always liked to do, but at the moment I feel drawn to it. I feel the pressure there, but not anything crazy. We don’t have much of a following outside of our friends and the DFW area. And then Bad Beats I’ve been playing bass with for about two-and-a-half years now.
No pressure there really. Everyone is kind of doing their own thing too. I still see it as kind of a fun thing. And I will always be putting out solo stuff. This past year [I have mostly been] recording other people, which I’ve enjoyed a lot. CURRENTLY YOU’RE WORKING WITH DOJO BABY RECORDS, BAD BEATS, AND COZY HAWKS. WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH EACH OF THESE BEEN LIKE? When I got into college, I started meeting more people and playing with different musicians. It’s been awesome. It’s the best getting exposed to different subcultures. Punk rock with Bad Beats and Americana with Cozy Hawks— which I’ve never really delved into ['til now]. I’ve listened to bands like that, but never really played it. Getting exposed to different kinds of music is really cool. Dojo Baby Records is just a new thing that me and Robert, from Cozy Hawks, have started for fun. A little side project. We don’t have any huge expectations for it right now. It’s been more of a way to help us [spread] records by our friends that we think should be heard. There’s so many good bands in Denton that just don’t have a way to get their music out there.
Denton-based Brack Cantrell has been in countless bands. You might remember him as the first vocalist for Sky Eats Airplane or his solo project Balance Problems. Now he's producing and playing with Cozy Hawks and Bad Beats, along with starting up Dojo Baby Records. And for the record, Cantrell wants people to know heâ€™s friendlier than he seems. We had a fun conversation as we drank beer and enjoyed the Denton night sky. BY MORGAN GENTRY
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PHOTOGRAPHER REBECCA ELIZABETH TATE STYLIST HARRIET MOISER MODEL LENA PLATOW
DRESS THE RAGGED PRIEST / NECKLACE SELECTED FEMME
MESH / POWER
PLAYSUIT LAVISH ALICE / TIGHTS ANN SUMMERS
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PHOTOGRAPHER REBECCA ELIZABETH TATE
(LEFT) SKIRT WORN AS DRESS LAVISH ALICE / (RIGHT) SWIMSUIT LAVISH ALICE, JEANS LEVIS
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(LEFT) BRA & TROUSERS ASOS / (RIGHT) JUMPER ASOS WHITE COLLECTION, HARNESS CAMILLE BENNETT
64 PHOTOGRAPHER RAISSA BISCOTTI
MODELS FAY & LISA, ICE MILAN
HMUA ANTONIA DEFFEN
STYLIST GIULIA CAUTI, TERENZI COMMUNICATIONS
A QUESTION OF MOOD
PANTS & WAISTCOAT GRINKO / COLLAR ABSIDEM
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PHOTOGRAPHER RAISSA BISCOTTI
(LEFT) WHITE SHIRT DRESS ALESSANDRO DE BENEDETTI / (RIGHT) DOTTED TOP & BLACK DUNGAREE BLACKBLESSED
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COMES IN PEACE BY VICKY ANDRES
SAGA NYC: SPIRIT - COLLECTION 02 // CREATIVE DIRECTION BAD BEHAVIOR PHOTOGRAPHER JORDAN HEMINGWAY / ASSISTANT DEREK MURDOCK STYLIST ANDREAS ARESTI / MUA YUUI VISION MODELS (LEFT) ANATOLII, (RIGHT) TIFFANY LEECOCK
Genderless, high-end streetwear that connects to a higher consciousness.
SAGA NYC comes in peace. The independent, genderless, highend streetwear brand is making inclusive fashion while connecting to a higher consciousness. We talked to the creative director and founder about creating clothes for one’s soul, pulling creativity from other dimensions and consumption culture. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MOVING TOWARDS GENDERLESS CLOTHING? WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THIS WAS IMPORTANT TO YOU? I was making genderless clothing without realizing it! I’ve always been obsessed with the concept of Androgyne [non-binary gender identity]. For me, it’s about the soul—and soul is genderless. When I made my first collection “Universal Androgyne,” it consisted of transparent bodysuits, leotards and leggings. These pieces were all stretch so they could fit “anybody.” I dedicated that collection to many dear friends who have struggled with gender identity. The concept is to have a transparency with yourself and the world.
To take the focus off “gender” and look within. When it came time to make the next collection “Spirit,” I was like fuck it, I want to offer these clothes to whomever. Being inclusive feels right to me. I really didn’t know it was becoming a “cool trend.” WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PROCESS LIKE? I work with my intuition. It’s all about what I’m feeling at the time of conception. I’ll let the ideas and designs swoosh around in my head for a while before I actually start designing. That driving force is what will choose the shapes, colors, fabrics and moods for the collection. I then sketch certain visions that come to mind. This will usually be the main ideas. Then I go sourcing in the Garment District to find the right fabrics/trims to translate the idea. I usually get new ideas after sourcing. Now, it’s patternmaking, draping, and sketching in a chaotic way in no particular order until I feel I have all the necessary garments. WHAT INSPIRED THE “SPACE ALIEN” APPROACH? HOW DOES LIVING YOUR LIFE IN THE OUTER SPACE REALM ALLOW YOU TO BE IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CREATIVITY? Ha! Well as a “space alien,” I feel other worlds out there where beings are
living in harmony and magic; they are connected to a higher consciousness! Living in this dimension feels like a trip sometimes. When I design, I connect with something higher because that’s what creativity is. Sometimes I pull from the collective consciousness but naturally I go to the cosmic consciousness realms. I’ve noticed that when I’m in a really pure design state my designs look otherworldly and futuristic. I think it’s great to make clothes for people that have a cosmic sense about them. Existentialists, thinkers, designers, artists, nonconformists, etc. DO YOU THINK YOUR DESIGNS ARE A REFLECTION OF YOU? Not really. They are a point of view; a perspective on certain things. I feel my designs are beyond who I am here right now. These designs are thought out and worked on for hours on end. They tell stories and hold emotions, but they are not me. WHAT DOES THE CONCEPT OF EGO MEAN TO YOU? Ego goes real deep, doesn’t it? It’s an illusion from the truth. HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR EGO IS REFLECTED IN YOUR WORK AND LIFE? HOW HAS SELF-CONFIDENCE PLAYED A ROLE?
My ego is definitely reflected in my work and life. My ego urges me to work hard to become successful. I want SAGA NYC to reach many people and inspire them to liberate themselves or question reality. However, if I didn’t have this ego, I’d sit on a mountain meditating instead of playing this career game. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SLOW FASHION AND THE EXCESS CONSUMPTION CULTURE? I think slow fashion is natural and sustainable for the planet while the consumption culture is not. That’s why I’m running a slow fashion brand. It’s the right thing to do! WHEN AND WHERE DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR “TRUEST” SELF? IS THERE A PLACE, PERSON, THING OR IDEA THAT MAKES YOU FEEL MOST “AT HOME?” When I’m out free in nature or while dancing I feel closer to myself. But obviously the idea of living in a higher dimension on a different planet feels most “at home” to me the most. Peace.
“I’ve noticed that when I’m in a really pure design state my designs look otherworldly and futuristic.”
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HAIR NATASHA YAKOVLEVA MUA MARY KOLOTOVKINA & GAYA VARTANYAN MODEL DIMA, TOMMOROWISANOTHERDAY
JACKET JOJI YAMAMOTO, NECKLACE FIANCÉ
PHOTOGRAPHER SASHA CHAIKA STYLIST KATE PAVLOVA
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(LEFT) BANDAGES ASYA MALBERSHTEIN / (RIGHT) TROUSERS INWEAR, NECKLACE ASYA MALBERSHTEIN, BOOTS DR. MARTENS
PHOTOGRAPHER SASHA CHAIKA
TROUSERS GOSHA RUBCHINSKY
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COAT GOSHA RUBCHINSKY, JEANS LEVIS, BOOTS DR. MARTENS
ROMIE PHOTOGRAPHER LAURA BALDWINSON STYLIST JOEL TRAPTOW HMUA EMY FILTEAU MODEL ROMIE PIGEON
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PHOTOGRAPHER LAURA BALDWINSON
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TOP J.W. ANDERSON, BRIEFS AMERICAN APPAREL, BOOTS RICK OWENS
CHOKER VINTAGE, DRESS DKNY, JACKET CALVIN KLEIN, SHOES STUART WEITZMAN
PHOTOGRAPHER / MUA GIANCARLOS KUNHARDT
STYLIST SCOTT SHAPIRO MODEL SHUYA XIE
(LEFT) TOP & SKIRT ISSEY MIYAKE ARCHIVE / (RIGHT) JACKET CALVIN KLEIN COLLECTION
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PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANT JUSTIN LEVERITT
STYLIST TOR MATTHEY, IA AGENCY STYLIST ASSISTANT NICOLE JOHNSON, IA AGENCY HMUA WALTER FUENTES, CAMPBELL AGENCY
SET DESIGNER KRISTEN RICHTER, SEAMINX MODELS MORGAN P, DRAGONFLY & KELSIE M, PAGE PARKES
COAT TOPMAN, CARDIGAN FREE PEOPLE, SWEATER DRESS T BY ALEXANDER WANG
PHOTOGRAPHER TRAMAINE TOWNSEND
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JACKET CARVEN, TURTLENECK MSGM, SHIRT ZARA, PANTS T BY ALEXANDER WANG, SNEAKERS ADIDAS
COAT ARMANI EXCHANGE, TURTLENECK MSGM, SCARF ZARA, PANTS UNDECORATED MAN, SNEAKERS PUMA
(RIGHT) TURTLENECK PAUL & JOE, PONCHO ASOS
PHOTOGRAPHER TRAMAINE TOWNSEND
(LEFT) HOODED COAT ZARA, COAT MM6 MAISON MARGIELA, SWEATER WEEKDAY, COLLARED SWEATER ZARA
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SWEATER WEEKDAY, COAT MM6 MAISON MARGIELA, PANTS SACAI, SNEAKERS ADIDAS
BLOODLINE ALCHEMY PHOTOGRAPHER RACHELA NARDELLA STYLIST GRACE CORBY MUA CONSTANCE BOWLES MODEL ESTELITA, JAZ DALY MANAGEMENT
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86 PHOTOGRAPHER RACHELA NARDELLA
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PHOTOGRAPHER HILLARY HEAD, AUSTERE / ARTIST PIERRE KRAUSE
TOO TENDER FOR YOU Pierre Krause: elusive, non-binary angel. BY MORGAN GENTRY
When I meet Pierre Krause for an interview at the Cold Beer Company in Dallas, I’m instantly drawn to how quiet they are. Krause is a rarity for Dallas, a sensitive net artist who makes work that might be “too tender for you.” Krause doesn’t boast thousands of followers on social media, and doesn’t care to, but the internet has also allowed them to travel to New York and Switzerland, while their work continued to travel to Denmark, Japan and Sweden. While they keep a low profile online and IRL, you may have seen Krause's highly-photographed Drake blanket at the “Girls At Night on the Internet” exhibit curated by Art Baby Girl (Grace Miceli) in New York this past summer. The lean towards digital art is a bit surprising, Krause tells me; their parents were against the internet, so they didn’t have it until late in life. In December, Krause curated a multimedia show at Beefhaus in Dallas called “SOFT4SOFT” featuring mostly New York artists. Krause is bringing softness to Dallas and we’re here for it. Check out the highlights of our talk. THE TITLE OF THIS ISSUE IS “EGO.” WE REALLY LIKE THIS DEFINITION: “THE PART OF MIND THAT MEDIATES
BETWEEN THE CONSCIOUS AND THE UNCONSCIOUS AND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR A SENSE OF PERSONAL IDENTITY.” WHAT DOES THE CONCEPT OF EGO MEAN TO YOU? A Beyonce song. DO YOU THINK YOUR EGO IS REFLECTED IN YOUR WORK AND LIFE? HOW HAS SELF-CONFIDENCE PLAYED A ROLE? Ego is not the first word that pops up into my head when I think about my work and my life. My work is very personal so that’s probably how it presents itself being closest to me. There’s not much distance between the things I make and the things I feel. I learned self-confidence through Drake lyrics and Beyonce lyrics. That has become apart of my process in the past couple of years. In terms of self-confidence, I did gain some, but it wasn’t always like that. I worked on it and I’m feeling pretty good right now. YOU’VE DABBLED INTO MULTIPLE STRINGS OF PERFORMING ARTS (MUSIC, POETRY, VISUAL ART, INTERACTIVE ART, ETC.) WHICH ONE DO YOU FEEL BEST EMBODIES YOU AS AN ARTIST? All of them. I like to hop back and forth, keeps things interesting, keeps
my mind going—they all bounce off of each other to make more new things. I’ve been known to dabble in objects; I make a lot of text pieces lately—not sure what that means psychologically at the moment. The thought is very personal, there’s not much distance between the thought and object. HOW DO YOU SEE THE ART WORLD? I think the internet is cool. I think the internet is cute. I’ve gotten to dabble into things that a lot of people don’t get to do. In Dallas, a lot of artists will just get it done [themselves]. I’ve rarely interacted with “curators” or institutions. I’ve had a pretty unique experience that’s probably very exclusive to Dallas, because when I talk to people who aren’t from Dallas they look at me crazy, but it’s been a good experience. YOU’VE HAD WORK SHOWN ALL THE WAY IN SWITZERLAND, SWEDEN, JAPAN AND DENMARK. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? Again, the artists. It wasn’t an institution. I had some people I show with out here, Gregory Rupp and Chris Pierce. They had this idea to get an international crew together and that’s how it went from Dallas to Japan to Switzerland. It was like the best trip ever, best people ever, so it was like the best experience ever. Like here you do an
art show and you stress out beforehand, nah. In Switzerland we’d just go out and look at glaciers then go to the art show. Definitely a different experience. You can’t feel anxiety when you go to the mountains; it was like a cherry on a Sunday. SO WHY DALLAS? ARE YOU FROM HERE? Mostly I’m from Dallas. I was born in New York. WOULD YOU LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE? All I can think is that I want to apply to residencies in NY, SF, Oakland, Switzerland; I need to get around Europe a little more. I don’t know about moving moving, but I’d try residencies, hang out a few weeks to a couple of months. That was my first time out of the country and it definitely shifted what I’m making now in a good way. I’d like to keep that energy going if I can. IS THERE ANY DEFINITIVE CHANGE THAT YOU CAN POINT OUT? Being a black American artist in these times…[wanders off]. A lot of people can make what they want to make. I have to be like, "Can I get out of bed today with the world telling me I ain’t worth anything?" And there’s this fine line of good or bad, where you can leave and get some distance from these intense Austere EGO // 91
92 PHOTOGRAPHER HILLARY HEAD, AUSTERE / ARTIST PIERRE KRAUSE
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PHOTOGRAPHER HILLARY HEAD, AUSTERE / ARTIST PIERRE KRAUSE
feelings, and actually make stuff again. But it does feel like a bit of betrayal. You want to be immersed in things that are happening, but at the same time you still have to be a functional human. It’s this thing you have to weigh; I’m just trying to navigate the best way I can. It gave me some space to just be.
AS AN ARTIST, DO YOU FEEL THAT COLLABORATIONS ARE A MUST TO FURTHER YOURSELF AND YOUR SKILL? [laughs] My whole thing has always been isolation. I’ve always made things in isolation, very alone, very vulnerable, dah dah dah. But ever since that trip and hanging out with that crew...I won’t say I’m a social artist, but I do like the exchange of ideas, energy, thoughtfulness and tenderness, then taking that energy and going back to being alone and making that thing. I do feel like I make things alone and that’s kinda my thing, but now it’s not complete isolation. I want to be around people now. Which is different, which is good. I have a little collab in the works with something right now. Which is feeling pretty good. SOMETHING WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2016? Damn yeah!
WE CAME ACROSS YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR DRAKE THROW BLANKET AT THE “GIRLS AT NIGHT ON THE INTERNET” EXHIBIT. HAS THAT OPENED ANY DOORS FOR OR PROVIDED YOU WITH A BIGGER AUDIENCE? I have to think how to answer this...I mean, you’re talking to me right now. Touché. Art is a weird thing. Sometimes it's a bit of an anonymous thing with it. People liked the blanket, but I don't think they know who I am. That was tight. It was metaphysical, an object in space and time, and people interacted with it. Now it’s just got back to me and it has all of this energy on it. I don’t want to touch it too much, haha. I think it’s good energy. I was in a depressive state and Drake helped take me out of it. Drake took me to NY on a blanket. Blessings on blessings. I’m just stoked I got to go to NY and meet some of my friends IRL. WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE “GROWING UP” ON THE INTERNET? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT EXPERIENCE TRANSLATES INTO YOUR WORK? I don’t think I grew up with internet. In fact, my parents were against internet so I had the internet really late in life. I’m pretty weird; it allows you to meet other weirdos. Makes you feel a little less lonely in the universe. Even doing
the NY show—that was solely the internet. I like Grace [Miceli]’s work, she likes my work, we follow each other. Grace is like, “You wanna do a thing?” and I’m like, “Sure”—all the internet. Even with the people I’ve curated a show with, some of my favorite beings on the planet, it was all done solely on the internet—they weren’t here. At the same time, galleries are tight. I really like IRL spaces, but you can upload your work online. I’m not really the type of person that benefits from that, but there are people that do and that are well-known from that, but I’m still not that person. People don’t like me that much. [laughs] But I do like the democratic attribute of, “I’m an artist and I’m uploading my work, done.” That’s a great thing. That’s probably one of the coolest things about making work right now. Before, there were so many barriers to even get your foot through the door. The door now is just logging in and kicking it down. I just find art I like all the time. WE’VE BEEN TALKING LATELY ABOUT THE WORLD OUTSIDE OF THE “CURATED INTERNET BUBBLE.” HOW DO YOU SURROUND YOURSELVES WITH POSITIVITY IRL TOO? Real life positivity? I like to look at the sky, buy myself flowers, light a candle, feel things, get outside of my own
self…I’m trying not be too witchy. At the moment, I’m not really into the curated internet bubble, but I guess if you’re on any social media you’re involved somehow. There’s a way to navigate it in a way that it’s not negative or especially time-consuming. I always encourage people not to scroll. That sounds really simple, but it would make your life so much more chill. It’ll help you calm down a notch when you need it. People don’t think to do that—just don’t scroll for a tiny bit and you’ll feel a lot better. It’s so simple. At the same time, just turn it off, go outside. But yeah, energy, exchanging ideas. I like people with intensity, positive intensity; I like my brain to spin. I like good energy, I like to be around that. And ginger tea or crystals or something… DON’T GET ME STARTED ON BUYING CRYSTALS! Good energy is exactly what Krause exudes, whether in person, online or through their work. While they still prefer the freedom of isolation, they’re only a DM away from continuing their presence in art around the world. If you’re a part of the underground art scene in Dallas, you’re bound to catch this sweet soul at a gallery here or there.
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Russian photographer Sasha Chaika talks about his series Expression of Singularity and his views on the Freudian concept of “afterwardsness.”
PHOTOGRAPHER SASHA CHAIKA
EXPRESSION OF SINGULARITY
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98 PHOTOGRAPHER SASHA CHAIKA
WHAT DOES THIS SERIES—AND INDIVIDUALITY—REPRESENT TO YOU? Individuality is mostly about initial physical data; it's something fixed and static. But if we talk about humans in context of culture and society, this identity code consists mainly of choice and action. The individuality of each person is determined not in the present, but in the future directed to the past. Freud called such actualization “afterwardsness” (Nachträglichkeit). This term is about recycling the connection between memories and actual text of life (external influence in the present). People want systematization; that’s why we search for causal connections between different personal experiences. It can be understood in many different ways and seems logically constructed due to this "afterwardsness." Everyone does something or chooses something. Inactivity is also a choice. Experience produces assembled individuality, and on this basis comes thinking and action, expression of singularity and creation of the world. Austere EGO // 99
100 PHOTOGRAPHER MEGAN DOHERTY / MODELS (LEFT) SOPHIA MCFEELY & CHARLOTTE GORDON, (RIGHT) CHARLOTTE GORDON
BY MORGAN GENTRY
So the story goes: Rachael Finley got the nickname “Steak” after her parents— concerned about their poor college kid—kept sending her steaks so she wouldn’t starve to death. She received so many steaks that she had to invite people over regularly to help her put a dent on the ever-increasing supply.
PHOTOGRAPHER JOSHUA ZUCKER
You might know her husband, Blake Anderson, from the show Workaholics, but it’s Steak we wanted to talk to. Finley—a momma and all-around boss lady—is the artist behind her and Blake’s "Bored Teenager" clothing line. Her latest endeavor, a woman-friendly line called "Hot Lava," is on fire.
Finley is always keeping followers and fans in the loop—not because she bathes in her millennial fame, but because, via her online presence, she’s found a way to truly be herself. Check out our discussion on her work, motherhood and what it’s like being so honest online.
SELF-LOVE + STEAK Artist and entrepreneur Rachael “Steak” Finley shares honest thoughts about her life and working hard.
WHAT BROUGHT “HOT LAVA” TO THE SURFACE? A lot of hard work from my awesome staff and a notice in the gap of well-fitting garments, or really just anything without an emoji on it. “BORED TEENAGER” SEEMS TO BE HAVING A GROWTH SPURT AND OPENING A LOT OF DOORS FOR BOTH YOU AND BLAKE AS ENTREPRENEURS. HOW HAS THAT RIDE BEEN SO FAR? Oh man, have we learned a lot. It has strained our relationship to levels that we almost quit, quit it, quit each other. But for as wild as it’s been, we have just an awesome and devoted customer base. I can’t sit on tees, people snatch them up so quick. We are so grateful for that, it makes the work worth it…It’s hard having a company that isn’t based on seasonal cycles or even trendspotting. We literally just make whatever Blake wants to wear that week...that’s putting a lot of trust on his taste. SELF-CARE; HOW DO YOU PRACTICE IT? I am currently in Florida in my hometown, and I’ve been here for two-anda-half weeks. I plan on going home after another two-and-a-half weeks.
I’m spending my hard-earned cash on myself at a resort that the door opens to the beach and having my high school friends over for low-key hangs. Selfcare isn’t about spending money, but it’s knowing when to take a timeout for a minute. I put myself in a timeout because I needed it. Self-care is also getting right back to work once your allotted time is up. I REMEMBER SEEING YOU TWO POP UP ON MISHKA’S INSTAGRAM AS FRIENDS OF THE COMPANY—YOU EVEN HAD A COLLAB WITH THEM. DO YOU PLAN ON ASSEMBLING WITH ANY OTHER BRAND? We have a lot of collabs coming up this year. In 2016, we are doing the first ever legal epe tees. That’s right, Pepe the Frog hit us up and said, “I’ll give you my face if [you] can make something cool.” I’m excited for that one. GRANTED YOU HAD YOUR START IN FASHION AS A MODEL AND BEGAN DESIGNING AS A WAY TO KEEP YOURSELF SANE AND KEEP BLAKE FLY, DID YOU THINK THIS IS WHERE IT WOULD TAKE YOU? DID YOU HAVE ANY OTHER KIND OF PLAN? This interview is so thought out, thank you for that. And no, I had no plan. I
never have a plan, but the way I’ve lead my life so far is to try everything until you decide it’s not for you. That’s what I’m doing here...Living this way has never done me wrong. HOW HAS IT BEEN BEING A FULLTIME MOM AND FULL-TIME LEADING LADY OF, NOW, TWO OF YOUR OWN BRANDS? UPSIDES? DOWNSIDES? I am so tired. I am wiped out. But neither of those two things allow for slacking...So it’s kind of a rodeo right now. I’ve been traveling a lot this year for work—I’m trying to pedal the metal now so I can ease up later in the summer and from there on out. We’ll see. I’m structuring two things: a business and a child. I MISS SEEING SMOG [FINLEY'S PET LIZARD] POP UP ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA AND BLOG. I miss her like every day. My friends who are crafty have sent me things like handmade pillows and trinkets and stuffed animals. She’s still “present” in our home, but she doesn’t sleep in the bed with us anymore. I like to think she’s hoisted up in some Palm Springs coconut tree.
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PHOTOGRAPHER JOSHUA ZUCKER
AS A FEMALE-EMPOWERING INTERNET BABE, DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A LOUDER VOICE THAN OTHERS? YOUR FOLLOWING IS LOYAL AND YOU’VE GOT A FAMOUS HUBBY WHO SHEDS ADDITIONAL LIMELIGHT ON YOU, BUT YOU DON’T REALLY SEEM TO HAVE CHANGED. Thank you for the compliment. My best friend says that, to a fault, I am the exact person that I have been since high school, even down to the way I dress. There was a year or so there that I thought I had to dress differently; I started trying to look at celebrities and what they were wearing, and I wore dresses that I find so hideous now it makes me wanna burn the photos. I’m sure during that time I might have tried to channel a mindset that wasn’t my fault too, not that I can recall, but I can imagine that being true. Realizing that I like myself the way I’ve always been better than trying to reach up to this weird level has been such a weight off my shoulders. I wish I had never questioned that...but it’s probably natural to. WE’VE BEEN TALKING LATELY ABOUT THE WORLD OUTSIDE OF THE “CURATED INTERNET BUBBLE.” HOW DO YOU SURROUND YOURSELVES WITH POSITIVITY IRL, TOO? I’ve been practicing, this year especially,
telling friends when they’ve hurt my feelings. I’ve also tightened that friend group. Not kicking people to the curb, but just understanding what a “bar friend” is vs. who you’d call if you have a flat tire is a huge deal. It helps you step away from dramas and obligations that aren’t “true” from you. Having chill sessions at our house instead of hitting every show/party we can get into has been the focus of our house this year, too. Granted, we’re parents, and even though you can go out once the kid is asleep, we’re usually so tired, it’s easier to do that. I like sports seasons—basketball and football—because everyone comes over and sits on our big, pink couch, and I can eat snacks with my real people all day. WHAT HAVE BOTH OF YOUR EXPERIENCES BEEN LIKE “GROWING UP” ON THE INTERNET? HOW DO YOU THINK IT TRANSLATES INTO YOUR WORK? Well, I am very aware of things, and not just memes on Tumblr...although I’m aware of those. I was an early adopter of AOL in 7th grade, mIRC chat rooms. I am helping my dad install a graphics card in his computer so he can play World of Tanks next week. As far as work, this knowledge has been endlessly valuable. In the heyday of having a personal space online, you had to learn
HTML and Photoshop. I taught it to myself in 8th grade when Adobe Suite had just came out. Now I find both of those skills so valuable in the clothing industry, even if it’s just because I don’t have to hire an in-house web dude, or I need to maintenance our site, or even animate GIFs. I can change a graphic that Tom draws in three seconds. Even when you have a graphic or web designer...sometimes explaining what you need by making a quick mockup for them to expand on is necessary so they don’t waste their time missing the mark because of a misunderstanding. Time is money. DO YOU EVER FEEL AS THOUGH YOU’RE LOSING TOUCH WITH YOUR FANBASE BECAUSE OF HOW BUSY YOU KEEP YOURSELF? I’ve had to take a step back from the advice column to work on personal projects. I don’t think I’ve lost touch, but I’ve lost traction. It’ll come back, though, as soon as I have more time to nurture that outlet. YOU ALSO STARTED WORKING WITH VICE’S FEMINIST CHANNEL, BROADLY (FUCK YEAH). HOW DID THAT OPPORTUNITY COME ABOUT? I was there during the conception of the idea. One of my closest friends works at Vice and is its brainchild. So,
naturally, she started trying to involve as many friends as she could when they launched. WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU MISS ABOUT FLORIDA THAT LA CAN’T GIVE YOU? The beach, I hate the Pacific Ocean. The wildlife. The Cuban food. WHAT ARE SOME MORALS AND ATTITUDES YOU PLAN TO TEACH MARS AS SHE CONTINUES TO GROW UP IN THIS FAST-PACED WORLD? Sense of self.
“I NEVER HAVE A PLAN, BUT THE WAY I’VE LEAD MY LIFE SO FAR IS TO TRY EVERYTHING UNTIL YOU DECIDE IT’S NOT FOR YOU. THAT’S WHAT I’M DOING HERE...LIVING THIS WAY HAS NEVER DONE ME WRONG.”
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WAAS UP PHOTOGRAPHER AUBRY ROACH
Dallas-based gallery owner Brandy Michele Adams is levelling up in 2016.
BY NATASHA BRITO
BY NATASHA BRITO
When we met with Brandy Michele Adams for an interview, we were overwhelmed, but excited. Everything about her is loud: her spirit, her voice, her feminism, her wardrobe. One of the reigning art mama’s of the Deep Ellum neighborhood in Dallas, Adams nurtures many young artists growing into their styles. Her gallery, WAAS, which stands for “We Are All Stars,” has been a Dallas art staple for four years. 2016 is going to be big for Adams. This January her gallery is rebranding to become LEVEL GALLERY and will include a fresh social and politically engaged program. This change will be debuted with its first show by Adams’ new curating partner, Emma Saperstein, in January. Meanwhile, WAAS will be relocating to Los Angeles, where Adams once lived and still frequently visits. After a one-hour interview with Adams in which we learned about her immense passion for her work, experiences with abuse, and her journey as a single mom, we realized no one can really tell her story like she can. So instead of writing her story, we are letting her take control of this one. Here’s what Adams had to say.
ON WHAT SHE’S DOING NOW: I am in the best place of my life, but also the busiest. Not a bad thing, but I’m juggling caring for an eight-yearold who is my priority. He was diagnosed with dyslexia this year as well. His new private school keeps me in the car for at least two hours of my day. ON WHO SHE IS, HOW SHE GOT HERE AND WHAT HAVING AN EGO MEANS TO HER: My conditions and identity don’t enable me, but help me find my truth to why I am really here. In my 20’s while in LA I picked up a book that would forever change my life: Seven Spiritual Laws to Success by Deepak Chopra. It had so many answers I had been searching for and needed to hear. I breathed in and received new truth. That was in the early 2000s when I saw egos as more of a deviant mask to manipulate people. Now my take on ego is a little different at 38. Ego is something I value in absorbing new levels of consciousness, creating new vibrations and conversations with all earth’s creatures. In my mind I am already a celebrity, so ego helps me build, integrate, and develop in multiple systems and programs which is much like life is. My ego is designed to break down the old programming and instill the new world
design of art connecting new levels of consciousness. ON WHAT WAAS AND DALLAS MEAN TO HER: WAAS is a way of life for me. It is less about my ego and much more about surviving a city I see needs change, education and fresh perspective. ON OVERCOMING HER PAST: My past self loved, fed, and yearned for the dark to fuel my heart’s desire. Then years ago through sobriety, having my son Oliver, and accepting my childhood visions as truth, I tasted and felt a light like no other.
NOW, THIS EGO IS MORE OF A SELF-LOVE TOOL. I know there is more and in time we will get there. I have accomplished great success embracing my ego. If I didn’t believe in myself, then who would? ON WHAT’S NEXT: WAAS’ move to LA, the opening of LEVEL GALLERY and more FEM Fridays [an organized group for the feminist movement in Dallas].
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108 PHOTOGRAPHER KATE SWEENEY / MODEL LOLA
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PHOTOGRAPHER REUEL LARA / MODEL TAYLOR HENDERSON
STAFF Natasha Brito, founder/publisher Vicky Andres, editor-in-chief Eliza Trono, managing editor Morgan Gentry, music editor Jacqueline Creech, designer Hillary Head, photographer Ellie Alonzo, photographer
CONTRIBUTORS Jared Caraway Juan Navarro Anteneh Gebre Catlina Campos Kendall Ries Sasha Chaika Reuel Lara Kate Sweeney Megan Doherty Rachela Nardella Giancarlos Kunhardt Tor Matthey Tramaine Townsend Pier-Alexandre GagnĂŠ Sabine Fletcher Marie-Louise HĂ¤fner Good John Raissa Biscotti Laura Baldwinson Rebecca Elizabeth Tate
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