Issuu on Google+

KOLLEKT IV GA LLERY | TOY | THE ILLUSTR ATED MIND

ISSUE No 4


YOU Words: Alice Ash | Illustration: Luther Ivan Adams


Once I was out at the club, in a dress that was designed to make boys/guys/ men feel really hot under the collar and really hard inside their pants.  It was not the kind of dress I would have usually worn but I had just recently broken up with my boyfriend of five years and two months. He had left me for another woman and so I wore the dress. I thought that I looked good and I felt powerful and when I walked in my high heels it was as though I didn’t care anymore. So I went into the club and then I saw you, but after a few seconds you started to talk to someone with extremely large breasts and I realised that it probably wasn’t you at all but that I was yet to find you. And then I saw that there were many you’s in the club and I thought, Jesus Christ! Who needs a relationship! And I began to weave my wicked spell on all the men in the club. After an hour or so my friend patted me on the back while I was sick in the toilet. She said that my dress really suited me and that she thought I had lost weight. She also said that she had always been jealous of my relationship with my mother. We talked about her relationship with her mother for

30-40 minutes and then I realised that there was no time to find you before the lights came on in the club and I made her come back out into the club and dance to Rihanna even though she was crying. She was crying and singing at the same time and also dancing in a very weird way. I looked at some girls who were wearing big clothes where only a tiny bit of their bodies showed, like their wrists or sometimes their bellies. The girls were surrounded by men and they danced very well. I tried to dance like them and I pulled down my dress and a man said, ‘put it away love!’ He was the first man to have spoken to me all night and even though he was rude and had orange hair I thought he might be you. In the taxi queue my friend told me to shut up, I told her to shut up back but I knew that she was jealous because I was talking to a man. ‘Did you have a good one?’ the man said. He had a nice jacket and carried a blue plastic bag. ‘Oh yeah it was great.’ I said. ‘We danced all night.’ ‘You want to come back to mine? We can split the taxi fare.’


The man didn’t look at me. I thought, I’m not going to sleep with you on the first date. And then I thought; I’m not actually on a date. I took off my white jacket even though I was freezing. ‘I’m so warm,’ I said.  The man looked at all the other women at the bus stop. My friend looked green, like she was going to be sick. ‘So how about it then.’ I laughed a bit. ‘I’m not that kind of girl mister!’ I said. I thought that he looked very disappointed and I said, ‘I’ll give you my phone number though.’ ‘Why?’ he said. ‘What do you mean why?’ I said. He shrugged and looked away. I realised that he certainly could be you and that a chance like this probably wouldn’t come round again for a long while. ‘Okay!’ I said wildly, ‘Let’s do it!’ My friend was very tired and moaned and said, ‘Don’t.’ But I did and when we got in the taxi he huddled up inside

of his big jacket and didn’t say anything so I said my address in the space where he should have said his. My place was fairly close anyway.  He didn’t say anything else the whole rest of the journey either even though I started several conversations and I ended up talking to the taxi driver who I started to realise might be you instead. I almost asked the taxi driver for his phone number and said, ‘Can I get a receipt?’ but in a low voice as if to say, ‘can I have your phone number?’ And while he was writing it out I held my breath and then ran into the house to turn on all the lights and see if he had written his phone number on the bottom. He hadn’t though. The man sat on my sofa and took three cans of Strongbow out of his blue plastic bag and still wouldn’t really make any conversation so I just put on the radio really loudly. Later, when I took off my white dress he tried to get an erection but he couldn’t. I realised that he wasn’t you. Alice’s fully illustrated short story collections The Woman (second edition) and The Telephone are available to buy now. www.aliceash.com www.lutherivanadams.co.uk


Creative Directors Timothy Hampson

timothy@boon-magazine.co.uk

Antony Day

antony@boon-magazine.co.uk

Editors James Halling

james@boon-magazine.co.uk

Matthew Watson

matthew@boon-magazine.co.uk

Head Of Marketing ChloĂŠ Harwood chloe@boon-magazine.co.uk

Photography Laura Brown, Steve Brown, Keira Cullinane & Steve Glashier laura@boon-magazine.co.uk steve@boon-magazine.co.uk

Writers Alice Ash, Sara Harman-Clarke, Will Godfrey, Dominic Knight, Roisin Mackinnon, James Vella & Joe Walker Illustrators Luther Ivan Adams, Aimski, Stephen Bush, Jamie Eke, Moe Hayes, & Daisy Emily Warne Contributors & a special thank you to Austen, Symon Back, Jenny Brown, Robbie Canale, Martin Currie, Kirstie Daniell, Carl Delahunty, Maria Gaillez, Andrew Garnett, Sam Gilbert, Marilyn Hampson, Tess Hill, Ben Huggins, Tabitha Knight, Danny Mitchell, Sally Oakenfold, Dan Rumsey, Brighton Source, Luke Wyeth, Ziggy www.boon-magazine.co.uk


MUS I C

MUS I C

C U LT U R E

0 8 -16

18 -2 2

2 4 -29

FAS H I O N

MUS I C

L I FES T Y L E

3 0 - 35

36 - 4 3

44 - 48

FAS H I O N

MUS I C

A RT

50 - 56

58 - 6 5

68 - 74


BOON

BETWEEN US FIVE

Words: Matthew Watson | Photography: Keira Cullinane

It is no secret that the music industry in general is one of continual change and dynamic reinvention. It can be predatory and vicious in some circumstances. Red tape and executive nods often leave artists by the wayside as the search for ‘the next big thing’ takes primary precedence. A far reaching summit is what every newcomer must face. It takes time, willpower, copious amounts of hard work and unwavering self belief. To those who get there, to that envisaged pinnacle, is to have reached a creative zenith fuelled by artistic direction and indigenous talent. What underlies the above and any notion of interpreted success appears to be three key elements: friendship, experimentation and sustainability. BOON met up with Tom Dougall, Dominic O’Dair, Maxim “Panda” Barron, Charlie Salvidge and Alejandra Diez, who together make up TOY, a band who rigidly imbue the aforementioned sentiments. The band we see today epitomises the relentless work needed to get to that glorified summit, to that zenith. BOON are here to find out how TOY have arrived at this point in their career. How they work as artists, what directive actions are used, who is involved and how they make music from inception of idea to final production.

8


BETWEEN US FIVE

9


BETWEEN US FIVE

Centred around a window box at Brighton’s famously decadent and nostalgic Hotel Pelirocco, the five band members appear relaxed and placid despite their busy roster. Amongst such frivolous antiquities we logically begin with where things started.

determining what worked for them. From listening to The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground at a relatively young age their musical preferences showed an advanced maturity beyond their years. “We didn’t hear that type of music in the club that we would go to and so it felt special to us even though lots of people around the world were listening to it too,” Tom states enthusiastically. “We didn’t understand what they were all talking about at first but it still made you feel incredible,” Alejandra adds.

As young and impressionable teenagers Tom, Dominic and Panda all grew up in Brighton. As is often the case in the proverbial battlefield of educational institutions, we habitually seek similarities amongst others as common bonds. For these three it was music. Tom recalls, “It’s quite hard at that age to find people that are into good stuff so anyone that was into music was immediately drawn together.”

Eventually Tom, Dominic and Panda relocated from Brighton up to London to maximise the potential of the live music scene in the capital. Despite residing in Hackney the band are reluctant to stipulate where ‘home’ is for them. What they do emphasise is that both cities have ultimately “shaped our sound,” as Dominic diplomatically puts it.

Panda also remembers those early days, “we started listening to music together when Tom got us round his house. He played me a few things that I’d never really heard before, things like Television. We already played guitar so we started playing in each other’s rooms when we were about fifteen. When we started going out we were listening to ‘Marquee Moon’ which was the first record we properly bonded over.”

The undisputed reputation of London as a hub for cultural diversity, new talent and fantastic career opportunities meant that the three men settled in Hackney. Within the capital they developed as musicians, exploring and experimenting further with their chosen craft. This culminated in the three joining the now defunct Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong.

Where most young people had other hobbies or preferred commercial music, these three were already experimenting with sounds and

10


BETWEEN US FIVE

This band perhaps best epitomises the nature of the music industry; within the space of two years the band went from top billing shows, festival appearances and fantastic support slots to an unreleased album and hasty obscurity. Despite being the victims of inter-label squabbles and corporate indiscretions the three carried on.

none of it was planned.” “Everyone adds their own equal input.” Panda continues, “we know and trust each other’s judgement on it because we all like the same stuff so it was all quite natural from the very beginning.” In many circumstances it can often take a band years or even decades to truly identify what their sound is. To discover a way of making music that defines and isolates you from the mundane, the mediocre, the commercial security of sameness. In their present guise, it took TOY less than six months to achieve such a dynamic and individual sound. Therefore it comes as no great surprise that they were immediately signed to Heavenly Records by esteemed label magnate Jeff Barrett.

“At the time they (Tom, Dominic and Panda) were in a different band and that band had finished. We had known each other for quite a few years so it happened quite naturally in us forming together. They wanted a band, we wanted to be in a band so it was like, “well why don’t we just form a band?”” Alejandra tells us, all the while perched rather serenely on the floor in the hotel.

TOY were signed to a respected and sought after label after one gig in the company of Mr Barrett. One. Gig. “We had played for six months without even playing a gig, our friend Rhys from The Horrors told their management about us who then told Heavenly, then Jeff came down a few gigs later and got really excited about us,” Dominic states with a grin etched upon his face as Tom continues in more detail.

Charlie explains further that, “it happened at just the right time. We got talking and it turned out they needed a drummer and I was looking for a band and there we are!” The respect within TOY is something that has sculpted their sound. There isn’t a defined front man, nor a battle of egotistical defiance. Alejandra summarises this point well. “The reasons we knew we would work as a band was because we understood each other, we listened to the same records, we had similar tastes, even though

“It was at the first gig that we played at The Shacklewell Arms, a venue everyone knows about now but back

11


BETWEEN US FIVE

12


BETWEEN US FIVE

then it had just opened up and we were one of the first bands to play there. Jeff came down and instantly said that he wanted to sign us which was amazing.”

a certain direction. If we don’t agree with something, we won’t do it. We don’t care about commercial ideas, it’s about what we feel comfortable with.” It is here that Panda reveals an important person in the surefooted phalanx that is TOY. Dan Carey. “Dan is the guy that we make our records with. He’s another person that shares our ethos. TOY don’t have any real outsiders involved, we just work with how we want to do things and that is why it works in general.”

It is clear that friendship is pivotal to the success of TOY, not just within the band. Jeff Barrett understood the five members so signing them to his label was the most plausible decision to make. Alejandra fondly recites that the band and Barrett regularly meet. “He’s really enthusiastic about music, you don’t just see the head of a label. Whenever we have a meeting with him we just end up listening to whatever he’s just discovered.”

The adoration and genuine positivity latched onto the words TOY speak of Dan shows how much trust is put into his production techniques and methods. The formula clearly works as Tom tells us.

As a band TOY have received numerous plaudits since their eponymous debut album. This is made all the more incredible when you remind yourself of the group’s relative infancy and that the first record was wrapped up in only two weeks.

“Dan had more of a chance to develop stuff with us this time around (for the production of the second album). Each time we see him he has new ideas and we have new songs to work with. There is real trust between us, Dan isn’t only our producer, he is one of our best friends. We could rely on him to do good by us and it has always been like that and the longer we know him the stronger that bond gets.”

What has driven this success and positive attention though? Dom begins, “I think we just make sure to follow only our own trajectory, our own loves. To do things first and foremost that makes ourselves feel happy and musically satisfied. That really helps when you are creating something between five of you.” Tom also makes a point that “as a band, you often get outside opinions and people try to push you in

This bond is held firm but the continued work and support between both parties. The experimental nuances that have become part of the TOY

13


BETWEEN US FIVE

application to creating music are dynamically spurred on by Carey’s enthusiasm and the leniency to allow this band to have fun in the studio. This fun can involve FX pedals, smoke machines, lasers; a miscellany of gadgets that typifies their way of working.

comes in from the ambient mikes and amps,” he recalls.

“If you go into lots of recording studios it can be quite clinical, you separate the amps and the drummer is in a different room. We do the opposite and play together to allow it to be a really natural recording. Having lights and smoke is part of that idea and creates an atmosphere for us that we all really like,” Dominic describes.

“He will be processing things while we are playing. In each different take he will have his own channel which is him selecting what mike or amp is best. He has this thing called a moisturiser which is a filter with three springs along the top and he feeds it through that so whenever we finish the take there is always a channel of insane filtering of what we have just been playing. It just adds another element of randomness,” Dominic adds.

Alejandra mentions that Dan has access to all their instruments. “He is always switching stuff around and he decides what the best signal for that song is that he is going to use.”

“After we write the songs we record them at Alejandra’s and my house first, regardless of where they have previously been written. We record demos there and listen back, then practice them to develop further. By the time we’ve got to Dan’s studio we normally know how to play them. There’s a massive analogue desk in his studio and a drum kit in the corner. He puts up a slinky toy going across the roof of the room with a speaker attached to it on one end so that it gives off this big reverb. It is an amazing idea and whilst we are playing he has this desk with lots of different bits of equipment in the corner of the room; he has different filters and echoes which channel the sound that

The band have become highly regarded for generating diverse levels of sound: layered, complex, sonically astute. They have managed to comprehend how music played live and played within an encroaching studio can sound. To allow them to work both independently and together. For instance, each track off of the band’s latest album ‘Join The Dots’ accurately demonstrates the nature of both settings and the vast layering techniques used by the band. “Even though it is quite layered we recorded both of the albums live between us,

14


BETWEEN US FIVE

15


BETWEEN US FIVE

so any overdubs are augmenting parts that are already laid down. We think that the live element and the record are two sides of the same coin, they are as important as each other,” Dominic keenly elaborates.

tion and sustainability serve as crucial determinants for success on any given level or way of interpretation. TOY have offered us a humbling glimpse into the intricacies of recording, of actually making music. To understand the importance of this is to be on the same wavelength of each band member.

Tom explains that at times, “we have bridges and chords that take you into different places. I don’t think it stays static, it is constantly moving, even if it is just one chord for five whole minutes and all these other elements are changing, it can get to the point where you are not even conscious that you are staying on that one chord anymore.” It has been a long time coming but TOY may just be at that creative zenith.

Panda sums up the purpose of their music perfectly. “It documents what is going on in all our lives. It means a lot to us which is reflected in what we are playing. By making it an honest representation of how we are feeling at that exact point. That, is why it comes out the way it does” and that, is TOY through and through.

The relaxed behaviour of the five individuals in the window box at Hotel Pelirocco reveals a band that is confident in their musical abilities. They do not care about external factors or journalism critique. Their work and the fact that people fully appreciate that work is their priority. The characteristic sound they have fostered over time combined with maximising opportunities and the very particular professionals they have chosen to work with has sculpted TOY into a dynamic, resilient outfit. Those elements mentioned at the beginning: friendship, experimenta-

16


BOON

TRAAMS

Words: Roisin Mackinnon | Illustration: Moe Hayes

When I was younger, pretty much everyone I hung out with was in a band or wanted to be in a band. Even I had a pop, even though musical prowess is hardly a trait I possess. We would all go to gigs put on in village halls and pub function rooms, and eventually everyone knew everyone. It was a great example of the power that music has to generate scenes and forge relationships. As we all grew up, our collective tastes became more diverse, indie disco came to town with a weekly club night we all went to and the bands stopped sounding like budget Blink 182 wannabes and started sounding more like music from people who knew about music. If it was not for this moment in time nearly 8 years ago, the serendipitous TRAAMS probably wouldn’t have formed. When BOON magazine asked me to interview them, I seized the opportunity. But never has my writing had so many potential social and emotional consequences. Seconds before the boys collected me from the train station, I hastily researched the exact definition of slander, because there’s nothing quite like a bit of trash talk and a lawsuit to really destroy a friendship.

18


TRAAMS

19


TRAAMS

We decided to do the interview in a pub in Chichester, predictably named the Chichester Inn, which can legitimately boast at being the venue for TRAAMS’ first gig back in October 2011. “I want to be put on the notable peoples list for Arundel’s Wikipedia page”, laughs Adam, the bands drummer (and a budding pilot), “but that would piss people off because everyone thinks we’re from Chichester.” It is actually only Stu, the lead singer, who currently lives in Chichester, but with the beginning of the bands live experiences starting there, and the alternative answer being Bognor Regis, it seems a sensible choice of ‘hometown’.

lived in Bognor and ran an indie night there for over 6 years. “One of the songs is about me getting really drunk in Bognor; I passed out in the bushes and eventually ended up in hospital! The rest of the content is actually quite dark.” “Nobody has written about the content of the album, no one has ever really pushed the matter, but I think I’m now happy to start talking about it. The songs Grin and Demons pretty much sum up the theme of the album. As for the name, we went all around the houses trying to think what we were going to call the album, but Grin made sense as we all call this our ‘Grin’ period. There is something sinister about a grin which fits the content of the lyrics.”

It is a subject that is often brought up when TRAAMS are in interviews, and to those of you who have never been there, Chichester is a picturesque cathedral town along the south coast from Brighton. It is a university town, with a strong college for art and music as well, but hardly the sort of place a noisy, krautrock band can blossom. “We like visiting places like Brighton and London but I just can’t imagine living there. Chichester is just generally a really nice place to live, it’s just a shame that a live music scene could never really sustain itself because of the restriction with that the council will let you do,” shrugs Stu.

“We’re considering putting the words up on one of those lyric websites so people can actually know what Stu is singing,” Adam admits. “We played a gig in Paris towards the end of last year, and it was crazy. All of these French people were singing the songs back at us in a language that wasn’t their first. We’re pretty certain that majority of our English fans don’t even have a clue what Stu is saying!” “It was insane,” says Leigh, the bassist in the band. Leigh was the last member of the band to join after hearing that Stu and Adam had started get-

“Grin [the debut album] is actually about Bognor Regis,” claims Stu, who

20


TRAAMS

ting together to jam once a week. “I was on my way back down south after living in Huddersfield, and knew Stu and Adam had been jamming. I asked if I could join in, I knew they wanted a bass player and I had been in a band with Adam previously. I was in a band back in Huddersfield and just knew I needed to carry on doing something like that.”

I sent him an email just saying that we were really into Fugazi, Can and Television as well as Cold Pumas and a load of bands he recorded. I actually sent him a clip of sound recording from my phone and basically asked outright if we could come and do a day with him. He basically asked us to go straight up to see him; it was only two months after Leigh had joined the band. We did the first EP pretty much there and then with him, and that’s nearly half the album as well.”

Not long after their first few gigs in Chichester, the boys began to get shows in Brighton. “Green Door Store was our first Brighton gig,” Leigh tells me. “We actually ended up getting spotted for FatCat whilst playing at GDS. We were asked to play at one of the guys from the labels birthday, and it all went from there. We eventually put pen to paper whilst in The Prince Albert in March 2012, it felt like it was a long time coming but it was probably one of the best days I can remember.”

With touring being a main priority for the start of 2014, and SXSW just over a month away, the boys have come a long way from playing pubs in Chichester and recording their sessions on the mobile to send to potential interest. SXSW is sure to be a massively pivotal point in their career, and this year alongside Royal Blood and The Wytches, there is a heavy presence of south coast bands.

But before FatCat would even hear of their future signing, Stu had already contacted Rory Atwell of Kasms, Test Icicles and Warm Brains fame regarding the potential of doing some recording with him, and as a result nearly the entire album has been recorded or mixed by Rory.

“SXSW is all confirmed, we can’t wait. We get back from our European tour and spend just over a week back in the country before heading to America. When people ask us if we’re doing any festivals, you kind of forget what you’re even doing, it all becomes a bit of a blur. It’s pretty cool being able to tell people we’re playing in Texas though. We thought 2013 was a great year, but this year is looking pretty epic already.”

“I contacted him before Leigh had even joined,” says Stu. “I was reading an article in magazine where he said he really liked working with new bands,

21


TRAAMS

22


TRAAMS

23


BOON

T oby A mies A N D t h e man w h os E mind e x p loded Words: Dominic Knight | Photography: Toby Amies

From presenting Radio and TV shows from the early nineties right through to writing, directing and producing various documentaries for Film Four and MTV, Toby Amies has an incredibly illustrious CV under his belt, though this vibrant past isn’t why we’re here. Premiering at the Sheffield Documentary Festival in 2013, ‘The Man Whose Mind Exploded’ is a surreal adventure through the last four years of the life of Drako Oho Zahar Zahar; a muse to Dali, a performer in the London Ballet and a double coma survivor, to name just a few of his worldly exploits, a man who in his own words, is, or was on, “his seventh life.” What began as a radio documentary, slowly, through the interest of listeners, took the first steps into becoming one of the most interesting and heart warming films of 2013.

24


T O B Y A M I E S A N D T H E M A N W H O S E M I N D E XP L O D E D

25


T O B Y A M I E S A N D T H E M A N W H O S E M I N D E XP L O D E D

Drako, the stage name he took in his mid twenties, was one of the truly original characters on the Brighton scene, you could not miss him if you tried. With his tattooed head, raver glasses and velvet cape, Drako carved out a beautifully unique swathe wherever he went; somehow graceful, even with his walking stick and infected legs.

a great number of pitfalls and complications with filming a character such as this, and these problems are unashamedly shown, giving a true and honest insight into the way the relationship between Drako and Toby evolves. From practical birthday presents to visits to the doctor, at times the emotions shift so much that it’s almost more like watching a petulant child than an ageing man.

The film briefly looks into his colourful past, but with two serious accidents under his belt, both resulting in comas, it is the journey through his current life that is the focus of the documentary, following him through his dayto-day rituals in an effort to unearth little glimmers of his history.

But this rollercoaster journey has its ups and its downs, and the ranges are so drastic that one minute you will feel pity, the next you can’t stop yourself from smiling at his cheeky playful nature. Overall, it was his stubbornness and conviction in his way of life that won over, and against the will of his family and friends, he was determined to spend his last few years in the chaotic mess which was his flat, an insight into his own mind through notes and decorations; hundreds of photos of cocks, self portraits and drawings, all things to help remind himself of his past and present lives.

A man lost within the trappings of a contemporary existence, it is the mantra obtained from his second coma that keeps him on a personal, though sometimes detrimental to himself, level of happiness - ‘Trust, absolute, unconditional’ - words he follows with the utmost conviction. It’s the curiosity of the stranger points in life that drive Toby Amies to explore such characters, telling their stories and showing the world the things on our doorstep we may have overlooked, that and the “desire to appear interesting and attractive to the opposite sex.”

A certain school of thought with documentary film makers is that of observation rather than interaction. In this case, the beauty of watching Drako go about his daily rituals, whilst swapping between playing up to the camera or exerting his stubbornness, is the relationship that is formed between the film maker and

With such an absent yet theatrical subject, there would obviously be

26


T O B Y A M I E S A N D T H E M A N W H O S E M I N D E XP L O D E D

the subject, adding a level to the story that would not have occurred if it were an observational piece.

struggles with a regular understanding of his relationships with people, it needs to be kept in full focus at all times to prevent it becoming horrifically distorted.

“As someone who often works as a portrait photographer, I think you have a choice when trying to record the essence of a person. You either decide what you think it is/they are and impose your viewpoint on them, or, and this is what I try to do, you build a relationship with them in the time that you have and record that human interaction in your images.”

There is always a point that things can become complicated and turn from an objective think piece into the oh so frequent exploitative ‘freak show’ that appear on the television sets of homes nation-wide. “I think it’s crucial to draw a THICK line between television and film here. We’ve made a film designed to be seen in a cinema by an engaged audience, but when I was initially pitching it, all the UK TV people said they would be more interested if Drako were fatter, weirder, more tattooed etc. and I learnt very quickly how much of the commissioning process works.”

If this film had been made in any other way, there would be a great bulk missing from the middle like a gaping wound or a Channel4 documentary. There is nothing here to sell apart from an insight into a character so vibrant you wouldn’t know where to start looking when introduced to him. It reaches out to you on nothing but a human level and that’s the striking point.

“I think most TV documentaries can become exploitative very quickly, but I don’t think that’s only the responsibility of the channels and commissioners, I think it’s also the responsibility of the audiences who eat that shit up. There are lots of factors affecting whether a documentary is exploitative or not, including the intent of the film maker, the degree of creative control they have, the expectations of the audience, the context in which the film is made and seen, and the veracity of the treatment of the subject, the awareness

The combination of Jim Scott’s editing mixed with Toby’s hand held camera work present a no frills piece, devoid of slow filmic camera pans or perfectly orchestrated scenes where every juicy moment is captured, but instead they give it to you as if you were there in the room with them. There is often a blurred line in documentary work, and especially working with a subject such as Drako, who

27


T O B Y A M I E S A N D T H E M A N W H O S E M I N D E XP L O D E D

of the subject, their degree of control and so on. A lot of what I see on TV, that most people think of as documentary is manipulated and scripted ‘reality’ and that is often very exploitative.”

that story without it being as fucking depressing as I am finding my own personal version of it to be, and then maybe a sensitive buddy movie full of loads of sex and violence. It’d be nice to make enough money for a living in the process too. Mind you if you know anyone who has a spare £500,000 I can be ready to start production on my Worcestershire-based slasher film next week.”

“The crucial thing for us was to be true to what happened, to Drako’s way of seeing and how it all felt, and the last one is so subjective, who really can tell? I worked with great producers and a superb editor, Jim Scott, and everyone was committed to making a film that was true, ethical, moving and entertaining.”

It’s clear when watching the film, that even with his mental stability the way it was, Drako was always on board with it going ahead because in his own words, he “liked being used.” His life was a stage and he was always more than happy to play his role, as the lead, of course.

After such a turbulent few years of making this film, you would think that Toby would fancy a break from it all, but as with those who are cursed with a creative mind, there is no rest. He has plenty more ideas waiting in the wings. It’s just finding the right one that jumps out and sticks that is the problem. Quite possibly another documentary, but the grass always looks greener. Amies has considered taking a step back for a while and trying his hand at fiction, but with the background of a portrait photographer/ radio and TV broadcaster, it won’t be long before another equally interesting documentary emerges. When the question of future projects was put to him, he responded:

The world will forever spew forth more individual ‘freaks’ and ‘weirdos,’ some will even have films made on them, but there will only ever be one Drako Oho Zarha Zarha and it is a privilege to have an insight into such a wonderful man. If there is any one thing that his insanely beautiful mind can teach us, it is that old cliché of staying true to yourself, but in the most spectacular fashion you can muster. And maybe, just maybe, if we could all live our lives to his mantra, the world could quite possibly be a nicer, brighter star in the solar system. Trust, absolute, unconditional.

“I am developing a film about baldness, and trying to find a way to tell

28


T O B Y A M I E S A N D T H E M A N W H O S E M I N D E XP L O D E D

D R A KO O H O Z A R H A Z A R H A T H E M A N W H OS E MI N D E XPLO D E D

29


BOON

COVE HAIR

Words: Sara Harman-Clarke | Photography: Laura Brown & Steve Brown www.covehairbrighton.co.uk

Tucked neatly into the luxurious grandeur of the Hilton Brighton Metropole is the hidden gem of Cove Hair. Founded in 2012 by Phil and Sara Brown, this new venture not only gives its stylists equal opportunities and business prospects, but is quickly establishing itself as a deluxe and unique hair salon. Backed by Phil’s thirty years of business enterprise, Cove aims to give its clients a tailored salon experience; personalised, professional, yet relaxed. Rushing clients through the door in a whirlwind of hairspray is not their form; instead you will receive an in-depth consultation and style guidance to make you feel truly pampered in the cosy ambience of their bright, modern-antique salon. The three stylists that make up Cove’s energetic and dedicated team pride themselves on their creativity and technical expertise. Hair-up guru Jenny specialises in women’s styles, both vintage and contemporary. She is trained in Racoon Hair Extensions and passionate about wedding hair services, either in salon or at a venue of your choice.

30


COVE HAIR

Colourist and Brazilian blow dry extraordinaire Justin is precise and well practised in his craft. His attention to detail, love of hairdressing and vivacious personality ensure his client’s return, with total satisfaction a priority. For modern, on-trend gents tailoring head to men’s hair specialist Chyrese. With her finger on the pulse but always pushing in new directions, Chyrese’s thirteen years experience contributes to her flair and excitement for both short and curly hair styles. Using Goldwell and KMS California products, quality is paramount to Cove, yet they retain a family feel with their close-knit team and support of local community and enterprises. Cove also hold a close affinity with the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, fundraising for them whenever they can.

31


COVE HAIR

Stylist: Jenny Brown

32


COVE HAIR

Stylist: Chyrese Carpenter

33


COVE HAIR

Stylist: Justin Adams

34


COVE HAIR

35


BOON

TUSKS Words: Alice Ash | Illustration: Stephen Bush www.threeeyedmandesign.com

36


TUSKS

Melodic local sweethearts Tusks are just as hooked on the party. BOON met up with Tom and George from the band to talk about the good times on Brighton’s music scene. “All my friend’s songs are my favourite songs from the last year,” Tom told us. “Yeah,” George agreed, “me and Nick are in two or three other bands as well. We record in the basement of the house where The Magic Gang live. There’s a group of about 10 of us, all in about six or seven bands and they all sound quite different.”

net has made people’s attention span for music much shorter. You listen to forty seconds and then turn it off.”

It seems to be a positive time to be a musician, bands are keeping their creative paths open, without a fixed route. Ironically, it seems that this freedom comes from a complete disillusionment with the music industry as George explained.

Over saturation and a lack of coinage doesn’t seem to point to a rush of creative license, however, looking at it in a different way, if the music industry is completely dissipated to the point of futility, then maybe the opportunity for a purer form of expression is stronger than ever before. On the one hand it is pretty difficult to make enough money to buy potatoes and eggs but on the other hand a lack of involvement with money and the idea of music as a career actually opens the field for creativity, which is definitely perceivable in the vibrant and energized sound of Tusks and indeed the local music industry at a grassroots level.

“At present, I know that none of us are doing it (making music) for the money. In the 90s there were bands being signed all over the place. You don’t really get that anymore. It’s when they started to bring lawyers and accountants in that it became a lot less about passion.”

The result is a group of lads making music that they really like. “We like to jam it out a bit, not necessarily stay tight but just see what happens,” Tom explained. “If you’re making music that you love and doing what you want to do, it doesn’t matter really,” Tom affirms.

Tom agrees: “It’s something to do with an overload of ‘stuff,’ in the past you’d take home a record and listen to it over and over. You’d make love to it almost. Whereas now you can rip it (the album) online. I think that the Inter-

Tusks’ Favourite Brighton Bands: Theo Verney, Bird Skulls, Pink Lizards, Play Lounge, Home School, The Magic Gang.

37


BOON

MOTH Words: Alice Ash | Illustration: Stephen Bush

38


MOTH

Psych-grunge band Moth have just released their first E.P ‘Breed’ and are eager to keep the blood pumping. For the five-piece, as guitarist James put it, “We just wanna gig really, we accept any gig, we just wanna play.” “Yeah,” Ben agreed, “I just wanna play the drums really loud.”

It works, because Moth really seriously haven’t considered what their music should sound like, because they’ve just played what they want, with no regard to what sells and what trends are swelling dicks, they sound fricken awesome and are making a huge impact. James told us that, “a lot of places have a scene but Brighton has a lot more diversity, you get some crazy pirate band or some folk metal but there’s no specific thing going on here.”

I asked Moth if they chose their name because of the beautiful melancholy in their songs, the way the darkness is mixed with beauty and insanity, “No,” said Sean; “we named the band after my favourite character in Star Wars.”

Brighton seems to have that madness that cannot be replicated or formulated and that is what Moth really thrive on. Ben told us about the “best gig ever, at the Black Dove. It was so hot, I took my jeans off. I put my sunglasses on cause I thought, if I’m not wearing jeans, sunglasses are alright.” “It’s like, if we’re not bleeding a little bit by the end of the show then its not been a good show,” said Sean. Now we just want to see them live again.

Moth are unpretentious and absolutely stoked with reckless abandon. The aim is to have a massive booze soaked giggle playing the music that they love. Vocalist Sean told us about their first gig, “I fell off the stage during the first song after forgetting all the words. I thought, ‘I should probably sing,’ but I couldn’t so I decided to head-bang and went straight into the crowd. We played about 15 minutes for a 45 minute set.”

Moth’s Favourite Brighton bands: Theo Verney, Gnarwolves, Tusks.

It’s this anarchic, joyous madness that could be seen as another offshoot from the lack of commercial drive which Sean describes as the a discarding of ‘scene’ culture. He told us, “It’s never been about trying to fit in with a scene, we just wanna get drunk and play really loud and get free booze off of people.”

39


BOON

THE MAGIC GANG Words: Alice Ash | Illustration: Stephen Bush

40


THE MAGIC GANG

It has been a while since musicians have been able to rely on fat cheques and advances from wadded record labels. In the 90s rock stars were still crashing cars like it didn’t matter and gently caressing their coke habits and egos, but things are a little different in 2014.

and keys, basically any of our friends that could play an instrument.” Jack informs us. Brighton’s more buzzing than ever and talking to the latest crop of new talent it would seem that, even though a place in the dole queue is probable, young people are picking up instruments and having a fucking good time with them. The fundamental and primary reason for anyone choosing to play an instrument has finally returned it would seem.

The Magic Gang have already been hotly tipped and recognised by NME and were quickly snapped up by Swim Deep’s management as they left the stage after their first gig. Angus told BOON, “even if you’re playing Reading and Leeds at a decent level, you’re still going to be earning mini- mum wage. The music industry just doesn’t have as much money pumping through it now.”

“I find it strange when people try and make a living out of being in a band, when they’re only doing it for the money,” Jack said. “Usually nobody even knows who they are, it’s like trying to be an R’n’B star and taking selfies in front of a rented car!”

“Yeah,” said Paeris, “I still find it strange when I get paid for a gig.” Even though The Magic Gang have smashed their way through huge hurdles already, musicianship seems like a battle against all odds. However, the band are not perturbed. The band split into several other projects and actually, as Angus told us, “ it was initially supposed to be fifteen of our mates, hence the name ‘The Magic Gang’.”

Despite the fact that arts funding cuts and the lack of worth placed on creativity is well, depressing, it seems to have ironically created a deeper creativity, where commercial merit doesn’t matter and innovation does. As Angus told us, “now, people are doing it for the music.” The Magic Gang’s Favourite Brighton bands: The Wytches, Theo Verney, Birdskulls, Play Lounge, Joanna Gruesome, Abattoir Blues, Hella Better Dancer, Tusks.

The band eventually whittled down to four members, but they still insist that ‘pretty much all of our mates are in bands.’ “Kristian wanted a gang of all our mates with loads of guitars

41


BOON

VYYPERS Words: Alice Ash | Illustration: Stephen Bush

42


VYYPERS

Vyypers are Brighton’s newest garage rock band. Full of youthful verve and attitude ridden energy, like other new bands, Vyypers seem to be more into creating some cool tunes rather than nailing a record deal or cashing in cheques.

anyway, we were making this sound before we got put into support slots with bands that sound like us.” ”Yeah, we’re like Spit Shake Sisters’ annoying little brothers who they have to hang around with but don’t really want to. We love them.” Stone said.

“My dad got it right when we told him we were going start a band. He said, ‘every fucker in Brighton is in a band,’” bassist Stone told us. “Yeah, but the only gig we’ve played outside of Brighton, we played to the bar staff!” said drummer Aaron, “Not so long ago, the way to get big was to meet the right people, but now the existence of the Internet means a saturation of bands, everyone can post their music online,” lead singer George continued.

The excitement and enthusiasm seems to come from their surroundings, from being a young band in a place as vibrant as Brighton. Vyypers appreciate the quality of the bands that are around them. “If we lived in Essex we’d probably be listening to Ellie Golding and trying to be grime or something.” said Stone. “We look at what’s happening in the garage scene in America and California and we kind of feel like it’s starting to happen here too.”

“Yeah, and they all seem to be against being good. There are some shitty bands in Brighton,” said Stone. “It’s all good, if we don’t make it as a band I’ll end up in the gutter somewhere. Aaron will end up managing HMV.”

Vyypers’ Favourite Brighton bands: Spit Shake Sisters, The Querelles.

Despite this oversaturation, the band seems to fit in well in Brighton and is more aware of a ‘scene’ than the other bands. However, their sound is organic, Aaron told us, “we didn’t actually know that there was a scene, it just fitted us quite nicely. We made this sound

43


It’s All Irie

BOON

Words: Sara Harman-Clarke www.iriepixel.com

“It’s not only about the gig, it’s about the community. These small underground communities that manage to sustain themselves in Brighton for years. People from London go to parties in Brighton for this reason – it’s absolutely fantastic.” That is the community Irie Pixel Media are finding themselves part of. The niche and still relatively unknown world of VJing (think DJing with visuals), projections, video mapping and motion graphics. This astounding technology is, to say the least, a bit mind boggling, but once seen it cannot be forgotten. It is the evolution of the live show, a natural progression which sees the audience engaging on a new level. This kind of technology will progress exponentially leading the humble gig into uncharted waters. Riding on that thrill at the forefront of their game in Brighton are Irie Pixel. They sit united in their graphic logo-printed t-shirts and talk BOON through the finer points of what it is they actually do, how they came together, and with some exciting projects in store, how they are growing from strength to strength.

44


I T ’ S A LL I R I E

45


I T ’ S A LL I R I E

Jev, Evgeny and Serge make up Irie Pixel Media. It all started innocently enough in Jev’s bedroom back in 2011, his second year of uni. “I started to get into bedroom VJing, and suddenly friends of mine who run some really cool gigs offered me to go on stage and do visuals.” Serge came along next helping to create more of the visuals and this year, Evgeny joined as the designer: “I offered my services to create something more material than just projection. They were already doing that, I pushed it to the next level.”

have collared Irie Pixel into projection mapping for their 15th anniversary party in London’s Koko. They take it all in their stride; professional, reserved yet incredibly enthusiastic. So, how does it all work and do people, the public, potential clients, understand what they do? “It is a relatively new medium in the arts, that’s why it’s got this kind of novelty to it, and that’s why it’s difficult to comprehend,” explains Evgeny. “In ten years time it will probably be outdated. We don’t know what the future is, at the moment it’s a bit avant-garde.” But, they reassure, people understand it once it has been seen. “The biggest part of what we do is experimentation,” Jev adds.

These guys are close – finishing each other’s sentences, all intellectually buzzing on the same wave length – yet they retain the sort of gentlemanliness that comes with the mutual respect and high regard they place upon each other.

Audio visual services are quite the ‘thing’ now, but while this new art form is still gaining understanding, Irie Pixel find themselves writing a lot of their own briefs as clients don’t really know what they want. “It’s a balance of trying to push our ideas and trying to offer something exciting that the client thinks wow, we definitely want to use this,” explains Jev. On the other hand some clients do have a strong sense of how they want to be represented. Serge tells us how Written In Waters, a band they have worked with, understood what mood they wanted so created their own brief.

When we meet it’s the first time they have physically seen each other for a few months. To get over life’s constraints most of their projects are conducted virtually. Before BOON arrives they have been discussing a recent offer to do visuals at the launch party for Outlook Festival, something they are very excited, but very cool about. That’s not the only biggy they have coming up; China have asked them to visually represent their fashion style at London Fashion Week, and Tru Thoughts record label

46


I T ’ S A LL I R I E

Months of planning and research go into each project, which is inherently tailored to each client. “We always create a brief which depends on the music if it’s a gig, or if it’s an exhibition what’s being exhibited.” Deciding which comes first, music or visuals, again largely depends on the type of project. They explain that sometimes the visuals support the music and sometimes the music is supporting, like for the installation they did for Pop-Up Brighton.

ogy is so sophisticated nowadays; you could try everything everyday...” Serge trails off, mind presumably wandered to the endless possibilities unfolding before him – he is clearly in his element. “You just have to push it,” finishes Evgeny for him, laughing. “There is a person already who has actually done quite well; it’s a French artist, 1024 Architecture.” Evgeny describes one of his installations with a microphone and talking projection mapping on a building. It’s the stuff of sci-fi movies, but apparently it’s closer than you think.

“Our projection mapping was the main exhibit,” Evgeny tells us. The project was an interactive visual installation called Kuubu. They created four cubes that contained projected 3-D letters, where the viewer could change the letters by using a swiping hand gesture. “It was a kind of 3-D book of four words. We managed to make the projection letters say one word, and the shadow that they drop would be a different word of the opposite meaning. So we had ‘Find, Lose’, ‘Love, Hate’.” Evgeny goes on to describe how other artists have done similar projects, but just decoratively. Whereas they are trying to explore the other sides of the medium, to find what else it has to offer.

“I think in the future it will go really far, far away from what we have now,” muses Jev as he explains how Kinect and similar features can offer crowd interaction, and is a tool they have used themselves. It doesn’t quite cut the mustard though; there seems to be some illusive element with which to perfectly connect people and technology interactively which unfortunately is yet to exist. “It’s all a bit sketchy and gimmicky at the moment,” Evgeny tells us. They have high hopes for the future however; “One day we will come up with something that will work!” Irie Pixel may look to the future with intrepid eagerness, yet currently they enjoy holding a niche position in their field, especially in Brighton. “I think we are the only ones in

The topic of interactivity in this field is an essential one, and something which again brings us back to the notion of the unknown. “Technol-

47


I T ’ S A LL I R I E

Brighton who build stuff for the visuals, and we haven’t seen a proper 3-D projection pretty much anywhere. There are not that many people in London who do that either. In Brighton I don’t see much competition,” states Evgeny confidently.

For Jev, old school computer games are a huge inspiration – the sounds, the graphics are where the ‘Pixel’ of their name comes from. ‘Irie’ is from the reggae and dub culture, which in the Jamaican Patois language means ‘alright’.

It helps that they are so broad in their spectrum of music tastes and influences as well; from speed metal to minimal techno these boys do not play favourites for which genre their visuals enhance. They all agree music is subjective, and likewise so is their preference for visuals. “I like breakcore because I like glitches in videos,” Jev tells us, while Serge is more philosophical: “I don’t have any particular favourite because I like music by its speed. I don’t see why I should divide all this music because they have different scales of feelings. New music and new people help me to think in different ways.”

Yet they are doing more than just alright. “It’s my dream to bring all of us together as a proper company, full time and able to pay ourselves. And do just what we love,” Jev tells us warmly. We have no doubt that is exactly what they will do. From humble roots to great heights, Irie Pixel Media are going international, and taking the Brighton spirit with them.

Music is clearly a big influence for Irie Pixel, as is the very world around them. They believe artists influence artists, especially in the unique supportive communities that Brighton has to offer. They then wax lyrical about their love of The Green Door store and all their staff, and wish to give special thanks to The Mine community and their good friend H2, a local creative artist who has helped them on every singly project.

48


BOON

THE ILLUSTRATED MIND

Words: Joe Walker | Photography: Laura Brown & Steve Brown www.theillustratedmind.com

Brighton based t-shirt line The Illustrated Mind celebrates its third birthday this spring. Headed up by Andrew Garnett the brand’s ethos is a simple one, “amazing illustrations, printed on quality tees.” To celebrate this anniversary The Illustrated Mind is launching itself into the digital sphere and opening a brand new website: www.theillustratedmind.com. Originating from Boy Parker, their store located in Brighton’s North Laine, The Illustrated Mind has developed into one of Brighton’s most innovative clothing companies. BOON recently teamed up with the brand to work on a new concept. The Illustrated Mind have progressed into commissioning their own illustrators and making their own t-shirts rather than sourcing other brands products. “It’s the easiest thing in the world to just get a picture and put it on a t-shirt,” Andrew explains, “anyone can do that. It’s like making a sandwich, but it’s whether people actually want to eat that sandwich.”

50


THE ILLUSTR ATED MIND

51


THE ILLUSTR ATED MIND

Shrouded in an almost mysterious presence, The Illustrated Mind has quietly and confidently been growing on the clothing scene. Perhaps this air of mystery intrigues new customers. Andrew recalls a recent blog post he has seen relating to the brand: “‘I really like this but I’ve got no idea who they are or what they’re about.’”

added, “hopefully people just buy the t-shirt for the illustration or artwork”. The brand have recently worked with illustrators such as Pete Sharp, Jiro Bevis, Drew Milllward, Tom Sewell, Oilvia Tirard and James Rueben and their roster of artists continues to grow. The personal side of The Illustrated Mind and the credit rightfully given to the artists is a refreshing style with them seemingly as eager to promote the illustrator behind the work as they are to promote the brand.

It is difficult to pinpoint The Illustrated Mind’s style or philosophy, they can’t be marginalised and this comes down to their continuous search for new styles and new illustrators. Never happy just to settle and sell the same t-shirts over and over, they strive to find the next exciting concept , whilst always reverting to the idea of their main goal, to produce amazing t-shirts. Andrew says it’s, “the idea of constantly creating new stuff and not just one sort of style.” Their designs are themed and as the brand has progressed they have found styles that suit them at the same time as being popular sellers. As each illustrator interprets the brief differently which creates an assorted range of products for the same theme.

Local illustrator Jamie Eke, who was featured in Issue Two of BOON as part of The Graduate Show review, has designed the image to be featured on the collaboration between BOON and The Illustrated Mind with some of BOON’s other featured artists and musicians planning to don the tee at SXSW Music Festival this March. “We work a little bit with themes each season.” Andrew tells us. “The forthcoming one with BOON is Portraits & Landscapes or put simply, landscapes in portrait.”

The name, The Illustrated Mind, gives an idea of the importance the brand put into the illustrators they commission. Andrew firmly believes, “the artwork should stand on its own.” They are adamant for the design on the product not just to be seen as a t-shirt but for what it really is, a piece of artwork. He

“The initial idea was to work on something grungy to relate to the bands that had been featured in the magazine,” Jamie stated. “Originally the design was going to incorporate images growing out of geometric shapes. However, I changed the direction

52


THE ILLUSTR ATED MIND

53


THE ILLUSTR ATED MIND

as I thought the image needed to be more evocative and something people would instantly relate to. The final design contains more of a sci-fi element as I began to tap into The Illustrated Mind style.” The Illustrated Mind continues to expand and grow in new and exciting ways. However, Andrew explains that it must be in the right way. There is a strong suggestion that the brand is not willing to inflate just for the sake of it. “There are certain brands out there that will say, ‘No, we don’t follow fashion’ but that’s bullshit, of course they do.” Andrew points out. This said, there is a refusal to pander to the masses and create something generic. “It’s an active thing against the homogenisation of the high street. Indie’s are supposed to be like that.” The company will continue to get into the mind of its target audience. “The next thing,” Andrew explains, “is just evolving it and getting The Illustrated Mind a bit more out there; focusing less on getting ourselves in the high street and focussing more on getting ourselves known.” If you didn’t know who they were before, you do now.

54


THE ILLUSTR ATED MIND

55


THE ILLUSTR ATED MIND

The Illustrated Mind VS BOON: Jamie Eke

56


BOON

US BABY BE AR BONES

Words: Matthew Watson | Illustration, Art Direction & Styling: Daisy Emily Warne Photography: Steve Glashier | Make Up: Puff Gandolfo

Us Baby Bear Bones have a reputation for outstanding music production and artistic experimentation. Their music is never contained. Instead they choose to thrive off the interpretations of others and challenge themselves to creatively transgress audio-visual boundaries and explore. BOON magazine commissioned a series of photographs involving the band as they prepare for their much anticipated second EP. They have chosen the complexities of sisterhood, sororities and hazing initiations as themes and inspiration. To highlight the extensive influences these societal groupings have cast on women within modern Western civilisation and on documented rites of passage into womanhood; pain, love, nurturing, anguish, humiliation, ‘them’ and ‘us’. To comprehend the literature and the actualities of life for women in these circles. We have given the band directorial control over this shoot to ensure that their conceptual visual agendas are not compromised. These photos offer us a tantalising glimpse into what the new record will cover; an opportunity to wander tentatively around the band’s ideas and artistic expressions away from the rigidity of a live music venue. To begin to understand die körperliche erziehung der jungen mädchen – the bodily education of young girls.”

58


US BABY BEAR BONES

59


US BABY BEAR BONES

60


US BABY BEAR BONES

61


US BABY BEAR BONES

62


US BABY BEAR BONES

63


US BABY BEAR BONES

64


US BABY BEAR BONES

65


www.studio284.com


BOON

K ollektiv C onsciousness Words: Will Godfrey | Photography: Steve Brown www.kollektivgallery.com

It’s an exciting time when a young adult leaves education and enters ‘the real world’ at last. It’s a hell of a lot more exciting when that young adult turns out to have made the real world her own almost immediately. Meet Sophie Giblin. It’s mid-January and Sophie’s already won vInspired’s ‘Most Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the South East’ award. I’ve just about got rid of the hangover from New Year’s. Nominated by Caroline Lucas, Brighton’s MP, it’s hard not to accept that Sophie’s determination and vision is already paying off. In the past six months she’s finished a course in Entrepreneurship at Central Saint Martins College, won support and mentoring from Wired Sussex’s new FuseBox support centre for start ups, ran a triumphant Kickstarter campaign to fund a pop-up gallery, curated said gallery for 6 weeks and already secured funding from the University of Brighton for a second pop-up gallery. Her professional gusto and drive is unbelievable, for all the right reasons.

68


KOLLEK TIV CONSCIOUSNESS

69


KOLLEK TIV CONSCIOUSNESS

Looking through the list of other winners of the vInspired award, Sophie was humbled. She recalls saying, “‘oh my god there are fourteen year olds who are saving women who have gone through human trafficking, helping them to start their own businesses’, I was like, ‘fuck this is incredible!’...then half an hour later I got another email saying that we’d won the funding to do the next project as well, it was a good day.”

on YouTube, sent it to him and asked him to please let me on the course, take a risk on me. And he did! He took a risk, and I was getting top marks by the time I came out of the university.” Having been given a chance by her Brighton lecturer Sophie’s determination sky-rocketed, becoming obsessional: “By the third year I cared so much that I chose to do a durational performance for my final graduation piece. It was literally about dedication and meditation and how to push yourself as a human being, to see how much you can deal with at one time.”

Something of an understatement, perhaps, but she’s come a long way in the past few years to earn days like this. Though the idea to create Kollektiv, both a series of pop-up galleries and a DIY group of emerging local artists, was formed only a year or so previously after her graduation in August 2013. Sophie’s personal development makes it feel as though the idea behind Kollektiv and everything it entails has been a long time coming.

A combination of this dedication and an unerring fascination with art makes her current self-determined creator/curator/artist role something of an inevitability: “It [University] really changed me. After that point I had to carry on doing artwork, and seeing my friends carrying on doing artwork as well. I kind of put all my eggs in one basket with art.”

“Central Saint Martins was the University I dreamed of going to when I was younger,” Sophie reminisces. “Actually at school I wasn’t good enough to go to university. I tried, failed and got to Brighton through clearance because I was so disorganised, to do a music and visual arts course. I got into the university because I got my ukulele and sang my course lecturer a Weezer song, put it

Sophie’s approach hasn’t been as much of an ‘eggs in one basket’ approach as she suggests. Kollektiv’s means of existence are resourceful, drawing on a selection of sources for information, talent and, crucially, funding. The first pop-up, which was located in a disused butcher’s shop on St James’s Street for six weeks last Winter, was made possible thanks

70


KOLLEK TIV CONSCIOUSNESS

to a brilliantly executed fundraising campaign via Kickstarter. “I had no idea how to get the funding I needed for the project... with a little bit of research we did a Kickstarter. We saw an illustrator’s Kickstarter that we all liked, called Mike Perry. His Kickstarter was awesome: a simple video and lots of nice little incentives. He needed to make about £30,000 and he’d got it, and no wonder because he’s a really great illustrator.”

twenty artists. We got a friend from Wild Stag Studios to make us a video.” The result was a resounding success: “In the first 24 hours we got 50% of the money, which was outrageous,” Sophie laughs and beams, buoyant from the public support. For the second pop-up, planned for May 2014, Kollektiv has successfully targeted another funding avenue – the University of Brighton. Sophie is quick to point out how valuable a resource a university can be. “I’m supported by the enterprise department at the university. A Brighton University student or alumnus can tap into this education on enterprise information and you can be mentored. Even if you went to university 10 years ago you can still be mentored. I didn’t realise about that until I’d left uni, but I’m thankful I did.” Kollektiv has been fed by crowd-funding, private investment and the transposing of a wide web of ideas and inspirations.

Sophie drew inspiration from Perry’s Kickstarter not only in terms of incentives for sponsors, but transferred part of his ethos about community and culture in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and transplanted it into Brighton’s similarly vibrant community on the other side of the Atlantic. Perry’s Kickstarter video declares as a mission statement: “This will be more than a three month exhibition... It’ll be a place to connect a creative world to a community, an opportunity to meet your neighbour, and most importantly free and open to the public. With your help the possibilities are endless.”

In addition to this, Kollektiv’s objectives are utilitarian in outlook; the success of the projects are not being calculated in financial terms, but in the impact they have on individuals and the community. This is why Sophie is a social entrepreneur, and why Kollektiv is so exciting and infectious. The ethos is even in the name. “It’s German,” Sophie explains. “Every single artwork I’ve ever done

This statement seems to capture the essence of Kollektiv, but Sophie adapted Perry’s approach to suit her Brighton context: “We looked at the way that he had done it and we replicated the things we liked about it. But this time it wasn’t one artist but

71


KOLLEK TIV CONSCIOUSNESS

is pretty much about my German grandmother; a woman that I never met, who was the most creative person in our family. She was an illustrator for Vogue and died extremely young, in a car crash. That tortured my mother when she was 21, making her leave the country and it’s always been this shake-y thing in my family. I’ve always found it a strange and emotional thing to deal with. “Everything I’ve done is about emotions that come down to family, and this [Kollektiv] is a tribute to her, to where I think I’ve got all my creativity from. Gerta, her name, is my middle name.”

important as well!” It could be interpreted as a buffer, a protective shared ethos where a community of people who work together defy the early concerns of aspiring creative professionals regarding their future: fear of isolation, lack of positivity and ambition, how to get noticed. This is a community that wants to succeed and produce fantastic artwork, collectively. It’s also about ensuring that aspirations don’t have to be relegated to dreams after someone leaves education – the Kollektiv gallery provides a stepping stone to help artists progress to a point where they can make a living from their art. This is not artistic development but professional development and self-determination, skills Sophie has learned from her various experiences being mentored.

There’s a handing down of intangible but substantial value passing from Gerta, through Sophie and Kollektiv to anyone who engages with the gallery, from artist to buyer. There’s a therapeutic, almost karmic vibe to the whole thing which exists beneath the surface, but it’s not the Brighton hippy, hemp and tie dye clichés - it’s authentic. Speaking about the beginnings of Kollektiv and the Kickstarter Sophie identifies helping others as a motivation:

One such lesson taught by Tom Nixon, co-founder of Brighton-based strategic consultant NixonMcInnes and Fusebox mentor, stands out to Sophie. After she told Tom her initial plans to open a pop-up gallery in a year’s time, she recalls that he replied, “that’s all very interesting, but what are you doing right now, that’s going to make this gallery happen?”

“It became a real adventure to help people mentally to figure out where they were. If you all come together to try and solve this one problem then other things flourish from there. So it is more about community than the art itself I guess... of course, the art is

It’s the familiar but too-often overlooked battle cry of carpe diem – Sophie applies it to both Kollektiv and her art. “It hasn’t begun until

72


KOLLEK TIV CONSCIOUSNESS

73


KOLLEK TIV CONSCIOUSNESS

the first risk has been taken, until it’s got physical. There’s no point waiting a year and waiting to research and learn those things. It won’t be a good idea by that point. If you want to do it you have to start now, this afternoon.” In a world where the gulf between exhaustive media coverage of impossible human achievements and you, lying in bed hungover with a laptop on your chest and Pringles in one hand, has never been so expansive, this message is more poignant than ever.

ing fun at recent arts funding cuts, Kollektiv is laughing in the face of anyone who suggests the era of the artist is coming to an end. “There must be other ways [to live as an artist]” declares Sophie. “Of course I believe that it’s important to be paid, and there’s no point in undervaluing yourself and ruining your artistic market because you’re so much cheaper than anybody else, but I think there is something really important in sharing skills and seeing what you can teach one another and who you can collaborate with.”

With the second pop-up planned for May, Sophie’s aiming to make Kollektiv give new artists (five university students and five recent graduates have been selected to work with the pop-up) the tools to seize the day for themselves.

This is what the workshops, run out of Kollektiv’s pop-up gallery sites, are all about and it’s something we can all share in. It’s kindness, basically. Sophie’s positivity is infectious – who wouldn’t want to be in her gang?

“We’re going to be teaching them how to do a Kickstarter, because everyone needs to know how to crowdfund in this day and age... it’s like another Kollektiv Kickstarter but it’s for them. We’ll be asking for less this time because we’ve also got funding from the university. They need to learn how to do it because we’re not taught that at university.” The second pop-up is entitled ‘Death by Gallery’, playing on how far an artist might go to be creative. The name nudges a bit deeper too I think, pok-

74


BOON

king c h eeta h Words: James Vella | Illustration: Aimski www.woundedwolfpress.co.uk/jamesvella www.facebook.com/aimskisart

76


KING CHEETAH

The sound of madness swallowed the courtyard, bellowing and pounding in carnivorous rhythm. The shared anger of an entire population narrowed and forced through the beleaguered gates of the presidential building in masks and painted skin. Its call was righteousness and parity, its demand was blood. The anger trapped President Mbulu inside his retreat. His only remaining claim to power was the burgundy and gold, the pelts inside the building, the white columns scaling the balconies. The anger relentlessly slammed against the high doors, a sea of men and women spitting with injustice, sparing their children from brutalities by committing just one.

the plains--a storyteller and drummer with decisiveness and values, naming and modelling his political persona as a creature of skill, beauty, and power. “What have you done, Ehru?” Mbulu said as the soldiers approached him and held his shoulders. “For every animal, there is another to devour it. You know that as well as I do. You should not have stayed where you were for so long,” the advisor replied. The soldiers, still wearing their presidential pins, dragged Mbulu out of his cheetah-hide seat. “The hyena will eat the cheetah.”

President Mbulu sat at his desk with red eyes, looking at the mirror on the far side of the room. His hands shook. Broken and friendless, he had watched his rule become hysteria over weeks of hostility.

“But man will hunt any animal,” Mbulu said, his body restrained by his soldiers, his rage restrained by his duty. Ehru smiled. “Man can be driven to devour himself.” He turned to the soldiers. “Throw the president to his people. Let them judge him.”

Ehru--one of Mbulu’s chief advisors-came into his president’s office, flanked by soldiers. The military men’s jet-black complexions were fractured by Savannah fatigues and ceremonial red berets. Their tense walk was stiffened by guns at their side.

The soldiers gripped fistfuls of Mbulu’s clothes and his decorated heels scoured into the animal hide rugs. They took him to the edge of the balcony, illuminated by a fuzzy sun, and the crowd bayed, their howls freezing Mbulu’s blood even in stifling heat. King Cheetah clawed at nothing.

“If you are looking for beauty in that mirror, King Cheetah, you are searching in the wrong place,” Ehru said. Mbulu had ruled as King Cheetah since his youth as tribesman out in

Devourings by James Vella out now.

77



BOON Magazine Issue 4 (issuu)