“Make a change, nothing’s strange.”
FREE 2015—Issue 4 #112
Glamcult Independent Style Paper
Issue 4 #112 Update
Dries Van Noten. Inspirations 14
Will me, thrill me... Love is...
Toga 16 Momo Okabe 22 Future Brown 26 Hatsune Miku 28 Yumi Zouma 31 Låpsley 32
Albums 46 Plus
Colophon Editor-in-Chief Joline Platje email@example.com Creative Director Rogier Vlaming firstname.lastname@example.org Fashion Editor Leendert Sonnevelt email@example.com Copy Editor Megan Roberts Editorial Intern Emma van Meyeren firstname.lastname@example.org Sales & Marketing Filippo Battaglia email@example.com Sales firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Marline Bakker email@example.com
Graphic Design Glamcult Studio: Karen van de Kraats Rutger de Vries Yuki Kappes Graphic Design Intern Sara Elazami Contributors: Daniël Heijl Daniëlle van Dongen Fay Breeman Iris Wenander Kelsey Lee Jones Matthijs van Burg Sander van Dalsum Sarah Johanna Eskens Photographers: Alexandra Waespi Barrie Hullegie Benjamin Alexander Huseby Faith Silva Koen de Waal Maarten Alexander Santa von Santa Sofie Middernacht Yaël Temminck
Quotes Make a change, nothing’s strange. —Public Enemy Will me, thrill me, you can never kill me. —Michael Jackson Love is resistance. —Jam City Cover Photography: Barrie Hullegie— 100% HALAL Styling: Thomas Vermeer Hair and make-up: Sandra Govers— Angelique Hoorn Management Model: Kiki Willems—IMG London Assistant photography: Matthew Miziolek
Publisher Rogier Vlaming / Glamcult Studio P.O. Box 14535, 1001 LA Amsterdam, The Netherlands T +31 (0)20 419 41 32 firstname.lastname@example.org www.glamcultstudio.com Distribution email@example.com For all subscriptions please contact Abonnementenland P.O. Box 20, 1910 AA Uitgeest, The Netherlands T +31 (0)251 313 939 F +31 (0)251 31 04 05 For subscriptions www.bladenbox.nl For address changes and cancellations www.aboland.nl
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Subscriptions can start at any time during the year. Subscriptions need to be closed for at least one year and will be automatically renewed until further notice. Cancellations must be submitted written and at least six weeks before the expiry of the subscription period to Abonnementenland. Changes of address must be submitted written at least three weeks in advance to Abonnementenland. © All rights reserved. Nothing from this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher and other copyright holders. The publisher cannot be held responsible for damage done by incorrect provision of information in the magazine. The views expressed in the magazine are those of our contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Glamcult or its staff. ISSN: 1874 1932
The Replay Boardroom Gallery presents Meinke Klein. The creative duo comprising Meinke ten Have and Kees de Klein is the second of the carefully selected artists to display their work in the art space initiated by Replay. Meinke Klein studied fine arts and graphic design respectively, but ended up becoming a photographic coupleâ€”with their different backgrounds resulting in a unique artistic approach to visual imagery. The twosome is known and appreciated in the world of fashion and beyond for its cool visual essays, a clean but sexy direction and an unconventional approach to moving imagery. Migrating between Amsterdam and London, this team has been producing outstanding work for a variety of international magazines, websites, museums and labels, and has collaborated with several contemporary fashion designers.
Open to public Every Friday from 19 June until 28 August 10AM until 4PM
The Replay Boardroom Gallery provides upcoming art talent with an exceptional platform to present their work to the public in the actual boardroom of the Amsterdam Replay office. Curated by Glamcult Studio, Replay offers emerging talents the stage they deserve in this unique art space. For updates on the artists and their work stay tuned to: www.replayboardroomgallery.com
Address Replay Boardroom Gallery Herengracht 280, Amsterdam
Cult 3 1
Place Fist Here Bro!, 2015
Photography: Lee Wei Swee
Velvetesque S/S15 collection, photography: Philip Trengove
S/S15 collection, Savage Youth, photography: Fatine Violette Sabiri
Atelier Wonder 1
A slideshow of works by Beni Bischof on his website is aptly captured with the phrase “Verschiedene Materialien, verschiedene Techniken.” Bischof is a true multi-disciplinary artist, using spray, oil, gypsum, clay, retro gambling machines, chewing gum and photos from the internet to make drawings, collages, paintings, sculptures and installations. For his series Meta-Fingers (2009), Bischof took fashion photos and perforated the models’ faces with phallic fingers— a nice trick he repeated for the series Sausage Power! (2011). But what’s the purpose of all this? What is Bischof’s aim? In an online self-interview he provides the answer: “to make people laugh”— but according to the press release of Kunstmuseum St Gallen, presenting his work this month, there’s a deeper layer of meaning, whereby the artist presents an unfathomable view of society. The Kunstmuseum will be showing Bischof’s first solo exhibition in a Swiss museum, on the occasion of him winning the Manor Art Prize St Gallen. By Sarah Johanna Eskens Beni Bischof, until 21 June, Kunstmuseum St Gallen
With the first days of summer just around the corner, Antwerp/Berlin-based design duo Velvetesque are helping us get beach-ready with a vibrant swimwear collection inspired by everything from Prada to race cars. Bonding over what seems to be a mutual love for ornate patterns and bright colours, designers Ehssan Morshed Sefat and Laura Welker created the swimwear label Velvetesque after graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. In their latest collection, the designers have transformed their shared interests into hand-painted watercolour prints, Alice in Wonderland-esque teddy accessories, comic book aesthetics and atypical cuts. The result is tightly fitted, must-have pieces for beachgoers and clubbers alike. To achieve this playful look, Velvetesque collaborated with the German teddy-bear brand Steiff, using actual fabrics meant for your favourite cuddly playthings. Earlier this year, the duo showcased its collection at Stockholm Fashion Week by dressing icy mannequins to display the pieces in their true, wet state. Hopefully summer will be as cool, but not as cold. By Iris Wenander
Hallelujah for this Dutch painter. To transcend the limitations of what can and can’t be done, Danielle Hoogendoorn had to create a new reality within her work—one wherein it’s possible to display a bird with breasts (Random Rave, 2014) or a dog with a phallus on its head (Freak of Nature, 2014). Animals are a recurring theme: for Hoogendoorn, they imply a conflict between good and evil. Her work always springs from a reaction to an event or person, but no matter the nature of that reaction, she finds beauty to portray. During the process of painting, Hoogendoorn’s subjects change or begin a dialogue with each other, resulting in work that’s always different in composition and subject than foreseen. By presenting her paintings as objects and allowing to extend beyond the boundaries of the canvas, on to the pink wall, Hoogendoorn tries to break away from the formal museum and traditional aesthetics. By (gently) stepping on the viewers’ toes, she encourages them to perceive reality in a different way. “Art has to rebel, not please,” she says. By Daniëlle van Dongen www.hoogendoorndanielle.com
Polish-born, Montreal-based fashion designer Paulina Wonders’ third collection under her label Atelier Wonder, entitled Savage Youth, comprises a combination of fragile, see-through silk pieces and heavy, digitally printed coats. Savage Youth draws its inspiration from Post-Soviet “gopnik” youths and punk subcultures, given polish with liberally applied rhinestones and bright red, yellow and blue tones. Wonders’ experience at couturier Charlie Le Mindu and as a costume creator at Cirque du Soleil—combined with her personal interest in marginal subcultures and interpretations of individuality—comes together in a glammed-up version of punk aesthetics. The whole collection is unisex: think airy organza with rhinestone appliqué for the boys and heavy, Soviet-inspired coats for the girls. Ultimately, Savage Youth is neither male nor female, glamorous nor punk, cute nor tough: it’s all at the same time. By Emma van Meyeren
A sweet 16 for the rebel kids: that’s what Molly Goddard’s S/S15 presentation looked like. Goddard dressed her best friends, providing them with beers, balloons—and, of course, the most beautiful dresses. For the latter, the designer layered metres of tulle and taffeta in candy-cotton pink, dusky blue and sunflower yellow, with darker blue and black accents to present a kind of morning-after prom affair. These are the kind of covetable dresses that start your party as soon as you put them on, and that’s what the show evoked: a gang of girls dancing, drinking, enjoying themselves, without trying to look “pretty” or “girly” or “refined”. Goddard graduated with a BA in knitwear from London’s Central Saint Martins, left her MA a year early and then simply presented this collection off-schedule during London Fashion Week. It proved a successful strategy: Dover Street Market acquired some pieces and for A/W15 she will be supported by NEWGEN. By Sarah Johanna Eskens
Northern Irish William of Orange flag, from the collection of the artist
S/S15 Collection Super & Marques' Almeida
Dr. Berlin, 1969–74
Super & Marques’ Almeida
Alibis: Sigmar Polke. Retrospective
Nudes 9, 2013
Erin M Riley 6
Designer duo Marques’ Almeida has been taking the runway by storm since its launch in 2011. Since then, they have evolved their signature ’90s grunge references into looks with loads of attitude. Identifying with the “Helmut Faust school of thought”, designers, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida believe “fashion is about attitude, not about hemline”, which makes them the perfect partners to a brand such as Retrosuperfuture, which specializes in the symbolic hemline of a good pair of sunglasses. Building from the brand’s Mama silhouette, the designers added an outspoken attitude to this feminine frame. Marques’ Almeida’s S/S15 catwalk looks got an extra touch of carelessness through the addition of these remarkable yet wearable pieces. It’s a delish combination of notable design, outstanding craftsmanship and a hint of je ne sais quoi. By Emma van Meyeren www.marquesalmeida.com www.retrosuperfuture.com
One of the founders of capitalist realism, also known as the European answer to Pop Art, Sigmar Polke will have a retrospect exhibition this spring at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. The exhibition, titled Alibis in reference to the political dimension of Polke’s art, will show an extremely diverse selection— from paintings and photographs to objects and sculptures. With an eye for capturing the zeitgeist, Polke’s work reflects the historical developments in West Germany in the ’60s like no other. At first glance, the comparison between his work and that of his American contemporaries seems fair enough, both reacting ironically to consumerism and taking inspiration from the mass-produced, commercial imagery of advertising. On closer inspection, however, the historical contexts are revealed to be completely different: “To be a consumer in America in the Sixties, you just go and buy your Coke cans,” Polke once said. The sober times of West Germany rebuilding itself can be felt within his work, making this exhibition well worth the visit. By Daniel Heijl Alibis: Sigmar Polke. Retrospective, Museum Ludwig, Cologne Until 5 July
Through a collection of found, remade and reworked metaphors, Jim Ricks takes a closer look at migration in his solo exhibition at Onomatopee titled Alien Invader Super Baby (Synchromaterialism IV). Ricks’ conceptual practice and ongoing research into the politics of collage arts have moved him towards an exploration of natural and human migration and arbitrary movement. “Alien” and “invader” are terms we use when we talk about people in the context of borders, but they’re also used when we talk about plants in the context of their environment. What Ricks is trying to show is the arbitrariness of the decisions being made regarding issues of national and racial identity, linking this to the mechanisms of capitalism, wherein goods can move freely but people cannot. Ultimately, his work tries to provoke thoughtfulness instead of dogma. By Emma van Meyeren Alien Invader Super Baby (Synchromaterialism IV), until 14 June, Onomatopee, Eindhoven
When you think of a tapestry, we’d bet money you picture a medieval kind of affair, depicting classical myths, kings or noblemen, right? Well, Brooklyn textile artist Erin M Riley is doing a valiant job of recontextualizing this ancient craft—bringing tapestry into the modern age. For her exhibition Something Precious, Riley has weaved intricate representations of our current cultural realities. We see somewhat sordid (yet absorbing) images of vibrators, selfies, thigh gaps, syringes, bongs, vomit, porn and car crashes. And perhaps most fascinating (and worrying) of all, the women Riley depicts all come from real images found online and from her own mobile phone. Born from a concern for the modern feminine pursuit, Riley’s tapestries challenge us to think about “the girl” and her thoughts and desires today. Loud and unabashed, they scream a mordant comment on the state of gender politics and our mediasaturated world. By Kelsey Lee Jones
Known for his written as well as his visual work, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of New-York based, Russianborn artist Slava Mogutin’s queer activism. Since his political exile to the USA his work began to expand beyond writing into the realms of visual arts such as photography, video, installation, sculpture and painting. His recent photographic work shows boys in suggestive poses, seductive clothes and subversive looks. He depicts a certain conscious playfulness, evoking both a smile and a moment of reflection in his viewers. Mogutin manages to address questions of displacement and identity without the use of intrusive or over-simplified imagery, showing gendered dynamics within their public reality of social norms and their personal reality through desire. Glamcult is excited to see how his vast knowledge and talent will be expressed in his upcoming, third monograph of photography. By Emma van Meyeren
Dan Perjovschi 11
Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi’s approach to politics and art might be best described by the famous Einsteinian line of thought: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Give Perjovschi a black marker and he will, off the top of his head, (re)create profound critiques of everyday politics through simple cartoon-like images. There are no “originals” of Perjovschi’s works, and they can be spontaneously created anywhere—from the walls of MoMA, where he created an installation under the eyes of museum visitors, to the Piaţa Universităţii in his hometown of Bucharest, where in 1990 a peaceful student protest against former communists in the government was brutally ended by the president—and today in your issue of Glamcult. Although a critique of our consumption-heavy, neoliberal society is evident throughout his work, Perjovschi does not adhere to the historical communist Romanian thought either. Having
been trained in the arts under the regime, Perjovschi has witnessed first hand the suppression and censorship of that system. While his approach has been described as humorous by many, that humour quickly fades when the subject matter becomes clear. By addressing issues of modernity, trends and current events with just a few strokes of a marker, Perjovschi manages to blur the boundaries between complex and simple. And by showing such multifaceted issues as fashionable appropriation of social justice issues through straightforward drawings, he manages to directly show the essence of a problem. Without being blind to its bigger (cultural) context and many complexities, Perjovschi reminds us how hypocritical our modern condition is. Pop protest! By Emma van Meyeren www.perjovschi.ro
Graduation collection Rosa Supernova
By Leendert Sonnevelt Photography: Santa von Santa
Looking at his graduation collection, it’s not difficult to imagine what Tijme Veldt’s Tumblr page looks like: a saccharine pink amalgamation of glittery gifs, glitchy comics and cotton-candy fashion. Glamcult visited the young fashion designer in his Amsterdam atelier for an insight into his work. “I always had this plan of making chairs for a living…” Tijme Veldt is clearly not the type of talent who’s always been obsessed with making fashion his territory. In fact, he can’t even be described as a designer who’s really into clothes: “I don’t think I would’ve gone into fashion if it wasn’t for the Gerrit Rietveld Academie,” he confesses. “When we had to explore each discipline in the first year of art school, I discovered that I wanted to go into fashion because all my projects were body-related. At the fashion department I somehow got enough time and freedom to find my own way, and to translate my ideas into fashion.”
According to Veldt’s frantic website, his dazzling graduation collection tells the story of a boy who loses his grip on the distinction between the nocturnal and diurnal. Seeing the designer’s own pink attire, Glamcult figured this character could easily be Veldt himself. “It could be, but I guess it could be anyone,” he counters. “Rosa Supernova is the visualization of someone who doesn’t want to choose between his dream world, the one he is living in by night, and the reality he is living by day. It represents the in-between of reality and the colourful dream world that’s my own.” As for his fascination with pink, he explains, “It was just there at some point!” Pink also stands for practical, however: “I was trying to organize the chaos in my way of working on the collection. Pink was the solution, the colour that connected everything.” Somewhat unexpectedly, Veldt’s room at WOW Amsterdam, a hostel and temporary home for young art profes-
sionals, is light and very white. Although we’re pretty sure the home / atelier wasn’t as tidy a day before our visit, the designer explains: “My room is anything but surreal. It’s quite small so I can’t collect too much stuff, as I’m quite messy myself. I used to have a lot of plants but a lot of them died, that’s a bit of a pity. I daydream a lot though. I think that’s why I have these days where nothing comes out of my hands. I’m really bad with timing!” The surreal worlds that inspire Veldt are almost completely the product of his imagination. Yet there are visible links to elements within and without fashion. The face-altering masks worn by the models for the Rosa Supernova show reflect direct influences of iconic labels such as Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garçons, for example. “In fashion, my foremost role model would definitely be Rei Kawakubo,” the designer confirms. “She’s found the perfect
balance between the creative and the commercial. I also find her way of dealing with the human body and sexuality very interesting. Outside fashion—and this is a bit of a cliché answer—my parents are a big inspiration. They taught me how to fight for what I really want; I have always seen them fight for that themselves. But also, they’ve shown me how important it is to enjoy what you fight for.” Based on the beaming looks of Veldt’s poppy graduation collection, Glamcult wondered whether music plays a role in his design process. “I do listen to a lot of music when I design. I’m not picky though—I’m kind of a slutty listener. At the moment I listen to a lot of Arca, 18+, Neocamp and Easter, but I love Kylie, Britney and Beyoncé too. Oh, and I love Fatima Al Qadiri! I guess my work doesn’t really have one soundtrack.” Much like his favourite artists and graduation collection, Veldt’s favourite comic-book character is dark and seductive. “I have
an obsession with Poison Ivy. Just because she’s crazy sexy.” Now that Veldt has graduated and fashion is officially his game, designing chairs has faded from his vision. “I regret that sometimes, but never for longer than 15 minutes. At the moment I really enjoy making clothes, but my plan has never been to do fashion for the rest of my life. Maybe in ten years I’ll finally be making chairs!” Whatever it is that he makes, Veldt creates for the escapists among us. “I design for the people that believe in my dreams, but more importantly, for the ones that want to let my dreams mingle with their own—and show them to the rest of the world.” www.tijme.com
13 JUN â€” 13 SEP 2015
Mode Fotografie Magazines
80 Years of Sperry Although being spotted on the fashionable feet of contemporary icons like Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Blake Lively is of course a major compliment, it’s easy to forget the rich history of Sperry’s iconic boat shoe. This year, the popular brand celebrates the 80th (!) birthday of the Top-Sider: a shoe that was once, Glamcult discovered, born out of necessity.
Sperry’s Journey As an avid sailor and intrepid explorer, Paul Sperry saw the light in 1935, when out of the blue he noticed that his dog was the only sailor not constantly running the risk of slipping and falling. Taking a closer look at the footpads of his pet, Sperry decided to develop a shoe with the very same profile and sturdy grip. In the past 80 years, his initially handmade Top-Sider has become a style icon for a wide
range of crews and classes. Not just on wide-open water, but also in urban spaces the leather Top-Sider has found its way on to the feet of water lovers and hydrophobes alike. And even though Sperry offers everything from swimwear to (sea-tested) jewellery today, this year’s big birthday bash centres on the innovative original that started it all.
80 Years of Sperry Section
Odysseys Await What’s a shoe without a story? Based on the adventurous spirit of its founding father, Sperry recently launched the Odyssey Project. Eighty ambassadors around the world were given a unique challenge, all receiving a custom shoebox with an itinerary that sends them on the most unexpected trips. The new
places, new people and new experiences they encounter are all collected by Sperry, and shared through the brand’s social channels. It’s a daring departure from former projects, speaking to an adventurous and digitally connected new audience. Times change!
Your Odyssey But there’s more good news… Not only are eighty ambassadors—from Ireland to Thailand—sharing their global explorations, Sperry is also after your story. “Jump in the nearest body of water (clothes optional)”, the official website reads. So get nekkid, take a waterproof selfie, and don’t forget to share with the rest of us. www.sperry.com
#myodyssey #odysseyproject #odysseysawait
The artistic fields providing the designer with inspiration seem to exclude nothing. Van Noten draws from music, art and film, from all over the world and from very different eras: Peter Paul Rubens, Victor Vasarely, Mark Rothko, Damien Hirst, Pedro Almodóvar and Kurt Cobain are all lined up beside one another in the Belgian designer’s mind. Bringing together all these various areas through an assemblage of historical, pictorial, ethnic and geographic references, the exhibition combines fashion design with the world of art in order to illustrate Van Noten’s distinctive techniques and stylistic vocabulary. “What I do is neither a photocopy nor an homage,” he explains. “It’s all about being inspired by someone else’s work and transposing it into a different setting, an operation that is as subjective as it is personal. I don’t want to use art simply as decoration, as a mere backdrop. The aim is to link different elements together, thereby describing how I go about creating things.” For obvious reasons, the “Antwerp Six” member eventually chose Paris over his hometown to present his eclectic ready-to-wear collections for men and women, and has been doing so successfully since 1993. MoMu curator Karen Van Godtsenhoven tells Glamcult that Van Noten added five new themes to the exhibition especially for the Belgian public, though—one of them being the Flemish Primitives—showing how important it was for the designer to have the expo reaching the MoMu, a long-desired collaboration for both designer and museum. There are new works from large art institutions and private collections all over the world, a multimedia installation by David Michalek that was not nearly as big in
the initial exhibition and they’ve commissioned Berlin-based researcher and artist Sissel Tolaas to create a scent installation. “We’ve tried to bring together all of Van Noten’s juxtaposing sources of inspiration, creating impressive and sensible mood boards that formed the basis of his startling combinations and diverse collections— which we also show, of course,” Van Godtsenhoven explains. It’s nothing new to see that the art and fashion worlds are increasingly seeking rapprochement. “This exhibition speaks to a large audience, it shows the role art plays in our daily lives. The wonderful thing about Van Noten’s designs is that even though they incorporate iconic artworks, ideologies and cultures, they don’t seem to negate those on the runway. They’re never simplistic copies; unlike others, Van Noten handles them with respect.” Dries Van Noten. Inspirations shows the work of an independent fashion designer, an entrepreneur, a maker of dreams, a connoisseur and—by his own admission—a man still in love with his work, even after nearly 30 years. Until 19 July, MoMu, Antwerp www.momu.be www.driesvannoten.be
“The uniform is an endless source of inspiration for all of my collections. James Tissot’s work depicts colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, an English traveller and army officer. In the exhibition we linked the work to that of Mark Rothko, which it strongly contrasts. We didn’t succeed in showing the latter in Paris, but the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen did give it to the MoMu on loan, for which I’m utterly thankful. The red in Rothko’s painting draws all your attention, just like the red stripe on Burnaby’s trousers. This bright colour has always fascinated me; an army dressed in red looks twice as powerful and a woman in a red dress will undeniably be the centre of attention in any room.” —Dries Van Noten
“To me, Ryan Mcginley’s photo is like a contemporary version of another work of art; Ophelia by John Everett Millais, which was one of the main inspirations for my S/S15 collection. It’s dreamy and sinister at the same time. As opposed to Giuseppe Penone’s Pelle di Foglie, which also inspired me, but is a more abstract and powerful piece. The leaves at the end of the bronze branches resemble eyes. This Italian artist descends from a farming family and works in the hilly area of his elderly home in Garessio: forests, rivers and prehistoric caves define the environment. Penone is known for creating his sculptures and installations from natural materials; his work always deals with the relationship between man and nature.” —Dries Van Noten
Giuseppe Penone, Pelle di Foglie. Sguardo a terra 3, 2007, courtesy of Musée des Arts Contemporains de la Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles au Grand-Hornu
James Tissot, Frederick Burnaby, 1870, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery
Ryan McGinley, Shane (Foxtail Barley), 2014, courtesy of Ryan McGinley and team
This spring/summer season the exhibition Dries Van Noten. Inspirations travelled from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris to the MoMu in Antwerp—hometown of the Belgian designer Dries Van Noten. Although the exposition discloses Van Noten’s oeuvre, it is not a classical retrospective; rather, it is an intimate journey into the designer’s artistic universe, revealing the singularity of his creative process, which he illustrates with his numerous sources of inspiration. “This is a work of introspection, a reflection on myself and the way I work, both as a designer and in my relation to art and the other disciplines I love,” Van Noten explains.
Mark Rothko, Grey, Orange on Maroon no. 8, 1960, courtesy of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
By Joline Platje Photography: Koen de Waal
Dries Van Noten. Inspirations
Toga strikes the perfect balance between luxurious and experimental design.
22MomoOkabe Momo Okabe: “If life was fun and easy, I’m sure I wouldn’t take a single photo.”
Looking beyond borders runs in the veins of all Future Brown members.
28HatsuneMiku The cute forever-16 pop star Hatsune Miku is every PR agent’s wet dream.
Yumi Zouma: “We’re like a big circus or something.”
3 2 L å p s l e y Låpsley:
By Leendert Sonnevelt Photography: Barrie Hullegie—100% HALAL
Styling: Thomas Vermeer Hair and make-up: Sandra Govers—Angelique Hoorn Management Model: Kiki Willems—IMG London Assistant photography: Matthew Miziolek All clothing Toga S/S15
Toga She might very well be the most underrated creative of the moment: Yasuko Furuta, head designer of the Japanese label Toga. Struck by her dazzling spring/summer collection, which catches, breaks and bends natural light, Glamcult got to know the woman behind the experimental luxury brand. â€œI want to create a world view that only Toga can provide.â€? 17
From Rihanna and Beyoncé to Chloë Sevigny and St. Vincent, this world’s power women have shown off the beautiful pieces born in the ateliers of Yasuko Furuta. Striking a much-coveted balance between high-end luxury clothing and avant-garde design— much lighter than its famed Japanese counterparts—Toga has previously been described as “Louis Vuitton off the hook.” A compliment, Furuta laughs. “I’m honoured, but I never heard that one before!” Based in Tokyo, the designer paves the way for her Toga team, consisting of ten people in total. “Six pattern makers, three people handling production and one planner,” she explains. “I handle all the fabric, all the
planning and all the parts that connect to Toga’s image.” Most importantly, however, Furuta is in charge of the overall concept. “My role is to continue questioning myself until the very end, when we present the collection, and share the images that are in my head with the staff, to strengthen them and let them explode.” For this summer season, Furuta’s vision was all about light, resulting in a collection with the abstract title Fragment, Reflection, Floating. Materialwise, this concept was made tangible through out-of-the-ordinary and asymmetric layering, the repetitive use of transparent materials and the deployment of broken mirrors and colourful shiny rocks. “Mirror fragments were cut
into various shapes, becoming part of each piece, and used as separate accessories that reflect the world outside in unexpected ways. They receive light, reflect it and enhance it with increased radiance.” To create the impression of colours floating in the air, Furuta researched the work of 20thcentury French modernist Serge Poliakoff. His patchwork-like paintings were translated into patterns for Toga’s idiosyncratically constructed pieces, the miniature mirrors reflecting the clothes into and on to their surrounding space. A defining characteristic for Toga’s S/S15 collection, evidenced in nearly every single look, is the abundant use of tulle—not only in see-through
tops, dancer-esque skirts and cheeky tufts peeking out here and there, but also in fully transparent jackets and trousers in black and ecru, which make the collection a skin-oriented sight to see. When asked about her remarkable fascination with skin, Furuta directs our attention to the ingenious application of textiles: “I use transparent materials as a sort of buffer in the place of totally exposed skin. Transparent fabrics are crucial for retaining an enigmatic or mysterious aspect.” Speaking about the woman for whom she creates, the designer reveals: “I don’t have a particular muse that embodies Toga, but I like a woman who is complicated. A woman with many different faces and
sides to her, existing in chaos.” For this kind of woman, Toga’s S/S15 collection has a specific function. “It’s not so much a mirror as much as a projector,” Furuta explains. “The unpredictable reflection of light and its brilliance is a way to use chance and go beyond my own imagination. This idea is reflected in my creations.” Despite being in the game for almost 18 years now, Toga’s reach in the West doesn’t seem to go much further than the (walk-in) closet doors of stars and fashion freaks. And although being “under the radar” has its advantages in terms of authenticity, Furuta has been actively battling this status by showing in Paris and, for the last three fashion weeks, in London—the perfect platform for her
label, according to the designer. “There is a complex mix of traditional and independent cultures in London, which is similar to Japan. I view Toga as the clothes that can help people who are full of curiosity grow a sense of style, and I think London has this. British women have a great taste for experimental luxury. I want to produce new ideas, which will become future standards. Ultimately, I want to create a world view that only Toga can provide.” With the likes of Opening Ceremony and Net-A-Porter picking up her pieces and sharing them with a worldwide audience, as well as growing press exposure, Furuta is gradually moving into the limelight, small but steady steps at a
time. Aside from her catwalk collection, the designer is also in charge of offspring lines Toga Pulla, focused on offering everyday style for a broader audience, and Toga Virilis, a collection of quotidian items for men only. “For men I only design what I think should be the bare essentials of their wardrobe,” Furuta notes. “That includes a basic jacket and trousers, an overcoat, casual pants, shirts and so on.” Although more stripped down and less experimental, Toga’s commercial collections show just as much focus on detail and luxury, easily traceable to the runway and the inspirations behind it: “Every aspect of life: what I read, see, touch, hear and smell.”
Despite her glorious S/S15 collection, over a decade of aesthetic growth and rising exposure, there’s one thing Furuta would like to see changed in the curious world of fashion. “I’d like to see people involved in the media show support for smaller designers and produce real criticism.” And although Glamcult wholeheartedly agrees, in this respect Toga once again reminds of Poliakoff, who once described himself and his victorious career as “a lion who hunts alone”. Successful art shouldn’t have to be explained—only felt. www.toga.jp
Untitled, from the series Bible
By Joline Platje Translation: Miwa Susuda
Momo Okabe Working within the Japanese tradition of sensitive, intimate photography, Momo Okabe confronts us with private and touching stories of her life and that of her ex-lovers. “I think loving somebody and making love is cruel and sad. I want to show what I feel to those who don’t have problems with keeping their relationships happy. I want to show what some people go through in life.” 23
Untitled, from the series Dildo, 2009
Untitled, from the series Dildo, 2008
Momo Okabe Momo Okabe (1981) answers our questions during a nocturnal break; the Japanese artist works for a newspaper as a photo retoucher at night. “I get a beautiful view of Tokyo Bay from the 16th floor of our building,” she says. When looking at Okabe’s images, it comes as no surprise that she works after-hours; even in the sunny pictures taken of her life and that of her lovers, a darkness cannot be concealed. “If life was fun and easy, I’m sure I wouldn’t take a single photo. I need to capture my difficult and sad life. I take a picture to alleviate my pain. I use it for catharsis. It’s like a healing process. I can only keep on breathing and living without being affected by all the sadness I encounter in life, because my photography seizes it all.” The heartache started at an early age for Okabe, who lived in France during her childhood due to her father’s job. “My parents didn’t seem to get along very well after we moved to Europe. I couldn’t speak any foreign languages, so I wasn’t able to make any friends. For the first four years of my life, I didn’t say anything to anybody outside of my home.” The more Okabe kept silence, the more she withdrew herself into her own imaginative world. “I’ve kept carrying the darkness and loneliness I experienced during my childhood with me. Photography is a means to compensate for that pain.” She only discovered this outlet after her father gave her a camera while at high school. “I was so introverted that I only took photos of my family and the things around our home.” But it wasn’t long before others began to recognize and acknowledge the sincerity and urgency of Okabe’s images. “The first photo book I saw in my life was Sentimental Journey by Nobuyoshi Araki: my life started on the day I saw his work. I wanted to work just like him, so when I was 17 years old I decided to make a handmade book after taking a picture of myself while lying on my bed in my underwear. I submitted this self-portrait to a photo contest and Araki-san selected it for a special jury prize for the eighth New Cosmos of Photography Tokyo Exhibition.” Okabe’s talent has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the art world, either. Her first publication, Dildo (2013), soon became a much sought-after collector’s item, and earlier this year she won the Paul Huf Award bestowed by the Amsterdam-based FOAM photography museum—despite the explicit imagery in her work. But receiving praise from a wide audience is not what Okabe is aiming for. “I don’t associate with people in the art and photography world. I’m not aware of how my work has been received. I assume that people find my work peculiar at first sight. And now that I’ve received this prize, some might reconsider their initial thoughts. They’ll possibly realize that my work is not just ‘weird’. But I don’t particularly care about any type of acknowledgment or response. It’s only important that I take a photo; that’s all that matters to me. I really don’t care about anything else.”
This humble attitude is one of the reasons that Okabe does not consider herself an artist—not even after winning an award like this: “For me, taking a photograph is a process to save myself, and a means to stay alive. I really don’t have any desire to show anybody who I am or what I’ve done. I only take photos for myself. The real artists are those who make statements, who want to change the world with their work.” Even her piercing use of colour is not employed for artistic reasons. “I don’t represent anything with it. I just see this colour in the landscape—my world, as it is. For me, the world appears this way.” Coming from some quarters, such humility would elicit a raised eyebrow, but we cannot help but believe Okabe is in earnest. When flipping through her photo books you can almost feel how she feels. Both Dildo and her second big publication, Bible (2014), tell the stories of her life. They’re highly personal family photo albums, diaries even: they give an intimate insight into the painful lives of a young woman and that of her struggling ex-lovers, whom she speaks fondly of. To Okabe, it’s not strange to give people such access to her private life—or that of the people that surround her; she just wants to show the hardships one can encounter in life. “When I make my books, I really don’t think about who will see them: I create them just for my own appreciation. I do, however, only take photos of the things actually happening in my life. There’s no fiction in my work. I want to keep my pictures, because I love the people who are in them. I understand that once an album is published it’s not private any more, and I hope it shows something that transcends the private,” Okabe explains. She continues in a more confidential vein: “I really dislike the act of sex, to me it’s very shameful and ugly behaviour. I always feel dirty about myself and highly depressed when I have sex, I even blame myself for doing it. It destroys me. I feel that I’ve killed myself many times through sleeping with people, even though I’m actually still alive and I have not committed suicide—yet.” Okabe wonders if other people, especially the ones in her photos, share these notions. “They might want to kill themselves for being naked in front of my camera. They put up with a lot of pressure in society, but force themselves to laugh at what they face and endure. I think loving somebody and making love is cruel and sad. I want to show what I feel to all the regular lovers, to those who don’t have doubts or problems with keeping their relationships smooth and happy. I want to show what some people go through in life.” To be more precise, Dildo focuses on Kaori and Yoko, two of Okabe’s big loves who were both biologically female, but struggling with their gendered identity. “As their partner, I understood their pain and sorrow.” Momo never cared if she was lesbian or bi-sexual. “Just like I hate sex, I hate men in general. I don’t like male genitalia and never
were just wandering around. There were no lights and no cars passed our vehicle, and I started to think that he might kill me in this dissolute place. But when I looked outside the car window, I saw a beautiful blue mountain under the moonlight, and all of a sudden I felt very peaceful. It was a really special landscape and night for me, and I didn’t mind being killed by him at all. I don’t know why, but whenever I was with him, I came across these beautiful scenes,” she reveals. “Bible is a story for people who were abandoned by the world. It’s the story of me, you and everybody like us. It is my personal belief that I can do anything I want and I’m free as long as I don’t hurt anybody else. Even though I was treated poorly and expelled by the world, the fact of my being here should not be denied or condemned.”
Untitled, from the series Bible
looked at them affectionately. But when I used to attend events for sexual minorities, to support first Kaori and later Yoko, I took photos of genitalia there. I loathed it, but I kept on taking photos of these males. I don’t know why I did that.” For her follow-up book Bible, she laid out work she had made earlier in chronological order. “I noticed that all of my photography looked really dark and depressing. And then, I met a man by accident. Someone who couldn’t control himself due to a mental disorder, who often became violent and was arrested by the police several times due to his misconduct in public. Everybody was scared of him, but I wasn’t; I was attracted to his pureness as a person, plus I noticed that we were very similar. I realized that I was socially dysfunctional just like him. We’re both very upset about what’s happening in the world, and we’re heading down our self-destructive paths while clinging to and staying in our difficult lives.” And so it goes, a new love was born for Okabe. Her latest photos are just as penetrating as her former work. “One day me and my ex-boyfriend decided to drive to the mountains. We couldn’t find a town all night, and we
Untitled, from the series Bible, 2011
Untitled, from the series Dildo, 2008
By Emma van Meyeren Photography: Benjamin Alexander Huseby
Future Brown A colour that doesn’t exist in nature but does exist on CD, in your iTunes library and in the club: Future Brown. The name of the ‘underground dance supergroup’ was coined by DIS Magazine’s Solomon Chase—and “has jack shit to do with race”. What it does have to do with is club sounds and vocalists hailing from Jamaica to Chicago to London.
Future Brown is a dream project. Its members—Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda of LA duo Nguzunguzu, artist and composer Fatima Al Qadiri and Jamie Imanian-Friedman (aka J-Cush, boss of NYC label Lit City Trax)—are long-time colleagues and friends. Their shared ambition to work with vocalists from across the globe brought them together as Future Brown. No strangers to the world of (underground) club music and diasporic sounds, J-Cush’s label releases global sounds such as jersey club by Uniiqu3 and kuduro by the Portuguese DJ Marfox. Fatima Al Qadiri journeyed (sonically) to China for her latest solo project, Asiatisch, and a few years back she put together a wonderful series of global music videos for DIS Magazine (global. wav). Nguzunguzu, meanwhile, have explored the sounds of the world in, for instance, the heavy zouk- and tarraxinhainspired Perfect Lullaby I&II mixes. In short, looking beyond borders runs in their veins, and has done for a long time. So to see these sounds coming back on Future Brown’s debut album is no surprise. What’s different from their
solo work, however, is that this is a vocal-lead project. There are no instrumental songs on Future Brown’s debut, in direct contrast to their releases as individual producers. What unites the vocalists they chose to work with? “Raw talent,” the group confirms. Every Future Brown beat is made with all its members in the room, and tailored to the sounds of the particular contributing vocalist. “We have to reach out to whoever we dream of working with. When they get in touch with us a year and a half later it’s still exciting. Like, ohmygod—I can’t believe this is happening to me! You know?” The members of Future Brown have been collaborating in various configurations for a while, working on different stuff. The joint ambition to work with vocalists they love brought them together in January 2013. Within two years they’d managed to bring together 17 different vocalists from very different backgrounds. R&B star Kelela sits alongside Riko Dan’s grime verses, followed by the Chicago drill of rappers Johnny May Cash, YB and King Rell. Jamaican dancehall artist Timberlee and grime MCs Roachee,
Prince Rapid and Dirty Danger (Ruff Sqwad) complete the line-up, with young rap queen Tink opening and closing the album. The name Future Brown was not invented by one of the members, but by DIS Magazine’s Solomon Chase— allegedly in the throes of a mushroom trip. “The colour that doesn’t exist in nature really reflects the project because it’s escaping generalization in so many different ways,” they say. Paying genre boundaries as little heed as geographical ones, the Future Brown sound runs the gamut from dancehall to rap, its main purpose to provide beats for vocalists. Consequently, when it comes to categorization Future Brown is hard to define—in the same way that the members’ solo projects have never really been easy to define either. For the artists themselves, “there’s no real right way to talk about anything, someone can call it what they like; it doesn’t change what it is.” That Future Brown defies definition reflects the music perfectly. While every song has a different vocalist, the project comes together in the vision of its
producers. Every song has a certain flow and depth and idea that represents both the producers and the vocalists, creating something new in this process. Future Brown has a signature sound from which the music is created—a sound very different from what other producers who work with rappers and singers are doing. But being “different” is definitely not the members’ main focus: “We don’t have this crazy intention of being these liberal, free people; we just make the music we make… We don’t sit there with a piece of paper on the wall that says ‘Be Free!’” The project, they say, is not about bringing together as many different styles and artists as possible; nor is it about creating a new genre or niche, nor is it about predicting or speculating about what the future of (being) “brown” is. As Maroof righteously notes: “You wouldn’t ask Black Sabbath about their connection with black people, would you?” www.futurebrown.com
By Emma van Meyeren
Hatsune Miku It’s every major music label’s dream: a cute, intensely popular, immensely talented, forever-16 pop star. The realization of this fantasy, however, was not achieved by a label, but by Crypton Future Media: a Japanese media company that took synthesizer technology to the next level by accompanying a computer-based voice package with a persona: Hatsune Miku.
What do we know about Miku? She’s not a human in flesh and blood as we are, but human-like in her appearance. She was designed by manga artist Kei Garō and is only present when projected. While her creators were aware they were working on an “innovative and exciting product,” they never could have guessed that just years after “its” release, Miku would travel the world as Lady Gaga’s opening act, make music with Pharrell Williams, wear costumes designed by Marc Jacobs, have views succeeding 15 million for her hit World Is Mine and more than 2.5 million fans on Facebook. Her anime-style looks reveal her Japanese roots, but just like other anime characters she speaks to an audience much broader than fans in her home country. Miku’s image accompanies a singing voice synthesizer (or: vocaloid) package, for which voice actress Saki Fujita’s voice was used. And, perhaps most importantly, Miku is completely devoid of personal will. This absence of a personality is exactly what makes Miku, Miku, and might arguably be the biggest catalyst of her success: everyone can project on to her what they wish. Her fans can use the voice technology to make songs for Miku, but the fandom exceeds far beyond the music, with artists, fashion designers and make-up artists looking to the hologram
pop star for inspiration. All of which means Miku isn’t just a music industry mogul’s dream: she’s our dream. And in that sense, Miku is foremost a communityand fan-driven concept. For instance, when Crypton makes decisions about the songs Miku will perform in a live show, they first look at the view count of her songs on YouTube. As they explain: “Collectively, people’s own dreams are continuously projected on to Miku. But the beauty of it is that different people will project completely different things, without interfering with each other.” Looked at this way, Miku represents a lot of what a futuristic, utopian philosopher might predict as the “end game” for these kinds of futuristic inventions. Miku brings people closer to one another in the fan communities formed around her, and is able to transcend geographical and political boundaries. “That is especially tangible during the concerts, where a great part of the experience relies on fans gathering and sharing the same passion, while otherwise being from extremely different cultures and backgrounds. In that way it's much more a human experience than a virtual one,” say her creators. With Miku, we don’t have to be afraid of disappointment—no politically incorrect outbursts or teenage drunken affairs; no weight
gain or rebellion. She’s a PR’s wet dream. Moreover, as a community-based and fan-driven concept, “no single group or person can entirely control the way she evolves”; she’s for everyone and also from everyone. On the other hand, of course, Miku is a perversion of the female teenage idol. Her perfect body, perpetual youth and inability to speak her mind also represents what is historically expected from young women, and something we see many real-life young artists rebel against. While her creators are keen to emphasize the versatility of the character, to some people, Miku is just another female character deliberately devoid of agency. The balance between futuristic, boundary-transgressing fictional invention and our real, human-life condition is one as critical as it is fascinating. It’s important, her creators stress, to keep in mind that the intention is not to make Miku a perfect imitation of a human—had they intended to do so, they could have made an image and sound that is much more realistic. “She can reach notes no human ever could, or sing at impossible speed,” they say, “which is not ‘realistic’ but opens new creative possibilities.” Miku’s collaboration with electronic musician Keiichiro Shibuya plays with this balance too. Shibuya has created
the world’s first vocaloid opera, The End, with Miku in order to explore the paradox between what’s real and what’s unreal. While she can talk faster than is humanly possible, Miku would be speechless if no one fed her the lines. This interplay between technical abilities and realworld inabilities forms the basis of the opera, which opens with Miku questioning: “Will I die?” Throughout the performance we follow Miku as she struggles with her identity and questions her existence: why and how was she made, and what is the reason for her existence? While The End clearly focuses on her status as a projected vocaloid persona, the similarities with human insecurities and hesitations can’t be missed. Miku’s role in The End reminds us that the future meaning of humanity is still something we can only speculate and wonder about. The End will be performed on 4 and 5 June at the National Opera & Ballet (Amsterdam) as part of the Holland Festival. www.hollandfestival.nl
Julidans This summer, Julidans, the international festival for contemporary dance, turns 25. The anniversary won’t be celebrated with jubilee books or expensive champagne, but with dance performances of the highest calibre. In the last quarter-decade, Julidans has presented both the great masters and enfants terribles of contemporary dance throughout Amsterdam, and this July will be no different: Julidans 2015 presents icons of the first hour, while providing space for future generations, too.
As it Empties Out Jefta van Dinther (Sweden) In 2013, Swedish choreographer Jefta van Dinther created the critically acclaimed production Plateau Effect at the renowned Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm, which saw its world premiere at Julidans. Together with sound designer David Kiers and lighting designer Minna Tikkainen, Van Dinther created a surreal world where flashing lights, shadows, techno beats and other effects constantly distort the audience’s perceptions. In As it Empties Out, the bodies of six dancers appear and disappear—tumbling over each other, embracing one another, playing around to an emotionally charged and frenzied techno soundtrack, dubbed by critics a “a trip, a dark dream, a delirium”.
Tao Ye / TAO Dance Theater (China) Subtlety, precision and beauty: the dance performances of young Chinese dancer/ choreographer Tao Ye are visual masterpieces. With his TAO Dance Theater, he blows a fresh new breeze through the Chinese dance landscape, while also enjoying enormous popularity: the TAO Dance Theater has performed in more
than 30 countries. Because Tao Ye is expressly against storytelling, he gives his pieces numbers instead of titles. After 4 and 5 in 2013, Julidans this year presents 6 and 7. In the hypnotic 6, dancers move in a dynamic landscape of light. In 7, the soundtrack is partially formed by sound effects produced by the bodies of the dancers. Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar / L-E-V (Israel) The performances of Israel’s L-E-V dance company are hypnotic, wild, daring and energetic. For more than 20 years, Sharon Eyal danced with the famous Batsheva Dance Company. Now, she creates her own performances based on improvisations comprising elements of classical dance, contemporary dance and yoga, to which she adds an alienating touch.
Hardcore Research on Dance & Automatisch
Since 2005, Eyal has been working with Gai Behar, Tel Aviv party organizer, and DJ/musician/composer Ori Lichtik, a trendsetter in the Israeli techno scene. Together, they’ve been bringing the house down everywhere they perform since establishing their own company, L-E-V. Their new show promises to be a real dance experience.
Georgia Vardarou (Greece) Choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker tipped Greek dancer Georgia Vardarou as a great promise for the future. Vardarou’s drive to dance is written all over her body. She even made a solo piece on that subject in 2012 entitled Hardcore Research on Dance, in which she explored her own dance language in silence and without sets. In the sequel
to this, called Automatisch and made with choreographer Marc Vanrunxt, we see how Vardarou’s dance acquires a different meaning through, for instance, the introduction of electronic music. Vardarou’s dance is simple and hyperpersonal: a mixture of modern and classical dance and yoga, but also funny or endearing movements from daily life.
Julidans will take place from 1 until 11 July at seven —both indoor and outdoor—locations throughout the city of Amsterdam. Check the website for tickets, the complete programme and other updates. www.julidans.nl
Aurélien Bory & Kaori Ito (France/Japan) The installation performance Plexus, by director Aurélien Bory and dancer Kaori Ito, is a visual highlight of this year’s Julidans. With Plexus, Bory has created “a portrait in dance” of Ito. This Japanese dancer and choreographer studied classical dance in Tokyo and modern dance in the US and has appeared previously in Julidans NEXT, the festival’s podium for new talent. Bory’s installation comprises 5,000 nylon threads that envelop Ito like a marionette. Limited by this enclosure, Ito explores her possibilities. She dances, floats, falls and spins. Her performance is poetic and dreamlike, executed to perfection.
By Emma van Meyeren Photography: Faith Silva
Yumi Zouma “Jack of all trades, master of none” is how Josh Burgess, founding member of Yumi Zouma, describes himself and his band mates. Well, all except Sam Perry, who Burgess says is a true talent. These New Zealand natives don’t play by the standard rules: they have no fixed set-up, nor do they live on the same continent. “We’re like a big circus or something.”
Seeing a Yumi Zouma concert can be somewhat baffling, with various band members taking up different instruments for each new, hazy instalment of dream pop. Because the members live on farflung continents, sharing files via email at all hours, no Yumi Zouma song is made by hitting record and laying down the whole thing: every part has its own composer, and together they form a whole. And as the songs aren’t recorded that way, it stands to reason that it wouldn’t make much sense to play them live that way, either. Which is why you’ll see the band members switching their gear around between songs, sometimes sprinting across the stage to catch up. In spite of the complex logistics, “We have a policy that we will never restart a song, we’ll just keep going,” says Burgess. “It feels arrogant to stop and I think it kind of ruins the magic.” It’s these kinds of policies that perfectly represent Yumi Zouma’s sound, too: dreamy, effortless indie-pop that brings a sunny, chilled-out vibe to even the rainiest of days. Performing in this way and maintaining such “rules” means that, however circus-like the set-up is, Yumi Zouma is primarily a group with a very real musical connection. As Burgess explains: “Being in a band means you’ve got to put your trust in a lot of other people because a creative outlet is kind of one of the few things you’re really in control of in life, you know? You might work a job where you’re not in control of the future of the company; you can’t control when the bus
is coming or when it rains but music is kind of the one place where you can be totally in control.” Creating music piecemeal—where members record bits and pieces at home, which are then shared over email—is another way for everyone to retain control without the pressure or scrutiny of being overlooked. Burgess stresses the positive effect it has on creativity; the band even works this way when they’re in the same city. As for right now, Yumi Zouma is spread out over the world. Burgess himself lives in New York, while Charlie Ryder (the other founding member) resides in Paris and singer Christie Simpson is currently visiting friends in the UK—“I think”— meaning Sam Perry is the only one currently in the country where it all started: New Zealand. All the members are New-Zealand natives—“Um... no, actually that’s a lie: Sam is from Australia but he moved to New Zealand when he was quite young”—who met in pre-earthquake Christchurch. Despite being the biggest city of NZ’s South Island, its music scene is pretty small. And while opportunities might be limited in a town where your scene isn’t big, Josh is positive about the influences it had on Yumi Zouma: “Music can break down a lot of weird barriers, you meet people that you wouldn’t otherwise meet. When you find people that are passionate about the same stuff as you in a country like New Zealand, which seems so removed from the rest of the world, you make really special friends.”
Aware of how much music is created but never really heard, Yumi Zouma were under no illusions they’d be signed and touring the world so soon. While making the first EP was something they did mostly for themselves, making the second one “was interesting because we knew people were listening this time— which was also weird because you start second guessing yourself: do you think people will like this? Even though the reason people liked you in the first place is because of music you made for selfish reasons.” Luckily for us, Burgess et al were able to evade the selfdoubt and write their second record from the same place of freedom and sincerity as the first: “I still don’t have any idea of what’s going to be big tomorrow and what’s not, so the very least you can do is please yourself. I think that’s the only place to work from. If you start getting confused and try to cater to what people want it’s not going to work out. Because that’s the funny thing, isn’t it: who are you to think you even know what other people want?” So Yumi Zouma proceeded to work from their own interests and sounds. Case in point: one of the songs on the EP, which had a name too similar to another song, was changed to Dodi because of Burgess’s fascination with Lady Di and her relationship with Dodi Fayed. Since the song was written in Paris, it amused Burgess to name the song after him: “Princess Diana was so interesting, she was very outspoken and she was kind
of a rebel in the way she handled the royal family: they tried to silence her but it was impossible because people loved her so much. It’s like an homage to Paris, where they both died.” Or take the video for their song Catastrophe, which sparked endless speculation online about why all the characters end up collapsing. Burgess admits he’s also unaware of the reasons for this—but he’s happy to make something up for us so we don’t have to keep wondering: “Everyone’s been out to this huge party, the town has just celebrated its 400-year anniversary and everyone is exhausted from the epic party!” In the end, it seems Yumi Zouma is “circus-like” only in the spontaneous, intuitive and entertaining sense of the word. They’re the soundtrack to a careless summer day with very little to worry about. Ultimately, Burgess describes Yumi Zouma’s situation as a “Catch 22”: “You have to put time in it for it to do well but at the same time, if you put too much time into it, it means other parts of your life won’t get the attention that they need.” Seeing as all the band slash circus members have a day job too, time can be of the essence. But as everyone is enjoying the band’s progression, we can expect them to keep sending one another little bursts of music that are moulded together into wonderful songs for the foreseeable. Long live long-distance! www.yumizouma.com
By Matthijs van Burg
Låpsley Eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter/producer Holly Lapsley Fletcher, aka Låpsley, has been taking the UK by storm with her ambient electronica. 2014 was a staggering year for Låpsley: she was signed to XL Recordings (home to The xx, FKA twigs), her first EP got some 500,000 listens on Soundcloud and the BBC nominated her for their Sound of 2015. This year promises to get even better…
The first music you shared with the world was more traditional in a way; just you on a guitar, very folky and singer-songwriter-esque. What made you decide to use beats and bleeps? Although I did a lot of classical music and made acoustic tunes, I listened to heavy electronic music. I wanted to meet somewhere in the middle and try to make electronic versions of my music. But I had no money so I used GarageBand and started experimenting. I just decided, “Fuck it, I’ll just do it.” Your experimentation turns out to be quite ambient. How come? It’s what I like listening to, things like Ólafur Arnalds or The xx. There’s loads of different stuff that I like to pick up and re-create that kind of vibe. And the kind of music that I make is also the music that I like; it’s music I would listen to myself. That’s the kind of aim: would I choose that on Spotify, would I buy that record?
On your EP Monday you did a beautiful, stripped-down version of New Order’s Blue Monday. How did that come about? My parents always played music around me. My father was really into The Smiths and Joy Division, while my mum listened to Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush. I started to go out and listen to techno music and often there were New Order remixes. I really loved Blue Monday, it felt like a good song to make my own, so I went for it. You’ve been nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2015. Let’s get the crystal ball out: what do you want people to say in the year 2025 when they look at the list of nominees and see your name? I’m more of a self-reflective person, you know. I’m happy when I’m happy with what I’ve made. By that point, I want to be able to look back at the career that I’ve had so far and each album that I put so much effort into and know that I couldn’t have done better at the time… And hopefully if they’re
good enough, those albums will be recognised and I’ll have a good career. But I don’t ever expect anything. You’re a so-called “bedroom” music producer. What can we expect of you in a live setting? I want to connect with the audience. My lyrics are quite emotive; I write about things that have happened in my life so I want to give across that emotion to the audience. If you work so hard on a song, your live show should reflect the hard work that you’ve put into it while you were in the studio. I hate it when you go and see people who you really love and they have a shit gig and you think, like, “This really puts me off them.” I don’t want people to think that! In songs like Station and 8896 you duet with yourself by pitching, chopping and lowering your own vocals. Who would be your fantasy duet partner? I really love the male tone, so it would be a male singer because I don’t
really like female singers so much. I wish I had a boy’s voice. Hmmm, that sounds really odd… I do not want to BE a boy, just have the voice, ha-ha! La-la-laaa! [Holly sings opera in a low voice] How’s Peanut, the cute dog we’ve seen waging its tail on your Twitter and Instagram? Aaaah, he’s amazing. He’s like my child, I got him little outfits recently. I love him. He’s at home right now but I’ll take him with me on tour next time. I’ve already introduced him to loud music, so he’s used to it, ha-ha. What are your plans for 2015? I want to release a debut album that I’m proud of. If it all goes to plan that’ll be at the end of August. I’ve written more than an album’s worth of songs already and just plan to continue to do that so I can pick an album out of them. And I’ve got a UK, European and US tour coming up soon to support the Understeady EP. Hopefully that will go well without breaking a leg or anything. I’m really clumsy, you know.
34 Will me, thrill me, you can never kill me. Photography: YaĂŤl Temminck
40 L o v e is resistance. Photography:
Sofie Middernacht & Maarten Alexander
Will me, thrill me, you can never kill me.
Left Jacket Matthew Miller, earring modelâ€™s own Right Above: jacket Gosha Rubchinskiy, shirt vintage Below: shirt and trousers Matthew Miller, shoes Diesel Black Gold, choker stylistâ€™s own
Left Above: jacket Gosha Rubchinskiy, top vintage Below: jacket, shirt and jeans Diesel
Right Top Yang Li via SPRMRKT, trousers stylistâ€™s own, boxer Calvin Klein
Left Above: shirt and trousers Topman Design, belt stylistâ€™s own Below: jacket Gosha Rubchinskiy, top vintage, trousers Topman Design Right Overcoat Vetements via SPRMRKT, kimono Dries Van Noten, choker stylistâ€™s own
Photography: Yaël Temminck Styling: Leendert Sonnevelt & Patrick Cramer Hair and make-up: Chiao Li Hsu for Clinique—House of Orange Model: Charlie James—brooks modeling agency Special thanks to SPRMRKT Amsterdam
Love is resistance.
Left Dress and shoes Loewe
Right Dress Thomas Tait, turtleneck American Apparel, boots Vetements
Left Top and skirt Phoebe English
Right Bra, top and trousers Kenzo, turtleneck American Apparel, sneakers Yohji Yamamoto
Left Top and trousers Vetements
Right Dress Hussein Chalayan
Photography: Sofie Middernacht & Maarten Alexander Styling: Vanissa Antonious Hair: Claire Grech Make-up: Camila Fernandez Model: Grace Guozhiâ€”Viva Models London
Albums Bernard + Edith
L’Orange & Jeremiah Jae
Royce Wood Junior
The Magic Whip
The Ashen Tang
The Night Took Us In Like Family
Mello Music Group
Mad Dog & Love Records
Before even listening to Manchesterbased duo Bernard + Edith, their visual language—romantic imagery and Arabic script—hints towards a deep, hypnotic emotional journey. Former Egyptian Hip Hop member Nick “Bernard” Delap (synths) and Greta “Edith” Caroll (vocals) combine oriental rhythms and lo-fi electronics to create an authentic but sombre mood that haunts the entire album. This dark artpop/soul duo is clearly inspired by nature, incorporating sounds like raindrops and even seeming to mimic the screeching of a mysterious forest animal on China. Caroll’s powerful and sometimes even threatening voice is most memorable on Heartache, crying and mourning: “these nights, when I don’t love you any more”, almost reminding of authentic Middle Eastern singing. Refreshingly, debut album Jem also shows the duo’s (slightly) more uplifting side with tracks like Poppy and Dagger: a multi-faceted jewel! By Daniël Heijl
Anyone who’s seen Blur’s “recent” gigs has witnessed a reunited four-piece with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Despite the release of two new songs, rumours of a new album were hotly denied. But then, the story goes, frontman Damon Albarn listened to some jams and half-written songs recorded whilst touring and asked guitarist Graham Coxon to finish off their work. And voila, Blur’s first album in 12 years sees the light. The Magic Whip captures the eagerness of Albarn and Coxon as musical collaborators: it’s the two of them together, backed by a solid rhythm section, that makes Blur, Blur. And great. Songs like Ice Cream Man and My Terracotta Heart are modest (and more Albarn-esque); Go Out and I Broadcast are energetic and punky, bearing the hallmarks of Coxon’s influence. Lonesome Street is an instant Blur classic, effortlessly mixing light psychedelics and choppy guitar riffs with pure pop, including whistling and trademark ooh-ooh’s. Blur’s back! By Matthijs van Burg
On his lush debut full length, The Ashen Tang, Royce Wood Junior sways with gusto between late Seventies and early Eighties yacht rock, Nineties neo-soul and 2k15 club blips: a true singer-songwriter who embraces chord changes and harmonies, but knows exactly how to employ them credibly in the age of experimental R&B. The London musician has produced and remixed popular contemporaries such as Kwabs, Rosie Lowe, Denai Moore and Jamie Woon— whom we suspect may be credited as “Michael McWoonald” (what a fool believes?!) on this album—but proves to be very much qualified to stand on his own two feet. Apparently, singing was too nerve-racking for RWJ at first, but his palette seems to be infinitely broad (think: Prince / Rufus Wainwright / John Grant / Eric Benét). RWJ has made an album that shows the richness of his studio virtuosity and song-writing skills: his electronic honky wonky blue-eyed-soul gives way to uppers, downers, bangers, ballads, a diptych and an (acoustic) bonus track. Daring. By Joline Platje
Both Jeremiah Jae and L’Orange have been using analogue techniques and traditional hip hop sounds for a minute now, so to see them together on a project both makes sense and made our hearts skip a beat. Described as “an alchemy of Madvillain and The Maltese Falcon”, it becomes instantly clear what can be expected from The Night Took Us In Like Family. The album creates that magic sound that hip hop has historically been so apt at depicting: a haunting and sinister reality combined with a powerful kind of solace. L’Orange’s signature pre-’50s jazz and soul samples combined with Jae’s classic flow and story-telling lines make for a wonderfully executed piece of traditional or “alternative” hip hop. This album will haunt you, but don’t be afraid: it will do so in the best way possible. By Emma van Meyeren
Berlin-based Evvol, a dark synth-pop trio comprising the Irish Julie Chance, Australian Jon Dark and their French touring drummer Valentin Plessy, diffuses haunting, nocturnal, soulful electro— equally industrial and celestial. Listening to their artsy and euphoric debut Eternalism—which can best be done "on the Autobahn, at night driving crosscountries"—one imagines being surrounded by a hooded gang of club creatures singing in ethereal harmony. We shot a few questions to core members Julie and Jon. By Joline Platje
A-ha. Forgive us for being curious, but are Julie and Jon both coworkers and lovers? LOL. No worries. No one has ever asked us before, but yes, we’ve been together for nearly five years.
A soothing voice reassures you that you’re doing great. The weight of the world is on your shoulders yet you still manage. Meanwhile, agile fingers are swiftly slamming the keyboard of an ultrathin laptop in the background. While the voice keeps stroking your ego, sounds of physical interaction subtly emerge. On one of the more enigmatic tracks of Platform, Holly Herndon pushes the boundaries of her own experimentalism even further than on predecessor Movement, but manages to get a firmer grip on the listener nonetheless. It’s just a single chapter of a versatile record on which the techsavvy vocalist demands greater focus than before. Still, Herndon attracts with light-hearted, somewhat twisted pop songs like Morning Sun, but also perfects her modern-classical-meets-percussivehouse structures. The operatic influences on a couple of tracks are as unexpected as the spoken-word recordings, making Platform a sleek collection of songs to play when you don’t want any distractions from the predictable outside world. By Sander van Dalsum
If premiering the video to Rangleklods’ latest single didn’t make it obvious, by now you probably understand we like Rangleklods. A lot. In 2012, the Danish duo released the heavy electronic debut Beekeeper. As already proven by catchy new single lost u, Esben Nørskov Andersen and Pernille Smith-Sivertsen (thank goodness for Scandinavian names) are headed in a more poppy— but still heavily experimental—direction on their sophomore record. If anything, Straitjacket proves this twosome’s musical versatility. Smith-Sivertsen’s vocals have caught up with Andersen’s in terms of prominence and skill, reaching both soulful heights and gritty lows à la Alanis Morissette. Rangleklods are at their best when dark harmonies, both natural and distorted, slither over repetitive, mantra-like electronics. “I’ll get drunk when you get drunk ’cause you’ll tell me everything,” the two confess on climaxing love ballad Gutter. “Happy in the gutter, happy in the gutter...” Don’t we all know that feeling? By Leendert Sonnevelt
It’s been a very long time since Róisín Murphy’s last full-length album, Overpowered. In pop-diva land that usually means one or more reinventions-of-self, including makeovers, new genres and hypes. Not for Róisín Murphy, whose work and look seem wonderfully dateless and distinct. Watch Exploitation, the first video of her third album Hairless Toys, and you’ll see a very stylish, erratic prima donna playing a dramatic character and a montage that’s playing with our expectations. Exactly what we came for. Hairless Toys contains eight lengthy songs—one for every year we’ve had to miss our favourite extravagant lady, who sounds surprisingly introvert. No dance-floor anthems, no powerful sing-along choruses here. Yes, the synths and beats are still funky and slightly weird, but Murphy’s singing is mostly whispery, which gets a bit annoying after several songs. Evil Eyes makes a nice change, with an interesting build-up and pointy backing vocals. But that’s not enough to avoid disappointment. Having said that, a mediocre Róisín Murphy album still beats many a good album by a mediocre artist. By Fay Breeman
Anyone who’s seen Shamir Bailey in concert knows he’s a natural-born entertainer. Not just the singer’s fragile falsetto (“I listen to a lot of people like Nina Simone and other androgynous voices, almost to make me feel like I’m not alone”) but also his divalicious persona—hometown: Vegas—constitutes a major part of his youthful success. Album title Ratchet pretty much sums up the dance-oriented tracks on his debut record: “Damn, he’s a hot mess / Sex, sex, sex.” As expressed by Shamir himself in his album announcement, however, genre is a tool, not a boundary. Which means we also get served soulful, brass-infused pop ballads such as Demon and In For The Kill. Sure, Shamir’s lyrics aren’t nearly mature, his ego is all over the place and his direction isn’t always clear. But in his case that only adds to the fun. Illy to the fullest, you can call him cancer. By Leendert Sonnevelt
Evvol were, until recently, known as Kool Thing. Why did you decide to change both your band name and musical direction? After the Kool Thing album was released, we broke up for nearly a year. We both took time out and worked on different projects—thankfully, we reconciled after some soul searching and decided to make music together again. We’d wanted to change the name for ages, but even more so when our new album was finished. Not only do we sound different, our story had changed too.
According to the www, “eternalism” can refer to a few complicated theories rooted in Buddhism and Western philosophy: which one do you adhere to? We like the idea that time is represented by space, so past and future coexist. We’re like Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar in the bookshelf of the fifth dimension. What’s the coolest instrument or tool you used for this new album? Probably the venu Jon plays on Sola. She got this flute on her travels to southern India. Is there anything your listeners should know before they start listening to Eternalism? Yes! They should know: “Being human is a complicated gig. So give that ol’ dark night of the soul a hug. Howl the eternal yes!”—Nietzsche.
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