“Cash, diamond rings, swimming pools.”
FREE 2015—Issue 5 #113
Glamcult Independent Style Paper
Issue 5 #113 Update
You want a hot body? 30
Everything but Clothes 8
Albums 12 Interviews
Vejas 14 Meinke Klein 18 Cakes Da Killa 22 Zhala 26 Sevdaliza 28 Colophon Editor-in-Chief Joline Platje firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director Rogier Vlaming email@example.com Fashion Editor Leendert Sonnevelt firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Megan Roberts Editorial Intern Emma van Meyeren email@example.com Sales & Marketing Filippo Battaglia firstname.lastname@example.org Sales email@example.com
Graphic Design Glamcult Studio: Karen van de Kraats Rutger de Vries Yuki Kappes Graphic Design Intern Sara Elazami Contributors: Daniël Heijl Fay Breeman Iris Wenander Jack Dolan Kelsey Lee Jones Sander van Dalsum Sarah Johanna Eskens
Quotes Cash, diamond rings, swimming pools. —DENA You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti? —Britney Spears Cover Photography: Sanja Marušić—UNSPOKEN Styling: Imruh Asha Hair and make-up: Carlos Saidel for Givenchy—House of Orange Assistant photography: Kwabena Appiah-nti Tracksuit Adidas Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto
Photographers: Carlijn Jacobs Katharina Poblotzki Märta Thisner Maxwell Tomlinson Sanja Marušić
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 Eight issues a year The Netherlands € 37 Europe € 59,50 Rest of the world € 79,50
Art Director Marline Bakker firstname.lastname@example.org
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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
Het Filiaal, photo: Carlijn Jacobs
The Brilliant Trip, 2055
Photo: Carlos Santolalla
Still from Sunrise
Loud & Proud
A recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague, Imke Ligthart is a photographer of the unknown. Expressing a certain disillusionment with the (contemporary) human condition, Ligthart uses photography to come to a better understanding of these complexities. “The logic of the world surprises me—in a way, we’re all just a bunch of idiots,” she says. By looking towards the future, Ligthart manages to explore her disillusionment while also contemplating what lies ahead. It was NASA’s discovery of a possible diamond planet that inspired Ligthart to create her The Brilliant Trip series, in which she imagines such a planet (think: shiny backgrounds a-plenty) and the people who might visit it, taking us on a futuristic trip— to infinity, and beyond! By Emma van Meyeren cargocollective.com/imke
You probably know Carlos Santolalla as one half of Insta-famous model couple @jarlos420. As proven by their moniker and steamy feed, these boys have a noteworthy fascination for all things weed-related. Besides curating, DJ-ing, starring in campaigns and music videos, as well as posting notorious make-out shots, Santolalla, aka @raatcity, is working hard on a photography career. Not surprisingly, his latest work, named HIGH, is a zine-shaped mishmash of all the things that make Jarlos so successful. Explaining the concept to Glamcult, he writes: “HIGH is a highly highpothetical highdea and I was going to write an explanation of it but then I got high. I asked hot guys (aka artists/models) on the internet to smoke weed while I took their picture and it totally wasn’t creepy at all… Weed is fun and sexy, and it makes of lot of economic sense too.” If you think Amsterdam is the place to be at 4:20, think again. Here’s to all red-eyed American boys. By Leendert Sonnevelt www.raatcity.com
It doesn’t happen often that a newly launched online shop leaves Glamcult watering at the mouth. Het Filiaal, an initiative by interdisciplinary collective Very Much Business, however, recently managed to interrupt our never-ending Instagram scroll with flossy photography by Dutch snapper Carlijn Jacobs. Heading straight to the website, we found a colourful Comic Sans MS paradise, exhibiting designer darlings such as Craig Green, Eckhaus Latta, Cottweiler, Julian Zigerli and Études Studio. Speaking to founders Artun Alaska Arasli and Viktorija Medvedeva—who describe their business as “a multifaceted entity that generates content both digitally and physically, blurring the line between art gallery, creative agency and fashion store”—Glamcult discovered that Het Filiaal has recently opened a bricks-and-mortar store. Not in the hood? Be sure not to miss the virtual version of this candy shop. T to the A to the S-T-E-Y! (Please consult the Urban Dictionary for more information about this gloriously incorrect spelling.) By Leendert Sonnevelt
This summer sees the third edition of Rotterdam’s open-air film festival, Roffa Mon Amour, with five nights of world cinema on the rooftop of Station Hofplein. One of the films that caught our attention this year is Partho Sen-Gupta’s psychological drama Sunrise, which blurs the lines between fantasy and reality to represent the agony and despair of protagonist Joshi. The source of Joshi’s despair is the disappearance of his daughter, Aruna, at the age of six. SenGupta (Let the Wind Blow, 2004) was inspired after seeing a group of parents outside a police station in Mumbai, holding up signs of the children they’d lost. Their constant trauma and struggle influenced Sen-Gupta’s film. By showing the double story of Joshi, who on the one hand is stuck in his reality of loss and grief and on the other dreams of a situation where he can defeat the villains and save his daughter, Sen-Gupta explores the desire for justice or vengeance that he sees in all of us. By Emma van Meyeren
22 until 26 July, Roffa Mon Amour, Station Hofplein, Rotterdam
This summer a heat wave will hit our French amis—namely, the queer culture and music festival Loud & Proud. This party is all about shining a light on identities that are often overlooked, as the organizers question the lack of sexual minorities in the French entertainment business. But don’t worry: it’s not all about politics. For three days in July, the French capital (as well as Lyon and Nantes) will be teeming with performances, DJ sets, visuals and music made by and with queer artists. Main acts include forever-cool Canadians Austra, sexy animal hybrid Zebra Katz and ballet dancer with attitude, Le1f. Even the elusive Swedish DJ duo Karim & Karam (also known as Karin Dreijer and Maryam Nikandish) have deemed this a worthy cause, and will grace the festival with their presence. So put on whatever and come as whomever—but please don’t forget your dancing shoes. By Iris Wenander www.gaite-lyrique.net/festival/ loud-proud
Nicolas Coulomb and Florence Tétier for Amélie Pichard S/S15
Mary Benson skin2skin (for ca conrad), PL3, 2015
Untitled (Boombox), 2012
S/S15 coll ection
Sadie Barnette 6
London designer Mary Benson’s second collection, entitled Gorgeous, was born out of her ambition to create her “own surrealist world”. By combining feminine silhouettes with beads and shiny prints, Benson has created a collection that certainly lives up to its moniker: gorgeous—both pretty and interesting at the same time. The University of Westminster graduate is already known for her textile prints, and took this feature to the next level for Gorgeous, with fish, eyes, snakes, twin heads and a dripping clock adorning her glamrock-esque pieces. Accessories include buckle chokers and a beautiful shoe collection that was created in collaboration with Seventies rock’n’roll cobbler Terry de Havilland. Benson’s cute and wearable pieces have already caught the eye of DJ Larry B and Marina Diamandis (better known as Marina and the Diamonds), and we hope her fantasy pieces will be spotted more and more this upcoming season. By Emma van Meyeren www.marybenson.co.uk
Visual artist Piet Langeveld’s latest project, PL3, consists of a performative series of images and videos made with her iPhone. The project, divided into subcategories with individual titles, is a series of dedications to important people in her life: skin2skin (for ca conrad), r4mance (for z. stevens), touch me (I miss you) (for dej loaf) and rosestheydie (for a. langeveld). The images, selfies of the artist, are like a DIS Magazine version of what we’d imagine Kim K’s phone looks like, but whereas the Kardashian chose to upgrade her pics to an “art form” by making them into a photo book (Selfish), Langeveld opted for a more contemporary approach. Just like the never-ending stream of imagery of ourselves and our surroundings on our phones, the work is never ending and always in flux: there’s no end product. By Emma van Meyeren www.pietlangeveld.nl
Oh, those sultry gazes… No matter the context in which photographer Nicolas Coulomb captures his boys and girls, and whatever they’re wearing—relaxed Paul Smith looks, shiny American Apparel swimwear or tie-dye Seventies knits— his models all look through the camera with stony, sexy eyes. Coulomb studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, but then relocated to Switzerland to pursue a career in photography at ECAL, the school of art and design of Lausanne. In 2010, he started shooting for Novembre Magazine, a young journal that proved to be the perfect platform for experimentation, and he quickly became their editor-at-large, contributing features such as an editorial full of glittery and latex clothing by Meat (from Glamcult fav Alis Pelleschi). Coulomb often collaborates with makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench for unconventional beauty stories: smudged lipstick, high-gloss cheeks—and of course, the trademark Coulomb gaze. His commercial work includes lookbooks for the likes of Christian Lacroix, Lacoste Live, and Études Studio. By Sarah Johanna Eskens
If Sadie Barnette were a hip-hop artist, what would she rap? Money, cash, hoes? A quick look at her Instagram account suggests something more like “pills, glitters, gold”—but we guess she has plenty more to say. Hailing from Oakland, California, Barnette is intrigued by West Coast hip-hop culture, consumerism and economics, and her drawings, photographs, texts and installations cite subcultural codes. With a minimalist approach—for example, a boom box spray-painted white or the word “hella” printed in a bold type face on a plain white canvas—the artist explores the boundaries of identities and what defines our past, present and future. Barnette received her bachelor of fine arts from the California Institute of Arts in 2006, and in 2012 she obtained her masters in visual arts at the University of California, San Diego. Right now, she’s an artistin-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, where she focuses on something entirely new: the horseracing industry, which relates to her personal past. By Sarah Johanna Eskens
If his collections haven’t quite caught your attention yet, make sure you head over to the website of New York fashion designer Telfar Clemens. Greeted by a digitally manipulated version of the man himself, Glamcult found that S/S15 marks Telfar’s strongest season so far. Inspired by interior guru Martha Stewart, Telfar’s gender-neutral collection manages to embrace the deadly boring and make it exciting. Simplex, as Telfar named the collection, is as American and accessible as the pop staples by Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift that accompanied the show— performed on a white salon piano, of course. There’s a strange uncertainty to Telfar’s twisted street wear, as both DIS Magazine readers and actual Martha Stewart fans could be spotted in it. Well, we don’t quite see men at Walmart in mini-skirts yet, but you get the point. Hello, Home Depot! By Leendert Sonnevelt www.telfar.net
By Kelsey Lee Jones
Full Body Facial, video, 5 minutes 18 seconds, 2014
Neverwet (dreama), video, 9 minutes 34 seconds, 2013
For one of his first shows, titled Feels Real, the Dubai-born, London-based artist of Egyptian descent Adham Faramawy brought both sex and slime to Amsterdam (at Marian Cramer Projects). The project was a response to a Jean-Paul Sartre excerpt taken from Being and Nothingness (1943): “I open my hands, I want to let go of the slimy, and it sticks to me, it draws me, it sucks at me.” For Sartre, slime becomes an issue of gendered embodiment, its properties problematized as abject and trans-feminine. Faramawy responded to this short but rich text, with its hints at viscera and highly problematic dealings with gender and gendered materiality. “It points at some assumptions of a solid and unchangeable social pre-condition—which I didn’t grow up with,” he says. For Faramawy, the idea of slime is visceral and physical, “unclean, sexual and sickly; at ease
with the world of technology I often inhabit”. Faramawy’s obsession with the gloopy stuff apparently reaches beyond this project; he revisits slime once again for a new work, a sculptural installation for Tank.tv in collaboration with artist Terry Ryu Kim, called #SlimefaceEmoji!. Addressing our obsession with emoji, ideas of computer vision and how using technology can encourage you to perform emotion, #SlimefaceEmoji! confounds expectations of genre. Because in Faramawy’s aesthetic, “sculpture” is far from customary: as an artist, he is constantly moving towards a new way of thinking. “I’m a sculptor exploring what it means to make sculpture,” he explains. “Much of my work involves moving images, so when I say ‘sculptor’ I’m very much talking about an expanded sculptural practice.”
That practice makes use of a range of media, forming narrative with the use of digital video, print, painting, installation and computer programs. The Faramawy vision is a superfluous interface with technology and the digital world, characterized by intrepid colours and CGI, and the body is a predominant subject, approached as a primary, sensual site. “It’s an ideological site and part of its function, both ideological and in terms of reproduction, is erotic. I’m not afraid of pleasure— or maybe I am, and that’s why I carry on making performance for camera…” For his work Hyperreal Flower Blossom, Faramawy sought this sculptural quality once again and continued to explore the idea of a presence— this time without a body. In it, he depicts Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku, a hologram vocaloid whose physical incarnation is an eternally 16-year-old
with turquoise pigtails. “I’m interested in her body, or her image in relation to how she manifests physically,” says Faramawy. “I’m a fan of her music and I appreciate that she’s an algorithm fans can download, write songs and make videos for.” Faramawy responded to a video of Miku dancing in a garden, and to videos of her gigs where she is a larger-than-life projection performing to crowds of thousands. The project developed from the idea Miku specifically to exploring the idea of the vocaloid generally. It then evolved to become an olfactory experience; he worked with Creative Perfumers London to develop a fragrance. This was realized with support from Fiorucci Art Trust and Studio_Leigh (available from studioleigh.com) and launched with a 20-metre window installation at Vitrine Gallery. “It’s quite a delicious scent, actually. It’s one of the few
resulting from the Fiorucci project that sets out to appeal; I’ve been wearing it myself,” Faramawy confesses. Explorations of the definition of sculpture continue throughout his most recent works, some of which are public pieces, including a sculpture in London, commissioned by Sculpture in the City, and another a collaboration with Create, exploring the use of billboards, advertising and the redevelopment of the area of Tower Hamlets. If you’re feeling inspired, you can morph some of Faramawy’s “sculptures” in real time, using his augmented reality app Hi! I’m Happy You’re Here!, which will allow you to do just that. Adham Faramawy, we’re happy you’re here! www.adhamfaramawy.blogspot.nl
In het kader van HANDWERK deed modeontwerper Antoine Peters intensief onderzoek naar een negentiende eeuws jak. Dit ingenieus gevouwen en strak gesneden vrouwenkledingstuk uit de Zeeuwse streekdracht, bestaat uit ĂŠĂŠn lap die in zijn geheel wordt verwerkt. De ontwerper ontrafelt de geheimen van de eeuwenoude vouwtechniek en maakt deze zichtbaar in zijn comfortabele unisex Jaktrui.
vanaf 13 juni 2015
Jaktrui, Antoine Peters, 2015. Foto Lonneke van der Palen. Ontwerp: Glamcult Studio
In 2010, photography duo Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm travelled to London to shoot this delightfully odd image for The Gentlewoman. Although the composition and concept—pretty much how we feel on Sunday mornings— had been determined in advance, the interpretation was created in the moment. The work of Blommers/Schumm,
Boudewijn Neuteboom, Morgen over mode, from Avenue, November 1967, courtesy of Boudewijn Neuteboom/mai
who regularly shoot for our favourite international mags, is extremely poised, but the artists themselves wouldn’t quite compare it to still life. Instead, they approach all forms of photography, fashion and still life from their own characteristic vantage point.
Martien Mulder, Chloë Sevigny from KUTT, #1, spring 2002
Maarten Schets, Avenue mode in China, from Avenue, March 1985
Nudists, a series by Carmen Freudenthal and Elle Verhagen, was created in 1998 for Dutch magazine Blvd. and later republished by i-D. Freudenthal/Verhagen are known for the narrative aspect and plurality of layers in their work. For this specific image they were inspired by the Freikörperkultur Bewegung, a 19thcentury German movement that propagated exposing the naked body to
As one of the most vital and wellknown photographers working for Dutch magazine Avenue, Boudewijn Neuteboom gained notoriety for elevating his fashion shots to something akin to art. But these are not Helmut Newton-esque images, with models elevated to the level of dreamlike goddesses. Instead, Neuteboom’s pictures are at all times model-friendly, in a manner where the subjects show fashion in a new, unusual and fascinating way—as can be seen in this series, shot on the streets of Amsterdam back in 1967.
Although we doubt whether anything could turn out ugly with Chloë Sevigny involved, a team-up with Dutch photographer Martien Mulder pretty much guarantees a pleasant outcome. Shot for KUTT—sister publication of BUTT—in Paris, Mulder’s honest, natural aesthetic is especially evident in her picture of the iconic Sevigny, which screams “no bullshit” and unlimited confidence. “I think this photoshows Chloë knows very well who she is. She’s confident, smart and sexy. To me, it was important to capture her in the most sober and candid way, revealing the essence of who she is,” says the artist.
Freudenthal/Verhagen, Nudists, from Blvd., #50, November 1998, republished in i-D, 1999
By Emma van Meyeren and Leendert Sonnevelt
Blommers/Schumm, Navy, from The Gentlewoman, #2, A/W10
Everything but Clothes This summer, Museum Arnhem offers a unique overview of fashion photography in the Netherlands. Everything but Clothes explores important eras and themes in Dutch fashion photography, highlighting magazines that push(ed) disciplinary boundaries— from Avenue, Dutch and Blvd. to Fantastic Man and yours truly. Glamcult gives you a sneak preview by highlighting five iconic images, on show at the museum from the 13th of June.
water, air and sunshine: “The pictures of that time show happy nude people dancing through nature, which inspired us to make the series.” Freudenthal/ Verhagen’s images are always carefully composed and often digitally sketched in advance. The well-thoughtthrough results aim to tell a story—in this case, leaving little to the imagination.
This ’80s shot for Avenue—National Geographic goes fashion, anyone?— was captured by Maarten Schets in Beijing. The monumental background impressed the photographer deeply, inspiring him to create the image. Stylist Frans Akoné brought in a red flag and
voila: a magazine cover was born. After years of specializing in fashion photography, Schets now describes himself as an all-rounder. His interest in travel and art photography, however, has always been recognizable in his striking fashion work.
A C A M P I N G F L I G H T T O L O W L A N D S P A R A D I S E / 21 + 2 2 + 2 3 A U G / 2 0 15 EVENEMENTENTERREIN WALIBI HOLLAND / BIDDINGHUIZEN
Check www.lowlands.nl for tickets and updates
Ace & Section Tate turns two Ace & Tate are celebrating their second birthday this June. During this time the young brand has revolutionised the way you think about buying glasses, making it possible for you to match your frames to every occasion and style. Glamcult won’t let that go by unnoticed. Ace & Tate has always been keen on changing the optical market with its innovative Home Try-On Service, but has just set off on an inspiring summer tour to launch the complete S/S15 collection for our pleasure. Better get ready! They understand Ever since the start of Ace & Tate, its founders have known how important it is to be able to change your look at anytime you want. Just like us, they’re bold and creative, and want to provide likeminded with the possibility to match your frames with every occasion and all of your favourite styles. Ace & Tate designs quality frames at a fair price, which allows you to continuously update your eyewear. Now before you start to feel guilty about a future shopping spree, please remember that for every pair you purchase, you help someone in need with access to eye care. Ace & Tate makes a donation to SightSavers, helping them provide glasses to people living in the world's poorest countries. That’s how we roll!
They are down to earth Ace & Tate’s policy is clear: you are provided with the best-looking design and high-quality manufacturing for a very attractive price. Ever wondered why other designer glasses cost a small fortune? The answer is remarkably evident: you’re paying too many people. Ace & Tate likes to keep it uncomplicated; all frames cost €98 (prescription lenses included and no shipping costs or hidden extras!). Keeping in mind that you’re not paying for expensive licensing fees and middlemen, it’s really not that strange.
Ace & Section Tate turns two
They keep it simple But wait, how do you go about choosing between all of this lovely eye candy?! There’s a solution to that too: Ace & Tate’s super handy Home Try-On Service. You can order up to four frames to try on at home. Ace & Tate will send them to your mailbox free of charge, ready for you to flaunt them at the office, gallivant the city and make loads of selfies. All you have to do is go online, dig into the hot S/S15 collection and order your favourite frames via www.aceandtate.com.
They pop-up From disco to disco, from town across town, Ace & Tate wants to go out! With the heat of the summer months upon us, the brand has set off on a German summer tour to launch the S/S15 collection in several pop-up stores in Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Cologne—following the fantastic success of the first
pop up store in Berlin. For each location an artist was designated to showcase work for the whole duration of the opening, for all visitors to enjoy. After working with renowned artists Mario Lombardo and Jean Jullien in Berlin, Mirko Borsche has brightened up the Munich shop, the Hamburg store will be taken care of by Nigin Beck and Cologne welcomes Stefan Marx. For more information on the summer tour, opening hours and related
artists, please visit www.aceandtate. com/summer-tour. Ace & Tate currently have a summer pop up store in Amsterdam so drop by and say hi at Van Woustraat 67. The brand is also pleased to announce the opening of their first permanent standalone store on July 3rd, which will be situated in the popular ‘nine streets’ area of Amsterdam.
Albums LA Priest
Jaakko Eino Kalevi
Before We Forgot How to Dream
Jaakko Eino Kalevi
Weird World Records
Re-emerging from a mysterious hiatus, former Late of the Pier frontman Sam Eastgate has revived his LA Priest moniker used on his 2007 project for Erol Alkan’s label. In 2015, however, LA Priest is subtler, more nuanced, more sprawling. Eastgate’s trademark frantic mischievousness is still in abundance throughout Inji’s ten diverse tracks, but it’s underpinned by more controlled, delicate arrangements. Take the fearlessly saccharin guitar solo on Oino, which reaches a pithy climax just short of becoming completely absurd. Party Zute / Learning To Love is another highlight – albeit for different reasons. Co-produced by Leon Vynehall, a driving house groove paves the way for an astonishing series of melodic phrases and switch-ups. This is a record teeming with ideas and modest homages. Vocals conjure Prince, Arthur Russell, Wild Beasts and beyond, but the execution and textured sounds beneath results in an album that is both poised and playful. By Jack Dolan
Having spent the last decade developing the unique Shangaan electro sound, this March Nozinja (real name: Richard Mthetwa) released his debut on Warp Records. His sound, however, is far from debuting. Following a successful career as the owner of a chain of phone-repair shops in his native South Africa, Mthetwa home-schooled himself in electronic music production to push the traditional sound of the Shangaan people beyond the borders of South Africa and into the global scene. His clear vision and outstanding sound have made him a familiar face in the electronic music world. On Nozinja Lodge, the fast rhythms that traditionally soundtrack Shangaan folk dance—and which can hype even the toughest crowd—are much in evidence. However, Nozinja manages to give us a more chilled version of the sound as well on songs like Vomaseve Hina. In all, Nozinja Lodge is both a welcome collection of new songs for those who have been following his movement for a while and a great introduction to those who are unfamiliar with the Shangaan electro sound. By Emma van Meyeren
Imagine being bullied in high school. Imagine having Bridie Monds-Watson, aka Soak, for a friend, writing you a song to make you feel better. Imagine this was a true story. Now take some tissues and listen to Sea Creatures. Don’t get the wrong idea: singer-songwriter Soak’s debut, Before We Forgot How to Dream, isn’t a tearjerker of an album. It is a collection of from-the-heart, lo-fi guitar songs written from a teenager’s bedroom in Derry, Northern Ireland. Admittedly that does involve sounding quite depressed at times—“C’mon c’mon, be just like me, c’mon c’mon, be a nobody”—but this album is hopeful and sweet, too. You can think of MondsWatson as the musical progeny of Kurt Vile and Ane Brun. So far so good, but Before We Forgot How to Dream would have benefitted from a lower production value. The added layers and strings are condiments Monds-Watson’s pure talent did not need—a shame, because it makes these songs about teen angst sound more cliché than they actually are. By Fay Breeman
Oh, how we love people with guts, talent and humour. Australian singer Megan Washington recently came out as a stutterer in an inspiring, honest and funny TEDx talk (which is on YouTube and perfectly suitable for 15 minutes of procrastination), during which she demonstrated how she has no difficulty at all expressing herself singing. She performed To Or Not Let Go from her sophomore album, the follow-up to I Believe You Liar (2010) which brought her success in her motherland Down Under. This new album —called There There—is a collection of personal stories told in Washington’s preferred form of vocal communication (singing, that is). The spirit is positive, the lyrics are witty (in a good way), the sound is upbeat and poppy. The subject matter, however, is quite serious: broken engagements, cheating and a catchy response to Kanye West’s Runaway (My Heart is a Wheel), which is obviously the most serious of all, as is anything concerning Kanye. In the end, Washington’s songs might be slightly too generic to really stick, but we don’t care, because she more than makes up for that in personality. By Fay Breeman
For more than a decade now, Jaakko Eino Kalevi has explored the outer reaches of his own peculiar disco tropes, having released several albums and a legion of singles on a global scale. The short but sweet Dreamzone and Yin Yang Theatre EPs arguably were his best works to date, but left an unsated hunger for more of those Finnish delicacies. The northern lo-fi pop demi-god now answers our prayers, finally delivering his self-titled full-length. It’s the former tram driver (we just had to mention that fun little fact) in his truest form, embracing easy listening without shedding the funkiness and dance-ability. It has that same quality of a forgotten ’70s classic you would find in the deepest trenches of a record store, yet still carries a contemporary freshness that will last for ever. By Sander van Dalsum
Years & Years
Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful
My Love Is Cool
When this world’s most adored (and unfortunately much-hated) bearded woman releases an album, it’s hardly surprising that she’d describe it as “colourful” and “diverse”. It’s not just sexual diversity that Conchita Wurst is referring to, however. On her self-titled debut, the drag persona of Tom Neuwirth reveals herself as a many-sided pop star. Whereas ballads like You Are Unstoppable and Pure give us the Austrian phenomenon just as we know her, Where Have All The Good Men Gone has her swinging to a big band, and Colours of Your Love builds up to an Afrojacklike EDM chorus with surprising Arabic influences. And flawless as her skin, Firestorm embodies the powerful-buttotally-predictable club anthem soon to be heard at London’s HEAVEN and Amsterdam’s NYX. In most cases, Wurst’s vocals could’ve been replaced by those of the lovely Katy Perry and all would still have made sense. But aside from her looks, it’s Wurst’s voice that makes her the first Eurovision star in years, and still manages to make her 2014 entry the ultimate track on this album. Rise! By Leendert Sonnevelt
Don’t be fooled by the innocent, wetbehind-the-ears, raw vocals of lead singer Olly Alexander: electronic trio Years & Years are here to play first fiddle! The winners of the prestigious BBC Sound of 2015 poll deliver a powerful debut, previewed by five (!!!) equally catchy singles that have already captivated many boys and girls with both their sound and their looks (if we have to believe the slightly obsessive YouTube fan comments). The self-produced and recorded debut takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, merging R&B, deep house and classic-pop to create —as they describe it—“music that you can dance and cry to”. Lyrically, Communion contains exactly what you expect from the title: an intimate conversation about love that leaves even their most uplifting songs with a slight feeling of despair. Do Years & Years win the prize for most innovative record of the year? Probably not… Do we really care? Not at all! By Daniël Heijl
Much like the cover art of his debut fulllength, In Colour showcases the many shades Jamie xx is able to ingeniously produce. Whether it’s pitch-black pop music, ethereal ballads or minimalist club constructions, the prolific Londoner knows his way around the numberless sonic grounds he boldly digs in to. One of the highlights of the album—I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)—even features Young Thug and Popcaan on a loosened-up dancehall production, which hopefully is the first of many such collabs to come. His undeniable roots in The xx aren’t left untouched, though, with Romy and Oliver Sim aiding their friend on the uplifting Loud Places and the somewhat conventional but effective Stranger In A Room. The only unsettling aspect of this collection of gems is that the tracks work great on their own but not so well as an album. Still, Jamie xx hands over what we’ve all been begging for for years: more songs. And those are always warmly welcomed. By Sander van Dalsum
Whether the talents (and looks) of a young Lana put you off or make you catch your breath, Flo Morrissey could likely care less when she hits every big festival stage this summer. Growing up as one of nine children in a London family, the songstress was exposed to all the icons—from Buckley and Cash to Dylan and Hegarty—and audibly knows her business. The 19-year-old songstress, aka “the baby doll of folk”, began playing guitar at 14 and quit school at 17 to focus on a professional music career. Recently signed to Glassnote Records (Chvrches, Mumford & Sons), she’s ready to break/lure hearts with a debut collection of songs written over the past five years. Despite involving way too much heartbreak and dreamy romance, Morrissey’s music is surprisingly timeless. “I’d like it to be ageless,” the singer-songwriter confirms. Although we wonder how much life experience could actually have gone into this record, which regularly gets too sugary, we can only imagine what happens when Morrissey’s talent truly reaches wild water. In that case, tomorrow is sure to be more than beautiful. By Leendert Sonnevelt
Hail to Wolf Alice! According to all hype machines this indie-rock sensation will save British Music and seems to be present on almost every long list in the UK (you know the ones we’re talking about). Glamcult wasn’t aware the scene needed to be rescued—and nor do we quite get the buzz. But what do we know? We just like to bang our heads to the grungy guitars, whisper along with the mellifluous voice of founder and front gal Ellie Roswell and wave our lighters at one of the many festivals the foursome will be attending this summer. It’s no secret we love hypes! It’s also not a secret we pine for the heydays of The Cranberries, Garbage and No Doubt. So… how can we not love Wolf Alice? By Joline Platje
14 18-year-old designer Vejas Kruszweski: “Fashion school would be a waste 18 of money.” Photographic duo Meinke Klein: “Collecting cool people is so much fun.” 22 Cakes Da Killa’s aggressive flow and raunchy lyrics are turning heads in underground and mainstream media alike. 26 Finally, Zhala’s debut is here to make you dance, cry, smile… 28 Sevdaliza: “Human drifts interest me more than anything.”
By Leendert Sonnevelt Photography: Katharina Poblotzki
Styling: Alison Mazur Models: Karonâ€”Boss Models NY, Eye Occupy, Kissey and Rain Love All clothing Vejas S/S15 and A/W15
In the post-apocalyptic, post-gendered atelier of designer Vejas Kruszewski, clothing is charged with a dishevelled, confident and refreshing form of sexuality. Glamcult got to know the 18-year-old whizz-kid, who recently took on New York Fashion Week with a gang of Instagram’s cutest cult kids. “Everything I do is self-taught. Fashion school would be a waste of money.” 15
Vejas “The morality of plump skin and healthy bodies, the uniformity of laid-back stances, and lips that redundantly pronounce individual lifestyle preferences.” It is this passage from The Bernadette Corporation, a prominent ’90s art and fashion collective, that shines at the top of Vejas’s official homepage. When Glamcult video chats with the Canadian designer and his New York-based partner-in-crime, Marcus Cuffie, he can’t quite recall where he got that extract from. In a digital world dictated by the constant rehashing of references, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, when The Bernadette Corporation was originally formed, Vejas himself hadn’t even seen the light. Nonetheless, the words of Bernadette van Huy et al directly apply to the young designer’s work, whose latest collection was presented on a beautifully tousled crew of diverse models, including IMG’s second trans signee, Hari Nef. Leather straps held together deconstructed silhouettes, dog tags reading “trauma” and “bonding” reflected cluttered hairdos and countless cut-outs flashed multiple skin tones. Within minutes the word was on the street, with non-mainstream media quickly taking to Instagram. Vejas grew up in Montréal, Canada. Looking back on how he became involved with fashion, he tells Glamcult: “I’ve always liked making clothes. It’s really satisfying, that’s why I do it.” Three years ago, Vejas and creative partner Marcus got in touch “through the internet”. Marcus recalls: “Vejas made something for me and travelled to New York, so I was like, I’ll come pick it up and we can hang out! Little did I know that he was 16 and I was 20… It was pretty awkward, but since that point we’ve kept the conversation going. Initially is was just Vejas making pieces—this brand was never planned!” Three years later, Vejas is making seasonal collections and the boys still work together. “It’s a constant conversation: Vejas makes the clothes, and together we work on concepts, research and finding the right vibe.” Although Vejas would like to work and live in NYC, visa issues have kept him in Canada. “That’s why I’m in Toronto now.” Officially starting his own label has forced Vejas to think professionally at an early age. In an old Q&A still floating around the internet, the designer describes “the images I consume” as his main inspiration. Today, however, that’s no longer the case. “That’s probably when we were still on Tumblr,” he laughs. “I deleted mine months ago. It’s too much like a constant stream of what’s being produced and what has been produced. It’s overwhelming!” Marcus remarks: “Seeing a lot of fashion makes it harder for Vejas to make things. You easily get caught up in trends and whatever people are into. For me, since I’m not directly making the clothes, it’s much easier to curate them rather than both of us being image-obsessed.” “I just look at the images Marcus comes up with,” Vejas
concludes with a grin. That being said, the question of what does inspire Vejas remains. “We both read a lot,” Marcus discloses. “I don’t want to say we have a theoretical background, but words and phrases are helpful. For the latest collection we very much responded to Men, Women and Chain Saws by Carol J. Clover, a feminist text that analyses the role of women in horror movies. Right now we’re trying to find a similar starting point, something that helps us kick off a new collection.” Despite theoretical influences, Vejas wouldn’t call his work political: “It’s informed by political texts and theory, but I don’t know if the work itself is political.” Marcus adds: “It can be iffy to say that your fashion is political. A lot of press embed us in a conversation that feels political, but I feel like some of that is unconscious. Clothes become political based on who wears them— you really don’t have to do that much.” According to Vejas, clothing is clothing —“but as soon as it’s on whichever body, it is imbued with meaning.” Vejas’ wearer is not a specific person or character. “For this autumn/ winter, we played with the idea of a final girl, the last one standing at the end of a horror movie. Clothing-wise, I took things that are familiar, like sweatshirt material and bomber jackets, and made them into shapes that are unfamiliar. I think there’s a bit of horror in seeing the familiar in the shape of something alien.” The way the designer plays with skin—both restricting and revealing the body—is a conscious process. “To have something covered is sexy, but you get to see a bit of what’s underneath.” Marcus jumps in: “We don’t want sexy in a way that feels dangerous to the person wearing the clothes. The sexiness is an outward energy, you should feel safe in Vejas’s clothes. Perhaps not even sexy, but charged with sexuality.” An element that ties into both the horror and the sexual is an odd sense of revolt. “Some of the dresses are short and skimpy, but they’re also repulsive. The wearer should always be in control. He or she should feel uncompromising.” Touching on his casting choices, Vejas is succinct: “All models are friends of ours.” “I think it’s more interesting to work with people in your social circle,” Marcus concurs. “There’s a sense of community when the show really comes together. These are the people that, at an early point, are buying the clothes. They should also be the ones showing them off.” Laughing: “And in New York, everyone is looking to be a model!” Despite showing during womenswear week for pragmatic reasons, Vejas’ models reflect his stance not to distinguish between genders. As Marcus notes, it has actually been advantageous that buyers sell the clothes as unisex. “There’s such a surge of knocking down that division—just look at Selfridges! I guess when you show a dress, people might still think of it as womenswear. That’s not how we think.”
In the face of being picked up by the likes of Opening Ceremony, running a brand is not easy for two (very) young adults. “That’s the most difficult part,” Vejas honestly admits. “Even when you make sales, the time lapse between what you produce and getting paid can be more than six months.” Fashion money is slow money, according to Marcus. “It’s always promised, but never comes when it’s supposed to come. You have to plan ahead. Which might be easier for designers from a wealthy family…” And of course, fashion is an image-based business, Vejas remarks: “We’re creating something that has to be desirable, but isn’t necessary. You have to make the case.” Although staying afloat is a test, it’s also a challenge. “It makes certain decisions more interesting. When you get started, you have to find creative ways around the fact you can’t make your dream collection.” Going to fashion school is certainly not the solution, if we are to believe this insolent duo. “It’s partly being smart enough to ensure that the cash flow is there. But also, it’s work ethic: you have to work seven days a week, all hours of the day. People think of fashion as harsh or mean, but when you’re young it’s really a lot more helpful than you think it is.” “I have the privilege of a financial safety net,” Vejas adds. “Everything I do is selftaught, fashion school would be a waste of money. It’s only worth it if you’re looking to get hired, rather than doing your own
thing.” Marcus elaborates: “Education can provide you with the right community, but Vejas already had that at an early age, when people became interested in his work.” The designer himself is clearly the least amused by the idea of giving up his singular course—which might very well be the reason for his youthful success. “My goal is to survive. And to exist.” www.vejaskruszewski.com
Nomadic Chess, in collaboration with Metahaven & Thomas Vermeer
By Joline Platje
Meinke Klein, the photographic duo comprising Meinke ten Have and Kees de Klein, is well-known in high-fashion circles for its super clean and slick approach to visual imagery—totally contradictory to the artists themselves, who are self-professed nerds. “People are often a bit disappointed when they meet us,” they laugh. 19
Meinke ten Have and Kees de Klein met a few years ago during the introduction days at ArtEZ art academy, dressed as a cowboy and a can-can-girl. “During this first week, you had to do all these weird things, like disguise yourself,” Ten Have explains. “With our outfits, the choice to connect with each other was made pretty quickly,” De Klein laughs. “We ended up dancing, drinking beers and living together.” A good start: the two continue to share an apartment—as BFFs, that is, not as lovers. “People always think we’re together, even though I don’t understand why,” De Klein says, thinking out loud. “Well, we see each other every day,” Ten Have suggests. “We live together, we share the smallest rooms when travelling together…” “Ah, well, maybe we are a couple after all!” De Klein jokes. The duo started working together in the third year of their studies. Ten Have
VMAN, in collaboration with Anna Trevelyan
Rollacoaster, in collaboration with Anna Trevelyan
was studying fine arts and De Klein opted for graphic design. “Photography was a course we both followed. I always wanted to do projects that I couldn’t do just by myself. And so I asked Kees to help me,” Ten Have explains. “We once turned her whole room upside-down. Nailed the bed to the ceiling!” De Klein provides us with an example. But it wasn’t until the duo shot Collection Arnhem, a joint graduation collection of the ArtEZ fashion students, that they discovered they had something good and marketable: a knack for artistic fashion photography. Starting out as a side project, they now shoot for successful international magazines and platforms, such as V Magazine, Vogue, Rollacoaster Magazine (with the lovely London stylist Anna Trevelyan) and SHOWstudio. Plus, their first solo exhibition, Empty Trash, opens this month at Amsterdam’s Replay Boardroom Gallery.
Although both occasionally work on their own projects—Ten Have is a promising conceptual photographer and De Klein works on artistic projects with the esteemed graphic design duo Metahaven—there’s hardly any time for this kind of “free” work. And together, they never work without a commission: they want their fashion work to serve a cause and they want people to see it. “We’ve come to realize that the work we make really is applied art. If someone says: ‘Here’s 20 pages, do whatever you want with them.’ We’ll say—” “—No, thank you!” Ten Have interjects. “No, thanks. But if someone comes up to us saying, ‘Here, I have a pair of swim shorts,’ we’ll say—” “—This is something we can work with!” They both laugh. It seems they love to solve problems, to work around somewhat fumbling assignments and themes. “We once got this pile of articles on cars and mountaineering. It would’ve
given other people the creeps, but it made us happy we had to be resourceful! We’re often seen as a rather nerdy duo. Not only thanks to our love of working with clumsy materials, but also in real life.” To those familiar with their work, this might sound remarkable: Meinke Klein is not known for its raw and awkward photography. Their photos usually turn out looking thought-through and highly polished—some would even call them slick. “This is one of the reasons we wanted to do the exhibition at the Replay Boardroom Gallery. We don’t usually do shows, but we feel like people have the wrong idea of our work. We’d love for people to see the creative ideas behind our glamorous photography. We don’t know how it happens, but the more down-to-earth we start, the glossier we end up!” De Klein confesses. “Of course, we make glossy pictures for glossy magazines—we all know how a
First Nasir Mazhar Campaign, in collaboration with Anna Trevelyan
Vogue photo should look. But our initial inspirations usually come from rather unexpected places. To be honest, we’re not so much into fashion ourselves. We just really like to make fashion editorials,” Ten Have explains. “We don’t take it especially seriously. We just love the fact that we can make choices that seem really shallow and that we can laugh about the idea. Fun is a requirement. We wouldn’t call our output humorous, but it’s this formula that fascinates us.” The two repeatedly name sports as a big source of inspiration. Skiing, competition diving, skating, gymnastics, surfing—athletes and subcultures influence and infiltrate their work. “We look for people that belong to a specific group,” says De Klein. “Usually, these are circles in which we don’t feel at ease, we just like to stare our eyes out there. We have no intention of documenting these scenes as they are; we like to elevate
them, make them fashionable.” “We let them play themselves. Collecting cool people is so much fun,” Ten Have chuckles. Just as much as they love their work process, they’d love to change their well-known aesthetic that results from it; the “long-leg-perspective”, as some might refer to it. “It’s not really a question of how we go about creating it; we ask ourselves how we can get rid of it, ha-ha!” De Klein exclaims. “You know, we used to have this really well-considered answer when it came to our artistic language, but nowadays we want it to take on a different form. It’s not about the legs at all. It’s about the energy in the appearance, the energy in the angle that thrills us.” Ten Have: “It’s so easy to get bored of your own style: in fashion you can’t keep repeating yourself. And we don’t want our work to keep on evolving around strange body shapes. So we’re trying to figure out how to create tension
and energy without all the crazy body language, without the heavy movements and styling. We eventually hope to get this energy out of the people we shoot, we’re pretty strict with the people we like to work with.” Not that you would notice that when encountering Meinke Klein on set. “We usually start with a severe backlog! People are often a bit disappointed when they meet us. We’re not the type to do things with grandeur: we can come across a bit inept, according to some.” Clearly, they don’t like the hysterical vibe one imagines matching a fashion set. “We sometimes get laughed at. We seriously have the shabbiest sets ever, shooting outside in the rain with a flapping plastic bag around our light. People are surprised to see a perfect sunny shoot coming out of it.” Even though it might not look impressive at first, the two are always very secure
about the outcome. “We think that our breeziness shows. We hope to show some of that in the Replay Boardroom Gallery too. With Empty Trash, we want to give people a little look behind the scenes, to give them an idea of how we communicate. Literally, we want them to have the opportunity to see emails and sketches.” Neither is scared that it will take away some of the magic. “On the contrary, it will only contribute to it. When we’re shooting we often think: ‘This is sooo inventive!’ But no one sees any of that in the end!” www.meinkeklein.nl Empty Trash is on display at the Replay Boardroom Gallery from 19 June until 28 August. Open for public every Friday from 10am to 4pm (Herengracht 280, Amsterdam).
By Emma van Meyeren Photography: Sanja Marušić—UNSPOKEN
Styling: Imruh Asha Hair and make-up: Carlos Saidel for Givenchy—House of Orange Assistant photography: Kwabena Appiah-nti Thanks to Margriet Nannings, SPRMRKT and Tenue de Nîmes
Shirt Raf Simons, trousers Commes des Garçons
With four solid mixtapes to his name, Cakes Da Killa—aka Lil BBW, Ya Man’s Wet Dream or (real name) Rashard Bradshaw—hasn’t gone unnoticed. His aggressive flow and raunchy lyrics have garnered the fresh-faced New Jersey rapper plenty of attention, and rightly so. Skilfully combining pop culture, his own experiences and underground cultures, Cakes creates a sound that’s both whimsical and heartfelt. 23
Sweater Maison Margiela
Cakes Da Killa
Earlier this year (on Valentine’s Day, no less), 24-year-old Cakes Da Killa dropped his fourth mixtape through NYC clothing brand Mishka, titled #IMF (short for In My Feelings). To those familiar with his work, it was instantly clear that the MC was exploring new territory: this is a tape about heartbreak, focused on the end of a relationship that was never meant to work (“we couldn’t make it pass the summer just the cards we was dealt…”). Having described #IMF as “a modern-day tale of star-crossed lovers from inception to resolution”, it comes as no surprise that Cakes’ latest has a clear story-line. And as naturally happens
with a subject matter close to the heart, the work has a melancholic vibe to it— although it retains his signature dominant flow and raunchy lyrics. Cakes jokingly calls it his “Adele moment”, quickly qualifying that it’s “still in the club, because I’m always in the club getting drunk.” Indeed the I Run The Fucking Club rapper wasn’t messing around when he made his mixtape: every song has a club vibe to it, reminding us that pretty much any situation can be sweated out on the dancefloor. The aggression and dominance that have defined Cakes’ work from the get-go are often characterized as exclusively “male”—and, specifically,
exclusively “straight male”—traits. Case in point: when Cakes made an appearance on the notorious radio show Ebro in the Morning, presenters Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg couldn’t hide their surprise that they could vibe out to a song made by a—gasp!—gay man. “It’s corny, and funny because I’m just who I am,” says Cakes of the incident. “But a lot of people assume that all gays are one type of way.” Which is precisely why it’s both reductive and inaccurate to place Cakes in some sort of “gay rap scene”. Cakes recognizes that this is part of a wider struggle for marginalised groups—“femcees, female or black painters, you don’t do that…
it’s all corny”. In essence, of course, labels say nothing about a person’s work, be they male, female, gay, straight, transgender, black or white. In the hip-hop scene, Le1f already proved that, as did Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim. It’s been obvious, in fact, ever since Roxanne Shanté hit the stage—way back in ’84… Cakes is well aware of discussions regarding his work in relation to his sexuality: “That’s just straight people and I’m used to that,” he expands on the Ebro in the Morning incident. “Even though people put me in this gay world, when I first started making music I wasn’t in gay clubs, I was in straight clubs. I’m used to that. Growing up I had a lot of straight
Shirt Levi’s Vintage Clothing, trousers Acne Studios
Cakes Da Killa
friends and got asked a lot of dumb questions, like, ‘Are you the girl or are you the boy?’ It’s stupid shit but I don’t get offended because I know the world is a lot bigger than ‘just’ gay people.” Cakes is not here to educate you; he is not here to be The Gay Rapper: “I’m not trying to change how people feel about anything. I just do what I do and if you like it, you like it; and if you don’t, you don’t. But I’m always going to do what I do.” And doing what he does means making solid rap songs, telling the stories of his life and connecting to his listeners. He’s the kind of lyrical talent that combines puns, wit and interesting references with a high level of relatability.
The influences of border-crossing artists like Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj are easily recognizable in Cakes’ work, so it comes as no surprise that his dream collaboration would involve Nicks—“I fuck with Nicki a lot.”—and nor would he pass up the chance to work with Tink and Azealia Banks. But there are other influences at work. When you hear a classic vogue sample on the beat of Fuck Ya Boyfriend, you won’t be surprised to hear that Cakes is the latest (and last) addition to Qween Beat, a new label founded by ballroom/vogue God MikeQ. “MikeQ put us all together to make a release like a family. We’re all working on a joint album right now.
I have a lot of respect for everyone in Qween Beat, we’re working with a lot of really talented producers and vocalists and commentators.” Although the collective’s output is still under wraps, live previews from MikeQ and Cakes Da Killa’s 2 Cunts 1 Whip tour and MikeQ and Divoli S’vere’s RBMA Radio’s show promise good things to come. Although Cakes has, deservedly, had his fair share of media attention this past year, mainstream success is not yet calling. But his confidence about what’s to come is characteristic of the way Cakes goes about life. He often mentions his student loans as the reason he works so hard—“I have to
pay these bills off!”—but of course, there’s plenty more to it. “I’m also at a point in my career where I want more. And I think I deserve more, I work hard, it’s for me.” We think he deserves more, too—and we don’t doubt he’ll get it. www.cakesdakilla.com
By Emma van Meyeren Photography: Märta Tisner
Zhala Cosmic pop singer Zhala was the first artist to sign to Swedish sensation Robyn’s Konichiwa Records in its nine-year history— high praise indeed. Three years later, her debut is here to make you dance, cry, smile… and find comfort.
She’s done back-up vocals for the likes of Lykke Li and opened for Robyn—but don’t mistake born-and-raised Stockholm singer Zhala for her compatriots: this is not your average “Scandi-pop princess” sound. Zhala herself has dubbed her music “cosmic pop” and “religious rave” in the past—“it’s realism mixed with fantasy,” she says. This dualism is reflected perfectly in the glitter and rhinestone infused video for her single Holy Bubbles, where her fascination with pop culture is blended seamlessly with other influences, including her Kurdish background. But don’t mistake Zhala’s diverse interests for a perversion or parody: she’s quick to point out that Fader’s interpretation of her video as a “parody of celebrity excess” couldn’t be more wrong: “It makes them see it really black and white. Like, you’re either into celebrity culture or you’re not. I honestly feel inspired by Kim Kardashian… I don’t understand why other people think I’m doing a parody when I’m just being me. I’ve
always been obsessed with pop culture.” Perhaps it’s because the “me” in Zhala’s music seems such a multidimensional entity—Kurdish Muslim, Kim Kardashian fan, pop diva: the diversity of her influences is always evident. Making her eponymous debut was far from an overnight process: “It’s been circling around in my head for ages. So it’s kind of like a tweaked version of my album, or the work I would make if I were ten years old again.” Growing up, Zhala listened to the kinds of music we now hear in her own sound: “I grew up with a lot of Middle Eastern music but I also grew up with MTV and popular culture.” The many religious references in her work—like her first EP’s title, Prophet— come from her Muslim background. “I sing about God and stuff like that because I grew up believing in God until I was 20, so it’s been a big part of how I think and how I see stuff.” Ultimately, Zhala’s debut isn’t a snapshot; it’s more like an overview, drawing heavily from
her background. “I was born here in Stockholm, but no one else in my family was,” she says. “And I think I made decisions on purpose to keep my background in the album, and not to have to compromise in my music. I try to keep it me, you know?” Drawing from all these experiences, it’s perhaps not surprising that Zhala sounds something like a compilation album: “I wanted all the songs to be different from each other, so you could be, like, ‘Now there’s a rave song and now there’s a ballad.’ I had that in mind. Show time!” No wonder it took a while to write—and after the writing was done, it also took a while to come out: the album has been pretty much finished for two years, except for some minor tweaks. The feelings and thoughts behind it have evolved in the meantime, Zhala explains: “Your emotions grow, that’s a super positive thing!” The first song, I’m In Love, was originally written for a lover who’s far in the past now, meanwhile,
Zhala is ready for the next step: “I want to do new stuff. And I’m already there in my head; I started the process. I’m in the beginning of the next phase or next album.” For now, a European tour is the first thing on her agenda. Zhala’s live performances, which she famously begins by spraying rose water into the audience to spread positive energy, will definitely add another layer to the work. As someone who has a clear view of who she is and what she wants her art to be, Zhala is very involved in every part of her music, from sounds to visuals. One of those people who were born to express themselves in this way, when asked what she would be doing if she weren’t singing she answers with: “I would die!”—before conceding that a career as a go-go dancer would work for her too. Something tells us she won’t be needing to resort to plan B any time soon… www.zhalazhala.com
A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise 2015 Låpsley
The ultimate Lowlands experience in words? When pigs can fly… Since 1993, this annual Dutch ‘camping flight’, aka three-day music festival, has explored the more experimental regions of art and (pop) music. And despite having grown up, now being villagesized, Lowlands still offers a rich selection of boundary pushers and crossovers. Get to know our favourites here, pack your tepee and kiss the sky!
Producer and songstress in silence Eighteen-year-old producer and songstress Holly Fletcher, better known by her stage name Låpsley, is taking the music world by storm with her ambient electronica. The Liverpool native accompanies her minimally designed electronic beats with beautiful and pure vocals, her songs combining powerful silences with heavy beats and a gripping bass. 2014 saw her signed to XL Recordings (the label of choice for FKA twigs and The xx) and her first EP got some 500,000 listens on SoundCloud. This is your perfect soundtrack for a hung-over day or a moment’s peace.
Shura Light electro-pop The English/Russian Shura’s electro-pop sometimes seems to come straight from the smoothest years of the New Jack Nineties—but don’t be fooled. It can happen to the best of us: upon first listen, Shura seems to be calling the holy ghosts of Madonna and Janet Jackson to the Lowlands Paradise. But in her live performances, new depths are revealed: Aleksandra Denton is a real music nerd. Her songs are carefully built up from synths, beats and field samples. Fully independent and hands-on, just like how she taught herself to produce; by watching YouTube videos during her night shifts in a control room. Current and timeless, let Shura recall the holy ghosts of the past!
Shamir Vegas dance-pop Still smitten by that ’90s nostalgia? Let Shamir Bailey take you back. Together with producer Nick Sylvester, this former indie-pop darling from Las Vegas throws bits and pieces of hip hop, pop, R&B and ’90s house into his musical blender. The super-smooth results are served with sunshine, dancing shoes, a fabulous smile and magnificent falsetto voice. That’s not all either: Shamir also dares to take on ballads and country covers, including Lindi Ortega’s moody Lived and Died Alone. Way before his debut album, Ratchet, came out last month, Shamir had his flight to Lowlands in the bag. Checking in to the ’90s now!
Years & Years Soulful London synth-pop trio What does the fact that Years & Years topped the BBC Sound of 2015 longlist mean? Well, pretty much everything if you know that earlier editions of this annual poll have brought forth such illustrious winners as 50 Cent, Mika, Adele and Sam Smith— to name but a few. Years & Years makes it look effortless and fun to bring varying musical processes and inspirations together. Their openness to diverse genres and various pop projects is a direct result of their musical alchemy, which shows on stage and sees them well on their path to selling out stadiums. The sophisticated combination of übercatchy synth-pop and rubber vocals is fresh and irresistible, with a pinch of Nineties R&B and a melancholic undertone as the icing on the cake. It’s on, Lowlands!
Seinabo Sey Soul-pop princess Big soul the way big soul was meant to be—only with the standard beats replaced with electronic ones. Swedish-Gambian songstress Seinabo Sey scored a mega-hit with the remix of her single Younger by the Norwegian DJ Kygo. As the daughter of renowned musician Maudo Sey, a career as a musician might have always been in the stars for Seinabo, but her mature voice and amazing control make her poetic pop sound like soulful electronic art. Next to her bangers, she’s also shown her slower-paced solo work is more than worth a listen.
Kendrick Lamar Now everybody serenade the new faith of Kendrick Lamar Following in the footsteps of The Game, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, K-dot shows there are still new levels to the music coming straight out of Compton. It’s no coincidence that Lowlands invited him to the Grolsch stage two years ago, after the success of his debut Good Kid M.A.A.D City. Hit after hit was unfortunately not enough to secure the 2012 Grammy for which he was nominated—a decision that flew in the face of public opinion, to say the least. His stream of chart-topping songs and platinum sales, however, show how the people really feel about him. His latest album, King Kunta, hasn’t disappointed, demonstrating just how much he’s able to grow as an artist. The bar has been set incredibly high for this, his second Lowlands performance.
Line-up Lowlands offers a large selection of alternative music, dance, theatre, film, stand-up comedy, visual arts, literature, science and street performances. In addition to the above-mentioned, at press time Lowlands had also confirmed the following acts on the line-up: Âme (live), Ben Howard, Ben Khan, Boys Noize b2b Baauer, Caribou, Christine and the Queens, Courtney Barnett, De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, De Sluwe Vos, Django Django, DJ Slow, DJ Tennis, Dollkraut (live), Dusky, Father John Misty, Formation, Four Tet, Hot Chip, Howling (live), Hudson Mohawke (live), Interpol, Jacco Gardner, James Bay, Joey Bada$$, Karenn (live), La Roux, Low Roar, Major Lazer, Marcel Dettmann, Mark Ronsson (DJ-set), Max Cooper presents Emergence, Mini Mansions, MØ, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Paolo Nutini, Passenger, Pauw, Rico & Sticks #OpgezwolleTotNu, Rondé, Rudimental, Sango, SBTRKT, Slaves, Tame Impala, The Chemical Brothers, The Maccabees, The Mysterons, Todd Terje &
The Olsens, Tourist, Tove Lo, Tsepo, Underworld, What So Not and many more... Lowlands takes place on 21, 22 and 23 August at the Walibi Holland grounds in Biddinghuizen. The official websites to get your tickets are lowlands.nl and ticketmaster.nl. Please, don’t buy yours outside the official sales channels! A regular ticket for the three-days festival, including camping and bus ride from the train station, costs €195 (€10 service cost included). Holders of a CJP pass get a €10 discount and only pay €185 (€10 service cost included) For updates on the line-up and more information, please check the website www.lowlands.nl
By Joline Platje Photography: Carlijn Jacobs
Sevdaliza Dutch entertainer, Caspian siren, suspended kid, dream: Sevdaliza is everything you want her to be. Glamcult believes she’s all of the above as well as one of the Netherlands’ biggest musical promises. “I hope to be able to create to my fullest capacity as long as I live.”
Who’s Sevdaliza? I’m still trying to figure that out! Your SoundCloud states you’re everything we want you to be. Yes, it’s completely up to you. Everyone is what they’re perceived to be by others. I love to play with those suggestive spaces and leave some room for imagination in the creative output. It keeps things interesting. Your EP is titled The Suspended Kid, referring to your naughty and assertive character as a child. Do you still like to rebel? I used to have this idea that you needed to conform and be this massproduced being in order to be noticed or to be a part of something. The truth of the matter is that authenticity does not conform, so for me it’s not about rebelling. In an ideal state of being, I am not bound by or in accordance with any conventional way of thinking.
Born in Teheran, you moved to Rotterdam at a young age. Are both cities represented in your music? I haven’t spent enough time as an adult in Teheran. Rotterdam breathes a sober mentality and rawness. So yeah, maybe that has influenced me… I do feel that my state of mind and therefore what I create is shaped by my surroundings, but mostly that comes out of a virtual world. By creating a virtual universe you can simulate an identity that can hardly be distinguished from reality. Ultimately, I find that even more fascinating. Do you feel you inherited your poetic skills from your family? I think so. My grandfather was a famous Persian poet. You started out as a Dutch rapper—you even released a single called Delfts Blauw (Delftware). How do you feel looking back at your first musical episode?
I see it as a public try-out. And therefore non-existent. Your music videos seem very mysterious and sexual—just like your music, really. Would you agree, and if so, from where does this drive stem? Human drifts interest me more than anything. The way that social acceptance and conformity push us into classifying these drifts as good or bad. The ability we create, as well-behaved, well-spoken humans, to destroy by the ways we have been taught to restrict ourselves. Acting against our nature. To me, that’s beyond interesting. I could go on about this for ever. You once said you started your music career because you were destined for greater things, you wanted more success. What’s the ultimate dream for Sevdaliza? I don’t know where I stated this, but success or greater things are just a
small part of my motivation. I just hope to be able to create to my fullest capacity as long as I live. Your single Backseat Love was used by DKNY on the runway for their A/W15 show. What’s your connection to the fashion world? That was incredible. I feel it’s another form of expression I’m really attracted to. I love creatives that tell their story without being afraid to not conform to public opinion. When can we expect new output from Sevdaliza? Very soon, there will be a lot more to come this year. I’ve been creating with some amazing people like Mucky, Zahra Reijs and Pussykrew—but I can’t mention it all at this point… www.sevdaliza.tumblr.com
Left Bathing suit Faustine Steinmetz, ring Annina Vogel via Selfridges Right Ring and necklace Annina Vogel via Selfridges
Left Dress Marquesâ€™ Almeida, earrings and bangles Annina Vogel via Selfridges Right Dress Anders Haal, sunglasses Linda Farrow, earring and rings Annina Vogel via Selfridges
Top and trousers Meadham Kirchhoff, rings Annina Vogel via Selfridges
Left Skirt Ashley Williams, bangles and rings Annina Vogel via Selfridges Right Top Anders Haal, trousers Marquesâ€™ Almeida, earrings Annina Vogel via Selfridges
Photography: Maxwell Tomlinson Styling: Lu Philippe Guilmette Hair: Shiori Takahashi Make-up: Jessica Taylor using MAC Cosmetics Model: Louise Mikkelsenâ€”SUPA Models Assistant photography: Rory Cole Assistant styling: Grace Alexander
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Vault by Vans x Takashi Murakami
With a mutual admiration and shared desire for creative expression, the action-sports brand Vans and Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami got together to present a deluxe, limited-edition range of footwear, apparel and skate decks through Vans’ premium label, Vault by Vans. World renowned for his vibrant paintings and stunning sculptures, Murakami’s anime-inspired aesthetic blurs the line between high and low arts. His “Superflat” form—which has amazed artistic minds across the globe—is perfectly demonstrated in this collaboration. For art lovers, this collab might not come as a surprise: Vans have been the artist’s favourite shoes for the past ten-plus years. “Without exaggeration, I wear Vans Slip-Ons almost every single day,” says Murakami. “For me, there are no other shoes that are so comfortably wearable that let me focus on producing my artwork.” The Vault by Vans x Takashi Murakami collection will be released at select boutique retailers in late June. For more information on this special project, visit www.vans.com/murakami and join the conversation by using the #VansxMurakami hashtag on social networks.