In this first issue of Melt, three friends all creating work to be envious of tell us how they find inspiration, motivation and the places they are living now. This zine project couldnâ€™t have started with features on any people more deserving of celebration because of what they are doing in their practises and because of the good people they are. Mild High Club, the music project of Alex Brettin, features with scribbles and answers that took a lot of consideration for a short final output, which is definitely something to be seen and laughed with. The collaged illustrations are from Kingston University student James Digweed, and many more big things are expected from him.
My intention for Melt is to celebrate creative freedom with an exploration into the different spectrums of freedom people find in any creative practise. Spotlighting the work creatives make from internal motivations and celebrating how being creative in any sense provides freedom from having to work a job you hate, work out a relationship youâ€™re uncomfortable in, being angry about the meat industry or anything else in the world people want to escape from - whether its from recording songs in a bedroom or painting canvases in a studio, Melt is documenting these outlets both big and small. Freedom can have a few different definitions, itâ€™s being used here to see how anyone can find it, whether its for a minute or a lifetime, in creating stuff.
Melt is finding out how people are making time to make creative work for themselves, with and for others and seeing how they find a place in the world. Itâ€™s a platform to show the work and words from creative people, with aspirations of helping anyone confused or struggling to find a place for themselves, as they see how others attempt to fit in. Melt is a collaborative zine which asks what creative freedom means to the people featured, with interviews that ask the interviewees to scribble answers and doodle whatever they want over page layouts and images of themselves and their work.
Illustrations in this issue come from master shredder, James Digweed
Rowan has pet sea monkeys, spends most of his time painting anything from ducks to aliens, playing guitar and watching stuff on his projector. His shoe size is 8 and heâ€™s going to be painting for a long time as he couldnâ€™t think of many other things he enjoys doing as much. After creating over 150 canvases in the past year, he has been busy producing works that could fill up a few exhibition spaces on his own. Every visitor to his show would leave with happy eyes after seeing his paintings that contrast aggressive marks and humour, with both dark and happy imagery created by line and dirty textures.
Illustrations by James Digweed
Tom Knights is a noise enthusiast living in Brighton, making music under the name Obsess and with his newly formed band Lunar Quiet. Their first releases and gigs are expected in the next month and anyone lucky enough to find out about them have reasons to be excited. Frying burgers to make money and making music in his bedroom everyday. You can find a few of the solo songs he feels happy to share, shortlisted out of thousands heâ€™s considered not good enough, on his soundcloud. soundcloud.com/obsess15 www.facebook.com/obsess15 soundcloud.com/lunarquiet www.facebook.com/LunarQuiet
Album artwork for Obsess - She Popped my bubble
Tom in his bedroom/den/workspace
Jack Johnson became an unexpected hero and inspiration on my life in the summer of 2015. I listened to his music every morning for a week and it showed me the light. Waking up to a happy soundtrack each morning prepared me for the day ahead, and his easy beachy vibes made sure I had a smile on my face before I left the house. I can admit to being guilty of passing his music off years ago, as anyone with a guitar pedal or screaming vocals obviously made music with more of an edge. My favourite tastes couldn’t have been further away from his laid-back, acoustic sounds, but after that week I realised it wasn’t just his self-described (and used as an insult by fools) “BBQ music” that made him a dude, loved worldwide. It was the fact that he was making music which just promoted happiness, he was literally living the dream of making it through his music, and he was
spreading positive messages and feelings to everyone who ‘got’ what the Johnson was doing. Like Eddie Vedder, I realised “what he’s doing is real.” So not only has he been able to play his songs and sell out shows worldwide, he’s followed his dreams and should be an inspiration to the world as a genuinely good, Peter Parker style, guy. He’s been interviewed so much about surfing as he’s known to have been of a championship level, has made surf films and if it wasn’t for his love and troubles in it, he wouldn’t have been as successful as he is today. After an accident involving a coral reef in a championship surfing contest meant that he lost his front teeth and chances of becoming a professional surfer, his soundtracks for his debut surf film got the attention of record labels and kick started his career in music. With his friend pretending to be his manager, he signed a contract and
released a platinum selling debut album named Bushfire Fairytales. The album artwork depicts the Johnson smiling in the rain, as if any bad thing could bounce off him.
Vedder described his music and inspirations with awe. “You can go down the list of great artists and kind of understand that they are products of their environment. Whether it’s U2 or Henry Rollins or myself or Johnny Lydon, they’re gonna be products of their environment. Seeing Jack, and seeing the other Hawaiian musicians that he plays with and supports, you witness the connection of the music that he makes and how he grew up. It’s his connection with the planet, his connection with nature, his connection with the ocean, his connection with family, and it all comes through in the music. That atmosphere is real. It’s not like he’s fighting demons, and it’s not an act he puts on.” There’s an excellent article about his life achievements in Music for good, in which they interviewed him about his use of touring to raise concerns about the environment. “Growing up [in Hawaii] I had a profound love for the natural world and the environment and the ocean,” Johnson tells Music for Good. “As I got older, I found myself in this position [as a musician] where I suddenly had the ability to gather lots of people at once.”
He used this following to promote methods of helping the world, made sure that his impacts on the environment were as low as possible and gave 100% of his tour earnings to non-profit organisations in local communities, nationwide. His shows featured on local news as he gathered rallies of charities to promote what they do, inspired crowds to cycle instead of drive to reduce emissions and bring reusable bottles to reduce plastic waste. His talent brings people together and connects audiences to organisations for positive change. With his wife and team of people helping organise and promote good messages at his own shows, he also went on to start his own festival (Kokoa Festival) in Hawaii which raised funds for his Kokua Hawaii Foundation which provides help for environmental, good health and nutrition education in schools. Johnson has been named United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for his environmental work, is continuing to raise awareness and money for good organisations and will go down in history in the club of the nicest people to walk the planet. He finished his interview with Music for Good aiming to inspire more musicians and fans: “No matter what the size of the show, you have a platform. Even if it’s just a show at a restaurant for an organization like the Surfrider Foundation, you can use music to bring people together and discuss ideas. You can get a non-profit to have a table [at your shows]. Even if only one table will fit, you can always find a way to shine a spotlight!” Jack Johnson has achieved the things many of us dream to achieve, and his influence on the world is celebrated in the name of melt Johnson and in what we want to do. His use of his celebrated music as a platform to spread positive messages of environmentalism inspires us in ethos, and we invite our followers to learn with us about the good things that are done in environmental concerned art, music and news. Kyle O’Donnell
Jack Johnson my hero
Paintings by Rowan Stevens
Katia Ganfield has already got a sweet portfolio together with a growing collection of music videos, some of her own experimental films and commercial stuff for Dazed. She’s currently making a documentary on one of the UK’s most exciting bands renowned for their mad live performances and after moving from Brighton to London, she’s going strong with her own practice as she’s also about to finish her degree. With producing music videos for bands like Demob Happy and Kagoule, her work is starting to grow with the bands that are being discovered and listened to more. Check out her new film project No Tape Inside, an ongoing collection of experimental shorts that are inverting subject and object to encourage mental engagement, in her home of Hackney Wick and towns across the UK. She chose to throw paint all over her questions, answers and photographs of her work featured in this issue, with the ethos that mystery is always a good thing.
Mild High Club is the band conducted by Alexander Brettin. Currently touring the world with his dreamytrippy-surf-groove collection of songs, 12 string guitar and funky glasses, he’s definitely not someone to be missed seeing live. (He’s also currently looking for places to stay in exchange of being on guest lists as the tour comes to an end.) His first album Timeline has been listened to across the globe and you can see how it’s being picked up with his strange and well executed videos. Timeline drifts through its psychedelic songlist with phase effects, rifts and melodies to keep you smiling, finishing with The Chat - a song satirising online dating. This seems to be a shared theme in his self directed video for Undeniable which features Tinder dating spirits with a VHS feel. facebook.com/themildhighclub soundcloud.com/mild-high-club
Katia’s approach to dealing with money issues is one we can all try to adopt so we can just get on with what we want to do, right?
“No matter what the size of the show, you have a platform. “ “Even if it’s just a show at a restaurant for an
organization, you can use music to bring people together and discuss ideas. You can get a nonprofit to have a table [at your shows]. Even if only one table will fit, you can always find a way to shine a spotlight.”
Alex Brettin has found the answer and is keeping it a secret.
Tom seems to have conflicting thoughts about Brighton, and accidentally wrote lonely twice, but knows he will continue writing songs whenever he can.
Finally, everyone shared the same thoughts to Rowan as seen in this finishing paragraph. Each person interviewed knew that, whatever the circumstances, creating things for themselves happens naturally and they will always make time for it.
Photo of Maui performing at Melt 01, by Mohammed Patel Check out the rest of the gig on the meltjohnson youtube channel
Next issue we interview Alex G