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quint magazine | issue 12 | January - February 2012 | complimentary

MARCH 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 2012

The first international design fair for collectible, limited edition furniture and objects in the Middle East.

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6 Our Note 7 Contributor Highlights 8 News & Products 12 14 28 44 46

Design On Art & The Devil Featured Designer - Joel Benjamin Featured Designer - Jeff Finley Design Profile - Vikram Divecha Featured Artist - Sundus Abdul Hadi

Photography 56 Featured Photographer - Marcus Maschwitz 74 Featured Photographer - Eric Anderson Film & Theater 86 Who Walks the Line between Ray... 88 Top Ten Music Films 92 Film Profile - Tala Al-Khudhairi 94 106 112 114 116

Fashion & Beauty Band Tease Moist Beauty Story Sneakers of the Month A Few Notes on Sneaker Culture and History Bringing Sole to DXB

122 124 126 128 130 132 134 138 140 142

Music Bunty Looping Grand Hotel Paradox The Story of the Muse & the Music What Wud Jay Do? Understanding Aceh Where You Watch Your Life From My Favorite Records of 2011 Hit the Breaks Deep Crates - Sampled to Death! Mixtape - quint Sneaky Sneaker Selektion

Literature 144 Of Unicorns and Songwriting 145 February 24 146 Reading List 148 150 152 156

Events Sade in Abu Dhabi Punk and Grunge at Metal Asylum Coldplay Event Listings

158 Last Call

OUR NOTE First and foremost we wish you all a very Happy New Year! We hope that you all enjoyed your celebrations and aren’t too bummed out after failing those lofty resolutions only a few weeks into the new year (we kid, we kid). We are very happy to present to you our very first themed issue. As we toyed with the idea of dedicating a whole issue to one topic, it was pretty much clear from the start that it would be music. Now here is where I try and get philosophical. Music isn’t just noise coming out of speakers or emitting from instruments. It’s not just a career or a hobby. It goes so much further, and gives us so much more than just entertainment. Ok so, I’m not going to try and get into how music is everything, and it’s in and all around us, even though it is. Instead, I’ll let you delve in and discover for yourself how music is so inextricably embedded into everything we do as professionals, artists, and human beings. We have featured artists from every corner of the world who live and breathe the art of music in everything they do. We’ve picked out our 2011 favourite albums, local musicians, and fashion. And all that is present in this issue will surely convince you that no matter where you’re from, or how old you are, or whatever you fill your days with, more than likely there’s a song to go along with it. So, take a moment to find the perfect soundtrack to accompany you through this issue, sit back, lay down, curl up, (or whatever it is that you do), and read. *And remember kids, if you feel inspired to lend us your own words, drop us an electronic mail, telephone call, or even visit us in person (!!) so we can talk about how your picture can be among the glorious faces to your right.

quint magazine | issue 12 | January - February 2012 Editor in Chief Zaina Shreidi Creative Director Gyula Deák Business Development Manager James De Valera Designer: Ritu Arya Editor: Gayathri Krishnan Fashion Editor: Pratha Samyrajah Photographers: Saty+Pratha, Tiffany Allen Contributors Prank Moody, David Webb, Mohamed El Amin,Fares Bou Nassif, Siham Salloum, Trainer Timmy, Ryan Bryle, Samar Alkhudhairi, Ross Gardiner, Balazs Magyar, James De Valera, Gayathri Krishnan, Dana Dajani This production and its entire contents are protected by copyright. No use or reprint (including disclosure) may be made of all or any part of this publication in any manner or form whatsoever without the prior written consent of quint. Views expressed in quint magazine do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editors or parent company. quint is published by and a trademark of quint FZ LLC. Circulation: 10,000 Printed by: EMIRATES PRINTING PRESS

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Yours ever so truly (madly, deeply),


Contact Advertising quint HQ Suite 306, Tiffany Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers Dubai, UAE T: +971 4 447 5354







Mohamed El Amin is a grumpy 60yr old man trapped in the body of a 25yr old boy. Moe spends his time split between fantasizing about Captain America’s golden locks, Batman’s dreamy blue eyes, and cursing his future self for not sending his younger self a time machine so he could finally bugger off to Greenwich Village to hang out on 42nd street, and listen to Bob Dylan.

A food writer, an active blogger, a recent tweeter and a restaurant nitpicker - This adrenaline junkie and challenge scavenger graduated from one of Paris’ notorious culinary schools and forged through a slavery contract for the kitchen of a Michelin Star. She authored the blog thekitchenslave., and as a corporate citizen, continues to market the culinary arts during the daytime.

Ross Gardiner is a fiction and humor writer from the Highlands of Scotland. Born in 1987 he lived in Scotland until 2008, when he decided to move east to Seoul, South Korea. He has travelled extensively around various parts of the world, carrying a keyboard, a coffee and a carton of smokes. Oh and he’s not on Facebook. You can find out more about his views on the topic on YouTube.




Fares writes so that he can stop itching to write, so that he can have something to look back to that reminds him of the path he took, the way things change. Spitting out little letters in a carefully designed process that culminates in a cacophony of words that could possibly create a symphony while maintaining the utter simplicity necessary for the youngest minds to enjoy.

A connoisseur in all matters of extreme music and angry chants, David enjoys spending his days destroying his eardrums with a whole dizzying array of musical delights. When not listening to music, he can usually be found prowling London town for good times and fun people. Often though, he’ll be listening and dissecting music. A proud believer that there is no such thing as bad music, his musical critic career will surely nosedive. Only time will tell.

The lovechild of Radiohead, Nitin Sawhney & Bjork, singer, songwriter, Gayathri is a recognized name and personality in local music circuits.




Tim Hassall is a singer-songwriter who likes to travel. If he can find the time he also likes to camp, surf, fish, and explore the great outdoors.

Saty + Pratha: Saty Namvar and Pratha Samyrajah are photographers based in London. They work primarily in the fields of fashion and advertising, but have a great affinity for documentary photography. They are curious about the way people live their lives, are generally optimistic, and try never to turn down travel-related work.

Imported intern. Working on a degree that specifies in studying humans and their consciousness. She also studies art and holds a long term serious relationship with her nikon. Soon to graduate she came for some experiential education on this side of the world to broaden her horizons.

And sometimes, occasionally, some of what he writes looks like it’s something someone else might want to know about.

Her music effortlessly melds cultures, underpinning them all with her rich, soulful vocals and heartfelt lyricism. Raised in Dubai, a nexus of cultures, ideas and sounds, Gayathri also contributes to dailies and magazines in the region as a Writer/Editor. For more on her creative projects check out

news&products Kasabian Concert in Dubai The multi award-winning English band notable for massive hit singles such as ‘Empire’ and ‘Fire’ is scheduled to play at The Sevens Stadium on February 10. Having recently played some amazing festival sets in Europe this summer in support of their critically acclaimed new album, ‘Velociprator!’ Kasabian is now set on conquering the Middle East. And having been around for more than a decade, the band has established itself as one of the most highly anticipated live spectacle around; proving that cool music can indeed be popular at the same time.

Santigold Titles Sophomore Album American singer and producer Santigold has officially named her long awaited second album the ‘Master of My Make Believe.’ The artist (formerly known as Santogold), made huge waves and received intense media attention in 2008 with her debut album which conceived the breakthrough songs ‘L.E.S. Artistes’ and ‘Creator.’ She’s been laying low for a while until the song ‘Go’ surfaced late last year where she collaborated with fellow music femme-fatale Karen O From the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. If the song is anything to go by, critics are assuming a brittle and brilliant brawler of an album.

RIP Lookout Records (1987-2012) It seems that after 24 years Lookout Records has officially called it quits. The news of Lookout’s demise come from a blog post that Ted Leo posted in regards to his back catalogue no longer being available online digitally. Lookout Records was known for putting out Green Day’s early releases as well as releases by Screeching Weasel, Operation Ivy, and several others. For several years Lookout has faced financial trouble after losing the rights to several releases, most notably the early Green Day catalogue. Sad to see them go!

Grand Hotel Paradox Announces New Record The Dubai based three-piece punk band responsible for last year’s significant release of “First World Problems” EP and the subsequent single “Louder Than Lyrics” online is now ready to serve up another offering. Having toured South East Asia and back, the group is now on the works with new material. Prepped up for the month of May, the yet to be named album is currently in the process for a physical release.


Hamdan’s Music Video for Falling The unstoppable local act Hamdan Al Abri, who has been on a roll playing countless events all over the Emirates and even opening for international household name Sade last December, is keeping the momentum up by announcing a music video for his upcoming single ‘Falling’ out of his eponymous EP. The singer-songwriter took to his official Facebook page to share the imminent news. Stay tuned discerning desert dwellers!

DRUMSTICK PENCILS There have been a lot of musically related collaborations throughout the years that left us surprised and then dumbfounded (remember the Eminem + Elton John affair?). Well prepare for another unlikely ‘mashup’ that came to being. This here is a drumstick and, AND, wait for it.. an actual functioning pencil. So I don’t know how convenient or useful this will be but write me amused!

COOL JAZZ ICE CUBES We all know that one (or more) person that just loves proclaiming to the world that they adore music every chance they get. Well now you know what to get them for their next birthday to jazz things up. Nothing says my life’s dedicated to music louder than stirring drinks with frozen miniature guitars. So very on-the-rocks n roll!!

Are you a guitarist? Tired of the generic and quite boring picks they sell these days? Do you have old gift cards, ids, and credit cards lying around and don’t know what to do with them? Well this here is the solution for all your tormenting musician woes. Punch away to your heart’s desire and be rewarded with a bunch of unique diy strummers. Plus I’m sure this is quite a stress reliever too. WHAM!


ROCKSTAR FINGER DRUMS Complete with a bass drum kick and cymbal, this desktop drum kit has both a record and a freestyle function- the perfect gift for any drummer, talented or OTHERWISE (what say you?). Not only does it provide a great way to exercise your fingers, you can turn yourself into a superstar drummer without leaving your desk. This may sound a bit ludicrous but nothing is impossible (nor too absurd), right? Besides it’s an itsy bitsy drum set, it’ll look cute on your work table, you rockstar. B000SA2QHM

SPOTIFY SUBSCRIPTION Now you can get a Spotify subscription for only $9.99. Speaking of more than you ever knew you wanted, get the music lover in your life a Spotify subscription so they can listen to like every Van Morrison album in a row and make playlists about their favorite rap songs featuring harmonica from 1985—without being interrupted by ads.

SYNTHESIZER APP STEREO VINYL CRUISER Skateboarding, music, and fun - these are the 3 wonderful things that inspired the creation of these rad pavement gliders. With its eye catching design, loud colours, and details that resemble a vinyl, these skateboards have gained themselves proper street cred in just under two decades of existence. I just wish they actually were capable of playing my favorite vinyl day, someday... But for now, I guess it’s the thoughtful tribute that counts.

In this day and age of fruit named gadgets, you can pretty much do anything. If you have one of them Apple tablets at hand, now is your chance to be an awesome maverick music producer of some. 76 Synthesizer is a virtual analog monophonic synth for the iPad. Inspired by synthesizers from the 70’s, the 76 Synthesizer combines playability with style for making that electro choon you know you have always been capable of making - with just a tap of your fingertip. Easy peasy really.

news&products find them in

Marley TTR Headphones

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

It’s always nice when that rare occasion comes by in which a balance is met between technology and environmental awareness. These headphones, which spurred through Bob Marley’s ideals and principles centered on love of people and love of the earth, is a prime example of such convictions. For all the audiophiles who do not compromise with their sound quality, do not fret. The product promises that the culmination of natural eco-friendly materials and technology produces an intimate, authentic sound that satisfies. And for an added feel-good bonus – for every product purchased, a portion of your money goes to the 1Love causes that focus on charities benefiting youth, planet, and peace. Make mother music proud.

A true tale of women during the Taliban regime. The focus of the narrative is Kamila Sadiqi, an enterprising, fearless young woman who literally stitched her way to success. It is a harrowing account of women without men and depicts the boredom, depression, and terror of daily life. A surefire way to get informed and experience a very relevant story, especially in this region, that needs to be told.

If you fancy a chunk cut out from a rainforest, haute couture watches designed by Mother Nature, the Pellicano wooden watch by Mistura is the right piece of timetelling branch for you. Characterized by the bright tones surrounding its natural colour, which includes yellow, blue, green and fuchsia and using a special technique that allows natural materials to be immortalized and kept intact for years to come, this piece is bound to please those who enjoy having their hands on a piece of art that is both 100% natural and eternally beautiful.

Zoku – Quick Pop Maker

Innovative interchangeable tip system that allows you to use only one charger for all your devices - check! Revolutionary auto-off system reducing the daily impact on the environment – check! Usability at home, in the car, or while travelling – check! With this charger there is no box unticked! With its minimalistic design and claim of being compatible with over 4000+ devices, IDAPT i1 Eco is a onesize-fit-all, one-‘man’-job kind of affair. Finally a truly and caringly universal product.

Some of the simple treats in life need the right tools too. The patented Zoku Quick Pop™ Maker freezes ice pops in as little as seven minutes right on your countertop without electricity. Delicious homemade popsicles or some overpriced fattening ice cream, *dramatic pause*, that is the question. I know you can have both but you know what’s more fun! I’m personally going to make my own psychedelic popsicles; the colourful swirling kind! Yeeha!

We can stop being in denial now; we all know we ate too much this recent holiday season. Might have we even gained a couple pounds of blubber alas there is a way. The Dukan Diet is a unique 4-step program, combining two steps to lose your unwanted weight and two steps to keep it off for good. The book includes the four stages of the diet set out clearly and simply: Attack, Cruise, Consolidation, Stabilisation – much like a war against the unnecessary K n G’s. Devised by Dr Pierre Dukan, a French medical doctor for thirty five years this thing is legit and credible. Bottom-line is, it’s French and they got it going on and now we normal people can get in on the secret!


Mistura Watches

IDAPT Universal Charger i1Eco

The Dukan Diet Life Plan

Whatever It Takes: iPhone & Laptop covers A “merchandising with meaning” initiative, designed by 21 celebrity leaders, brings us these iconic iPhone and laptop covers contributing to a meaningful charity. Virgin Megastore is proud to be the first official retailer in the UAE of Whatever It Takes product range developed by 21st Century Leaders Foundation, dedicated to social enterprise and environmental sustainability. The rest is up to you to do your duty as a trendy philanthropist consumer.


THIS IS NOT A BOOK REVIEW. THE BOOK REVIEW YOU CAN FIND IN OUR READING LIST (P.141 ). IT IS NOT ABOUT A BOOK EITHER. THIS IS ABOUT THE CENTRAL THEMES OF THAT BOOK, AND HOW I RELATE TO THEM. IN A SENSE, THIS IS A COMMENTARY ON THE TITLE AND THESES OF THAT BOOK. Sympathy for the Devil is actually an exhibition, not a book, but they (as they do), made a companion book for it that you would (naturally) have to buy. I picked it up not at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, but at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, four years after it opened in 2007. As we all know, I’m obsessed with the Beats and their contemporaries and direct legacies. New York 50s, 60s, and 70s seem to consistently remind me that there was no successful avant-garde since, that we have moved slowly and consistently away from true culture into something manufactured, and I can go on with Adorno, Barthes, Benjamin, Deleuze, Foucault, and Virilio, but I’ll presume that just mentioning them is significant and sufficient (did anyone notice the way all my lists are in alphabetical order today?). Besides, that isn’t this. This starts with the first piece in the book, the period right after that: the Experimental Jet Set: The New York Scene. The first age of postmodernism, or something like the beginning of the twenty first century. We take it for granted now, New York, cultural capital of the universe. Used to be Paris. Maybe still is. Doesn’t matter. Warhol, the Velvet Underground, and the beginning of rock music and pop art that later devolved into rock pop and music art. It’s sad. We’re now the generation of pharmaceutical popping techno-geeks who dwell over Lady Gaga and Beyonce, who sing the praises of the shit-induced branding strategies of record companies and their favourite pop artist de-jour. The New York of back then used to drink moonshine, fuck consistently, and irreverently produce art that challenged, invest their energies in the individual rather than the corporation, and proclaim an identity that was not created for them by their marketeers. And, when things got a little boring, they acidically induced their minds with unicorns for a creative overflow that allowed them to feel spectacular. Or think they did. What matters though is that they left a legacy. They were musicians who were also graphic artists, they were painters who sang, they were photographers with a brush, writers on walls. They, quite literally, changed the rules. But those that made it all a reality were more than just one kind of artist.

Their statements were musical and visual, visual and musical. Their legacy? A generation of ‘if only we could do that again’. I’m one of that generation too. This article is a byproduct of that same thing. But what it reminds me of is Bruno Latour’s keynote lecture for the Networks of Design meeting of the Design History Society Falmouth, Cornwall in 2008, or at least one specific bit of it: “I would argue that design is one of the terms that has replaced the word ‘revolution’! To say that everything has to be designed and redesigned (including nature), we imply something of the sort: ‘it will neither be revolutionised, nor will it be modernised’.” And that, I would say, is a scary thought. It’s something that even the consumerist pop artist addicted to fame, the notorious Warhol, wouldn’t condone(, one would hope). Like how he’d reject the Warhol Foundation selling the banana he made for the cover of the Velvet Underground’s first album to the new monster that could be an Apple, which is why Lou Reed and John Cale are having a fit. At least they’re still honest. Or can make it look like they are. But seriously. Latour. Revolutionaries are no longer needed, we have designers. We don’t need to be modern, we just need to be designed. How repulsive, and yet how ever so true. Blow smoke up designers’ asses all you like, and as convenient as that sounds for the design profession (of which I’m a part), I refuse to celebrate it, because I reject the concept that everything that happens in the world around us must now be pre-planned, programmed, and intentional. I don’t need a valid answer to why for everything I need to do. Yes, environmental design is needed. I also wouldn’t be able to tolerate living in a home that wasn’t designed (the spoiled generation, much?). I own a MacBook, an iPad, and an iPhone (even though I can’t afford them). I get aggravated when I’m in cities that have no urban planning or decent infrastructure. It bothers me when I see someone wearing something that clearly happened by accident. I am a designer, I live and breathe the designed world. Doesn’t mean I appreciate how meticulously almost-obsessive-compulsive it has made us all. But what really bothers me is that he’s (and if you read the rest of the lecture, he makes a good point) replaced the revolution with design. Do you really want to live in a world that doesn’t revolt? The Factory that bred genius like Warhol, Joy Division, and plenty others also brought us what I’m going to call the domination of Google, VW, and Philips [et al]. Branding Campbell’s soup as art was when things got twisted. Streamlining punk and branding the hell out of that killed us too. Bill Hicks was right: advertisers are devil. But we don’t call them that anymore. IT’S ‘BRANDING’ NOW. LIKE COWS AND SLAVES.

It was about Dylan, it was about the Beatles, it was about the Smiths, the Rolling Stones, Blondie, the Sex Pistols, and every other grand outfit of their times.




Hailing from Norwich City, UK, illustrator Joel Benjamin’s interest in drawing began at a very young age, and stuck with him throughout his studies. He lives and works in the UK and is currently pushing to transition into a full time freelance designer. Joel’s passion for drawing and his relationship with music has resulted in a very distinct style of that is reminiscent of illustrations from graphic novels and video games although he manages to retain a realistic interpretation of life like qualities. What’s your background in art? I’ve drawn a lot ever since I was very young. Some of my earliest memories involve drawing. I would read a lot of comics and enjoyed drawing a lot as a kid. I think this is where my love of Art and Illustration stem from. Throughout School it was always my main focus. After attending a foundation year at Norwich School of Art and Design, I went to Lincoln University to study Illustration at degree level. Since then I’ve worked at freelance illustration and hope to continue for as long as possible. What made you realize you had to go into the field of illustration? When was this? During my foundation year, around 2003, students were encouraged to give every discipline and practice a try and choose which they wanted to focus on. I enjoyed many of the various


classes. What I enjoyed the most was drawing, whether it was in Graphic Design, Fine Art, Fashion or any other area. I specialised in Fine Art and made abstract colourist paintings, however I struggled to talk about my work and communicate what it was about. After this I found that it would be best to enter the field that allowed me to just draw and not worry about concepts quite so much. That’s when I realised that I was fundamentally an illustrator, so that’s the path I embarked on. In what kind of environment do you create your best work? The best environment for me is at my desk, in my little studio at home. I have a large desk with plenty of room, it’s right next to a window so I can stare out at my little garden. As long as I’m there with a cup of tea, some music playing, and an idea in my head then I can really get into whatever I’m working on. That said though, I find it very important to keep my outdoor/social life in check too.

So I can’t stay cooped up indoors too long, or I’d never come up with anything fresh and new. What’s your relationship with music like? I’d say that music is very important to me. When I was growing up my Dad would always play lots of music and we’d go to gigs and festivals too. I have some friends who are musicians, they have a very different relationship with music to me but we can always understand each other when we share ideas on creativity. I’m a bit of a synesthete too, so listening to music really helps to keep my mind stimulated and gives me ideas too. The tone of a song, or the angle it conveys its message through, can really influence how I want to communicate through my illustration too. Do you typically listen to music while working? If so, what sort of effect does it have on your work? I always have music on when working. Without it I feel like something is missing. I think it helps me put character into my images or sometimes helps me refine how much sensationalism I want to convey in my image. I’m not sure how to explain its effect clearly. Sometimes it can directly influence the colours I choose to use. Five of your current favourite songs? I was dancing in the Lesbian Bar - Jonathan Richman Try it again - Jeffrey Lewis Demon Host - Timber Timbre Animal Tracks - Mountain Man While you wait for the others - Grizzly Bear How do you choose the subjects of your portraits? With musicians, I choose to draw them if their music has special significance and really inspires me. For other people they have to be someone I respect based on what they represent or stand for. Or if they are just plain beautiful, that will do too. When it comes to portraits of musicians, what’s your creative process? Do you typically work with reference photographs?

that have inspired me put together. The ‘feel’ of the image comes from my own feeling, where as with a music portrait the ‘feel’ comes from their music. I love your Thom Yorke piece. Can you walk us through your creative process of this piece? This piece is inspired by Radioheads latest album ‘King of Limbs’. Their previous album ‘In Rainbows’ is a huge favourite of mine and I was really pleased with how ‘King of Limbs’ followed on from that. I enjoyed the artistic statement Thom Yorke made in the “Lotus Flower” video so I felt that I had to draw him based on that. Once I had found some good reference material it was just a case of setting about making a good drawing of his face. The colours used were drawn directly from the ‘King of Limbs’ album cover as I wanted the image to be relevant to that release. Once I had all the drawing, colours, and textures in place I started taking away a few parts of the image. For example Thom’s skin tone and some of the drawing around the collar of his shirt, I took those bits away to help make the image more stark and bold. Tell us more about the mediums you work with. How do you choose the medium you work with for each piece? Do you typically use one medium for each piece? Why? I use the same medium for every piece, Indian Ink, some watercolours, and Photoshop. Sometimes I use textures from different materials, i.e. felt tip pens or acrylic paint. Usually it’s just the same every time. I’ve never been one for excessive stationary or equipment so I like to keep things basic. What do you love most about illustration? Just drawing mainly. For me it’s being able to draw loads and really work on mastering a craft as best I can. For illustration in general, I love where it sits in relation to other creative arenas. Somewhere between fine art, comics, cartoons, mainstream media, nature, reality, and complete fantasy. You can choose your own little zone to make your work within. Where do you go for inspiration?

Yes, I usually work from photographs. With any kind of portraiture I want to be certain that I’m capturing the correct likeness. Unless I had drawn the person loads before, I wouldn’t feel confident that I could represent them faithfully without a photo. I’ll usually draw a musician or band because their music has really inspired me. I usually try to infuse the portrait with my favourite things about their music, this usually comes through in the colour scheme. I always want to find a look that really suits the particular artist and fits with their sound. Often times the artwork they use on their CD covers will influence this too. My illustration of Devendra Banhart is a good example of this as the colours and background pattern come from his ‘Cripple Crow’ album artwork, it has a really nice little booklet with it so I wanted to incorporate that.

Sometimes I go out for a ride on my bike to clear my mind, or go skateboarding at the local park. Other times I like to go out with my friends in the city. Mostly though, I find that inspiration comes to me unexpectedly, when it feels like it.

Do you approach imagination-based illustrations differently? If so, how?

Stay up to date with Joel at and

They can be very different. An imagination-based illustration usually stems from an idea in my head, or a collection of things


Top five favourite artists? Anthony Zinonos Gemma Correll PetitMal illustration Laura Manfre Mark Gonzales




























Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio Jeff Finley is one of those rare people who manage to pursue his passion for creativity on many levels. From playing the drums to breakdancing, to what brought him here to the pages of quint – illustration and design. Jeff not only pursues design as a hobby, but also runs his own design agency by the name of Go Media and works extensively with musicians. He also wrote a book called Thread’s Not Dead, which you should definitely check out for inspiration from someone who really is clued in on pursuing (numerous) creative careers. Jeff lives with his wife, and their cat Cookie and bunny Daisy. 28

How much do you feel your bachelors of arts in Media Arts and Animation has prepared you for your career path? Hard to say, since I’m not doing 3D animation or drawing cartoons as a career. I might have benefited more from an illustration degree or traditional graphic design schooling. But who knows. What peaked your interest in business? How did you learn the basics? I was inspired by other freelance artists and I just tried to hustle and get work like everyone else. When you don’t know all the technical business things, you just do what you feel you need to do to get paid for your art. But as I grew, I tried to improve my workflow, and tried to promote myself to get more work. Always hustling and thinking of creative ways to get myself out there. Could you recommend any resources? Not to plug my own book, but I wrote about a lot of my business strategies in Thread’s Not Dead that would be too long for this interview. But the AIGA has lots of other good resources for doing business in the design industry. So the beginning of your career started out with designing t-shirts and selling them via myspace under the alias Mylkhead, what inspired you to begin t-shirt design? Did you begin this venture with a goal in mind or was this just an accidental masterpiece in disguise? Well, technically I didn’t start out by doing my own brand of tees, I was freelancing for other lines, bands, musicians, etc. I started to build up a small following of my work and it felt right to make my own brand of t-shirts to sell on my site. It wasn’t meant to be a clothing line, but more “merch” for myself as an artist. Similar to how a band sells their tees. But I began t-shirt design because I wore a lot of band t-shirts and wanted to make my own. That’s pretty much it! How did you start working with punk rock bands and indie clothing brands?

Lifelong music fan, grew up listening to rock n roll, metal, and punk rock. Created my own brand of electronic/Nintendo style music under the alias BOXOMYLK and played drums in By Bread Alone and Parachute Journalists.

I really can’t remember what I did to get my first job with a band or indie clothing brand. I think it was a combination of having my portfolio online (with my drawings and some “fake” t-shirt designs and posters I had mocked up cause I had no clients yet) and me talking about wanting to do band work on message boards like I also went up to bands at shows and offered to do a shirt for them for about $50, which today seems like nothing, but I literally just wanted a chance to work with the band on something cool. They gave me a chance and I tried to prove myself and do great work. Well, great considering my experience level!

What’s your favorite film?

How did you promote yourself when you began your career?

I have too many to name, but some of my favorite directors are David Lynch, Mike Leigh, Werner Herzog, Harmony Korine, Andrew Bujalski, Lars Von Trier, Susanne Bier, Lukas Moodysson, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Jay and Mark Duplass, etc. I have a tendency to like realist and documentary films and quirky and honest characters.

Message boards, flyers, word of mouth, blogging, cold emailing, etc.

Tell us about your relationship to music.

What peaked your interest in drumming? I fucking love drums, always have. I just never got behind a kit until my mid-twenties when my friend wanted to start a band. Prior to that I programmed songs and drums using FL Studio on my computer. When and how did you start breakdancing? In college, when I started making my electronic music with FL Studio in 2000. I loved funky breaks like James Brown and I would take these songs I made to my friend’s house at parties and we’d rock out in the basement. Someone showed me how to do the sixstep and I was hooked. Once I graduated college though and moved away from my friends, I stopped, but I recently started back up again in 2010 taking bboy training workshops with Swift Ali. It’s so freaking fun, but also frustrating how long it takes to learn moves.

You dedicate all of your time to creative pursuits, talk about solid time management! Did it take you years to master? Can you give us any pro tips? I would not really consider my time management one of my best skills, but I try to be efficient in what I do and not really waste time. There’s not much to waste! Most of my hobbies I can turn into productive side projects that help move my skills and career along in some way while still doing what I like. They have to work together. However, there is only so much time in the day and not all of it should be work, so I try to have down time and time with my wife. Constantly thinking about my work and my career can burn me out. How does your creative process differ between band t-shirt design vs album art vs band posters? It’s all the same. The client and I talk about what they like and expect, I send proofs or progress shots and get feedback and go from there. Album art is much more personal to a band and features a lot more type layout. There’s much more content to design around. T-Shirt graphics are usually loosely based on a


theme or a lyric, but contribute to a band’s overall aesthetic. Some clients don’t even have any expectations and just want to see what I’ve got cooking in my head. For posters, there is information to communicate, so that needs to take priority. What’s your preferred medium?

do all the side projects we’d like, it has to fit with our goals and values. It has to help push the other parts of the company forward. Same for myself. It’s really inspiring how much you have accomplished at such a young age. What are some words of wisdom you’d like to pass on to young aspiring entrepreneurs?

The Internet. When it comes to creating band posters and album art for your own band, what are you trying to communicate about your band through the artwork? I’m mostly trying to communicate a cohesive aesthetic or brand. Trying to communicate our style or taste and also experiment a bit. There is no client to impress, so I can just do what I think works for us. When it comes to creating band posters, album art & t-shirts for other bands, do they tell you what they are looking for? How do you begin working? What’s your creative process? I mentioned the creative process briefly above, but it totally depends on the band. Some are really specific and depending on how big they are, they might have preexisting design elements, logos, or concepts that need to be considered or included. Other times the band just wants me to “do my thing” and trust that I know what will work for them. Do bands typically commission you for artwork? Or do they approach you for certain pieces? They usually want individual pieces done – a shirt here, a shirt there, and if they like working with you they’ll want you to design the album artwork or the brand’s entire identity. Do you usually listen to the band’s music while working on the artwork you’re producing for them? I always listen to them to get into a groove and feel. Recently we did some Britney Spears shirts and I listened to her new record. That was the first time I ever listened to her music by choice actually, but I gotta get in the moment and feel some of the emotion that the artist was feeling when they wrote the songs. Working in so many different creative pursuits is really interesting, how do you feed off each form of art? Do you think that you’re stronger or more inspired as an artist because you’re involved in so much? Not sure, I could see this both ways. I could probably be really great at one thing if I wasn’t distracted by anything else and I could only focus on that. But I like dong new and refreshing things, it keeps my adrenaline going. Like I said before, it has to work with the overall picture. At my design agency Go Media, we can’t just


Don’t stop hustling and go out there and make stuff happen. You can be happy just being a designer but I challenge you to be a little more entrepreneurial in your efforts. Try to make something that adds value to the community and collaborate with other artists when you can. Work together! You’ve mentioned that you can teach yourself a lot of skills, any advice on how to go about that? What are some of the big lessons that you’ve learned or challenges you’ve overcome? Just genuinely be interested in improving and learning new things. Don’t feel like you’re inadequate and need to change yourself, but rather have a genuine interest in the learning process and feed that innate curiosity you have. Don’t be afraid to get professional instruction or take lessons if it means you get to do something you like. I got back into breakdancing and had to take a class with a bunch of 8 year olds! It was for sure weird, and I was 90% close to dropping out after a few weeks, but I’m sure glad I didn’t. It might feel uncomfortable to take drum lessons when you’re 25 and you see parents dropping their kids off for their class right after yours. But who the fuck cares? You gotta go for it! What do you do to promote yourself? Too much to say for this interview! I cover a lot of this in my book Thread’s Not Dead and my public talks, but I promote myself with social media and doing side projects that help promote the other stuff I’m doing. I have experienced so-so results with advertising, but in the end you just have to make great stuff that people want and will talk about. Last 5 songs you listened to? The Old Joy soundtrack is one of my favs! Yo La Tengo – Leaving Home Yo La Tengo – Old Joy: End Credits Yo La Tengo – Leaving Home (Alternate Version) Yo La Tengo – Driving Home Yo La Tengo – Path to Springs Check out more of Jeff’s work at













I ring the door bell and am welcomed by a freshly-laundered Vikram who is just about starting his day. Leaning against the wall of his foyer are slabs of wood, concrete and industrial what-have-you of various kinds. As I walk into the living room, awash with sunlight, sitting in the middle of the room is the work station. Serving as home to interesting tools, stationery, and stacks of different papers, this is a work station that is begging you to create. This beckon is only further echoed by the rest of the room. Filled with collectibles, art, photography, books, toys, tear-outs, and everyday paraphernalia that has trespassed the lines of form from the world of function, the palpable energy is reflected in everything that is created in the space. With a mind that lends sense to lateral thinking, a hankering for busying his hands in numerous mediums, be it illustration, hand-drawn typography, hand-built urban figurines or designing vinyl covers, Vikram’s art unequivocally urges you to stare, discover, absorb, and gasp at the simple brilliance of it. How does he do it? We found out. Describe your creative process? Depends on what has inspired me. Sometimes ideas reside within me for a while before I get going. But once I do, there’s a fair amount of inquiry, sketching and a hunt for interesting materials to work with. Or else, I just make things with what’s around me, to get it out ASAP. Recently I was overwhelmed with the inconsistency of correction fluid and the absorbent nature of kite paper. Love the relation these two materials share. I like experimenting with unlikely materials and making fresh mistakes. What is your next big project?  What are some of the themes that inspire you to create as an artist? I am developing a few figurines that have an urban theme, which I hope to sell as collectible toys. Similarly, I am working towards a series of portraits that draw from urban existence. The urban kind and their metropolitan background have surfaced as the broader themes that have consistently instigated me as an artist. Not surprising for a city dweller. On the other hand the tendencies of Bukowski, geometry, The Rolling Stones and bold colours inspire me.    Has your experience in advertising influenced you as an artist and if so, how? Advertising campaigns that are born out of everyday insights interest me a lot. These ideas are charming and often bring things to surface that we generally overlook. I guess my penchant for the


“EVERYDAY” began from here. I started finding inspiration in the odd bits that surround us. Advertising also gave me the chance to explore illustration, typography, model making and animation, while I held post as a writer. What is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of making a record cover? While designing, (what is my first record cover,) for Gayathri’s single - Champion Of Broken Hearts, the challenge was to express a broken heart, defy gravity, squeeze in the grandeur of the jazz age, revisit New York in the thirties, portray the emotionally violent nature of the song, alternate it with black humour, give the cover the magnitude of a blockbuster, contemporize and terrorize Greta Garbo, bow to the great horn section in the track, turn King Kong into a gangster, and meet a very stubborn deadline. The reward (which I was handed right in the beginning) was that I was given complete freedom to design and interpret.   Top five pieces of visual art that changed your life?   In order of encounters 1 – Lego bricks 2 - St. Lazare Station: The Arrival of the Train from Normandy, an impressionist painting by Claude Monet 3 - Mark 2 Jaguar 4 - The work of Laxman Shrestha 5 - Library of dust, a photography project by David Maisel


Ministry of Justice (Conductor) Acrylic and mixed media on masonite 25” by 52” 2010

Sundus Abdul Hadi’s home has been torn apart by the ignorant, corrupt, greedy, and ruthless. Her home has been pillaged, burned, demolished, beaten, starved, murdered, and blamed by so many pointing fingers. Her home, Iraq, still suffers, yet the rest of the world turns a blind eye, and a cold shoulder. So she speaks for her home. She communicates through her work the pain, the anguish, and surprisingly resilient hope that her country and her people possess. Sundus’s work is passionate and strong, much like the people who suffer back home. Each image is stormy with emotion, yet still imparts stoic perseverance and positivity for a future void of violence. Her connection to music as evidenced in project entitled Warchestra, which arose out of a desire to dispel stereotypes of Iraqi and Middle Eastern people by “re-imagining, re-inventing and re-defining the war in Iraq, highlighting culture amidst the backdrop of war”. Sundus lives in Montreal, Canada with her husband, musician The Narcicyst. How and when did you start painting? Tell us about your background. My mother Sawsan is an artist, and my father Taghlib is an architect. Growing up around their practice and love of art, I was naturally inclined to express myself creatively from an early age. Their collection of books ranged from Ancient Sumerian art to Modern Arab Art, and were an amazing source of inspiration as I started to come of age. I started my own studies in Fine Arts in CEGEP (collegiate level in Quebec) by the age of 16, and then continued to do a BFA in Studio Arts and Art History at Concordia University. At that time, my cousins Nofy Fannan and Habilis (known as SandhiLL), and (now) husband The Narcicyst were making music as Euphrates, an IraqiCanadian hip hop crew. We were living in a newly defined “post-911” world, and watching them use music to express their identity encouraged me to do the same visually. I worked on all their visual needs, from album covers to flyers. As my art developed, I was growing more and more interested in Media Studies, which informed much of my artwork, and went on to do a graduate diploma in Communication Studies. What inspired your Warchestra project? Warchestra was brought on by my initial frustration with the media’s portrayal of the war in Iraq, representing Iraqi’s, Arabs and Muslims as violent, oppressed and one-dimensional. I spent years collecting media images of the war, and wanted to subvert them to tell a different story about my country. It is first and foremost about reclaiming the stereotypical images that came out of the Western media about an unjust and illegal war that I was closely connected to, being an Iraqi living in the West. By censoring the weapons out of the militants hands, and replacing them with musical instruments, Warchestra was also very much about re-imagining, re-inventing and re-defining the war in Iraq, highlighting culture amidst the backdrop of war. The series took three years, a trip to Baghdad, and a lot of heavy contemplation about the nature of violence and war. It’s impossible to say that I was inspired by the war, rather that I was pushed to do something to create a different discourse using my artwork. The inspiring element to Warchestra was the collaborative album that evolved out of the project, making it a multi-media collaboration amongst some of my favorite poets, musicians, and instrumentalists.


What was the process like recording the Warchestra album? The Narcicyst and I worked alongside the musicians to create the sound for the Warchestra album. The paintings were completed before the musicians came in, so I would put the work in front of them and they would improvise. With minimal direction, sounds started developing that sonically started portraying the environment within the paintings. With the violinist Jacob Lessard, for example, I had asked him to simulate the sound of sirens, fear and hostility, and gave him an old Iraqi folk song to re-interpolate. The sound-piece developed into a sonic narrative of the invasion of Iraq by US troops and the subsequent exodus of refugees out of the country. I encouraged the musicians to use their instruments to create sounds that were unexpected, so the bassist Angelo Ruscitti loosened up all the strings on his bass to create a sound that sounded eerily like bombs dropping. Working with vocalist Meryem Saci was amazing, as she used her voice as an instrument by layering, harmonizing and experimenting entirely a cappella. My collaboration with poet Suheir Hammad was an amazing experience, with a theatrical reading of her poem for “Untitled (Regarding the Pain of Others)”, over phone lines. Most of the sound pieces were layered over field-recordings I took in Baghdad, and old folk songs sampled in the background. The collaborative element to Warchestra breathed a whole new life into the series, and ultimately developed Warchestra into a multi-sensory, multimedia experience. For “Uprising”, Stefan had initially approached me with his piano piece and I made the painting as inspired by his music. It was great to respond to music through image, rather than vice versa as had been with Warchestra, and brought me back to my roots of working with Euphrates. Being Iraqi, I can understand your desire to create work communicating to or about your country, but what other movements in the Middle East also fuelled your work? For many years, I couldn’t imagine making artwork about anything other than Iraq. I was so driven to communicate the injustices that were happening to my country while much of the world cast a blind eye to an illegal war. As my artwork developed, I grew to understand that it was not so much Iraq that motivated my work, but injustice against any people... The war in Gaza in 2009 pushed me to create “Keys of Return”; the occupation of Palestine informs much of my work as well, as in “Majboreen bil Amal”, which I painted during an artist residency in the West Bank. As world events unfold, I look towards my fellow Arab people as a source of inspiration. We just debuted a large-scale exhibition titled “Arab Winter” in Montreal, as a collective of Iraqi and Tunisian artists, with our personal interpretations of the recent uprisings and revolutions in the Arab World. Do you think that creative and artistic expression can facilitate political discussion? I believe that artists have a responsibility to their society to depict current events and open a forum for discussion of social, cultural and political issues. Being an artist is a privilege that should not be taken for granted, as art has great power for change, whether through music, a painting, a video, or a piece of literature. Cultural production is a very significant part of history, and as artists, we have the tools to record our own histories, on the margins

of a controlled mainstream. I believe that creative and artistic expression should always strive to facilitate discussion about important issues that affect the people, whether they be political, social, cultural, or economic. Do you generally express your political views through your art? Absolutely. I prefer expressing my political views in an artwork rather than over the dinner table! However, I do admit that after many years of heavy political expression in my artwork with the Warchestra series, I’ve distanced myself from the downward spiral of politics, and focus more on the humanity of those affected by it. What messages do you want to communicate through your work? The messages in my artwork evolve as my experiences evolve. The only message that I hope will always be consistent in my artwork is peace. Take us through your creative process. I am a very visual person, and I do a lot of visual research before starting any new painting or body of work. Looking at images makes my brain work in all directions. That is how Warchestra evolved- blast walls started looking like Qanun’s, AK-47’s transformed into trumpets, RPG’s could be mistaken for clarinets, and military tanks looked like violins. I love the idea of subverting existing images, especially media images, which is why collage is the perfect medium for me. With Warchestra, I used many references from my time spent in Baghdad, taking difficult experiences and stories that had to be expressed creatively. With my more recent work, I am so inspired by my sister Tamara’s photography and the current call for change happening in the Middle East. What sort of mediums do you work with? I love working with collage and mixed-media. I have always mixed my own paint, using powdered pigment and acrylic gel medium, which is time consuming but so rewarding. I am also part of the digital generation, so as much as I love getting my hands dirty, I do a lot of work on the computer, from digital collages, to video and sound editing. I am a self-taught graphic designer, so I have designed everything from my website to my catalogues, album covers for my husband, The Narcicyst, and everything in between. I love the art of Arabic calligraphy, especially Kufi, which I often incorporate into my artwork and designs. I have to always keep busy, so between projects, I also design jewelry. Maktoob, Majbooreen bil Amal, Uprising, all include the image of a man or boy flying. The symbolism communicates freedom, or maybe even breaking free. What was the idea behind these pieces?

UPrising Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 24” by 48” 2011

The Flight series developed from Tamara’s photographs of young boys jumping off the Raouche in Beirut, and by taking the figures out of context, the boys looked like they were flying free. When I first saw those photographs, I had just wrapped up Warchestra was feeling extremely drained artistically and emotionally. The images filled me with a sense of hope, and I realized that what I was feeling as an artist was overlapping with what was happening around the Arab World... The people were fed up with the oppression, the violence and the corrupt regimes. What once seemed impossible


was actually imagined and manifested through people power, such as the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. As imperfect as the consequences are, the people triumphed. I saw flight in that. In the impossibility of it, but in maintaining the hope that it can be possible. The flying figures represent that hope, and they represent the souls who sacrificed their lives in their struggle for a brighter future. What was the creative process like working with your sister? Tamara has traveled around the Middle East extensively as a photojournalist, and her photographs tell a thousand stories, and inspire me greatly. I raid her photos every once in a while and meditate on them. My most recent painting, “Rumanna”, is a collection of her photographs of young children from Iraq, Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon with which I created a narrative about children’s’ perspective on life under occupation, war, and the hope of change. War is something some people only understand as a blaring headline, but for those who have to go through it live the gut-wrenching reality, and carry it with them for the rest of their lives. Do you aspire to communicate the realities of war with those who don’t know it, or are you trying to reach those who are living in those war-torn countries? Definitely both. I strive to communicate to both a Western and Eastern audience. Living and working out of Montreal, Canada, there is so much


ignorance about Islam and the Arab World, so its really imperative for me to leave my Western viewers with a different perspective than what they are accustomed to through the mainstream media. Not only about the consequences of war, but of the rich history and culture of the Arab people. However, I have to admit that one of the most powerful moments that I have ever had with my artwork was presenting “Violins and Bases” to a workshop with young Iraqi artists in Baghdad that I was teaching through the organization Sada/Echo. Some of my students cried, and some thanked me for making the work. It was the most rewarding experience knowing that these young artists who live the reality of war and displacement every day understood, respected and acknowledged the work in that way. It made me feel as though I had come full-circle with Warchestra, as intense as the process may have been, because in the end, it is my duty is to tell their stories.

Stay up to date on Sundus’s work and projects here:

Majbooreen Bil Amal (Forced Towards Hope) Acrylic and mixed media on Canvas 30” by 60” 2010

Rumanna (part of the Arab Winter exhibit) Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 5 feet by 14 feet (60” by 168”) 2011



Violins and Bases Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 30” by 80” (diptych) 2009

Qanun (Law) Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 30” by 96” (diptych) 2008


The Forgotten Acrylic on canvas 30” by 48” 2008

Keys of Return Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 30” by 48” 2009


This is Not Haifa Street Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 24” by 36” 2009

Monumental Freedom Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 24” by 36” 2009


Baghdead Acrylic and mixed media on masonite 25” by 52” 2007 Sound: Produced by Sundus Abdul Hadi Trumpet composed and arranged by Jason “Blackbird” Selman 3:51 min

The Oud Maker Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 40”by 40” 2010


Untitled (Regarding the Pain of Others) Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 30” by 40” 2009 Sound: Poem written and recited by Suheir Hammad titled “ “ from her upcoming book “ “ Mixing and production by Sundus Abdul Hadi and the Narcicyst

Over Baghdad (Maktoob) Photography and Digital Collage Sizes variable 2011 Sound: Piano by Stefan Christoff



o you remember the last time you went to see one of your favorite bands perform? Can you recall the rush that took over your mind and body? The emotional experience that takes you down euphoria lane? You’re just one little person in a crowd full of people connecting to the music. You’re looking at the stage, at the people performing but your own emotional connection to the song, the significance of the lyrics in your life, the flashbacks to the times you listened to the song on repeat, are all racing through your mind. The connection to the music strengthens your experience but it can sometimes interfere with your ability to recognize what the artists experience. Marcus has a unique way of capturing the awkward and beautiful passionate mid-performance moments. With each energy-filled frame, his photographs isolate the musicians experience enabling the viewer to appreciate musicians on a different level. As Marcus puts it: “Photography is an art, just like music is, and I use photography to capture my experiences and share stories the same as how musicians do that through their music.” Where are you from? I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, but moved over to the UK, permanently, at the start of 2009 and I am now based in Central London.

What initially peaked your interest in photography, and your interest in shooting bands and the general music scene? When I was younger my parents put together photo albums of us growing up, and that really got me interested in how a photograph captured a specific moment in time. Later on in life, I started skateboarding with a bunch of friend in high school and we started shooting photos of each other but I really battled to appreciate the shots just for the memories because I wanted them to look great like the photographs I had seen in international skate mags. I ended up meeting one of the main photographers that I was looking up to, while he was in SA shooting an article, and he gave me some pointers, which got me really excited. He really got me thinking about light and framing so I started exploring that in my skateboard photography. Music has always been around me, so along with skateboarding and photography those were pretty much the biggest influences in my life and it only made sense that they would link somehow. What is it that draws you to musicians as subjects? The music industry is a really tough one and people in general don’t realize how hard it is for a band to actually make it. The process for most is a long one and for some, sadly, the dream is never realized. I love being involved and watching bands progress while documenting their journey. I feel I have a good connection to most of the artists I’ve met and worked with so far.

Do you have an educational background in the arts? I studied photography and digital design for 2 years at a college back in SA but I am not sure how beneficial it was to be honest. A lot of intense arguments with my lecturers who I felt didn’t know much about the actual industry. I obviously did learn quite a bit there but not as much as I think I would have if I had to have dedicated those 2 years to assisting a top photographer and working on my own projects.


How and when did you begin shooting bands? Quite a few of my friends were playing (and still do play) in bands and I ended up shooting some stuff for them and that is pretty much how it progressed. I pretty much started just for the fun of it, and to help friends out, but I never ever thought that it would be a way for me to support myself. So you photograph bands and the general music scene for a living, how does this work? Currently this is what I do full time and my bookings come through so many different places ranging from the band / artist directly, their record labels, sponsors / endorsers, press agents, producers, managers, venue owners, show promoters and or magazines / publishers. It all works really differently depending on where the images are going to be used. How did you know when it was time to start using your passion for photography professionally? I did some traveling in 2000 and came back from my trip with the most photographs ever from my time away (shot all on 35mm film so it took ages to process). I loved how easy the images made it for me to share my journey with my family and friends. I told my dad then that I wanted to study and shoot full time. He laughed at me because he didn’t think that photography was really a job and he said that I wasn’t very creative. He did however support me all the way, as he always has, so hopefully I can prove him wrong and can make him proud.

On your blog you mention music and photography have a close relationship - can you explain your perception of the relationship?

Can you describe your first professional experience shooting a live performance?

Essentially, for me, photography is an art, just like music is, and I use photography to capture my experiences and share stories the same as how musicians do that through their music. It’s pretty similar for all artists really.

Wow, that was quite a while ago and super scary. It was photographing The Offspring for a magazine and I was still shooting everything on film. It was the first time that I had been exposed to the 3-song rule and was told that I couldn’t use flash, which

really got me nervous. Now-days, with digital, I can shoot away (as soon as I see a moment) but back then each click of the shutter cost me money and the biggest film roll was 36 exposures so I had to plan it right or else I would be rewinding and reloading film at a critical point in the set. Can you walk us through a typical show? Each show is different for me based on who I am working for and which venue it is. I pretty much send all the details of my booking to my mobile as a backup incase I have any issues when arriving at the venue so that I can call the right people to get my passes sorted out quickly. Once the band takes to the stage I try and watch them for the first song just to see how they work, what their movements are like on stage and also what the lighting is like so that I can try and plan when the right moments will be to take start shooting. That stage is often really big so I can’t be everywhere all the time and it is important to almost try and “guess” where to be and when. Live photography is mostly spontaneous though so sometimes it really does involve some luck. 30 Seconds To Mars

Shows are super crowded and uncomfortable, how do you manage to maneuver yourself and your camera and have enough space to shoot? Most of the venues that I work in have a dedicated pit for photographers to shoot from, between a barrier (holding the crowd back) and the stage) and I normally base myself ‘safely’ in there. If the shot is going to benefit at all then I might shoot from the actual stage and if there is no barrier, like in a small venue, then I just go back to basics and get in the ‘mess’ with everyone else (this is where camera insurance comes in handy). What lens do you typically shoot with when you’re shooting a performance? Do you bring more than one lens? It all depends on the venue really and what band I am shooting but if I was forced to only use one then my ‘failsafe’ for most shows would be my 24-70mm f2.8 because I could cover most situations with this. Brian Fallon

I find flash to be very intimidating, I think its most likely because I have no idea how to use an external flash, but I’ve noticed a lot of photographers use their external flash at shows. What are your thoughts on external flash? Are you a fan? I use a lot of external lighting when shooting my portraits so I am not really intimidated by it and will use flash to fill in on live stuff if it is going to work to make the final image better. Sometimes using flash in live situations can kill the atmosphere that the stage lights and light tech are trying to create. Can you give us some pro-tips on shooting with an external? My best advice would be to just start shooting with your flash as much as you can so that you can understand more about how it works. With live stuff I think one thing that works for me, especially when shows are really dark, is to take light readings of the ambient light and then use your flash simply as a fill in. This way you will be able to capture the actual atmosphere but have a well-lit subject. Don’t be scared to drag the shutter to get some movement. What kind of musicians or bands are your favourite to shoot?

Bullet For MY Valentine

Humble ones without attitudes who take their music seriously and it is also always really nice working with someone whose music I really like. What would you consider to be the top five most crucial things to know about shooting live music for those of us interesting in exploring the idea of photographing the music scene as a living? 1. Being a photographer doesn’t make you better than anyone else so stay humble. 2. Be nice to everyone you meet. 3. Don’t bad mouth anyone in the industry because it’s a small one. 4. Stay professional no matter how star-struck you might be. 5. Have fun because it’s not easy. What are five of your favorite bands?

City and Colour

This is always my hardest question ever because my favourites work more on what I am feeling now. Not sure if that makes sense but at this very moment it would have to be Editors, Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, Hot Water Music, and Future Islands.


Best concert you’ve ever been to? This year it has to be The Revival Tour at Shepherds Bush Empire here in London. 3 hours of Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem and Horrible Crowes), Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio) and Dave Hause (The Loved Ones), along with a bunch of their friends, playing the best folk music ever … too special. What was the best concert you ever shot and why? I’m going to say Kris Roe (The Ataris) playing a solo acoustic show at The Underworld here in London. The reason is because it was the first shoot I did after moving to the UK and Kris was just the nicest guy ever. I followed The Ataris for ages so was a big fan of his work and was stressing out about it but then Kris just totally chilled me out and was really motivating about my work (he is also a photographer). I shot a bunch of portraits with him, we had dinner together and then I photographed the set, which was amazing. At one point Kris got off the stage to play in the crowd so I jumped in with him! Die Antwoord

Do you get your best shots out of high energy shows or low energy? They can both be amazing if the artist is in the correct place and the lighting is working with me. High energy definitely means a lot more running around and the need to be a lot more patient but in the end it comes down to that one moment … the moment that captures the whole show. What is your ideal setting for a show to shoot? My ideal situation would be a small-ish sized venue with a low stage, photographers pit, and great lighting. If I am being choosy then I might was well throw in the option of extending the dedicated pit to wrap around the stage so that I can easily get to the sides and back of stage. Maybe throw a bit of smoke into the mix.

Keep up to date with Marcus by following his blog at and his website Editors



Kris Roe

Young Guns



Madina Lake



The Asteroids Galaxy Tour




Linkin Park




Rise Against


Two Door Cinema Club

Manchester Orchestra


Matt Street



Gallows Stuart Gili - Ross

Eric Wright


After The Ordeal

Zebra and Giraffe Water


Papa Roach

The Wild Archive


Band of King


Liam Cromby

Mad Scientist


Dear Reader

Don Broco


We are the Ocean

Filthy Nights





Photographer Eric Anderson is one of the adventurous few that have made the jump from a stable and successful career in finance to a freelance career in his self-taught passion, photography. Working with a variety of cameras and formats (from Polaroid to digital) Eric’s work is both nostalgic and refreshing. We admire his courage, his incredible photographs, and his music taste (The Black Keys FTW!). Eric hails from the mighty state of Texas but has lived and worked in the magnificent state of NYC for the past 5 years.


How did you get into photography? And specifically music photography? I studied business and ended college with a finance degree. I enjoyed photography as a hobby back then, but primarily as a creative outlet outside of my “real job.” A series of events led me to New York, and once I was in New York, I knew it was the time to take a chance. Quit the finance job and spent a couple years interning and assisting for a few NYbased photographers. Eventually I began shooting my own jobs, and here we are five years later. Are you in a band or do you play any instruments? I had a short stint as amateur guitarist in my college dorm room, but quickly realized I had very little in the musical talent division. What are the tools of your trade? Which cameras/ lenses, etc do you prefer using for shooting bands and musicians as they perform? I use a myriad of different formats to shoot portraiture... Polaroid, digital, 35mm, medium format. When shooting a performance, I generally stick to digital to utilize my faster lenses and for quick turnaround on the images. How many years have you been shooting bands/ musicians? I started shooting concerts about eight years ago, and moved into portraiture and album artwork about 5 years ago. Do you have formal photography training? I do not. Studied business finance in college and worked in that world for a few years before leaving it behind for the freelance creative life. Did you always set out to pursue a career in photography? I never imagined I’d be making pictures for a living. It certainly took me a few years to figure out what I wanted to do, and that vision continues to shift and grow every year.


How has your style developed over the years? Practice Practice Practice. Style takes so much time to develop, and I hope I’m only still at the beginning of the process. There’s absolutely nothing that can replace getting out and DOING what you want to do. It’s a growth process that takes years, decades, a lifetime.

What have been your favourite professional experiences? Which bands/musicians were your favourite to shoot? Though it was only a live show (no portraits), watching Snoop Dogg from the photo pit was quite an experience, ha. What is the ideal setting for you to shoot in?

Did you face difficulties in pursuing a career in something you’re passionate about creatively? Absolutely. It’s a hard way to make a living. Creating the images is such a joy, but some overlook the other 75% of the business. Making a living in photography is so much more than just creating the images. Accounting, marketing, production, insurance, editing, overhead, building a team... They’re all important things to consider before diving in! To what extent do you rely on your tools, and do you feel that the tools you use have helped define your style? Tools are important, no doubt. But the medium is becoming more negligible by the day. When an iPhone can spit out a high-resolution image that looks like 30-year-old Polaroid film, it’s impressive. I think it’s important to remember the process inherent with each medium though... Setting up an intentional medium format image carries a different weight than snapping an iPhone picture and throwing some filters over it. The ability to connect with your subject is vital, and shooting film certainly causes you to slow down and appreciate the process and relationship between yourself, the subject and the camera.

All over the place. I love simple studio portraiture and I love running around an old abandoned estate shooting fashion. Having a great team is essential rule number one… a great team can make (almost) any location feel right. Who would you like to photograph that you haven’t already, and why? Too many to list! I used to say I’d never want to photograph celebrities or famous musicians, but I’ve backed off that a bit. I certainly don’t see myself ever becoming exclusively that, but I’d love to work with more musicians. Ryan Adams is definitely top of my list. What are your five favourite songs right now? The Black Keys - Lonely Boy Needtobreathe - Keep Your Eyes Open Ryan Adams - Dear Chicago Gabriel Kahene - Charming Disease Gregory Alan Isakov - Evelyn Who are your favourite bands at the moment? The Black Keys, Alberta Cross, Noah & the Whale, Cold War Kids, The Bellow, Needtobreathe, Gregory Alan Isakov, Head and the Heart… the list goes on.

What emotions do you feel your work elicits? What do you hope to communicate through your work? I definitely feel like I’m still defining my style, but I hope that 30 years from now I can look back and still appreciate the images I was making. I hope to not get caught up (too much) in the trends, and just make pictures that I love. The style will shift over the years, but if I can look back and see honesty in my body of work, I’ll be pleased.

Check out more of Eric’s work at and












appy New Year children, I trust that your holiday was filled with copious quantities of food, drink, and an overdose of family. So what are we here to discuss for this inaugural issue of quint in 2012? This month I will attempt to engage your thoughtcicles on that gastronomical nourishment of love as declared by the bard… Music. Rejoice everyone as we have a theme, a theme that we must all adhere to or face the Wrath of Zaina (possible title for JJ Abrams next Star Trek?). I cannot help but ponder the foul froplay that must have transpired pertaining to this issue’s subject matter. Not that I am one for complaining. Do not get me wrong there is plenty one can write about with regards to film and music as the two art forms have always shared an intrinsic bond. One only needs to look as far as conductors as John Williams, Bernard Hermann, Phillip Glass, and iconic music and theme songs that have punctuated cinema over the years. I would go as far to say that certain pieces of music enhanced and forged the identity of characters or films, such as Darth Vader, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Psycho, Vertigo, Platoon, and The Godfather. How many times have you picked a certain piece of music that you would like playing when you entered the room, brushed your teeth, or grilled some meat. I personally have 2001: A Space Odyssey playing in my head every morning when I brush my teeth, it gives this mundane activity a magnificent sense of scale of the epic variety. Subsequently we must not forget the music biopic film. Over the years we have been treated to and punished (when we are bad or even when we do not deserve it) to countless biopic films of bands, musicians, singers, and even rappers, as we are privy to their tumultuous journey personal and professional. Most biopics structurally are very similar; some might even argue that they are formulaic. Actually the formula could be plotted down quite simply as: Artist/Band discovered + Meteoric Rise to Fame + Drug/Alcohol crippling addiction + Redemption and rising from the ashes or death (please note that no artist has rose from death, yet. Tupac?) It seems that it is part in parcel to any great music career to go through these various stages in order to firmly establish one’s self in hallowed halls of musical prominence. If we were to go through the archives of music biopics they would all quite comfortably fit within these set parameters: Walk The Line, Ray, What’s love got to do with it? , Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox story. Alternatively creative expressions of the biopic do exist such as the excellent I’m Not There and last year’s intriguing Gainsbourg. These films in particular abandoned the traditional narrative arcs of the biopic and explored a more creative expression of Bob Dylan’s and Serge Gainsbourg’s story. Another important element of the music biopic we must not forget is that critical acclaim is guaranteed and almost ensures award show success. This explains why most actors and actresses try to finagle their way into a biopic at some stage in their career. However, being able to hold a tune is quite important so a lot of actors and actresses fall short due to their tendency to being tone-deaf. Therefore they have to garner acclaim the old fashioned (and harder) way… taking on challenging work and acting. Don’t get me wrong I am not taking anything away from the performers who actually successfully portray iconic characters on screen because it is immensely difficult to capture, or imitate, an existing larger than life personality. That’s probably the reason why it’s guaranteed critical acclaim. If you were to sit down and superficially analyse the biopic films we have seen over the last 10-20 years you will quickly make the link (one hopes) that the large majority of the subjects herald from yesteryear – starting as early as the 1920s – 1980s, with the odd straggler from the 90s. That

is simple and easy to understand because of the sheer wealth of talent and pioneering spirits that populated music over those six decades. Their troubled lives added to their persona but never took away from their musical contribution. Take, for example, the next biopic on my comprehensively large “to watch” list – the Miles Davis biopic starring Don Cheadle (I am sure he has already made space on his shelf for an Oscar). But if we were to examine the last decade of music - whose biopic would you like to see? Or, more appropriately, whose biopic do you think Hollywood would make in the next 20 years? I’m going to give you a minute to ponder over the possibility of a Justin Bieber fictional biopic because, let’s face it…Hollywood would make a killing on that film no matter how terrible it would be.

daughter after fruit (I expect to bear the wrath of a lot of people with my ridicule of Chris Martin, especially since he ushered in the New Year for the fine denizens of the UAE). The question being raised here is whether a pioneering spirit or musical excellence is interesting enough to champion a music biopic or do we need the drama? The biopics we could expect to see in the next couple of years: Amy Winehouse Justin Beiber Biopics we would like to see about artists and musicians from the previous decade or two: Tupac – There still hasn’t been a biopic about the most enigmatic and versatile hip-hop artist out there. His story is compelling, raw and has enough content to make a trilogy. His tenuous relationship with Suge Knight would be a fantastic film on its own. Maybe Andrew Dominik could be persuaded to make that film (he directed The Assassination of Jesse James).

Are you terrified and saddened by the realistic prospect of Bieber Fever coming to a theatre near you? I am sure in the next two years the bastions of British Cinema will all scramble to make Rehab – The Amy Winehouse Story followed by a gritty brutal Coldplay biopic. The low point could be when Chris Martin married Gwyneth and named his children Apple and Moses. Unfortunately Gwyneth has not broken up the band yet so cannot be painted as a Yoko Ono archetype. This unfortunate view of the biopic’s sad future does however raise some interesting questions relating to the state of the music industry over the last decade or two. In my country manor (in which I squat or occupy with great pride) where I have retired to for the holiday, I had the privilege of discussing these issues with the effervescent and brilliant Saty and Pratha (the best cultural sound board duo around) and here are some of the territories that we explored. All these factors influence and shape the music biopic as we know it.

Outkast – Musical visionaries, love with Erykah Badhu, opening up the south for Hip Hop and successful solo careers. More importantly we get the sordid inside story of how “The World’s Sexiest Vegetarian” title is awarded. See: biopic gold. Daft Punk – Musical pioneers as well as enigmatic. Saty had a fantastic idea of a film on that whole French Electronic scene that Daft Punk spearheaded in the vein of 24 Hour Party People. I am sure Michael Winterbottom would be up for directing it.

The diversity of the music industry: The last decade has witnessed the diversification of the music industry as it splintered into smaller more niche segments. Gone are the days where pop music was exactly what it was defined to be: “Popular” music. The concept of mainstream popular music being universally accepted by aficionados and the mass public is a concept of the past. “POP” music is a commoditised and manufactured product that propagates universal appeal by qualifying against closely monitored criteria that ensure success; for example: looks, song content, ability to dance in sync with groups of people. Therefore is there enough interest for a studio to finance a successful Wilco biopic or Jeff Beck biopic? The lack of universal appeal in this newly configured music environment may not be financially appealing for studios to tell the tale of smaller-scale icons, as influential they may have been, or are, in their particular sonic universe.

Pete Doherty – This would be a classic biopic because it features all the elements needed to make that film. Tortured musical genius, addict, two successful bands, romance with Kate Moss, romance with Amy Winehouse. Hold on a minute, can I patent this idea? (Zaina let’s get quint legal on this as soon as possible.) Rage Against the Machine – Well, need I say more? Politically charged, radical revolution, Zac De La Rocha screaming knowledge bombs and Morello’s guitar riffs.

The Halal-ity of musical icons today. We have to face facts, most musicians today are a lot more halal than some of the icons of yore. Most of them live past twenty-seven, well except Amy Winehouse. They are vegetarians, vegans, responsible, reclusive, scientologists, peace loving, conscious of where their carbonated feet leave a footprint, and decaffeinated. In summation they are halal, kosher, or, more appropriately, BORING. The days of brawling, hedonism, indulgence, driving a Rolls Royce (advertise with us please) into a pool, trashing hotel rooms, explosive dysfunctional relationships, and changing the face and sound of music are over. At this point I would just like to clarify that I am not disregarding Halal Musicians as interesting subject matter but in order for their story to be compelling enough to be told cinematically they would then had to have already cemented their place in music immortality. Otherwise you would end up with a riveting Chris Martin story and how they settled on naming their

Wu-Tang Clan – Who wouldn’t love to see ODB resurrected on the silver screen? Damon Albarn – Simply because he is cool, a genius, and is writing a rock opera. And finally … Radiohead – Their reclusiveness makes them fascinating subjects for a biopic. As you can see all is not lost in the hope for interesting biopic subjects – even from this decade – if people are brave enough to make them. As long as there isn’t a Nickleback biopic being sanctioned as I write this, then everything is going to be alright.


Words by Gayathri Krishnan



The Last Waltz

There are films that take your breath away before they've even begun. The first four minutes of Milos Forman's Amadeus – the credits, in fact – contain more drama and pathos than many directors manage in 120. The streets of Vienna are meticulously recreated and filled with a seemingly limitless supply of costumed citizens. Parts of several operas are staged, lavish performances within a performance, with choreography by Twyla Tharp and sets by Josef Svoboda. It's a slightly hallucinatory interpretation of late 18th-century AustroHungarian splendour, complete with vertigo-inducing wigs, flaming candelabras and heaving bosoms. The production design, by Patrizia von Brandenstein, was rewarded with an Oscar. And the music. Neville Marriner conducted the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in performances that must have introduced millions to the passion and intensity of Mozart›s symphonies, operas, and finally, his great requiem. If the film weren›t so good in and of itself you could accuse Forman of cheating – of piggy-backing on the composer's genius.

Martin Scorsese’s film captures The Band’s 1976 farewell concert at San Franscisco’s Winterland Ballroom – but thanks to a host of special guests (Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan), it also documents, more broadly, American folk-rock in its high pomp. The gig was a debauched affair, with Scorsese as well as the musicians indulging in heavy cocaine use backstage. Legend has it a large lump of coke – visibly hanging from Neil Young’s nose – had to be edited out in postproduction. But the real heart of The Last Waltz lies not in Scorsese’s deft camera, nor even in the Band, the ostensible 1976 swan song of which provided the occasion. The group’s performance, featuring most of its touchstone songs (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” a studio-shot “The Weight” with the Staple Singers), is exemplary – loose, fiery, and elegiac.

High Fidelity

For old school music fans, there is nothing better than a legitimate record store. The dank smell, the spinning vinyl, and the music nerds who argue about the obscurity of their favourite artists. yet in High Fidelity, you have all these attributes put together into a cluster**** of storytelling genius. The soundtrack is phenomenal as well, and 11 years later, it reflects the dying record store and the consummation of music in a rapidly evolving culture. Those of us who’d loved Nick Hornby’s book, set in London, initially bridled at the all-American film version, transposed to Chicago. But the characters, especially John Cusack’s list-making lead, lost none of their essential warmth in the adaptation. After all, geography is unimportant – this is a film that speaks to anyone who’s ever obsessed over music to the detriment of actual, y’know, human relationships.

Once He (Glen Hansard of the Frames) was a six-stringed street musician. She (Markéta Irglová) was a flower woman who couldn’t afford to purchase a piano of her own. A Dublin-based busker and vacuum-cleaner repairman enters into a fruitful relationship with a piano playing florist in a toe-tapping “video album” directed by John Carney and featuring a cast comprised entirely of professional musicians.Being a small-time musician is a rough gig. You play sets on the street with a flipped over hat, maybe a show for 14 people at a small pub in the city. The trials and errors of a man and his guitar have never been reflected better than in Once, an Irish film released to global critical acclaim. Though the film is not based on any one individual in particular, it does offer a look into the struggles of being a musician, wrought with a love story and driving spirit of song- it’s a fantastic film that gives power to music.

Stop Making Sense

Stop Making Sense was the first featurelength documentary effort of filmmaker Jonathan Demme, shot over the course of three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater, during Talking Heads’ 1983 ‘Speaking In Tongues’ tour. What’s noteworthy is how far it deviates from the norms of live performance footage. By largely avoiding crowd shots and quick jump-cuts, the film represented an arty counterpoint to the growing clichés of MTV, which had launched three years previously. This is easily one of the greatest concert films ever made.


Control Joy Division were hardly a cheerful lot, but their music has a subtle poetry about it. Erstwhile NME photographer Anton Corbijn swaps his stills camera for video, to produce one of the finest music biopics to grace the screen. Stunningly shot in black and white, the modern classic focusses on Joy Division and the band’s enigmatic frontman Ian Curtis, who commited suicide aged just 23. Based on Deborah Curtis’s biography Touching from a Distance, the film explores Curtis’ life from his school days in the 1973 up until his death on the brink of the band’s breakthrough American tour in 1980. The pressures of success, troubled romance and the torments of epilepsy are all portrayed as factors in his untimely demise. Its a sombre tale of a sombre man, but it manages to stay unique by sidestepping the usual drug-fueled downfall that characterizes so many biopics of rock stars. It is never made clear what exactly pushed Ian Curtis over the edge, but you’ll certainly be able to understand it.

This is Spinal Tap Eddie Van Halen once confessed, “Everything in that movie [has] happened to me.” This “mockumentary” film truly is a classic. It has one-liners that are still said to this day, and gives you an insightful outlook on the music industry as much, if not more so, than any true documentary. Spinal Tap wasn’t particularly a real band before and during this film, but they did tour and make a follow-up album based on the idea of Spinal Tap. It’s funny, but it’s also eerily familiar for those who understand musical culture and social dynamics. The guys argue, the guys get shafted by labels, and through all the laughs and all the satirical points, there is a line of truth embedded in each and every scene. Scenes from …Tap get quoted so many times, yet somehow the spoof rock doc never gets stale, because of the sharpness of the performances – especially Christopher Guest’s dim-but-lovable Nigel Tufnel – is even more impressive when you consider that much of the dialogue was improvised.

Walk The Line Before Joaquin Phoenix made “I’m Still Here” and baffled just about everyone, he gave us a performance of the decade in Walk the Line, the chronicles of Johnny Cash. The man was no stranger to drama, womanizing, and the creation of gorgeous country rock music that has everlasting appeal. it was also nominated for 5 Academy Awards, and is considered one of the best biopics in history, let alone music. As for the actual story, it’s an interweaving piece into Johnny cash as a man, his struggles with writing and simply existing where his popularity and drug use nearly swallowed him whole as it has done to so many rock stars in history.

Almost Famous From the ensemble performance of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” to fictional band Stillwater’s “Fever Dog,” there hasn’t ever been an ode to rock music as poignant or powerful as Cameron Crowe’s coming-of-age story. Former Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe based the script on his on experiences, and while you could argue it offers a sterilized version of ‘70s rock’n’roll, the film doesn’t shy away from portraying guys in bands as deeply flawed (Stillwater guitarist Russell Hammond bellowing “I am a golden god!” – originally a Robert Plant quote - is one scene that sticks in the mind).But it’s the soundtrack that makes it truly shine, a hazily elegant collection of tracks (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who) that evokes an almost impossibly glamorous moment in time, providing a backdrop for the film’s chronicle of rock’s turning point from art to commerce, and offer a road map through the hazardous terrain of teenage love.


Look at What the Light Did Now From its almost Lynchian beginning—filled with seemingly random cuts, out-of-focus shots, flashing lights, and swirling points of colour at a live show—it’s clear that Feist documentary “Look at What the Light Did Now” won’t be your standard rock doc. Instead, director Anthony Seck’s project quickly sets itself apart with an aesthetic that veers between art film and hipster craft fair, a tone that perfectly matches Feist’s own music, itself a mixture of polished and smartly produced tracks and earthy, quirky additions. It takes the music documentary standards of touring and recording and combines them with elements that would seem more at home at the Whitney than your average i ndie rock concert.


The journey of an ingenue is a subject of fascination for many. So what goes on between audition and opening night? Talented actor, singer & dancer Tala Al-Khudhairi, gives us the play by play. How would you describe your relationship with the theatre stage? What drew you to a life on the stage? Theatre and I, we are like any other committed relationship. We have our good days and our bad. There are many days of conflict of interest but I love it! And when you are in love with someone/something you work through it and make it happen the best way you can. Someone told me once that you don’t choose music and theatre, it chooses you.  I realize this sounds cliché. But we all know you don’t do it for the money. I started singing in the school choir when I was 11 yrs. By the time high school rolled around I loved it so much I was in 2, sometimes 3 choirs. And was involved in the school musicals. I was a total music geek. In college I studied vocal performance. It was such a heavy load that I really didn’t have time to do anything outside of school. However during my junior year, my good friend Kim came up with this idea of putting together some kind of musical theatre performance. That’s when Kim, Christina and I produced, directed, choreographed, musically directed a musical revue we called “Blisters Bruises and Broken Toes”. The following year we produced another show titled “Kiss me Cole” which was a revue of Cole Porters’ work. Studying with Sharon Stephenson and producing those shows got me really excited to pursue theatre. I booked my first gig the day after my senior recital. Once I began performing professionally I realized that performing for me, was a very healing process and quite meditative. What is your personal process to “get under the skin” of a character?  This is probably my favourite part of acting. I really enjoy doing the “homework”. I try reading the script a few times, once just to read it, another time to take some notes, and another to see what I missed the first few times I read it. I like to get as much information as I can on the character from the script and playwright first. Then I proceed to history. When was this play written? What was going in the world at that time? How does that affect the playwright? Character? Storyline? Then of course researching the year(s) the play takes place, as well.  Getting as much background information that I possibly can. This usually helps my imagination and also gives me better insight on who my character is, where she is coming from and possibly what she is trying to achieve. Costume helps as well, literally putting on the clothes that she would wear and shoes she would walk in. That is more of a physical layer that helps. I try to understand the character as best as possible then begin to think like her. How would she walk? How would she carry and present herself? The words are written and sometimes the emotion might be suggested but what is behind those words? That is what we discover.  We’re all enamored by the brilliance of broadway, but can you tell us about the inner workings of this bedazzling world? What happens from audition to opening night? I’m going to enlighten you specifically about musical theatre auditions. You have two different types of auditions. Union and Non-Union. In the States we have a union for theatre actors called The Actors Equity Union. There are a few different ways of becoming a part of the union, you can work towards earning your points and applying to the Union (meaning you have to book work at an Equity House, that will earn you your EMC points) or you can book a gig that will offer you your Equity card. When looking up auditions, the theatre company will specify if it is an Equity or non- Equity call. That aside, you have different types of casting calls: Chorus Calls and Principal Calls. As an equity actor, you can go to your local equity office and sign up for the audition one week before the date. As for the non-equity actors: Let’s say you are a non-equity actor and just read about an audition being held tomorrow at 10am, either a principal or chorus role. People would show up hours before the audition time, to sign their names onto a “non-official” sign-in sheet and form a line, should the non- official sign-in sheet not be honored. I have shown up to auditions that start at 10am by 8am and would be audition number 203. It’s pretty brutal. As an equity actor, you can only audition for equity calls. As a non-equity actor you can show up to an equity call. Once it’s time for your audition, regardless of whether it is Equity or a non – Equity call, you must have a headshot and resume stapled together and a binder of music that is audition ready. The audition call typically tells


you what to prepare, for example: Please prepare 16 bars of an up-tempo and 16 bars of a ballad. It’s always a good idea to only keep audition ready songs in your book and to know EVERYTHING inside and out, in your book! Sometimes they may ask you to sing something else, or questions about yourself, or something on your resume. I’ve been asked to sing some Arabic music in an audition for an American Musical! Then you leave, and wait. Sometimes they will let you know in the room if they want to see you again for a call back, or they will contact you or your manager. Usually there will be a call back, or a few callbacks until they decide if you are a right fit. The rehearsal process is different with every company. I would say that a 3 weeks prior to opening night, is an average rehearsal period, again it all depends on the show and the company. On Broadway shows run 6 days a week with 8 performances. One day of the week is what we call “dark” and two days out of the week would have a matinee as well as an evening show. Call time to the theatre could be anywhere between an hour or 1 ½, again it all depends on the show and the company. Getting the job is actually a job within itself. What is the most gut-wrenchingly beautiful opera you have been a part of and why did you connect with it? I wish I could say I’ve been in a gut-wrenching beautiful opera, but I’m afraid that has yet to happen. I did operas in college and I was mostly a dancing fairy or dancing nat. (true statement.) and I like to believe it was because I was an undergrad. But I did get to play the role of Noémie, one of the stepsisters, in a scene of Massenet’s Cendrillon. I LOVED that role.  Have the words and works of the greats inspired you to write your own scripts or plays?  Honestly.... no, not really. The words and the works of the greats really just inspire me to perform more and better. However, when I moved up to NYC I was told by a few.... “If you don’t get cast in something, just write a one woman show of your own.” That stuck with me, and as life takes me on this insanely beautiful and completely intense journey, I become more and more inspired to write something of my own. If you had to pick 5 performances that etched themselves in your mind, by whom would they be and why do they inspire you till date?  (Title of Show): I saw this piece on a gloomy Sunday evening by my lonesome. I laughed. I cried. I left completely inspired. And that is how I know it’s a good show! I stuck around among all the young thespians that wanted autographs, just to let the cast know how inspired I was!!  Scottsboro Boys: The last Kander & Ebb musical. This show was beyond amazing. A historical piece directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. The story is so touching. The script was beautifully delivered.  I literally sat in the audience with my mouth dropped to the grown for most of the show. It was brilliantly written, directed, choreographed and delivered.   Sutton Foster: I had the pleasure of seeing her in Anything Goes. Although I was not a fan of the revival, I was a HUGE fan of Ms. Foster. She is the definition of a triple threat and she does it with great poise and easethat is, hands down, a true performer!   Patti LuPone and Laura Benanti in the revival of Gypsy: honestly I think it speaks for itself. Ms. LuPone’s stage presence is breathtaking.  Laura Benanti’s transformation from baby Louise to adult Louise was phenomenal. It was inspiring seeing both on stage in their element.  What is your dream role and why? My dream role is to play a character that would challenge me. A character I can relate to is nice, but it is a little safe. I mean don’t get me wrong I’d LOVE to play Susan from [Title of Show] or the Widow in Zorba. But I would love the challenge of playing a character that pushes me outside of my comfort zone, that makes me think outside of the box, a character that displays actions and thoughts that Tala never would.


Band Tease The beloved Band Tee – a knowing wink, an ice-breaker, a secret handshake – and classic closet staple. Be it a cherished souvenir from a legendary show, or stolen from an (ex!) boyfriend – the older and more loved-up, the better.

Photography & Art Direction by Saty + Pratha Styling by Becca Dudley Make-up & Hair by Anne-Sophie Costa Models: Heidi Rock & Tenna Bergsdottir, Premier Casting by Bayo Furlong, The Eye Casting




Heidi wears AC/DC Tee, Beyond Retro Tenna wears Bob Marley Tee, Bob Marley Merchandise


This page: Heidi wears Rings and Cuffs, Stylist’s own; Necklace, Vivienne Westwood Opposite: Ramones tee, Urban Outfitters



Heidi wears The Who Tee,



Tenna wears Def Leppard Tee,




Heidi wears Kanye Tee, Kanye West Merchandise; Ring, Alexander McQueen Tenna wears Vibes Tee, Iamvibes


Heidi wears Tee, All Saints Tenna wears Underwear, Topshop; Hoodie, American Apparel; Necklace, Vivienne Westwood



Photography & Art Direction: Saty + Pratha Make-up and Hair styling: Bea Sweet Model: Zhu Lin, IMG






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adidas superstar

In this music edition we kick off with the original kings of rock – Run DMC. The rap band first wore these fine kicks with no laces and tongues out to imitate prison fashion.

nike air yeezy Kanye West loves his Yeezys. They’re actually named after him and they’re made for him. The Yeezy 2 have just come out, and they cost $5,499 on eBay, soldier.

the who x converse chuck taylor The Who got a black canvas sneaker that features the Union Jack embroidered along the upper in very loose red and black stitching. Converse and rock go back…




IT WOULDN’T BE RIGHT IF WE DIDN’T KICK OFF OUR INTERVIEW BY PAYING TRIBUTE TO THE LAST FEW DECADES OF SNEAKER CULTURE. It’s clear to see that sneaker culture has a life of its own in today’s time. We have grown from a division of consumers who simply appreciated athletic footwear, to a sub culture - an industry that commands billions of dollars annually. If you visit any major city worldwide, you can find a population who check blogs for release dates, tweet daily, customize their kicks, attend marketplace-like events (such as Sole DXB, Sneaker Con etc), check eBay for prices (the stock-exchange for sneakerheads) camp out for exclusive releases. Kicks are more than shoes for a lot of people - they’re a way of life. Be it as cultural signifiers or performance enhancers, the phenomenon of contemporary sneaker culture has gone far beyond functional fashion. At the end of the day, enthusiasts and designers ranging from Beastie Boy’s photographer Ricky Powell to designer Eric Meyers would say, it’s simple; you are what you wear. Here’s how it all started… there’s all these different aesthetics - you didn’t used to be able to tell the difference between a surfer and a skater walking down the street in the 60s. In the 70s they started to look different. In the 80s, they’re two totally different guys. In the late 80s, you could tell the difference between a snowboarder and a skater, or the Run-DMC look vs. the Beastie Boys look.

Osiris, and the new school Adio, DVS, Lakai and iPath, Supreme and a new division under their line of sportswear with Nike SB; signing Paul Rodriguez and Stefan Janoski.

In the mid 70s, while some skaters were picking up on Converse, basketball greats Dr. J as well as archrivals Magic Johnson and Larry Bird would take the shoe to a whole new level. In the late 70s, Nike would develop their “Air” technology creating the first Nike Air cushioning which eventually lead to the legendary Air Force 1.

For skate culture, the unofficial legends were the Lords of Dogtown, members of the Zephyr skate team from Venice Beach, CA, which included names like Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Chris Cahill, Shogo Kubo, and Peggy Oki amongst others. For basketball and hip-hop culture, the legends were the stars on the court and behind the mic.

In the 80’s, sneakers by Adidas, Puma, and Nike began to eclipse the traditional Converse on the basketball courts and sidewalks, and a fetish was born. In New York City, a fanatical coalition of basketball players, graffiti writers, break-dancers, and rappers devoted themselves to the stylistic possibilities of these shoes, making cults of certain models, coloring and customizing them and devising elaborate lacing patterns. On the skate side of sneaker history, the initial brands were Vans and Chuck Taylors. Eventually Vans would rule the 70s scene, but in the long run, low top and Converse One Star would be the brand most widely accepted and used by both skaters and basketball players. These original shoes and their functionality along with the passion of pros for developing new footwear for skating would lead to a wave of skate kicks - most notable being the eS Koston followed by styles from brands such as DC, Etnies, Globe, Circa, Emerica,


The Adidas and Puma that have most profoundly rocked the scene and the forces behind the beginning of the trend were unquestionably Run-DMC and the Adidas shell toe, and Walt Frazier and the Puma Clydes. Definitely the most legendary and popular Puma style of all time, the ‘Suede’ has a place in history and in every Hall of Fame. At the 1968 Olympics, the Puma Suede was worn by Tommie Smith, the prominent Olympic athlete, when he took to the Olympic awards podium with one fist held defiantly in the air. Walt Frazier wore this style in the 1980’s and this shoe became known as the “Clyde”. The Suede is widely regarded as the original B-Boy shoe. It was made famous by early break dancing crews, such as the New York City Breakers and the Rock Steady Crew, who rocked them religiously at early Hip-Hop jams in New York City.

with being true to the past than trying to break out into the future. A big part of sneaker culture is that it’s a way to tap back into your youth - being a kid and really liking something and wanting something you never had. That’s why the retro market has been so popular in recent years. As Bobbito Garcia states, godfather of kicks culture and author of “Where’d You Get Those? “The real reason I wrote the book is because I was reading all these mass media articles and they were like, ‘This new sneaker culture!’ New? Come on? This is not new. So, that was one of the inspirations behind the book to document the culture and where it came from so people knew that it wasn’t actually a new phenomenon at all - it’s very old. It’s just new to the mass media.” A NEW GENERATION - A NEW DIRECTION URBAN SUBCULTURE GOES MAINSTREAM In February 2005, a riot broke out at a store on New York’s Lower East Side as sneakerheads camped out in freezing temperatures to get the Nike SB Pigeon Dunks, for $300 a pair. When the store opened, according to the New York Post, 70 people were in line. Twenty got the shoes, the other 50 got attitudes. Police were deployed on scene because many knew what would happen when news broke out to the sneakerheads who waited outside for several days for nothing.

In 1983, from Hollis Queens, NYC, came Run-D.M.C. a group that refused to conform to pop standards by deciding that they would dress on stage the way they dressed on the streets. The trio was most notable for wearing the Superstars without any laces and pushing the tongue of the shoe out, imitating the fashion inside a prison. The Superstar received a lot of promotion from the rap group as they went out on tours across the US, increasing Adidas’ sales on the Superstar shoe. the trio released a song called “My Adidas” in 1986. The song paid tribute to the Superstar shoe, and attempted to flip the stereotype of the ‘b-boy’. Many years later, Adidas eventually signed an advertising deal with the group for 1 million dollars after realising how much promotion their product received from the trio. The deal made between Run-D.M.C. and Adidas was the first endorsement deal between hip-hop artists and a major corporation.

In 1985, Nike gave Jordan his signature line of sneakers. The Air Jordan 1 featured colors and the cultural significance that set the sneaker industry on its ear. During the 1985 NBA season, Michael wore the Air Jordan 1, which retailed for $65 — at the time, the most expensive basketball shoe on the market. The AJ 1 Black/ Red colorway was banned by the NBA because of rules regarding shoe colors; Jordan was fined $5,000 for every game he wore them and Nike gladly footed the bill, as the fines created even more buzz around the Air Jordan 1. MJ’s rookie campaign resulted in an AllStar appearance, Rookie of the Year honors, and leading the Bulls to the playoffs after a four-year absence. Michael wore the Air Jordan 1 Red/White/Black as he scored 63 points against the Boston Celtics in the 1986 playoffs.

Nowadays, sneakers have found their way into every wardrobe and no outfit is complete without a matching pair. What was once an underground art mastered only by a devoted few is now being invaded by a fresh batch of customers eager to spend what it takes to be cool. After crossing over from the sportswear world to mainstream fashion, sneakers are now evolving within this new environment, climbing the fashion hierarchy and inching closer to the coveted ‘luxury item’ status.

Spearheaded by a new generation who were brought up on nineties sportswear and were influenced by the modern street-culture in Tokyo, NY, and London, this new trend is a direct answer to the desires expressed by a new breed of consumer with hybrid tastes – luxury, street-culture, and mass-market – picking and choosing to get the best from all worlds. The focus of luxury retailers is changing to meet the demands of the younger, more casual consumer that identifies with this more contemporary manifestation of their product. Few customers are as passionate and loyal as sneaker-heads and luxury brands have taken notice.

Whether on the skate, basketball, or b-boy side of sneaker mania, digs are a sign of identification and an obsession more concerned

And there you have it, a crash course in sneaker history from Sole DXB’s luxury guy, Hussain. Carry on to their interview to find out more about sneaker culture and Sole DXB…



hat really makes Dubai different than other places around the world is that we’re doing things from scratch. We’re given a semi-blank slate from which to work from and groups and individuals are stepping up to the plate to fill the void, rather than just complain about their being one. The trio who formed Sole DXB epitomises this attitude. Hussain Moloobhoy, Joshua Cox, and Kris Balerite call Dubai their home, and have decided to step up and do something about the lifestyle restrictions

Sole DXB is a rapidly growing platform through which sneaker enthusiasts all over the UAE and the Middle East can communicate, share opinions and inspirations, and set new trends for the region. Borne out of a frustration in finding aggregated information, the creation of Sole DXB has subsequently created a unified outlet for all the latest and relevant news in footwear. Sole DXB is also a network where the passion for sneakers brings together a vibrant group of collectors, skaters, product designers, stylists, musicians, DJs,

and limitations everyone complains about. So over the past 2 years Hussain, Josh, and Kris have formed Sole DXB and essentially realised that this is the beginning of an underground culture, and they have a chance to be at the forefront. We sat down with a chat with the guys and talked sneaker obsessions, reminisced over childhood memories, discussed the thrill of “the hunt”, and the various techniques, knowledge, passions, and quirks that make them true sneakerheads.

filmmakers, bloggers, urban trendsetters, boutique owners, and the brands themselves. In addition, the guys supply brands with a number of services, from brand collaborations and consultations, to product reviews, interviews and events. Simply, Sole DXB is a channel for all the latest and relevant news in footwear, an annual event and trade show, and the bridge connecting sneaker enthusiasts in the region with the brands themselves.

“Back in the day when I was young I’m not a kid anymore but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again” Ahmad - Back in the day - 1994 …Nothing’s changed!

Lifestyle Sneakers ‘The Sneakerhead’

Performance Sneakers ‘The Product Designer’

Luxury Sneakers ‘Just Hussain’

Kris is the biggest sneaker head in the group and has played into heritage as of recent… “I like shoes that have a story behind them and that’s the reason why I collect. From original Jordan Dunks to Japanese moccasins to British Brogues.”

Josh is the sportswear guy. As the industrial designer of the group he knows the performance side of the shoe, strength of material, and that whole sustainable material movement that has been going around recently.

Best identifies with the cultural/trend crossover - Urban & Luxury, a new generation brought up on eighties and nineties sportswear and influenced by the modern street-culture in Tokyo, NY and London, this new trend is a direct answer to the desires expressed by a new breed of consumer with hybrid tastes – luxury, street-culture, and mass-market – picking and choosing to get the best from all worlds.

Kris: “At a Puma brand ambassador workshop, Hussain and myself were working opposite each other, discussing shoes, trends, etc, and we joked about a gentlemen’s club for sneakerheads… Put up a Facebook group and Josh was one of the first members who posted a trailer for ‘The Mystery of Flying Kicks’. The documentary is a heavily anticipated

film that won a plethora of awards at Brooklyn, Sheffield and Melbourne International Film Festivals. Anyway, before we knew it, the 3 of were sitting at lunch discussing the screening of the film at our first event - a family ever since.”


LET’S CHAT Zaina: So first off, what do you consider as a huge influence on sneaker culture? Hussain: Basketball was the biggest influence for sneaker culture, and what gave sneaker culture style were the bboys and the hip-hop scene.

H: Growing up, we played ball, listened to hip-hop, there was skate, BMX, graffiti... And now we’re professionals, we’re entrepreneurs, we’re bankers, we’re lawyers, we’re doctors... But we still love everything we grew up with.

your sneakers. Basically that’s the one thing you used to hunt for on vacation. You went on vacation, went anywhere overseas; you wanted to get some sneakers that no one else had in school.

H: Exactly, why would we push away who we have been all our lives?

H: That’s pretty much how it started for us all. How do you differentiate, stand out from the crowd? In every part of the world, styles and influences are different and we’re forever on the hunt for what is unique.

So weekends when you’re not in your suit on Wall Street, you want to be comfortable, you want to be in a pair of sneakers...

K: I don’t get that with creatives, why do we always collect stuff? What’s up with that? It’s like memorabilia.

Z: It’s interesting to see that no one really refers to sneaker culture as fashion.

Z: And that allows for collectors as well.

H: Really, it went from being stereotyped as a subculture where people looked differently at those who wore sneakers. 10 years ago, would you have been able to walk down a red carpet in denim or kicks? No. And in the last 10 years or so, it’s gone

J: Also I think it comes down to us being the next generation. The shift in timing. As in, before, you couldn’t wear sneakers to a corporate meeting because the boss was someone older who didn’t have any experience with sneakers whereas now, I wear sneakers and jeans and stuff, so I don’t

J: I think we collect because normally with creatives you associate what you see with something. Like even with sneakers and stuff, the first time I went to the states they had just re-released one of my favourite pairs of sneakers, so I remember that trip based on those sneakers. Or I remember Michael Jordan wore these during this game, so you attach it to a memory or an

Joshua: And a lot of the ballers or players used to wear their shoes because they’re comfortable and they wanted to wear them all the time. Like I used to wear my sneakers all the time because I never knew when I was going to play ball.

from a subculture to mainstream – not commercial – but mainstream. Look at the last 5-6 years, starting with certain collaborations between Adidas and Jeremy Scott, Stella McCartney, the Y3 line… you’re starting to see a shift in culture, where the big luxury brands are like “Hold on, wait a minute, massive margins to be made. We cannot ignore this demographic.” Which are the young kids who spend whatever they have on how they represent themselves. So now you can go and buy Rick Owens for $1800, you can buy Raf Simons, Giuliano Fujiwara, Margiela, so there’s all these couture brands that have (started selling sneakers). The sneaker game has moved into a completely different realm. Z: Now we’re in a creative time where anything that’s a subculture becomes mainstream, because people are trying to be different. J: I think the spotlight is because of that reason. Kris: It’s nostalgia.


Z: But you still have that connection.

dress formally at all even in my meetings as an entrepreneur, but now most of those people can identify with it. So it’s “ok”. They don’t judge you based on that so much anymore. They don’t judge your professionalism based on your sneakers and stuff anymore. Not completely. But it’s much better than before. Z: When did you feel like you really started to associate with that or that became something that you were really interested in. J: In high school. I guess growing up and going to high school in Dubai, it didn’t have a lot so it was kind of that foreign, hard to get product. Like Christmas time came around and you just wanted those sneakers. Jordan was just coming on the scene and he was someone you hear about on TV but you don’t get any exposure to so it was very much like “I have to have those!” Plus I went to Catholic school and we had uniforms, but the only thing you could wear that was different were your sneakers. So in school that was your statement,

experience and you want to hold on to that. It’s like photographs; except it’s something you can wear everyday. K: I think for me I started being a sneakerhead because during high school – like Josh – playing basketball helped make me a sneakerhead. We’re three brothers, so back then if my Dad would buy one really expensive pair he had to buy it for all three of us. So understanding that, my Dad would buy the cheapest ones, so I had to make sure I could pull it off. So those guys would be wearing the Kobe Crazy 8s, and I’d be rocking the Rodman 2s. And it’s the same performance, much sicker design, but at the end of the day I could still pull it off. If they were wearing Jordan’s I was rocking British Knights. J: Yeah you try to keep up with performance, style… H: You know what, the brands make it very difficult for us as well... Because you’ll have one great shoe and they’ll come in four different colourways. And


that will last for a season and then next season they’ll tease you with something else. And that’s how it starts, you know: “I’ve gotta have that”.

for certain shoes I know what will match with this jersey or with this hat. K: For me it’s t-shirts.

Z: Has your obsession with sneakers ever gotten out of hand?

Z: So it’s from the shoes up?

J: I’m actually pretty good, because of growing up here and the limited availability. I’m not like Kris, Kris has crazy amounts of sneakers.

J: Definitely.

Z: Do you know how many you have?

Samar: I’m just curious what your closets look like…

K: After 160 I lost count…

H: That’s the biggest problem for a collector.

J: Kris has crazy amounts of sneakers, but I don’t define sneakerheads only as collectors. Collecting is one part of it. I got into sneakers because I wanted to design sneakers, I ended up in the field I work in now because I wanted to design sneakers for Nike. I used to want to play ball, I wasn’t big enough to play ball, ok I’ll design sneakers. Some people are sneakerheads who are hungry to collect and they’re collectors, so they’re sneakerheads in that way, some people are just enthusiasts about the culture behind it, and some people actually like it for the design and the fashion related side.

J: We always keep them in their boxes. It helps with storage and keeping them new. And just that feeling of opening up a box every time.

have an opinion. I like that. K: I’d like to see more brand collaborations with local artists. J: A lot of the brands are actually valuing the individual and their point of view because they know there is a whole consumer group that agrees with that opinion.

H: Goes without saying!

K: I’ve got something called rotation. Every week I’ve got a rotation. I pull them out, and I prepare my sneakers for the whole week. H: Someone needs to design some kind of product to solve this! (looks at Josh). K: I like my box. I have labels on my box, and some sneakerheads Polaroid their shoes so they can remember what they have.

K: In Japan alone the brands collaborate with lots of different local art agencies, like Nike has Undercover, Adidas has Neighbourhood, Mastermind, New balance has Mita and Atmos, and that’s what I want the brands to be doing here in Dubai. I want Dubai to be more of a hub. H: I would argue that the brands market collabs to shift product. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great with the right pairing, but lets try something new. I kind of feel the footwear industry is stuck – “What’s next, what’s new?” Because they’ve done the whole vintage thing, the retros, the re-releases. Z: So what would you say is your favourite or best ever piece of footwear? J: I like the Undefeated 4s. But as collectors we like to think that we haven’t yet seen that item!

Z: So how do you define a sneakerhead? J: As long as you like sneakers, and have a passion for footwear. Like when I was younger I couldn’t afford sneakers, but it didn’t make me any less of a sneakerhead. I couldn’t afford to buy them but I used to go to the shops and the stores and check out every single sneaker and read up on every single sneaker. It’s about being an enthusiast. I think a lot of sneakerheads today, like the guys who collect, are who they are because of that. Now, when they do re-releases I see those same sneakers I couldn’t get when I was younger, or were the pairs I couldn’t afford that year, or I didn’t get them for Christmas. So I’m gonna cop five of them! K: You know the first agency money I got, I went and bought 5 pairs of shoes. Like, “In your face! I can afford you!” (laughs) H: I’m a sneaker collector... actually it’s an obsession with all footwear. For me it’s not just a shoe, it’s not just an expression, it’s a piece of art. I’m passionate for it all, Loafers, Oxfords, Brogues. Not out of choice of course... as a kid way back when, wearing tassel-ended moccasins! I appreciate that now!

Z: As collectors, would you really be able to sell shoes you love so much? K: I do, I buy three pairs. I keep one on ice, I wear one, and I sell one. J: Kris is the best collector among us because he’s a smart collector. As in he buys 3 or 4 pairs, 2 of them to cover the cost of the first one and you keep one on ice. K: I see sneakers as a business, and this is my love for sneakers. Z: What would be the first pair of shoes you buy your kid? K: I already bought her Jordans, Vans. J: Yeah Jordans. S: For a girl or guy? J: Jordans. For either. (haha). Jordan represented a whole era. And Jordans were what we wanted growing up so it’s what we’d want to pass on to our kids.

J: The sneakerhead has grown. K: I always relate this to women’s obsession with bags. You know how women have the Monogram first, that’s the gateway, then after that they get more educated and they start buying the Birkin and the Lana Marks Cleopatra clutch… J: People generally have objects of desire or talismans, like the whole reason iPods do so well is because a whole generation latched on to this white silhouette and there’s something about it that everybody wants. And it’s the same thing with sneakers. But for different people, it’s different objects. With us it happens to be sneakers. Z: Because of the form of sneakers, because they’re objects and you can wear them with anything, you can display it as such. J: When you wear sneakers, you end up collecting. Like Hussain has a crazy amount of denim and he wears different sneakers with different denim, I have hats and jerseys because


K: I got my daughter Air Max’s and Jordans when she was age 1. Then I cleaned them and packed them, so that she can look back later on and see her cool shoes. Z: What sort of things would you like to see the brands do? H: I think that comes down to who we are as individuals, we’re all so different. For me personally, it’s artisanship, quality and design. I’m more inclined to buy an Osklen. I’d love to find and sport a sneaker with an unusual stitch or unique material or leather. It’s all in the details! J: What I like is something they’re kind of doing already, they’re finding the young street influencers and the people who are kind of like us but on another level where they’ve been in the scene for so long and they have a really strong opinion on it and they collaborate with them. There are guys like Ronnie Fieg, Frank The Butcher, up and coming street culture brands or people who

K: The shoe that’s always on my rotation and the shoe I always buy, is the only shoe I had in college that I wore from first year to fourth year H: Wait for it! K: The black and white Vans Authentic. Vans took plimsolls to the next level. And Chuck Taylors. Those are the best for me. J: One of the nicest stories behind the shoe is when Nike made these bespoke, hand-made Air Force 1s out of Italy. Where they had crocodile leather, and the hand-made craft of it was really beautiful, but I don’t know… a favourite? I couldn’t say just one! Z: Do you think it’s easier to say what you consider to be the worst? J: Those Shaqs! I like the Shaq logo but the actual shoe is ugly. Or the Starbury’s! The idea behind the shoe brand was cool, he didn’t have much money growing up and the idea was to make affordable shoes, like around $5 or $10, available to everybody. Some were nice but some were horrendous. K: For me, hands down the worst shoe is a fake shoe. H: Yeah, that’s just a bad shoe. A huge no-no. Z: So what is Sole DXB’s position in the whole scheme of things? K: What we’re doing here is a celebration. We’re more than collectors. It’s all about celebrating a culture. Z: So what are the next steps for Sole DXB? H: A voice for brands and enthusiasts... what’s going on locally as well as internationally. We hope to connect with brands that aren’t yet in this market-space. J: It’s also the culture, not only the products it’s more like what they do. They’re sponsoring sick events, supporting artists, and from that angle that’s what we’re pushing them to do.

We’re really excited about what the Sole DXB guys have in store, and you should be too – trust me. First off, the highly anticipated Sole DXB event is taking place in April of this year, with more details coming soon. We can’t reveal details and the guys are tight-lipped about the surprises in store, but what we can say is that you will be blown away – artistically, musically, and pretty much in every other way possible. Sneakerheads – start pulling out those kicks and prepare yourself for an event made just for you!

Sole DXB have also forayed into film, as Hussain tells us: “We’ve started shooting a documentary film on the sneaker/urban culture in the Region - focusing on all it’s influences and those enthusiasts pushing the boundaries” With passion comes great productivity, huh! It’s refreshing to see self-expression and dedication wrapped up in artistry and put on film. Definitely one to watch out for!

So now that you’ve heard all about Sole DXB, we know you’re itching to get involved! We at quint felt the same way after our first meeting with Hussain, Josh, and Kris so we’re very happy to announce our collaboration with Sole DXB – A hunt of our own for the biggest sneaker collectors in the region! Keep an eye on our Facebook pages (details below) for official announcements and details on how to enter. Winners will be invited to exhibit their sneakers at the Sole DXB event in April and will also grace the pages of quint magazine!

Keep in touch, stay tuned, and join the only platform for sneakerheads and sneaker culture enthusiasts on the Sole DXB Facebook group:

And finally the guys have plans to elevate Sole DXB to Sole ME (Middle East). We wont be surprised if this happens sooner rather than later. Sneakerheads of the Middle East, unite!

Also watch this space for the upcoming Sole DXB website:



Whatever I say, there are simply no words to properly describe the enigmatic, fun, and insanely talented Bunty! She is colourful inside and out and immediately friendly and personable. Her songs surprise you and fill you with a sense of joy and intrigue. Mysterious sounds flow from her mouth, and through her fingers to your ears – yet her improvisational musical masterpieces are enjoyable and immediately sweep you up into her world. We were lucky enough to catch Bunty’s performance here in Dubai at Traffic a few months back and although it was intensely refreshing, she left us with a void yet to be filled. But thanks to the mighty internet we’re still bouncing around to her tunes and trying to memorise the made-up words of songs like Achana.

I think one of the most interesting aspects to your songs is the fact that you experiment not only with the sounds various objects make, but with your voice as well. Do you consider your voice as an instrument as well? How do you keep your sounds fresh and interesting?

Needless to say we’ll be staying in touch with the lovely and creative Bunty as we follow her adventures and hope against hope she’ll pop back down for a visit soon!

I definitely consider my voice to be an instrument. I think the main thing is to try and keep myself inspired keep my live performances in the present and outerbody, at their best, to forget about myself, and grab inspiration from the air that is always thick with it.

Seeing you here in Dubai a few months back really was an incredible experience. Not only is your style a breath of fresh air in this city, but is also eclectic and unique in a general sense. I would even venture to say that you’re not only a musician but a poet and sound artist as well. Do you agree with that description? Lets say yes, I struggle with the boxes and am enjoying being called a poet.


When did you start sharing your made up languages? As a child to make my brother laugh by pronouncing things funny. We also had our own secret society called boods, which had its own theme tune to sing in the accent. I read that you’re half Moroccan, half French. Do your made up languages ever borrow from Moroccan or French (or any other languages you speak)?


Definitely all of those things, also growing up in London you hear so many languages. My primary school had 100 different nationalities (I know this because they liked to say it – a lot).

Not really... in fact generally they have respected it, especially when they find out that much of it is improvised, also when it comes to electronics you can get away with a lot!

Achana in particular sounds Moroccan & French to my ears. Then again, I don’t speak either! Is it a made up language or actually sung in one or both of those languages?

Who are some of your favourite musicians, or biggest influences?

Made- up but definitely have these languages in mind when I sing it! When you do sing in made up languages, are you still expressing emotion or telling stories, or are you more focused on how things sound? A mix. Sometimes it’s emotion or sometimes it’s sound, they are often one and the same to me in that everything has an inherent meaning/ story attached to it that you can tap into if you are ‘in’ it init? I feel like in the songs I can’t understand, I can focus a lot more on the raw emotion, the sounds, the way they flow, the inflection in your voice and so on. They allow my imagination to run wild with what I think is going on. Is that something you aim for? Woohooo that’s what my dream listener would say! I don’t want to be prescriptive I am not a doctor or a politician. How did you start making music (way back when)? When I was about 16, I can’t find or remember all the music I made back then when I wanted to be a grunge queen - I always wanted to be a singer since forever. Were you exposed to a lot of music as a child? What did your parents listen to? Not really. My aunty listened to Stevie Wonder, Motown, all that 60’s Bossa Nova, Beatles, and as for my parents they had approx. 3 records – Charles Aznavour, the Nutcracker and a 7’’ of ‘Tooty Fruity and ‘Rock Around the Clock’ Have any of these artists made a lasting impression on you? Stevie Wonder – his melodies and hooks are mind-blowing always - still. What are the most important things you want to communicate with your audience? Flexibility. Have you felt any resistance from classically trained musicians regarding your style and techniques?

Laurie Anderson – genius, Michael Jackson – obviously, Bjork, Beck, Nirvana, profuse 73, Cyprus Hill, Beatles, Animal Collective – Rad vocalists, Vole, Silver Mount Zion, Billy Holiday...oh lots and lots more... Tell us about where you’ve performed. I have performed a lot at the millions of English Festivals like Glastonbury, Secret Garden, Larmer Tree but also at galleries, bookshops, funerals, weddings, basements, train stations, peoples front rooms, clubs, churches. I have played at a fair few countries abroad like France, Germany, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, hmmm think that’s it for abroad though my memory is VERY, VERY BAD. What has been your most exciting performance yet? I think probably something I put together in a church in Brighton with dancers a choir, a film maker and was packed full and so many elements to potentially go wrong it was terrifying! Where do you enjoy performing the most? Anywhere where the sound is decent and the people are ‘in’ with it and we can be ridiculous together! I really like churches. Tell us about the various collectives and projects you work on. Brighton is filled with musical incest – it’s disgusting! So I am part of collective called beatabet made up of many different multi-discipline artists and we put on experimental events, installations, performances and record music together. We have made 2 albums so far at a residency which we do each year in the mountains of France. There are another two main music projects: Le juki (an experimental folk trio) and Resonators (a 9 piece dub reggae band) I am lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most talented musicians and they agree to work with me - brilliant! Check out Bunty’s awesome soundscapes and wordplays at:




Synonymous with youth angst, rebellion with an anti-mainstream agenda, punk is more than just music, it is a way of life. Letting their punk flag fly high, the members of ‘Grand Hotel Paradox’ in person have the kind of camaraderie that comes from what we can only imagine to be super fun face-melting jam sessions in their garage with dives off amps, kicks and screams. We chatted with vocalist of the band, Chris Ryan who caught us up on all their latest shenanigans, their recent South-East Asian tour and on all things punk. How did the name ‘Grand Hotel Paradox’ come about? The name comes from a paradox used to explain the concept of infinity in mathematical terms, developed by a mathematician called Hilbert. He’s a badass mofo, for the record. What was the biggest highlight of your recent south-east-asian tour? How did you make that tour happen? Best part was definitely the audience - the kids at punk shows over there are really committed to the scene and have a real sense of urgency about them, so there is loads more reciprocal energy at shows. Who in your opinion, are the forefathers of true punk spirit and why? There’s a brilliant song by Jeffrey Lewis where he chronicles the history of punk rock where he starts in 1950 and ends where most people start with CBGBs, Ramones, Television, Sex Pistols etc. So I think when concerning ‘punk forefathers’ it is totally up to interpretation. But in terms of the forerunners of the ideology and ethic which defines what we play as a band (which I think is in fact much more important and relevant than the sound of the music) you can pretty much put it down to early US hardcore punk like Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains etc. With an inherent anti-establishment leaning and detachment from the mainstream, are you truly punk if you “made it” and were massively popular? What is your opinion on pop punk bands? I think there are some pretty big confusions with regards to “selling out”. I reckon that no matter how much money you make

or how many record sales you have, as long as you are writing the music for yourself and conducting yourself in a way that services your own music and your own beliefs (not those of your record label/management etc.) then you’re doing fine. If you start to alter your music or your beliefs or your ethics in order to increase popularity, or to get signed to a label then you’re really going in the wrong direction and you will likely have much less longevity in your career because the people you once pandered to will soon grow tired of your predictability. To answer your second question, mainstream pop punk is helpful, it is sort of like a gateway drug. From listening to Sum 41 and looking them up on the internet, you can find out about The Offspring, and from looking them up you can find out about real & important punk bands like Dead Kennedys. As a kid growing up in Dubai with little to no punk bands playing shows/getting radio play, this is the same route I took. Well, I skipped the Sum 41 step they’re pretty awful. Top five songs/albums/artists that greatly influence your music. I won’t speak for the rest of the band because we are all equally authoritative and militant about our favourite music, but here are 5 brilliant songs by 5 bands that I am definitely influenced by (in no order): Dead Kennedys - A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch Propagandhi - Less Talk, More Rock A Tribe Called Quest - Buggin’ Out Fugazi - Suggestion Mad Conductor - Marifasa Lupina


HE SAYS: It’s funny how you can spend months wishing you could work on a project that is inspiring, fun, challenging, and will certainly raise your work to a higher level, only to feel completely clueless and uninspired when that project finally lands in your lap and it’s time to start working. These were my exact thoughts as I was lying down. On the floor. In the studio. Whilst a client was staring at me from her chair with the slightest hint of irritation. Actually not that slight, she was pretty annoyed. I could tell she was wondering what on earth was wrong with me, and how she could ever get me to get back up on my chair and actually do some work. The ‘client’ was Gayathri, and we were working on composing the orchestral score to one of her songs for a show we were working on called ‘Movement.’ Unfortunately for her, I was in one of my moods. Albeit doing exactly what I loved doing, and being really excited about it, I just couldn’t get into ‘work mode’ and actually gather myself to do something that could be considered productive. Being a professional music composer and producer, I will never let a client overtly know that I am not in the mood. No, instead I have devised a whole series of little ‘hints’ which I will drop at an ever-increasing frequency and on an ever-decreasing scale of inconspicuousness. They include things like pretending not to understand anything the client says, taking at least 10 seconds to answer questions (only to answer with monosyllabic mumbles), and, keeping one’s eyes focused on an invisible horizon thus avoiding any eye contact with the client. But often all that fails. This happens when the client has become resilient to any of my ‘hints’ and knows just how to get me to do my job. That led me to come up with a slightly less professional ‘hint’, aka get off your seat and lie on the floor. It worked. But not for long.  Eventually I got up off the floor and we continued working on the score. And the result was nothing short of spectacular, if I do say so myself. This is what it is like to work with Gayathri; she knows exactly what you are capable of and when you are or aren’t living up to your full potential. She knows what she wants out of her music and never settle for anything less than perfection, even if that means having to rerecord a lead vocal 6 times with microphones borrowed from an audio distributor all the way in the Airport Free Zone, or, more pathetically, having to pull her producer up from the floor so he can continue to operate the computer. When I said that Gayathri will never settle for less than perfection, I didn’t mean that every note of every instrument in the record-


ing has to be clearly audible, in tune, and perfectly synced to tempo. It is rather that the song is being shaped to match what she has in her head as accurately as possible. And after 3 years of working with her I can wholeheartedly say that the music she hears in her head is the definition of perfection. Music composition is, in my opinion, the art of converting a musical idea that exists in your mind into a musical piece in the ‘outer-mindly’ world. This is different from music production, which is the conversion of someone else’s idea into a tangible song. When working with Gayathri I have the privilege of wearing both hats. Many a time, she will come to me with an idea for a song she wrote on the guitar or piano and will play it for me. Almost instantly an arrangement will form in my mind, complete with string sections, drum beats and backing harmonies. After we discuss the treatment, we will sit down and start laying down the ideas we both had and usually the song will finish itself. We have a very natural and hands-on way of working, meaning that most often ideas are heard musically rather than discussed verbally. This is probably partly due to the fact that my explanation skills are still at ‘crap’. But luckily I make up for it with my ability to quickly translate my ideas into music and playing that back to her. When we both lead each other to the same page, it is smooth sailing all the way to the mastering suite! (Other times it’s not, see opening paragraph.) At the end of the day, listening back to the music we have created together, I am always amazed at the thought that these songs all started of as ideas in Gayathri’s head. Everyone knows that music is an art form, but only those who work in music get to really witness its creation. And even then I have to admit that it is a complete mystery to me. It’s almost like every song already existed in another world and that all a composer does it move it from that universe into ours by having the song magically appear in their minds one day. I know that sounds pretentiously vague, but it’s the only way I can describe it. I don’t know why some people have the ability to write music and others don’t; I can only conclude that some people are simply gifted. Gayathri is one of them, as everyone who has heard her music will agree.  The songs she writes and the ideas she has, need to make their way into this world to be heard by all, and I consider myself very fortunate to be able to play a part in this. And that is why I love my job.

What makes great creative chemistry is a complete mystery. What makes a collaboration phenomenal, we’ll never know. But all we know is that when it works, it’s magic. Composer/Songwriter & Producer Reiner Erlings & Singer/Songwriter Gayathri have chemistry up the wazoo. In an effort to study the formula to a perfect creative equation, we asked them to pen personal records of their musical play dates.  

SHE SAYS: If the mind was a tangible thing, an organ, what would it look like? This thought first occurred to me as I was day-dreaming in my poetry class in college. I pictured mine to be purely analog, like that of an intricate clockwork, with no ugly wires hanging out or microchips or serial numbers. Just something that has its own pace, a confident stride, and unique functionality. (Yes, Coleridge makes the mind wander from time to time). The second time I revisited that genre of day dreams, was when I sat in the swivel chair next to composer, producer, and collaborator Reiner Erlings. I began to mentally draw. His mind, if it were an organ, would look something like those old punch-card music boxes that would interpret any idea in frantic musical morse code. Why did I conjure up this particular image? Well, before I swiveled for an unadvisable amount of time in my chair in his home studio, I had just described an idea I had for a song we were rearranging for a musical showcase called ‘Movement.’ And the moment this idea left my lips, I could almost hear his mind start to compute. The music box would punch out a code that only he understood and possess his fingers that would swiftly play layers of melody upon melody on his piano. I watch him do this with the wonderment of playing with bubbles. I am fascinated. We start tossing ideas back and forth and brick by brick, sound by sound the arrangement starts coming together.  With his lovely cat (Nala) napping lazily on the extra chair that’s missing a wheel, we spent noon after noon working to getting this project off the ground. (Insert fun montage of recording with headphones on, me playing guitar while he plays piano, laughing and high-fiving, here). We sunk into the process of rearranging my songs for a 60 piece orchestra, very naturally. What we were essentially doing was melding the world of contemporary and classical music, which meant - composing for an elaborate string section, horns, a choir, percussionists, whilst incorporating avant-garde sound design something neither of us had attempted before. What made us think we could undertake such a mammoth task? Each other. And through this process, we pushed each other in a new direction, taking ambitious leaps in our combined and individual approaches to music-making. It felt like putting a microscope to my songs, expanding every nuance ten-fold and magnifying the seed of thought to hundred times its size. And during what were meant to be 5 minute breaks but ranged anywhere between half an hour and two, we would drum up a make-shift

youtube-powered karaoke bar in his studio and bellow out ‘Believe’ by Cher and other such gems of the 90s. It was a play date I was religious about. But before I babble on with no anchor to this whole account, lets veer back on course. We didn’t realize it then, but as we reached end of day’s play on one of our many creative sessions, we were on the cusp of something amazingly fortuitous. You see, at that time, we were going to start work the following day on an arrangement for a song that went on to become my second release and first music video, ‘Champion of Broken Hearts.’  I remember him asking me something like “so what do you see for this song?” and I, having just come off my monthly Woody Allen marathon ritual, casually said something about how it would be really cool to do some Gershwin-esque dramatic strings and horns, something right out of broadway that has a cheekiness to it, given the lyrics of the song. He replied with his trademark matter-of-factness “ya I think that would be cool!” So I went home that evening excited to start working on the song and when I rocked up to his studio the next day, he welcomes me with an unassuming “I worked on it a little bit, tell me what you think.” We fought for the good chair and after I won, he played back what he had worked on. The Gershwin, the strings, the horns, the broadway and the cheeky, leaped off the speakers and danced in circles around my head. Suddenly the song I wrote on an old outdated keyboard had a new face. But not processed and primped like one of those went-under-the-knife kind of new faces, but the kind that appears in the mirror after you get past those awkward teen years when you were the girl that got dumped at prom (yes, true story). The face that has all the features you’ve known for years but suddenly it’s different, better, striking, alluring, still utterly you. With a grand-scale composition and arrangement, he had set a tone for the song that we honed and refined from there on. The song and the creation of it became bigger than us and upon its completion, there was a collective sense of accomplishment and excitement. I am absolutely convinced that, this song, today is as much his as it is mine. Written for him, to be the song that excavated a certain musicality that only this walking-talking punch-card music box could articulate. Now if only I could go back to the tenth grade and right some wrongs. I finally understand organic chemistry. 





Even before I had ever walked through the door, I already had a vague idea of what Jay Wud’s apartment looked like. I had gleaned glimpses of his habitat on the evening that I first saw Jay perform in Dubai alongside other potential Stoli original ambassadors at the Stoli campaign party at Republique. Jay’s performance of Super Woman had everyone in the club on their feet, hands in the air, hair flailing to the sweet rhythm of his guitar. From Jay’s Stoli promotion video, which played behind him onstage, one could easily gage the friendly demeanor of this Hard Rock-and-roller. Jay surrounds himself with a bright space filled with colorful artifacts and shelves stocked full of books, magazines and dvds. I was excited to browse through the stacks. From the bust (see: alter) of Wonder Woman, to the photography on his walls, to the ink on his body, it seemed everything around him was animated. Jay greeted me at the door with a warm welcome and a cat named for the Beatles’ track Rocky Raccoon, who he explained had recently been put on a diet. I was immediately at ease in his presence and realized that there was nothing intimidating about this rocker other than his incredible talent, dedication to his music and his passionate drive. With a deep breath and a stiff drink, our interview began. D: On your debut album, New Blood, you played the guitars, bass, synth and drums, as well as wrote and recorded vocals. What was that process like? J: Every artist has their own method and style of making an album. The process for New Blood started with the guitar, and eventually a riff blossomed into lyrics and then the rest just came. I used sample drums to give my rock an almost electronic sound, though I perform live with other musicians. New Blood was a labor of love from late 2009 to Sept 2010. It was all inspired by my pre-Dubai life in Beirut. The artwork and design of the album was done by Bison, an artist who is based in South Africa. I often hear from people that the cover is very beautiful but they usually ask “what are those creatures?” In creating the album art, we wanted to stay away from the color red and blood, but depict the chaos of creation in another way. The artwork was inspired by my photograph by Sandra Chidiac.

I am happy to have the opportunity and platform to showcase my originality through Stoli. This whole campaign has legs and everyone is talking about it. I’m really proud of all those involved. Basically, once I was nominated as an ambassador, I had to be creative in promoting Stoli by creating content for them, from posting status updates to photoshoots. I have had 3 photographers and 3 designers help me create ad campaigns for Stoli. We had a big party, which was an amazing success, a huge turnout. I remember I saw you perform there and was very impressed to see a trueto-the-bone rocker in Dubai, while the other musical ambassadors were DJs spinning records.. you see a lot of that here. Yes, the DJs were fine but May al Calamawy had a really impressive performance. She is the other ambassador chosen to go to Los Angeles in February. I never thought of this campaign as a competition. I respect the other ambassadors and meeting them was great. The whole launch was amazing publicity, very rock and roll. But I can’t wait to see the music scene in LA and get inked! Obviously, hanging out at the playboy mansion is a given, but I am thinking of checking out some independent record labels, universities and workshops, but I don’t think I’ll be gigging while I’m out there. From Dubai to LA, soon you’ll be big in Tokyo! I’ve noticed you have a fanpage in Japanese... are you big in Japan, Jay Wud San? Not really... not yet, anyway! Though I am a big fan of Japanese culture, myself. I love Manga and I’ve always wanted to learn the language. I bought CDs, books, even tapes to listen to before sleeping, and I actually picked it up for a bit. After the earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan I was really depressed. I’ve always wanted to perform there so I made a band site in Japanese, which is connected to a main site where people go to buy local music online. It’s pretty hard to break into their industry. A good agent will get you into a few small clubs but you’d need amazing PR to do a tour, so I’ve had the website ready... It’s one of the things I’d like to accomplish in the near future.

Did you play in other bands prior to going solo?

You mentioned Manga, what are your other indulgences?

I was in two bands in Beirut: Low Budget Orchestra was a trio and we played together for about two years in practically every venue in Beirut, it was the greatest group. I was also in a band called The Kordz, and we played together for about a year and a half. I opened for Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin in Tunis with them. That was a pretty radical experience! In Dubai I was in a band with Paul Akiki called Paulak, we opened for Aerosmith at Yas Island in 2010-- a show for 50,000 people. Let me tell you, there is nothing like the rush you get from a crowd that size cheering you on. It was amazing to share that experience with a group of fellow musicians. During an experience like that you become one with the band, even if you are an entire orchestra. After the gig I got to meet Joe Perry and I was thrilled. In Dubai I was gigging everywhere around town while working at a recording studio called Mindloop (which predominately produces commercial jingles) and that opened lots of doors for me; I began producing. I was playing with Funk Radius at the Radisson Blu and at that time I was writing. When I realized I had a lot of my own material, I decided to move on from the cover band and work on being me. Shortly thereafter, New Blood was born.

I love video games and comic books actually. And magazines, guitar magazines especially! I’m a technophile; I love my iPad. Gaming is a big part of my life; I play a lot of games and watch tons of movies, particularly European directors. I’m not too keen on Hollywood. Films that lack dialogue which have a lot of visuals and take me to a different reality: I love those! I have a movie collection full of them. I watch a lot of documentaries on time travel and space.

Can you talk about your favorite tracks on the album? “I’LL BE CLEAR WHETHER YOU CAN OR YOU CAN’T HEAR”- FUZZY COLORS Fuzzy Colors is about the politics in Beirut, in fact it’s directed at the politicians, I needed to vent my frustrations out in some way, so I wrote them as lyrics. It’s actually the most requested song when I play in Beirut. Confusion is about temptation, a trip with my devils, a journey and confusion of experiences, the guitar riff is the actual confrontation between my soul’s desires and my devils. Strange Days was the first track I wrote for New Blood, which is ironic because it’s the last track listed on the album. It was a turning point when I actually started writing, connecting with myself as a solo artist, and discovering my individual sound. The whole album is a cocktail of new experiences and I tend to mix genres. Tell us about your next album. I am currently working on my new album, and I plan to produce it with a band to be more alternative, with more heavy rock sounds, especially loud guitars. I am going more raw and old school with this album, no synths or keys, all high note vocals and very guitar-driven tunes— I am writing for 3 guitars and will be playing live with two other guitarists. I am torn between two titles at the moment so I won’t reveal the name just yet. I am hoping for a summer 2012 release. It will be a big production and I’ll have more time to record and mix the tracks, send it to the States for mastering. Studio sessions start when I get back from LA. Playing with me are Pascal Elias and Imad Jawad. I can’t wait to actually record these guys because they are both awesome musicians and incredible artists to work with. So you are going to be experiencing zero gravity in Los Angeles soon! Can you tell us about your experience becoming a Stoli ambassador?

And how do you feel about your place in the universe? Actually my first album was dedicated “to the Universe”. I do believe there is a higher power that we call God, but to me, religion is a personal path. I am not chaotic, but I don’t do rules. I tend to break them and rearrange them in my own ways to compose my perception. There’s mental and spiritual health, what do you do to keep your body fit? I am a big health freak. I watch what I eat, I train, do yoga. Music is like meditation to me, it locks me in the zone. So what are your musical inspirations? I try to branch out and listen to lots of other artists, because I am inspired by what they create. I love Ani Difranco’s folk sound, lyrics and her voice. I am a big fan of Diamanda Galas, she is a contemporary operatic who ventures into rock and some really weird but great stuff, usually spreading awareness of a cause. Brent Yensch is also a big one. Clapton, Hendrix, Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley, Buddy Guy, Albert King and BB King, John Paul Jones, Prince, The White Stripes, Foo Fighters, and Crooked Vultures too. And who has given the best live shows you have attended? I saw Coldplay in the pouring rain and thunder, the band played everybody’s heart out. I had never bought a CD before or liked them much at all, but it was a beautiful experience. I obviously really enjoyed Prince and Metallica live. Dafer Youssef who is a Sufi singer and Oud player was a great show too. In London I saw Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck give an awesome performance. Do you have a desire to produce other talent? If I see someone who has potential and I believe that they have an original sound I would be more than happy to work with them.

Jay’s fanclub always needs “new blood,” so to keep up to date on his latest album and catch his live performances, be sure to check him out online at:


Like many people, when I heard that a small group of punk kids were swept away by police in Aceh, Indonesia, I was stunned. Seeing photographs of sobbing youths having their mohawks shaved off in an effort to “re-educate” them made me feel physically uneasy. But most shocking of all, all these punks had done to be handed this punishment was to be fans of a fledgling Indonesian punk scene. Swept out from a concert hall, a hallowed church for any punk fan, and thrust into a regimental re-programming to re-join a culture they are rejecting. 130

So why is there even a punk scene flourishing in Indonesia when the scenes in the UK and US have both slowly faded away from the public eye? The same reasons punk flourished to begin with: unsatisfied youths with bleak outcomes finding ways to express themselves. That certainly isn’t a crime, nor should it even be shunned and discouraged. But what does this say about how Indonesia receives punk music? I don’t think this was really an attack just on punk music, but an attack on anything counter-culture. In an area like Aceh which operates under Islamic law, this is seen discouragingly and with suspicion.

“My Generation”. It was no wonder then that when you’re living in a country where social unrest is looming on the horizon you look elsewhere for guidance. Your parents have failed you, your government has failed you and now your culture was failing you.

So how can we predict how this will turn out? We can look at the past and remember how punk was received in the US and UK, with the initial harassment and crime associated with just being different... being punk. It seems difficult today to even imagine a time when punk was looked at so scornfully. Everywhere you look, we have punk fashion dolls, high street shops selling punk attire and even punk has found its way into mainstream chart music. So how is it that punk, which is now so accepted as a stereotype in the Western world is still seen so dangerous in much more conservative places?

Imagine for a moment how liberating it must feel that suddenly, not only could you pick up a microphone and scream out almost anything you wanted, but you’d have an audience for it. Anyone and everyone could be a hero and a voice for this generation and, just as it did in the US, punk rock thrived.

Let’s look at the kids themselves who were swept away in Aceh. Many of them are homeless, busking on the streets and buses with cheap ukuleles, playing renditions of their favourite punk songs just to make a few pennies. Taking the UK and US scenes close to their hearts, they adorn themselves in D.I.Y. leather jackets, piercings and tattoos. This may look shocking to even some members of the public in the West, but imagine seeing that in the largely secular Muslim province of Aceh. The fear from the public and police in Aceh for these “moral deviants” stems from the same fear that Mary Whitehouse had in the 70’s, a complete lack of understanding. I can’t say that none of them are criminals or have broken any laws, but it’s not a crime to simply be poor and different. If we look back to the UK scene, all the way back to the late 1970’s we can see a few parallels. In the UK, youths were unsatisfied with what was becoming of their nation. Unemployment was high, education was low, and police authoritarianism was on the rise. When you feel you have no voice, who do you turn to? You look to your peers, the actors, and particularly the musicians of the day to voice your anger and concern. But bands like Pink Floyd and The Who were no longer singing songs concerning anything that anyone under the age of 20 could relate to, long gone were the days of

So who could they turn to? Music and voice was always the job of the talented and the beautiful, but suddenly, sweeping in from the US came this radical idea; be your own hero and play your own music. Your only requirement was that you had to have something to say. Now, from out of nowhere you could stand up and shout what you hate or love. Nothing was off limits.

For nearly 20 years, the UK punk scene bustled with activity. It scared the generation of old, mindful of the saying, “kids should be seen and not heard”. An army of youths, armed to the teeth with a brand of crass, harsh music had finally said “no” to the drivel they were expected to accept from the government or their parents. They were now going to stand up and be counted, fuelling themselves with the idea that things need to change. Now let’s compare this to modern day Indonesia, in particular its youth punk scene. With punk now finding its way into its borders through the power of bootlegging and the Internet, these young men and women now have the power to exercise their voices against the same kind of regime that their Western counterparts did all those years ago. Whereas the punk scene has now calmed down considerably in recent years in the Western World, it seems to have risen from the ashes in places where it is sorely needed. This is because it’s much more relevant for these provinces now, where people are crying out for change. The unfortunate side effect of being able to attack a government or policy through song is that it can become a victim of its own pertinent nature. If you succeed in changing the world, then is your music no longer relevant? I used to think so, but the sights in Asia and even the Middle East have changed my mind. But it seems rather than just listening to a song that is stuck in the 80’s, these kids have used it to ignite their own flames and rage in their souls. It’s shown them the tools to create their own rallying cries, has shown them it can be done through the power of music. Punk is not the only musical form which has ignited the souls of these people.

Almost all forms of extreme and angry expression through music have begun to show, including death metal and grindcore. The attraction is easy to see, it’s attention grabbing and it’s angry. That’s not to say this generation are entirely made up of attention seekers, but when you are living under a culture which doesn’t encourage you to be heard, maybe screaming at the top of your lungs is the best way for someone to notice you. Heck, it’s why that worked in 1977. Did it work in 1977 though? What did punk achieve back then that it can possibly achieve now in regions teetering on a 3rd world existence? Punk raised a generation of youths who have learned to say “no” to something they feel is wrong. If you go to any old punk show today, you can see that these feelings are still strong. It added fuel to protest and gave a usually obedient public the power to fight back. No musical form in the history of the world had ignited such passions on such a large scale before except for the hippies that came before. As long as their anger is honed through music and its initial leaders stay strong to their ideals, then I say it will work. Already you can read in the newspapers and online webzines that the Indonesian punks are resisting their “re-education”, literally raising their fists in defiance. For them, enough is enough and punk music and fashion has empowered them. No more do they want to be silenced and wade through life accepting everything given to them. They want to live as anyone on this planet does, to live free without fear of persecution for their lifestyle. They have harmed no one with their leather jackets and mohawks, just ignited fear in the fans of the status quo. After I saw Steve Ignorant perform his final Crass set in November, I remember telling my girlfriend and my closest friends how much it moved me. I’m only 26 years old, but I am still moved to my core by music recorded 30 years ago speaking of particular issues long since buried. So why does it move me? Because this is music to ignite the soul that can change the world for the better if it chooses to do so. With everything that has happened to punks around the world in these particular nations, not just in Aceh, I tell them to stand their ground and be proud of who they are. The time for change is slowly coming, people are protesting once more and the music industry is losing its grip on how to control the airwaves. It’s only a matter of time until a new generation of antiestablishment music ignites the souls of even more people, but this time it won’t just be from the UK or US. Hopefully, with the help of the Internet, it will be global and we can hope for real change.


There are so many different sides to this being a musician thing. So many highs and lows along the way, but for me personally, nothing beats being on the road. With some songs under your fingers, a good buddy riding shotgun and the promise of new audiences, cold beers and sticky situations, this is the life I savour. These are the times when songs become a way of life: when singing earns you your bread for the day and keeps the good times rolling long into the night. For most of my life, writing and sharing songs has helped me make sense of the world and experience it in a way that is truly magical. Summer 2011 was no different, going on a self-organised tour across Northern Europe with fellow songwriter and banjo picker Willie Singerman. Spending my summer on tour for the last few years, a couple truths have presented themselves – like the only thing that “opens doors” like a guitar, is two guitars. And if you manage to throw a saxophone, banjo, some harmonicas and a flexible tour schedule into the mix you’ll find yourself in all sorts of places both emotional and physical that you never imagined you’d find yourself in. Like turning up in Copenhagen hungry and exhausted, walking across town rain hammering down, one show booked, after which the promoter tries to steal your possessions and passport. Feeling sore with the world the next day, finding the energy to walk into an art gallery with instruments in hand, meet an amazing couple that manage a bar in the wildest area of Copenhagen (Christiania - a free town independent of the EU) who let you into their world (off-limits to the average tourist) for two days. The 2nd of those two days just happened to be my 26th birthday. It was celebrated in fine style with pancakes, red-wine, liberated brandy, and a shoebox brimming with home-grown. The next day it’s back on the road with a new country in your sights. This is living. I met Willie 6 years previous in 2006. We lived in the same halls of residence whilst studying abroad in San Diego, California. We’d kept in contact ever since, with both of us making the effort to meet up whenever I was in London, and Willie even dropped in on Dubai for a week a few years ago. High on the music of Townes Van Zandt and John Martin, he wanted to make his living purely from his art, be it folk music or poetry. By early 2011, I knew he was itching for some adventure, his city 9-5 in London fitting ever more uncomfortably with his lifestyle of relentless creative output and an inbuilt desire to live hard like his heroes. So we decided to put together a tour, to write some songs, have some great experiences and see some new landscapes. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing. More gruelling were the weeks of online research, discussion of schedule, which cities interested us etc… Also I wanted to make sure that we weren’t too organised. By that, I mean I wanted the tour schedule to also give us the “flexibility” to follow our noses once on the road. I knew from past tours in the States and the UK that often the most interesting performance situations were unplanned.


So on with the tour. We started out with some warm-up shows in London and Ireland to work through the set list. When the tour commenced proper, we drove to the ferry in Harwich (on the UK’s east coast), which took us overnight to Holland. From there we shared the driving duties (albeit on the wrong side of the road), playing shows in Amsterdam (Holland), Hamburg (Germany), Skagen (Denmark), Copenhagen (Denmark), Malmo (Sweden), Goteburg (Sweden), Berlin (Germany), Cologne (Germany), after which we returned to Amsterdam and back on the ferry to London. Two days later I was back in Dubai. It was a roughly circular trip that took us through breath-taking countryside, across huge bridges (Denmark to Sweden), and through the most torrential thunderstorms imaginable. Willie proved a great tour buddy and brother to share the stage with, full of wonderful literature and vitality for life.

Where you watch your life from Changes everyday From woollen indoor comfort Boats glide across the bay To slumped at kitchen table Nursing a cup of tea After hiking Irish countryside The cliff tops raw and craggy To the underwater world Outpaced by squid and lobster Retiring in the Arabian sun Shared tales of giant (sea) monsters To sunny streets in California Filled with dreams of glasshouse fame Days spent at the eternal bus stops Scrounging pockets for dirty change Where you watch your life from It changes everyday Perspective strains and spoils, aches and toils, Though it’s beautiful just the same


TIM HECKER Ravedeath, 1972 Genre: Ambient/Drone Label: Kranky JOSH T. PEARSON The Last of The Country Gentlemen Genre: Country Label: Mute Records DISMA Towards The Megalith Genre: Death Metal Label: Profound Lore MATANA ROBERTS COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres Genre: Avantgarde Jazz Label: Constellation Records I BREAK HORSES Hearts Genre: Shoegaze / Dream Pop Label: Bella Union GROUPER A I A: Alien Observer / Dream Loss Genre: Ambient/Drone Label: Self Released (ordered via Mississippi Records) YOB Atma Genre: Doom Metal Label: Profound Lore CHELSEA WOLFE Ἀποκάλυψις Genre: ???? Label: Pendu Sound Recordings DEATH GRIPS Ex-military Genre: Hip Hop Label: Self released COLIN STETSON New History Warfare Volume II: Judges Genre: Avantgarde Jazz Label: Constellation Records


I’ll be entirely honest with you all: Best is an incredibly lofty and sterile term when it comes to music, which is why this is called “My Favorite Records of 2011”, instead of “Best Records of 2011” and exactly why you should always ignore “best of lists”, especially from music journalists, (because Frank Zappa was 100% on point when he said it’s by people who can’t write for people who can’t read). That being said, every once and a while a record comes along that redefines music. Not just a genre, but music as a whole. It tends to owe a grand deal to what came before it, but still paves a way forward, a route untraveled by many before it. (1997 had Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s F♯ A♯ ∞ , 2003 had Kayo Dot’s Choirs of the Eye , etc) So when February 14th came along and I got my hands on Ravedeath, 1972, I instantly know it was worthy of such a claim of “#1”. Encapsulating a decade long career where Tim polished and unraveled the possibilities and limitations of sound as structure, his latest outing sees him unleashing a plethora of distorted and augmented ambient tones that give both to chilling oscillating drones and ominous paths. What sets Tim Hecker apart from many of the finest in the genre is the degree by which his music carries a subversive quality that eradicates all ease from it. This is not an easy listen, one that challenges are only eclipsed by its rewards: the jarring hums grappling every instance echo the location where it was recorded; an ancient cathedral where time itself becomes lost within the cracks. The dynamics are not merely altered by the harmonies, but by the volume and depth creating a constantly shifting cascade of waves, all decaying. But within the rubble and fog lay tiny fragments where solitude itself becomes beauty, brief instances where reality itself gives into the surroundings, all shapes crumbling down and reaching an eternal point of rest that perplexes description, like the gentle melody escaping from the organ in “In the Air III” creating a resonating instance where everything is alright. Everything. Ravedeath, 1972 sees a genuine genius, a master at the very top of his career and craft, reaching out in his finest moment and fashioning a masterpiece unlike anything before it, an enigmatic piece of music that deftly recreates all that is around it. And for a record created upon impulse and with no initial direction or goal in mind, it’s a testament to the flourishing imagination and universes that lurk in our minds. Without a doubt, many will return to this point in time to look back at this record as a launching pad for the shape of everything to come.

It only took about ten darn years to get it, but Josh T. Pearson, front man of the now legendary and defunct Lifted To Experience whose one and only record The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads is a bona fide American classic, has finally graced us with his solo record, said to be 6 years in the making. The result? A record that will break your heart forever. Wielding nothing but his guitar, his commanding voice makes an already heart tugging affair even more so with its fragility. You’d be hard pressed to find a country musician that can keep your imagination with a 10+ min song, but Josh does it with such peculiar ease and affinity. Pearson’s sprawling folk tales are brimming with heady imagery, self-doubt and wry humor, painting lush tales of tragedy, terror, and remorse.

“Gens de couleur libres” directly translates to “Free People of Color”, an adequate title of choice for a 12 part series focusing on jazz (soon to be) legend Matana Roberts as she traces her family line to the age of slavery. What I am about to say may sound ludicrous, but I stand by it: this is the entire history of African American music, let alone jazz music, encompassed within the parameters of Matana’s Saxophone and her voice. Matana’s howls and whispers are the core instrument of the record. Lending themselves more to spoken word poetry than a song format, her cries and moans of despair mimic the sheer brutality mothers (and many other women) endured during that harrowing chapter of the United State’s history. Slavery remains an incredibly sensitive topic, despite being viewed as a forgone relic, but here, you cannot help but realize it remains a grotesque topic still felt by many, and in particular Matana, who tries to comprehend who she is by tracing where she is from. And where she arrives is a creation that is staggering in scope and unnerving in somberness. Matana deftly blends her jazz and blues heritage with the sonic experimentations that bring to mind fellow Constellation label members Godspeed You! Black Emperor in their evocative imagery, grasping the more drone based and orchestral soundscapes amidst her poetic narrative and saxophone mastery, creating a deep and painful doorway to the unimaginable cruelty humans can exercise on their own.

I recall telling a friend when I first heard this that it sounded like “Cohen after downing a magnum of whiskey”. Last of the Country Gentlemen is indeed a testament of one of the last American Countrymen, and pushes Josh into the league of his legends: Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. Embracing his seclusion, he crafts a country / folk record that is lends so much to the past as it does to the future. Truly a country classic.

You could lose yourself in this. One of the highlights of my gigging year was seeing these Swedish wonders performing in London’s Cargo, and their performance was an extension of their record: a sublime affair that contains such lush synth and dream-tinged vocals consuming every second of music in a fashion that instantly made me think “So this is what Slowdive must have sounded like.” There is no way about this singular fact: Craig Pillard has one of the top 10 scary-as-all-hell growls in metal. And I love every octave in it! Guttural in its core; this all-consuming assist devours your ears, making almost every other sense irrelevant. It’s like a behemoth beast waking up from its slumber due to the scent of you seeping to its lair. And that quality just adds such a distinct sound to an already exceptional piece of music. And while this is as death metal as a record can possibly get, the instrumentation is shaped by a variety of genres: the grooves and d beats distinct in punk rock and the stoned out limbering of sludge metal carry the record into a cavalcade of directions that, despite wandering, still create subtle variations that remain cohesive. The end result is a record that is devoid of light. This is doom laced death metal that is so ballsy and so comfortable with its origin and so sure footed about its future that every inch of this sludge filled journey will trap you in its abyss of decay and cobwebbed corridors. An annihilating labyrinth awaits - man up and jump in.

Not to take away from Maria Linden and Fredrik Balck (who met online while visiting a forum catering to hypochondriacs), as they both have a such an asserting presence and sense of direction so rarely seen in a band so young. Drum beats colliding with sustaining keyboards and overloading guitar notes, creating a surging and bustle of sounds that will certainly drive anyone listening to them into sheer euphoria. Debut of the year.

The first time I listened to this record was on the 4th of December. Walking back home after a long day of walking and gigs, a bit out of my head and a bit insomniac, I decided that I’ve kept this shelved for far too long, and so popped play as I started walking around London at 4 am. Suddenly I was floating in an ocean of nothingness. To be more accurate: space. It’s peculiar how the cosmos, where sound cannot be transmitted and you’d explode within an instant in it’s vacuum, can be associated with ambient, but it’s sheer vastness is the only thing that can be visually paired with Grouper’s


double LP release. Dreamlike. Serene. Eternal. All clichés, yet all so true, as I walked around absorbing the blistering cold, Liz’s music was the thing sending shivers shooting through my spine as whispers escaping through the air from somewhere just around the corner but never truly there. The sheer scope of the notes, this celestial structure made me realize how damagingly lonely I truly was as I shuffled in the dead night utterly irrelevant.

the talent and company this record justifiably stands amongst. Chelsea’s voice will linger in the back of your mind in a fashion that is so reminiscent of black and white silent horror films, a menacing affair enticing with lushes of mystery and slow pacing that keeps you in a state of never ending suspense

This is an enormous 80min exercise in escapism and altered reality is simply wondrous. And makes me realize how stupid I am for missing her performing live. I promise I won’t muck up like that again.


Doom metal is a tough place to exist in (thriving as it maybe), due to the initial reaction being split between “this sounds like the stoned riffs of Electric Wizard and Sleep” or “this is drone three ways into next Friday of Sunn O))) and Earth”, leaving much of the bands appear as knockoffs. YOB never had to worry about that for an instance. Everyone who is in the know loves Mike Scheidt. And how could you not? Since embarking on YOB, the band constantly released perfect records that encompassed everything from psychedelic rock to doom metal and everywhere in between. And in Atma, it shows the band’s continued themed journeys of sound deftly combined with all that they have mastered. This ritualistic record benefits from the choir-like vocals of Mike, heavily sustained by the psychedelic (dare I say slightly oriental?) riffs, the down-toned bass and the extremely heavy handed drums, propelled with lyricism focusing on the comprehension of “true self “(Atma in the Sanskrit language), creating a pilgrimage-like journey, both in sheer scope and personal importance amidst the flurry of mystical dynamics.

Initial spin, followed by multiple spins, had me spell bound and intoxicated. What possible way is there to describe this? Noise meets hip hop? Melt-Banana or The Locust with MC Dalek or Gruf on vocals? You really cannot compare it anything, as there is truly no precedent to something of this scale and excellence of execution, which comes as no surprise once you realize Zach “I’ve got 7 drumming hands” Hill has some effect to the project. And his highly experimental drum work maximizes the shrilling effect the MC (who, to this point in time, I still don’t know) gives with his voice, and topic matters ranging from sacrifice to rotting cop carcasses. And if that wasn’t enough, Charles Manson is sampled for great effect. As much as this, in other hands, would seem like a shock and awe gimmick, here it’s delivered with such a demonically obsessed degree, and despite it being an oppressive affair, it still remains a great deal of fun to rhyme to. WE NEED MORE MUSIC LIKE THIS! Challenging, dynamic and invigorating: The Shape of Hip Hop To Come? I don’t know, but you can count me in.

Atma brings forth all the positives of YOB, the rhythmic urgency of the band, the exceptional songwriting, the gripping vocals, all forming a heavy hitter that will be looked back on as a benchmark of the genre. A crowning achievement.

Chelsea Wolfe was queen of 2011 for me (Sorry PJ). And it was truly a typical affair of love at first death howl ushering her album Ἀποκάλυψις (apocalypse). The maddening spark of uniqueness her gripping sound commands made a perfect pairing for the underlining gothic aesthetic, creating a low key but dominating presence simply intensified by her outer realm vocals crises crossed between a staggering area of sounds and genres; from sludge, to blues and encompassing drone and folk as well to good measure. The end result? A peculiar gothic experimental effort that oozes detachment at times but intimacy in others, creating an entrancing affair filled with subtle distortion and sinister crescendos. Comparisons were instantly made to giants such as Steve Von Till, Scott Niblett, and early PJ Harvey, and that simply shows


Starting with horn crescendo blasting in the distance, the music eerily hums into existence as it rises from an echo, a shattering ominous drone laced traveler pulsing through your ears, overtaking space as it sets out to explore themes of turmoil and sorrow. And yet, for its entire enormity, it’s so distinctly personal with shimmering minimalism, a perfect example of the concept of war VS solider, the crushing brutality and the dire search to maintain sanity by focusing on the most singular basic of emotions and thoughts. Stetson’s methodology of manipulating sound, playing several harmonies all at once using on instrument showcasing such a staggering display of both natural and polished talent. The manner in which the dynamics and harmonies switch and change so fluidly and drastically all at once while floating in a sea of drone and ambient, certainly prove that Colin Stetson is a musician unlike any other. His capacity for sound and imagery is certainly up with some of the finest jazz musicians of all time, and pairing the cascading walls of sound he manufactures with his mastery of circular breathing create an entire soundtrack drawing from the vaults of minimalists composters the likes of Arvo Part and Philip Glass. Meanwhile, the repetitive motifs achieved through Stetson’s circular breathing technique recall some of Philip Glass’s most hypnotic scores. New History Warfare Volume II: Judges is akin to surrendering and sinking deeply into water, losing yourself the further down you go. A truly transcending record.

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in case you had enough of the salesmen






What was the first record you ever bought? Public Enemy - Fight the Power started my love for quality Hip Hop music, and I say quality Hip Hop because whats polluting the airwaves now is the trashiest, most vacuous pop or “Hip-Pop” imaginable. Technically Hip Hop is not strictly a genre of music in itself but really a culture incorporating art (aerosol art/street art), music (DJing/production), dance (breaking/bboying, popping & locking), vocal expression (MCing / Beatboxing) and knowledge of the culture and its artforms. What makes a riff, a beat, a bass line or song worth sampling? The same things that make it worth playing - usually a moment of musical genius that when sampled, chopped or looped will transform into a whole new funky chimera. When you sample an old record you instantly get all the hiss and hum of non-digital equipment of the 60’s & 70’s; a sound modern manufacturers have tried to replicate with little success. Then you also get the mood, the best recording of a particular drummer or artist at a particular time, something impossible to recreate. What about hip hop & b-boy culture inspires you and how did you get into it? Something people don’t normally associate with Hip Hop these days is eclecticism. Before the culture got my interest I was listening to many different genres and chopping and mixing them up on cassette tape decks (record, stop, start, record, etc!) before I had turntables. I was listening to all sorts of drum & bass, electronic beats, rock and others. Then when I started to get hip hop music, I realized the samples being used were from great records and started to collect those. The message in many of the lyrics spoke to me in my teens for its rebelliousness or its smart understanding and delivery of complex or political issues. My love of the Breakin or B-Boy part of the culture came after I’d been DJing for a couple of years when I fell in love with the interaction between the dancer and the DJ and the way breakers would respond to every small element of the music. Bboys & Bgirls were always into the rawest funky music and heavy dirty drums which I have a passion for. At the heart of it all though it was and still is the musical eclecticism championed by the pioneers of the culture like Afrika Bambaataa & Kool Herc that has kept me hooked and led to me collecting somewhere in the region of 15,000 vinyls (I’ve lost track) spanning deep funk, cut n paste, soul, latin, hip hop, afrobeat, reggae, brazilian and all kinds of global beats & breaks. When one thinks of a DJ, the images one conjures up is almost always of a singular person behind the decks. Is the everyday of being a DJ a very solitary process? What is the headspace you are in when you are DJing? Being a DJ is actually very social. I was a music collector first and then felt like I wanted to share music with others and then started to learn how to use turntables as musical instruments to cut it up, turn the music into something new and express myself creatively. Its more than I can say for the majority of DJs I’ve encountered in this region who largely seem to be human ipods playing the latest commercial rubbish off the radio and

demonstrating little to no technical skill. The most solitary part of being a DJ like me is the “digging” process, that is looking for rare records or beats other djs don’t have. I’ve spent countless hours in basements and old warehouses searching through dusty old records looking for the perfect beat. You encounter weird stuff when you go digging in places other djs haven’t been... Dead badgers, stuffed foxes, weird antique religious artefacts, deadly snakes & spiders and all kinds of creepy crawlies! As far as my headspace when I DJ, it depends. When I’m playing out in the club or at an event I always have my eye on the dance floor and am creating a journey that people can join me on, have fun and leave wanting a little more. When I’m working on my own mixes or projects I’m entirely introspective, looking to express something unique to the musical journey I’ve taken. What would be the ultimate gig for you and why? I’ve played a few “ultimate” gigs for me already. Some of the acts I’ve warmed up for are musical heroes of mine, but I got the most enjoyment out of the small gigs with the right crowd or crazy energy. DJing for Bboys in Kuwait was a recent highlight, in a country where dancing is against the law, the level of energy and passion being expressed in the underground venue when I played (the first time they’d had a real break DJ in Kuwait) was off the hook! It was like a youth revolution in full effect. What other projects/collaborations are you working on currently? I’m currently working on a beats production project with Kashmir (my brother from another mother), some original music with local musicians and DJs. Also working on a number of events, workshops & seminars for Zulu Nation Middle East including organising some new regional bboy events with my good friend B-boy Tommee (another brother from another mother). For the last couple of years we’ve brought the first internationally recognised Bboy events to the region and raised the profile of breakin in the Middle East with the Battle of the Year and Mighty 4 Middle East events. Being an avid record collector, what is your most beloved find in your collection? My most beloved finds are as closely guarded as state secrets, however I’m willing to disclose one of the prize finds in my collection - an original copy (not a reissue) of the Brazilian musician Arthur Verocai’s self titled LP and seeing someone sell a copy of it online recently for over $5000 brought a smile to my face. Do you ever find yourself putting on records and busting a move at home? A DJ who cant dance should quit DJing!!! I’m always busting a move to my beats, a bit of uprockin, funky chicken… it’s impossible not to!



1. Incredible Bongo Band – Apache (1973) This is THE bboy anthem and one of the most defining records in Hip Hop culture, originally played by DJ Kool Herc (Hip Hop’s first DJ) at his community parties, this record inspired the early breakers to develop their moves and they would wait on the side of the dancefloor until the mammoth bongo break started in the song. Kool Herc kept the label covered on this song to prevent other DJ’s from “biting” his find. Sampled by these, amongst too many others to name: Grandmaster Flash, Double Dee & Steinsky, Nas, KRS-One, Run DMC, Kool Moe Dee, Busta Rhymes, Jurassic 5, LL Cool J, Jazzy Jeff, Coldcut, Moby, J Majik, Goldie, Future Sound of London, and many, many more…

2. James Brown – Funky Drummer 7” (1970) Officially the most sampled record in Hip Hop. While all credit is due to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, the real star on this record is the drummer Clyde Stubblefield, a name relatively unknown except to record diggers and drum fanatics. The drum break on this record has formed the backing to so many legendary Hip Hop artists and even though when it was released the 7” record reached number 20 in the charts, the track didn’t get an album release until 1986. The break is legendary and a must have for all collectors. Sampled by: Everyone. Including A Tribe Called Quest, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Beastie Boys, Coldcut, De La Soul, Digable Planets, DJ Mark the 45 King, Eric B & Rakim, Gangstarr, Pete Rock, Pharcyde, Dr Dre, Mantronix, Public Enemy, and Prince, amongst a list of others far too massive for this article…

3. The Winstons – Amen, Brother This unassuming B-Side of a little 7” packs six seconds of drum break that deserves an article on its own. The Amen drum break as it’s now called was just a small 6 second breakdown in a quality uptempo funk number by the group The Winstons. However, these 6 seconds of drums are largely responsible for the creation of jungle & drum n bass as genres. Early producers chopped this break up and extended it into vast complex and very fast patterns that define jungle & drum n bass. Sampled by: LTJ Bukem, Roni Size, Dillinja, Atari Teenage Riot, Eric B & Rakim, Lemon D, Goldie, Mantronix, Nice & Smooth, NWA, Salt-NPepa, Aphex Twin, Amon Tobin, etc, etc.

4. ESG – UFO Post-Punk pioneers ESG created a mammoth track in UFO which was excavated by visionary DJ and godfather of Hip Hop culture, Afrika Bambaataa. His pioneering eclecticism introduced this great tune to Hip Hop and its minimalist bass and beats have been sampled widely ever since by diverse artists from jazz and rock to electronica and others. Sampled by: Stezo, Dilla, Basement Jaxx, Miles Davis, Nine Inch Nails, MF Doom, DJ Shadow, Mobb Deep, Masta Ace, and others.


5. Mountain – Long Red (Live) The opening drum break to the live version of this rock track is now one of the most sampled breaks in Hip Hop. This break was also a favourite of the late, great J Dilla. The opening drums and vocals have been replicated and sampled countless times. Sampled by: A Tribe Called Quest, J Dilla, Depeche Mode, Kanye West, Peanut Butter Wolf, Rakim, Special Ed, EPMD, Cash Money & Marvelous, and many others.

6. Skull Snaps – It’s a New Day Still ridiculously expensive to get The Skull Snaps only LP as an original pressing on vinyl. The drums on this record have also been sampled countless times by artists from diverse music genres after pioneering Hip Hop DJs unearthed the record from obscurity. In popular culture the break is best known probably as the backing to Rob D’s “Clubbed to Death” beat that was used in the film The Matrix. As the only LP by the band this record is still a rarity much loved by collectors and selling for 3 or 4 figure sums. Sampled by: Stezo, Lords of the Underground, Deee-Lite, Alanis Morissette, Black Moon, Das EFX, Diamond D, DJ Shadow, Dr Octagon, Guru, Kruder & Dorfmeister, and more.

7. Bob James – Nautilus Among one of the most sampled artists in Hip Hop’s history is legendary jazz musician Bob James. Any decent Hip Hop producer will have sampled “Nautilus” at some point in his/her career. The track was even covered fully by Nu Yorican Soul’s Little Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzalez. Without a doubt one of the most influential records in Hip Hop production. Sampled by: DJ Food, Jungle Brothers, Jeru the Damaja, Main Source, Pete Rock, Naughty By Nature, Large Professor, Run DMC, Tim Dog, and so many others.

8. Lyn Collins – Think (about it) Released on James Brown’s People Records in 1972 “Think (About It)”, this classic track was also produced by the godfather James Brown with musical backing by The J.B.’s. The break and the vocal snippets were made famous by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two” but the song was first sampled by Roxanne Shante on “Go On Girl” in 1987. Sampled by: Afrika Bambaataa, Chubb Rock, De La Soul, EPMD, Eric B & Rakim, Masta Ace, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, Heavy D, and loads of others…

9. The Honey Drippers – Impeach the President (1973) Dead simple break, this one has been sampled endlessly instead of being recreated. Even though its been sampled countless times, relatively little is known about The Honey Drippers – not to be confused with the 80s rock band the Honeydrippers which featured Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. This beat however has guaranteed they will never slip into obscurity. Sampled by: Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Chubb Rock, EPMD, Notorious BIG, Nice & Smooth, Nas, Soul II Soul, Wu-Tang Clan, etc.

10. Melvin Bliss – Synthetic Substitution (1973) And finally another obscure recording artist immortalized by the samplers and producers, if it wasn’t for them Melvin would have slipped into obscurity by now but he is now regarded as one of the greatest when it comes to drums to sample. Sampled by: Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Tupac, Digital Underground, Wu Tang Clan, and countless others!


This selektion of sneaker inspired tracks is dedicated to my peeps at Sole DXB, Dozign, Josh, & Hussain. Some classic hip hop, instrumental beats, rare 7” remixes and obscure funk 45s. Enjoy whilst sniffing your latest funky fresh pair of kicks you dirty shoe freak... Add Break DJ Lobito on facebook:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.




I’m going to spend the next few hundred words telling you about unicorns, lyrical writing, and how songs are not poems and poets and songwriters are two different breeds of artist. But it’s the unicorns that are the point, so dwell on them, like you would, if you rolled one and enjoyed it, like I did [not] on new year’s eve, when I ended up dragging my girlfriend home early cause certain types of unicorns don’t agree with me. It was still good though. Unicorns have been a driving rush of creativity for centuries, with certain types giving us such legends as Alice in Wonderland, and my still adamant belief that the Narnia series is not just Lewis’s allegory for the Bible. On the Road was definitely unicorn induced (although it was probably the stallion breed of unicorns that allowed him to write it in 3 weeks). Oscar Wilde was a big fan of unicorns. A lot of great people and artists have been. But this isn’t an argument about whether unicorns should be legalised, or if they’re good for you or not. It’s also not an argument about which kind of unicorns one should stick to. It’s an explanation of the creative process of the sociopaths that ultimately were behind some of our wildest literature, and some of our best music. Johnny Rotten, Mick Jagger, Anthony Kiedis, George Harrison, Debbie Harry, Stevie Nicks, Syd Barrett, Ray Charles, you could name one person for every song that’s been written in the last sixty years that had anything to do with talent. They all loved unicorns, too. I tried to write a song once. Have pretended to try since. I’ve discussed songwriting and poetry with a handful of people, most of them musicians, some writers not involved with music, and there seems to be a consistency among all the discussions: poems and songs are not of the same form, structure, or even language. I cannot stress that enough. Some poems have been successfully made into songs, and quite a few songs have been written as poems, but that does not imply that all are as they are. Can you imagine Keith Richards reading the words to Satisfaction like Frank O’Hara would have read the words to Having a Coke With You? Or even T.S. Eliot lines


from Wasteland? Robert Frost? Allen Ginsberg? Rudyard Kipling? Any poet? Now try singing the lines to Leaves of Grass. Still no? But some people have written songs and poems, sometimes putting the two together. Bob Dylan is definitely one of them, especially since his singing style, at times, was very much the spoken word. Others have managed to teach themselves the difference and exert some sort of effort into blending the two, but we call those ballads, since they are of a poetic nature but they still have a tense desire for a melody that can set the pace. It’s the way those different forms of short, lyrical writing are composed that strikes the heart of how easy it would be to find difference in sentence structures. Strangely, despite all the different times I’ve contemplated the intricacies of writing, putting aside what Roland Barthes taught me (not in person, obviously) about what writing and reading are, or including it, I have almost always focused on the longer form: the article, the paper, the dissertation, the novel. Not once has the beauty of the shortest of forms, the most succinct, patterned, rhythmic of language, found my inquisitive nature poking at it. It does now. I can’t quite answer my own question yet, the hows and whys of distinctive shorts are distinctive, but I’ll be coming back to it regularly. I might even manage to find something about it somewhere offered by somebody else who got to this question before me. But I will remind myself of one little thing: once, a few years back, I tried to write a song. I had started writing poetry shortly before then, knowing that the poem was the ultimate practice tool for writing. I never could write that song, and it continued to bother me until a larger project distracted me and I forgot about it. I suggest we all give songwriting a try – not because we can do it. Just because it might help us understand writing just that bit more. And unicorns might help, just like they helped all the others..

“FEBRUARY 24, 2011” BY SCOTLAND’S OVER-HYPED, MINCING JUNKIE-WANNABE ROSS GARDINER IS ANOTHER STRAIGHTTO-GAS-STATION CREATION FROM THE STRUGGLING ARTIST. QUINT’S RORY GUNN TELLS US WHY. FEBRUARY 24, 2011 BY ROSS GARDINER TRACK LISTING 1. Breakfast – 56:03 2. Internet Café – 59:28 3. Lunch – 1:02:31 4. Writing – 4:37:51 5. Dinner feat. Some Canadian guy – 1:34:01 6. Chatting up Spanish Girls feat. Some Spanish Girls – 3:46:20 7. Masturbate – 5:18

“February 24, 2011” is the aptly named title of Ross Gardiner’s 8732nd effort. In a nutshell, the artist is seeking to emphasize the transient monotony of his day to day life as a scruffy pigeon’s feather in the wind. The end product sadly wails every note on the melancholic violin of pity, and relentlessly clutches at the coat tails of being something more than a dull, patchy memory. Much like Gardiner’s last creational hemorrhage, “February 23, 2011”. The opening track “Breakfast” does a marvelous job of drawing you into what turns out to be twenty-four hours of your life that you shall sadly have to live with squandering. The crackling pops from frying eggs intertwine deftly with the chainsaw grinding of fresh coffee beans, giving a waft of sunrise and voice to the air. Lovely stuff and an hour of great taste you shall surely be happy with. The subsequent track “Internet Café” fails spectacularly in safely handling the torch of responsibility for an hour. A disconnected opening five minutes give us a flavor for the barren hour of frustration seasoned with reckless, time-wasting to follow. It’s a fruitless search for what he really wanted and there is a plainly autistic lack of communication in the email section. “February 24, 2011” seems to completely derail itself by the third track, “Lunch”, a dense, stodgy Chindian cacophony of undeterminable brown sludge and lanky noodles. It has a curiously familiar flavor to his previous tracks, “Lunch”, “Lunch” and the imaginatively named “Lunch” in his last few days. It’s best to skip past this track as it leaves his body as brown tea and will be forgotten an hour later. “Writing” brings us a little deeper into the warped, emotional sharkthrash of Ross Gardiner’s brain. This track gives us a taste of what it would be like to be such a shamelessly self-referential person who arrogantly writes over-indulgent reviews of his own tragic existence. The whole action has that predictable pungent reek of Gardiner’s damp

narrative, panhandling in the cold January rain for any spare sympathy you might have. “Dinner” was destined to plunder your serotonin when stoned tabla drummer/general mood hoover, Some Canadian guy blurts the opening lyric, “Hey, you’re Irish right?” And so “Dinner” begins on a near vertical slope of tedium, staking its claim as a worthy adversary to any pretentious, armchair-scholar of 1920s Russian cinema. You come to the brink of willing Gardiner to adhere to the creeping pleas for suicide in his head. You beg the poor sod to draw it all to a close with a bang, but sadly, he doesn’t. Some Canadian guy never ceases “waxing lyrical” all the way to the bottom of the brown muddy grave of his friendship with Gardiner. It seems safe to assume that he will not be considered for “Newcomer of the Year” at next year’s Ross Awards. The food was in no way memorable. The penultimate track has the mouthwatering title “Chatting up Spanish Girls feat. Some Spanish Girls”. An uncharacteristically classy introduction of a magic trick involving a coin and a pen pulverizes the language barrier and brings simple yet pleasant conversation gushing out after it. Sadly, Gardiner once again proves that he’s a red short of a rainbow. The solo instruments mutter and splutter back and forth to one another in a clumsy yet charming way, but never seem to sync up harmoniously. The dancing between Spanish, Spanglish, and English isolates Gardiner’s voice and slowly erodes his chances of salvaging something pleasant from the day. “Masturbate” is the final track on a number of Gardiner’s previous works. He chooses to continue this theme here, however it differs somewhat from his last few day’s conclusions. The influence of the previous track, “Chatting up Spanish Girls” was always going to override Gardiner’s hardened grip on knife-turning recollections of past loves. The bongos from “Some Spanish girls” were transported through to the final track and were a pleasant inclusion which would have been sorely missed had they been overlooked in favor of another tear jerker. So to speak. Conclusion: Gardiner’s days could be numbered if he continues to bore the powers that be with such a drizzly outlook for the remainder of his life. One could be forgiven for thinking that his descent towards mediocrity was predetermined, as his apparent lack of desire to give his audience anything other than old rope to chew on plainly exposes an artist in rapid decline. His talent for the absurd remains in the background throughout, but he must learn when to draw attention to it if he is to survive another day like this. Reason to live: Something might happen tomorrow. Reason to die: It probably won’t.






TARANTULA Bob Dylan Frankly, can’t say what I make of this. It’s not a novel in that it doesn’t have a story, but it kind of has a narrative to it. You could call it ramblings, but that’s not accurate. One way to see it is a series of sentences that latch onto each other to create a rhythmic, sensational, animalistic feast of characters, moments, ideas, and creations that, together, merge to give a voice to the Sixties and everything that was happening around them. Unicorned or not, Dylan gives us a passionate account of all the things he couldn’t (or didn’t) put into song, and some of what he did. Once you’re done, you’ll need to go back. When you read it, it doesn’t matter in what order. If I were to be academic about it, Roland Barthes would be proud of Dylan. But that’s not the point. The point is that it’s the most real and inspiring piece of randomness I’ve ever picked up.

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL: ART AND ROCK AND ROLL SINCE 1967 Dominic Molon The table of contents lists New York, the UK, Europe, the American West Coast, the broader United States, and then the World as its sphere of discussion. It studies the importance of the arts and visual artists to the creation of music, specifically Rock and Punk, from the Velvet Underground, the Grateful Dead, David Bowie, R.E.M., and the Pixies, branching into the significance of cultural movements, corporate activities, and music festivals. It gives an insight to most of the primary movements since 1967. A series of essays and commentaries centred on the product, graphic, audio, and video arts that were first exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2007. The exhibit might have been good (I never saw it), but what stands out is the quality of the pieces in this collection.

ON FILMMAKING Alexander Mackendrick I needed a book that could help me understand film writing and directing as quickly, effectively, and intelligently as possible. It had to be something I could read quickly, that I didn’t have to read in order, and that would not bore me. Also, a book with self-contained chapters. It had to be a reference of a higher calibre, it needed to focus on the history of film while also discussing actual techniques of composition and filming, and it had to discuss the different elements of screenwriting and storytelling. With an ingenious foreword by Martin Scorsese and a smooth, short, and concise writing style, it’s perfect for those who are just curious, and for the academic.

THE LAST AVANT-GARDE David Lehman Focusing on the New York School of Poets, a group of writers who did not really interact with the Beats, except on occasion, it’s about Abstract Expressionists and how they influenced so much of modern American culture, about a few things that make New York what it is. But it was also a big personal step in defining Avant-Garde, and in exploring writers that seemed to have flown under the radar. Obviously, the experience of reading Ashbery, O’Hara, Schuyler, and Koch alone is impressive, but learning what they stood for when put together was even more eye-opening. Enter the world of 50s New York City in an intimate, charged, and impressive way. A book that genuinely changed my understanding of what was happening when the Beats were still getting to know each other, and thereafter.

CASH: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHNNY CASH Johnny R. Cash (with Patrick Carr) The story of the great Cash, slightly taken apart from the Hollywood film they made of him a few years back, and definitely an enjoyable read. It’s so long I didn’t finish it, but that’s only because other reading obligations overcame this one. With the soothing voice that Cash uses to take you back in time with him, you feel as if you’re watching the scenes as they’re happening with the night-thick southern sound of a narrator speaking calmly and devotedly over it. And this is Johnny Cash, the musician whose friends were people like Roy Orbison, the musician who had a lot to say about a lot of things and was around when a lot of interesting conversations happened. And he tells a lot of them in this engaging book.


2011 WAS A YEAR OF FIRSTS FOR US. WE’VE HAD THE CHANCE TO ATTEND SO MANY LEGENDARY PERFORMANCES AND ENDING OUR CONCERT STREAK WIN IN DECEMBER IN THE COMPANY OF THE BREATHTAKING SADE (AND OVER 10,000 OTHER SCREAMING, ADORING, FANS) SEEMED QUITE FITTING. Sade graced the UAE with her stunning presence this past December as the close to her world tour. And boy did she go out with a bang. Sade is one of those incredible performers who can send shivers down your back with the smooth, sexy, utterance of just one syllable. Standing in the welcome chill of Yas Arena, 10,000 people went silent at the appearance of Sade on stage with her opening number, Soldier of Love. Her presence is so many things, from commanding, feminine, beautiful, stunning, to strong and confident, with an undeniable air of serenity, comfort, and modesty. She took us on a journey that for many spanned decades of


memories. I personally couldn’t believe I was seeing and hearing Sade perform No Ordinary Love live considering the first time I heard that song I was likely 5 or 6 years old, bouncing my legs in the backseat of my mom’s red Camero (oh, the 90s). Every single song brought on a collective jolt of emotion and recognition from the audience, and it felt like Sade herself could sense our delight at going down memory lane with her beautiful voice to guide us. Her newer songs of her album Soldier of Love elicited a similar rush of emotion amongst the crowd, as we could tell that those songs too would accompany us on future journeys. It’s so good to see that pure talent, drive, and passion are the true essentials to a life-long creative career. Our love for Sade has lasted for years, and will continue to, but that night in Abu Dhabi we found one more reason to love her. Sade picked Dubai’s own Hamdan Al Abri to open for her and later on said that he was the best opening act on her entire world tour. It’s so good to see that such an icon gave a local rising star the incredible experience of sharing her stage, and gave him the recognition he deserves as well! And on a final note, we wish Sade a wonderful birthday, and look forward to hearing even more beautiful songs from her in the future.

The Dubai Mall • Mall of the Emirates • Deira City Centre • Mirdif City Centre • Mercato Mall • Burjuman • Abu Dhabi Mall


I know what you’re thinking. “Ha, punk in grunge in Dubai? Yeah right.” That was my initial reaction too, but I was pleasantly surprised to experience a true punk night at Aussie Legends on the 6th of January. The bands were surprisingly good, the crowd was rowdy (although they got off to a bit of a slow start), and some people even crowd surfed (here’s looking at you, Nazy and Bahar!). It was pretty much the antithesis of everything that makes Dubai what it is. It was loud, dirty, chaotic, and ridiculously entertaining. True punks seemed to emerge from the metaphorical woodwork of Dubai for this night. They arrived decked out in their favourite black band tshirts, leather jackets, messy hair, and stoic stances – ready to bash and be bashed as they crowded the dancefloor. The bands that peformed included our buddies Grand Hotel Paradox, as well as Fighting Super Heroes, IED, and Kicksound. All great bands that re-instilled our dwindling faith that there are people in this country who know what punk, grunge, and rock is, and aren’t afraid to show they do. Aussie Legends was the perfect venue as well considering it’s endearingly grimy feel and nearly everyone there was present for the right reason – to thrash around to some good, wholesome tunes. We hope this is the beginning of many nights to feature awesome bands that transport us far away from the rife superficiality and lack of gritty bands that speak and play what they feel. Here’s where the venues step in. All we’ll say is that this city needs you to BOOK LOCAL BANDS!! Give them gigs, pay them money, and encourage people to step up, pick up an instrument, and express themselves. The crowd is there, the people are desperate, give them what they want, and make the world a better place.





MAYBE THE LOOMING GAZE OF NEW YEARS PLAYED A PART IN TRANSFORMING MEDIOCRE TO FANTASTIC, BUT THIS YEAR, COLDPLAY ROCKED. More than 50% of people reading this article hit the band’s show two years ago, where natural disasters normally unseen in our landscape, made for a magical performance and an unforgettable night. Strangely enough, the show’s magic couldn’t even be blamed on the fateful pageturning occurrence of New Years Eve. I’m sure it was as ‘unbelievable’ as the majority of its attendees seem to agree (no I do not have a severe case of FOMO), still, Ill have to put my foot down. Coldplay this year rocked. more than that, it blew 2011 away and brought on 2012 with a bout of positive energy rarely felt on the annual drunken year-turning celebration. Let’s start with the crap location. Given Abu-Dhabi’s new thing for ‘Islands’, why choose an habitually crammed and slightly unappealing area as the venue for the most sought out event of NYE is a decision beyond me. I wonder what

YAS Island ever did to deserve the cold shoulder. Although, in all fairness, a new location did good to segregate this concert from the rest. If you were one of the unfortunates who did not book a hotel room within walking distance from the venue, or live within about 20 blocks (yes, twenty) from Marina Mall... you paid the price. Transportation is the curse of every New Year’s Eve and never more than this year’s Coldplay concert. There was a cloud of subdued excitement hanging over the arena and people had a little spring in their step, even before drowning their liver with the good stuff. Curiously, reaching for a beverage didn’t take too long; you could maintain your buzz while waiting in line. Although the pleasant servers lost their charm after proving to be cruelly keen liquid measurers. As always, the ever so colorful mobile kitchens served up their phenomenal

burgers, a tail-wagging sensation of meaty softness that brought sesame coated bread, gooey cheese, and a chargrilled burger patty into one big group hug of love and mutual affection. The fries were perfectly salted; a rarity even in the prissiest of restaurants, and the shawarma had some notable garlicky goodness oozing out of it. A definite positive note to begin and end the night with, or end and begin the year with, whichever floats your boat. The concert itself was intimate as much as it was enjoyable. Coldplay is a band much loved by both event organizers and audiences. Their professionalism and humble attitude has people praising their presence and hyping their event without much paid PR. That night it felt as though they were there for us, rather than the other way around, and it made the decision to spend the last drop of 2011 as their audience seem so right. I imagine there was much 154

thought behind their music line up, because the closer we got to countdown the more emotional the lyrics got. The fireworks and coloured confetti added to the climax of the ‘what was and what will be’, and made it a chaotically loud mess of perfection. The clock struck 12 and Coldplay was out, nowhere to be seen or heard. They rocked our world in a whirlwind of soulful colours and left us at the climax fending for ourselves in a new and foreign year. We walked home that night; we all did, even if you lived in Dubai, it seemed as though you were walking home. With a bagful of burgers for the road, the walk was untainted by the cruising mob to your right. We were all peacefully aware, that even with dancing monkeys and smoke filled cars, music would always be around to make it all worthwhile.

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Event Listings January 11 – February 12 11:30am – 7pm


Photography exhibition tracing the fine lines between public and private space, deconstructing society’s power structures and nature’s formal qualities. Graschopf’s interest lies in the relationship between the inside and the outside, constantly shifting between levels of micro and macro. Carbon 12 +971 50 464 4392 January 11 – March 5 10am – 7pm “INNERSCAPES”, NAZIF TOPCUOGLU Exhibition for the acclaimed Turkish photographer that implies a yearning for one’s own youth or an imagined “golden age”.The way in which we as humans rate our experience as valuable is through moments that are imagined, be they in the past (halfremembered) or in the future (not yet realized). Green Art Gallery +971 4 346 9306 January 16 – February 18 MEHRDAD MOHEBALI: MR PASSIVE Figurative paintings that tell stories about human interaction and the mundane nature of daily life.- depiction of scenes that at first glance seem familiar, but on closer examination, mysterious, with facial expressions and body language deep in thoughts unknown to the viewer. Etemad Gallery +971 4 346 8462 January 18 – February 4 7pm – 9pm MINE An exhibition of films by South African artists. The title refers not only to the idea of deep level mining, but to the concept of personal ownership. Mine seeks to explore the myriad ways in which we identify and position our ‘selves’. Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC) +971 4 341 4777 January 18 8pm – 11pm PASSIONS OF EAST AND WEST: A MUSICAL EVENING WITH ZEINA BARHOUM Acclaimed Arab soprano making her DUCTAC debut performance. Zeina Barhoum’s talent combines innovation and creativity, while embracing the many rich aspects of Arabic popular songs. Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC) +971 4 341 4777 January 19 2 – 10pm


All skaters are welcome to join in this celebration of art and skateboard culture fusion. This is one of the most unique ramp builds in the history of ramp building, hosted and sponsored by Tashkeel. Tashkeel


January 19 7pm THE LAND ART GENERATOR INITIATIVE. AESTHETIC RENEWABLE ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE: A LECTURE. Shelter Dubai will host Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, founders of the Land Art Generator Initiative. Their lecture on “Aesthetic Renewable Energy Infrastructure” will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience. RSVP on Shelter Dubai +971 4 380 9040 January 19 730 – 1030pm PAL-TY The PCC & Palestine Children’s Relief Fund are putting the fun in fundraising: Come enjoy the hottest Hip Hop party in the region while raising support for Palestine on Thursday the 19th of January at the American University in Dubai’s Pal-Ty, featuring fresh international artists Omar Offendum, Khaled M and DJ Danny Neville, as well as surprise local talent! 7:30 to 10:30pm Tickets are 50AED and are available for purchase on campus prior to the event, and at the door on the day of the event. For more info call 0502866644 American Univesrity of Dubai 050 286 6644 Until January 26 10am – 8pm TAMMAM AZZAM: DIRTY LAUNDRY Continuing his acclaimed body of work, which utilizes rope, clothespins and other found objects, which demonstrates visual possibilities of basic components amidst an organic state where the driving force of their arrangement is solely “the mechanisms of creation.” Ayyam Gallery Dubai (DIFC) +971 4 439 2390 February 14, 16, 17, 18 730pm onwards ALMOST MAINE

Sorting out Valentine’s plans for you and your sweetheart? Let Cupid take you under his wing and treat theater lovers to an evening of heartfelt humor on stage with “Almost Maine” - complimented by a five-course meal and champagne! Dinner at the K-Grill Restaurant Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates (around the corner) is a fabulous way to top of a romantic evening at the theater. Tickets will be available for purchase online with Timeout Tickets in February. 100 AED per person (show only). Dinner, glass of bubbly + Show package prices: 310 AED 16th, 17th and 18th Feb / 415 AED 14th Feb five course Valentine’s dinner.

Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC) Until February 29 10am – 7pm ART SUDAN

Presentation of the work of Ibrahim Salahi (b. 1930, Omdurman) and Mohammad Omar Khalil (b. 1936, Buri), pioneers of modern art in Sudan and the region. Both artists through their work have forged a technical link between Western art practices and their cultural heritage.

Meem Gallery +971 4 347 7883

January 20 9:30pm onwards BASSWORX - THE JANUARY SESSION Drum n Bass and Dubstep. Free entry all night, drink deals, bottles to give away. Music from DJs Rude Larry, Liquid S, and J A B. Catwalk @ The Golden Tulip, Al Barsha

JANUARY 27 (last Friday of every month) 9pm onwards LOADED Free entry all night, free selected cocktails all night for ladies, Indie, Disco & Electro. Casa Latina, Ibis Hotel, Al Barsha

EVERY THURSDAY 10pm onwards DEEP CRATES Funk, hip hop, afrobeat, soul, boogie, and more. Great drink deals, free entry – a great, non-pretentious night out. Casa Latina, Ibis Hotel, Al Barsha EVERY NIGHT (EXCEPT WEDNESDAY) 9:15pm onwards For more live music, head over to Healey’s to enjoy the beautiful musical stylings of The Johanna Sandell Duo. Johanna and Mikko will blow you away with their incredible renditions of all your favourite songs! Healey’s Bar, Bonnigton Tower EVERY NIGHT 7pm to midnight Live music at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa from the incredibly talented Jess, Kris, and Benjamin – who make up Wild Strawberries – as well as guitar man Tobias. Catch the Wild Strawberries at Mushrif Bar every night except Saturday from 9pm to midnight. Tobias plays every night except Friday from 7pm to 11pm at Captain’s Bar. And if you’re in the mood to serenade then go to Mushrif Bar on Mondays for Karaoke night from 9pm onwards.

THE 1st AND 3rd FRIDAY EVERY MONTH 7:30pm onwards THE FRIDAY FRIDGE Live music from amazing local musicians every Friday at Wafi Rooftop, brought to you by our friends at The Fridge.



The title says it all, the bits and pieces that allowed Surrealism to inspire the novel, that let Modernism contend with everything we do, that eventually pushed the hedonism of Jazz to the background to give us Rock, then Punk. I don’t generally write about music because doing so reminds me of how little I know about the subject. My awareness of music rarely steps further than how much I enjoy it, the emotions it stirs (or doesn’t) within me, and the influence it has on my surroundings. If there is one thing I know about music, it’s that some lyrics are really good and others are really shit. So for this issue’s theme, I had to get to know music. Dylan was the subject of a previous issue (November 2011), Johnny Cash isn’t my specialty, the crazies of the 20s and 50s also quite unknown to me, I moved a little forward. I got to know the Velvet Underground, Joy Division, and their friends. But like really got to know them: I looked them up, I didn’t just listen to their music, music I’d heard several times over the years. And in the process of looking into them, looking back at what they’ve done,


I couldn’t help but notice the key force between them, the one thing that made the highlight of my Dylan article continues to come back to me with this issue: no seriously expressive and impressive musician since the post-1945 generation has not had a direct, intense, and influential relationship (friendship) with either a significant painter, writer, or designer. It hasn’t happened. Not really. Not in the sense of how it would be that Mozart was Mozart regardless of the painters that surrounded the castles and balls he played in. Punk, Rock [and Roll], even the Blues, Jazz, and Soul of the period (although maybe not as much) took over where folk music and the Beats left off, and they seem to have made one hell of a show of it: Warhol and the Factory were home to the two I mentioned above, Vivienne Westwood and the Sex Pistols had a love affair of timing and friends (possibly intentionally), and if I unearth some more I’d probably find more relationships. None of what I’m saying above should be taken as a rule. I might be wrong. It might just be me reading too much into it. But that doesn’t quite matter because

my point is beyond whether or not these people were as involved as I declare them to be. My point is that we’ve created soundtracks for everything we do, especially as creatives and writers: I need the music of the ‘generation’ I’m writing about when I write; when I work visually, I have to have music that picks me up but doesn’t always keep me there, I need the pace it throws at me; when I’m angry, nostalgic, sad, upset, or just need to stop time and chill out, I listen to Fairuz. Music gives meaning to everything I do, and I’ve seen that apply to many of our generation, and some of our parents too. All that surprises me, only a little, because if there’s one part of our every single day that makes us, the people of the dawn of the third millennium, different than all those who came before us is that we not only have the opportunity to listen to music all day long, it has become a characteristic feature of the post-Modernist (as in those who lived after the rise and stumbling of Modernism). Just think about it.


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quint magazine | issue 12  

The twelfth issue of quint magazine.

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