ODESZA CRYPTIK BELGIUM JOHN OATES BEN MARCIN MILTON GLASER BERTON HASEBE TERJE HAAKONSEN HOMEBOY SANDMAN
110 Terje Haakonsen
120 Homeboy Sandman
44 Ben MarciN
90 stupid questions
100 Milton Glaser
24 Show & Tell
62 Berton Hasebe
16 Checking In Belgium
154 Food Truck Spotting
152 Nut & Bolt
150 junk food
140 John Oates
Ph o Rid to D er a L o ve B u El ach lio in t s
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© Steez Magazine® LLC 2014 ISSUE 33 COVER:
CRYPTIK - Ganesha, Mantradala REPS
Pete Prudhomme, Chris Gadomski, Doug Setzler, Nick Legere, Dustin Amato, Ryan Brouder INTERNS
Caytlinn Strickland, Jon Putur THANKS
Snowdogg Carter, Phil Ashworth, Moi Martinez, Jay Mower
EDITOR’S NOTE Every 6 months there’s a popular new trend in the marketing world. Whether it’s a new app, software, hardware, strategies, or some other useless banter, they never cease to reinvent themselves. They come in strange and fancy words or acronyms like ROI, affiliate programs, impressions, click-throughs, campaigns, social media, klout scores, blah blah... This season’s term is “geo-targeting”... Guess what “geo-targeting” is? It allows you to pinpoint and reach your exact customer online down to the finest detail. So, if you happen to be 53 years old, live in the woods of Montana, mow your lawn on a John Deere tractor on Tuesday evenings during the harvest moon and drink 6-packs of Coor’s Light in the process, then you my friend can be geo-targeted! Well, maybe that’s true if you filled out all your online and social media data 100% truthfully. But, who would lie about that stuff? I’m betting if you’re anything like the rest of us, you actually hate Coors Light. Keep geo-targeting and we’ll keep printing and shipping! Enjoy,
CHECKING IN Belgium
Here is a brief history on Belgium. Itâ€™s a small country, not even as big as the state of Massachusetts. The country is divided by the North and South into two very different parts. People from the North speak Flemish, and have the only seacoast in the country. They have more money, more skateparks, smoother spots, and more skaters. We are from the South. 18
Words Philippe Mottet
CHECKING IN Belgium
Anto, tre flip Photo Max Sterno
Here there is only countryside, we speak French, there are less skaters, and we have almost no skateparks. The scene over here is pretty small, so everybody gets to know each other pretty fast even if they arenâ€™t from the same areas. Our crew is a couple of young fellas representing the Wallonian skate scene. We all met back in the day but kind of kept skating our respective towns until we thought they were getting too small for us.
After a trip to the USA I came back more motivated than ever to make a decent skate movie that represented our part of the country. When I returned there were a lot of skaters that had stopped skating to play soccer, get chicks, or to get fucked up all the time. However, a couple of fellas kept pushing, so I decided to put together a crew to film for a movie. The Kaaf Movie crew consists of ten skaters from all around the South part of Belgium. We go hit the streets and film every Sunday when everything is closed and everyone stays home. We know what spots are more sensitive, and where we would get kicked out quickest. Sometimes we try and negotiate with cops and security guards, but if not we respect it. Getting kicked out is part of the game. For now nothing bad has happened, like getting arrested or ticketed.
CHECKING IN Belgium
Max, front board
As far as I’m concerned I don’t go out much. I’m really busy dealing with work, my girlfriend, and skating. We practically all work now, that’s the hardest part when you start getting independent, you have a lot of responsibilities and shit to do, to keep living. Otherwise I’m not against a couple of great Belgian beers from time to time. The other fellas get fucked up every weekend and still kill the sessions. I shoot with a Panasonic HVX200 and Century Fisheye and edit with Final Cut Pro 7. Aura, our photographer is always shooting with different devices, mixing between silver film and numeric.
Jo, nollie flip 22
Show & Tell Stephany Reid
Stephany Reid What’s your cheese-steak diet looking like? I am more of a buffalo CHICKEN cheese-steak kinda gal. With extra hot sauce and hot peppers. It’s the only way to go. Interview AB Photo Michael John Murphy
How many people have you beat up in Philly so far? I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you that… just kidding! I punched a guy ONE time, but that’s it. My friend ran with me over his shoulder before anything else could happen. Ok, how many people have you seen getting beat up in Philly so far? Actually, I haven’t seen that many fights. People are a lot more talk than they are action and I’m okay with that. Have you ever put anything in the pockets of these shorts or is that not even possible? They are actually really deep pockets! But, I never keep anything in my front pockets. That’s just weird. 24 Do you Tinder? Fortunately no, but I have so many stories about Tinder. Is that weird?
How embarrassed are you that I’m lurking your Twitter right now? I’m not going to lie. I am pretty embarrassed, but I am more concerned that I might have a stalker on my hands… What do you have against girls wearing crop tops? Nothing at all! I own a few crop tops myself. I just have a problem when girls don’t know how to tastefully wear a crop top. Believe me, there is a right and a wrong way and most of them go the wrong way. Are your friends worried about your potential to become an animal hoarder? Nope! We are all equally obsessed with animals (mostly dogs) so there is no threat there. So what happened on April 17th after you were “locked out and REALLY have to tinkle?” Now that’s something I REALLY can’t tell you. Are you considering making your Twitter private yet? Not at all! I love sharing my tweets with the world! Or just with my friends and the occasional stalker ;)
Words and Photos Erik Hoffman
This happy-go-lucky flannel wearing, metal fusing, welder wielding Vermont honky totes a jovial personality most widely exhibited while strapped into his stand-up sled.
While in the wild you can find him screeching, screaming and squealing while trying to precariously balance his wiry frame across various wooden and metal surfaces. Pictured here is the unhappy Rory, the first time I had ever observed such a spectacle. What Rory doesnâ€™t know is that heâ€™s about twenty-five feet from a standing ovation from the lovely patrons pictured in the background.
Rory Bruder BS 5050
Roy Olsen Andrecht (Handplant)
Words and Photos Clas Kristensen
This spot was one of those Iâ€™ve been thinking about for years, but never had the right rider to make the cut.
Some riders can do an Andrecht and some can do a proper Andrecht. I think Roy Olsen pulls it off proper with this one. As a photographer itâ€™s easy to get hocked up on details, like Roy not planting his hand on top of the wall, but in this case it was difficult because of the gap between the wall that he is planting on and the wall behind. In the end I think it worked out quite well.
As long as I have been photographing skateboarding, I have tried to make a point, to nobody in particular but myself, of setting up early and being ready.
More times than I care to count, this has ended in my packing up flashes, cords, lenses, stands, and cameras fruitlessly as the crew slowly realize that nobody actually wants to skate a particular spot. That can be frustrating, but getting caught with your pants down when someone is ready to huck is a big no-no.
Words and Photos Daniel Muchnik
I always prefer to shoot stills using film, but that requires an extra minute or two of setup at the least, and as I glanced at Matt skating up to the rail, I could see that he was ready. I immediately abandoned the notion of luscious 2 ¼ celluloid in favor of keeping the session rolling, and pitted myself next to Jerome, Matt’s filmer. We both yelled stoke his way, and Matt charged. “Fuuu!” we both exclaimed. He had it perfectly. On another rail, he would have already been rolling away through a sea of high fives, but here Matt found himself on the ground, having gotten caught on the last down bar as he tried to turn out from a nose blunt. Jerome realized this immediately, and shared the insight with a visibly demoralized Matt. “Fool, just turn out early and you got it,” came the words of encouragement. I knew that he had it next go. There was no question, and at that moment, I was all too stoked to have trusted that Matt would land his trick quickly, and even more stoked to have time to tweak my frame instead of fumbling with a film back as he rolled up to the rail once again. Before I knew it, he was riding away, I had an image, and spirits were high as ever. When the session’s rolling and the homies are stoked, there’s no time to waste.
Matt Beaton Nose blunt 31
Words and Photos Dominic Palarchio
This day of skating started out pretty normal. We went to this university to skate some spots on campus.
Somebody went inside the building to use the bathroom and came out telling us there was nobody in there. We skated around the hallways a bit and realized that you could skate this stair set. Brent decided to kickflip it at the end of a line down the hallway. He landed it second try and then did it again to film it from a different angle. Right after we saw two school cops pull up outside. Two people left out the back and since my board was in the car I walked out the front right past the cop with my camera. Brent and one other person were stuck inside and had to talk to the cops. They left the camera rolling
and got the entire thing on tape. Turns out the school cop was a pretty nice guy. After a brief conversation he just took down our names and said we can only skate outside as long as we donâ€™t damage anything.
Brent Behm Kickflip
TWENTY FOUR 7 BONER
BONER Bonner Words & Photo Tim Snyder
Brandon “BONER” Bonner is not your average skateboarder, and not even close to your average human. From blowing a vuvuzela at pedestrians to chopping his board in half with a machete, you definitely won’t forget him. On transition he’ll blast airs you didn’t think possible, or in the streets, do a made up early grab shuv down a massive stair set that’s had every trick done- just for fun. Brandon’s incredible pop and raw style makes him one of the best skateboarders to ever hail from his home town, Fredericksburg, VA. Check out his part in Close to Gross, a video by Patrick Brastrom, DVD out soon. His skating will drop jaws and turn heads anywhere he goes, but that’s not all that separates him from the rest.
Over the years he has gained solid sponsors like the local skate shop Magic Bullet and Natural Koncept Skateboards. NK is an OG brand that’s made one hell of a name for themselves. They are some of the rawest, raunchiest dudes and Boner fits in with them like family. NK simply has better ingredients than your average corporate brand. What makes Boner different is the fact that he will forever remain loyal to the homies and sponsors. You probably won’t see him in any upcoming contests or moving out to LA anytime soon, but know he is destroying the East Coast, like he should be.
chopping his board in half with a machete, you definitely wonâ€™t forget him
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DROPPING 1. PwdrRoom Velocity System Snowboard Jacket $280 2. Timberland Rollins Mountain Fleece-Lined Parka $248 3. Timberland Earthkeepers Chestnut Ridge Boots $195 4. Crispy Tiki Boot Inserts $15 5. GoPole Venture Case $40 6. Incase Protective Case for GoPro $30 7. GoPole Scenelapse $35 8. Blackbox 3L Box $20 9. DC Hiked 15 Gloves $60 10. DesignPOP by Lisa S. Roberts $35 11. GoalZero Rock Out 2 Solar Rechargeable Speaker $130
42 10 9
Interview Caytlinn Strickland
BEN MArCIN 44
Self-taught photographer, Ben Marcin, can be recognized by his images of ghostly, isolated, and sometimes abandoned homes and landscapes in Baltimore’s surrounding areas, as well as throughout the U.S. Some of his most well-known images explore the solitary homes in the East and West; the defiant lone row houses that refuse to be torn down like their neighbors; homeless camps that were once called home; and pleasure boats that have been abandoned in the woods. By exploring vacant lots, roaming through the back lots of Walmart stores, and hiking through the woods around Baltimore, Ben is able to capture haunting images of change throughout “America the Beautiful”.
You were born in Germany, but you live in Baltimore now. Is that correct? Right. My mom is German. She was a little girl during World War II, only two or three years old. My dad was Polish; he passed away some years ago. For much of my first ten years, I grew up in Germany, before my parents moved to the United States and became American citizens. I’ve been in America for the last forty-five years.
How do you think that type of background, with your parents and the places you grew up, influenced your photography and what you take photos of? If you grow up in Europe, especially a place like Germany (although it’s also true of France and England), all of the houses are really old. Most of them, anyway. You get a lot of history; art history, also architectural history, compared to living here where the infrastructure is relatively new. My wife and I live in a Baltimore row house that was built in 1880. Fifteen or twenty years ago, I hiked across a good part of Germany. On
my first night, an older man and his wife let me stay in their village house for the night and he ultimately asked me about my house. I bragged about it, “We have a really old house. It was built in 1880.” By United States standards that is really old, but he said, “Well, let’s see we put up the kitchen addition in 1875.” Sure enough, the date was stamped on one of the ceiling timbers. Their house was at least five or six hundred years old. When you grow up in a place like Germany, you really get a sense of that history; that things have been around for a very long time. So coming here to the States, I guess you could say I was always attracted to the houses that reminded me of the old world in Germany. On the east coast, especially in the old-line cities like Baltimore and Philly, you have the row houses that were built in the nineteenth century. Many were built right after the Civil War when the country went through a great expansion. Then there’s the art. Europeans tend to be very involved with art. My father studied art in college with a decidedly European slant to it and it was a big part of our household. I was sort of formed by that influ-
“He’s wearing his bathrobe and jeans. He just walked right up to me and made no bones about it: he wanted to know what I was doing…”
“These neighborhoods are crumbling as we speak.”
ence – whether I liked it or not. In retrospect, it was a privilege to grow up in a place like Europe and then come here and grow up. I was a kid in both places. When and where did you start taking photographs? I started late. I had already begun my regular day job and it wasn’t until I was twenty-seven that I bought my first camera. I had been interested in painting, watercolors and things like that, so I would come home after work and try these watercolors. I spent a couple of years wasting a lot of time doing that. I mean you really have to be dedicated to be a painter, with my regular job I just didn’t have the time. I started taking on photography after seeing a couple of important shows in New York. This is now in the mid-80s, the Josef Koudelka retrospective at the ICP, shows like that. My father worked in the Library of Congress, he ran the rare book division. He was always bringing home these monographs, always showing me art. He started bringing home modern art books and I started getting into it. When I finally bought my first camera at twenty-seven, it just came naturally. What were the first things that you started taking photographs of? Were they similar to what you’re doing now or was it totally different? In the very beginning, I shot around Baltimore while I was learning what an F-Stop was. Once I got to be fairly good at it, I started traveling the world. I’d go to Turkey and Greece and India, all over Europe, all over South America, Guatemala. I went to Guatemala a couple of times. In fact, I put my camera away when I wasn’t traveling, because Baltimore became sort of passé. It is certainly not as exotic as some of these places I was going to. I did that for fifteen, twenty years and then, all of a sudden, in the last five or ten years, I came back to Baltimore. I’d been living here all along, but only recently started shooting in Baltimore more and more to the point where I don’t really travel abroad now for my photography. I do it right here, I walk out of the house. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more inward-looking, I guess.
The best pictures exist right in front of me now. So what about Baltimore has drawn you there? What interests you about Baltimore now? In 1970, my family settled into a suburb called Columbia roughly halfway between Baltimore and D.C. It was a new town, the schools were good and my father could commute to his Library of Congress job in D.C. As soon as I could, age nineteen, I moved twenty miles away to Baltimore. I lived in seven apartments and later on met my wife, Lynn. The city is a scruffy place and I love it. It’s the only big city I know of where I can be hiking in the forest inside of twenty minutes. There’s a ring of suburbs around Baltimore but it’s not the endless sprawl you get in D.C. or Philly. I know Baltimore really well and a lot of the sites where I take photographs, especially the hobo camps, are in very out of the way places, but under your nose, so to speak. I hike all of the time. I’m constantly walking around behind shopping centers and vacant lots and, instead of going to Guatemala, that’s what I do now. When I first moved here in the late 70s, you rarely saw a solo row house like the ones you see in my photographs. Over the last thirty years there have been a lot of changes in some of the east coast cities- especially Baltimore. Some of the inner city neighborhoods had just started rotting out, the drug dealers took over, and houses either burned down or people left because there were shootings, killings, and general day-to-day crime. Sometimes, there would be one person left on
the block and he wouldn’t let the city tear down his house. For me that’s history. I remember that block when there were ten houses on it, now there’s only one. To me that is really interesting, that’s change. My photographing those row houses was a way of documenting that change.
One of the first times I photographed a solo row house, I could tell that it was abandoned – or so I thought. There were bullet holes in the window and they were cracked. I set up out front and was shooting it and an old black guy comes out. He’s wearing his bathrobe and jeans. He just walked right up to me and made no bones about it: he wanted to know what I was doing. Was I going to tear down his house? Was I from the city? Am I a lawyer? He didn’t want anybody tearing down his house and it occurred to me after having talked to other people like that, they were very defiant and would resist. Those row houses are not only standing alone and representing the deterioration of the neighborhood, but they’re also symbols of defiance; open defiance for the residents that didn’t want to leave.
As a Baltimore resident, what do you see or hope for the future of those lone row houses? Well, what I would hope is that somebody continues to take care of them and develops the property around it, but the reality is unfortunately different. The city has already announced that they’re going to use eminent domain to tear down the remaining ones. They’re all in bad neighborhoods and the city is trying to bring them back in various ways. My hope would be that the houses stand forever, but their time is short-lived. They’ve been up one hundred and fifty years; they’re going to be down within five. It’s part of our history. You mentioned you came across the camps just walking around behind Walmart and vacant lots. How did you find out about them to begin with? Yeah, I walked right into one or two of them just by accident. Then I quickly figured out how to find them all. It’s amazing how they’re right there, but nobody sees them. They try to be discreet. The problem is that as soon as the city finds out where they are, they’ll end up getting bulldozed. The camp residents try to remain hidden but very
“Those row houses are not only standing alone… but they’re also symbols of defiance…”
close to the intersections where they panhandle. They also camp out near places where they can get cheap food and maybe work in some of the Dollar Stores. We had that recession in 2008, 2009. I’d been out in those woods before, but I hadn’t seen nearly as many camps prior to 2008. All of a sudden I was just stepping on them. It seemed like you could find them in almost any place where there were at least fifteen trees. I’d just walk in and there they were. There were two kinds of drifters that I came across. You had people who are alcoholics or drug addicts and they’d run out of options in terms of family and other support systems. Many of them refused to stay in the city shelters for fear of abuse by stronger men. Then you had the ex-cons, people out of prison and those camps were dangerous to walk into. I had to be really careful. In many of these camps there is one way in, and once you’re in, you can’t get out if somebody confronts you. Why have you made the conscious decision to leave people out of your images?
To me it was important not to photograph the people. That is a whole different story, one that would probably be better told by somebody else. I wanted the negative space. I wanted the viewer to think, “What kind of person would have lived in a house like this? What happened here?” All of my photographs omit people yet their presence is strongly felt. To me, they’re just very poignant pictures the way they are. Once you have the person in front, it kind of gives away the answer. Your website says that none of the camps exist today. Where do you think they’ve gone? Some of the people have died, others have moved on. Being a hobo is a tough life, right? You’re starving, you’re getting wet all the time. Murders have occurred in some of the camps that I photographed. Someone got drunk and hit somebody else over the head or somebody fell down on the ice and froze to death overnight. This all happened. It gets cold in Baltimore in the winter, so the drifters usually head south. Then, the camps reappear in the spring. There are a few year-round holdouts but not many. Over time, either their lives have changed for the better or for the worse. There are other hobo camps up now, but the particular group I shot is no more. They were all gone by the end of 2012. One of my favorites is the one with the American flag on it, this guy had a really nice camp. He had a full-size bed inside his shelter and a propane stove. He’d even sweep the dirt ground out front. I went back a year later and the place had burned down. The stove must have malfunctioned or he made a mistake with it. Kind of transitioning into your solitary houses, how would you explain the differences you noticed between those houses in the east compared to the west? I shot the ones on the east with the ones in the west in mind. Both sets of houses are completely isolated. The ones in the east are vanishing very quickly. Those houses have been there forever, but there’s so much new development going on, so many changes between Baltimore and Washington, in particular. You see shopping centers coming up everywhere, schools, parking lots, and new highways.
who left their homes without giving them to their next of kin, or who didn’t have any. The boats are like memories that won’t rot away because they’re made of fiberglass.
One of my thoughts about the eastern houses is that, normally, when it’s time to move on you give the house to your son or daughter, or somebody else. With these houses, it appears as though the family died out and that’s that. Now the ones out west, you have more of a frontier mentality. You’ve got people setting up in the middle of nowhere and you look at the land they’re on and you have to wonder what made them try to farm that ground out there. People moved out there and they tried to make a go of it. I mean it’s surreal out west, it can be a mile or more on either side with nothing else around. That could never happen on the east coast. The abandoned boats fit in with your theme of isolation and abandonment, but they are one of the only subjects that are not a home. What did these images say differently about that same theme? That’s a good question. They actually tie in very closely. Boats aren’t like cars. Cars are tools, you need a car to get around – most people do. A boat is a luxury item, it’s a pleasure craft. Somebody went and spent a lot of money on a boat, right? They’re going to be out on the water fishing or showing off. We have the Chesapeake Bay and some significant rivers in the area. At some point something happened to the boat owner’s life that caused him to leave that boat in the woods.
You can always find abandoned boats at the dock or half sunk in the water, that’s fairly common. For somebody to leave a boat in the woods like that though, it’s so out of place. I really think about what happened to the lives of the people that made them do that. Just like the people
You use Google maps sometimes to find your houses, right? What’s your process like for that? The only time I used Google maps was when I went looking for solo row houses in Camden, NJ and Philadelphia. I know almost every block in Baltimore, but in Philly and Camden, I didn’t want to spend three days finding the neighborhoods that had those kinds of houses, so I used Google’s satellite view to find them. What was interesting is that when I got there, the one’s I saw on the satellite were often no longer there, but new ones appeared a block or two away. These neighborhoods are crumbling as we speak. Where do you want your photography to go from here? What’s next for you? I’m constantly working. I’m working on six, seven, eight things at once. The boats came about relatively recently. Although it seems like I’m focusing only on houses and this idea of what I call the vanishing landscape of the east coast, I’m also working on many other things. I have a large set of parking garages and warehouses that are sitting on the back burner waiting to come out. I also have a very large set of pictures taken in the forest between Baltimore and D.C. – that forest is also slowly disappearing. I really enjoy the art part of it, working with the fine art aspect of photography. In Baltimore, I’m represented by the C. Grimaldis gallery. They have been very supportive of my work and gave me a solo show last December called “Last House Standing (And Other Stories..)”. I’m hoping to take the message, that vision, and get it out there as much as I can. I think there’s a lot to be said about America and the state of America. One of the things I find fascinating is that while we have the most powerful economy on the planet, just take a look at the circumstances in which a significant part of our population has to live in to get through the day. Yet there is a beauty, I hope, in the defiance and determination that comes out in some of my pictures.
Interview Sydney Lindberg Photos Sean Michon, Tonje Thilesen
Check out In Return, a brandnew album from Odesza, an electronic duo from Seattle with sun-kissed melodies, glitched out vocals and catchy drum beats. Float along with layered keys and dreamy melodies as sweeping bass lines swoop you up higher than youâ€™ve ever been before.
Odesza are Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, who capture everything, literally everything, in their headphone-optimized tunes to their more dance-y tracks daring the quietest wallflower to bust a move. New tracks like “White Lies” bring a breath of fresh air with lyrical vocals (new to the Odesza sound, according to Harrison) cascading atop a carefully laid orchestral bed. And “Say My Name (feat. Zyra)” has been picked up by tons of artists who have remixed the song with their own twist. But my favorite? Any Odesza track with crunchy drums and a mildly tribal beat overlaid with sweet, glitchy vocals… mmmm... musical bliss.
Hey Harrison, thanks for taking the time to chat this morning. Every Odesza track offers a fresh sound - a new melody, beat, a new twist. What are you and Clayton working on right now? We’re working on redoing our entire live set - writing pieces of new songs and remixing some of our older stuff. I’m excited for people to actually hear new music we’ve been working on.
In Return was released on September 9th, but it was up on iTunes before that even. Where have you taken your sound in the new album? I think we’re always affected by what we listen to and we’re always searching and scouring for new sounds. When we first met, our two styles complemented each other well and then I think the next album, or EP, was us playing live shows for the first time and trying to play a heavier sound, because it was fun to try and make something that hits harder and makes people move on the
dance floor. Then the newest album, was us kind of protruding back to the first things that made us love music, and working with vocalists to do more singer/songwriter tracks. Each album has been an experiment in a particular field for us and this one was definitely more trying to make more mature songs with stronger melodies. Do either, or both of you, have a strong background in music? I don’t, but Clay was classically trained. I guess I did three years of trumpet, but that was like a while back and I remember none of it. For me, I actually got into music late, but from 17 on I was pretty obsessed with it, at least as a hobby. I got into music by buying records from Goodwill and old, crappy keyboards and teaching myself stuff. I’m definitely really influenced by music and listen to it non-stop.
I was trying to combine all this music and it became this genre-blending, experimental pop thing.
What’s your go-to genre when you’re not producing? I’m a big film buff, so when I first started listening to music I was really into movie soundtracks. I liked more score-based music and then I got really into the Far East Movement. But, it’s because of the Gorillaz with songs like “Dirty Harry” and “Clint Eastwood” that really got me into old school hip hop. I bought a sampler and started sampling records when I was 19. From there I started combining different things that I like from old movie scores and hip hop, trying to combine dirty drum breaks and more indie, orchestral elements, and then playing a little piano to mix in. I was trying to combine all this music and it became this genre-blending, experimental pop thing. A lot of people seem to be taking a more melodic/sampling approach to electronic music recently. What’s your take on the current electronic music scene that seems to be blowing up in the mainstream? You know, it’s a hard thing to guess. You can tell when things are fading or when they’re fads, and I think that’s true in any genre. But, I’m not sure where I see it going. I see electronic music getting more melodic. That seems to be catching on a little more -- to have music based on feelings more than just white noise and loud sounds. But I think there’s something to be said for live music too, because live music has a totally different atmosphere. We learned that the hard way.
How so? We made headphone music for the most part with our first album and it was hard to translate to the live scene. Since we’re immersed in so many genres and different sounds, we decided to take some of the more dancey pieces that we like and incorporate that into the more mellow stuff. I guess I just always went for more melodic sounds that are more emotion based, but I like some trap music and stuff. It’s unbeatable when you get that tribal aspect to a live show. For example, I saw RL Grime at Coachella this year, his set was jam packed. It hit like a wall of sound. I’ve never seen 30,000 people chanting to a song that you’ve never even heard before. To capture energy like that -- and the thing is it’s not even music based, it’s tribal based -- I think that is unbeatable. Anyways, I think there’s good and bad in any scene and I think it really depends on how open minded the audience is. It’s all about doing it for the love of music and experimenting. Doing the same stuff over and over is the most boring thing you can do as an artist. How did the two of you meet? We met in college through mutual friends. I think he was the only other person that I met who was into what I was doing with music. Where we went to school the scene was very folk, Indie and rock based. On the other hand, we were both making electronic music and into sampling hip hop.
Venue, would have to be Red Rocks. Even though we didn’t play the main stage when we were in Denver, Red Rocks was still one of the craziest stages I’ve ever seen. Location, I’m pretty untravelled, so I’d say being able to go all the way to the East Coast and play in New York City was pretty cool because I finally went to the big city that everyone talks about.
What’s your process together when creating a track? Now we travel so much that it’s harder for us to get in a hotel room and set up speakers and lay out our whole setup. So, we try to produce as much as we can together but a lot of times one of us will start something and then show the other and we’ll just build off that and trade files and keep adding layers until we feel like we have too much. Then we’ll both sit down in the studio together and work on creating a song structure from that track, cutting the fat and mixing things. A solid number of your tracks have gone to number 1 on Hype Machine -- what does that mean to you? It definitely means that people care, are paying attention and that our music is causing some sort of buzz, which is amazing. But for me, that’s what live music reflects. It’s hard to tell where you stand online, but at a show, you see people lining up because they really care enough to be there early and see your set. That means a lot to me too. Both are different worlds. Sometimes people are way more popular online and they can’t really play shows. It’s nice to have a balance between the two.
You guys have been out on tour promoting your new album, what’s been your favorite place to travel to? It’s hard to pick one because I like different places for different reasons - the venue, the audience and the location.
Audience, it’s always great to play a hometown show here in Seattle. Our audience is really cool there. But, if I had to choose something that wasn’t our hometown, I’d choose Salt Lake City. I always look back at this one show in Salt Lake City that sold out really quick. The crowd was freaking out for the first act and it was only 8 o’clock. We were playing the most mellow songs ever and people were just dancing and going crazy. It was really fun. Salt Lake City got into it and that’s the number one thing you can ask for when playing a live show. I heard a crazy story about the name Odesza, where does it come from? You’re going to hate this answer, but I’m going to tell you the truth. In the beginning it was kind of a joke because we had such a bad story that we were going to make up a different answer for every interview. Well, we ran out of stories so we started telling the anti-climatic truth, which is that we really like the name Odessa, not because of the place, but when we looked it up we found out there was a female rock band called Odessa. So, we literally decided to put a ‘z’ on it. Last words? Appreciate all the support we’ve gotten from the get go. I think it’s pretty insane that people really care about the things we care about as much as they do. It’s great, and an honor that this is my job and I’m excited for people to hear the new music we’ve been working on. Odesza is touring internationally through the rest of the year, with US stops including HARD Day of the Dead in Los Angeles, Snow Globe in Tahoe over New Years, and Holy Ship!, which unfortunately is already sold out.
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Typeface may seem like a foreign concept to anyone outside of the publishing or marketing communities, but in reality, typeface is a staple in our lives. Times New Roman? Helvetica? We all have our go-to font for documents and projects. But, I bet youâ€™ve never delved into what goes into making that font, or for that matter, who made that font? I recently got up with a new typeface designer who is starting to make a scene in the design world, Berton Hasebe. Hailing from Honolulu, HI, Berton went to school for graphic design at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles before heading to the Netherlands to study type design at the Type and Media masters program at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK). He then moved to New York to work as a type designer for Commercial Type. At Commercial Type, he designed typefaces for a mix of high-profile clients including Nike, Saturday Night Live, Bloomberg Businessweek and The New York Times Style Magazine. Last year he left Commercial Type to start his own studio. Heâ€™s definitely a name to know.
Interviewed by Sydney Lindberg Photos Courtesy of Berton
How would you define typeface to someone unfamiliar, such as the average Joe on the street, or your mom? When I tell people that I’m a type designer, they often ask if that means I design fonts. Computers have made people aware of fonts so I’ve never really needed to explain much about what a typeface is. There’s a technical difference between the term “typeface” and “font”. A typeface is a collection of letterforms that share the same design. When this typeface is implemented into a device to be used, you’d call it a font. My aunt once called me a “fontist”, which I thought was great. You’ve created a number of fonts that have been very successful, including your type-
face Alda. How did that type come about? Alda was designed while I was studying in the Type and Media masters program at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK). I was interested in how weight could be represented beyond the width of a stroke, and I explored this in Alda by changing the details of its letterforms between each weight. While the bold weight is sturdy with chunky details, the light weight is fluid with delicate features. Do you think you owe where you’re at now to Alda in any way? I think so, I learned a lot from designing it and was able to share its design process to a large audience after it was published by Emigre. How did you first get into typeface design? My background is in graphic design. I went to Otis
College of Art and Design to study graphic design and became interested in making typefaces that I could use in my own work. This interest led me to apply to the Type and Media masters program, a one-year course which brings an international group of students together to study type design. After I graduated, I was hired as a full-time type designer at Commercial Type. It was an interesting transition because as I did less graphic design, new typeface ideas came less from my personal needs and more from history and looking at typeface genres as a whole. I feel more pressure to make sure the typefaces I draw contribute something new or different enough to justify a retail release. I don’t have as much of this pressure when I draw type for my own use.
How has your background in graphic design helped you develop type? I try to identify what interests me as a type designer versus a graphic designer because I’m always searching for a balance between what makes an interesting typeface and how that typeface can be used. For example, as a type designer I would appreciate a quirky, unique typeface, but as a designer it might be difficult to find an appropriate application for it. For this reason I think it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in graphic design, observing how type is used and where your typefaces could fit. What’s your process for starting a new typeface? It either starts as a self-initiated typeface or a custom typeface commissioned by a client. When I start a self-initiated typeface there is
Hawaii State Motto designed for the Fifty and Fifty State Mottos Project
less criteria. I usually try to find something that interests me formally or historically, and start thinking about how that design could be used or what sets it apart from other existing typefaces. Custom typefaces often have more context from the start since a client has a set of needs they’re approaching you with. It’s hard to predict where your typefaces will end up. You can design a typeface and imagine that it will work well on packaging, posters, or in a magazine, but a lot of times people who buy the typeface end up using it for something completely unexpected. That’s something that interests me—once a typeface is released it takes on a new phase of its life and you have no control over how it’s used. You’ve had a number of high-profile clients in the newspaper/magazine industry, care to elaborate? When I worked at Commercial Type, I had a chance to design custom typefaces for publications like T, the New York Times Style Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek. I recently released a typeface called Druk for Bloomberg Businessweek. Richard Turley, the creative direc-
tor at the time, and his team were using Druk in publication as I was finalizing the design. It was great to see such immediate feedback as I was drawing the typeface, and it was very fulfilling to see it used so well. After Druk was released, I drew customized versions for Nike and for the recent re-brand of Saturday Night Live by Pentagram. Out on your own, how do you get noticed as a typeface designer? Mostly through word of mouth. Commercial Type has helped me out by putting me in touch with clients when they think I’m a good fit for the job. I have a feeling a lot of people know me because the typefaces that I’ve released for retail sale get a proper representation from Commercial Type or Emigre. I’m also trying to get my website up to articulate more of my process and cohesively talk about my work as a whole. I have a few quick questions. First, you mentioned ‘genres’ of type. Can you give some examples of what these might be exactly? Yes. My typeface Platform is classified as a geometric typeface, as its forms come from geomet-
ric principles. Druk references condensed sans serif letterforms that originated in the 19th century, while Druk Wide pays homage to the wide, bold sans serifs used by Dutch graphic designers of the early to mid 20th century. Portrait is a minimalist depiction of type drawn during the time of the French Renaissance, and drew its primary inspiration from type made by the punchcutter Maître Constantine around 1530 in Paris. Second, are there any graphic designers or artists that have inspired you or your work? My teachers from Otis, Type and Media, and Christian Schwartz and Paul Barnes from Commercial Type, who were as much teachers as they were bosses. Third, what influences you outside of the typeface and graphic design worlds. Do you
draw any real life situations or elements into the core structure of any of your typefaces? Whenever I walk around I encounter letterforms, and it can be ephemeral or monumental or amateurish or professional. I think it’s interesting to process these things on a daily basis. Speaking of daily basis, what do you like to do for fun? I go out, enjoy the city, read -- that’s pretty much it. A lot of time is devoted to taking a break and relaxing or getting some air. What’s next for you? Right now I’m teaching typography at Parsons and type design at UArts. I’m also working on finishing Druk text and have started designing my website as well as several new typefaces.
Cover lettering for Bloomberg Businessweek [Creative Director: Richard Turley]
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Where was your last rash? Red Deer, Alberta. What’s worse than a spoiled meat milkshake? An unspoiled meat milkshake. How long have you been Canadian and why? Since 1977. Because we get to spell everything with an extra “u”. I love “u’s”. Favorite traditional Scottish dish? Craig Ferguson. How often did you see Drew Carey naked on ‘Whose Line’? More than I was contractually obligated to. Do white people actually love Wayne Brady? Everyone loves Wayne Brady. Except for Lithuanians. Don’t know why. Any pre-performance rituals? Pre-writing all my improv. Favorite member of the village people? The cowboy. I just like cowboys. Hardest part of being so handsome? People Magazine keeps forgetting to name me Sexiest Man of the Year.
Reasons to go commando? Diplomat’s daughter has been kidnapped.
Invent a commercial product. A camera on top of your phone, so you can see an image of the person you’re about to hit while you’re texting.
Are you enjoying finally getting to watch “The Price is Right” with all your free time? With any free time I have, I watch tapes of the shows I did! Rough estimate on how many pets were spayed and neutered because of you? Most of them! How good of a job is Drew Carey doing? The show is still on the air and I’m still getting a royalty, so I’m Drew’s biggest fan. How many times did you play Plinko afterhours for fun? What’s Plinko? Have you been hunting the Japanese with the Sea Shepherd crew lately? I haven’t hunted the Japanese since World War II. Last time you played golf with Adam Sandler? After seeing Adam try to hit a golf ball, I gave up golf! Did Rod leave you a sequined jacket? Yes, I had it made into a uniform for my housekeeper. Should algebra be a pre-requisite for contestants on “The Price is Right.” Our contestants had to be able to count to 100. Thoughts on hosting another WWE RAW? No, I’d never be able to top my great performance on WWE RAW. Do they make a smaller microphone? Yes, but I kept losing it!
Bob Barker 92
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Have you ever seen Murphy Brown naked? No, I haven’t. Oh... I get it... How much? Have you ever seen Drew Carey naked? Yes, I have. In Hollywood, it’s called an audition. And yes, I got the part. What would your South Park episode be about? My mom won’t let me watch that show. In your opinion, why do white people like Wayne Brady? Wayne is loved by everyone, except the Dutch. There’s a contract out on him in Holland.
Did you find any of Liberace’s clothes after you bought his house or were they the props on “Whose Line?” I did find some things. But there’s not a lot of places you can wear studded chaps and a fur cumberbund. Beside Michael Richards, is there a taller comedian than you? Brad Garrett. And Chewbacca, before he made the switch to drama. What does this EBOLA stand for anyway? Even Big Otters Love Alcohol. Prediction on what Charlie Sheen is doing right this second? I don’t know. He’s locked in the bathroom and there’s a sock on the doorknob. That’s our sign. How bummed are you still about Steve Irwin or were you the only one who saw it coming? Very bummed. After Eric Idle, he was my second favorite Australian. I had a Great White in the office pool.
Favorite Lifetime show? “Dance Moms Miami.” It has everything the original “Dance Moms” doesn’t.
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Rider: Nick Malone Photo: Waylon Wolfe
Tony Little 96
Fastest speed on the Gazelle Freestyle? 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. Have you ever had your hair caught in the Gazelle? No. That’s why I wear a hat. Preferred clothing for Freestyling? Freestyling spandex wear. Have you ever gone so fast that you broke free of the Gazelle? Nope. How do you feel about Peter Smalls? Love him. He looks so much like me and we both have similar last names. Do you own a bear skin rug? Yes. It feels good when I’m naked. How many seconds would it take you to choke out a tiger shark? If he was eating me, 10 seconds. Have you ever raced an actual gazelle in the wild? No, but there is a rare Dama Gazelle named after me at the National Zoo called “Little Tony”. Thoughts on a “Cheetah Freestyle” machine? Does this model eat my Gazelle? If your wife asked you for a Bowflex, would you leave her? No! If she asked for a BlowFlex, maybe…
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mind when the word greatness is thrown around. Have you considered a topless Dude Love holiday calendar? Absolutely not. How many times have you been offered a free prosthetic ear? I was once offered a role on Celebrity Plastic Surgery and I turned it down because I deep down don’t want to have my ear replaced.
MICK FOLEY How many flannels do you own and have you thought about an L.L. Bean sponsorship? I only own a handful because I’ve given so many away, and I don’t believe that any company looking for a profit is looking at me as a possible model. Where do you keep your Mr. Socko collection? There’s not much of a collection, I throw every sock to the crowd and then I write $2,000 off on my taxes under footwear.
Do you expect your upcoming Christmas album to exceed Macho Man Randy Savage’s album in first week sales? As great as Randy was, I’m not sure that the album is one of the biggest strengths that come to
What did you do with the lucky thumbtack that you found stuck in your scalp after 15 years? I put it along with my other lucky thumbtacks on the bottom of my Cactus Jack boot, there’s about 500 of them on there. Dennis Rodman is the US Ambassador for North Korea, what country would you like to be the US Ambassador for? I’m very steeped in the history of the Philippines, and I believe I could do quite a good job over there. Since you’re in Canada, if round ham is considered Canadian bacon, then what is square ham considered? That’s Spam, right? Bacon is actually rectangular right? So, universal bacon. If we can’t get universal health care, we can at least get universal bacon. How do you maintain such a beautiful head of hair? Is it Pert Plus or is there some other secret? Well my 13 year old informed me the other day that I smelled like garlic and I’m going bald, so I’m not maintaining it, I’m eulogizing it. Are you almost out of Mankind Liberian stamps yet, or do you mainly use UPS? I’m going to hold onto those Mankind Liberian stamps, the same way that Stone Cold Steve Austin sure holds onto the Stone Cold condoms. I never made it to that point, I think just pulling out a Mankind condom would be an effective form of birth control.
Milton While sitting in a downtown Manhattan design studio we’re casually told that New York Magazine was founded some 40 years earlier at the very table in front of us, by the man himself, Milton Glaser. The same guy behind the “I Love NY” logo, DC Comics logo, Brooklyn Brewery logo, Bob Dylan album cover and countless other globally iconic projects. Fascinating enough, Milton has done all of this from the same exact studio space he attained in the mid 1960s, a testament of his persevering humility. Fortunately, we were afforded the time to sit with the living legend and talk about everything from beer and cocaine to African art and global warming.
Interviewed by AB Photos Marco DelGuidice and Provided by Glaser
Bach Variations, 1985
Your approach to design is more intellectual and process-driven. Would you say you spend as much time brainstorming and sketching as actually designing? First of all, I don’t know what brainstorming is. It’s a term that’s used all the time but I’m not sure what it is. I’m always thinking about my work even when I’m unconscious. I think when I go to sleep. I always depend on my brain to solve the problem when it’s out of sight. If I do something, I say go to the back and then two days later I’m ready to work on it because the brain works that way you know. It works without volition and it works without conscious control. Most of the time it seems to me that people spend a lot of time resisting ideas rather than providing access to them. I work very, very fast because I don’t think about work until I’m doing it, but it’s always there somewhere.
First off, we’re in New York. Where’s the best place to get a slice? Oh, that’s a tough question. Company [Co.], 24th and 9th Avenue. You’ve been in New York almost your entire life. Did you ever consider moving away long-term? No, I never thought of that as an option. I lived in Italy for some time after I had my Fulbright but I could never imagine living anywhere else, unless I had a particular reason. I grew up here, went to school here, did everything in my life here. We have a house in the country up in Woodstock we’ve owned for over 50 years. That’s an alternative to the city, which sometimes you need. Outside of that this is the place to be.
I’m also aware that my unconscious mind is much more clever than my conscious mind. It also determines my life a lot more than my conscious mind. That’s one of the mischievous things about the brain; everybody behaving as though they knew what they were doing, and being driven by the fact that their mother dropped them when they were two years old. You said that looking back at Bob Dylan’s hair you thought it was maybe a little sloppy now or it could have been more refined. Yeah, it’s not very well done. Working with such huge commercial outlets, how often do you see past work and think that you’d like to tweak it or make it better? No, it’s over with. I don’t have that feeling. I just say it wasn’t very good, I recognize the fact that I’ve done bad work and that’s okay. That’s all I was capable of doing at the time so you go on. The nice thing is that you can go on. You
don’t have to be a victim of your own history. People forget, and very often they don’t know the difference. You’re 85 and still working. Was there ever a time period in your life that you enjoyed more than others or have you always enjoyed it? I’ve always enjoyed my life and I’m enjoying this part of my life. It was nice to be able to walk more easily and get around and have more energy than I have now, but I’ve had a remarkably easy, pleasant life. That’s great. Have you ever had a day off? Yeah, I have great days off but it’s nothing I look forward to particularly. (Laughter) I figured you would say that. Some have described you by saying that your brain is wired to your hand. Out of curiosity have you ever used a 3D printing pen or anything like that? No, I don’t even know what that is.
Openmindedness is the most important thing for everybody
Yeah, it actually prints in your hand. You can actually sketch three dimensionally. Wow! Where do you get one of those? I’ll find you a website. Good, great! You know what’s interesting? Everybody’s obsessed with technology. It’s so irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the idea. Technology is- mechanisms for achieving effects. Effects are not what you’re interested in with design. Of course, it’s the mechanism by which you attract attention or get a response, but it’s not the effect. It’s the core idea that moves people. I’m doing this campaign. It’s not warming, it’s dying. I thought I had some buttons here. Let me get a couple for you. 102
Your climate change project? Yeah, a lot of people were wearing it over the weekend and the woman who makes the but-
tons brought me a big one. The idea here is not complicated to express. A little bit of green at the cycle of black, but what it is emotionally is darkness encroaching on the light. It’s transformed into the two sides of the brain, that is good against evil; it is the polarity and experience, and then suddenly it becomes a powerful, memorable symbol. We’re hoping there are a couple hundred thousand people who will wear it and be visible in the item of wearing it. One of the things about climate change is they’ve managed to keep it suppressed so long by not acknowledging how many people care about it. The technology of it is irrelevant whether I did this
Windows on the World BOTTOM Big Nude, 1967
with an airbrush and a piece of cotton. What matters is symbolically this reaches an emotional response as opposed to a kind of problem response, where you achieve that end result and you objectify the audience. You say, “This is what they know. Here’s what I’ll give them. This is what they’ll do,” which is the way marketing works, but when you’re in this realm it’s not about marketing. It’s about memorability and durability and changing people’s sense of appropriateness. How do you balance your client work from your charitable work? When anybody asks me to do something I think is useful, I do it. I never think of it in terms of balancing anything because I work fast. Everybody
has the problem of putting bread on the table. They’re working. They have to keep the sphere going, they have overhead and all this other, etc. and you try to make ends meet. It’s just never been an issue in my life. I’ve always been able to make a good living and I also did the work I wanted to do. The how comes out of volition, comes of wanting that to be the situation. This work is important to me and I’ll find a way to do it. A lot of designers feel that everything has been done because of the rise of the Internet. How important is originality in design anymore? It’s a complicated question. First of all, there’s very little original design and there’s a good reason for it. What’s truly original is incomprehen-
there’s very little original design and there’s a good reason for it.
Brooklyn Lager Van Gogh - 100 Years, 1989 Dylan Poster, 1967
sible. You can’t be so original that people don’t know what you’re saying. You always have to work in professional life within the constructs of what has interested people before because that’s the reference of your work. If you do something that people don’t recognize they say, ‘what the hell is that?’ and then they leave the room. When you ask that question of originality it goes with something else that’s sort of aggrandizingwanting to be “artistic”, wanting to be “creative”. So you position yourself there in relation to what it is and so on. It’s a creepy, creepy business. When people use that term I’m very skeptical, because largely it’s not desirable in professional life. You have to be original enough to be distinctive so somebody calls you again to ask for the same thing. In an essay I wrote, I say, originality, in the sense of developing a personal style, which when I was a kid at school was encouraged and probably still is, means that you’ll do something, and you’ll have a certain characteristic. You’ll shade from the left to the right or use a lot of blue. People identified it. They’ll call you for another one of those and they’ll keep calling you until you spend your life doing something you’ve long lost interest in. You’ve been teaching for decades and still do today. Besides the obvious advances in technology, how has the learning process changed? What changes would you like to see in future curriculum, especially in design? I don’t want any change. I want people to be open-minded and to understand what they’re doing and to look at what they’re doing without a sentence that they’ve already made their judgment about it. Open-mindedness is the most important thing for everybody besides design people, not to believe anything that’s around as being inviolate.
When I was in school, modernism was the truth of that era, so people like Paul Rand and George Nelson, all the great practitioners were models for how you should do things. The idea of reductive form and simplicity in primary color, all that stuff was what design I learned but that’s not what design is. Now I’m much more interested in habit because of all the limitation and complicity and ambiguity, all the other things you’re not supposed to be interested in. My advice to everyone is keep your mind open for if you close it, it’s over for you. It’s easy to close your mind particularly if you’re a professional because then you have a working methodology, you have plans, you have your own framework for belief. You’re always guided by statistics, marketing experts who have already determined in advance what your audience is responsive to, what they’re not responsive to or how old they are and what kind of symbolism; all that creates a sort of box which most professionals operate in. Do you feel that the digital advancements are greatly jeopardizing creative minds by restricting them with the use of pre-existing materials? I think what happens is there is that 2% who really have an imagination and want to invent something new and then there are the 98% who want to be professional and do it the way it’s been done. It’s dangerous to be overly transgressive. You make trouble. Very often it goes with a style of life that indicates this is really a cool cat. That look, the way they dress and how much coke they snort, because it signals them being different is important. It’s another form of delusion. I know you hold a high level of ethics and moral code when it comes to clients. Have you ever worked for a client you weren’t proud of or were you always able to curate them?
I think sometimes I could explain it away and justify it like we all do with most of the things we’re embarrassed about, but I try to keep to that idea of doing no harm. I’ve written about this. At least consciously, if somebody comes in here and it looks like a project that will hurt people, I won’t take that on just because it doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t know if that comes out of morality or anything else. I know it comes out of the fact that I’m embarrassed if I do something I think is harmful.
You still embrace the handmade process, but have you ever felt that computers actually changed the aesthetics of your work? Oh, yeah. I’m doing prints now on the computer and I couldn’t do them without the computer. I’d spend the whole day fiddling around with prints. It’s a great medium for printmaking. I started out doing etching and lithography, and if you do stone lithographs you do a drawing on a stone. First you have to grind the stone and then do the drawing and then you pull a proof. You look at the proof and you say it’s too dark. Then you have to
pull another proof and then you finally get it right. Then you pull your addition of one color and then you go back, you regrind the stone. If you’re doing a five-color lithograph it takes you two months to get the color right because every time you pull a color proof you see whether that red and that green really are the right red and green. If they’re not you have to re-etch. When you do something like that on a screen you have to accommodate the difference between the screen and what really happens, but you changed one color 10% tonality and you can immediately see how every other color has to be changed. There may be twenty colors and you have to address that further. What it does, it speeds up that process, but you don’t end up saving any time because it just makes it possible to do more iterations, more changes and actually get more precise in the effect that you want.
Mad Men, 2014
don’t know where it’s going to end up.
design is a way of going from an existing condition to a preferred condition
For me, and it’s because I know how to do a lithograph, the computer’s an incredible tool, but it doesn’t change my sensibility. Some people who have ever made prints for instance, it’s very dangerous because it has a way, as I said earlier, of doing what it wants. You have to be very tough about that part. I haven’t seen many people do interesting things in printmaking with the computer except reproduce something. That’s a different game. What are your thoughts on print? Is it dead or is it just evolving? The stuff that you get electronically can’t be replaced by magazines. I think printed forms, because of the economics of publishing are mostly in danger and many, as you know, are going out of business every day. The specialty things will find a position where you want the peculiar satisfaction of turning a page, feeling the surface, looking at things, going back and so on. Electronic material doesn’t do the same. It’s revolutionary in its effect on printed media, but we still
Explain why people need art to survive? I give a definition of difference between design and art because you find most people don’t know the difference. Obviously, design is a way of going from an existing condition to a preferred condition. It is essentially problem driven and functional in that regard and can be evaluated in whether it achieves its objective. Art doesn’t have an objective like that. It doesn’t take you to the end of a problem. There are no inherent problems in art. What art does, it changes our perception of what is real because it’s impossible to understand what is real. If I draw you as I did with my mother when I was a very young boy I will understand what you look like for the first time. Art at its best is mediation between you and the world. It makes you understand what the world is and it changes your idea of what is real. What is real is a very complicated subject. You may think three of us sitting at this table is real. It ain’t real basically because you can look at it from a million different vantage points. Art helps you examine what’s in front of you. Picasso said, “Art is alive. It tells the truth.” That helps you arrive at the truth. That’s a great quote. Do you have any new pieces in your African art collection? No, we got rid of all our African art collection. We got rid of 140 pieces when we moved from a larger apartment to a smaller apartment. It was great. I realize they all exist in my mind so it’s irrelevant whether I have them or not. Are you collecting anything else now or you’re done collecting? No, we pick up occasionally but not like we used to, an occasional piece of certain kind of white pottery. Hellenistic, small Hellenistic Terracotta’s
we’ve been collecting, but not with the inquisitive desire that I had when I was younger. Do you foresee a technology backlash in the future? It’s hard to imagine that. The other night my wife and I went into a restaurant for dinner. Four people came to the table next to us and each of them pulled out a cell phone and started talking to somebody who wasn’t in the room. They were talking to four different people; none of them were talking to each other. I said how could that be? How could you go to a restaurant with friends and talk to somebody who is maybe in another country? Some kind of social change has occurred that is incomprehensible to me. What’s the point in going to dinner? When you talk about backlash, my wife is totally obsessed with computers. She’s almost as old as I am and she sits at her computer and she gets herself all in the tablet and I’m sure it’s everything. Every time there’s a new mechanism on the market she buys one. I don’t get it. In my home backlash has not occurred yet.
It’s hard to imagine now a generation living without an iPhone. Last year I had a cell phone and for the whole year I had 8 messages on it, 8 calls and they were all from my wife. I’m not a likely candidate for that question.
That brings me to the next question. You’ve been married for over 50 years. What role has your wife played in your career? Every relationship between two people is invisible such that you don’t know what the other person has done to you, but the nature of any marriage is to accommodate the peculiar relationship that you have and you’re not aware of until it’s too late. She’s had a profound effect on my work and my life but I don’t know what it is. Lastly, being that you’re the man behind the Brooklyn Brewery logo, where’s a good place to get a beer around here? (Laughter) There’s no problem getting a beer in New York! Oh! A great place to get a beer is at the Waterfront Café two blocks from here where they have at least twenty artisanal beers on draft. Fantastic beers from all over. They have craft made stout and it’s only two blocks away. Did you eat lunch because it also has good food there... We’re going to go down there, trust me. Waterfront Café. It’s 30th off 2nd.
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e j r Te Haakonsen
Interviewed by AB Photos Daniel Mikkelsen and Rip Zinger 111
erje and I have been trying to make this interview happen for a good two years now. He’s not an easy guy to pin down, so when the stars finally aligned, I jumped at the chance. The man who famously turned his back on the premiere of snowboarding in the 1998 Japan Olympics and was said to be a shoe-in for a gold medal, still has plenty of opinions on the games and how it’s affected snowboarding’s past, present, and future. All that aside, Terje still shreds, travels the globe, hosts the Arctic Challenge, is a father of two and ponders aliens saving the human race. Long live the king!
First off, what’s for dinner? Did you eat any reindeer? I was planning to eat some reindeer today. I just heard that actually a lot of the meat from moss and grass-fed animals has lots of natural omega in it the further north you go. The reindeer that I get, we have southern reindeer and we have northern reindeer, but my source is from far north. I was actually going to call my mom to take some stuff out of the fridge, but I got distracted. She lives up the street.
We might as well start with the Olympic questions and just get those out of the way. What were your thoughts on Shaun White bailing on the slopestyle? Was it a selfish move, or was he standing up for snowboarding and deeming the course too difficult? What did Chas say? “You have a course for boys, and you have a course for men.” That’s what, not Chas but Sage I mean, that’s what I heard he said. That’s really like, “Hey it’s the same course for everybody,” I think he just probably didn’t feel like he could win, and I think that it’s not a secret Shaun has a history of being selfish. I’m sure he could
have probably done well and maybe won if he just put his… He has the ability to do it. What probably sucked is they probably didn’t have a stand-in so one guy was probably sitting at home in the States saying, “Fuck, that could have been me.” So were you secretly smiling when he lost halfpipe? I didn’t see, well actually I saw the last run… I don’t know what I think. You have all these incredible pipe riders, they all train for the same thing, their runs are so similar. The whole pipe thing has been so stagnated since the Olympics. You definitely see the difference between a “creative” rider and a coached, or you can call it a trampoline rider, or an airbag rider, in that category. These guys can do so much more of technical, cool stuff, if you compare it to skateboarding when they always have a different bowl or a different park, and also different winners, because here it’s just the same pipe in different locations. Why don’t you just have like 10 contests in Aspen and call it that, because they’re all the same. You also lose interest. The whole pipe thing has been dropping, so the whole interest for pipe has been dropping because it’s just the same runs from
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the same guys. They know how to show up with their trick lists. It’s not really what action sports in general are built upon. It could be so much more. For me, I don’t care about the Olympics, but I like to see good and creative halfpipe riding. Danny D has a little different run too, but you can only do so much in one run. A lot of the big national snowboarding events have become so homogenized. There’s no drinking, there’s no guerilla marketing, the crowds are white collar, they’re super quiet, and they have to be cued to make noise for the TV. I actually went to the Open this year. For sure it’s just so stagnant and stale. You know who we can blame? It’s the riders themselves. Everyone is just thinking about himself or herself and not thinking about the whole sport and actually putting their heads together and making demands, or putting it in a different direction. You have creative events around, but they’re far apart, and they’re not really part of the world tour. At the Arctic, we always try to say, “Hey if you guys don’t like the course tomorrow, I want you guys to strike. I want you to fucking just stand up for something, not just like, ‘oh yeah we’re going to do it.’ You guys are going to be on TV, and this is your sport. You want to make a career out of it, or you all just want to look the same?” Then ratings start dropping, something is wrong. Do you think the industry would be better just wiping the slate clean and going back to all grassroots events and letting some of them come up, or is it vital to keep the mainstream stuff? If you say mainstream is big TV and stuff, then I think to have money in any sport is good for a sport, because you build progress, and you get interest, and you can make cool things. This year at the Arctic we did a contest with pretty much no money. We made a creative pipe where Danny had a winning run with double corks, but also
hand plants and basic airs. It was just cool to see because you don’t really see that anymore. If you mess up in a normal pipe run, you pretty much have to give up. Here, if you lose speed you can still do technical things on elements, of the whole thing. It can be that simple. Also showing more than just the one round format. Red Bull putting up the double pipe, there are events out there, but it’s just up to the riders. Maybe not only blame the riders, maybe you can also blame managers and coaches, and the industry too for just being so media-horny and thinking the Olympics is the biggest thing in the world, because it’s not. You can also maybe ask Sage, “You won a gold medal. What do you think it was worth?” Those 20 people dying under construction, all the environmental issues that went down, and everybody who didn’t get paid afterwards behind the scenes? Have you thought about that when you’re sleeping? Fuck, and then they’re like, “I don’t care if I get my face on the cereal box.” That’s what people think. Did you ever feel that there was an event, and maybe the Arctic Challenge, that truly gathered all the best riders in the world, or is that not even possible? Could it replace the Olympics down the road, or is it just the global media and the Wheaties boxes that matter? The idea of the Olympics is kind of cool, but it’s way old-school. You know how our sport and most action sports are built upon company teams and not national teams? The Olympics is kind of sold like a national battle. It’s kind of wrong in that sense too, and then the qualification system is wrong. Countries like Finland, Switzerland, the States, Canada, they should have more than 4 guys, if you want all the best to be there. The contest I really appreciated winning was when I knew everybody was there, the pipe was good, and it was like a battle. Those were the best victories. It was not the world championships, Euro-
pean championships. The best event I won was actually at this local skate shop in Sweden that had big prize money, it got all the good people there, and we really had a good session. Those tight battles, those are the wins I appreciate. It’s not just because it’s a title. I remember being at World Cups, and for example, Todd Richards or Brushie were not there, and I wouldn’t have appreciated the win as much as if they weren’t there. We’ve already got big contests every year, we just need to fine tune them. The IOC is now contemplating getting rid of slopestyle going forward because they’re saying it’s too dangerous for the riders. Is that the right move, or would it just be better to change the course and maybe do something more technical, more interesting, or does it make snowboarding look bad? It gets up to a point where it separates the boys from the men. It’s action sports, and we all know the consequences. One thing they can probably do better so it’s not so Evel Knievel is actually be more focused on technical abilities. The pipe for example, when you do back-to-back corks all the way down, it’s dangerous because there’s a lot of spinning and there’s a lot of air time and that’s why some people end up in the hospital, and some people actually die too. That’s when people say, “Well son, I don’t want you to do this sport.” You have to have the style and the creativity. I think those factors are just as important. Going big and going high, that should be up to the person, obviously. Of course, folks tell you, “Fuck, you actually just missed one jump,” you actually have to stand it. You could still decide yourself if you want to do a triple cork or a 540.
The whole thing too is like when you see pipe contests on the East Coast where it’s sheet blue ice and windy, and they’re still having a contest. We should have the waiting period, just like in surfing. Obviously, it’s cheaper to have a waiting period
in surfing than snowboarding. I remember in the Arctic, before we had live TV and stuff, we actually had those waiting periods, we were waiting for the best conditions. You get a better outcome of it, you have happier people, you have better riding, and a better progression. Last Olympic question, I promise. Would snowboarding and the industry be in a better state today without the Olympics in your opinion, and would it benefit from being dropped from the games in the future? Good question. If you look at how it really messed up the pipe format, or the mentality of the pipe riders, or how everybody’s thinking, it probably would have helped pipe riding by not being a part of it because it would be a better system. We probably would have seen more creative pipes and different riding. Then again, it is a big window for any sport to be in the Olympics because it’s such a global phenomenon. Maybe don’t ask me, but ask all the snowboard companies, ask if they think they sold more snowboards because of the Olympics? I don’t know. Not that much, I think. You have to remember with the Olympics it’s like, there are all these countries that say, “Okay this is the year we are going to watch winter sports on TV,” and they watch it, but they never go shopping, except maybe like 1%. What’s in store for The Arctic Challenge in 2015, and why is The Arctic Challenge important? I’m not saying it’s important; you said that. I see the responsibility of, having a good action sports event and promoting “good” products, and not products that cause bad health and more tax money to sickness. It’s not really to get the sponsor money. If I had the sponsor money we’d probably do the quarterpipe every year, and stuff like that. Last year, we got money from, what do you call it, a group that supports projects that have sustainability, or a good product-- so when we promoted drink tap water, we got like $200,000
from this foundation (Bergelsen Stiffelsen). We got a couple other small sponsors, there’s always some support from the town. We did a tryout contest, and we did some brainstorming with riders and tried to create some better alternatives to this pipe, it was a good time and it was a good pipe session. This year we are going to prep everything for next year, we’ve been changing some staff members and we need to have time to find the right partners. We did talk about actually doing a quarterpipe in the States, talking with Boreal, but there’s also some funding that we need. The quarterpipe probably is not going to happen this year, but I think I’m going to start working earlier and then try to make that happen next year, maybe get some of these pipe phenomenons to go 10 meters. (Laughter)
expensive in general. Lift tickets are really expensive, a lot of the equipment is, compared to skiing, maybe a little more expensive. A lot of kids are definitely a little softer I think, with the newer generation. I think skiing is just easier to have a good time right off the bat. That’s probably why we see so many scooters at skateparks, and stuff like that too. In the long run, I think people actually choose skateboards or snowboards or something that will give them a little more challenge. It’s definitely going to increase because it definitely has a way better feeling than riding a scooter and riding hard boots and skis. There’s no question. I know so many skiers too, and they’re all talking about when they can start snowboarding after a skiing career. It’s no secret for anyone that a snowboard works better on powder, and has more opportunities for playing, I think.
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That’s easy, beat your record? I’m not sure if I’m gonna be... if I’m in shape I’d probably ride it myself, but we’ve done it a lot of years, so we’re pretty good at it, we’d make it pretty safe too. There’s always somebody that gets a bruised heel. I think we make it safe in a way that people can enjoy and not just be scared of it. I’m gon’ do everything to get someone over that 10 meter mark. The reality of snowboarding right now is that we’re facing a bit of a downturn, and it’s partially due to the weak economy, poor snowfalls, and the rise of freeskiing. How do you think we turn it around? One of the problems is snowboarding is just really
How you turn it around, that’s a good question, maybe you have to get the kids off the iPads and toughen them up a little bit, and learn how to appreciate the outdoors a little bit more. Get lift tickets to be cheaper in a way, or get people to hike more. I think there’s probably a few factors we can change but it’s always going to be there. No matter how expensive it is, it’s always going to be fun. What are your responsibilities these days? Are you contractually under obligations to ride, or do you just do your own thing? Yeah, I do my own thing, but I have partners that want me to do things, and I want to do things myself too. Also, I definitely do a lot of meetings and office work, stuff like that. When I can go
you o d t a . Wh 0 people l a d 2 e ld m ? Those o g n a w or t h o ion… w t c u s u o a Y ns t r it w o k ally maybe put the energy into it, and see what’s c n i r e th d out there in space, and where are we going to go n gu n next? As long as capitalism is ruling, and there’s i y d corruption, it looks like there’s no end to what the skateboarding and snowboarding, surfing, that’s really what I like. I also feel like I can still progress in some other board sports. It’s fun. I think I pace myself without overdoing certain things throughout the years, and I discover other things that I can do with snow. I do a lot of snow skating because I live on the really small hills around Oslo. There’s certain terrain and powder that is really boring on snowboards, but you take the bindings off and they’re interesting again. Where do you see yourself in 20 years? What’s next for you? I turned 40 a couple days ago. In 20 years, I don’t know, I think if I play it a little smart I’d be able to skate and play on boards still in a certain way without being too damaged from all the past fun. I just want to be active as long as I can. I see older people that are still active, and they seem to be just so much happier. I have a lot of friends in their mid-60’s that are active still. That’s really important for me, because being active, it’s that lifestyle that I like. I can appreciate reading books and I will get other hobbies too. It’s interesting because the world is just so out of control too. It’s like, are we going to try for Plan C or are we just going to keep smoking that big cigar and just not give a fuck because it’s just going to blow up anyway? Do we try to get on an alien spaceship and get out of here? I don’t know.
Everyone’s worried about the Ebola outbreak, but what can you do? Yeah. I just saw a poster about it. They’re freaking out on Ebola but, then they’re showing how many deaths there are from tobacco and alcohol, and nobody’s freaking out about that. If you think about it, okay you can plant good seeds and try to get a healthier and happier society and actu-
people are fighting for; religion and wars and all that, money issues. There are definitely people working on trying to figure it out a little bit. I think that’s way more interesting, but at the same time it’s like how many people can there be, and are we going to be able to reach sustainable living with all of us? Are we even going to be able to share? People, in most perspectives, are like, “Well it’s not going to happen. Just give up. Let’s party another day. Let’s keep burning gas or fire in the world. Buy gadgets.” I think for anyone who’s going to die, I don’t think it means how many records you sell, or what titles you won, or what mountain you climb. If you want it to go that way, you say, “What do we do guys? Did I plant a good seed that is going to help the systems of the world to last longer?” Maybe people who have kids think that way, or maybe people have the interest to see if eventually some alien is going to come down here or if we’re going to find some alien out there, maybe we’ll get some answers. Finally, what do you think Craig Kelly would be doing if he were still with us? You think he’d be filming like Jeremy Jones, or would he just be in the back country, and just be living out there? He was on a good path. He has definitely influenced a lot of people without even trying to influence a lot of people, and in the right way. He has definitely influenced my friends and I really hard, in a lot of ways, on hill and off the hill. He wanted to live in the mountain and be a guide and also just enjoy it. He was there to live, he loved to ride powder, and explore.
Interviewed by Michael Connolly Photos Lauren Jaslow, Robert Adam Mayer, Gavin Thomas
Hip Hop artist? Sage? New Yorker? Simply put, Homeboy Sandman is an asset to humanity. Whether recognized by the mainstream or not, his music resonates as a perfect harmony between meticulously calculated gab and buttery sound. In true craftsman form, Homeboy was even kind enough to breakdown the science behind his introductory bars in the track Sputnik.
You seem to have a very confident poise. Is there anything that makes you nervous? I want to be at the point where I never sweat anything, ‘cause everything always turns out wonderful. If I worry about something, then I get upset with myself for worrying about it, and it becomes even worse. So yeah, getting anxious makes me anxious, but other than that, I don’t think anything else.
So, tell me a little bit about your childhood and upbringing in terms of where you grew up in Queens and the people that raised you whether it’s family, friends, or both. Yeah, yeah. I grew up in Elmhurst Queens, right
across the street from Queens Center Mall. My parents raised me, that’s my mother and father. My father is my best boy ever. His name is Angel Del Villar just like me. I’m the second. My mother is Victoria Del Villar. They’re both great people. They got married when I was six years old. I was the best man. My sister is two years younger than me. Her name is Natalie. My neighborhood was real, real fun to grow up in you know what I mean? I lived in a huge building, great for trick-or-treating, you could trick-or-treat in that building and you’d be straight for the rest of the year. My building takes up the entire block. Then, right across the street from us we had the Loew’s Theatre over on Queen’s Boulevard. Right across
All I hear is honking horns This song was written amidst the crazy hustle and bustle of the cityBehold a pale horse galloping on a honkey’s lawn Take a gander at all of these sick, twisted, demented plots taking place on this planet that white people ownBehold a pale corpse jacking off to zombie porn Everybody is fucking dead and obsessed with sexBeneath an Air Force trained on playing Donkey Kong Kids are trained to be operative killing machines from the moment they pick up that first video game controller, playing all these graphic war games. They develop the crazy hand eye coordination skills that will later serve well during some variety of annihilationSomebody’s granddaughter ain’t like her own tetas Females these days (the “granddaughter” signifies “these days”) are taught to hate their bodies-
the boulevard we had Hoffman Park where they would have all the basketball tournaments. Everything was real close to me, so it was just a good place to grow up in from an energy standpoint, a lot of things were going on. Great people, it’s a great mix of people. My neighborhood is actually in sociology textbooks for being one of the most ethnically diverse places in the whole world. I know you’ve spoken a lot about your father in the past. How much of an impact has he made on your mindset and work ethic? Well, he’s been the biggest influence in my life. You know, he’s always been my hero. My father has a very unique story, he was a fighter, a boxer.
Saved up ten grand, now she like the Grand Tetons So they get cosmetic surgeryHer and her parents, worse rivals than the Yankees/Sox Lots of times it’s because of terrible relationships that they have with their parentsReally love Johnson, even was a fan of Keyshawn So they become really promiscuous trying to fill that love voidWinston Churchill said, “Carry on, keep calm.”, He did-
He didn’t graduate from high school. He came over from the Dominican Republic and didn’t speak a lick of English. They threw him right into sixth grade. Coming up in Jamaica Queens with his brothers they were really fending for themselves. My father, he’s a very courageous character, and that happened to be his calling card. You know what I mean? Just his courage. Maybe I’ve tried to live my life like him just because I want to have a story somewhere near as cool as my father’s. He won the Golden Gloves in 1982, heavy weight division in New York. He was an undefeated amateur and pro. Got a $50,000 sign on bonus when he went pro. He was in camp with Tyson, Holyfield, all these guys. It’s just like basketball. All the best fighters are in the best camps together. My father could’ve been champ you know, but at one point he decided he didn’t want to beat people up for a living. My father was contender for a 7 and 0 professional record, all by knock out. His seventh fight he knocked a dude out and knocked the dude’s teeth out. The dude’s father was in the opponent’s corner, and he sees this guy’s father picking up his son’s teeth and by then he had already had me and my sister. You know, he understood a father’s love and all that. He thinks to himself like, he’s looking at all the cheering fans and everything, and he’s thinking, you know these people are scared. The only person in the whole arena he’d probably be cool with was the dude he just knocked out. That’s what he thought to himself. He told me that story many times. He decided right then and there he wasn’t going to beat people up for money.
My father later went to college for ten years. He went to Queen’s College and then to CUNY Law School, and now he’s got his own practice in Corona Queens. He’s the man. What about the city of New York in general?
What does it mean to you? I really love New York. It’s my favorite place in the world. A lot of people I know from New York want to get out, but I think it’s ‘cause they never left. I went to high school in a place called The Holderness School, it was in Plymouth, New Hampshire. I was part of this program that takes kids from the city and gets them in these boarding schools, for access to education, that is in many ways superior to public schools. My zone school Newtown, was a zoo. So, I got to go away to school. I got to leave, and I missed New York so much that when I came back I was just like, “I’m never leaving again.” They say if you make it here, you can make it anywhere, because everything is here. There’s nothing in the world that isn’t in New York. There are certain things that you don’t see. I mean, we don’t have elephants in New York, but they’re trying to run every con and scam out here. It’s a good preparatory component for going out into the rest of the world with all these sneaky human beings running around. You definitely run into that gamut. I think New York City is the capital of the planet. I haven’t been around the whole planet, you know, so maybe that will be disproven at some point, but from what I see, New York is kind of the epicenter of the world. What did you take away from your experience in higher education? When I went away to high school, I was very much trying to find myself, I felt really alone, and I just became a dude that, you know, had his headphones with him all the time. I was listening to music, eleven to twelve hours a day. I was like, yo, this is going to be my home. I have my home in my ears. I was a kid looking for my identity and being in a place where I felt everybody was different from me really made me, me. Like, yo, I’m a hip hop kid. These kids are not hip hop kids, like that’s part of my identity, this is me and that’s them.
...trick-or-treat in that building and
But R. Kelly got room keys, I mean key cards. But these days (the “key cards” signifies “these days”) sexual predators are glorified and praisedPimps that rock bright colored gear are called peacocks, People do their dirt out in the openHookers’ johns are nothing like Jean Luc Picard Going someplace mad people have been before, Jean Luc Picard used to boldly go where no man has gone before. Not where mad dudes have already been inDingbats even wind up in the bing because People with poor judgement wind up in jail becausePromised not sing the chorus if it pleased the court Somebody said they wouldn’t snitch (snitching used to be called singing before it was called snitching). Basically, somebody thought they could trust their peoplesYou could tell it was a crock cause he rocked Lacoste But that was a bunch of bullshit (aka a crock of shit. Lacoste has the croc logo)
you’d be set for the year 125
Higher education for me was a little out of control. Man, I picked up a lot of bad habits and stuff like that. That’s what college really was for me. I don’t look back at college particularly fondly. I was an English major so I did a lot of good reading, and I built a lot of vocab and all that, but college was kind of wild and crazy. I went to Queen’s College, where I was working on a graduate degree, and I went to Hofstra to work
...we don’t on a graduate degree there also. So, I know how to do all that academic bullshit, you know what I mean? I’m good at that. I taught public high school in Queens for two years between my time at Queens College and Hofstra. Do you think you’ll ever go back to school? Um, I don’t really foresee it, but I mean, if I wake up tomorrow and feel like I want to I will, but I don’t see that. Maybe if there was something I really wanted to learn about. You think you’d ever want to teach again? I’m not really sure. I actually feel like teaching was cool. Oddly enough as somebody that creates art, particularly hip hop and rhyming, I feel like I have a lot more of an impact than teaching on a one to one level. I get to spread the things that are important to me I guess. You know, teaching is definitely a two way street. I learned a lot from them kids and I hope they learned stuff from me. Teaching was like for me, an opportunity to represent. Being an artist is another opportunity to represent which, in a lot of ways, is even more far reaching.
Absolutely, I mean the social impact of media has been a topic of academic conversation arguably since the introduction of a postal service. As a hip hop artist, give me a little insight into your perspective of me-
dia’s relationship with society. Do you think that media has any responsibilities it’s not fulfilling? Well, I believe the people who control the media are the driving force behind culture in society. I’m of the opinion that the people who control the media are determining what everybody thinks is important. What everybody wants to wear, how everybody speaks, what everybody thinks is good, what everybody thinks is bad. To me, it’s obvious, I don’t know if people don’t realize it. I guess some people genuinely disagree. I also think that there’s a large percentage of people who recognize it, or do agree with me, deep down inside, or maybe not even too deep. But, I guess they’re just kind of embarrassed about the whole thing, you know? Is it embarrassment or complacency? How do you combat that? I used to be overwhelmed with the idea that I have a huge responsibility to try and convince
have elephants everybody to think the same way that I think. I’m not really feeling that way too much anymore. Currently I’m feeling like there is a stranglehold on many minds. But, I believe talent reigns supreme. The way I came up and the way I grew up, I couldn’t wait to put people on to a record I thought was crazy that they hadn’t heard. Most people don’t love music. I love music. I leave my house without my iPod and it’s like a nightmare or a tragedy. Everybody’s not that way. Most people, they could listen to shit in the background, you know, whatever, and it doesn’t make a difference. But, for people that are music lovers, people that need to be inspired, people that need to be impressed, talent reigns supreme. I definitely believe there are many of these people, more than enough to sustain any talented indi-
vidual, be they making music, be they a carpenter. I do believe there is an abundance of people who truly love these art forms, truly love these craftsmen, truly find the beauty in them. Many people buy into the fact that money makes the world go around. I don’t believe money makes the world go around. I believe the world is going to go around anyway. But, money is the driving force for a lot of people and a lot of things. The truth is, money is a dead thing, money is a dead tree. Money is paper. It’s crazy to go into a place and give them paper and they give you nourishment and then you leave. Like, I gave them this much paper for this nourishment? So with regards to media, I don’t believe that the people in control have your best interests or my best interests in mind. Media is all types of mediums. You know, Steez Magazine, is a medium. I’ve written in the past about the ownership of most media and how the vast majority of media is controlled by a very small amount of people. I talked about the fact that when you walk past a news stand you see certain magazines. The very visible stuff, the very visible mediums, are owned by the same channels and owned by the same people. Go to a Best Buy- you don’t see the Homeboy Sandman CD. Just the same way as when you pass by a magazine shop when you’re switching from a 2 train to the L train, you don’t see the Steez Magazine in there. There are mediums which are more independent, more culture based, art based, truth based. It’s always a challenge to have these mediums involved in a scheme that’s owned by people who are not interested in that. They’re not interested in really giving a shit about anything but profit in a financial way. However, I don’t believe that is anything that could stop anything that’s real, from being real. Where do you get your news from? What do
you read? Shoot man. I’ve read a couple of novels recently. I like reading creative writing. I don’t know if I’m self-centered or egocentric, or whatever, but I’m pretty much very concerned with the news taking place within a ten foot radius of my physical person. My boy I Am Many was telling me about Ebola yesterday, he’s bugging out over that. You asked me if media has obligations- I think many people feel they don’t have any obligations to anybody or anything, but themselves. Me per-
IN NEW YORK... sonally, I feel like, given how fortunate I’ve been in my life, that I do have obligations; to people, to society, and just basically to God. I guess first and foremost I have responsibilities to God to try and make good on all these advantages I’ve been given by behaving the right way. But, I don’t have too much trust for anything that I haven’t verified on my own. You had a short stint with the Huffington Post where you wrote a few very compelling pieces. What are your thoughts on objectivity in journalism? I don’t think there’s always an angle or always a pitch. I think that love is real and goodness is real and people trying to do what’s right is a real thing. If you look at big-budget blockbusters, a lot of them are just two hour commercials. Every now and then, something like The Matrix gets through, and The Matrix to me is just straight truth. I mean no disrespect to anybody or what they believe, but before I tell my child to read the Bible, I’ll tell them to watch The Matrix. So, I believe the truth comes out. I’m not even prepared to say there weren’t angles in the stuff I was writing. I will definitely write stuff and my goal will be like, yo I want people to realize that
a bunch of this shit is trash, and realize they’re being duped. That is an angle, you know what I mean? I had a goal in mind with the stuff I was writing but, I felt like it was coming from the right place. How do you feel about the term “don’t believe everything you hear”... Makes a lot of sense to me you know. You’ve said, “I speak on stuff I know is true.” Do you think conviction and passion is synonymous with fact-based argument? With some of the stuff I’m trying to argue or make a point for. To me it seems really self-evident. I can’t believe that I even have to describe it sometimes. I just think there’s a lot of shame, because nobody likes being taken advantage of or admitting it. Nobody likes being duped. Nobody likes being bullied. Nobody wants to admit that. It’s a security thing. Like if you got back in a time machine, you know 150 years, grab a couple of slaves from Mississippi, bring them to Queens, and let them watch the difficulty I have convincing their descendants not to say the word “nigger,” they never would believe it! They would say, this is not even true. This is not even the real future. I got a line in Strange Planet, “...people don’t live in the now, they live in denial.” And denial is some powerful shit. You know facts cut through that shit sometimes, but other times it slides off the side of it too.
I want to get at your writing process a bit, where do you think you developed your potent syntax? A lot of your tracks have a very purposeful architecture, what is the longest amount of time you ever spent building a verse? Ah man, I used to spend days and days working on a verse when I first started and I guess I still
do that now in certain cases. I’m writing all the time, I always write, I always got my music, my instrumentals. It’s kind of like a drug for me. It’s what makes me feel cool. It’s what makes me feel good. When I go out I feel confident with the ladies ‘cause I know I just wrote a fat rhyme. Like, what’s more impressive than that? I never had a fancy car, or, gaudy jewels, nothing like that. But, from what I understand, that makes people feel pretty cool. For me, rhyming is that. I used to smoke a lot of weed and I remember it would put me at ease. I would take a drink and that would put me at ease. Right now the thing that really puts me at ease is writing a rhyme. I’m pretty much addicted to it. I’m addicted to laying rhymes ‘cause I need that feeling of, you know, “Yo, I’m crazy cool.” I’m always paying attention for something that I feel is rhyme worthy. Like, we were sitting on a plane the other day coming back from Texas, and I was in the middle of a rhyme. It was great because I was writing and I wrote, “When I ain’t breaking cycles I’m breaking in disciples. I made it to 34 so I guess there’s typos in the Bible.” Then I fell asleep on the plane, and then I woke up and wrote the next rhyme, “Or maybe I’m just human but as soon as I wake I’m back to what I fell asleep doing.” Which is taken straight out of real life. And then the next rhyme, the stewardess brought me a cup of water that had a Coca Cola logo on the cup. So, the next rhyme was, “The cats behind the Iran contra now decide to throw concerts, now a word from our monsters, I mean sponsors.” You know what I’m saying? Just talking about how sponsorship is everywhere and crazy. My rhyming is really like a translation of whatever I’m absorbing.
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TED BORLAND Lib TECHStyle 15K KRAFTSMEN Jacket
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From hand painted calligraphy to wheatpaste and stencil, this mysterious man produces mind-provoking works in an effort to harmonize our collective consciousness. While people get caught up in the day-to-day details of life, Cryptik steps back and takes a moment, as well as a breath, to feel the wider perspective of life. Finding a cosmic connection with the greater unknowns and to all of us, his work is fueled by the soul, and as such the day-to-day details of his life have fallen into a place called, “living the dream”. It took hard work of course, and some sincere self-reflection, although he’s still working on the perfect circle. Discover, the Cryptik Movement.
Interviewed by Taylor Kendall
Who are you, what do you do, and why? As far as who I am I don’t place too much importance, as far as what I do-- I push the Cryptik Movement, which has been my project since 2008. It’s about creating something bigger than myself. I knew I never wanted it to be about myself as an artist, or as a personality. I wanted to make sure I was always honest, and that it was about the message. I’ve been trying to push the Cryptik Movement in a way so that anyone can be a part of the philosophy and the message resonates with you. Your public works started around 2008. Have you always been an artist, were coloring books and markers a big part of your childhood? For sure, but I think growing up you never really call yourself an artist because all kids are artists. It’s something I’ve always done. It’s the best meditation for me. It’s the only time I can really be in my own space and, be present. It’s also something that I never thought of doing like a career but, life is weird like that, whatever is inside is gonna come out (chuckles) and this is just where I ended up. I heard you published a book? Yes, with Zero+ publishing, a friend of mine Kirk Peterson runs the publishing company and proposed it to give people an idea of what the Cryptik Movement is about. At the time I felt like it was a bit early, I was just starting out and wanted more content but, I did have a ton of photography just because there are so many great photographers around LA and SF.
As far as the name Cryptik, is there a cryptic meaning to the altered spelling or is it moreso just artistic expression? I think the spelling itself was a decision based off of growing up being so inspired by graffiti. Every-
It’s everyone’s responsibility to change and find that within themselves. thing was spelled just a little bit differently, you put your little mark on that particular word so you owned it. With that letter itself, the ‘k’ at the end, it was always like... an aggressive... It has a harder punch at the end... Yeah it’s like weapons or something (laughter). You know the whole shape and everything was kind of important to me, just the way the letter forms played off each other. It looked more aggressive. It’s a word that has always resonated with me. It relates to my work in many different ways. Not only the calligraphy but also the other side of it; exploring the great mysteries of consciousness and natures of reality, all these other things that
p will never be known to human beings or whatever, you know, the great unknown. (laughter) So, aside from yourself, who was the first audience that found value in your work or may have pushed you to follow this dream? Early on I was doing a lot of stuff with the Hit+Run crew. They do live silkscreening at events and parties. They produce limited edition, one of a kind, like concert tees basically. That kind of put the word out and let kids wear the stuff they’d seen on the streets. It was a good opportunity for me to get the art out there. They really helped to spread the message early on. That’s classic man. Others have wondered if
the people who made it had this master plan to how they were gonna make it, but it always ends up being to just go with that feeling of the moment, which blossoms into exactly what it should be. Oh yeah nothing was ever premeditated. To even be sitting here having a conversation with you still blows my mind. Just the fact that I can sit in my studio and paint all day is really a blessing. It makes you wonder about everything, how stuff really works. You know, back then, it was just all on strength. I had a full time job, but I was printin’ tees and stuff in my garage. Just buyin’ tees, getting the screens, everything. I was givin’ ‘em out by the hundreds, to whoever was feelin’ it. I did that for a few years with no expectations, and
when I’m creating art the first thing I think is ‘will this look good on a skateboard?’
somehow it turned into an opportunity for me to do something I love and am passionate about. I just took that leap of faith. No doubt, the universe is always knockin’ on people’s door, and those who want to answer... I mean if you don’t just believe in yourself first, how could you expect others to? So, there’s a lot of dynamic to your work between the imagery and typography. What artists did you look up to growing up? As far as the imagery goes, I was super inspired by VCJ, during the Powell/Peralta ‘Bones Bridgade’ era specifically. Growin’ up in the late ‘80s, skateboarding was everything to me. It was really my only reference point to any form of art, other than graffiti around town. When those decks came out, the Tony Hawks and Mike McGills and all those, it really made an impression. To me that was it, that was the hardest thing I’d ever seen in my life. It stuck with me I guess, because when I started trying to develop this thing that was what came out. It’s an evolution or an homage to that particular era of skateboard graphics and lowbrow art . As far as calligraphy goes, I’ve always been inspired by Chaz Bojorquez, an LA legend, an OG. As well as RETNA, and more recently USUGROW. Is there an intention to one day get your work on a skate deck? That’s always been the fantasy as a kid. You know holding those decks was like-- and back then especially, they were all silk screen printed so each deck was like one of a kind , to me it was a special thing. BUT, as a kid it wasn’t something I could afford, so I would just admire them at the skatepark, cut ‘em out of magazines and make little fingerboards, or get the hand-me-downs from the homies which was great. I think when I’m creating art the first thing I think is ‘will this look good on a skateboard?’ (laughter) Let’s hope this can be a stepping stone to
that! Where have you put up pieces? It’s mostly been the West Coast and Hawaii. I haven’t had much of an opportunity to go internationally and put work up yet but I’m hoping to in the next year. Recently I did a big Mandala on the side of this residential building complex for Zappos employees in Las Vegas, sponsored by Zappos. It was just cool to be in a different environment and put up artwork in a different city for the people. Especially in the downtown area, it’s completely different from what I imagined, it’s revitalized and the local vibe there was just incredible. Everyone was so nice, it was a great experience really. I had an opportunity to go to Hawaii and do some work out there last year, we painted a wall on the north shore for POW! WOW! which was a super amazing experience. Headshots are an integral part of your work. From Bob Marley to Ganesha to Ghandi, what is it about painting these symbolic faces that is so important? I think you just nailed it. The important part is just that they are so symbolic. They’ve become universal symbols. No matter where you go in the world, Ghandi, or Buddha will have the same message. It’s always been important for me to choose universal icons, imagery and symbols that could be understood anywhere in the world. There’s a fine line of getting too esoteric with it and only reaching a small percentage or niche group of people. I want to think a bit wider, to include the more common man. A wonderful idea. You’re obviously into spirituality and Eastern philosophies, but at the same time you balance that with an interest in quantum mechanics and understanding the physics of the world, knitting the two together, which ties into sacred geometry. Does that hold an interest to you? Definitely. It’s something I expect to touch on more as I continue this whole journey. Ancient
Egypt is someplace I’ve been wanting to go to for a long time, as far as a body of work and the next series. It’s just hard to find a way to make it make sense, or make it relevant to Joe Shmo. It may start in the backgrounds but, once you incorporate it into the artwork or the patterning then it becomes familiar and becomes about the vibration of it all.
does that talent come naturally or do you employ a stencil? Well not a stencil, but like a giant compass. I figure out the centerpoint and can grid it out, then from there I’ll just go ham and freestyle all the lettering. (laughter) There’s no way! That’d be incredible if I could do a perfect circle.
Do you ever get halfway through a piece and throw it away, or do you push through to transform everything into something worthwhile? It depends on the type of painting I’m doing. A lot of times when it’s just texturing and layering of different colors and scripts it really is an organic process. You’ll take a few steps back which may open up new opportunities to see different things. I try to finish whatever I do because it will drive me nuts if I don’t, but when it’s done I’ll know. The piece will speak to me, it speaks to me as I paint, so when it says it’s done, it’s done.
Hey I mean judging by what I’ve seen anything is possible, you could just feel the flow. (Laughter) That sounds better let’s tell people that.
That’s symbolic to your work ethic, to not get too in your own way or set expectations that impede your own creative flow, very key. Referring to the Mandalas you’re doing, you draw designs in precise concentric circles,
the ultimate goal for me is to instill this sense of 136
wonder in people.
Your website has a quote from Einstein. To paraphrase, people who do not actively wonder or do not feel the awe of ‘the mysterious’, are asleep. Their eyes are shut to the true beauty of life. How does this relate to your art, what are you trying to open the eyes of the people to? The most important thing is to give people a different perspective, an alternative point of view on how things are, how we see the world, the nature of reality and consciousness. It’s as much about pulling out all the truths and beauties we find in various philosophical and religious teachings but more importantly, the ultimate goal for me is to instill this sense of wonder in people. As kids we have so much wonder and curiousity like, ‘hey why is the sky blue, why is this, and that?’ As we get older, we just start accepting things like, things just are the way they are because they are, or because whoever says so. If you don’t wonder about anything, if you’re not curious about anything, then you’re not thinking, you know what I’m saying? (laughter) Always ask questions, and be skeptical, find the answers yourself, instead of just accepting other peoples answers. At the end of the day it’s about finding meaning in your own life. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt that they do have a way of relating to the work, that they get it, while also leaving room for interpretation, to create their own dialogue with it.
C Kinda playing off that, people are always like, well it’s like the big question, ‘what should I do with my life?’ and then people wonder, ‘well how do I know that’s what I should be doing?’ and that’s where you come to the individual moment of ‘looking within’ to find your gift and follow it, and trusting it will usually bring you exactly where you wanna be. But then the people say, ‘well how do you relate that to the greater context?’, like why is that important to the bigger culture we live in, our society, or the world at large? The goal, the point, is that ultimately if everyone can discover this internal guide, this light, then it will manifest externally and society itself will basically harmonize and we will essentially learn how to create that utopia everyone so desires. That just gave me goosebumps. You gave me goosebumps. That’s exactly it man. Everyone
wants to have a revolt or revolution and protest this and that, but until you change yourself man, nothing is gonna change. It’s everyone’s responsiblity to change and find that within themselves. Yeah, that is the true beauty of individuality. Yet when presented with ‘oh you just gotta look within’ or ‘sit down and meditate and listen’ people get all frustrated like, ‘hey man you’re tryin’ to tell me what to do and we don’t all want to be the same here.’ What they’re not realizing as creators is that the tools for carpentry are all the same. Sure we all use the same tools, but what you can build with the wood and hammer and nails-the possibilities are infinite. It’s integral to create that awareness, to get people to trust that process, because it certainly helped you find your path which is why I’m interviewing you, not the other way around. Pulling a
question from that, how did you know art was your gift to give to the world? What was the sign that gave you the confidence? As far as it being a gift to the world, I’m not sure I ever thought that. This whole thing is fairly new for me, and is something I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams but, it was something in my soul I always wanted to do, so I just listened to that. It’s what I know how to do best, and if I’m gonna do anything on this Earth that is worthwhile or meaningful to me then that’s it-that’s probably the best way to express it, that’s the reason. No doubt. The term and idea of ‘spirituality’ can be chastised as some ‘hippy-dippy shit’ on one end and compared to religious extremes on the other end, while there are also those who embrace spirituality but still find the backdoor to their ego by looking down on and preaching to those who don’t seriously apply spirituality on any levels. What is it that you “believe” about spirituality and what applications to your day to day routine does it have? It’s something that encompasses your entire life; every moment of your day. It’s not something that you practice once a week when you’re at temple or church. It’s something you live and breathe, it’s continually evolving. Aside from what this or that means, the most important thing for me is trying to become the best human being I can be everyday of my life, for the short time I’m on this Earth. It’s become my purpose. It’s something I can always strive for. I know I will never be perfect, I will never be ‘God’, but I can try to be a better person each day. I think if people approach it in that way, it doesn’t become so hokey or new age. It’s something that should teach you to be more open minded, to look inward, to find meaning.
It’s not gonna come from reading a book or listening to a guru. You have to practice and work on it every day of your life. It’s training your mind, you know? Once you do that, you realize you care a
little bit more about the Earth, and about other human beings, and animals, and all these other things that are the natural consequences of starting to open your mind, and finding your own answers. I don’t know if that makes sense. (laughter) Yes I dig it. It’s your day to day. This year you released a limited run of thirty skate decks engraved with a well known Buddhist mantra, “OM MANI PADME HU” which means ‘Behold, the Jewel in the Lotus’, and is an invocation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara – the Protector). Why this mantra for the deck? One, it’s the most well known Buddhist mantra. You can find it on almost every contintent, in Asia in different iterations and pronunciations. It’s the mantra found on the inside and outside of Tibetan prayer wheels. The intention was to create it as a protection talisman. The fact that I’m creating art and it’s on t-shirts and stuff like that, I wanted it to work as a protection talisman for whoever wore it or hung the art. The Buddha of Compassion is also considered The Protector, so it’s as much a mantra for compassion and healing as it is for protection. There are so many deeper meanings behind this mantra, there are books written on the subject, it gets really deep and esoteric, but for me it was important to create it as a protection talisman. Oh yeah, skateboard warriors! (laughter) Hopefully it’s not something people will actually ride. True that, they can go get a hand-me-down deck somewhere else to shred. Thank you again Cryptik.
Interviewed AB Photos Provided by artist, Sean Hagwell, Mark Maglio
JOHN OATES John Oates is one half of the power duo “Hall and Oates” of 70s and 80s music fame. You may recall some of their over-the-top music videos fully equipped with outrageous attire and strange but undeniably memorable set props. If you don’t think you know any of their songs, a quick Youtube search will guarantee that you’ve actually heard at least a half dozen hits in your lifetime, unless you’re Amish. I’m betting even the Amish know their music… It’s been decades since they’ve made anything together and John now tours solo and with Daryl Oates for tribute concerts and was cool enough to take the time to chat about his 40+ years of making music.
First up, what happened to the giant drum set from the “Out of Touch” video? That’s a good question. Maybe the director has it. I have no idea. The same director who did the “Out of Touch” video with that giant drum set was the same guy who did the Tom Petty cop on Alice in Wonderland. Remember that video? He had a penchant for overly large scenic objects. You said before that creating an album is old-fashioned today. Has the music industry changed for the better, or for worse? Is there more pressure to create singles rather than working on an entire collection for an album? Or does it make it easier for musicians, in your opinion? First of all, I think you have to ask what are your criteria for judging better or worse? Are you talking about record sales? Are you talking about the ability for people to make music? If you’re talking about record sales, it’s obviously worse because people just aren’t buying music. Streaming services kind of seem to be what’s going on. There are entire generations now who really have a mindset that music is free. It goes against the grain for people who make their living making music, and creative people in general who feel that they should be compensated for the work they do and the creation they come up with. This is a very complex and delicate question.
There are secret codes embedded in all of our music. You have to play it backwards in order to hear it.
I love the idea that the internet and virtual world has given the platform for artists and songwriters and people who want to be creating and make music to get their stuff out there. Then on the other hand, there is so much out there that just cutting through the clutter and trying to get yourself to actually be recognized amid all this stuff is very difficult. It’s a little cliché. It’s a double bladed sword.
minutes or 50 minutes of music. Just the very idea that iTunes has put into place singles and individual tracks in not only the software, but in the hardware, in the iPod and all the devices; they have allowed people to make individual playlists. It’s all part and parcel of this culture where music is individualized, both physically and personally. In a way, that’s good. Then again, for people that are a little more old school, and like the idea of absorbing a mood and creating a mood, sustaining a mood through a piece of music, that’s gone by the wayside.
In terms of albums, I think the world is moving too quickly for an idea of a long-form piece of music where people are sitting down and absorbing 45
Your new album, Good Road to Follow, had three EPs with a different genre on each. This was an unusual feat for an album. You
I own my own label, and because Iâ€™m the president of the record
company, I can make my own 144
also released monthly singles over the course of the year, before deciding to later put out an album. Are these strategies you plan to use for future albums? That was a strategy which was total dumb luck, random. I never actually intended to make an album. I had new songs I had been writing that I was excited about. I wanted to get them out there. I really thought there was no overriding theme or style. I wanted to collaborate with people. I wanted to see where those collaborations took me. I wanted to be totally artistically free and open-minded, and not look at it in terms of a long form. Once I accepted that, I said I’m going to make a series of singles. That really opened me up to being completely artistically free. Okay, I’m working with Vince Gill. Whatever Vince Gill and I put together is what it is. It doesn’t have to be conceptually tied to something else. It doesn’t have to be consistent with anything else, other than the fact it has to be good on its own. That was my mantra. That’s how I went into it. Having done that and releasing a series of singles from, I think it started March 13th, I’ve released six or seven. It got a good reception, but obviously my fan base is probably a bit older. My average fan, started to comment on social media saying, ‘where’s the album? I said, there isn’t an album, but there could be, and that’s how it started. The album happened as a result of people wanting it all put together in the same place. Then of course, I had the dilemma of I’ve created these singles, and a lot of them were very different from each other, and then my old school sensibility kicked in. I said it doesn’t work as an album. That thus lead me to the three EPs where I could combine five songs which at least had a flow and some sort of coherent vibe, and that’s why it was done that way. Totally impractical. Because I can do it, I own my own label, and because I’m the
president of the record company, I can make my own dumb decisions. Through those new collaborations, did you learn anything unexpected about yourself? I learned a lot about myself, and I learned a lot about other people. I learned there’s a lot of similarity in the way songwriters approach their craft. I also learned that there are some unique personality, very individualistic ways of doing it. That was one of the reasons I wanted to work with young pop artists like Hot Chelle Rae and Ryan Tedder, and for the same reason I wanted to work with established Grammy-winning artists like Vince Gill or Jim Lauderdale. I know that each of them would bring something a little bit different to the project. I approached every artist I collaborated with, with the same invitation. I said, “Let’s get together. Let’s have a brief, intense creative experience. The good thing is that I pay for it all, and all you’ve got to do is make music.” Everyone loved that. They all brought their A game, I think. If you try to approach a guy like Ryan Tedder or Nathan Chapman, or whoever these people are, and say, “Hey, I want to tie you up for two or three months, and we’re going to make an album, and we’re going to deal with this, and then there’s my schedule, I’m going to have to go out of town on tour for a couple of days, then I’ll come back, then we’ll get back into it next Tuesday.” It’s hard. People are very busy. They have their own lives and families and things. I approached them with this idea that it’s going to basically take a day or two. We’re going to write a song. We’re going to record it. We’re going to do it, and I’m taking the ball. I take a load on the business side. I take a load on the logistics side. All you’ve got to do is show up and do your thing. It was kind of cool, and people reacted in a positive way to it. Earlier this year, you and Daryl were in-
ducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You’ve mentioned previously that it didn’t really matter too much to you, but do you at least feel you’re finally getting the respect that you deserve? I think we’ve always gotten the respect we’ve deserved from musicians and our fans. Perhaps not so much from the old guard of the music journalists, who because of limited outlets and things like magazines, they became tastemakers in a way. The new generations just listen to the music with an open mind. They like getting turned on to things from their friends. They like turning their friends on to things they’ve discovered. This is the positive side of the Internet and the virtual world. Now that those tastemakers don’t have the forum to basically jam their subjective opinions down people’s throats, it doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve never met a musician yet who really didn’t like in some way what we’ve done. For me, that’s way more important than anything a rock journalist might have said or not said about us in the ’60s or ‘70s or ‘80s or whatever.
You’ve expressed that the Hall and Oates of the ‘80s overshadowed the more adventurous and interesting music of the ‘70s. While on tour you guys continually rotate in some of that music into the set list and keep experimenting with it. Will we ever see a deep track tour, or do you think the public will never quite understand that? Does that ever bother you? That is one of the biggest dilemmas that Daryl and I have. We have a really great problem. We have too many hits. We have a professional responsibility to play the songs that made us famous and that people come and pay good money to hear and listen to and see. My professionalism does not allow me to ignore that fact. I don’t need to be selfish. I have the ability to be selfish on my own in my solo world, and I can do whatever I want.
Daryl and I made a very conscious decision that when we get together, and we play a Hall and Oates show, we’re going to give people Hall and Oates. That being said, you’re 100% right, we are sprinkling in what we like to call ‘the deep tracks’ and the stuff we feel is musically adventurous, musically interesting that goes above and beyond our hits, and introduce those songs to new fans and give our old guard fans something to look forward to. After all, there’s only a finite amount of time that the human brain can handle hearing “Maneater” before some sort of brain damage sets in. (laughter) It’s a very insidious thing to write a series of hooks that become so ubiquitous. They’re almost so familiar that they become annoying. I don’t think you can be more successful if you’re a pop songwriter than doing that. As you just said, your Hall and Oates career afforded you the ability to take risks and really enjoy a solo career, but if you could do it all over again, would you have changed that? Would have you gone solo sooner, or worked on side projects earlier? No, I wouldn’t have. Everything worked out just perfectly. You have to understand, I toured, wrote, recorded from 1972 until 1986 without stopping. Ever. Not one time. There were no breaks. It was a consistent pattern of writing songs, recording those songs, and immediately touring. Around that time, we had done “We Are the World” at Live Aid, the original Live Aid. We did the Apollo Theater show with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin which in a way was a full circle for me and Daryl. We met through our mutual love of The Temptations and things like that. It seems that the signs were there for us. What could we do next? Anything less than a number one record at that point for us would have been I guess considered a failure, even though we don’t judge our successes and failures based on
I saw this girl at a restaurant who was this incredibly gorgeous model and had the most filthy vocabulary of any human being I’d ever met. commerciality. As far as I was concerned, it was time to do something else. One thing I will say is that any reviewers or journalists or anyone really who said that we were motivated by Top 40 Radio, and that we had this secret way of conjuring number one records at will, I would say to them, ‘if it was so easy, why wouldn’t everyone do it?’ I would say it’s totally untrue. We put as much attention into every track on every album as we did to those particular songs that emerged as number one hits. That was a product of marketing, salesmanship, record companies, radio consensus, public consensus. That’s what that was. It had nothing to do with us. We made all twelve songs with equal attention. Every decision we made was predicated on what would allow us to keep making music. It was our motivation, and has always been our motivation from the beginning in everything we made decisions on through the years. Not how much money we could make, how big of stars
we could be, or the personalities, or getting into the press. That was not what we were about. If there’s any misconception at all of Hall and Oates, that’s what it is. That makes a lot of sense, and a lot of truth. The song “Rich Girl” was actually referring to a guy. Were there any other clever, pseudosecretive meanings behind the songs? Oh, yes. There are secret codes embedded in all of our music. You have to play it backwards in order to hear it. (laughter) No. What we do and our style of lyric writing is to try to take somewhat universal ideas and personalize them, so that people can relate to them and ascribe their own personal experiences to the music we make. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful, because we write songs that people can interpret and relate to. Most people do that anyway with music. They hear a song, and that song becomes a timestamp of where they were, who they were with,
emotionally, physically. That very rarely coincides with the idea we had as writers and the initial inspiration for those songs. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy doing my solo shows that are stripped down because I get to tell these back stories. Most of the time, people are really surprised that the songs they’ve come to know and love really have little to do with what they thought they had to do with. I’ll give you an example. “Maneater”, I got the idea when I saw this girl at a restaurant who was this incredibly gorgeous model and had the most filthy vocabulary of any human being I’d ever met. The contrast of this great beauty with this filthy vocabulary to me was shocking and exciting, all at the same time. But the song is not about this girl. The song is about New York City. The maneater is the city of New York in the ‘80s where greed and corruption and the guy who dies with the most toys wins. That’s what “Maneater” is about. It’s really about New York City. Like I said, because it seems like it’s about a girl, it’s much more relatable to the average person.
You and Daryl have not collaborated on anything new in over a decade, and I know you’re both busy with your own projects. Has anyone tried to have you two start working on anything new again? What would that take? I think it would take a very special personality and very special song idea. The idea of doing a single is totally not out of the question. Getting in there doing an album, I don’t see any reason to do it. The way I look at what Daryl and I do and what we’ve done is that we have an amazing future, believe it or not, for Hall and Oates, even after 40 years, but that future is really in its past. I know that sounds convoluted, but what I mean is we’ve created such an amazing body of work, and we can tap into it. We have so much music that we can play, what’s interesting and cool and undiscovered by the average people is that really we have a whole lifetime of that.
For me to make new music with Daryl, I don’t really see the need for it. We’ve been together a long time. We both have individual interests, individual families, individual lives outside of music. Right now, I think the balance is great. We get together. We do an amazing Hall and Oates show with an incredible band. People love it. The demand for the Hall and Oates show, is unbelievable. If someone had told me 40 years ago that this would be happening when I was in my mid-60s, I would’ve never believed it. I’m just saying, I’m going to enjoy this experience. I love playing with Daryl. The thing that we do together, you can’t replicate it, but at the same time, the moment when it’s over, I can’t wait to get back into the studio or be writing a song with a young artist or a new artist or something unique and different. Obviously your touring has changed a lot over the decades, but do you find it just as rewarding as you did 20, 30, 40 years ago? Yeah. Here’s the thing. I play music for free. You’ve got to pay me to leave my house, fly in an airplane, take a bus, and stay in a hotel. Nice. Last question. Which of your music videos is your favorite? None. No, honestly, that’s not true. My favorite one is “She’s Gone”. It’s the one we did in 1973. The one that we did totally on our own. My sister directed it. She was a film major at Temple University. Sara Allen, from “Sara Smile,” is the girl that walks through. This guy Randy Hoffman, who was our tour manager, is the Devil. That was our furniture from this apartment we shared. I rented a penguin suit for the guitar solo. To me, that’s the best video we ever made. That’s awesome. Do you still have any of those props from that video? Daryl probably does. He keeps everything.
just let her get along with it. I was the perfect best friend for her because a) I’d never be the object of her obsession, and b) I’d never question her. And she was right. I never was and I never did.
Angelie used to be my best friend—or the closest thing to it—back in high school. I always dreamt of one of those bestfriendships where your bestie’s parents welcomed you like a third child and you wore crappy matching bracelets woven at camps you went to together and the teachers referred to you as ‘double trouble’. I always dreamt of that, but that wasn’t what I had with Angelie. Angelie and I just sort of drifted towards each other like forgotten inflatable toys in a still pool, together only because Words Kahli Scott there wasn’t much else for us to do.
I came to realise, over the course of our pale bestfriendship, that Angelie fell in love with other people quickly, easily, and very very hard. She became fixated, obsessed, sure that that one person was the reason why the world spun and made her dizzy. She normally wouldn’t have much to actually do with these people—guys and girls alike—but they’d rule this mythical world inside her head, which was where she spent most of her time. If Stevie Cooper wore a Sex Pistols shirt, she’d listen to nothing but the Sex Pistols for a month straight. If the newspaper girl Emily French-Marks got all feminist in her monthly column, Angelie would bury herself in Mary Wollstonecraft writings (and never understand them, because she wasn’t actually very smart). I mostly
Until now, on the dunes, in this awful silence. I guess I’ve known for a while that Angelie is totally madly into Blue. But I’ve tried not to know it, because it makes me angry. It makes me furious, because why hasn’t Angelie told me? I’ve been there for all the others. But I see now that the others were different. This time, Blue is close enough to touch. Angelie’s past idols—those rich girls at school, Stevie Cooper, Emily French-Marks, the semi-famous guy from the skate park, the twins from the band, the liquor store guy, Sarah’s Dad—were always on the other side of a fence just too high for us to climb. But Blue is here, he’s almost our friend, we recognise the smell of his deodorant and have seen, close up when we swam in the sea together last summer, all those little inked reasons why he’s called Blue. Angelie had even touched them, I remember, as a wave rolled the two of them closer together—she put her finger on the one that says LOW, and Blue had swum away. That’s why she’s kept this from me. Blue’s close enough to have, but Angelie still doesn’t have him. No one does, except Rocky, the only living thing Blue really loves. It must sting Angelie, seeing the way Blue’s furrowed brow loosens when he looks at that dumb bird, and the way he lovingly fills the plastic drinking tube with fresh water and always forgets to offer us beer. It must drive Angelie totally crazy. The rainy wind lifts a whirl of sand onto my legs, biting my skin. It’s that, like a whip on a horse’s back, that makes me do what I do next. I stand up and I say to Angelie, “You’re a fucking psycho”, and I walk away.
JAKE ROSE P.BECKMANN
NUT & BOLT
There is never a trash can more than 30 steps from where you are in Disney parks. There are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.
The numerology life path 11, life paths 22 and 33 have special master numbers. If you put your finger in your ear and scratch, it sounds just like Pac-Man. Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barbara Walters were born in the same year, 1929.
The word hundred is derived from the word “hundrath”, which actually means 120 and not 100. In a room of just 23 people there’s a 50% chance that two people have the same birthday. Zero is the only number that can't be represented in Roman numerals.
Hippo milk is pink. If you write out 'Pi' to 2 decimal places, backwards it spells "PIE".
Nintendo was founded as a trading card company in 1889.
The man who voiced Fry on Futurama, Billy West, also voiced Doug Funny on Doug. Duck Hunt is a twoplayer game. Player two controls the ducks. The show The Wonder Years aired from 1988–1993 and covered the years 1968–1973. Today, in 2014, if one were to make a similar show, it would cover the years 1994–1999.
One thousand seconds is roughly 16 minutes; One million seconds is roughly 11 days; One billion seconds is roughly 32 years; One trillion seconds is roughly 32,000 years. Honey never spoils. You can eat 32,000-year-old honey.
Betty White is actually older than sliced bread.
k a m l o o p s , c a n d a
photo:jacob lambert landyachtz.com
FOOD TRUCK SPOTTING
Rolling Stone Baker Two identical vintage Studebaker Trucks bring the fire to the party! The trucks are outfitted with wood-fired ovens that are able to cook a pizza in 90 seconds. All ingredients are freshly prepared and sourced locally while most are grown in our own garden. Each pizza is made fresh to order and cooked in our 900 degree oven until crispy.
Truck hours: 11am-7pm at Beverly Shores location. Market hours vary. Address: Beverly Shores, IN. 46301 Number: 219-246-0068 Web rollingstonebaker.com
Best local places to find you: Chesterton European Farmer’s Market every Saturday 8am-2pm, Griffith Central Market every Friday 3pm-8pm, local festivals and roadside along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Events that happen near you: The Lightning Bug Music Festival - an all day outstanding family friendly music event featuring national touring bands, crafts for the kids, local craft beer, and a food truck rally.
Recipe of most popular item on menu: The Purple Pig- voted best pizza in Indiana by Food Network Magazine in 2010. This pizza consists of our own smoked pork shoulder, BBQ sauce, mozzarella, provolone, and topped with a tangy purple slaw that compliments the warm pizza with its cool and crunchy texture, dressed in a sweet balsamic reduction.
Things to do on off days in the area: Visit one of the many trails where you can enjoy a family hike or even a day at the beach from the trailheads, shopping at the Michigan City Outlet Mall, bike ride along the Calumet Trail, camp at one of our local campgrounds and watch the sunset.
154 General points of interest in the area: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Century of Progress Homes in Beverly Shores, fun shopping at the School House Shop in Old Furnessville, local farmers markets.
Nightlife: Hit one of the area’s many local pubs and check out the area’s vibrant local music scene. Catch a show at Front Porch Music.
Published on Nov 12, 2014
Steez Magazine Fall 2014 Issue 33. Featuring a Belgium Checking In, Stephany Reid Show & Tell, Fall Product Review, Ben Marcin Interview, Od...