FASHION . BACKSTAGE . CULTURE
only in dreams
STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS Editor-In-Chief and Graphic Designer: Leena Park: firstname.lastname@example.org Photographers: E-I-C, James Yang: james@jyphoto. co.nz, Sable Heath: email@example.com, Kate Jenkins: firstname.lastname@example.org, Evangeline Davis: email@example.com Interviewers: E-I-C, Chris Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org Writers: Chris Smith, Max Rushmore: email@example.com, Remo Smith: see. firstname.lastname@example.org Hair / Makeup artists: Tylah Britow: email@example.com, Tiveshni Naidoo and Elise MacMillan Website: vanemagazine.com Facebook: vanemagazineonline Instagram: vane_magazine
Photographer: James Yang, Model: Jennifer Tooley wears Jacket by Cooper & Skirt by Ruby.
EDITORS NOTE: Winters here and I know most people are feeling quite miserable with the sun going down at earlier hours but secretly / not so secretly, I’m quite excited … 1. Winter clothes! Pants, Coats… Leather, Knit! But not only am I excited for the fashion, but the cold weather has allowed me not to feel a shred of guilt as I enjoy nights in, with 2. Binge watching tv shows and movies – My current show is Girls - it’s so good. Winter also gets me wanting to cook hot food, read more, listen to jazz and just be a little bit ‘New York’. So here I am, happy to present you with this issue - we have profiles on innovative creatives, interviews with musicians and bloggers. We also pay tribute to the late pioneers in music fashion – Bowie and Prince. I hope you love to stay in as much as I do and enjoy Vane issue 05.
JAPANESE PLEASE P 6 INTERVIEW: ESTHER STEPHENS P 10 PROFILE: HOW DO YOU GET THROUGH A CREATIVE BLOCK? P 12 INTERVIEW: BECK WADWORTH P 30 ARTICLE: TRIBUTE TO THE STARMAN AND THE PURPLE RAIN P 50 HERE THIS P 60
STEVE ZISSOU THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU 5. 1.
1. Nef from cosmicnz.co.nz, 2. Comme Des Garรงons, 3. Adidas, 4. Alexander Wang from farfetch.com 5. seriouspopcorn.com
Words by Remo Smith
JAPANESE PLEASE I took up my chopsticks and dined at some of the fan-favourites and unique Japanese restaurants of Auckland. Here are my thoughts:
319 Queen Street, Auckland City
13 Anzac Avenue, Auckland City
43 Tyler Street, Britomart, Auckland City
Tanuki’s Cave is exactly how the name sounds, a hidden Japanese sake bar downstairs in a dark but glowing ‘cave’. It’s always buzzing with people laughing and staff breezing through the place with sounds of sizzling and smells of teriyaki in the air. The service was great, with many staff on hand and the restaurant laid out in a way that the service is always close by for you to order the next drink. The food was cooked beautifully and there is a good variety of items on the menu, but with the tender scotch fillet steak and juicy chicken I always found myself coming back to the same things. The downside of being such a great restaurant is that it’s always busy, but in a way it adds to the friendly atmosphere of the cave. Tanuki’s Cave prides itself on being a modern sake bar, with many and varied smaller items on the menu rather than larger meals, so it will take a few orders to fill you up. Overall Tanuki’s Cave is an impressive restaurant that I’d recommend going to at least once, or twice, or every Friday after work.
If there’s one thing Tanpopo Ramen can guarantee, it’s that you won’t leave here on an empty stomach. It’s a soup and ramen based restaurant that seems to go by a simple philosophy – good food, good value/prices and good service. The menu mostly consists of pork or chicken soup ramen meals, but the most enjoyable food was actually the Pork Fried Noodles as this was the only dish where the flavour actually shone through. The ramen meals here are great, but with each bite there’s a looming feeling that something is lacking, they are definitely filling, but overall just kind of boring, with no real hit of spice or flavour. However, the atmosphere is nice, not too crowded or loud, making it the perfect place to stop by for a quiet hot lunch on a rainy day. Overall I think Tanpopo Ramen could benefit from experimenting a little more, but the value’s great I would definitely recommend if you’re not willing to splash out for lunch – also the gyoza is great.
Saying that Fukuko is the trendiest place on Britomart’s Tyler Street might be an arguable statement, but Fukuko is the trendiest place on Britomart’s Tyler Street. I had never even heard of Japanese tacos before coming here, but now I wish it was on the menu at every Japanese restaurant, this delicious fusion was the best item on the modern (although small) menu, but they do leave you wanting more. Fukuko is just a small bar so it can get a little crowded, but the dj’s are always playing funky music and the place is very open, giving the restaurant an atmosphere that will get you hyped up for the rest of the night. One of the coolest creations of this restaurant is their brilliantly concocted cocktails, with the Kappa Shochu Cocktail being especially tasty. Overall, this place is great for a small dinner and drinks before a night out or a lunch snack and a cocktail, but the slightly high prices and small menu leaves a desire for more.
Best dish: Chicken kebabs and Beef $5.20 and Chicken Donburi $11.50
Best dish: Gyoza (Dumplings) $6 and Pork Fried Noodles $12
Best dish: Japanese Style Tacos $7 and Kappa Shochu Cocktail
235 Symonds Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland City
1 Railside Avenue, Henderson, Auckland
244 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland City,
Tucked away at the end of Symonds Street, walking in I didn’t expect Yuzu to be such a beautiful restaurant, the stone walls, high ceiling, wooden floors and open kitchen gives the restaurant a comfortable but very urban vibe, and at the back where I enjoyed my meal there was an outstanding view of the city. The service was alright but the wait was long, by the time my food came I was so hungry I had wished I ordered another meal or more sides. The sizzling teriyaki plate was pleasantly full of all different flavours but I felt like all the chicken was already gone after a few bites. The restaurant also has sushi on its menu among many other things, the sushi being a great light and fresh snack. With a perfect atmosphere and well-cooked meat I feel that Yuzu has a lot of potential, but with long wait times (note that it was not busy) and small portions I left feeling unsatisfied.
Amongst the council buildings, banks, mobile phone shops and dairies in Henderson sits a small underrated Japanese restaurant called Asuka. Asuka is one of those immersive restaurants that feel almost like an experience. Upon stepping inside, the atmosphere, decoration and aesthetic of the restaurant gives it a very authentic Japanese feel. The focus of this restaurant seems to be on fresh, hot, sizzling meals, something you can definitely pick up on with the smell and buzz as you enter. The entrees here were a unique highlight, the beef kebabs being the best of the bunch albeit being a bit pricy. The stone grill meals are a must-try, especially the juicy Japanese steak, which stays fresh and sizzling on the hot plate giving it a long lasting natural flavour. Everything is cooked to perfection and the menu as a lot to offer, if you want a nice satisfying night out at a Japanese restaurant then Asuka is the place to go.
A new trendy Japanese restaurant has popped up in town and it’s already making waves with it’s extremely professionally presented food and relatively good prices. One of Namo’s most appealing features is the fact that the head chef is Takashi Shitamoto, a very experienced chef and food-lover who creates beautiful, original dishes with charm and ease. Namo’s menu is full of unique dishes and interesting takes on different styles of Japanese cuisine, but the real treats are on the chef’s specials menu, with an amazing teriyaki salmon maki that has the perfect mix of teriyaki and spice. Unfortunately Takashi’s lovingly crafted dishes didn’t completely distract from the slow service and minimal attentiveness from the rest of the staff. Namo has a lot of potential, the food is fresh and delicious and with a little more focus on creating a pleasant dining experience, Ponsonby could have a contender for its best Asian restaurants.
Best dish: Sizzling Plate $17
Best dish: Japanese steak stone grill $20 and entree kebeb $8
Best dish: Spicy Teriyaki Salmon Maki (8 Pieces) $16
By Chris Smith
ESTHER STEPHENS Actress, musician, artist Esther talks to us about her journey with her band ‘Esther Stephens & The Means’.
How have you been? What have you been working on lately? Hi! I’m well, busy! We wrapped season 2 of Westside in Jan, and that’ll be on TV later this year. Presently I’m in New Zealand for a few different things; I’m shooting for an Australian TV show called 800 Words, our band is supporting Mo Kolours for an upcoming Red Bull Sound Select Show and I’m joining Julia Deans, Laughton Kora, Mara TK & others for ‘Play On: A Musical Imagining of the Great Soliloquies’ at the Pop Up Globe in Auckland. Soon I go to Christchurch for ‘Mad Men & Dangerous Women’ with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and then I start rehearsal for the Auckland Theatre Company season of rock musical ‘That Bloody Woman’ about the life of Kate Sheppard. Your music has a very unique blend of pop, R&B and soul as well as a strong jazz influence, have you had any sort of classical training in these genres?
performing here, do you find it hard to continue to grow as a musician and actress overseas while keeping ties with NZ? My personal philosophy when it comes to performing and working has always been to go toward the open door. And for whatever reason, moving to Melbourne 4 years ago coincided with a lot of doors opening back home! I really don’t care where I am, so long as I am making work I feel passionate about and inspired and challenged by. I have said before my greatest goal has and will always be longevity, to do what I love for as long as I physically can. I also am acutely aware of my amazing creative network in New Zealand and how precious that it. My fellow band members are like family, and that’s a special creative connection I haven’t found anywhere else. They grow me as a performer. Do you think your experience in music and playing in a band made it easier to get into acting, or was it difficult to find the balance?
Not really. I come from a musical family and sang in church when I was younger, so the learning came from doing it a lot, and listening to others do it. I have been told I have a good ear, and I’m a good mimic, which helps. I did have voice tuition as part of my actor training at Unitec, and certainly took some technical things from that.
I came into music and acting separately, but now they are very much intertwined and the balance has evolved naturally. Doing both has never been something I’ve struggled with. Things I learn in one discipline are often applicable to the other, truthfulness, strong story telling, communicating with voice and physicality, and so on.
Have you always had an interest in this genre of music?
You have had many collaborations in the past with the musicians of the NZ collective Young, Gifted & Broke as well as being listed as one of their artists also, how did you first get involved with YGB?
R&B really connected with me from an early age, my Mother was really into gospel music, and I think I inherited it from her perhaps. At 14 I discovered Lauryn Hill and fell completely in love, her sound and style was a massive influence. As I got older and started singing more I developed a love of strong, brave sounding female vocalists, Etta James, Bjork, Annie Lennox, they’re the kind of artists I draw inspiration from. So you’re currently living in Melbourne, but since then you have still been involved in a number of NZ television shows as well as
I first met Tom Scott years ago when we shared a Wine Cellar bill. He was performing spoken word and I was performing with an early incarnation of our current band, then known as House of Broken Strings. I was blown away by his artistry, and he invited me to do some vocals on his Max Marx EP. Later I did some vocals for the Home Brew album, and members of our band also recorded and continue to perform live with Home Brew. When YGB was founded
as a creative collective he invited us to be a part of it, and when Tom was picked as a curator for Red Bull Sound Select we joined the YGB roster with Team Dynamite and Third 3ye.
I feel like if I didn’t have both, I might not be doing either. When you’re a professional performer not every year is as busy as this one, and having both has allowed me twice as many opportunities to keep creating.
Your band is ‘Esther Stephens & The Means’ – You sing and write the lyrics but how much contribution do you have to the rest of the band e.g. do you create or write much of the music and compositions?
Is performing live as a band similar to performing on a stage show? Do you prefer one to the other? Which is more difficult? There are similarities and differences and both have their merits and difficulties. Many singers adopt a persona when they perform, I don’t really do that. I think because I am always playing a character in my acting life, when I sing on stage I feel very much like myself. That’s the biggest difference. I get to be me when I sing, figure out what I want to say through our songs and performance. It can be quite daunting, certainly when I first started writing my own music I had a bit of an identity crises, it took some time to figure out what felt authentically me. Interestingly Luke Di Somma, the composer of ‘That Bloody Woman’, has said that it was seeing our band perform at The Dux Live in Christchurch that sold him on me in the role of Kate, so the two bleed into one another.
We’re very collaborative, having worked together for many years, and certainly I prefer to work with others when I write. As a band we write in just about every conceivable way. Sometimes in a room altogether, which is how a lot of our album was written, and sometimes via the Internet with members in several different countries, as happened when we were prepping our cover of Mel Parsons’ ‘Get Out Alive’ for the Silver Scroll Awards last year. Primarily yeah I am melody and lyrics, but we all contribute to everything in some way. I read that somewhere where you said that you’ve always played music and will always do it, what inspired you to pursue acting instead of just sticking to music?
Who are your inspirations as a musician and as an actress?
After high school I had two options, study singing at Jazz School at Auckland Uni, or acting at Unitec. As I was already performing and working as I singer I decided to train what I believed at that time was my weaker discipline so that I could then do both to a high level. I have a very organic relationship with music; it’s something that feels very natural and ingrained. Acting is more challenging, I constantly feel stretched by my acting work and like I will always have heaps to learn. For me the two disciplines feed into one another, sometimes
Albums I’m listening to at the moment are Erykah Badu’s ‘But You Caint Use My Phone’ mixtape, ‘Ego Death’ by The Internet, and ‘Choose Your Weapon’ by Hiatus Kaiyote. All so good. I love everything by Little Dragon, and weirdly I often come back to the Gnarls Barkley albums for inspiration. Acting wise I’ve been watching Mad Men for the first time with my fiancé, and the performances and writing are so inspiring – because of the time period I see parallels to Westside particularly in terms of gender roles and expectations of women. 10
Photography by Leena Park
SYDNEY PROSSER AMERICAN HUSTLE 6.
1. & 2. Ruby from rubynz.com, 3. Maison Michel, 4. Stuart Weitzman, 5. Frame Denim from net-a-porter.com, 6. Status Anxiety from goodasgold.co.nz
HOW DO YOU GET THROUGH A CREATIVE BLOCK? Photography: Sable Heath
“just do something else all together, like go for a walk, or eat some salami.”
JONO Age: 24 Occupation/Describe what you do: I’m a director at Motion Sickness Studio, head of Arts & Design, and contribute to creative and content. I also make beats. How do you get through a Creative Block? I don’t know. I mean, I have theories, and things I try, but I’m not really sure if any of them work. Mostly I guess it’s just time. If I’m having trouble with a certain design, or concept, or beat, I just leave it for a little while. Work on something else, or just do something else all together, like go for a walk, or eat some salami. Then come back, get in the right environment, and give it another ago. Usually, once I fall into it and focus, it all clicks. Where can we find you? motionsicknessstudio.com
“I find it easier to be creative when you’re not trying to be creative.”
SAM Age: 25 Occupation/Describe what you do: Creative Director & Founder of Motion Sickness How do you get through a Creative Block? Generally I find it easier to be creative when you’re not trying to be creative. Most of my ideas occur when I am not at work, usually out and about exploring, talking to mates or even driving. When I do hit a creative block I find getting out of the city and going away for the weekend really helps. Taking dip in the ocean and surrounding yourself with nature really clears the head it also gives your thoughts room to breathe. I feel some peoples immediate reaction to a creative block it to try and work through it...If you have the luxury of time I would advise doing something completely unrelated to your task - sometimes an idea will just come to you. Where can we find you? @motionsicknessstudio on Instagram / Motion Sickness Studio on Facebook
RACHEL Age: 25 Occupation / Describe what you do: I currently have two jobs so life does get a bit hectic. Every morning, I work as a pattern maker at Karen Walker then in the afternoons, evenings and weekends; I work on my own women’s wear label. At the moment I’m doing everything from design, pattern making and sampling right through to dispatch myself, which can be extremely testing at times. How do you get through a creative block? Most of the time when I’m creating, there is an absolute mess around me. I’ll get so involved in what I’m doing that it seems there just isn’t enough time to deal with it, but it also puts me in a semi-frantic state and there’s only so far I can get. Sooner or later the creative process comes to a halt, which is usually when I realize I need to take a step back and refresh my workspace. When I’m preoccupied by something else is usually when a great idea will hit me, and I have to scramble to write it down before it slips my mind. Where can we find you: rachelmills.co.nz for our online store, or @ rachelmillsofficial on Instagram
JASMINE Age: 21, Occupation/Describe what you do: I am a qualified interior designer, currently working as a stylist for a company called Living Edge interiors. I style the interiors for residential/ commercial properties. My weekly routine is to view at least three properties and collate together a scheme using furniture and decor that works with the clients brief/era and style of the property as well as the general aesthetic, current colour and textile trends, and overall use of spaces. It’s like playing with adult doll houses. How do you get through a creative block? Creative blocks are generally quite common for me in the design industry, it is part of the challenge and keeps everyday interesting... It usually leads to something great once the hurdle is over! Getting through the creative block usually requires some kind of inspiration. I’m the type of person who feels no wrong in taking ideas and inspiration from other great work and building up something greater from that! Whether it’s asking a colleague, client or friend for an opinion, or jumping online, as it’s so easy these days to seek inspo on social media blogs and what not. Pinterest is my number one tool for finding that idea to give my visions a kick-start! Where can I find you? my online portfolio jasminerabadan.allyou.net
“I like to take the weekend off with my wife and go on an adventure,”
TOM Age: 24 Occupation/Describe what you do: I am a commercial photographer. Together my wife and I run a creative agency, Hollow Creative, specializing in fine art photography, videography & design. How do you get through a Creative Block? When facing a creative block there are a couple of ways I’ve found break through. Both options are in some way an escape for inspiration. I like to take the weekend off with my wife and go on an adventure, exploring somewhere new. There are so many amazing small towns and destinations within 3 hours of drive of Auckland. Typically we’ll pick somewhere we haven’t been before and go explore it. Another way I find break through is to find my ‘happy place’ for me that’s on my motorcycle. Where can we find you? hollow.co.nz
ALENKA Age: 23 Occupation/Describe what you do: Graphic Designer How do you get through a Creative Block? To get through a creative block there are a few steps I go through: Step 1 is to take a break and clear my head. I’ll go for a run or a walk along the beach, Step 2 is looking at the project as a whole and figuring out what is missing or what isn’t working. I’ll then have a look back at my original mood boards for some creative inspiration. If this still doesn’t inspire me then I’ll spend a little bit of time online or have a look through some design books, Step 3 is writing a list of what I need to achieve and the actions I need to take to get to the final outcome. Then I put my head down and do my best to get through that list. Where can we find you? hollow.co.nz
JOY MANGANO JOY 5.
1. Melissa Joy Manning, 2. The Row from net-a-porter.com, 3. Beau Coops from nz.beaucoops.com, 4. Ray Ban from ray-ban. com, 5. Moochi from moochi.com
girl of a stranger Photography: Kate Jenkins, Styling: Jessica Greetham, Hair and Makeup: Kate Jenkins, Model: Claudia Mckechnie from Unique Model Management.
Front Page: Top by Lilja Viggosdottir, Pant by Jessica Greetham, Above: Top by Zambesi, Skirt by Jessica Greetham, Right: Coat and Dress by World.
Left: Top by Moochi, Coat by Zambesi, Pant by Jessica Greetham, Sneakers by New Balance. Above: Tabbard by Moochi, Shirt by Jessica Greetham, Shoes by Dr. Martens.
Left: Coat and Pant by Zambesi, Top by World, Above: Top and Pant by Wilson Ong.
Above: Dress by Zambesi, Belt by Moochi, Shoes by Dr. Martens, Right: Coat by Jessica Greetham, Tabbard by Moochi, Boots by Lipstik
By Leena Park
BECK WADWORTH Owner of the increasingly popular An Organised Life blog and diaries, beck tells us about starting her own brand and maintaining an organized lifestyle.
What inspired you to start An Organised Life?
blogger and working for Bec & Bridge?
I have always been a really organised person. I moved to Sydney after completing an honours degree in Graphic Design at Massey University in Auckland and I was working in the fashion industry at a really fast paced company. I couldn’t find a diary anywhere that complimented my monochrome style & was functional for organising my life. This is when I decided to launch my brand. My signature style has always been very monochrome & minimalistic and I knew right from the start that I wanted to keep this as my ‘look’ for the brand & products.
I‘m all about my diary! It sounds cheesy, but that little book literally organises my life & keeps me powering forward. I’m a big list keeper as well and every day I have a To Do list of everything I want to achieve. It’s so satisfying ticking the boxes as you go. Another way I organise my own life is by prioritising my day - I always highlight the 3 main tasks I want to achieve for the day and start by attacking these. Once they are done I re-gig the rest of my day and give myself rough timeframes for getting through all my other jobs.
What is a typical day like for you?
At what point did you realise how successful An Organised Life was becoming?
Currently I am still working full time at iconic fashion designer Bec & Bridge so my lifestyle is pretty fast paced! I’m up early answering emails, preparing for the day and planning photoshoots for the weekends. Once it hits 9am I’m fully dedicated to my role as Online & Social Media Manager at Bec & Bridge! During my lunch break I catch up on An Organised Life emails and make any calls I need to. After work (& in the weekends) I am straight back home to start a night dedicated to my brand. On any given night I am usually up until 11pm - 2am packing online & wholesale orders, writing blog posts, planning upcoming activations, writing proposals or designing new products! There are so many little bits & pieces that go into having & growing your own business, but that’s what I love about it! Plus, it doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist!
I’m definitely my brands harshest critic and I have really high expectations of what ‘successful’ means for An Organised Life. I’m definitely proud of what I have achieved to date but I definitely still have a lot of boxes & goals to tick off! In terms of success, my biggest pinch me moments have been watching my brand evolve locally & internationally. This year I signed by 50th stockist and that was pretty exciting!! Especially seeing it sent to New York & London. It’s also been amazing watching my diary quantities grow & sell out every year to date - my customers are so loyal and I couldn’t have got to where I am without them. Sometimes I pinch myself thinking about where in the world all my Twenty Sixteen Diaries are. It’s a crazy thought!
How do you organize your own life, running a brand, being a 32
Another moment was also seeing my notebooks in the hands of bloggers & magazine fashion editors at NY & Sydney Fashion Week last year! What were some of the biggest challenges in building your own brand? I’m not going lie, starting & running your own brand or business is no easy feat. There is a lot of hard work involved and a lot of trial and error. I definitely learnt early on that my strength was my creative & organised side, while my weakness was my accountant skills! This is when I decided to bring on my brother Will as my accountant & I’ve never looked back. It gave me more time to concentrate on my PR, branding, designs & blog. From there I have come across lots of different obstacles as the brand has grown - whether it’s been customs & wholesale problem solving, or dealing with new manufacturers and printers - there is always a new challenge ahead but it’s all part of the fun. I truly believe it’s really important to understand every-part of your business. Take your time, trust your gut, work hard and stay open minded. You currently have stockists in Australia, New Zealand, New York, London and Canada, is there any plans for An Organised Life expanding to even more places? Yes definitely! I would love to see An Organised Life go global Europe & China are definitely on the to-do list for down the track. What advice would you give to someone starting their own brand? Find your niche, create an identity, stay true to your brand, be patient, identity your strengths & weaknesses, work hard and celebrate your successes.
Lastly, what’s next for An Organised Life? This year I am working on some really exciting collaborations that are set to launch at the end of the year. I am also busy designing my 2017 diary! In regards to long term - I have so many goals & plans for the brand! In 5 years time I would like the brand to be really established nationally & internationally with a wider variety of products. I also see An Organised Life as a destination evolving - introducing video tutorials and e-books etc. on how to organise your life. Check out the blog and shop for An Organised Life at www.anorganisedlife.com Photos courtesy of Beck
remember me Photography: James Yang, Styling: Antoinette BonBon, Hair and Makeup: Tiveshni Naidoo, Model: Jennifer Tooley from 62 models, Photography Assistant: Chen Safari, Location: Kingsize Studios
Left: Dress by Cooper, Above: Coat by Ruby, Ring by Cathy Pope
Left: Jumpsuit by Keepsake, Above: Blazer by Vargo, Pant by Finders Keepers
Left: Jacket by Cooper, Skirt by Ruby, Ring by Cathy Pope. Above: Shirt by Ruby, Pant by Ruby
cube Photographer: Kate Jenkins, Styling: Jessica Greetham, Model: Oliver Hutchinson from Unique Model Management.
Left: Suit by Brendon Lee boiler, Front page: Top by Jessica Greetham, Above: Blazer by World, T-shirt by Lacoste, Pant by Ben Sherman.
Above: Top by Zambesi, Coat by World, Pant by Ben Sherman Right: Hoodie by Nam Phung, Top by Zambesi, Shorts by Jessica Greetham.
Left: Sweater by World, Pant by Ben Sherman, Above: Top by Zambesi.
Above: Shirt and Pant by Ben Sherman, Sneakers by Adidas.
Tribute to the Starman and the Purple Rain Remembering the legends we’ve lost in 2016 - David Bowie and Prince. Words by Remo Smith 2016 did not get off to a good start; on the 10th of January we lost our starman David Bowie. The world cried and sang ‘space oddity’ all through the night. So the last thing I would’ve expected was losing our Purple Rain in the same year, but just the other day on the 21st April we lost Prince. Like Michael Jackson before them, our heroes are transcending into true legend status, leaving 2016 to be the year we lost the magic. Both Bowie and Prince were pioneers in music, arts, culture and fashion, challenging the norm at every turn and always pushing the limits of music and art in their own way. And it seems we’re in a time when we needed them the most – especially with the current LGBT issues and the still rampant homophobia in the US - the rebellious leadership and unwavering ability to make those who feel alone feel less alone are what made these larger than life figures more than just amazing musicians, but heroes. From Prince blowing people away by shredding on the guitar in high heels to Bowie rocking dresses and screaming his lungs out to stadiums full of men and woman from all different backgrounds to people struggling with their identities in the 70s and 80s, Bowie and Prince were like aliens that came to planet Earth to save them, ironically being the only ones on the planet that thousands of conflicted young adults could relate to. But they didn’t just have an impact on their fans. They stormed into the fashion world with fierce confidence, breaking the society’s manufactured rules in a time when it was perhaps the most dangerous to do so. Prince looking literally like an 18th century prince, he fashioned royal jackets with ruffles and strutted around like he owned the country. Bowie burst onto the 70s scene with his out-of-this-world Ziggy Stardust persona, changing the meaning of masculinity with his performances as the androgynous rock star. No one could rock what they wore better than them, but they brought out the Prince and Bowie in wardrobes around the world, giving people the confidence to be who they are and wear what they want.
So pay tribute, sing your heart out to Purple Rain (not that I need to tell you to), boogie to Little Red Corvette, but also cry to Life On Mars and dance to Modern Love. Even after our heroes are gone, their message, cultural impact, their eccentricity and uniqueness lives on through their music. So rest in peace to our favourite starman – David Bowie, and rest in peace to the Purple Rain – Prince. Photo courtesy of rockplanet.com
â€˜ella ellaâ€™ Photographer: Evangeline Davis, Styling: Zofia Zawada, Makeup: Elise MacMillan, Model: Ella Booth
Left: Jumper and dress by Ricochet, Sneakers by Adidas, Above: Coat and choker by Ricochet
Above: Jumper and Pant by Ricochet, Dress by Miss Crab, Jewellery by Emma Jane Donald, Left: Dress by Ricochet, Pant by Easton Pearson
Left: Dress and choker by Ricochet, Pant by Easton Pearson, Above: Jumper and dress by Ricochet
HEAR THIS Words by Remo Smith & Max Rushmore
Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
Louie Knuxx – Tiny Warm Hearts
Kanye West. Genius or crazy? Spontaneous or calculated? This is the guy that tweeted “BILL COSBY INNOCENT!!!” and “love my baby girl” on the same day. So when Kanye tweets “This album is actually a Gospel album” I brushed it off as another wacky thought by the hip-hop superstar. But hearing the first few lines on Kanye’s new album I already felt like I could be sitting in a church – “We on an ultralight beam, this is a God dream”. The choir in the background, the slow uplifting beat and the amazing holy verse by Chance The Rapper make the opening track to The Life Of Pablo one of the best on the album as well as one of Kanye’s best album openers yet.
When it comes to the NZ rap scene, you don’t get much more underground than Louie Knuxx. Looking like he came straight out of a middle-aged mother’s nightmare, Louie Knuxx is actually one of the nicest guys in the Auckland music scene, and also one of the most talented. Knuxx has been involved in a number of projects over the years, and recently the rapper has really found his own sound and style, a dark, brooding, gritty style of hip-hop mixed with clever lyrics and spacey vibes. With a funding campaign, interactions with fans and constant updates on the creation of the album, Tiny Warm Hearts becomes his most interesting, introspective and best work yet, finding the right balance of hard raps and solemn beats without losing the sentimental lyrics and short catchy hooks. The album is not for everyone, or even just your casual rap fan, Louie’s husky voice and slow flow may take some getting used to, but once you delve deeper into the tracks you can start to hear past the ‘thuggish’ image and appreciate some of his more emotional and heartfelt songs. The production is as grimy as always, but with definitely more trap influence than his previous records. The song ‘YARP’ intending to stand out as the staple ‘banger’ but comes across as an awkward misstep in the context of the entire album, although it does sound like it’ll be a great hype song when played live.
As Yeezy-stan as it might sound, the messiness of the album - including the crazy rollout, Twitter rants, controversies and artwork are what make the album more than just a collection of songs, it becomes a cohesive mess of Kanye’s inner thoughts. It’s definitely not a perfect album, nor the best Kanye West album. His past 2 major releases both felt like something completely original and pushed the boundaries in different ways, whereas The Life Of Pablo hasn’t created anything new, but rather feels as though Kanye has taken little bits of the current hip-hop scene, twisted it and broken it down into his own Kanye style. So even though it’s no Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or Yeezus, The Life of Pablo still has its beautiful moments, dark moments, a few twisted things and the signature yeezus feel all over it. Kanye West has yet to disappoint, let’s see if he can keep Yeezy season going with Turbo Grafx 16 – as for now we’re still on this ultralight beam.
The overall flow and feel that Tiny Warm Hearts gives the listener is the best part, the tracks all fit together so well as a long, dark emotional 50 minutes, with the main lyrical theme and feel of the album culminating in the title track, with an impressive display of touching lyrics, smooth wordplay and a warm atmospheric beat. A great record to jam on those lonely nights in, keep up the vibes Louie.
Best tracks: Ultralight Beams, Real Friends, Freestyle 4 Worst: Fade
Best Tracks: Tiny Warm Hearts, You Got It, Mercury Plaza Worst: YARP 60
Say Anything – I Don’t Think It Is
Average Rap Band – El Sol
Max Bemis is the last person I would have expected to ‘pull a Beyonce’, so I couldn’t contain my excitement when I woke up on the 5th of February to a brand new surprise album by Say Anything. Now I should start by saying my excitement is not because I’m a Bemis fan-boy, because I’m not (try telling that to my 15 year old self) but rather I was excited to go into I Don’t Think It Is with fresh ears, no prior knowledge of the theme or recording of the record, no early snippets, pre-release singles or even cover art and track listings, a stark contrast to the usual release process of Say Anything.
From songs about getting high to songs about the crushing loneliness, then songs about heartbreak to songs about space, existentialism and the inevitability of death. Tom Scott’s rap career has certainly been an interesting one, his smooth flow but raw raps at the forefront of the infamous Home Brew Crew and then part of the deep rhymes with Lui Tuiasau as rappers for the group @peace, who in 2014 both escaped New Zealand to the sunny city of Melbourne, where they now reside as a rap duo called Average Rap Band.
As I mentioned, I’m not a SA fan-boy, I was quite disappointed by Anarchy, My Dear and I didn’t even make it through Hebrews, so when the first track on I Don’t Think It Is came blasting through my headphones with Max screaming at me that he doesn’t give a damn, I knew I would probably enjoy this album. I Don’t Think It Is sounds like the raw leftover Baseball demos mixed with the unique electronic production of Say Anything, and the intelligent, angstyyet-mature lyrics of …Is A Real Boy.
ARB’s debut album El Sol is another step into something new for Tom & Lui, this time quite clearly and quite brilliantly channeling the cool, calm and suave vibes of 80’s LA and Miami. Every funky bassline, every smooth synth loop, all the echoed drum hits and wavy vocal effects on this album are crafted, mixed and blended with absolute care and attention, the production and mixing on El Sol is the best I’ve heard in a long time. The album blends jazz, funk, rap, neo-soul and electronic with so much ease it’s almost as if Tom and Lui wrote and recorded it on a Miami beach with George Clinton, Marvin Gaye, Q-Tip and Blood Orange in the 80s.
I Don’t Think It Is is a rare snapshot of the anger and feelings of Max Bemis presented in a free and vulnerable way, similar to that of Karen O’s Crush Songs, we are given a 40-minute all-access pass into Bemis’ psyche. He gives it to us as raw as he can - whether it makes us uncomfortable or not - from the screeching fuzziness of guitars on ‘Jiminy’ to the unnerving cover art. Whether this is a step into a completely new direction for Say Anything or just Max’s way to get something off his chest and experiment a little, I’ll be jamming this album for a while and paying attention to what’s next, and I think it’s safe to say (much to the joy of my 15 year-old self) that I’m one step closer to being a Bemis fan-boy once again.
8/10 Best Tracks: Goshua, Wire Mom, Jiminy Worst: Princess
The rapping is also some next level stuff, with Lui rhyming about his shitty old job as a chef on ‘Pool Side’, Tom rhyming about relationship insecurities on ‘Jealous’ and both of them rapping about being hungry and impatient on ‘Pizza Man’, there’s a bit of everything all laid out in catchy flows over chill beats. El Sol a sunny, soulful, immersive experience of an album. Let the Average Rap Band take you on a serene and tranquil experience for a good 50 minutes of bliss. To quote the band themselves – El Sol certainly is “the greatest album of 1983 in 2016”.
10/10 Best Tracks: Fly Casual, Purple Mink Suit Rap, El Eh Worst: None
“Too weird to live, too rare to die.” - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)