Bound By Hillywood

Photography & Text ISAAC LEUNG

Take a moment and imagine: You are on the 40th floor of your 40 square-foot apartment balcony looking out and you see tightly-packed skyscrapers, where drying laundry is hanging from your neighbor’s repetitive grids of windows. When you go to work, on a buzzing street full of frenzied hives of activity, you see slivers of sky and clouds reflected through the facade of metal-framed glass. When night falls, you are at the slum-like noir of a city center, illuminated by fifty shades of red and blue fuzzy neon signs. For a moment, you feel like you are a 1960s character in Wong Kar-Wai’s romantically staged film. This is Hong Kong, the city where I was born and grew up.

There are many reasons why Hong Kong is considered one of the world’s most unique cities. First is the city’s paradoxical nature of everyday life, a bricolage of both past and present, characterized by an excessive use of technology, and yet a vast variety of regional cultures and traditions are constantly present. From new cafes taking root amid hyper-modern skyscrapers and hipster galleries blooming in grassroots neighborhood, Hong Kong promises its citizens and visitors an experience like no other.

Classified on Wing Fung Street
31 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai

In soap operas, the same characters go to the same cafe several times a week. But have you ever wondered if anyone does this in real life? I have been a customer for years at Classified on Wing Fung Street. Indeed, I would say the cafe is like my second office, where I have meetings with different people from the art world. I always get the exact same thing: a latte and then earl grey tea.[/caption]

Even being in Hong Kong is like living in a labyrinth of hypermodernity, but the charming Wing Fung Street always remains, where you can escape the throng or have a quiet time in the middle of the downtown. Taking a seat at the table next to the window for a view of the leafy street is one of my favorite yet most mundane things to do in Hong Kong.

Classified on Wing Fung Street
Classified on Wing Fung Street

Bound By Hillywood
32 Boundary Street, Prince Edward

Near a roundabout in the middle of Hong Kong’s poorest district, there is an art gallery-bar hybrid called Bound by Hillywood, a place where you can see any of the locally-brewed hipster kitsch, from reclaimed colonial furniture, sexually explicit artworks, nostalgic neon signs, to vaporwave-themed interior design.

When you are of a certain age, there is a list of things that you are too old for. Although I know when to say, “No thanks, I’m too old for this,” it was an adventure for me to see hoards of millennials who enjoy fashion, music, and drinks that are considered outside of the mainstream in Hong Kong. Being one of the most-Instagrammed bars in Hong Kong, remember to check in and take a photo, or it didn’t happen.

Bound By Hillywood
Bound By Hillywood

Visual Culture
21 Lan Fong Road, Causeway Bay

I do have a big “fetish” for glasses and it is obvious to those who know me well. When I was young, I thought it was all too strange until I found out Alfred Hitchcock also had the same fetish. Glasses, most people would consider an accessory, are the one thing I cannot live without.

Finding the right glasses is always difficult. For that reason, I buy multiple pairs of the same glasses. It gives me a sense of security and helps me to not worry that my favorite glasses will be out of production one day. At Visual Culture, one can find array of hand-made Japanese glasses in rare shapes and colors. That’s one of my favorite places for glasses shopping besides Tokyo.

Visual Culture
Visual Culture
Visual Culture
Visual Culture

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
2 Caine Lane, Mid Levels

For a glimpse of the old times of the city, explore the narrow Tai Ping Shan Street. Located at the north slope of Victoria Peak in Sheung Wan, the district was one of the first areas where the Chinese population resided during early British Hong Kong. In recent years, the district has been turned into an artistic quarter, packed with hip restaurants, bars, and cafés.

Along the way, seek out The Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences, a unique museum in the city where metal gates or fence walls stand side-by-side at the entrance of an historical building, hinting at its previous life as a medical institution. The museum is housed in the former Old Pathological Institute where the belongings of people with plague and other infectious diseases were sterilized. As for now, one can see an array of disinfecting equipment displayed on site. If something like this could easily keep you entertained, why go to theme parks?

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences

About Isaac Leung

Isaac Leung is a practicing artist, curator, and scholar in art and culture. Since receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the New Media Art Department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013, his works have been exhibited in over 30 venues across the globe, including Zolla/Lieberman Gallery (USA), Para Site (Hong Kong), Videotage (Hong Kong), Connecting Space (Hong Kong), MOCA (Shanghai), and the Venice Biennale of Architecture (Italy). In 2013, Leung was appointed as the Chairman of Videotage, Hong Kong’s hub for creativity in new media and one of the longest-running centers for new media art in Asia. Leung also holds a PhD degree in the contemporary Chinese art market and regularly lectures on the topic at art fairs and universities around the world. In 2017 he will serve as the Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts of the Hong Kong Education University.

Isaac Leung
Isaac Leung

Issac Leung in ILL.I BY WILL.I.AM

PERSOL Steve McQueen RAP5428AA

Sculptures in the Space between Place and Memory

Raimund Kummer discusses his artistic path following his arrival in West Berlin in the 1970s and his approach to sculpture across diverse media on the occasion of his exhibition Sublunar Interference at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

Interview JUSTIN ROSS
Photography Frangipani Beatt

Co-founder of Büro Berlin, one of the first groups dedicated to the conception and realization of art interventions in the public space, Raimund Kummer is a conceptual sculptor, a pillar of the heyday of frenetic creativity that was West Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s, and a profoundly interesting man with a carefully studied approach to art-making and interpretation. A site-specific installation artist, before such a term existed to give name to this style and method of working, three important pieces from his career have been collected by Germany’s Nationalgalerie and are indicative of both a moment and a mood, as well as an original voice in the German contemporary art scene and post-conceptual art. I spoke to Raimund on the occasion of his solo exhibition Sublunar Interference curated by Eugen Blume at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, containing key works from a career spanning more than four decades already.

What I must admit I half expected to be a cursory glance at his feelings about his exhibition (very satisfied) and his plans for the future (he is open to exploring many new things), in the end turned out to be a much more complex and critical jaunt through the early years of his artistic career in Berlin and the many twists and turns that gave Raimund his particular artistic perspective, one that was born out of the creative potential of the urban environment, replete with semi-destroyed and abandoned buildings and plentiful unsupervised and under-utilized public spaces.

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I was always fascinated by observing, rather than ‘creating.’ I think my qualities or capabilities are that I have a very precise ability to recognize that things in the context of where you are standing and that they send out a certain energy. Through my intervention you therefore note them as a special event.

Raimund’s early works can also be seen as something of an ode to West Berlin in the 1970s, a description of his love affair with the city of great potential. Berlin features as a protagonist in Raimund’s grand narrative. His massive ongoing photographic project On Sculpture—part autobiographical archive and part conceptual exploration of the very medium of sculpture itself—is also an ode to the city that welcomed him, when, in the ’70s he joined many artists flocking to the city, leaving behind an imposed normativity and running towards the promise of ‘Freiheit,’ of freedom and liberation at the edge of the western world in the divided city. It was a period in which the city itself, in its ruinous destruction, seemed to offer a creative playground to artists looking to discover their voice.

There was just a kind of wilderness. It was not like ruins after the war, but it was the next step after that. It was in between, it was a giant sandbox in a way, and we all could go out and play. And that’s why things could be staged, because you had these undefined open spaces and if you put the right thing in a space, it immediately became obvious.

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Raimund Kummer wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do in Berlin, but he knew that his expectations of becoming a painter had already vanished by the end of his studies. Instead he followed a roundabout path before the freedom to experiment with new practices in Berlin allowed him to really absorb and reformulate his surroundings and arrive at a technique that felt both important, accessible, and authentic. Berlin’s streets and its ample unused spaces were all at once his studio, his canvas, and his gallery.

This was a very liberating moment of being a young artist. This [Sculptures in the Street] was basically the first artwork, or some of the first artworks I did after finishing my studies. I photographed motifs from ’78 to ’79. I bought myself a Minox camera and ‘fixed’ things that I found eruptive. Things which I discovered on my daily walks. Over five or six hundred photos slides (colour transparency film) were realized. Of these photos slides I chose a selection of 80, an amount that would fit in a Kodak Carousel. That was the beginning of a way out of being stuck. That led me into discovering public space as a very interesting subject matter.

And therefore I found, in the occasional place of the everyday life, things which have been moved, stacked, or destroyed for a special reason; things that had never had an aesthetic purpose, but could be seen as such. As unwillingly produced interesting structures at least. To give them a programmatic sense, I called them ‘sculptures in the street.’

Not really minding who came or how many saw these spontaneous sculptures in the public realm, Raimund would, however, invite people with invitation cards sent by post, inviting them to “openings” to view the fixed points in time and places across the city. But his interventions in the street were really meant to be temporary and anonymous, and to blur the line between art and reality for the unsuspecting passersby.

This idea of anonymous worked only for the public. On a certain level it was a subversive strategy of going into the space and transforming the spaces for a short period of time only. Sometimes it was there for a day, a week, for four weeks, and then it was gone.

It reminds us of a time when art, appeared at least, to be more authentic. If there ever was such a thing as art for art’s sake, it was here in this tiny island of West Berlin, a wrinkle in time, a bubble on the map.

Years spent on film sets to earn money, which began shortly after his arrival in Berlin, clearly influenced his approach. Working as a set designer and technician, he studied compositions, rearranging and fine-tuning, color correcting, adjusting angles and lights… techniques he later went on to use with the objects and materials readily at hand, creating his own parallel reality, a filmic, dramatic reality that was available out in the real world, but had to be pointed out, often with ad hoc and improvised methods.

Looked at / seen through rose colored glasses, 2004, Foto: Raimund Kummer © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

These I-beams were lying around, here on the Admiralstrasse [the same street in Berlin where Raimund still lives and works today in a large converted factory building that he has owned since the ’80s], and I thought it looked like a very nice throw of Mikado sticks. And so I went and I bought myself two gallons of lacquer paint and just painted it roughly and then photographed it. Here the photograph was more a document of an artistic activity of mine, anonymously done. But the piece itself was obviously to be seen by other people too, because it had a great presence. I didn’t have money to buy a 10,000-watt cinema light or something like that, so I just used this [red paint]. The intervention [in the public context] gives you a panoramic view on what is surrounding this thing, and it makes you think of why it is there, and what is around it.

These constructed scenes for his street sculptures were never meant to be repeated or reproduced, and unlike other types of found objects or readymades, his sculptures found their natural home in the public. They would exist only for as long as they needed to, even if that was only just for a moment.

My aim was to keep the moment where the art has been produced, where the art is happening, and the moment where you look at it identical. It is not this kind of readymade, where you find something in the street and bring it into the gallery or the white cube context and see how wonderful or unusual it is. I wanted to bring people to an awareness of the real space in which they are living.

The instantaneous and immediate nature of photography enabled Raimund to capture these moments, these temporary relationships between objects that existed on the streets for only a brief period of time. As a result, his photographic archive is immense. An edited version of this archive, On Sculpture (1979–2017), still growing and numbering some 444 pictures at the time of its most recent presentation, was one of four diverse installation formats from distinct periods in his artistic career, alongside Skulpturen in der Straße (1978/1979), Mehr Licht (1991), and νόστος – ἄλγος (2012) (Greek: Nóstos álgos) in his recent exhibition Sublunar Intervention at the Hamburger Bahnhof. A film of personal recollections from Raimund Kummer, which elaborates on his relationship with both place and memory as he visits various places of significance to his work with curator Eugen Blume and appropriately titled unterwegs / out and about, was also produced specifically for the exhibition.

I have a very long, ongoing, critical, love-hate relationship with photography. I had to show what my work is about. And that is why I have done endless research and attempts on documentation vs. non-documentation, on what remains and what doesn’t remain.

Many of these pictures, taken on the same Mamiya camera that he has had since 1979, are given a new life in the concisely edited, and sculpturally presented form that they take in the exhibition. The snaking path of the stacked manila files gives a weight and depth to the collection, signaling the years of archival and editing process behind the piece, while it is just on the surface that the selected images float, in an invitingly tactile way, making their way around one exhibition hall and inviting visitors to leisurely absorb the photographs, peering down at them at waist-level. In an age of abundant visual imagery, with our seemingly insatiable appetite for rapid image consumption on social media like Instagram, there is something grand and luxurious, as well as slightly nostalgic, in roaming such an abundance of printed visual material. There is also something brave and commendable about the editing process that Raimund has undertaken to condense nearly four decades of photographing into these 444 photographic records.

The difference is that, for me, it is not an endless flow without any hierarchy. Media is just plus/minus and the amount of data you can put on your phone. As an artist you have to make decisions. To state everything is art, 24 hours a day, is something that can’t be. For me, it is the person who steps in and says yes or no. I do editing, basically. I make decisions about what is important and what is not important. That is, I think that the difference between my work and the common use of Instagram, for example.

Over time, however, the purpose of his archival practice has also morphed and mutated, and just as his street-based sculptures were in fact studied compositions on what sculptures are and could be, this work has become a sort of meditation on the archive for Raimund, allowing him to work through aspects of his creative process, like a rhizome, closing some down and simultaneously opening others, unfolding new possibilities.

What I’m working on is getting to a stage of being able to go further. Which means to get rid of lots of weight, to become lighter, to get rid of the weight of history and how to do things, to go forward to discover something new, which you were not able to think before. That is the excitement of being an older person, having lots of experience. You have never ever achieved everything. It’s a question of your own values, and of your own spirit, if you want more. And for me, that’s still my spirit… I want more. I think I have still not done my best work yet. Being an artist means being in an endless ongoing experiment.

Mehr Licht, 1991, Foto: Raimund Kummer, Martin Salzer © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Raimund Kummer’s Sublunar Interference was recently extended for three months and is on view at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin until the 29th of October 2017. www.raimundkummerinberlin.de

Doe Paoro in MIU MIU SMU04S

Doe Paoro’s soothing meditations on solitude

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Text VITTORIO CARETTI

Doe Paoro has the uniqueness of sound and surprise on her side. With an angelic, almost operatic voice, she seduces listeners. This seductiveness stems from her deeply felt, personal and timely song writing, which has already caught the attention of both record labels and some of the most talented song writers and producers around. Doe Paoro collaborated with the likes of Bon Iver’s Justin Veron, Sean Carey and BJ Burton (Tallest Man on Earth, Sylvan Esso), on her acclaimed second album, After.

Doe Paoro is the stage name of Syracuse-born, Los Angeles-based artist, singer, and composer, Sonia Kreitzer. She blends musically an eclectic sound that soothes and moves, bringing together R&B, pop, soul and electronic. Doe Paoro came to be recognized for her arty, soulful sounds after her self-released LP Slow To Love dropped in 2012, following a string of previously released singles that won her rave reviews and fans as well.

Doe’s music has that uber-sly quality of hooking you in with the subtlety of her voice, somehow shadowy and loving, leaving with you a desire to hear just a little more. Her music propels listeners to her world… a wonderful world, and a personal one. A few years back, Doe, while traveling to Tibet, spent time in silent meditation, leading to her reflections on “space between silence and sound…” She touches the listeners authentically, a voice both personal and connected to that stuff all around us that helps us feel we are part of something larger. She plays off sound, silence, connection throughout her music. Doe Paoro has gone on to catch the attention of Stereogum, NPR’s All Songs Considered, and was featured on Season 4 of Girls. One play of her music quickly becomes another and another. Rightfully so, she has a voice that needs your ears.

Doe Paoro in MIU MIU SMU04S

Mor Elian wears KBL The Grant

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Interview JUSTIN ROSS

DJs as: Mor Elian
Labels: Prime Numbers, Hypercolour, Finale Sessions
Nationality: Israeli / American
Lives in: Berlin / LA
Favorite place to play: Into The woods parties in LA (My party)
Favorite glasses: Tom Ford, Oliver Peoples, Ray-Ban

How would you describe your sound?
I play mostly house and techno with some Electro, Italo and other touches

When did you start DJing and what got you into it?
I started in 2009 and what got me into it was the desire to share music with people.

What are some of your favorite places to DJ, and why?
I love DJing Tel aviv clubs, where I grew up, The scene there is vibrant and been going for a long time, I also love to play in the undergrounds of LA where the scene is more young but also very magical.

Mor Elian wears KBL Steve
Eyewear by KBL STEVE
Coat by IVY & OAK

What motivates you when you are playing in front of so many people? How does it feel?
What motivates me is people dancing freely, if that’s lacking, then i find the one craziest dancer and play for him.

Is there anything you would like to say about being a female DJ? Is it any different, should it be? Is that important to you?
I never defined myself so much that way, I just love music and love playing music, and if that inspires more women particularly then thats wonderful.

Mor Elian wears KBL Steve
Eyewear by KBL STEVE
Coat by IVY & OAK, Top and pants by Uniqlo, Boots by JR

How do you handle all the travel?
I try to take care of myself when im traveling and when im not, that also includes not drinking in most gigs, after so many years of doing this drinking doesn’t add much to the life style.

What are some of your favorite glasses/sunglasses that you own?
I love my Oliver Peoples, Raybans and just got a pair of Tom Ford cat eyes. I like to have a variety!

Mor Elian wears KBL The Grant
Eyewear by KBL THE GRANT
Black shirts and white pants by DJ’s own

 

 

 

 

 

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Interview JUSTIN ROSS

TURNING THE TABLES on a once heavily male-dominated industry, 4SEE spotlights the art and talent of a new wave of female DJs leading the pack.

Renewed attention on electronic music in general is putting women front and center on the main stage. Along with all-female lineups, there is a concerted interest on placing the attention on what matters—the music and creativity of the DJ/producer.

No longer looked upon as a niche within the industry, perceptions have changed and female DJs are respected for their contribution to the art of DJing and producing in their own right. Although they may have had to fight harder for their place in the industry, gender is of secondary concern to many of the women these days. They are first and foremost creators, DJs, and producers and their hard-won respect is based on the quality of their music.

Name: Najaaraq Vestbirk
DJs as: Courtesy
Age: 29
Nationality Danish
Lives in: Berlin / Copenhagen
Favorite Place to Play: De School (Amsterdam)
Favorite glasses: Mykita

How did you get started with music?
I started when I was a kid and I would be dominating the CD player in the classroom, and in fifth grade no one else would be allowed to touch it except for me.

How would you describe your sound?
I play a very eclectic mix of music, so I will play a lot of ’90s rave-influenced stuff, both in the sense that it can be breaksy, but it also very much things that sound like techno but they are a bit weirder, maybe like big-room techno, but its not big room techno. I also play house and disco-influenced stuff, as well as some Italo sometimes.

What motivates you when you are playing a set?
Basically when I’m up in front of a lot of people DJing it feels like controlling some kind of spaceship or a vehicle. You have to navigate this room of people and try to make them dance For my sake I try to play as weird as possible without losing people, keep it really interesting. I like to see how weird I can go and to play for people who are maybe not used to listening to that kind of music.

What draws you to Berlin?
I like to be in Berlin because I have a lot of friends and colleagues here. In that sense it is very nice to be at a point where everyone is constantly coming through. In Copenhagen it is much more about the local scene and hanging out with my friends. Where in Berlin I get to meet my friends the entire world much more often and I really like that.

How do you handle all the travel?
I try to stay as healthy as possible… drink a lot of water and sleep every second I can. And let myself sleep when I’m home. Not feeling guilty about having to take extra naps during the week and chilling out on a monday while everyone else goes to work. Eating healthy food and sleep are the main things to surviving.

What do you think about female Djs?
I’ve kinda stopped talking about it. Because I was in an all-female group earlier, we would get approached a lot, being asked how it is to be a woman in the DJ industry and I kind of just got to the point where I don’t talk bout it anymore. I’ve written some pieces and it is good to contribute in any way you can give something new. I don’t have anything really new to say that hasn’t already been said in any of the really big music magazines already.

I don’t want to be called a DJane. I think you see, generally coming out from the alternative music scene, it is really condescending to be called DJane, just like anyone else. If you google a DJane you will see what I mean, kind of like pornstar women with headphones on in pictures. And that is what DJane is symbolizing and that has nothing to do with my job.

Photography Justin Carter
Interview Atsushi
Creative Director Keith S. Washington
All eyewear by Max Pittion

Famed for his ongoing monthly mixes “Magic Tape” consisting of under the radar, unreleased dance tunes, not to mention his former unit Aeroplane, Stephen Fasano aka “The Magician” based in Brussels continues evolving his musical influence through his own music label “Potion,” started in 2014. The Magician just released a brand new single “Shy” featuring Brayton Bowman on May 2nd from Potion and we caught him backstage right before his gig for the Kitsuné Club Night Parisian Tour in Tokyo.

 

Musical background – Instruments or DJing?

DJing background. Long time ago. Late 80’s — at the beginning of House music I guess. My uncle was a DJ, nothing commercial but a collector of obscure disco records. He gave me his turntables and a mixer, and a collection of obscure disco records.

You got lucky. 

Yeah in a way…, but I hated so many of those records! The late 70’s were, as they say, “the end of Disco” times and we were starving for Acid House coming from the US. Disco records don’t have BPM synchronized so that was the kind of time I practiced the beat match technique, mixing those with new House music. Then, after that, I slowly got into Techno, Drum ’n’ bass, Trip Hop — I have a big collection of DJ Krush from Mo Wax records, DJ Food, Ninja Tunes and those kinds of things. Those were the times I used to travel to the UK a lot and go record-digging.

From Brussels? 

Yes, I went to the UK once a month. Now it’s only 2 hours on a train but it was 4 hours on a boat to cross the canal and another 2 hours on the road back then, but that is nothing when you are a teenager — the absolute freedom! 

And went into production in those ages?

Yes, as I slowly started getting myself a sampling machine like AKAI or Roland, or the drum machines like TB303, I got those for around 100 bucks or something. Now it costs 3,000 US dollars or more and you know how crazy it is. 

The Magician, Stephen Fasane, Kitsune Tokyo. DJ, Magici Tape, SoundCloud , Potion label, the end of disco

Do you still use those set ups?

No, I rarely use them as those are equipped in the software nowadays. For working on demos, I just get into my computer and for the final production we bring vocals and instruments at the studio for live recording, which I really enjoy.

How did you get to know Kitsuné?

I was forming Aeroplane at that time around in 2008, we got approached by Kitsuné for a remix, and that was the first time I met Gildas (one of Kitsuneé’s founders). Then they booked us for tons of parties in London and Paris. After that, we signed for a single “I Don’t Know What You Do.”

How do you balance out Production and DJing? 

I would say 50/50 and I like it that way. I am inspired by the music that I play, the music that is around me if you know what I mean. I am rather a DJ in origin than a producer.  My music can evolve through playing and it’s a bit like a fashion. So for example when compared with 5 years ago I would say I was more Disco. Not in the melody line, but the base line or the compression of the sound, my sound is more Housey now. BPM between 120-122 is the best tempo ever, not too fast yet groovy. 

Memorable gigs?

Actually, Ageha in 2012, Japan was amazing. The speakers… the sound was totally amazing. 

Large audience or handful of people?

I actually do both and I played for only 200 yesterday in Seoul, played in front of an only 150-person audience the other day in Hong Kong and, to be honest, I like it much better than big festivals. You see the faces and the groove is more intense.

You are a vinyl collector but which format do you use when DJing?

I don’t play vinyl except at home and took a while to get used to it, but I use USB memory sticks. I still have 10,000 or more records at home — maybe its time to pull them out again and get inspired.

So, how come “The Magician”?

Well, it was my wife who named it. When I split from Aeroplane in 2010, my wife (then girlfriend) said at the time, “Now we have to think of a new name…, lets say “The Magician.” And I didn’t like it at all! (laughs). She says I have the “Magical” powers, but it sounds a bit arrogant you know. But slowly, having her designing these jackets, I understood the meaning of it that aligns with my concept to entertain the audience. And of course the branding side of it too. And after all, I own 10 other jackets of this kind.

Why are you wearing that one today?

This is the one I am wearing this year and will be recognized with. The material is actually a cellophane. Last year it was more baggy style, but not like in the MC Hammer style though, Moroccan-Jewish style from the 1920s with the 3 buttons jackets and all. So for next year, it should be different. To me, DJing is entertainment and the core is to entertain the audience. And for that reason, I like to be dressed. 

The Magician, Stephen Fasane, Kitsune Tokyo. DJ, Magici Tape, SoundCloud ,

Any ritual before gigs?

Very simple. Text my wife that I am starting. And have one shot of vodka or two. 

It seems like there is a very strong bond there. Any kids? 

I have one little one, she is two and a half years old now. Now we are starting to have a lot of interactions and it is great fun.

Why are you based in Brussels?

Because I did not have the balls to move out (laughs). Well, it was just not the right time to move, my studio is in London and the business is there. And its only 2 hours on train. 

If you were to pick one city to move to?

Business-wise it would be London, but if I pick the best, I would say LA. The weather, and the food!

Favorite food?

I would say Italian and Japanese. And you can find both good ones in LA (laughs).

So, half and hour to go live, what are you playing today for a 2am slot?

I am selecting more straight House music, more energy than the last visit in 2012. A lot of people expect music that they know, but I will be playing things that are really new. Because I expect people to get surprised.

The Magician is the alias of talented DJ/Producer, Stephen Fasano. 

The Magician on Soundcloud + Homepage

PHOTOGRAPHER: Bert Spangemacher
INTERVIEW: Justin Ross

When you think of designer eyewear, great fashion houses such as Fendi and Dior as well as industry leaders such as Carrera quickly come to mind. Although Safilo may not be the same kind of household name, the company is actually responsible for many of the most iconic frames produced under licensing agreements with these illustrious brands as well as many others such as Polaroid, Swatch, Celine, and most recently for Elie Saab.

After attending a press event at Soho House in Berlin for Safilo to showcase their latest multibrand offerings for men this upcoming Fall/Winter season, we caught up with their creative director Nicola Bonaventura. The event demonstrated how eyewear stays relevant and in-step with current lifestyle trends with categories such as athleisure and future tech, which we know and love from developments in the fashion industry. It was abundantly clear that Nicola and his team are really in tune with such trends and developments. But it made us curious to learn more from an industry insider exactly how these trends are interpreted for each brand and to take a deeper look into the whole creative design process.

safilo_003

How did you start working as an eyewear designer?

I’ve been in this business for a long time. Now more than fifteen years. I graduated from design school in Italy and then I started out as an independent graphic designer for the fashion industry. And soon I merged my two passions–art and product or graphic design–and I found the eyewear business to be a good mix of the two things. You always face a lot of artistic inspirations and consider fashion, but in the end, you need to shape a product, which is made in hard materials so it is a process of industrial design. So it is a mix between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ matter and that is what I’ve liked since the beginning. Since then I’ve been involved in different big groups and I’ve had the chance to work with important global brands like Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss. At the beginning, I was also working for Dolce & Gabbana, always in the licensing sector. My strength was being able to translate the DNA of the brand into the business of this sector.

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Tell me a bit about Safilo, what makes it unique, and what kind of projects we can look forward to in the future?

Besides talent, you have to offer something in terms of designing the product, but you also have to have a good relationship with the different creative departments of the brands. We have more than twenty-five departments, most of them are under licenses, and we also have four of our own brands. So, we have a huge variety of different relationships. And this is crucial to the result of the work. I’m personally working closely at this moment with Fendi and Celine. We just started an important project with the watchmaker Swatch. And I’m also working on the atelier segment, which is launching Elie Saab, which is our first brand in this category that comes from haute couture. It is another adventure working on this project translating the higher standards of these brands in this category.

How do you negotiate the relationship with brands that have an existing identity and how do you develop compatible designs within that?

Our goal is to protect and interpret in the best way, the value of each individual brand. The goal is to connect and marry with each singular brand and enter into the DNA of the design and the design language of each singular department and work with the creative department of the brand. Our goal is about relationships so that we can build faith chains and attractive partnerships and then the design comes. There is definitely a risk of failure, it is possible to make mistakes, but if the relationship is strong you can move forward. I think Safilo is quite unique in the way it works this way in the system of large brands working under license agreements. At least in terms of product development and we are recognized for this quality and way of working.

It was interesting to see how Safilo chose to present their latest eyewear designs by grouping them across brand segments and relating them to larger trends in the larger fashion and consumer retail industry. For example, Athleisure, you had interpreted that. Can you talk about some trends you are keeping an eye on?

There is a natural inspiration that comes from our designers and myself as well. We are traveling, we surf the internet, we all have antennas to research what is going on. At the same time, we also have a consumer trend analysis team. They connect with us and confirm with designers what the trends really are for the consumer two years in the future. Most of the time, we start with the aesthetic, of course, but this team starts with the consumer behavior. Many times, this doesn’t mean that it is a different aesthetic but it means that it connects more with the people and the way they live and they way they purchase products they love. We match our instinctive impulses and attraction to trends with the research and the result is what you saw last night.

We figure out the main groups of tendencies in the next years and then we design and divide it into three main areas. Of course Athleisure, and everything to do with technical gear, with functional elements, and with performance materials is a trend. First of all, it is a trend from a consumer perspective because people love to focus on wellbeing and in the meantime, the industry is following these ideas which are coming from these areas—from sports into the fashion sector. So that’s why many times you might be surprised to see brands like Givenchy and Dior doing a lot of stuff mixing materials which come from different environments.

Carrera is also one of the brands, which we own and it has sixty years of history in sports. Carrera started in 1956 for sports like golf and skiing and then for bikers and then, of course sunglasses as well. So, we’ve had the chance to revamp this brand and connect it with the trend of sports and lifestyle and urban athletic attitude. I think the match there is perfect. We can provide products that belong to fashion but also products that belong to lifestyle or in the mass target group like Polaroid, within the same spirit of treating the aesthetic, different price positions and technologies, but each of them are provide a touch of this attitude on lifestyle.

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What is your opinion on the differences between men’s and women’s eyewear?

Today it’s really interesting because of these genderless attitudes, which is a megatrend overall, it’s really bringing a bit of a mix, where at the very end when you go to the front shape, or the color, or the material, in many brands they can fit for everyone. I would also say that last night, many of the sunglasses you say or optical were equally wearable for her as well. And then you have some brands, such as Fendi or MaxMara, which have been designed for women since the beginning and there is no doubt that their product is dedicated to ladies. But if I take ten years ago as a benchmark, even in this amount of time there is an incredible proposal on the agenda. Until five or six years ago, there was a distinction between the two and few products had this interchangeability approach. Now, it is much more common and for many brands it is even a priority. It reflects the society and the way of living. Many countries are treating women equally and humanity is evolving and the sense of the family. It is really a human transformation and it is reflected in small things like products as well.

Thanks to Nicola’s look inside the eyewear design world from his experience at Safilo, what we learned is that it is not an easy task—it might seem simple enough to garner attention with bold colors and fad technologies and materials, but taking a well-known brand image and subtly adjusting and updating it is a much more complicated process, one that Safilo and its creative director Nicola Bonaventura are the undisputed experts at.

Photographer JORGEN AXELVALL
Styling KEITH WASHINGTON
Interview JUSTIN ROSS

Aerosyn Lex Mestrovic has made a name for himself creating mesmerizing calligraphic works on canvas that reinterpret multiple cultural influences, providing insights into his own diverse background and the globalized world we all live in. Since developing his signature approach, Aerosyn Lex has transformed his practice into an all-encompassing multimedia concept that deftly translates between fine art, video, fashion, and products.

For his high-concept ability to synthesize poignant topics into impressive pieces of art and design, his work has been recognized by the New York MOMA, the White House, and the SCOPE Art Award in 2014, as well as through collaborations with noted contemporary fashion designers such as Kenzo, Givenchy, and Public School. We sat down to discuss his work in both art and fashion and the underlying symbolic concepts that drive each of his recent projects.

This versatile artist has much in store in 2016 as he adds even more to his arsenal with projects in the pipeline including risqué perfumes from Sixth Sense and deeply researched chocolates with Park Hyatt in one of our favorite places, Tokyo, Japan.

Tell me a little bit about the two-dimensional, calligraphic works that you make.

The basis of the work is language and communication, that is what is interesting to me. Also weaving through everything is this concept of multiculturalism. My background plays a role—I’m from Argentina, born there, but I grew up in Miami in the US. I’ve been in New York now for fourteen or fifteen years and went to school here. I’ve lived in Japan and I’ve traveled a lot. My father’s background is from Croatia in Eastern Europe. My own experiences are very global and through the tapestry of this multiculturalism what is interesting to me is how technology is compressing the idea of cultural identity and then at the core of that is this aspect of communication. I’ve studied calligraphy since I was a kid. This notion of calligraphy being the visual representation of our words as humans—of how we tell stories, of how we communicate, and how record or have recorded knowledge in the past—the fact that there are very key visual elements of each culture be it Arabic or Sanskrit, or something more Western, or with the brush strokes, perhaps more Asian. It’s interesting to throw all those things together and still tell a coherent story.

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BIGSBY 47.7 IN DARK BROWN SAND
LEATHER JACKET PAJAMA TOP BY LOEWE
WHITE OXFORD SHIRT BY DIOR
DARK NAVY TIE BY KITSUNE

It’s a really brave thing that you are doing because calligraphy is a very precise art. It looks instinctive but there are a lot of rules within it. But you are taking these techniques, and through a multicultural approach you are redefining these rules and using them in a more aesthetic sense.

You are totally right. Especially that Eastern style of Japanese calligraphy, you can’t fake it. You have to be present in the moment and it demand a certain amount of focus, confidence, and presence of mind. There is an honesty to that that you can’t fake. As a kid I was always really drawn to it. This kind of abstract, gestural, very emotional powerful type of work, I always really loved it.

Is that how you work today? What does the process look like when you set about making a painting?

As it happens, it is in the moment, but there is always a plan and there are always countless iterations before the actual final version happens. There is a very deliberate aspect to it. Some of the recent works I had on exhibition in Tokyo, for example, they have to work on two scales. There is the view from ten feet away, but from ten inches, there is a whole different aspect with the pigments and paints themselves, of the intermingling of the different pigments. I make a lot of my pigments by hand to get a certain type of saturation and chemical reaction on the page. It might not be evident at first glance but it is something that you can continue to look at it and find new and interesting little bits and pieces inside of my work.

Is that one of the reasons why you went on to create the live video versions of your paintings? To capture that interaction between pigments?

Definitely. That came about when I was commissioned by the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK a couple of years ago to direct a short film based on my calligraphy. I had never done anything in film before but I had the opportunity to do it and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. It took a year to make about six minutes of film. I really wanted to capture the painting but I’d never done it on film so we came up with this whole system and process where I built a whole lighting setup with a mounted table and using a very high-end 5K high-def RED camera system to capture the work in really exquisite detail. That experience really opened things up for me and led to an exhibition of my work at the MOMA a couple of years ago.

EYEWEAR BY MAX PITTON LIVINGSTON SIZE 47 IN BLACK INK
SHIRT BY DIOR
NAVY KNIT SWEATER BY KITSUNE
DARK NAVY TIE BY KITSUNE

You have an underlying conceptual approach which ties your work together, no matter what medium it is in. How does that influence you when you cross from fine art into fashion?

There has been a sort of taboo around art in fashion, and I think that’s true, but in fashion, there has always been a precedent for these types of experiments. You had Schiaparelli using Dali for scarves, you had Yves Saint Laurent working with Piet Mondrian years ago, and now you even have Jeff Koons doing H&M. There have always been artists collaborating with fashion. I think that now it has become normalized. Since Takeshi Murakami or Stephen Sprouse for Louis Vuitton, for example. For me, I really love fashion, I’m invested in it; I’m interested in it from a passionate standpoint. Whenever I get the opportunity to work on something, whether it’s a collection, or a sculpture, or a painting, I approach it with the same level of creativity and focus and meaning and intent that I would do a fine art piece. They are all equally as challenging and gratifying.

I would love to do that, I haven’t done so before. Working with 4SEE on this shoot was the first time I got in contact with eyewear in such a close way and it was a really interesting process. Let’s make it happen!

How does eyewear fit into your personal style?

It is something that I’m just coming into now. I’m realizing that eyewear can be something that is an accessory as much as it is utilitarian. For me, eyewear was always of utility. If you need to wear glasses you would, but otherwise not. But now, seeing that I really enjoyed the Max Pittion, I really enjoyed the pieces and the whole history of the brand.

Tell me about some of your upcoming projects.

I’m working now via the White House with a new program called the United States Japan Leadership Program which is a fellowship program which is going on for the next two years. It’s very interesting, its’ people from the military, doctors, scientists, and then somehow I’m the one visual artist in there. There are delegates and we work across a couple of different conferences to establish a greater connection between the two nations. That is definitely fun and interesting.

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GREY PIN STRIPE BLAZER BY YOHJI YAMAMOTO
SHIRT BY DIOR
GREY TIE BY KITSUNE

The main thing right now is that I’m launching a range of fragrances, a range of ‘parfums’. As part of a brand that has been around for seven or eight years and is called Sixth Sense. Sixth Sense had a few different collections, and each collection they would collaborate with up and coming fashion designers. Back when Alexander Wang was just starting they did his fragrance, also Gareth Pugh, Domir Doma, Boris Bidjan, and Juun J from Korea.This is their first concept collection which is called ‘les potions fatales.’ It’s nine fragrances all based on poisonous fauna such as Hemlock, which Socrates drank to commit suicide, digitalis which is used for assassination, and poppy, obviously connected with Opium. I did all of the packaging, the bottle, the artwork which is included, it is all interwoven with the concept of the fragrances which we based of aposematism, a scientific term for the coloration of poisonous animals. Oftentimes, poisonous tree frogs and snakes, they are the most vibrantly colored animals. We took this concept to the very brightly colored artwork and wove it into the whole ethos of the packaging concept for this fragrance range. It is set to come out in just about a month and it will be distributed worldwide.

In Japan, what I’m working on now is a collaboration with the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku. It is famous for the film ‘Lost in Translation.’ When I celebrated New Years there at the Park Hyatt this year I met the general manager and was introduced to Frederico, their executive chef who is from Argentina, where I’m also from. We hit it off and had an idea to put together an art installation and create a product at the same time. So we are planning to create a range of chocolates for the Park Hyatt and this would be a collaboration. We are looking at the pre-Colombian origins of Cacao, where for the Inca, the Olmec, for the Aztecs, for the Maya, chocolate was the drink of the gods. It wasn’t chocolate bars, it was a very bitter drink, and they would put spices into it and use it for sacrifices. We are looking to create something that bridges these two cultures, Japanese and Latin American cultures. Along with a busy exhibition schedule, these are the two major projects on the horizon for me this year.

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Uta Geyer, Lunettes Selection
Photography & Text Charlotte Krauß

When Uta Geyer was searching for a pair of glasses for herself, she had a clear image of the perfect pair in mind because of her soft spot for all things vintage.
She wanted a classic design—striking and original. In 2005, when slender frames and huge logos by licensed brands ruled the market, it proved rather difficult to find.

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This led her to open her own store for unworn vintage frames. “Finding good, unworn vintage eyewear is like detective work. It was very exciting from the beginning, but also very time consuming.“ Nowadays film and theatre production companies appreciate well her hard-earned expertise as they turn to her for styling and prop suggestions.

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Uta’s love for classic aesthetics motivated her to design her own collection. Lunettes Kollektion’s Modern Classics are reminiscent of their vintage predecessors while also celebrating the urban look of Berlin’s bubbling creative scene. The beautiful collection recently won her the “Eyewear of the Year Grand Prix” in Tokyo. Both new and old highlights from Lunettes Selection exude their timeless charm like magic.

“The classic round frame, the Pantoform, is always in high demand in both metal and acetate. With acetate, there is a trend towards natural, organic colors. Tobacco, toffee, whiskey…, with sunglasses I have a strong tendency for eccentric designs. Because of Gucci, for example, yellow lenses are back en vogue—we haven’t seen those in a long time.”

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LUNETTES SELECTION
Torstr. 172
10115 Berlin
Tel +49 30 2021 5216
www.lunettes-selection.de

Photography Bert Spangemacher
Interview Justin Ross

Schwarz Dont Crack is the latest band to emerge from an unusually creative combination that could only come from Berlin. The ambitious duo has plans to conquer the world, and this hybrid act from Berlin and New York has all the goods to do so with Ahmad’s sultry and seductive vocal talents and Sebastian’s catchy dance beats.

Their latest single ‘Getaway’ was just released on Spotify in advance of their album release later this summer and their upcoming tour. Sebastian Kreis, one half of Berlin-based electronic R&B group Schwarz Dont Crack joined us at the 4SEE studio to talk about life in Berlin, their unique music and upcoming album with frontman Ahmad Larmes, and of course his favorite pair of sunglasses.

Justin: You live in Berlin?

Sebastian: I’m here for six years now… way too long!

Justin: Tell me about yourself, where are you from?

Sebastian: I was born in East Germany, in Halle, not so far from Berlin, about 200km. When I was ten I moved to Southern Germany with my mom. It was very boring there, a small town with simple people. I always wanted to be a musician so I knew that I needed to go to a big city. As a German, Berlin is an obvious choice, a first step at least.

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Justin: Did you study music or are you self-taught?

Sebastian: I’m completely self-taught.

Justin: What type of music, electronic?

Sebastian: It depends, there are definitely some organic elements in my music, but for this project with Schwarz Dont Crack, it is mostly electronic sounds. One day I start with a synth sound, but the next day I might start with drums, it is always different. I just go with whatever feels right for the moment.

Justin: Some people describe the sound of Schwarz Dont Crack as a synth-based R&B. What do you think?

Sebastian: I like all kinds of music… except for Ska maybe [laughter]. I definitely do like R&B, but I’m not sure if this sound is strictly R&B. In a way every song is a pop song. If it’s R&B or electronic, that is determined by the production really. So I guess this is somewhere between electronic, R&B, and pop. For me it is more important that it has some kind of interesting twist to it, and I care less about the names actually.

Justin: How did the project with Schwarz Dont Crack begin? How did you meet?

Sebastian: I read an ad on Craigslist. Ahmad just put up a post saying that he was looking for a producer to collaborate with. I wrote him a message and sent him some tracks and then we met up and instantly wrote our first song “Day by Day” which was also on our first EP. Ever since then we have been writing music together.

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Justin: How long ago was that?

Sebastian: It’s already been four or five years now.

Justin: Does Ahmad live in Berlin or how do you guys work together?

Sebastian: Yah, he lives in Berlin as well. He lived in Paris for some time, but these days he lives in Berlin. Most of the time I send him some rough tracks and then he has some ideas and then we put it together. It is pretty uncomplicated. He writes some lyrics over it and we arrange it together. Then I will always go back and change the production to make it ninety percent ready and then we will choose the right tracks for the release and we will re-record the vocals to make it the best quality.

Justin: What about your name Schwarz Dont Crack, where does it come from?

Sebastian: We were at a party with one of Ahmad’s American friends, and they found the word schwarz super funny, probably because of its sound. Ahmad came up to me and said let’s call our project “black don’t crack” but then at this party they kept laughing about schwarz and since it’s the German word for black, we ended up calling our band “Schwarz Dont Crack”.

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Justin: It seems kind of fitting somehow because like you both it is a hybrid, you are German, he is American, he is black, you are white, and your sound also has this fusion happening.

Sebastian: I like the name because a lot of people say it is a really great name, and a lot of people also say it is a terrible name, that kind of polarizing quality is always good.

Justin: Tell me about your latest single “All My Love”?

Sebastian: Actually we have a newer one that just came out last week called “Getaway” which is the lead single for our new record.

Justin: Are you going to tour the new record?

Sebastian: We are going to play Melt Festival this year in July. And we definitely plan to play a tour when the album comes out.

Justin: When does the album come out?

Sebastian: It will be out at the beginning of August.

Justin: How about your style, how would you describe it?

Sebastian: I think I’m influenced by the Rolling Stones. I usually just go to some second-hand shop and look for weird patterns, prints and colors. I definitely like the late ’60s early ’70s Keith Richards kind of style.

Justin: Do you wear glasses sometimes?

Sebastian: I actually think I might need glasses soon! But right now I’m more into sunglasses, I definitely do like sunglasses.

Justin: What kind of sunglasses?

Sebastian: I like classic ones like Ray-Ban, and I also like vintage ones, with big round frames.

The smooth sounds of Schwarz Dont Crack continue to woo fans and seep deep into your soul. Sebastian’s energetic beats keep the whole idea fresh and what could have been a culture clash ends up being a match made in heaven. Sebastian’s love for vintage ’70s inspired looks with colorful patterns is absolutely on point. It is a perfect counterpoint to Ahmad, who being a New Yorker has got urban style down. In many ways, the two parts of the duo couldn’t be more different, but the result is music to our ears.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Bert Spangemacher
INTERVIEW:  Justin Ross

Eloquent, thoughtful, and sincere. Son Lux fans are drawn into the carefully crafted world of Ryan Lott and his bandmates Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia for these three reasons. Meeting with the men behind the music of Son Lux, it is easy to see why: Ryan is a genuine and authentic voice with an intelligent and intuitive approach to making music, a welcome departure from the often mechanistic and over-produced world of pop music. Ryan’s music may seem familiar to some in a comforting, almost wholesome way because it draws from and builds upon a multitude of tropes, genres, and styles of composition from classical, to contemporary electronic music. Son Lux is a study in contrasts and an example of how inspiration can come from all around us.

We caught up with the band when they were in Berlin on the European leg of their tour to promote their new album Bones and they surprised us with the announcement that this was a sort of homecoming for them. The very first time the trio played together as Son Lux live in concert was at the venue, Bi Nuu, where we met to discuss what it is like to be on tour together, their unique and collaborative approach to music-making and their singular sense of style.

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Justin: How does it feel to be back in Berlin?

Ryan: It’s cool. Very excited for tonight, the first show we ever played here was really fun, but I think we are a lot better than the last time we played here and it’s kind of a different show. It’s our own headlining show.

Justin: How did you guys meet in the first place?

Ryan: Well, I met Rafiq first [in New York]. We have some friends in common, some mutual musician friends and we actually met online.. [Rafiq:] On Tindr [laughs].

He e-mailed me about doing a show together at the time, that I couldn’t do, but I listened to his music which was completely fantastic, and I could tell right away it was constructed in a way that was really unique and that I felt an immediate kinship with and that was really rare.

Justin: You see a piece of yourself in it.

Ryan: Yah, exactly. So, unfortunately we couldn’t do the show together but I invited him to collaborate on Lanterns, our previous album, which I was working on at the time. Shortly after that, I scored a film called The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and Rafiq was a big part of that as well, which we also did remotely actually.
When did we meet in person?

Rafiq: It wasn’t for a long time actually. We did have a two hour Skype hangout one time, I was telling dumb jokes. That was fun. We didn’t actually really meet in person until we started rehearsing for those Joe’s Pub shows [in NY] that we did.

Ryan: And eventually I needed to create a band in order to tour Lanterns. So, immediately I knew I wanted to work with Rafiq and I knew Rafiq would be instrumental in filling out the ensemble. And then he had worked with Ian. Ian plays in and had played in tons of bands and he had a good amount of videos and I saw them. The thing that really attracted me to Ian’s playing is that he is like a chameleon. He could play this really sick, improvisation-based forward-thinking jazz and then he could also play really mechanistic electronic sh*t on SPD and acoustic drums as well. And he was adept at playing with click, which is when, in your ears you have a metronome and you are able to organically sync all kinds of different things if you have a common click, and it’s not something that every musician can do. That was another skill that I knew was going to be useful.

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As soon as we started to rehearse I felt really confident in these guys. I didn’t feel so confident in myself because I really hadn’t performed very much at all. But pretty quickly, we had had four rehearsals in a cramped space, and then we played to a full house here [at Bi Nuu in Berlin].

Justin: It’s interesting, you said you collaborated a lot online before ever meeting, now that you guys are spending all this time together on tour, do you work face-to-face more, has it changed?

Ryan: You know we still do work remotely. A lot of Son Lux music is still made very privately, very geeky sessions of personal experimentation. But we are constantly sharing ideas. Even last night we were cycling through our voice memos on our phones remembering this and that ideas. Oh, send that to me, etc., and so we are always keeping in mind the possibility that at any moment a great idea could emerge, and when we are together a lot of great ideas do emerge.

Ian: There are a surprising number of ideas for great songs that start out in sound check, or one of us will start playing something, and another person will play over it. It’s really fun.

Justin: How does touring effect your creative process? You pick things up along the way where you are going?

Ryan: As a trio, the touring process kicked off our creative process, because initially Son Lux was my personal project and then I formed this band to be my live band, but then the creative chemistry that we had as we were sharing day in and day out together, that chemistry created a bunch of new life for me and creative life, so that’s when the live band morphed into Son Lux proper as a trio.

Justin: Amped it up so to speak.

Ryan: Yah and for me, if I think about making music with Son Lux, it’s not just about what I can come up with in my own brain and in my own little closet, but it doesn’t exclude that, which is cool. There is still that personal sacred space, which is cool with making music, it’s just augmented.

Justin: And shared. Where is that sacred space for you? Where do you go to focus on the production?

Ryan: I have my own studio in my apartment in Brooklyn, and Rafiq has his own studio now.

Rafiq: I do now! It’s great.

Ryan: This man [Ian] barely has his own bed, because he is always on tour, always on the road. So probably your iPhone.

Ian: Yah, my phone is a sacred space.

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BARTON PERREIRA TRUMAN Matte Stonehenge

Ryan: I mean it’s incredible now what you can do and maintain incredible mobility. Ideas genuinely do emerge from a phone or from an app, a beat app, from a voice memo, just humming a melody.

Justin: What do you do to prepare for a gig, are there any rituals or routines you go through?

Rafiq: Well yah, you know we’ve done 200 shows since last January.

Ryan: 230 or 240 shows by now.

Rafiq: With a nine pound guitar on your shoulder and doing pretty athletic maneuvers, over time I really wore my shoulder out. I was feeling numbness and all sorts of things in my arms, so I do these stretches to open up my upper body before we play. So physically speaking that is one. But all of us tend to be relatively relaxed and before we go on stage we have a hug. A group embrace before we go out.

Justin: That’s sweet.

Rafiq: You know there is something, it’s a small thing, but there is something to be said about it. [Agreement all around] There was one show where we didn’t do it and I think we all noticed it.

Ryan: Did we do that?

Rafiq: Yah, there was one show.

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Justin. Never again! Tell me more about your style… are there any items you have to have to put you at ease?

Ian: I’ve pretty much worn glasses since I was five and so, well I tried one year with contacts but I wasn’t into it… I’m really blind. I get really tired when I can’t focus my eyes and its kinda dark, so glasses are really big for me. Lately I’ve been wearing one pair of boots. I think I’ve been wearing these Palladiums for ages, especially on tour, I’ve been packing really light.

Rafiq: Yah, really light is an understatement, he lives out of a suitcase yay big. And he always has room in it. It’s like the bag in Harry Potter.

Justin: You guys all wear glasses?

Ryan: I definitely prefer them to contacts.

Rafiq: I’ve never even tried contacts.

Ryan: I tried soft contacts for a day and I ripped two in a single day and my parents were like we can’t afford that and I felt so distraught. So then I got glasses and I wore pretty terrible glasses my whole life until I met my wife and she convinced me to get cool glasses and basically these are the glasses.

Justin: What are these cool glasses?

Ryan: These are Moscot and these guys are YEARS old. I’ve had these for seven years! I need to get a new pair, but it’s funny you know I feel like I’m just going to get these same ones.

Justin: These are your only ones, you don’t have any spares?

Ryan: I have some custom Moscot as well that are clear and then a long the top they have a root beer fade, and then they are dipped in black so they have a pretty unique look. And then my sunglasses are also Moscot, but they are the lemtosh.

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RAY-BAN RB3532V 2500

Justin: Where does the name Son Lux come from?

Ryan: Originally I wanted to have name for this project I was developing. I started to explore the pop idiom, as well as some more adventurous, experimental ideas, and trying to find a fusion between the two. I liked the idea of not using my own personal name. And now, I’m especially thankful I didn’t do that now that we are a trio. I liked the idea of a two word name because it feels personal, like a first name, last name. I was experimenting with simple and symmetrical words because graphically that was important to me. Using the word Lux, which is Latin for light, it’s a very specific word that’s rooted in a language that’s dead and it’s very sort of contained and evocative and specific. And then the word Son or Sōn, in English it has a familial feeling, like son, of son and daughter and it also has a very open feeling to it. But Son feels sort of open, and ironically feels sort of brighter than the word Lux. I wanted symmetrical words that felt inherently contrasting. Because musically that’s something that we are always trying to do, find curious contrasts that still fell symmetrical.

Justin: It’s interesting because when I saw your Tumblr it sort of made me feel that way, with lots contrasting textures and parallel shapes. And now I see why they call you guys intellectual pop, that was quite an in-depth answer, so thanks for that!

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PHOTOGRAPHER: GERALD LE VAN CHAU
FASHION EDITOR: KEITH S. WASHINGTON

After countless remixes and stellar performances from Mexico to Tokyo the Paris based electro duo Jupiter: Quarles and Amelie arranged there second album: Bandana Republic on Kitsune Records. For the first time Jupiter has recorded an album in Los Angeles and Paris.

With the assistants of the decadent private garden of the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre in Paris 4SEE Magazin managed to meet Jupiter for an informative Q&A.

If you could be in a cover band who would it be?
Quarles: Guns N Roses, I would actually have the time of my life playing Slash’s licks.
Amelie:: The Doors, I would do an awesome Ray Manzarek impersonation.

Favorite cartoon as a kid?
Quarles: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! I am totally obsessed.
Amelie: The same! But I didn’t want to eat pizza until I saw this cartoon. It was a great revelation!

How many records do you both roughly own together?
Between the both of us probably around 150 LPs.

What would your porn star names be?
(Last name is the street you grew up on and your first name is your first pet’s name)
Quarles: M Schumann
Amelie: Laska Joffre

Favorite keyboard?
Quarles: Roland Jupiter 8, it is so versatile and yet powerful at the same time and a great name too!
Amelie: The same!

jupiter_story03AMELIE: Sunglasses by FENDI PARADEYES Colour White Jumpsuit by TOGA QUARLES: Abstract Ice Blue sunglasses by DIOR Style Abstract. Metallic Leather Jacket by John Lawrence Sullivan Jeans by A.P.C and T-shirt Vintage.

If you could collaborate to make a track with anyone alive or deceased who would it be?
Quarles: Eazy-E, because he’s all over the media right now after being kinda forgotten for 20 years.
Amelie: Maybe Lee Hazlewood?

Its 7AM via at an after party that would you request Champagne or Wine?
Quarles: Champagne. Much better hangovers!
Amelie: Definitely Champagne.

What is required before JUPITER takes the stage?
Quarles: I practice my vocals. Because there’s always room for improvement as far as I’m concerned.
Amelie: Yeah, we practice vocals together and do harmonies.

jupiter_story04AMELIE: White sunglasses by Fendi Style: Paradeyes Leather Jacket by TOGA Jean skirt and T-shirt vintage.

McDonalds or Burger King?
Quarles: Burger King. Strangely, I’ve been waiting for them to come back to France for over 10 years now. But I don’t really care anymore…
Amelia: To be honest neither one! I prefer In N Out!

Favorite pair of sunglasses?
Quarles: Ray-Ban folding wayfarers. They’re the biggest frames they have and I have a huge head. They also look sharp too.
Amelie: Sorry don’t really have one, I change all the time!

In high school you wanted to be as an adult?
Quarles: I wanted to work for the United Nations. Fighting climate change with law and politics. Then somewhere along the way I realised I’d be so much better at something I actually enjoyed.
Maybe I should feel bad about this?
Amelie: I wanted to be an actress in plays although I never really took drama classes.

jupiter_story01AMELIE: White sunglasses by Fendi Style: Paradeyes Leather Jacket by TOGA Jean skirt and T-shirt vintage. QUARLES: Abstract Ice Blue sunglasses by DIOR Style Abstract. Metallic Leather Jacket by John Lawrence Sullivan Jeans by A.P.C and T-shirt Vintage.

You were in California for inspiration on your most recent album BANDANA REPUBLIC what was your favorite ideal situation in California?
We went hiking in the mountains in Kings Canyon and at some point it was just the two of us on top of a mountain and there was only silence. As cliché as it might be it felt really amazing and so inspirational!

What is your favorite place to perform?
Mexico! Best crowd ever! (except maybe Japan, but we only played in Japan once so far.)

Who gets window vs aisle when traveling on tour?
Quarles: I get the window as I fall asleep as soon as I sit so I like to rest my head against the window.
Amelie: I’m not a big fan of flying so I always like to seat in the aisle to feel safer (somehow it makes sense to me!)

jupiter_story02AMELIE: Sunglasses by FENDI PARADEYES Colour White Jumpsuit by TOGA

BANDANA REPUBLIC BY JUPITER on ITunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bandana-republic/id975627879

www.wearejupiter.com

SHOT ON LOCATION:
HOTEL PARTICULIER MONTMARTRE

Hôtel Particulier Montmartre is the tiniest hôtel in Paris and a great visuel surprise, hidden in the exciting district of Montmartre. Once home to the Hermès family, the Hotel opened its doors to the public in 2007. Bordered by a private garden, it features five Suites, a French Restaurant and a cocktail Bar called Le Très Particulier. In a few years, the Hotel became a unique place, haven of peace to anyone in search of a new experience and inspirational refuge to many artists.
www.hotel-particulier-montmartre.com

Photography CHRISTOPH NEUMANN
Interview JUSTIN ROSS

TOKiMONSTA aka Jennifer Lee may sound like a monster but she is really a star, and a gorgeous one at that. This Los Angeles native has found a fan base that spans the globe as she continues to push boundaries with her unique musical style. Her collaborations rack up listeners, and rightly so, as she effortlessly and harmoniously blends a myriad of styles and ends up in a class all of her own.

The nonstop pace of a globetrotting lifestyle with back-to-back bookings, playing in a different city each night can take a toll, yet the uplifting qualities of her music overshadows this fact, as her own effervescence clearly shines through.

TOKiMONSTA joined us in Berlin while on her European tour. In town to play at the club Gretchen, she stepped out in an early spring to show off the latest entries from Leisure Society and Etnia Barcelona. The photos captured her with her favorite new accessories in all their gilded glory. And when she sat down with us, her genuine character really came through. As a DJ and producer she may bring in the crowds, but what they certainly won’t forget is her totally rocking sense of style.

How did you get in to DJing and producing your own music?
I think it was a natural progression from being a fan of music and growing up playing the piano. Then, when I entered college, a friend of mine suggested producing music and he showed me a few things. I got really into it, and it kind of just took off from there.

I started doing research on how to do even more things with it. After I started developing a bit of a reputation as a producer and musician, I started DJing because that is the way people can see you perform. That’s why I started performing live.

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Producing is a bit nerdier than DJing, are you a nerd?
Kind of, actually. I’m a pretty straightforward nerd at times. Once I get into producing I’m really in it, so I’ll spend 8 hours straight in the studio, and not eat or drink anything, or even go to the restroom until I’m done.

Where does the name TOKIMONSTA come from?
‘Toki’ means rabbit in Korean, and ‘Monsta’ was just a way to say monster, because I thought it was super cool! It was my screen name from way back, I guess that’s another way my nerdy side comes out… using a chat screen name as my artist name as well. It was a little arbitrary in the beginning, but the name definitely means more to me now and I’ve come to embody it and it has come to really signify the type of music I make.

You create fresh sounds with a lot of pretty classical influences, who are some of these influences?
As far as musical influences, I think there are so many, but the type of music that has made the biggest impact on my production is really hip-hop and rap, and R&B. I guess to point to a few big influences, DJ Shadow would be one, J Dilla, the producer. I really like Aphex Twin, and just random rave stuff I’ve listened to, like drum ‘n’ bass when I was 14 and sneaking out of the house.

What brings you to Berlin this time?
I’m playing tonight at Gretchen. This is going to be my third time playing there, I think. It’s a great venue. Berlin is one of my favorite cities to play in, or even just be in.

Is it different playing for crowds in Berlin?
It is kind of different than other places in Europe because a lot of people who come to the show are young expats or transplants from other parts of Europe. I always feel like people who are brave enough to move and live in another country, they have something in their head that makes them more adventurous in a way. They are really open-minded. That’s a great thing about this city.

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What elements make a great clubbing experience?
Because I play out a lot, a good sound system makes a big difference to me. I like a venue where it is a little dingy and dark, but the sound is great, I’m really into that. The people also make a big difference, but I like a place where you can go out alone to hear a great musician or DJ and still have a good time.

How about as a DJ, how do you know when you are really on it?
My approach to DJing isn’t like a typical DJ. People go to see me because they know I’m going to do something that is very me… I’m not just going to play all their favorite jams. The crowd is great when they understand what I’m trying to do even if it is something a little bit esoteric.

You also have an independent look and style. What are some of your signature items?
For me, right now especially, a lot of hand jewelry and statement necklaces, and always sunglasses. Those are the main things. I like the idea of accessorizing, especially with an outfit. It makes a big difference. I could wear the same thing as someone else, but the accessories are what really set you apart.

Do you wear sunglasses at night?
Every now and then if I have some sunglasses that I love, like these ones that I have with green lenses, I can wear those at night and feel pretty okay about it.

What is your favorite pair?
These Henry Holland and Le Specs collab with green lenses and a clear frame. I wear them a lot because they are also very durable and I haven’t lost them yet!

How many sunglasses do you own?
I don’t even know… too many to count!

Your go-to jetlag cure?
I wish I had one! If someone has one please let me know!

Do you have any days off?
I had four days off in Paris. Usually I end up sleeping, eat a lot, drink tons of wine, and go shopping.

Four things you can’t live without:
Music, good food, good friends, my cell phone!

Photography GERALD LE VAN CHAU
Fashion Stylist & Interview KEITH S. WASHINGTON
Makeup SATOKO WATANABE
Hair YUJI OKUDA

From resident DJ sets at Silencio in Paris to events in Ibiza, London and Geneva amongst others, Nathalie Duchene is taking over the Parisian Electro scene. In addition Nathalie works with numerous fashion brands such as Bulgari, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton, creating sets which encompass her various influences from Miss Kitten to Jeff Mills. Nathalie Duchene has also contributed to fashion magazines in Belgium and Paris, adding to her multiple talents as an artist. And now, Nathalie is hard at work on her own productions as well.

How did you get your start as a DJ?
I always liked discovering new tracks and browsing music stores in Belgium and then one day I started training and rehearsing alone in my room.

Your Favorite place to DJ?
I am fascinated by Berghain in Berlin. That is a very unique place for me. And, for the fun of it, the PS1 party in New York City.

Best experience as a DJ?
I did the opening of the first part with Martin Solveig last year in Geneva.
Nathalie.DucheneSunglasses by Carrera 5022IS Interchangeable lenses with pink and yellow mirror lens. Shirt and white skirt all by Kitsune

What projects are in the works for 2015?
My first EP will come out in 2015, which I’m very excited about.

Where was the first place you played as a DJ?
It was at Le Baron in Paris.

What is the one item is your must have before you play?
My Senneiser platinum Headphone (A personal gift from a very good friend of mine who is also a DJ).

Favorite pair of eyewear?
The 6008 frame by Carrerra, for sure.
Nathalie.Duchene_05 Sunglasses by Miu Miu 315 €, White dress by Kitsune, Shoes by Roger Vivier

When and why did you move to Paris?
I moved to Paris 8 years ago for the creative atmosphere, that and the climate, obviously.

Favorite track of 2014?
It was “Clear” by The Hacker.

10.What kind of music did you listen to in high school?
Techno music, always.
Nathalie.Duchene_03 Sunglasses by Carrera 5022IS Interchangeable lenses with pink and yellow mirror lens. Shirt and skirt all by Kitsune

Top 3 favorite fashion designers?
They would have to be Nicolas Gesquière,
Raf Simmons, and
Hedi Slimane.

If you were asked to DJ for a PFW runway show what designer would you want to DJ for?
Chanel of course!

Coke or Pepsi?
Neither of them.

If you could work with any musician from past who would it be?
Kraftwerk!

Basquiat or Warhol?
Both of them! Ebony and ivory lives in a perfect harmony in me. But If I really really must choose one of them I would go with Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Nathalie.Duchene_02 Sunglasses by Miu Miu 335 €, Jumpsuit,bag and handbag all vintage, Shoes by Roger Vivier

 

Photography JÖRGEN AXELVALL
Interview SHARI MONIQUE GAB
Fashion stylist Keith s. Washington

Diane Birch has been likened to pillar greats Carole King, Lauren Nyro, and Gerry Goffin, but the Michigan pop singer/songwriter is taking the reigns of her career and is about to unleash her truthful twists on preordained classical sound.

Her last release ‘Speak A Little Louder’ followed an extraordinary 2009 debut, ‘Bible Belt,’ which opened in the Billboard Top 100 and appropriately prompted Karen Carpenter comparisons. Previous to which at S-Curve Records, she honed her skills and shared the stage with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Betty Wright.

Strong through the tragic loss of her father to cancer, she surrendered herself to the darkness of days and found light and personal and professional maturity through the processes of healing – reemerging an enlightened artist unafraid of grasping – and sharing – her inner desires through sound.

A move to New York and crossing paths with Daptones drummer, Homer Steinweiss, released the inner benevolence of Birch. Touting it as a magical fusion of creative energy, Birch said, “The timing was perfect and it just worked.” “Tell Me Tomorrow,” “Diamonds in the Dust” and “It Plays On,” a tribute to her father and his enduring inspiration on her music, followed.

Though based primarily in Brooklyn, Birch also worked in the UK, where she recorded “All the Love You Got” with Adele’s Eg White, Roots drummer Questlove (co-produced with Steve Greenberg), and Duran Duran bassist, John Taylor. Followed by a bout in Los Angeles, where she co-wrote and cut “Unfkd” with Aqualung’s Matt Hales.
Diane.Burch_01

Stripped back, but saturated, her albums incorporate lush synthesizers and thundering drums, overlain with Birch’s ravishing and spine-stimulating vocals. There’s something unabashedly attractive about artists that can denude – in work and in life – in humble gratitude of their craft. To that end, on a blessedly sunny day in southern Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the quintessential haunt, Marlow & Sons, Birch sat with us – token hat upon her head – to let the world see deeper.

What are you working on now?
I’m taking advantage of diverging from working with large producers and taking control of my own process. For the past while, I’ve been adapting to the expectations of what my music should be and having to mold my vision accordingly. Now, it’s time to get back to where I started.

And where is that?
Growing up I was primarily exposed to classical music and my introduction to other genres came much later. I love hip-hop, pop, the Carpenters, top 40…it all. I’m distilling how those influences affected me, how they’ve taken shape through my music, and seeing what stuck from Beethoven to Portishead.

What are you finding?
I remember listening to Portishead’s “Glory Box,” with its classical arrangements and sophisticated harmony, and it breeding a feeling inside of me. I can still listen to it today and access that feeling. It is about finding those juxtapositions – R&B with melodic top lines maybe – finding two opposing forces that correlate. There there’s truth and those are the things that move me.
Diane.Birch_03

Where will you take it?
I’m taking those original influences that are true to my self and adapting them. I want to get in there, get weird, and morph my creative vision.

How do you know what is true to your self?
I’m asking myself ‘How do I want to be seen?’ and ‘What is this picture I have of myself?’ There are things on my first record that horrify me now and there are things that still feel so right. It’s difficult in music to put something out there because it feel like it’s this stamp on who I am and a stamp on my career. Hopefully, as I get to explore my roots and filter accordingly, that stamp will become less opaque. Meanwhile, there are those pieces from the past that are so purely me and those threads of consistency will become bolder and bolder.

What’s in store this season?
I’m collaborating on a new EP now with other artists from all walks and will also be touring this Fall. I never expected to work with so many different types of musicians, but I’m open to that experience of connecting with others that are doing something totally unrelated to what I’m about. Like I’ve grown to admire so much of the youth today. There’s a whole generation of talented musicians out there with their eyes wide open. Maybe I would even write things for other artists. In the past, I’ve held tight to what I created – wanted it to be for me – because I felt such a great responsibility in how it would come across. But, now I’m realizing that some things I write, they’re not necessarily meant to come just through me. So I’m open.
Diane.Birch_02

Four things you cannot live without.
My piano, good coffee, love, and perfume.

Who would you like to collaborate with most?
Brian Eno. I think I even mentioned it in my last interview too. One of these days he’ll read it and be like, ‘Who is this Diane Birch girl?’

From where we’re sitting, Diane Birch is a multi-faceted musician, a woman at the edge of time, with the face of a doll and a wide-open heart, windswept to the epicenter of transformation, clarity and creativity. Injecting integrity into sound and mastering the ability to layer soul with experimentation, her work resonates with her indubitable fascination with self-reflection. Her work invites you to lose yourself in the rhythm and take it to the dance floor, all while relishing in the synthesis of our connection to our core, to others, and the universe at large. Brian Eno, are you listening?

Leather Jacket by YOHJI Yamamoto
Sunglasses by BARTOn Perreira
Dress,pants and boots vintage

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Interview JULIA WELLER

Titel RAY-BAN Clubmaster RB 2176 990  220€

Pablo Heras-Casado was born in Spain, but today he constantly travels the world to conduct his own orchestral arrangements. He is known for the remarkable range of his repertoire, from classical to contemporary music. His performances are mesmerizing as he meticulously conducts the orchestra without a baton. He manages to manipulate the orchestra and make the music at once compelling and relatable; not to mention the fact that he always finishes his performances with a cold bottle of beer. During a recent tour in Berlin he stopped by our studio for a photo shoot and a few questions. We asked him 11 questions to find out a little bit more about this promising/inspiring young conductor.

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IC! BERLIN MIKE SUN Matt Gold 300€

Who are your favorite composers and musicians?
All the good ones!!! I have a very wide taste for good things, and it´s the same with music.

What was the most memorable live performance you went to?
Lately, the most striking performance I´ve heard [was] of Stravinsky´s Rite of Spring, with Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Luzern Festival.

What are your favorite films of all time?
I´m a big fan of the Godfather trilogy! I´m also fascinated for different reasons with Fritz Lang´s Metropolis. And I like Italian classics!

What book has influenced you?
Probably the Bible, even if I´m not a religious person.

Pablo_Heras-Casado04
IC! BERLIN CLAUDE Fashion Silver 300€

What are you working on right now?
I´m rehearsing very intensely for 2 performances at the first New York Philharmonic Biennial. It´s a new music festival in which I´ll conduct my orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke´s, with 2 different programs devoted to the composers Geourge Benjamin and Pierre Boulez. I´m also preparing for Mozart´s Magic Flute in Aix-en-Provence next week!

How would you describe your perfect day?
A very long and sunny day starting with some sport, plenty of great music-making, and ending with a wonderful dinner in the best company.

What are your favorite cities?
Granada and New York.

What is your favorite eyewear? And what style do you like?
I’m very eclectic as with most of things, but I´ve had several Ray-ban glasses – simple, sharp and classic style.

How many pairs of glasses do you have?
3 glasses and 3 sunglasses

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IC! BERLIN S2 HUMBOLDTHAIN Diamond 405€

Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?
I´d like to spend some more time in my garden!

What are four things you can’t live without?
Family, music, Granada (home!), Sun!!

The world according to Alice is a magical one. It is a place filled with invented characters that prance around an imaginary stage in an ordered chaos. They are whimsical actors festooned in colorful costumes made from playroom toys and joke store paraphernalia. In order to fully explore this fantasy realm it is not uncommon to find Alice working simultaneously on a few different projects like a stop motion animation and a series of drawings.

Alice_02 When she was approached by 4SEE magazine to do an exclusive illustration she gladly added it to the daily bustle of her busy schedule. She daydreamed about colorfully inked women adorned with striking glasses as she was stirring her cup of coffee one morning. While watching the fluid looseness of the milk and coffee swirl together, her idea for the illustration was born.

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For Alice the language of drawing is how she communicates, this is what she has to say.

Alice_01Artist Biography

Irish-Canadian artist Alice Gibney received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario and garnered the Eric Freifeld award upon graduation. In 2012 she completed her Master’s of Fine Arts at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City.

Alice’s work circulates around the creation, investigation and depiction of a series of fictional characters. Through the use of photography, drawing and video she explores the various layers of each character’s personality. Her imaginative world exists outside of our universe, but it still has a connection to the familiar.

Alice has exhibited both nationally and internationally and she has participated in several residencies around the world. She currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

 

To purchase her drawings, contact redaktion@4SEEmagazin.de

 

 

Photography: BERT SPANGEMACHER
Styling: THEO VASILIOU @ Blossom Management Berlin
Text: ANN FORD

Slowly, Paul opens a black suitcase, as if it were a precious treasure box and 18 of the cool-looking Cazal sunglasses appear. “These are awesome frames, combining German quality with genius design,” raves the 33 years old, originally from Togo. Paul is one of two singers from the band “Raxinoar.” Pierre is the other member. “We are copy and paste,” says Pierre. That is perfectly true; the identical twins are like splitting images of each other.

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You can only tell who is who by the lavish jewelry they wear. Pierre wears opulent golden jewelry, whereas Paul likes to wear silver. “We have our own style,” explains Paul. This applies to their eccentric taste for fashion, such as embellishing a military style jacket with a fox fur scarf and mixing gingham and camouflage patterns. The same goes for their music. Born in Paris, the twins describe their music style as tropical pop. “That is a mixture of Latin, Electronic and Disco music,” says Paul. “During our live set, everybody gets up to dance – even Germans – no matter how old they are,” adds Pierre.

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They definitely know what they are talking about: the duo has toured extensively throughout Germany and Europe. Raxinoar radiates perpetual energy and a good sense of humor – even after many hours on a photo shoot. Since the age of 16, Paul and Pierre have been on stage – exclusively with their own songs. In Togo, they are widely known, so why a fresh start in Germany? “Love has brought me to Germany,” explains, now Münchner Pierre. There he felt at home quickly. “That made Paul curious about Germany,” says Pierre and continues; “I told him, ‘you need to come to Germany. That’s the only way we could continue making our music.”

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For the musical twins, fashion is very important. “Already in Togo, glasses were our styling devices,” Pierre recalls. First they were pure necessity. “But then our style remained that way,” explains the musician. Here in Germany they discovered Cazal frames and thought, “wow!” Initially we bought a new pair every month for our concerts,” says Pierre. But soon the brand became aware of the twins, adds his brother Paul. Now they represent Cazal.

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The Germans are going to hear a lot about Raxinoar: last year their latest album “Summer Dance” came out and now they have just finished filming their fourth video in St. Moritz. Next summer they’ll start recording a new album.

Photography BERT SPANGENMACHER
Text JUSTIN ROSS

4SEE caught up with L.A.-based designer Victor Wilde, the talented creative mind between the edgy and original brand Bohemian Society, when he visited Berlin this spring. Calling Victor a designer doesn’t seem to do him justice though—upon sitting down with him it immediately became apparent that his creativity abounds in so many directions that we might need a new word to describe this kind of multitalented inventor.

His original approach to clothing might spring from Victor’s own personal story as he ventured forth from his native Brooklyn, carving out his path towards success with many interesting and adventurous detours along the way including being thrown out of art school not once but twice, finding work as a living statue on the streets of New York, and hosting his own cable access show before finally transplanting himself to Los Angeles which he has called home for the past fifteen years.

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victor.wilde06 EYEWEAR: SALT. WILCOX PS

It was in Los Angeles that the idea to create clothing first came to him. There was just one problem: he didn’t exactly know how to sew. Rather than let this be an obstacle for him, he seized it as an opportunity to begin creating clothing from recycled vintage clothes he picked up all over town.

This was long before the term ‘upcycling’ even existed. For Victor, this was simply a way to let people wear his designs and get his creative vision out there. His first collection created this way was a smash success and before long he couldn’t keep up with the orders that were pouring in. Growing up in a tight-knit Brooklyn family which he called “almost like mobsters” he engaged his cousin to join him as business partner.

Together they found local patternmakers and seamstresses to begin creating original garments based on Victor’s own handmade aesthetic. While produced by his team in Los Angeles, Victor still personally oversees every garment that leaves the facility and most of the collection is hand-finished by him as he adds his own personal touch to each original garment. As Victor puts it, the result is “mass-produced one of a kinds.”

victor.wilde02EYEWEAR: ANDERNE AEROPLANE MBK-M
victor.wilde07EYEWEAR: ANDERNE ONE NIGHT BKW-M

Today Victor’s brand is catching the attention of hip and aware crowds worldwide for its raw but refined approach to a punk aesthetic. The clothing he creates has an energetic and original quality to it that gives it a singular appeal to a savvy, stylish crowd. It has recently been featured in the pages of Vogue and is a favorite of numerous celebrity clients and stylists in L.A.

All this momentum has led Victor to expand his latest capsule collection Black Rose, featuring a darker, moody attitude with updated tongue-in-cheek references to ’90s grunge and emo symbolism, into markets in Asia and Europe. Victor keeps coming back to Berlin because he finds the style and attitude of people here resonate with his own way of thinking.

Victor combines his business in fashion with a free-spirited art practice that incorporates video projects and art installations as well as his own punk attitude to fashion in which he uses models to bodypaint canvases for example.

Look out for Victor’s Bohemian Society clothes in selective underground retailers in Europe in the near future, and don’t be surprised if you see Victor back in Berlin to turn a few heads with his original approach to combing art and fashion.

victor.wilde04EYEWEAR: ANDERNE ONE NIGHT BKW-M

victor.wilde08EYEWEAR: SALT. ROY AG

djCartridgePhotography: GERALD LE VAN-CHAU
Interview: KEITH S. WASHINGTON
Glasses: ØRGREEN NORTH 471 Mat Brown / Aubergine

The premier digital issue of 4SEE Magazine features the heavy electro upbeat synthwave producer CARTRIDGE 1987 whose experiments involve weaving samples from classic minimal 80’s underground cult favorites. Adrien Dirch a.k.a. CARTRIDGE 1987 composed an exclusive track “This is a Good Day” for 4SEE.

What city are you based out of?
Paris.

What is your favorite venue to perform at?

My bedroom.

What influenced you to start your path into music?

I used to listen a lot of different stuff, from reggae to hard rock. I first discovered electro with Daft Punk on their first album when they created the French touch. From then on, I was listening to just electro, minimal or hard tech. When Justice came out on the scene, I was very fond of them and then I decided to try to recompose their track in order to find myself and my path in music.

What is most important to you when you DJ?
The most important thing is to play stuff that I don’t hear at clubs, to express myself and to play tracks from new artists who really deserve to be known.

Coffee or Cigarettes?
Both.

What is your favorite pair of sunglasses?
The Ray Bans from Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

What is your current project?
My album that I worked on together with my brother is coming out at the end of September and it’s called “Grand Soleil” from the Pains Surprises recording label.

Who were you in high school?
I was a skater/rebel clearly, but we were all like that in this school.

What are your top 3 favorite songs?
“Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus
“Brainwashed” by Daft Punk
“Live on Brighton Beach” from Fat Boy Slim

What was it like the first you deejayed in public?
It was in a cheesy bar in Paris but with a great sound and the furniture was amazing!!

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