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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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

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