The New Vanguard – Artist Profile 13
Filip Berte

Architect turned artist Filip Berte investigates the concept of the border and belonging in his multilayered body of work

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Interview JUSTIN ROSS

Filip Berte is a Belgian interdisciplinary artist with a background in both art and architecture who uses his art to delve into deeply political and extremely relevant topics such as migration, the European question, borders, and belonging. His most recent and ongoing project is called ‘Un-Home / Moving Stones’ explores the concept of transitory spaces—places where migrants must pass through and be sanctioned by external processes. Visiting places of this sort, such as refugee camps or immigration centers, Berte poetically captures the immobility and unseen forces that shape these people’s lives. Molded by years of erosion, the rocks and caves that figure in many of his installations and photographs are both object and subject. Sometimes, we are looking at these rock in a particular spot; immobile, passive and inert, resigned to the fate they are dealt. Other times, we see the world from their perspective, capturing the sense of place from this peculiar perch low to the ground and both photographically and metaphorically frozen in time.

Berte shares with 4SEE his insights from his career as an artist, motivated by a desire to pose questions that he was unable to address in his architectural studies and early work. He describes his gradual transition to a practicing artist, molded by his experiences in Sarajevo where he was confronted with the realities of a post-war-torn society desperate to rebuild but mired in historical and political divisions. He carried these memories and experiences with him back to Belgium where he lives and works today.

Name Filip Berte
Age 43
Nationality Belgian
Medium Multidisciplinary (Drawing, painting, installation, photography, film, performance)
Based in Ghent
Recent/upcoming exhibition (projects) 28/07/2019 – Pre-Triennial Bruges (BE), 18/10/2019 ‘Endless Drawings / Disrupted Continuities’ – Europalia Romania 2019, CC Strombeek (Brussels) in cooperation with Salonul de Proiecte (Bucharest)
Find more at www.filipberte.com / instagram

Interview from July 2019

4SEE Artist Profile - Filip Berte Photography by Bert Spangemacher Eyewear by Coblens
4SEE Artist Profile – Filip Berte, Eyewear by Coblens

Did you always know that you were going to be an artist?

Somehow I always knew I was (going to be) an artist, but then maybe more in a hidden sense, underneath the skin of the professional architect. Because—first of all—I had passionately (partly also rationally) chosen to study architecture. Painting and drawing literally became a secondary plan, in the form of a part-time education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent.

But soon after my graduation in 1999 and during the following two years of mandatory internship at different architects’ offices, I started doubting my decision to work as an architect. My mind was troubled by images and thoughts related to the post-war Balkans. This was due to my graduation project of ‘the reconstruction of the National and University Library of Bosnia-Herzegovina’ in Sarajevo. I had the feeling that I had failed as an architect to give ‘the right answers’ to this project. There were too many facets to this building—left in ruins after it had been purposely been set on fire by Serbian military aggressors—that were too complicated or too sensitive to handle in a political or historical sense. All the questions I couldn’t get answered for myself over the years actually raised a kind of identity crisis in me; who am I, as a western-European architect who had only seen the war on television, to now give the answers to reconstruct such a densely politically and historically layered building? Who am I to find the proper form and function in rebuilding this destroyed symbol of multicultural life from before the war?

Visiting Sarajevo at that time, not even five years after the end of the war, was a serious reality check to me, bringing the questions of architecture back to the bones. Not only was the city physically in ruins, but also psychologically and socially it was an encounter with a post-traumatic society. It was a clash!

Three months before the end of my internship, I decided to cut it short and move to Belgrade. Before that I only had been back to Sarajevo, as well as to Belgrade and Kosovo, for shorter visits. Now, living in Belgrade would possibly give me the remaining answers to my questions. Questions about how to deal in the future (as an architect), with societal questions and greater issues of post-war divisions in nationalism, demonisation or victimisation of nationalities, ethnic, cultural or religious minorities, refugees, borders, Europe, etc… These issues were all very tangible during my time of living in Belgrade and I slowly started working on some paintings, based on the frontpage of the most important Serbian newspaper ‘Politika’.

For the first time, art (in the form of painting) was giving me the feeling of empowerment to transfer messages, or better put—questions—that could nestle deeper underneath the surface and had the possibility to expose it to a broader audience. Today, I still consider these paintings—that I actually never showed to anyone—as a modest but authentic expression of my slow transition from an architect into an artist.

My decision to go back to Belgium after one year of living in Belgrade, was, at the same time, a decision to quit working purely as an architect in the future. I therefore purposely decided not to finish with the remaining last three months of the internship to get the full degree of architect practitioner. However, I am still very pleased with my decisions from that time and am still convinced that through my art projects I am performing the medium of architecture even more profoundly (or essentially) as when I was undertaking architecture in a common, regular way.

4SEE Artist Profile - Filip Berte Photography by Bert Spangemacher Eyewear by Coblens
4SEE Artist Profile – Filip Berte, Eyewear by Coblens

Do you find the art world (creative world) cutthroat and competitive, or is it also supportive and community-minded, or something in between?

In general, I think there will always be that cliché image of an art-worId bubble, only because the system is copying and regenerating itself over and over again. Because it likes itself so much. Narcissistic narcotics.

The question is more; do I want to take part in or be part of that system, operating as a pure extension of the competitive neoliberal economy? Do I share the values of the people operating within this system? I would say no, to all of the above questions.

I personally believe in, and luckily have experienced other ways of operating with other artists and art-practitioners. Thinking more in a sense of an organic organism; a community of art-practitioners, sharing values, fighting for honest payments for the broad array of ‘jobs’ that we do, sharing knowledge and resources… Likewise trying to offer an alternative way of thinking and performing our daily lives as an artist, as a reaction to the dominant competitive logics of the art-world.

Eutopia / Tbilisi / Hotel Abkhazeti / Façade © Filip Berte (2012)
Eutopia / Tbilisi / Hotel Abkhazeti / Façade © Filip Berte (2012)

What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?

As an example I could mention ‘House of Eutopia’, my first personal long-term (7-years) art project within which Europe was considered to be my enlarged building ground and construction site. With ‘House of Eutopia’ I developed my artistic practice in the form of a slow extended process of ‘building questions’ and making them visible to an audience. This project took the form of one big installation that could be moved around and be temporarily set up at different locations throughout Europe. For me, this moving aspect was a very important aspect, as I could bring my questions, relating to societal, historical, political issues, to broader fields of interest and meet up with a bigger audience. Likewise, it also escaped the limitation of only one fixed place where the building and construction of a house should be whereby it would also be limited to only one context.

Eutopia / Batumi Transitus / Hyper-Façade © Filip Berte (2014)
Eutopia / Batumi Transitus / Hyper-Façade © Filip Berte (2014)

Does art always need to be relevant? Is there a place for aesthetic indulgence, or do politics come into play in your motivation?

Speaking from my perspective, I would say that I find it—and I speak for the work that I make—quite important that art is relevant. I find it difficult not to react to the political or societal context around me. Like I have already said before, I officially started my life as an artist, just because I needed to find another way, another language than architecture, to question the way we are living and spatially and politically organise our lives and societies. Through my work as an artist, I can work on and express topics that are critical and problematic in societies today (always in transition). Since then, the work I have been developing over the years has an ever-growing, engaged reflex. It is my main drive as an artist, that—through art—I can touch on and question topics in a very personal way, but with the ambition that I could open up or sometimes even change people’s monolithic stance towards other people and to politically sensitive or polarising thoughts, statements or issues. Not that I hide one dogmatic, clear message in my work. On the contrary, the work I make offers nothing more than a question. I see it as a small gesture to open up and to offer space to breath, so much needed in harsh and suffocating (political) times. I don’t make political art, but I make art with a political reflex; art that reflects humanity in a much wider and universal sense through topics of inclusion and exclusion, border realities and marginality.

Of course, there is absolutely a place for an aesthetic indulgence, though not solely for the sake of aesthetics. But the aesthetics of a work are the first connection to the work for any possible external viewer. The aesthetics therefore somehow are the key to bring someone so far that they will take the time to unveil a deeper underlying content. In other words, the aesthetics are the first superficial layer that can be scratched off, in order to unveil and discover the underlying layers, making the work as complex and layered as needed.

Un-Home / Moving Stones - Untitled © Filip Berte (2019)
Un-Home / Moving Stones – Untitled © Filip Berte (2019)

If not politics, then what are the key sources of inspiration for you? (What topics have got you inspired at the moment?)

Besides the socio-political realities that always reverberate in one or another way into my work, I am also very inspired by nature, geology and philosophy. For example, the (philosophical) archetype of the cave takes an important metaphorical place inside of the narratives within my ongoing project ‘Un-Home / Moving Stones’, focusing on the theme of image-building around asylum-seekers, refugees, newcomers and migrants.

The cave for me is a place of reference reflecting liminality and resonating the socio-political position of asylum-seekers and refugees in our societies. They are living in limbo, in between two realities, inside of the socio-political cracks, caves and cavities, excluded or hidden from the eyes of others in society. The cave as a negative space in the mountains or carved out inside the crust of the earth, is a natural shelter, offering protection. The cave is a space formed through geological processes of dissolution and disintegration spread over thousands to millions of years.

I am intrigued by these enormous time-consuming and opposing geological processes of integration and disintegration, formation and destruction. In it, as well as in nature in general, lies an enormous force to somehow confront us with and let us better understand the (time-) scale and position of our lives in this world.

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project or chance to see your work?

In August I will travel for three weeks through Romania to work on a very exciting project in the context of the international Biennial Arts Festival Europalia, focusing on Romania this time. I was invited by the Brussels’ arts centre CC Strombeek to develop a new work, focusing on the themes of ‘displacement and togetherness’. This new work will be shown in a group exhibition in CC Strombeek, together with the works of other Belgian and Romanian artists.

I am still in the process of developing the work, and it is really quite a tempting and complex undertaking. The title of my new work will be ‘Endless Drawings / Disrupted Continuities’, whereby I would like to bring to life five ‘biographies of displacement’; i.e. track and trace parallel lines between the lives of e.g. the Romanian people who are touched by the widespread Romanian diaspora, economic newcomers (from China, Sri-Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal) and asylum-seekers and refugees living in Romania.

Eventually, I would like to gradually build up one spatial image that consists of five ‘drawing columns’ trapped in a slow, continuous, vertical pendulum motion of folding and unfolding. Each of the ‘drawing columns’ will be made up of a collection of drawings that I will make during my Romanian trajectory, each of which will be drawn on the spot, while visiting people’s private places of (temporary) residence. The act of drawing is a direct but very honest and human approach to people, and will help me to start a natural dialogue whereby I can also touch more sensitive topics related to the disrupted lives they all share in common.

4SEE Artist Profile - Filip Berte Photography by Bert Spangemacher Eyewear by Coblens
4SEE Artist Profile – Filip Berte, Eyewear by Coblens

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your (art)work and at what scale?

Somehow this is a strange question to me, because I would not like to think about where I would see myself in 10 years time. I don’t want to think about that too much. Also in terms of scale of my work, I am more tempted to say I would like my work to be less and less visible as an external ‘work of art’ that could be exhibited, but maybe just more and more as something more ephemerally, dissolving into society itself.

Maybe that would then also signify that society has become truly open and inclusive…

4SEE Spotlight on NAUSICA - Edita Karkoschka (vocals) and Jannis Knüpfer(drums) Photography by Bert Spangemacher

SPOTLIGHT ON NAUSICA
Nausica’s multinational, European indie-pop colouring the airwaves and reaching new audiences

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Interview MADELEINE ARCHER

From a steady rise to riding a wave of increased airplay and well-deserved, renewed attention, Nausica is a four piece, multi-city-based band with members hailing from Poland, The Netherlands and Germany. Named in reference to celebrated Japanese Director Hayao Miyazaki’s film, ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind’, frontwoman Edita Karkoschka’s resonant lead vocals have been compared to the emotive intonations of PJ Harvey, carried forward by the guitar-lines of Tim Coehoorn, bass of Pim Walter, and the electronic and acoustic beats of Jannis Knüpfer. Nausica evokes cinematic soundscapes through their pop sound with both edge and heart, delivering emotion and highly-charged live performance as well as delivering consistently listenable digital releases.

Nausica formed as a band in 2013 and has since found a loyal fanbase, touring throughout Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. Collaborating with visual artists and designers, Nausica have established themselves firmly in the future-mainstream genre with the duality of indie-pop with an edge. They recently supported Son Lux in Amsterdam for a sold-out performance at the MC Theater.

4SEE’s Madeleine joined lead singer Edita and drummer Jannis at the 4SEE Studios to talk band name pronunciation, weather extremes, and the ‘chaotic creativity’ of their ongoing collaboration with stylist Sarah Knüpfer.

4SEE Spotlight on NAUSICA - Edita Karkoschka (vocals) and Jannis Knüpfer(drums). Both eyewear by Coblens
4SEE Spotlight on NAUSICA – Edita Karkoschka (vocals) and Jannis Knüpfer(drums). Both eyewear by Coblens
Photography by Bert Spangemacher

Interview: 04/07/2019 with Nausica at raw studios. in Berlin

It’s a beautiful Thursday morning and I’m here with one half of the band Nausica – it that how its pronounced? Now-sih-kah?

Edita: Say it again?

(changing pronunciation slightly) Naw-si-car…

Edita: Yes, it’s nice.

Jannis: Most British or English people say Naw-si-ca, (Edita: “I like it”) because it comes from a Japanese movie it’s maybe Now-SEE-kah, but Nausica is nice.

Could you please introduce yourselves and your role/s in the band?

Edita: Hi, I’m Edita; I’m the singer of the band and front woman on stage, the only woman.

Jannis: I’m the drummer. I play as loud as I can.

And you’re Jannis?

Jannis: I’m Jannis.

Well, welcome to Berlin’s hot summer! Does the city bring up any particular feelings or nostalgias for you?

Edita: Yes, I think especially this Summer, I’m just very busy; extremely busy at the moment, and a few weeks ago I had a moment where I had like five hours free in the daytime and I was like ok, what can I do with it? And I was going by bike through the city and I think these are the moments when you live in Berlin where you realise ok, this is really like a vacation city, people always come here to really… just let the time flow.

Jannis: This year it’s a bit different, even last year was a bit different, cos’ the summers so hot, usually everybody loves the summer in Berlin because the winter is so harsh. But the last summer was horrible, it was too hot, and again this summer it’s kinda too hot and everybody’s struggling, everybody’s trying to escape.

Edita: That’s true. Last Sunday the city was empty.

Jannis: Now, since last week the city is empty anyways because it’s vacation time, but still, everybody needs to leave the city, its crazy hot. And this summer it feels kind of different to me because the winter was so dark, I don’t know what it was.

And you both live in Berlin permanently?

Both: Yes.

And the other two members live…

Jannis: In Holland. The Netherlands.

4SEE Spotlight on NAUSICA - Edita Karkoschka (vocals) and Jannis Knüpfer(drums). Edita wears Ray-Ban. Jannis wears Coblens.
4SEE Spotlight on NAUSICA – Edita wears Ray-Ban. Jannis wears Coblens.

You formed around 2013; did you already know each other before you started playing music together?

Both: Yes.

Jannis: I mean, we did, I came into the band later.

I read that you all went to the same music academy?

Jannis: Yes..

Edita: The bass player did not.

Jannis: Oh yeah, the bass player. Pim did not. He was the last edition to the band. Actually I came into the band after we finished studies, at least, so we knew each other but we never had this band when we were in the same city.

Edita: It was very funny actually, because our paths didn’t cross while we were studying and then we came together in the rehearsing room.

Was there a moment where it all came together, where you knew you were all wanting to do the same thing?

Edita: I think it’s always a thing with timing, when your interests come to the same…kreuzung.

Jannis: Crossing. The band existed with another drummer, and I wasn’t involved, I was a fan, so to say. And all of a sudden he stopped, or the band re…rewired? I don’t know if you could say so. And the situation came up, so we were in the room, and everything was like…(trails off)

Edita: And for me it was like, when Jannis joined it really got to be the band. Before that I think it felt more like a study band who’s starting, but it was not so…not what it was in my mind already. So when Jannis joined, it felt really like the right person.

The name of the band, Nausica, is a reference to Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – What made this title particularly significant as inspiration for the band name?

Edita: For me, I never had looked at anime films (Jannis: “Me neither”). Once, the guitar player of the band, Tim, said you have to watch this one, I don’t know why. So we watched it together, and…I love the timeless story of it. It’s about…actually it plays in the future, it plays in a time where the Earth is already destroyed (from) industrialisation, and this is a movie from the 80’s, one of the first Hayao Miyazaki films. And there’s this one girl, and there’s this toxic jungle growing on the Earth, and she discovers that this toxic jungle is cleaning the Earth of the industrialisation of humankind. So under the toxic jungle there is…(gestures) You’re like under the trees and there’s the freshest air you can have…and everything, I was just like…its such a beautiful story. Very timeless.

4SEE Spotlight on NAUSICA - Edita Karkoschka (vocals) and Jannis Knüpfer(drums). Edita wears Coblens. Jannis wears Jacques Marie Mage
4SEE Spotlight on NAUSICA – Edita wears Coblens. Jannis wears Jacques Marie Mage

You’ve been collaborating with fashion designer Sarah Knüpfer for a while now. How did this come about, and what is it in particular about Sarah’s style that complements Nausica so well?

Edita: She’s a multi-genius. She can do everything. She can do production, she’s a fantastic art director.

Jannis: She does music video, does production stuff, she studied art, fashion…

Edita: She’s funny. And she has just endless ideas (for) doing things. She can be very patient. And for me it’s fantastic because I can really throw ideas with her and try things out, so in the beginning it’s mostly very chaotic, which people say from the outside, but it’s more like throwing with ideas.

Jannis: And she’s also kind of a chaotic person, but she’s got the production side, she’s got her things in a row; she’s creative but still chaotic, so it’s a good mixture.

How did you meet Sarah?

Jannis: Actually, I met her very early…she’s my sister, so actually…in the first place it was just like, hey, have you got any ideas? And well yeh, plenty…

Edita: And we were very glad because she also moved to Berlin.

Jannis: She used to live in Amsterdam and Italy and London.

Edita: First when we started working she wasn’t living in Berlin, so it’s really cool.

Jannis: It’s easier now, but unfortunately she’s got a production job and does a lot of video production and so she’s busy. She’s already growing too fast for us, so we need to bring her back a bit.

How has the band changed since the earlier days of playing together? Has there been any particular shift in the process?

Jannis: The biggest change was when we moved to two cities which are far away, like seven hours. In the first place I was living only an hour and a half away from the Netherlands and Edita was still living in the Netherlands, but then we both moved to Berlin and the other guys were in Arnhem which is a seven hour ride, and that just changes how you have to organise, and recording… we had to work on the recording procedure with the world wide web. Recording-wise, its 2019, you can record and put it online and someone else can work on the same project. But you need to focus and make some time to get things together.

Being on the road and moving from city to city I imagine can be unsettling, even for a well-toured band. What helps make you feel at home in an unfamiliar place?

Edita: A good pillow.

Jannis: A good pillow, absolutely. The home-feeling to me…for me it’s not the place or the spot, it’s the people. What you mostly forget is wherever you go, the one safe thing you always have with you is yourself, so as a band we have ourselves and that’s the family part, and you need to make sure there are as few idiots around as possible. So we got each other and that’s the most ‘home’ part.

Edita: And we haven’t been travelling outside of Europe, which would be very nice for the future, but I think this is also, I think, if you’re still in Europe…

Jannis: We grew up as Europeans, not as Germans.

Edita, in the ‘All I Do’ video, you seem to embody more of a bohemian aesthetic, as opposed to a more art nouveau, electro-pop style of the ‘Hey You’ video. Is this a personal shift in style choice, or a more a progression with the musical direction of the band?

Edita: I think it’s a bit conscious, a bit unconscious. The ‘Hey You’ video was really set by Sarah Knüpfer, it was quite spontaneous outfitting and stuff which works in the picture of the location where we’ve been. Change. It’s not so conscious, no.

Jannis: It’s been three years, so, natural change.

I noticed there’s quite a lot of use of the colour orange in Nausica’s visual materials; in the title of the ‘All I Do’ single, on the tour poster for the German dates, throughout the website HTML design and Edita, in what you wear in both ‘Hey You’ and ‘All I Do’ music videos. Is this an intentional colour theme throughout your work?

Edita: A bit. It happened. I was working on the cover and somehow the colour orange became nice to use.

It’s not a Dutch reference?

Edita: Actually not.

Jannis: No, it came out that it was orange and lighter blue which came back all the time.

Edita: And this was actually inspired by Sarah I think, at some point she brought the colour orange a few years ago, and I was never wearing orange, no, what is orange? Very weird. But somehow I was inspired by this colour, so.. We made the cover and the colour orange somehow became…it.

More on the style-side of things, what are your favourite style sunglasses – is there a classic brand or shape you go for?

Jannis: Moscot. I used to have the clip-ons on my Moscot. It’s a Moscot thing. Nowadays I wear sunglasses of Lunettes, it’s a Berlin company, they just have a store (in Torstrasse) but they developed their own line as well. It’s not about the brand, it’s about the people that are doing it. It’s a European-famous glasses store, they are just so delicate and awesome. It was a coincidence that I got (my) Lunettes. Now I have the Ace & Tate, which Tim has as well; so Tim our guitar player, he has long hair as well, he’s got the moustache as well, he’s got the Ace & Tate, he looks a bit like me, so…. I only got the Ace & Tate as well because it’s not too expensive, and I had to make a fast change before I could get new Moscot’s.

And Edita?

Edita: No. Not at all

Jannis: But she has loads of sunglasses, mostly no name or it doesn’t matter, it’s mostly just about whether you like it or not.

Do you go for a particular shape, Edita? Cat-eye, square, circle?

Jannis: Last year you had the Ray Bans style…

Edita: Last year I had these ones with the very small eyes, you remember? Always when I wear it people are like…(laughs and makes a face) It’s very crazy.

Jannis: (mumbles) What’s wrong with this girl?

I wish I could pull that off, the very small glasses. I’d like to know though – what do you want an audience to take away from listening to a Nausica EP or seeing a Nausica show?

Jannis: it’s more about a feeling I guess. We play within a pop sector but we always wanted to draw a cinematic musical experience, so its a mixture between what you could expect from an indie pop band (and) creating a sphere and atmosphere that is not just the usual experience. That is maybe the main thing of our show.

Edita: And the energy. I really want people to get dancing, and also to feel free to also go with the music, not only listen but also take it into your body.

Jannis: As you might expect, Edita is a very performance…energetic-like person performance-wise, so to say, so you really get a big front singer’s performance.

She’s really channeling.

Jannis: She’s channeling. So you might not expect it from only listening to the music, but if you see the show, that’s…the show has always been different to the single releases, everybody’s always like, ‘I didn’t expect this to happen’, which is nice.

Finally, what’s ahead for Nausica? Any projects or opportunities on the horizon?

Edita: Yes.

Jannis: We’re producing the next single at this moment, so this is about to come out right after summer. There’s a next single coming before the end of the year and we’re having a tour in December, which is round about 2 weeks, so I guess the single release is right at the start of the tour. Mostly it’s Germany.

Edita: There will come some Dutch dates.

Jannis: At the moment it’s all over Germany.

4SEE 9Q with SURMA
4SEE 9Q with Surma, Portuguese multi-instrumentalist and experimental artist with Joanna Newsom-esque-vocals, carving her own path.

Surma’s sonic electronic/ambient/experimental has already seen her debut ‘Antwerpen’ nominated as Best European Album of 2017 by IMPALA – no small feat when you consider the other nominees (Fever Ray, King Krule, and Laura Marling to name a few). We asked the Leiria, Portugal native our 4SEE 9 Questions.

Aptly desribed as ‘primal yet peaceful’, Surma’s ‘Hemma’ is as otherworldly as the wild planes and androgynous beings of the the debut releases’ accompanying video. Majestic and sensual, the movement is both audio and visual for the listener/viewer. A multi-instrumentalist who studied bass in a jazz school, Surma’s influences include jazz and post-rock to the more experimental; incorporating keys, samplers, strings, loops and vocals. Defying expectations, Surma (Débora Umbelino) is one artist to watch.

Producer JESUS MARTINEZ
Editor MARCELO ESPINOLA

SURMA

4SEE 9Q with Surma Eyewear by Xavier Garcia
4SEE 9Q with Surma
Eyewear by Xavier Garcia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4SEE 9Q with CHIMP HARDY 
4SEE 9Q squares up for the low-down with Austin, Texas-born, Berlin-based DJ, content strategist and music producer Chimp Hardy.

Self-described as ‘One part club kid, one part urban shaman’, Chimp Hardy moves in his body-painted-best through sets taking on tribal influences and blending through Chicago House, G-House, Rave and Techno. We rumble in the urban jungle with Chimp Hardy for our fourth installment of 9Q. Nakedness encouraged.

Producer JESUS MARTINEZ
Editor MARCELO ESPINOLA
Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER

CHIMP HARDY Instagram / SoundCloud / Spotify

4SEE 9Q with Chimp Hardy Photography by Bert Spangemacher Eyewear by Xavier Garcia

4SEE 9Q with Chimp Hardy Photography by Bert Spangemacher Eyewear by Xavier Garcia

4SEE 9Q with Chimp Hardy Photography by Bert Spangemacher Eyewear by Xavier GarciaFeatured Eyewear:
Xavier Garcia Orujo and Finito

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LILLY - Dylan Nash (vocals), Charlie Anastasis (bass), Sam Delatorre (guitar), Maxx Morando (drums) Photography by Bert Spangemacher

SPOTLIGHT ON LILLY
Rock’s teenage vanguard with over 1 million views on Youtube are proving the hype is real. From the Valley to the stages of Europe’s Hard Rock Festival circuit. Egos not included.

Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Interview MADELEINE ARCHER

A mix of still in (or barely out) of their teens, the hype around LA rock band LIILY is no fluke – their video for debut release ‘Toro’ has already amassed over a million views on Youtube alone. Rapidly gaining ground in the rock scene for their high-energy, no-holds-barred live shows, these boys from the Valley are poised to go far, fast.
Straight from a heat-drenched (“stupidly hot”) gig at Download Festival in Madrid, 4SEE spent an afternoon with the boys from the band scouting out the strange terrain of Berghain on a Monday afternoon for a shoot. In the midst of skaters, down-and-out Berliners and the odd bemused tourist, 4SEE and LIILY talked touring, the incontrovertible lure of LA, and what’s it’s really like to be 19 and on the bill with headliners as iconic as Weezer, Slipknot and Beck.
LIILY is comprised of Maxx Morando (drums), Charlie Anastasis (bass), Dylan Nash (vocals), Sam Delatorre (guitar) and Desi Scaglione (guitar, was present but did not particiapte in the interview). Their newest EP ‘I Can Fool Anybody in this Town’ was released March 8, 2019.

LILLY - Sam Delatorre (guitar), Maxx Morando (drums), Dylan Nash (vocals), Charlie Anastasis (bass) Photography by Bert Spangemacher
LILLY – Sam Delatorre (guitar), Maxx Morando (drums),
Dylan Nash (vocals), Charlie Anastasis (bass)
Photography by Bert Spangemacher

Interview: 01/07/2019 with LIILY at Panorama Bar Biergarten.

Madeleine, 4SEE:
LIILY, Hello! Welcome to Berlin. Is this the first time you’ve been?

All: Second time. First time was last month.

First Impressions?

Charlie: We like it here a lot.(All agree: “I like it; yeh, I like it”). It has some similarities to LA, especially where we’re at right now… it’s like a city vibe…

The general vibe of Berlin?

Charlie: Yeh, the general vibe.

Where does the name LIILY come from?

Dylan: Ooh,great question, Maxx loves that question.

Maxx: Uh, it’s literally when Sam and I were trying to think of a band name, it was our friend, and her name was Lily.

With two ‘I’’s?

Maxx: No, well it was because it was just us (two) in the band at the time. So two I’s.

There was another band though wasn’t there, The Lillies?

All: Yeh.

Charlie: My ex-girlfriend’s dad was in that band…

Dylan: Woahh…that’s crazy. Put that in the interview.

LILLY - Sam Delatorre (guitar), Maxx Morando (drums), Charlie Anastasis (bass), Dylan Nash (vocals) Photography by Bert Spangemacher

You guys just came from playing Download Festival Madrid with Slipknot and Tool. What was that like?

Dylan: We played the day before, Papa Roach day. It was so hot. We didn’t get to see anybody, it was stupid hot, it was insane. They have a heatwave over there, so… the sun was right on us when we started playing. It was like 103 degrees probably. We were fine going back to the hotel, I don’t think we really wanted to see anybody.

So you didn’t really get to talk to the other bands?

Dylan: No, I was impressed with even the people who were there early in the day to see us. Running the stage…the people running the stage, that would have been miserable.

Sam: They had their cargo shorts on, though.

Would you say you’ve been influenced by bands like Slipknot and Tool, those 90’s harder rock bands?

Charlie: No, no. I like Tool, Tool’s cool, (but) I think Download Festival was like, reaching the demographic that isn’t usually what we would be associated with. But it put us in that area, and we had some positive response from the audience. And we had some hecklers.

How do you respond to hecklers?

Charlie: Just yell at them. Dylan? Dylan got em..

Dylan: I…that’s happened before and I don’t usually say something, but when it’s 105 degrees and you’re literally playing a normal show, and someone’s being, you know (“a dick”) you tend to, you know, not fancy that. Last straw.

LILLY - Dylan Nash (vocals), Charlie Anastasis (bass), Maxx Morando (drums), Sam Delatorre (guitar) Photography by Bert Spangemacher
LILLY – Dylan Nash (vocals), Charlie Anastasis (bass), Maxx Morando (drums), Sam Delatorre (guitar)

So what did you guys listen to growing up? What were influential bands?

All: It changes all the time.

Sam: Growing up though, what our parents were listening to, so like, my mum played me a lot of Massive Attack and Zero 7.

Portishead as well?

Sam: Yeh, my dad put me onto Portishead. And the first album I listened to was The Wall.

Someone has a cousin in The Walkmen?

All: That’s Maxx. Yeh that’s Maxx.

Were they an influence?

All: Yeh, absolutely.

Maxx: I think for me… well, our Manager too is Peter Matthew Baeur, he’s in that band.
But I think for me personally the reason I play drums is because of Matt (Barrick), and I think we all enjoy the Walkmen, they’re a great band. Definitely an influence.

How do you guys manage being on the road? Do you have any group traditions already, or any pre-gig rituals?

Charlie: As a band we’re still pretty new to it, but it’s getting a lot easier. We used to burn incense, but that’s not a tour thing…

Like sage cleansing?

Dylan: No, it was just this whole thing that we had when we were 15 and we’d burn incense. But anyway. Not really. It’s getting a lot easier. We tend to not want to do that much.

It is quite a physical thing when you guys play.

Dylan: We’re boring. It’s really exhausting to play, I mean, it’s exhausting being on tour no matter what music you’re playing, but I just think for us it’s a little more intense.

Maxx: Especially when you’re in Europe, cos we left for Europe for two weeks then we came back home, and we were home for maybe two and a half weeks, then we’re back in Europe, and it’s like the time, and it’s a lot of…

Dylan: If we don’t have two days off, I’m not going to go out. I don’t tend to go out before a show.

Charlie: You say to yourself you want to go out, explore, but it just gets too exhausting. But this is nice right now (the beer garden of Panorama Bar). It’s nice to be out here.

How much downtime have you had between Madrid and Berlin?

Dylan: Actually a lot; well, so we played Madrid, then we flew from there to Berlin the day after, and we had yesterday off, and then tomorrow we go to Hamburg. So we’ve had a couple of days off.

And you’re playing with Weezer in Hamburg. How does that feel?

Dylan: It’s pretty cool. Its kinda like…it hasn’t hit me yet. It’s not real until we get there. Its a band that we all grew up listening to. Its a band I feel like everybody in my childhood listened to. Weezer’s like one of the biggest bands. It’s like crazy nostalgia. It’s gonna be cool to meet them.

What would you ask them? Do you have any burning questions for Weezer?

Charlie: No. ‘Hi’.

Sam: I think if you do that you just end up sounding like an idiot, cos’ you can’t get the words across.

LILLY - Charlie Anastasis (bass), Maxx Morando (drums), Dylan Nash (vocals), Sam Delatorre (guitar) Photography by Bert Spangemacher
LILLY – Charlie Anastasis (bass), Maxx Morando (drums), Dylan Nash (vocals), Sam Delatorre (guitar)

You guys have a very candid, real instagram, which I actually really like, it doesn’t feel quite so filtered…

All: Thankyou. We don’t get that a lot. We get a lot of shit for our instagram.

Who updates and runs it?

Sam: All of us. We just take pictures as much as we can, that we think are cooler than just what we’re eating. Or art. We post a lot of art.

There’s no schedule, like we need to have a post a day?

Charlie: Well there’s people around us that try and instill that, and it’s just… well, I personally hate it, and I hate using it. We all do. We try and use it as a tool more than anything else. But you know.

Maxx: I think part of the reason why instagram is hard for us is because none of our personal instagrams is like…we’re not constantly posting things all the time on our personals, so when it comes to a group instagram nobody’s really like ecstatic to update everybody on what’s going on. But it’s part of what we have to do so we have to adjust.

You’ve spoken in a past interview about intending to remain in the LA area. Is that still the plan for you as a band?

Charlie: Yeh. Well if it works out I’d love to live in LA forever. Its home. It’s just the best place to live, and it’s just home.

Maxx: And it has a part, has a piece of a lot of things in the world I think, there’s a lot of pieces put together there. It’s like we said about coming here (Berlin).

Charlie: We see parts of LA here. We see parts of LA everywhere. It’s also home.

Maxx: It’s also probably because that’s what we’re used to, we see sort of through the lens of things related to LA. I think LA is just, for what we’re doing, there’s not really many places that are better to be. I mean, maybe in America, its LA, New York or Nashville for music I think, but we’ve been to those places and my opinion is just LA has got the scenes that suit us the best.

Charlie: I dont think its even a music thing though, I think its an atmosphere, honestly.

Maxx: Yeh. Above all, its an atmosphere.

I’m interviewing for 4SEE, which is primarily an eyewear style magazine, presented through the lens of fashion, art and culture. I’m going to ask the question of glasses – who in the band wears glasses? Sam, you wear prescription?

Sam: I wear prescription. I have horrible eyesight.

All: The worst eyesight.

Does wearing glasses come with unique challenges playing in a band that does have such a physical way of playing?

Sam: Actually, no, I never wear them onstage. Well, there’s been times that I’ll, like, forget, just cos I don’t realise that they are on my face, I’ll forget to put my contacts on, but 95% of the time I’ll put contacts on before we play. One of my favourite things is like playing a crazy show where people think that we’re just absolutely hectic, and then after the show putting on my glasses and just being peaceful.

Is there a specific West Coast style that you guys draw from?

Charlie: I think what’s pretty popular now with our age group is thrift stores, vintage clothes, anything that’s cheap that you can get 70’s, 80’s…

Sam: I think at one point we were all more concerned with the clothes that we were wearing but now, it’s different, we don’t care anymore. We don’t have the money to spend on clothes.

Maxx: Hence why we go to places where it’s five dollars. There’s a place in LA called Jet Rag and it’s got a one dollar sale on Sundays where they just put a bunch of clothes in a parking lot and you just grab stuff, and everything’s a dollar.

Dylan: I got this (Dylan is wearing a pale vintage yellow 70’s style shirt)

All: Yeh, he got this there.

Sam: But also around the United States, it’s a thrifty tour, there’s a lot of thrift stuff and its dirt cheap.

Charlie: LA is probably the most expensive.

Dylan: But it’s unique pieces too.

Finally, last question: What drives you guys to create?

Sam: Cool question.

Maxx: What drives us to create? I think it’s something that’s natural. It’s like a dissatisfaction with what we’ve done. It’s like, whatever we’ve done in the past, just improving from that, what’s the next step, what’s the next level, moving forward, not really looking back.

Dylan: It’s also what do we have to say, you know?

Charlie: Which changes all the time.

Maxx: But I think we have a better idea going into the next album. I think all of us have a completely different grip on life and what it means to make music, creatively, through life experience.

Sam: Especially too when we made the songs that were on the EP, for a couple of those songs I was 15, 16 years old, it was a long time ago. A lot happens. There’s a big difference between a 16 year old and a 19 year old.

Maxx: When the next thing comes out, it will be… it’s a way further to who we are currently, and what we want to say, and the kind of music we want to make.

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