Music

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Image by Ameris Photography

Niña Mendoza’s suit by Manuel Mendoza

We’ve been rocking with 100% Vancouver deejays lately, with our new store opening September 18 in that majestic Pacific Northwest metropolis.

One recent set by Vancouver’s Niña Mendoza gave us life (shout out DayShiftSEA, one mile from Nordstrom HQ in Seattle) and we highly recommend her funky, right-now-meets-1983 mix “Love For Free,” promoting her September 10 show with Dâm-Funk. It’s been sustaining us throughout the week.

Stream the mix below (hit READ MORE for the track list and Vancouver-focused Q&A) and download it here so you don’t kill your data while you’re in the gym.

And if you’re in Vancouver, catch Niña Mendoza Fridays starting in September at the Projection Room inside the Fox Cabaret.

Love For Free Mix • Niña Mendoza by Blueprintlive on Mixcloud

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project-pabloAlbum art for Project Pablo’s I Want to Believe by Devon White

Vancouver is still ruling our lives as we anticipate our new store opening September 18 in that gorgeous Canadian city.

To get properly psyched up, we’ve been bumping beats from 1080p Collection nonstop, 1080p being the label run in Vancouver by one of our heroes Richard MacFarlane–who maintains a frequency of albums and quality of music which makes other labels look lazy in comparison.

We asked MacFarlane which 1080p music would be best for three situations: a party, feeling sad and listening while at work.

For partying, MacFarlane suggested Vancouver’s own Project Pablo–whose hazy house music soundtracks some excellent Tech Decking in the video below for “Movin’ Out”:

Read on for MacFarlane’s commentary. Now please excuse us while we turn up the volume and think Vancouver thoughts about skateboarding, wildlife and islands.

–Andrew Matson

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daoyichowwhitebackground1Did you know Dao-Yi Chow, who co-runs the CFDA-winning brand Public School with Maxwell Osborne, is a writer and onetime rap journalist? It’s true. He confirmed it when we asked him recently at the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men’s.

Chow used to contribute to The Flavor back in the day, a “real hip-hop magazine” based in Seattle in the mid-1990s. Chow went by Durwin Chow GNS, “graffiti non-stop,” and lived in New York. Most Flavor writers back then contributed their stories by fax machine.

Here’s Chow’s July 1994 cover story, an interview with the brain-twisting duo Organized Konfusion.

Fun fact: Organized Konfusion’s Pharoahe Monch would one day ghostwrite for Diddy, who would eventually employ Chow and Osborne as designers at his clothing brand Sean John–before Public School became one of the hottest brands in menswear.

–Andrew Matson

Shop: Public School | men’s designer collections

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friendlychemistFriendly Chemist Touch of Jupiter album artwork by Sharona Franklin

We’re locked into a Vancouver, B.C., groove right now, anticipating our new store in that beautiful Canadian harbor city on September 18.

One of our favorite things to do while in Vancouver is jog around Stanley Park. Smack dab in the city, it’s also a place to see orcas in the water. As we struggle to stay on our fitness regimen this summer/fall, we’re bumping Vancouver music in our headphones and visualizing Stanley Park, aiming to move as swiftly as an orca or perhaps soar like one of the local bald eagles.

Our running soundtrack comes courtesy of Vancouver resident Richard MacFarlane, who operates one of our favorite independent music labels, 1080p. Read our Q&A with MacFarlane here. For jogging he recommends the steady beat of Friendly Chemist, aka Van-city’s Jean Brazeau.

Read his comments and listen below to the sounds of the True North, strong and free.

–Andrew Matson

“If you’re running in Vancouver, or anywhere, you should be listening to Friendly Chemist–he’s from here. His music is this kind of spacey techno. Not super high-energy, but enough to keep you coasting for sure.”

–Richard MacFarlane

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richardmacfarlaneipadImages by Andrew Volk

Since we’re opening our third Canadian store on September 18th in Vancouver, B.C., we’ve been renewing our love affair with the city, draping ourselves in wings + horns gear (it’s designed there) and cruising around with 1080p Collection music bumping in our headphones.

That would be the internationally respected dance music label run out of Vancouver by Richard MacFarlane, who releases cassette tapes and floods the Internet with chill vibes. (Sorry we just said “chill vibes” but it had to be done.)

We spoke to MacFarlane about the natural beauty and the music scene in his adopted hometown–he left New Zealand because he felt the country wasn’t cool enough, musically–and which 1080p releases convey the most Vancouverishness.

Check the interview and see images from 1080p headquarters below.

–Andrew Matson

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chastity-belt-team-shotPhoto by Jesse Codling

It’s been a breakout year for Chastity Belt, the Seattle band which has grown into its voice in the past few years and was recently written up in the New Yorker on the strength of its album Time To Go Home.

Musically, that voice is droning and jangly. Ideologically, Chastity Belt is feminist, with a viewpoint that is often funny but with songs that can also be serious and direct about everyday existential crises.

We took pictures at Capitol Hill Block Party and later phoned guitarist and sometime singer Lydia Lund (far right in the photo) to talk about “Lydia,” a what-does-it-all-mean song which lands someplace…indistinct.

Other topics of conversation included avoiding seasonal affective disorder by gardening, feeling the ocean’s power while surfing–and we learned about the taste of the Peperomia plant.

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conversechuckIIRedesigning the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star is a risky proposition. We’re talking about the most classic American sneaker, whose design has gone relatively untouched since 1917. A true shoe of the people.

Think about it. Which other garment is worn by young and old folks alike so prevalently? And in various stages of pristine or tattered? Chucks are like Levi’s 501s for your feet.

And yet: Converse designer Damion Silver was faced with a problem. Foot fatigue was an issue. Especially if you’re trying to wear them every day, All Stars have always been a little hard on your dogs.

Enter Lunarlon, Nike cushioning technology.

That’s just one way Silver–a visual artist who shows his own paintings at galleries all over the world–created the Chuck II, a stellar and more comfortable sequel to Chuck Taylor All Star.

We spoke with Silver on the phone at Converse headquarters in Boston proper about shoveling snow, his unrealistic fantasy of one day skateboarding on a frozen golf course–and the pressures of redesigning the brand’s #1 seller worldwide.

converselunarlonShop: Chuck II high | Chuck II low

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tuxedo700
Photo by Kyle Johnson

Parties crack and moods lift to the sounds of Tuxedo, the west coast duo whose 1980s funk is inspired by the past and crystalized in the present by Mayer Hawthorne (Andrew Cohen) and Jake One (Jake Dutton). If the group’s eponymous album is not in your summer music rotation already, we recommend it.

The singer and producer are old friends and hip-hop collaborators. They’re both deejays, too, and initially bonded over mixtapes each had made focusing on artists like Bernard Wright and David Grusin. The shared affinity is central to Tuxedo.

We spoke to them on tour about how Tuxedo fits into this current retro moment in pop (Mark Ronson, Daft Punk) and which piece from their custom Klein Epstein Parker tuxedos Jake One accidentally left at home with 30 minutes to showtime.

Shop: tuxedos

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varvatos-head-shotIf New York Fashion Week: Men’s were a music festival, John Varvatos would have been the headliner. The American menswear designer went last and went big at #NYFWM, with a rockin’ runway show which people jostled to get into beforehand and fought during to take photos.

We meet Varvatos backstage to talk about the England-meets-SoCal inspiration behind his stripe-y spring/summer 2016 collection–a lot of it had to do with a guitar player whose name rhymes with Beef Pritchards–and why he forewent his regular runway show in Milan in favor of New York.

Shop: John Varvatos

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billy-reid-headshotBilly Reid was one of the designers we looked forward to meeting most at #NYFWM, whose stuff we love (both his excellent every day clothes and subtly radical runway collections) and whose whole perspective is on-point, culturally and socially.

Click here for images of Reid’s spring/summer 2016 collection.

We caught up with the designer backstage before his runway show at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea. He told us all about his collection and which music he listened to while designing it–and opened up about his special connection to Charleston, SC, and being moved to take action after the tragic church shooting there.

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