Q&A

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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chapter2New York Fashion Week: Men’s began with a set of presentations by brands at Industria Superstudios in the Meatpacking District, one of which sounded like it was happening underwater.

Chapter, the Los Angeles-based label with an otherworldly and somewhat grim aesthetic, brought free-form industrial bass to the building courtesy The Floor, a duo consisting of Minimal Wave Records boss Veronica Vasicka and a man known only as Regis.

It was a good soundtrack for designer Devin Carlson’s spring/summer 2016 collection, which channeled dark vibes through conceptual clothing you could actually see yourself wearing.

We caught up with Carlson in the hallway during the presentation and talked about his inspiration for “Displacement” (the name of the collection), his impressions of #NYFWM and his early fashion experiments at Alta Loma High School.

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MARK_RONSON_PICS_0012_Layer 1Mark Ronson and Shomi Patwary on the set

The best party nobody went to might’ve been 12 years ago in Norfolk, Virginia, when producers who would change the sound of hip-hop and R&B deejayed to basically nobody.

We’ll let our music video director friend Shomi Patwary tell you about that one.

Long story short, Patwary and British star Mark Ronson go way back, and we now have the video for “I Can’t Lose.” It’s more zesty funk from Ronson–whom we shall never fail to mention without hyperlinking to his and Aaliyah’s classic Hilfiger ad–and bigger-budget moves from Patwary, best known for A$AP Rocky’s “Multiply.”

Check out behind-the-scenes images below from “I Can’t Lose” and an edited transcript of our phone call with Patwary.

We talked about Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” Dick Tracy, Blade Runner, the cameo from Waris Ahluwalia–and what happens when the zeitgeist moves post- ‘90s retromania.

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freedomfresh-dressedpuff1

Fresh Dressed is the first-ever documentary about the history of hip-hop fashion, out now in theaters all over the U.S. We recommend you see it. You will be entertained and educated, and perhaps inspired to decorate your jacket.

Energy and insights in Fresh Dressed come from music and fashion leaders including Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Dapper Dan, André Leon Talley, Riccardo Tisci and the duo of Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osbourne from Public School.

But the overall product is excellent mostly because it was directed by Sacha Jenkins, a 20-years-deep veteran of journalism with Beat Downego trip and Mass Appeal magazines. Mainstream America remembers his The (White) Rapper Show on VH1Some Pratt Institute students call him their professor.

Now you will know him from his interview with the Nordstrom blogs.

Check our interview with Jenkins and the trailer for Fresh Dressed below. And if you’re already feeling TL;DR, check this audio clip from Jenkins about how hip-hop style relates to freedom:

 

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L-R: Laura Lloyd and Jasamine White-Gluz

Images by Kyle Johnson

Listening to Montreal rock band No Joy gives us visions of a professional snowboarder on a sunny day, flying off a jump, doing something complex and elegant midair.

Not something we necessarily understand. But we’re into it.

We do know that No Joy leaders Laura Lloyd and Jasamine White-Gluz derive their looped and soaring music from guitars and effects pedals. The rest of their new album More Faithful is a mystery to us. We’re cool with that–and highly recommend it as a soundtrack to summer road-tripping, camping, head-banging and zoning out.

We spoke to guitarist Laura Lloyd after a recent concert in Seattle about Tevas, tinnitus, complicated time signatures and chia seeds.

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Vaadat Charigim: Dan Bloch (denim jacket), Juval Haring (hoodie), Juval Guttmann (black tee); images by Manuela Insixiengmay

In case of the summer bummer, we’ve been known to turn to shoegaze rock–the subgenre made from loops and layers of guitar noise–and travel to a place where pain is beauty.

It usually works.

When we caught up with Juval Haring, who fronts Israeli shoegaze band Vaadat Charigim, he described himself as “pessimistic” and “cynical.” He also deadpanned about his first name, which he shares with his drummer:

“Juval is a common Israeli name. I’m kind of like the Israeli Craig.”

Haring is funny. His band’s new album, Sinking As a Stone, generally, is not.

With little to no musical support system back home and yet over 1,000 concerts played so far, Haring explained what Berlin, Germany, and Portland, OR, have to do with each other, some of his more existential lyrics–and why he keeps on rocking in the free world.

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Looking for dreamy tunes to soundtrack summer hangouts? We thought you might be!

Check this exclusive mix from independent Brooklyn-based music label Mexican Summer–the brain trust which popularized Best Coast and Washed Out a few years back–compiled by the man in charge, Keith Abrahamsson. The music is a blend of the beautiful and the strange. You will find rock, pop and electronic music. Old styles and new ones.

And it all goes together fluidly.

If you like what you hear, we recommend spending more time with Mexican Summer and its sister labels Anthology and Software. In our opinion, Abrahamsson and his crew are 100% trustable.

Relatedly: Abrahamsson’s wife, Kate Young, is a fashion stylist we greatly admire and the designer of several Tura sunglasses featured in our current Pop-In Shop.

We spoke to Abrahamsson on the phone about getting style advice from his wife, the future of the music biz and the best swimming hole in New York.

And we had him take a few photos of his desk, so you know what it looks like to steer the good ship Mexican Summer.

Shop: Poolside Pop-In@Nordstrom

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Where have you seen Araya Nicks before?

Perhaps you know the SoCal stunner as the face of Nordstrom’s summer shorts campaign. Or maybe you remember her wearing electrodes on her head and negotiating a vine-covered labyrinth in Chris Brown’s “Don’t Wake Me Up” music video?

Here’s a new context in which to view her: solo recording artist.

Nicks is currently working on her own album as a vocalist, and we’ve been turning up on the bus ride to work lately to her cut “One Good Reason.” Check that out below–and get the low-down on her favorite jams, movies and travel bucket list.

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atm-headshot

Anthony Thomas Melillo has our full respect as a fashion designer and creative individual, for the shape and hang of his clothes and for believing in himself over time. Basic casual wear with a tailored fit? Not common in the late 1980s/early 1990s. But today, his sports luxe style is everywhere and his brand ATM at the forefront, making, for one, arguably the perfect t-shirt.

We spoke to the West Chester, PA, native on the phone at his New York showroom about the importance of fit, feel and drape. And about how decades spent editing in the publishing industry at mags including Vogue and Esquire tuned him into the world and honed his instincts.

Shop: ATM | men’s designer collections

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Video portrait by Elizabeth Rudge | makeup by Jenny Verador | hair by Eric Wennberg

Legendary drummer, bandleader and fiercely proud Bay Area native Sheila E. was the hardest of hardcore divas in the 1980s. It broke her down. Now she uses music to build people up.

Back when she ran with Prince and his crew, the timbale expert enforced 12-hour rehearsals for her band and gave commands, not suggestions. She had hits (“The Glamorous Life,” “A Love Bizarre”) and built a lasting work ethic into countless musicians, like Raphael Saadiq who joined her cohort when he was 14. She also became a cold, unfeeling person. She details the transformation in her book The Beat of My Own Drum.

Now that’s all behind her and she’s found the love of music again. You can hear it in her album Icon from 2014 and see it in her music-therapy foundation Elevate Hope. We caught up with her while she was coaching a bunch of young players in Seattle for More Music at the Moore Theatre, teaching them to find their own voices.

We did not talk to her about Prince. We did talk about her dad, Latin jazz heavyweight Pete Escovedo; her godfather, Tito Puente; Krush Groove, the classic hip-hop movie she co-starred in with Run-DMC; and the fact that it took her leaving her family cocoon of supportive musicians to learn about the sexist notion that women shouldn’t play the drums.

Shop: T by Alexander Wang jacket | rag & bone dress

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