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Listen Up! Q&A with Majid Jordan Creative Director Jamie Webster

Photos by Regina Garcia

You’ve probably heard the modern, headphone-y pop music of Toronto duo Majid Jordan without knowing it through Drake: they wrote and were featured on Drake’s hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” and on “Legend,” he shouts them out, saying their album will drop this year on his label OVO.

While you’re waiting for that, peep their earlier work Afterhours and A Place Like This

Jamie Webster handles the entire visual presence of the group (Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman) as creative director, in between his creative director and partner roles at the Common Good production company and design studio and co-owning the bar Dog & Bear. He took us site by site through the insiders’ tour of Toronto that is the music video for “Forever,” which he directed.

“The idea was to provide their audience with a glimpse of Toronto through Majid Jordan’s eyes. Not the CN Tower or cheesy buskers at Yonge-Dundas Square. It’s not a Toronto tourist video. It’s spaces that are cool or have a significance to us. We see the way the city is depicted and it’s often way off the mark.”

Get to know Majid Jordan’s Toronto below.

Common Good basement [:05]

So this is the Toronto dancer Ruthless, and he’s in the Common Good underground space. We’ve got a shooting space down in our basement. The idea is he’s making his own device to play music from, and you’ll notice that he spray-paints the Majid Jordan logo on there.

Chinatown [:20]

Then he’s out on the street and you can see Majid Jordan behind him, in a cameo. Our thought was to bring a giant boombox with us, have Ruthless doing improvisations and choreography by my friend Lenny De La Pena, and just see what happened. So we’re in Chinatown in one of those stores that sells everything and nothing at the same time. Chinatown is the last bastion for places that haven’t been totally gentrified. Definitely you gotta check out People’s Eatery there. That’s the spot.

St. Basil’s Cathedral [:40]

This church has a cinematic quality to it, but it’s also significant because it’s on the University of Toronto campus, which is where Majid Jordan met through friends.

Ontario Place [:54]

That geodesic dome is Ontario Place, where we used to go as kids, but now it’s decrepit and I don’t think much happens there. It’s almost like a carnival that everyone has left.

Allan Gardens [1:10]

The gardens are right downtown. We shot this in the dead of winter, so we wanted some life in there.

Coins + Convenience Laundromat [1:24]

This is one of my favorite spots. It’s close to my house, on the corner of College and Gladstone. It’s run by this awesome Korean couple. It’s just got this aesthetic that I like, a weird teal, several different greys. We matched Ruthless’ outfit to those colors.

BEC Place [1:40]

Kind of just a bunch of suits here, financial district stuff. But I love how it’s lit from the floor.

King West rooftop [1:50]

That was a random rooftop. We hiked all our gear up the fire escape, past people’s windows as they were looking at us. We just hoped nobody would call the cops. We shot it and got out.

University of Toronto [2:13]

We went back to the University because it’s so important to the group, and shot in this courtyard because of that sculpture with the beautiful green patina on it. And then out onto the soccer field.

Dupont Station [2:31]

That’s our favorite subway station. Toronto subway stations all have their own aesthetic, and this one has a cool 1970s vibe with that cool tile mosaic. These dudes were actually playing Twister on the subway.

Royal York Hotel [2:47]

That’s an institution in Toronto, very  ornate and stuffy. Old rich-person hotel. There was a wedding happening there and a corporate ceremony. Everyone was wondering what the hell we were doing.

Toronto Reference Library [2:55]

This is the best spot. A great resource with an extensive and diverse set of old art books and recent publications, and architecturally speaking, it’s totally unique.

–Andrew Matson