INTERVIEWS (2010-12)


CONVERSATIONS OF THE CRAFT
A SERIES SURROUNDING DISCUSSIONS WITH INDIVIDUALS DISCUSSING THE FIELD OF WORK AND ART THEY'RE INVOLVED IN AND HOW THEY NAVIGATE THROUGH IT

Boyce of Suffoca

Jason Akoi - Herds Of The Fathers

SEPTEMBER 2010 - I first found out about Boyce when Johnny Cupcakes posted the work of a brand by the name of Suffoca on his blog. I was immediately drawn into the unique characters, awesome art, and cool clothing. There was definitely something different about it. I reached out to Boyce, the owner of the site, and we would e-mail here and there for a while. When I was in London during this past summer, I finally got to meet the man behind the brand and sit down with him to discuss a few topics like how he got the name and motivation for his brand, his life-long love for Disney, and where he draws inspiration from.

DECEMBER 2010 - I met Jason in the city on an day so cold that only eskimos could've been able to withstand without flinching. We braved through it, however, and discussed matters such as the brand's fascination with leather, the whole process behind getting a bag actually made, and what the best moment of his life has been so far. Along with a fellow college friend, Tobi, the two are in the midst of running a bag company called Herds of the Fathers. Not t-shirts, as so many people do nowadays, but bags. Leather bags, to be specific. Mini backpacks, duffle bags, there should be something for everyone. A good chunk of change out of your pocket, but the quality is worth it. They've certainly garnered an impressive amount of support and success so far. It's only up from here. 

The Interludes: Matthew Trammell and Sam Rosen

NOVEMBER 2010 - Most music blogs nowadays consist of not much writing and just more quick posts on whatever's new and "cool." The Interludes rebels against that, challenging people to actually think more about what they're actually listening to. Not only do they do things different, but they do it well. Very well. Matt and Sam, two of the three contributors behind the site, sat down with me recently in around NYU where Matt goes to school. We discussed everything from the purpose of the pieces they write, the reward they feel readers get from investing time into the site, and how they market The Interludes as "The New Yorker meets NahRight meets HOT97."

Before this, I'd never separated an episode into two parts. However, it is more than fitting that this time would be the first exception. First off, as they mention in the conversation - they write lengthy, solid pieces. Well, so is this. It's obviously longer, being that it's two videos, but it's still filled with great content nonetheless. Secondly, the video conversations I've been doing have usually only been on one person. With two people, they both have their own points to make so that extends it as well. As you can see, it's actually appropriate for this episode to be the first two-parter. 

Dejan Pralica - DatNewCudi

Dizzy

SEPTEMBER 2010 - While in town from Vancouver, I met up with DP to discuss a variety of topics. For those who don't know, Dejan Pralica is a graphic designer and also runs the site DatNewCudi (which basically serves as a news page for all things related to artist Kid Cudi). He talks about how topics like how the site blew up alongside Cudi's growth, when he got into graphic designing, and making Chip tha Ripper's website. 

JULY 2011 - Josh Dzime-Assison, otherwise known simply as Dizzy, has been a sneaker enthusiast and cultural participant for over 10 years. Over that period, he's also developed his interests and career paths to include styling and brand consulting - keeping up with his love for clothes and sneakers. Along the way, he opened his own physical store in Maryland, which he ran during the day while attending classes at night for his final year of college at the University of Maryland. Before that, however, he had spent his first three years of college at the University of Delaware - where he studied business management. That helped get his mind in the right direction, he said, but his success came from experience as well as trial and error. Dizzy and I met recently on the campus of Columbia University to discuss this tale. 

Culture of Creativity Group

Suhaly B of C8

JUNE 2011 - The Culture Of Creativity, otherwise known as C8, is a collective of three artists coming together to create powerful projects around great writing, photography, videography, and documentation of our culture. I interviewed them individually and as a group.

JUNE 2011 - The nature-loving, female creative of C8: Miss Suhaly B. Through her lens you can visibly see her passion for the wilderness and earth. I mean, after all, her nickname is "the earth warrior." We discussed topics like her love for nature, her upcoming trip to Paraguay.

CJ Something of C8

Rog Walker of C8

JUNE 2011 - The videographer behind the Culture of Creativity: known simply as CJ Something. It's always an enjoyable and intriguing experience to watch the beautiful imagery and colors that he utilizes in his videos. We talked about his upbringing in Michigan, how his interest in video and film started, and going on tour with the musician Ne-Yo.

JUNE 2011 - Rog Walker is an amazing photographer who has a distinct style that's simple while still grabbing your eye. We discussed everything from his "Identities" project to his admiration of Richard Avedon's book "The Sixties" to his strong feelings and passion for creativity. 

Chandler Easley of Cherry Collab

UN= Balance

FEBRUARY 2011 - Chandler Easley is one half of the creative company known as Cherry Collaborative. Dabbling in design work, photography, and various other creative fields - they're a force to be reckoned with. Chandler is currently 25 years old and the company itself is only a little over 1 year old. Best to keep an eye out. Chandler and I met in Madison Square Park recently to discuss in-depth the inner workings of Cherry Co, his personal preference of film and polaroids over digital photography, and how they got to start working with artists such as Reese.

NOVEMBER 2010 - Unequal Balance is a clothing brand who is "dedicated to lateral thinking street wise mavericks who refuse to tailor their art for mass appeal." The brand is based in Manchester, England and does very bold and striking designs of top quality. A while back, I found Louis and his brand Unequal Balance online and enjoyed what they were doing. Me and Louis started talking and have kept in touch pretty steadily since then. About a month or so ago, Louis booked his flight to New York and we got a chance to discuss his path. 

Din - Cheeky's Sandwiches

Great Scott

MARCH 2011 - I first became aware of the fine establishment of Cheeky's Sandwiches when it was presented in grand fashion on the Madbury Club site in the form of images and words that made my stomach growl with intensity upon the first millisecond of viewing. I immediately knew I had to make the trek down to Orchard Street in Chinatown to check out the restaurant. Not too long after I did so and my taste buds went into a frenzy when I first sunk my teeth into the almighty beef sandwich. Not only is the food more than up to par, but the owner is extremely nice and welcoming as well. His name is Din. After a couple more visits, the next time I went down I had a conversation with Din to discuss the eatery, how he got into cooking, and much more restaurant matters. 

JULY 2010 - One of the very first interviews, I met up with social mogul Great Scott and even tagged along with him for the Diggy Simmons "Airborne" mixtape cover photoshoot.


YOUNGEST IN CHARGE
A SERIES ABOUT A YOUNG GENERATION OF TALENTED BEINGS WHO ARE ALREADY ON A PATH FILLED WITH MAKING MOVES ALONG THE PURSUIT OF NOTHING LESS THAN GREATNESS

Philip Post - Dertbag

MAY 2011 - Philip Post is a 16-year-old kid from the streets of Norwalk, Connecticut. Even at this young age, however, he runs his own clothing brand called Dertbag Design (and a successful one at that). With a combination of bold and simple graphics, Phil certainly is onto something and has a bright future ahead of him. Recently Phil and I met up by Tompkins Square Park on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and discussed the meaning behind the brand name, how the company has progressed over the years, and the benefit of starting young.

JUNE 2012 - A little over a year ago I sat down with the young Connecticut native Philip Post to discuss his brand Dertbag Design. Since then he has released several impressive collections, made more money than his substitute teacher, and has continued to enjoy his teenage life (remember, he's only 17 now). I met up with Phil recently in Midtown to discuss what exactly has changed in the past year, and the first post of Dertbag on Hypebeast. 

Modi - DCtoBC

Jabari

AUGUST 2010 - From a college radio show to a well-respected blog (DCtoBC) to a highly anticipated upcoming project (The Great Progression aka The Gee Pee) - the man behind it all, Modi, took time out to discuss his story. 

DECEMBER 2010 - Jabari Johnson is fresh out of college, embarking on a new creative journey in his web series of "Jabari Presents." Already several episodes in, the results are certainly impressive. Before this, Jabari did a ton of interviews with a lot of music artists ranging from Nicki Minaj to RZA (of Wu-Tang) to Justin Beiber. We discuss his interview process and journey.

Mike Waxx & Mike Carson of ILLROOTS

JULY 2010 - On the verge of dropping illRoots2, the two Mike's behind the site sat down to chop it up before a nearby Chip Tha Ripper concert at Santos that would go down that night. 

Ashley Outrageous

AUGUST 2011 - Residing in the sunshine state of Florida, but having a more global influence with the help of the internet, is the music blogger and aficionado by the name of Ashley Outrageous. Being a female in this hip hop industry has both it's advantages and disadvantages but Ashley has pushed through them to make her name and site prominent on the ever-so expansive internet, earning her the nickname "the 5'2 giant." Not only does she have a popular music site but at 21 years young she also runs her own event company, Bread and Butter, with her best friend where they bring underground hip hop events to Miami. Ashley and I met up while she was in New York and shot this in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. 

Michael Knapp - SNAPPS!

Jakobi McLemore

JULY 2011 - Michael Knapp is a young, 18-year-old photographer hailing from the land only a ferry ride away from Manhattan: Staten Island. Shooting for several years now, he's currently interning with the famous hip hop magazine known as The Source. Shooting everything from shows to portraits of his friends, it's obvious right away that "Snapps" (his photography-themed nickname) has a good eye for capturing the moment. Mike and I met up recently in Battery Park, along with Kobi, to discuss a multitude of points. This included such topics as what he looks for when taking a photo, how his internship at The Source started and how it's been, as well as his thoughts on going to college.

JULY 2011 - Jakobi McLemore, more commonly just referred to as Kobi, is a 17-year-old young entrepreneur from Houston who currently resides in New Jersey. Kobi runs a brand with no name, literally. He's already built up a steady following for his age and is working on his brand from all angles. Those angles are composed of clothing, music, and after we did this interview he even started his own online magazine. Kobi and I met up recently by Battery Park, along with Mike Knapp - they're god friends. This included such things as the responses he's gotten to not giving his brand a name, how his first designs were done on 30-day free trials of Photoshop with no experience, and where he wants to take all the various aspects of the brand. Make sure you watch until the end to catch Kobi's multitude of interesting shoutouts. 

Matt Cohen

SEPTEMBER 2011 - Ever since he was 12 years old, Matthew Cohen has been doing interviews and experimenting with other creative endeavors. The New Jersey native (operating under the name "ItsBongoBoy") is way ahead of his peers with a ton of experience under his belt at only 16 years of age. Matt has interviewed many well-known and talented people in both the music and fashion realms, building a portfolio of 173 uploaded videos so far. Not all of those are interviews though, he also has his growing-signature Studio Sessions project going where artists perform in a mini-studio set up in Cohen's Jersey abode. With plenty of time to continue climbing, and already a bright future in his hands, there's no telling where this Bongo Boy will go. 

Andre Cofield

Ebun of Live Breathe Futbol

AUGUST 2011 - Born and bred in Shaolin land (aka Staten Island) and now living in Philadelphia attending the Art Institute of Philly, Andre Cofield has been running his site named WashPahpin for several years now. He does written online interviews and posts other content he enjoys. Recently he also began his foray into the world of music, going from just freestyling once in a while to now actually creating and releasing his very first EP - The Chiaroscuro. While it's a short collection of songs, it shows promise with an interesting and honest subject matter. He also goes by the alter-ego Lace FM while sculpting these songs. We headed to the Upper West Side to discuss his endeavors.

JANUARY 2011 - Ebun is a Temple University student who grew up in Nigeria. While majoring in architecture for school, he also started a clothing brand in February of 2010 (even though he's been making t-shirts since he was twelve). The name of it is Live Breathe Futbol and it is a brand dedicated to one of his primary passions of soccer (or as he prefers, futbol - the term used overseas but not as often in the U.S). We met up on a below-freezing, winter day in the snow-filled streets of Chinatown. We discussed everything from his intense passion for soccer, where he plans to take LBF, as well as his experience in Nigeria vs. America.

Roger of the Masked Gorilla

MARCH 2012 -  linked up with The Masked Gorilla himself, Roger Guerilla, to tell the story of how everything came to be. Here's part two of my conversation with Roger from The Masked Gorilla. We covered topics such as his non-traditional college experience, the blog scene, Complex Media Network, and being a manager.


UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE ORIGINATORS
A SERIES THAT REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU GO IN THE WORLD, THERE IS NO DENYING THE IMPACT MUSIC HAS. IT'S A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE, AND THESE ARE CREATORS OF IT.

Erick Arc Elliott

Erin Christine

OCTOBER 2010 - Some of you who've been following the site for a while may know of Erick already through posts I've done on his live show I went to a while ago or so forth. If not, Erick is a great musician hailing from the borough of Brooklyn and a super nice guy. We discuss his first release, his definition of success, and the sound he's trying to achieve. Erick know's what he's doing. Extremely smart dude who is going to be taking it to the next level very soon. 

MAY 2011 - Erin Christine is a singer and musician, currently based in New York, who has been into music since the age of three and has been steadily pursuing her craft ever since. I was lucky enough to find about her music after I listened to the song "All For Me" by hip hop artist XV. She was only on the hook, but her part in the song still stood out to me and I decided to look more into her musical catalogue. On her YouTube channel, she gained my respect and appreciation with both quality songs of her own and terrific covers (personal renditions of other songs). She's working on her debut album at the moment, which I'm sure will be something to watch out for. Erin and I recently met in the studio and apartment that she shares with her friend and writer, Tiffany Star. Although not visible in the video, there was an incredible view from their Battery Park studio of the river and opposing skyline. We discussed everything from the steps she took in music growing up and how big a factor emotion is in her music to collaborations with hip hop artists XV and Pusha T.

Theo Martins

Phil Ade

SEPTEMBER 2010 - Theo Martins, a Rhode Island native, is a very talented musician with much promise. Earlier this year after seeing his name around different places online, I decided to give his music a listen. A project he had just released, entitled "You Can't Do This on Television," caught my attention and I really liked the concept of it and the whole idea of breaking through the restricted content of what can be, or is, on TV. The project was short but skillful and I ended up going back and listening to Theo's past work (specifically his two mixtapes released before that, "The Birth" and "Channel Surfin"). Impressed by his unique flow and consistent content, there was no hesitation in wanting to have a conversation with him. It took a little bit, but when Theo was in Brooklyn at the beginning of September for a show at Southpaw, we finally got to chop it up and he gave a great glimpse into his mind.

AUGUST 2010 - After dropping his most recent musical endeavor 'The Letterman' in July, Phil Ade sat down with me before rocking the stage at S.O.B.'s to discuss everything from how the DMV influenced his music to if the basketball theme from his first two bodies of work will continue. 

Mike Lights

NOVEMBER 2010 - During the summer when I met Modi, he was accompanied by two friends who made the journey with him up to NYC that weekend. Although I didn't get to know either of them that well that day, as I was mainly talking to Modi, I've kept in touch with both of them since. One was Daniel, a cool and smart dude, who runs a site called YEBies. The other, was Michael (or Mike, as he is more usually referred to). Mike is a musician who was born in North Carolina and only moved out to DC about a year ago. It wasn't until that move that he really started pursuing music (even though he had been into it before, this was when he really started taking it more seriously). Before he knew it he put out a mixtape called 'Brights On.' With a solid first effort, and a positive as well as wise outlook towards the future, there's surely much more to come. I caught up with Mike when he was in town recently and we discussed a variety of things such as his thoughts on beat selection, the internet era of music, and his interest in videography.

Phony Ppl

OCTOBER 2010 - My friend and fellow creative, Dondre Green, has recently become more and more driven - both musically and just creatively in general. In this video we talk about his love for music, what heights he hopes to reach creatively, and the idea behind his new site entitled 'Bowtie Affairs.'  

DECEMBER 2011 - There's something happening in Brooklyn. Something big. A group of nine talented teenagers have formed to create a powerful band by the name of Phony Ppl. Their music, however, is anything but phony. The melodic, classic, and beautiful sounds coming out of the Bedstuy Basement of the Casa De La Phony are all too real. With a diverse, eclectic set of songs and special ability that's already landed the group on BBC Radio in England, there's no telling how far they'll go. I sat down with five of the nine members (Matthew, Dymez, Bari, Elijah, and PJ) to talk about the various topics pertaining to the group. 

Matthew Byas of Phony Ppl

Bari Bass of Phony Ppl

DECEMBER 2011 - After I had a group talk with the five members at Casa De La Phony that day, I wanted to have individual discussions in addition because I feel like all of them have their own story to tell as well. Matthew Byas aka "MaffYuu" is the group's dummer. We discussed his start in music at a young age, the family legacy he's trying to keep going, and the influence of Brooklyn.

DECEMBER 2011 - Bass player Bari represents for the more rhythmic section of the group. We discussed everything from the day he realized how much music meant to him, his love for traveling, and his personal project coming out.

Elijah Rawk of Phony Ppl

Sheriff PJ of Phony Ppl

DECEMBER 2011 - Elijah Rawk plays several roles in the band as a guitarist, producer, and engineer. We discussed his journey in music growing up, the wide range of artists he listens to, and what music means to him.

DECEMBER 2011 - Sheriff PJ is one of the vocalist and rappers of the group. PJ and I discussed several subject matters such as writing process, his upbringing, some of his influences, and his next compilation. 

Dyme-A-Duzin of Phony Ppl

Kardi

 

DECEMBER 2011 - Dyme A Duzin is the lead vocalist and frontman for Phony Ppl. Dymez and I discussed several matters such as his most recent project 20=X, his favorite artists, and his relationship with Plain Pat.

APRIL 2011 - While most of the individuals that I interview are young, seldom is it someone so close to me in age. At 18, Kardi has already been chiseling out his craft and career of music for several years. He currently attends school out-of-state but while he was in New York we met up and discussed such matters as his start in music, how his name came about, balancing school with music, and of course his new project "The Valedictorian." 


FLIPPING THE LENS
A SERIES THAT TAKES THE FOLKS WHO ARE USUALLY BEHIND THE CAMERA AND TURNS THE LENS AROUND ON THEM TO SEE WHAT THEY'RE LIKE.

Vinny Picone

TONE

OCTOBER 2010 - Vinny Picone is one of the main photographic forces behind the powerful and inspirational site known as The Madbury Club. The site provides content that brings the blog form to a new level, almost magazine-esque, yet something you still can't quite define as it's just very different from all the other sites. Vinny keeps the quality consistent and sets the bar for what level the photos should be at in order to be posted. I got the chance to talk with him fairly recently to discuss his start in photography, his feelings on film vs. digital, and The Madbury Club.

OCTOBER 2010 - TONE is a photographer and videographer who was (and still is) a key part in heavily sparking my interest in the field of video. While 13thwitness, Maestro, and him all were huge inspirations in the field; Tone was the one who influenced me more in terms of really telling an individual's story. The way he was able to capture a certain side of people, a true and honest glimpse into them, was incredible. Time in and time out he does what he sets out to do, capturing a feeling of authenticity. Not only that, he also opened my eyes to how powerful black and white can be in videos. I was telling Tone during our conversation how I feel the combination of the common black and white in addition to the setting of The Loft (his special spot where he films nearly all his videos), really provides a level of comfort and realness that bring his work to another level. We sat down by Washington Square Park to discuss his story.

Brook Bobbins

APRIL 2012 - If there's any photographer you've seen at concerts in NYC over the past few years (primarily hip hop), it's most likely been Brook Bobbins. For a while now he has been naturally building up his portfolio by shooting for friends and famous artists alike. The Bronx bred photographer has a knack for connecting with artists and capturing special moments. Although he's most known for the moments he captures on stage, his special relationship with many musicians allows him to freeze moments in time off the stage as well and share it with excited fans online. His website, who-shot-ya, has a plethora of photo galleries from 2010 until now. It might only be a few years, but the amount of shows and amazing shots he's got is more than many others get in their lifetime. A few months ago I linked up with Brook in back of the store Community 54 in L.E.S. to discuss everything from his start, the musicians and events he's liked shooting the most, and more regarding his story. 

Evan Tetreault

Kellen Dengler

FEBRUARY 2012 - Evan Tetreault is not just some guy who takes pictures because it's "cool." You can tell, especially when hearing his words throughout this interview, that he legitimately and whole-heartedly has a passion for the world of photography. The Connecticut bred and Boston brewed artist has a distinct and smooth style that has led to him amassing a substantial following in the dimension of the internet known as Tumblr. This is certainly well-deserved and he continues to just work harder. Although it is not touched upon too much in this video, he also dabbles a fair amount in music as well (and is pretty good at it, I must say). Still a student in college, Evan undoubtably has a bright and exciting future ahead. 

APRIL 2011 - Kellen Dengler is a man whose work in the field of videography speaks for itself. At 27 years of age, he has already done plenty of work with talented and established music artists, clothing brands, athletes, and even companies such as Nike. Creating moving visuals with a simple but compelling and authentic touch, Kellen should be a force for years to come. We recently sat down in the Lower East Side to discuss how he got started in video during college, his approach to shooting, his favorite person he's worked with so far, and future goals he has. 

King Texas

SQ Munro

DECEMBER 2010 - When you hear the name King Texas, you probably think that person is a guy from Texas or that has some relation to the giant southern state. Well, think again. King Texas is actually a female photographer hailing from NYC and a current Brooklyn borough resident. She's been taking photos since the end of high school and has since been building up a repertoire of shots of everything from NYC nightlife to portraits in the streets of BK. She was a part of The New Pop team for a few years, along with previously featured TONE as well as a fellow by the name of Trevz. After working together for a little bit, they each decided they wanted to explore their own paths individually. They still keep in touch, though, and all seem to be doing great on their own. Tales of the Visual: Texas and I met by the Brooklyn Bridge recently to discuss why she started taking photos, where her unique name originated from, and what she feels is the most important part of a photo.

MAY 2011 - Sean Quincy Munro, otherwise known simply as SQ, is a talented photographer out of Brooklyn who continues to pile up his collection of interesting shots. While his personal project and moniker for his photos is Good Habit, he also has garnered respect from working with the also-talented footwear designer by the name of Ronnie Fieg. The latter is where I actually initially heard of him personally, as I had been (and still am) a fan of Ronnie's work in shoes. When I started seeing all these incredible product shots which were different and better than what people are normally accustomed to, I needed to look more into the photographer behind the lens of these pictures. Low and behold, I found more of SQ's work and was of course impressed. About a month ago me and SQ met in the SoHo area and discussed his start in photography, knowing and working with Ronnie, Good Habit, his first gallery show, and more.

Etienne Maurice

MARCH 2011 - Etienne, or as he is sometimes referred to: ET, is the leader of a team of talented videographers for Scoremore, where he lead them to capture the tours through a multitude of angles and a personal feel. Scoremore is a booking and promoting agency for concerts that is run and created by college students and has taken over Texas with their sold-out shows. Although hence he is stationed in Texas (for college) at the moment, Etienne was in New York recently and we headed over to Bryant Park to chop it up. In this video, he talks about how he got into videography in high school, how Scoremore's concert videos are different, and growing up in Los Angeles.

Tom Medvedich

NOVEMBER 2012 - During the summer I met up with photographer Tom Medvedich to have a conversation about how he got started, how heels about hard work, and his his favorite things to shoot.