20160105

MORE . TO . M I A M I

It's been said that Miami is a city that owes a large part of its development to the drug trade. This could very well be true (see Season 1 of Narcos,) but what made me fall for Miami is the architecture and design—which I find is heavily overshadowed by tourists who fly in solely for the beach or Club Liv.

You shouldn't say no to the beach, or some much needed SLS, but you can't say no to adventure, either. If travel has taught me anything, it's that the most memorable experiences are the ones you didn't plan or sought out on your own. To me, Miami is where you retire; a constant reminder of why you need to go hard in your youth. So by the time you're ready to kick back, you just move to Florida, recline and chill.

Most of these photos were from my iPhone, a Pentax I found at Value Village weeks prior, and a couple of fish-eye lenses made specifically for mobile photography. There were too many photos to go through once I got back home. I tried to narrow it down the images that would make the best case for Miami—a place for relaxation AND inspiration.

The most candid things I see happen on back streets. I wish the Sun was out for this pic (above), tbh.

I don't know what aroma, perfume, or room spray they have in that hotel lobby, but it is one of the best things I've experienced in an open space. The Line Hotel, I think? I always mix the name up. If you don't plan on staying there at least go for lunch. Its wild.

Lincoln Road car park—the place to get a 360 view of the city, as high as seven stories up. Not to mention Miami's mood-swing weather; it'll rain, the sun will come out, transition to overcast, rain again, and the sun will come out again just before it sets—all in the same hour.

I don't often shoot at night but I've seen too many Hype Williams videos not to attempt to here. Fisheye ftw.

Okay, I can't place enough importance on this place. You remember that one scene in Men in Black? Will Smith arrives at the M.I.B headquarters for the first time and its all like top secret and futuristic? Yeah, thats this place. Its Florida's Polytechnic University, and the gifted minds that make up the student body is really leading America into the future. The things these kids were building and inventing is just mind blowing. Its about 4 hours outside of Miami, in the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.

Not too far from the Polytech is the Salvador Dali Museum (right & below). I mean, I knew Dali was on some shit, but this permanent collection really goes into who Dali was as an artist from the very beginning of his career. A very enlightening and inspiring place to visit in your lifetime. The building itself (designed by Yann Weymouth) is as surreal a structure as Dali's paintings.

I don't have many photos of this 100 acre botanical garden and estate; it was a private tour and happened pretty quick. Although, we learned quite a bit about endangered plant species, what plants are male and female and how they reproduce. It was like being on set of Jurassic Park.

We're in Coconut Grove, I was taking a pic of Sarah just outside of this mansion on a side street, the owner had just arrived home and says "Hey, I think you can get better shots inside my courtyard." She was even suggesting where I could stand to get the best lighting. Her house was crazy, and I'm not even sure she stays there often, but its definitely one of those spots you file under #goals.

I haven't seen anything like Villa Vizcaya (below) before, ever. We must've been there for a good three hours.

This is how all parties should be promoted. By plane, with special messages regarding the event. I actually considered going to Liv, only because it was written in the sky.

20151228

DANIEL CAESAR . PILGRIMS PARADISE [DIRECTION + D E S I G N]

Daniel Caesar's 'Pilgrim's Paradise' is a another project I've been working on since late Summer. Liam [MacRae] and I spent the past few months putting an entire presentation together that I trust is a reflection of Danny's music as a whole. Most artists today, especially budding artists, don't have the luxury of entering the music business prepackaged. As the traditional structure of the music business evolved, many aspects that developed artists previously are now disregarded or often overlooked. This isn't to say there aren't artists today that push the boundaries with their album artwork, but I do feel it's become more of a luxury to have great presentation than it is a standard. From the colour palette, wardrobe, to live performance, this is a brief recap of how we tied sound and visualization together.

First, we would scout and decide on a set of locations. We hit cemeteries, churches, harbour fronts, watched classic music videos and bought old CDs and vinyl just to look at the artwork. We saw the care and detail put into albums of the past—the imagery was just as necessary as the music, and that became our approach to this project. Liam and I were constantly back and forth, challenging each other's ideas in search of the most effective concept.

Being brought up religious myself served as an advantage for this project. I could identify with much of Danny's subject matter and translate it visually. These two-faced antiques (above) were among many props we hand picked from East Room. One of my favourite stories from the Bible is of a dude named Lot and his wife, who after disobeying God's instructions not to look back while escaping Sodom—turned to salt. These marble heads remind me of that story whenever I see them.

This is my favourite song on the EP. Also the first song Jordan Evans sent me once we started working on the project. We carefully arranged the antique books and wood cherub together to bring the track title to life. The cover depicts the death of an angel drowning in debt. Throughout the song, the words death or taxes are never actually sung, which left a lot of room to play with symbolism.

The image and text placement (above) alone is somewhat of a tribute to 808's & Heartbreak. Notice the numeric superscript next to the title; this was in reference to the format of Bible verses.

I think even 5 years from now I'll look back at this photo and still feel like the sand coloured Wallabees were the right choice. The pillars stay in line with the theme, adding just enough weight to the image without being too overbearing. Timeless. This is the photo I hoped we'd get after looking through all that old vinyl. The sun was just starting to set; a warm, natural light gave the space and wardrobe this subtle glow. Technically, we had about two weeks to finalize a set layout for the live show, but only another 24 hours to set it up Saturday afternoon through Sunday. You may or may not be familiar with the work of Cy Twombly, but once you do your googles I'm sure you'll catch our reference of his apartment in Rome. Them shits look heavy, right? They are. Those are $30,000 one-of-a-kind steel gates right there. We got those and the upright piano up a few levels of stairs without a scratch. Just before the show, we lit a bunch of candles for that MTV Unplugged feel.

The live show was intimate, heartfelt and seamless. Man, I just want to see this kid win. We had the creative freedom we needed and I was able to put a lot of energy into this project being a fan of the music first. If you haven't heard any of Danny's stuff yet, you can stream it here, and purchase it there.

Artwork Photography: Liam MacRae
Behind the Scenes: Keavan Yazdani
Live Show Photography: Michael Rousseau

20151108

NEEDS&WANTS . HEAVY AS HEAVEN [MIXTAPE] + D O W N L O A D



Tracklist:


1. BedouinSoundclash - When The Night Feels My Song (King Britt Remix)
2. Sonnymoon - Every Summer Night (M. Constant Remix)
3. River Tiber - Waves
4. Little Dragon - Fortune (AFTA-1 Remix)
5. Wiz Khalifa - Morocco
6. Moruf & Iman Omari - The Path
7. VATOGATO - Tearsawai
8. arca - Love You In Chains
9. Teebs - Keys Outside Chimes Loop
10. Wires for Salu - Circles

*For promotional use only* Click cover (above) to download. Photos by Tharan Parameshwaran in Swaziland.

20151022

NEEDS&WANTS CONTAINER 01 [THE BLUEPRINT]

Throughout this Winter season, NEEDS&WANTS embarks on a new journey in expansion with the opening of our first space next Spring. We’ve built a reputation as a reclusive brand, and rightfully so considering our output and where we stock. Since the brand's debut in October 2013, we've had steady growth but theres been little opportunity to show you the brand beyond the internet and our packaging. This makes a space the next natural step.



We spent a considerable amount of time on the design (courtesy of architecture student Marco Lee) before we acquired the space to be sure it reflects our ethos in both form and function. Its only a small team involved in the build, making it a project that is completely DIY from start to finish. I'll share each stage of the build as it develops. Projects of this magnitude are easier blogged than done, but at least it means our Spring 2016 collection will be available in store and online—I've always wanted to say that.

20150927

NEEDS&WANTS . F/W 2015 [PREVIEW]

Took it back to some post-World War II inspired design for this upcoming NEEDS&WANTS Fall/Winter delivery. No matter what they tell you, the best design [both form and function] is from the military. I don't remember the moment I decided on this direction as a followup to Pre-Fall, but I noticed in my day to day I was dressing like some teenager who dropped out of cadets. This new delivery includes four new jacket styles, two heavier flight jackets for the Winter months, and two lightweight jackets made of Potiswa Satin, along with a re-issued varsity from 2014. We didn't do our signature leather and wool mash-up from previous seasons. Instead, we paired Nylon and Wool, Satin and Suede, maintaining that element of experimentation we became known for. I'm sure its widely believed the Sujakan souvenir jackets derive from baseball, when in fact, these jackets were worn by American GI's on tour in Vietnam and Japan. They would often add iconography or personalized embellishments to their jackets, but I'm sure you're now familiar with the NEEDS&WANTS design approach of stripping traditional design down to its core. My dude at HOMEGROWNDIAMONDS shot a guest editorial in Japan and Norway titled "Tokyo Tour" that you can view here.

 photo fw_15-600_zpsiacr1kwb.png

If you're on the NEEDS&WANTS mailing list you received early access to the Tokyo Tour jacket already, otherwise you'll have to hold tight until October 1st for the delivery [which isn't far away]. Editorial photography courtesy of Othello Grey — product photography by Liam Macrae.

AT. LEAST . I . HAD . FUN

I went go-karting, I played with Lego, I got caught in the rain, I got lost on the New York subway (duh!) I lived in my favourite jeans, I read a few books, I lost two hard-drives, I got tanned (right?), I went to the after-party, I tried to get some sleep, I got glasses, I skipped town, I wished Meek thought about it first, I was skressed out! When that thing happened I didn't post it on Instagram, I cut my hair shorter, I walked... a lot. Yo, if any parts of this Summer looked like fun, its cause it was. Over and out.