Greg Laswell chats all things music with FAULT Magazine

 

Greg Laswell X FAULT Magazine

Words by Alex Cooke

Photographs by Andre Niesing

Greg Laswell, who couples his buttery smooth voice and beautiful sense of songwriting with introspective and poetic lyrics, is back with his newest album, “Next Time.” It has his biggest sound yet, and it’s a wonderful sonic journey led by his storytelling and musicianship. FAULT spoke to Laswell recently to find out just what motivates this talented musician and how he crafts his memorable songs.

Can you tell me a bit about how “Next Time” came together and how your sound has evolved?

I had a break, but just kind of kept going, and then, when I came back to start another record, I wanted to make it pretty big sonically and I wanted to sing out more. I went to California for about six weeks and then came back and listened to what I had. And my perspective had changed so much that I had to throw most of it out. Starting over gave me the fortitude to actually do what I really wanted to get done with it. So, shortly thereafter, I wrote a song called “Royal Empress.” That was the first one I finished after I threw a bunch of them out, and that kind of framed the rest of the record. I was like: “this is what I want sonically. I want something as large as this, and so I just kept doing that.”

How do you approach writing lyrics these days?

I was in a hurry, because I burned a couple of months with starting over, and so, I ended up writing and recording at the same time, and it was kind of awesome actually, because usually, I’m constantly writing; the memo app on my phone is just full of ideas, and sometimes, it’s just a line or a thought that I’ll have. This record, I threw away a bunch, and so when I went back, I was recording at the same exact time as I was writing, and it was kind of a new way for me to do things.

How do you approach the process of writing and recording when you’re the one manning all the instruments? I mean obviously, you can’t lay down all the tracks at one time like you would with a band.

I’ll just keep adding kind of thoughtlessly, and then, when it comes time to produce, I’ll kind of chip away at it and take things away in the end. Kind of like how a sculptor takes away — like a painter adds and a sculptor takes away until it’s done, so I kind of throw everything at it, and then I just start taking stuff away, little by little.

I noticed a ton of nuance in the drums on this record. Was that a conscious thought or is that just how they’ve evolved naturally for you?

I mean there’re a lot of sounds on this record that aren’t even drum sounds. For one, I just stood in my bathtub. I pulled my mic, I got a long cable, pulled it through the hallway, put it in the bathroom, and then stomped on the bathtub floor with my heels, and then, that was the kick drum. I had my headphone extension on, and so I was literally in my bathroom a lot! I bet my neighbors thought I was crazy.

That’s kind of a fun process for me to go through and figure out new ways to approach it. I always loved the drum tracks because I feel like the drums kind of help form the song.

“Super Moon,” I have to say, is probably my favorite on the record. Could you tell me more about it?

I always wanted to write a song about the phenomenon of when you take a picture of the moon and when you’re there, you’re looking at it, it’s beautiful and it’s large. So naturally, you take your phone out and you take a picture of it, and the picture always looks like shit, it doesn’t look anything remotely — it couldn’t be more unimpressive, you know what I mean?

And so, I wanted to draw the parallels between that and heartbreak; like it says, there’re parts of heartbreak and significant loss that you just can’t describe to someone who hasn’t gone through it or wasn’t there. You try to take a picture of it, so to speak, and show it to someone, but it’s gonna end up looking like a picture of a super moon. They’re not gonna get it, and I feel like often times, in real significant loss, people won’t truly understand what you’re going through until they’ve gone through it themselves. That’s basically the gist of the entire song.

What’s your favorite song on the record?

I think probably either that one or “Royal Empress” — one of those two.

When you are listening to music, who are you listening to these days?

I’m listening to a lot of stuff without lyrics or words. I love Chopin; I’m listening to a lot of him. My two stations on SiriusXM are classical music and jazz music. And then it’s always just the stuff that I grew up on: Peter Gabriel and early Tori Amos, Tom Petty and always The Beatles; The Beatles are always kind of interwoven into my listening palette.

I went to the music instrument museum in Arizona and they have an exhibit about Chopin, and I got some Chopin socks. They were those art socks, so whenever I wear shorts when I golf, I pull out my Chopin socks.

So besides music, what’s inspiring you these days?

Believe it or not, I’ve always been inspired more by movies. I’m more likely to write a song after I’ve seen a really good film than I am after hearing a really good song. So, I’ve always been inspired by movies, and golf, it’s a new thing for me. I’ve been at it for three years. I found it to be like in the way that a lot of people describe meditation or yoga or whatever. I found that there’s a lot in common for how I golf.

What’s your favorite part of touring?

This last tour, I told the audience that I would wait after the show to take pictures or to sign things or whatever. And I found that it kind of turned into my favorite part of the night, especially at this point in my career, because I got to talk to and meet a lot of people who have been through a lot with me. It’s like they’ve been through a lot in their lives and they’ve got to tell me about it and how my songs played an integral part in certain chapters of their life. And many times, the way they interpreted the songs weren’t anywhere near why I wrote them in the first place, but I love that too. I love it when people take one of my songs and just completely make it their own; that’s my ultimate goal.

Do you have any advice for musicians?

You gotta be able to really want it. It’s kind of a bumper sticker thought that I keep, it’s like my mantra over the years: if you have a plan B, then go ahead and do yourself a favor and get to it. Because if you have a plan B, then part of you is planning to fail; I’ve always believed that. You have to have good friends around you that are honest with you about whether you’re good enough or not. And then you just have to really want to do it.

If you could work with anyone, past or present, who would you want to work with?

I would love to do something with Lana Del Rey, a duet. I love her voice so much. It’s one of my favorites. She’s like the new Nancy Sinatra or something. I could listen to her sing the phone book.

What is your fault?

Gosh, what is my fault? That’s a good question, I mean I have several. I think my fault is that I have to overcome my pessimism, regularly; it’s something that I have to stay on top of, like my natural… what is it, my resting face? When I’m idle, I’m pessimistic. So, I have to constantly be aware of that and find ways to overcome it.

Anything you’d like to add?

There is a happy song on this record! Greg Laswell fans will be surprised at that, I think. (laughs)

Well, I personally loved it.

I think you’ll love “Next Time” as well. It’s available on iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, and YouTube. He’ll be on tour in January 2019; check out the dates here.

 

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 launch party

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Words: Flora Neighbour

Monday saw the crème de la crème of the jazz world get together for the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 launch party. A boozy affair in the low-lit, ground-floor Crystal Room at The May Fair Hotel, the evening was packed full of entertainment and speeches from big names in jazz and blues, hosted by BBC 3’s Jumoké Fashola. People gathered together, chatted, networked and caught up with old friends who hadn’t been seen since last year’s revelry. The evening was a constant buzz of excitement and the fancy dress photo booth definitely added to it with pictures being taken towards the end of the night.

Kicking things off, Chairman of the festival’s sponsor EFG, John Williamson, spoke of the tireless efforts and amazing performances the festival produces, while also announcing the continuation of their sponsorship of the London Jazz Festival for another five years, adding: “2018 marks the 10th anniversary of our partnership with the London Jazz Festival, during which time we have seen the festival go from strength to strength. As an organisation, we aspire to share and celebrate the distinctive qualities which make jazz such an exceptional art form, embracing creativity and innovation, freedom of individual and collective expression, diversity and collaboration. Through our sponsorship programmes we also strive to help up and coming talent establish their voice on a global stage.”

 

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Alex Davis, Cherise Adams-Burnett, Rob Luft, Claire Whitaker, John Williamson, Claire Mera-Nelson, Jumoke Fashola, Corrie Dick, Camilla George and James Stirling. Image credit: Tatiana Gorilovsky

 

Giving the party a boost of much-needed youthfulness, Cherise Burnett-Adams took to the stage with Rob Luft supporting her on guitar to perform for the crowds in-between speeches. This year will be Cherise’s first festival, so I took this opportunity to talk to the singer. Speaking about her excitement at performing this November, she added: “I always knew that singing was a passion of mine and wanted to learn more about it, but all of the other genres, like pop, were tailored towards the commercial side of the industry, so I decided to go down the jazz route. Jazz isn’t about the hype or fame, it’s about creating good music with good people.

“The London Jazz Festival has also created an opportunity for me, with the celebration of the Windrush generation, to connect to my grandparents. All four of my grandparents came over in the sixties from Jamaica, but they didn’t talk about their experiences. So, I sat down with my grandma and spoke to her and decided to put on a separate show about her story, which is called Evelyn and the Yellow Birds. The performance tells her personal story about bravery, preparation and how she uprooted her entire life. It also explains how she found a sense of community through music during lonelier times.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 and can’t wait to perform my music at The Royal Albert Hall on the 21st November.”

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett at EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Cherise Adams-Burnett

 

Not only can you see Cherise’s homage to the Windrush generation, other concerts created for the festival include Windrush: A Celebration, presented by Anthony Joseph, which features Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose and Brother Resistance, and Orphy Robinson’s Astral Weeks, with Zara McFarlane and Sarah Jane Morris.

Still London’s largest city-wide festival, with more than 2,000 artists with 325 performances in 70 venues across the capital, the music week promotes inclusivity and diversity, with artists from around the world flying in from the 16th November. Make sure you check out the online programme which includes dates for Archie Shepp, Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya, as well as Hollywood hero Jeff Goldblum and his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.

So, give a jazz hand to the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 and get yourself to a concert in November.

 

For more information, visit www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

 

Gabriel Kane Day Lewis Photoshoot and Interview with FAULT Magazine Preview

 

 

 

 

Art Direction & Photography: Leonardo De Angelis & Eric Francis Silverberg 

Stylist: Marc Anthony George 

Groomer: Roberto Morelli

Stylist Assistant: Evan Grotevant

Location SplashLight Studios NYC

 

 

Words: Carolyn Okomo

 

While music appears to be the emerging pop crooner’s chosen love, the Day Lewis hasn’t cast off the idea of trading a microphone for a script, though he admits he still has much to learn about the artform.

 

“I have, and I do want to act. It just has to be right. The right director, the right cast, the right screenplay.  I want to be in something noteworthy” he says. “But before I just throw myself into acting I want to take classes and learn. I feel it’s important for all artists to go through a certain learning process, regardless of talent.”

 

Day Lewis recently spoke with FAULT about his influences, regret, bullies, and forging his own unique brand of celebrity.

 

How did you discover your passion for music?

 

I wouldn’t say that I discovered music. It was a gradual thing, and it’s definitely been ingrained in me for as far back as I can remember. I’ve just always loved everything about music, and as I got older I started showing a pretty natural interest in the hands on aspect of music, and picked up the piano and guitar.

 

The first song I wrote was for my babysitter Kelly. I was five,  I think. The song was called “Pretty”, and it was basically me singing the word “pretty” over and over again to the tune of “Twinkle twinkle little star”. Wrote my first “original” song when I was eleven or twelve. I’ve been writing songs since.

 

 

Who are some artist you’d like to work with?

 

It’s hard to pinpoint, the youth is crushing pop at the moment. So many new faces, and insane amounts of talent. Everyone’s doing their thing and it’s really cool. I’d like to work with James Bay, his vibe is really what I’m about at the moment. Ed Sheeran would obviously be a dream collaboration. He just writes the most incredible songs.

 

You’ve written off your hip hop-influenced video, ‘Green Aura,’ as a misrepresentation of you as an artist. Do you feel the same way about it? How do you think you’ve grown, and what do you feel you’ve learned, since making that video — good and bad?

 

Green Auras. I used to always avoid questions about the viral music video I made when I was eighteen because it was still somewhat of a fresh wound, if you will. But now that I’ve been able to distance myself and completely come to terms with all the shade the internet threw at me back then, and look on it with some perspective from life experiences I’ve had since then.

 

I don’t really have anything I regret. If anything it was a valuable lesson and I learned it early on. The internet us a playground for bullies. In the track for that video, I made my biggest mistake by opening up about some real personal issues I hadn’t addressed back then, and people were just flat out mean about it. I was young and didn’t think the video would ever get the attention it did. I don’t care anymore, it blew over and it’s in the past now.

 

 

How did growing up in NYC influence you as an artist?

 

NYC has been just as good for my creativity, as its been stifling. What I love about the city is it’s constant flow of energy, the diversity. There’s always something to do and people to meet.  It feels so familiar to me. There’s something about the city that makes me feel on top of the world. That feeling of being unstoppable with infinite possibilities. It becomes energy that can be processed creatively. But I had to take a break from New York, it was wearing me out. I’ll be back soon.

 

What is your FAULT?

 

Hopeless romance.

 

‘OCHSENKNECHT’ Exclusive Fashion Editorial Chris Haimerl’s FAULT

 

Photo: Chris Haimerl 

Styling: Birgit Anja 

H&M: Klara Stark 

Model: Cheyenne Ochsenknecht 

Clothing: ONIMOS 

Taylor Bennett open and honest interview and photoshoot for FAULT Magazine 29

Photography Dalong Yang
Fashion Editor Chaunielle Brown
Grooming Brittan White @kate ryan
Photo assist’ Maya Lou
Fashion assist’ Carina Camacho, Francis Harris and Jennifer Laurantius
Words: Will Soer
Have you ever talked to someone you’ve just met about your sexuality? It’s a scary thing to do at 2pm. Despite the global reach of his music, Taylor Bennett talks to me alone, without intervention from his record label (whose staff includes only his father and his best friend). His older brother – Chance the Rapper – has Chicago on his shoulders, and his father worked as an aide to Obama, but Taylor is carrying a mass of inestimable size. The 22-year-old rapper represents those who resist the repression of categorisation. In 2014 Donald Glover praised Macklemore‘s on-record advocation of gay rights, whilst noting that he was able to do this because of being white. Like its home country, Hip Hop still has many barriers to break.
The title track of your new EP Be Yourself explicitly states ‘I’m an outstanding Afro-American bisexual’? Do you remember where you first performed it?
Nashville Tennessee, at a pride festival. I had never even practiced it, but I knew this project was coming out, I knew what I wanted it to stand for. As much as I love the track and you can bounce around to it, it’s a statement, and it’s often easy to leave a show on a turn-up note and forget the one thing you wanted to have said. I always get the show-tracks (which strip the main vocal) made as soon as I get songs, in case I have a moment like that. I remember performing it and it not sounding that good, with the voice control.
Aside from the sound, physically how did it feel?
Physically it felt great. Like you can go onto the stage and fucking kill it for thirty minutes, and hit everything on the right punch, but sometimes it’s those two minutes where you cut off all the music and talk about what’s going on in your life, why you want to portray this, and then your fans come back and understand it… It’s a crazy feeling, getting an energy that’s reciprocated and sent back to you.
This interview is about you not me, but I want to share where I’m coming from. The first person to play me your music was my brother, he’s three years younger and really benefited from that-
That’s what my brother tells me all the time, we went to the same school, he’d always say to my parents that I know what I shouldn’t do because I’ve seen what he’s done.
I envy you for that! We moved to England when I was eleven, and I was bullied because I sounded gay. I got more confidant, got into music, my brother and best friend both came out, and hip hop has been a big thing between us in a lot of ways. So alongside your music, I really want to explore this stuff, what’s it like to be bisexual within hip hop.
Everybody asks me that question, but that really hit me what you just said. Because in America, I’m black, and we’re all very limited, but to hear about somebody that lives overseas that’s white, that has a younger brother and a best friend that’s gay, and something that keeps you together is hip hop, like man… I won’t say that that’s not something that happens all the time in America, but I’ll tell you that that’s something you won’t hear someone say.
It’s not out in the open.
You’ve gotta ask yourself why people don’t talk about it, and that’s a big part of why I’m doing this, I believe there are people that don’t want us to explore ourselves, who want African Americans to be oppressed based off communication. There are a lot of people who have the same stories as you, but they won’t share them, because it’s not familiar. We all listen to Kanye West, but we don’t talk about how he got bullied and called a gay fish on South Park, and the whole world hated Kanye West. Same with Lil Wayne, he wore skinny jeans and everybody called him gay.
You know I’ve never thought about that aspect of Kanye’s story, it happened before I got into hip hop, when I thought rock bands were where it’s at. Before I saw how clearly human idiosyncrasies are presented in hip hop, where you’ve got all that intensity focussed into one person.
I talk about Young Thug [a cross-dressing rapper who is also featured on Be Yourself] a lot, he’s one of those people that have had to be sacrifices for education. Every time something like that happens in main hip hop culture, the whole world gets affected, and that’s the power of not just music, but like you said, hip hop, having one person who carries the weight. It is hard to be a black artist and not be a rapper, even if the aesthetics of what you do are nowhere near that. It forces people to feel as if they can’t be original, because even their personality has to be what the listener wants it to be. And that’s when things start to be regurgitated.
You recently said that, after coming out on twitter to everyone [including friends and family] on the night you turned 21, there were ten minutes when you could have backed out and claimed you’d been hacked. Did you seriously consider it? Are there certain responses that could have made it very difficult not to back out?
Yeah man. Like yes, yes, yes. I’m not superman. All artists do read their comments, some things that people say do really affect it, there’s a lot of artists that are trying to live with this perception of who people think they are. My whole thing with this project is I’m gonna do the exact opposite, I’m gonna stand up for what I believe in and bring attention to something in the world that is a major topic. Like why, when I talk about this situation, am I always combatting with the fact that hip hop doesn’t identify with gay people?
That’s the funny thing about Young Thug, I know gay people identify with him, my best friend has literally been told ‘you are to Young Thug as Jesus is to God’. We’ve had nights where we get back from a club and put on his track Safe, and we’ve jumped and screamed along to it, and it doesn’t matter that we can’t go through every lyric and say ‘yeah we agree with that’, what matters is the expressive exuberance of his voice and image.
And he’s Young Thug. His name, that’s how America… we are all products of our environment, and that’s how America is made to be. And it’s nothing shy of that. I feel a certain way when I walk down the street, when I have my hoodie on, I don’t feel safe going a lot of places, there’s a lot of things I can’t do. I was talking about cars to one of my friends, and the fact that maybe I shouldn’t get the Porsche that I could afford, because it’s dangerous.
Damn.
There’s a prison-to-school pipeline, based on the standardised testing we take and what bubbles we fill in when about our ethnicity, that’s how many prisons they build in the next 15 years. Private owned companies own and buy prisons for the government, and most of these people who get locked up, they don’t just fucking make license plates, these guys make big brand clothing, all sorts of things in America, for private owned companies.
It’s difficult to remember with this stuff going on that you can do something, rather than just focussing on achieving the chilliest form of existence possible.
I mean I was raised in a Christian household, I believe I have a relationship with God. I believe that God is just like the internet, he sends little bits of pieces of information to everybody, and that’s why we need to have conversations, because you have a piece of information that I need, and I need to transfer to you. Religion puzzles so many people because it is an unknown power, it has variables of people way older than you claiming to have seen things you haven’t seen.
That’s also a defence for hip hop, that you can’t judge the lyrics if you haven’t walked in those shoes. It’s impressive that you have embraced both Christianity and Hip Hop.
Because I’ve seen the greatness that they can bring in my life, the happiness, and I can’t shy that from my listeners, I just want you to be yourself. I don’t wanna be a leader in this thing, I can feel that’s not my purpose. The biggest thing right now that I believe on the world, something that is my purpose, is to start conversation. I’m not supposed to tell you when and where to have it, I’m just supposed to put out an opportunity to kick the door open and talk.

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 29 – THE MOVEMENT ISSUE –  IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

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Paxton Ingram photoshoot and interview for FAULT Magazine 29

 

Photography: Dalong Yang

Fashion Editor: Chaunielle Brown

Hair Isaac Davidson using Oribe

Make-up: Soo Park Using Bioderma & Nars Cosmetics

Photo Assist: Maya Lous

Fashion Assist: Ariane Velluire/ amah Dong

 

An earnest soul with an infectiously inviting smile, Paxton Ingram’s echoing laughter is enough to make you see him as a kindred spirit. If you’re not an avid viewer of The Voice, you may not be familiar with this gifted, rising spark. Paxton’s presence is always filled with excitement, home cooked with a welcoming charm.

Despite being east-to-west dial tones away, Paxton’s bubbling enthusiasm carried well – and we were able to unravel a lot more about the endearing and delightful singer-songwriter.

What was the first thing that came to your mind when you opened your eyes this morning?

The first thing that came to my mind was, “I have to pray.” [chuckles]

Since I’ve been here, I’ve really been trying to devote a moment to myself in the morning – to have that moment with me and God, you know? Just so I can just align myself in the day. And to help set my attention and get everything set up so I can go into the studio or whatever meeting that I have that day with a clear head. Like I know what I want to say and be comfortable in myself, you know? And that definitely kind of helps me just to stay clear, stay focused and stay like…ready. For whatever.
 
Absolutely. Do you have any particular word or scripture that comes to your mind or that you keep on repeat?
You know it typically changes like sometimes it could be… uh man… Deuteronomy… uhhh…

Oh my gosh! I’ve been reading Deuteronomy too! So funny you said that!Yes, girl, Deuteronomy! He is… he has gone before me and… oh man, I gotta go find it! [laughs]


I got it! Deuteronomy 31:8!  “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Yes, that’s the one, girl! Gets me through it!

I love your name, it’s so strong, so bold, so badass, so cool – what’s the story behind it?
So, I got my name from my Mamma, for starters [laughs]. She says she wanted a stand out name. I think it was from a book she was reading, a character who was named Paxton, and I think she just fell in love with it and just rolled with it.
You know, when I was a kind I didn’t like it. I wish my name was Kevin or Kyle or…Or Derek or Tim, Why can’t I have a normal name, mom [laughs]?!
Where did music begin for you? Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood? Any distinct memories that had a factor or influence on your where you are now?Music started for me very early. When I was a kid, I remembered my older brothers would be around the speakers freestyling. That’s my very first memory of music. And thinking, what are they doing? Creative, that whole thing, whoa how cool! And I would just get up and try and do what they were doing and, you know, just say something stupid – random nonsense. But I guess my brothers didn’t light me up because I was doing it. I was just a kid trying to be like them. My brother was a musician too so there was always music around the house.

How old were you?

I was a kid, so probably like five or six. You know when you first start getting memories – around that age. One of my very first first musical moments: I remember being in my living room, watching a Michael Jackson concert –  live in Bucharest. I’ll never forget it because I went out and found it years later. 1992 – you know when he just stands up and the crowd just goes wild for five minutes and he’s not even moving? That shook me as a kid, and I knew that was something I wanted: I wanted to make people feel that. You know, he was such a symbol – he was THE pop star. That was so monumental for me.I always go back to Michael when it comes to anything that I do. Especially when it comes to performance because he was the greatest.

‘The Voice’ was certainly a clocking point along the journey for you. What did you take away from that and would you have done anything differently?

Hmmm…Knowing what I know I now, I would have definitely done some things differently. Just having some skin now, but if I still had the same innocence that I did, I think what I did was perfect. Everything went the way it was supposed to. I had an amazing experience. I grew a lot. I learned a lot. I learned how to handle myself in situations like that because you’re on live, prime time television and the whole world’s watching you. Are you going to go home or are you going to stay? You know you’ve got to have that muscle in you, and so it definitely grew me faster than I thought. It gave me a little bit of thick skin. That whole experience was something like a boot camp. And they give you the tools to really go out there and to make some noise and to do it. And that’s what I think is awesome about that show.

What do you hope your music will do for the people? You’ve said how much you love what you do and that you definitely want to make a statement. So what is it that you’re hoping to achieve?

I’m hoping to make people feel something. I think that we go to music for therapy. It’s a form of medication, the purpose of which is to make us feel something. It’s an escape – just like any kind of drug. I feel like if I make someone feel empowered, if I make someone feel great, if I make someone feel better than they’re feeling at that moment, I think that’s the purpose of music. I think that’s the bigger picture – music has the power to go beyond your own achievements and become bigger than you. It belongs to people in general – a shared experience.

So if music is about sharing and communicating with people then what do you think about the role of technology in youth culture – specifically the undeniable increase in our use of technology to communicate? Where are we headed?

I think music and technology have always been the same thing. They’re like cousins or brothers. We wouldn’t have music today without technology. It’s always about  the newest, latest, tech thing that can make the sound even better, or make you work faster or get your ideas down from A to B.

I think the future of music…[pauses] I think all music will be free one day. On some cool device, some cool way, all music will be free. Because when I think about it, I feel like music was never meant to be for sale. I think music was always meant to be enjoyed. Like when you walk into a store or a restaurant, you just hear random music: you’re not paying for it. When you turn on the car radio, you’re not paying for that, you’re just hearing it. You just bump into music. Music is meant to be shared. Back when it was folklore and the village and jungle – they were just singing it. And eventually we will go back to a place where it’s just shared and free.

Aside from singing and writing new music, what are the other things you’re looking to do in the future?

I definitely want to showcase my dance more. I’m a trained dancer and I trained for years and years. We had this conversation, me and my team, not too long ago. They are saying, like, “Hey, I think it’s a hidden secret that you can dance!” I’m like, “I think you’re right, we need to showcase that way more!”

I’m also thinking about starting a podcast to talk more about different things and express my personality a bit more outside of my music.

 

And wrapping it up, tell us, what is your FAULT?

Sometimes I feel like I don’t enjoy the moment long enough. I’m anxious-slash-impatient and I want everything to happen now – or yesterday! I keep asking myself, “why am I not there now?”
And that’s why I said trusting the process has become such a big thing in my life – because things don’t just happen immediately like that. It’s a waiting game – you hurry up, put the work in and then you wait. So I definitely have to tell myself ever day: “Yo Pax: chill!”

Anything you would like to add?

Thank you for doing this for me – talking to me, having me on set. Doing the gorgeous photoshoot. That was the best experience of my life, I swear I’m not just saying that. The energy and everything was just incredible. I haven’t experienced anything like that so it was just really beautiful to do it. And I thank you guys for trusting me to kill it!

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KIN: Director duo Jonathan and Josh Baker’s Sci-fi drama

If brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker, directors of the sci-fi feature film KIN, hadn’t delved into filmmaking nearly 15 years ago, you’d probably find them attempting perilous physical feats for Likes on social media.
“There’s a part of me that’s a little sad that parkour wasn’t a popular thing when we were growing up because if it was, we would have been on Instagram jumping across buildings,” says Jonathan, one half of the directing duo known as TWIN.

Photography: Gray Hamner

Instead, They set their sights on directing, moving from Sydney to New York in 2007, working on music videos and commercials. Through a decade of professional stagnation, The Brothers developed the short film “Bag Man”, a 15-minute film with a nameless cast of characters whose protagonist, a Harlem-bred African-American preteen, ventures upstate with his mysterious duffel bag to carry out an undecidedly valiant mission.

“Bag Man”, which premiered at 2015’s South by Southwest to great acclaim, quickly evolved into KIN under the joint tutelage of 21 Laps Entertainment, the production company associated with 2016 Academy Award-nominated film Arrival and the Netflix breakaway hit Stranger Things. Both KIN’s cast (James Franco, Zoe Kravitz, Dennis Quaid, Jack Reynor and emerging talent Myles Truitt as the film’s lead) and the filmmakers’ gritty, independent sensibilities, coupled with a predisposition for classic 80s sci-fi and coming-of-age cinema, are sure to attract discerning moviegoers.

How did you decide which elements of “Bag Man” to incorporate into KIN and which to leave out?

Josh: That was one of the toughest things about it. We didn’t just assume that there was a feature-length story to be told there. The short film already had a couple of things going for it: it was mostly a tone piece; it was about trying to make something feel restrained and quiet. Our lead character doesn’t say a word throughout the whole film, which is very much on purpose. And then it was about clashing that quietness with a surprise ending so the audience maybe think that they’re getting one thing, but then you give them another.
When we were putting the concept for feature together, I guess we decided we wanted some more meat on the bone with regards to the characters and where the story was going. We decided that we wanted to tell a story about family. And specifically about unconventional families. So this story is about brothers, and that was our jumping off point. Quite quickly, we realised that the unconventional structure of having an African-American lead character who has a white older brother after being adopted into a Polish family in Detroit was really interesting.

Jonathan: There’s a lot of things in the movie, in KIN, that are about acceptance, and a lot of themes about what makes a family, or what makes brothers. Is it blood, or is it something beyond that? Is it more experience and love? A lot of those things weren’t in the original short film but as soon as we started to talk about what KIN would become, it became apparent that those fraternal themes would be in there.

What are some of the challenges of working as a collaborative team?

Josh: There’s plenty of challenges. As brothers, we’ve gotta be really careful that we have a unified front when it comes to the idea of being a directing duo.
Ego is a huge part of being a director – it really is. It always has been, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. You’ve just gotta be careful of that and realize that you’ve got someone else who’s on the same level as you and who has to be a collaborative part of making decisions.

Jonathan: The good thing about having a directing partner is that you have this inbuilt level of collaboration and patience and respect – mutual respect – so I think it’s very easy for that to then affect everyone else. Everyone begins to realise that this is how these guys work, this is the kind of set I’m on. They see us as the kind of directors who listen a lot, who accept other people’s’ ideas.

Photography: Gray Hamner

Photography: Gray Hamner

What advice would you give yourself ten years ago?

Josh: I think the main thing would be trust your instincts. Having a twin brother as a director helps a lot when it comes to making decisions. I think it helps to have someone next to you so you can talk stuff out, come up with the right solutions and make the right decisions on what to do with certain things. A lot of where we are right now just comes from instinct. All a director really has is their personal sense of taste and that ability to follow their gut. We were offered films years ago, and I’m really glad, at this point, that we didn’t take them. Just because of this film that we made, KIN, is very much based on who we are and the things we love.

Jonathan: KIN is a movie that we made for us, and we genuinely believe that if you do that – if you make a film for yourselves and a movie you would want to see – then there is going to be a very strong fan base of people who agree with you. It may not be for everybody, which is not something that everybody involved in the film wants to hear or wants to say, but the truth of the matter is that you never want to make something from a false place, trying to please everybody. You want to really have it come from an authentic place and a human place.

Josh: This movie is undeniably ‘us’.

What is your FAULT?

Jonathan: I think one of our faults is caring a little bit more about art and about sophistication and about credibility than commerce. And I think that’s a very challenging dynamic to balance in what we do. Pleasing people, while pleasing yourself, is a very challenging kind of way to live, and to do.

Josh: I guess if we didn’t operate that way then we would be much richer gentlemen, and at different times of the week, I look back and say, ‘did we make the right decision based off money?’ But I think I’ll always choose something that feels honest to us over financial gain. And sometimes that feels like a fault, but hopefully, it’s not.

Jonathan: …and we hope – that KIN is an example of hope. But at the end of the day, if for some reason it doesn’t connect, we’ll feel good within ourselves as directors and as filmmakers that we made the honest choice in something that speaks to us as humans. That’s the most important thing.

KIN is out now in Cinemas everywhere. See local listings for details.

COSMO’S MIDNIGHT FAULT MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

Let’s get this out into the open straightaway: Cosmo’s Midnight is a banger addict’s dream come true. With their full-length debut, What Comes Next, producer twins Cosmo and Patrick Liney are here to enable you.

Once scrappy upstarts in Australia’s beat-making scene, Cosmo’s Midnight has since become one of its finest electronic exports. The duo’s newly-released 12-track effort is dreamy, intoxicating, and complex—with the brotherly duo enlisting both local and international features to help bring their insatiable project to life, from L.A. rapper Buddy to Swedish wunderkind Tove Styrke, and Melbourne vocalist Woodes to Sydney’s six-piece Winston Surfshirt. Libidinal R&B (“Lowkey”), heartbreak disco (“Talk To Me”), cloud rap (“Where You Been”), near-instrumentals (“Polarised”), and sultry come-ons (“History”)—their tightly curated, summery, feel-good songs are all here for the taking.

The album dropped ahead of their Australia/New Zealand tour, which kicked off in July, and the fellas are now on the Asian leg of their tour before heading off to Europe next month. FAULT caught up with Cos and Pat at their show last week in Seoul, South Korea to discuss the music, the inspirations, and their journey to her.

Interview: Kee Chang

Photography: Jordan Kirk.

What Comes Next is incredibly addictive. Did it exceed your personal, creative expectations?

Patrick Liney: I think it definitely exceeded our expectations. At the very start of the process, we just couldn’t see the end and we were finding along the way what we really wanted to do with it. Looking back now, I’m really glad we ended up where we did. Three years ago, when we were writing the first demos for the album, I don’t think we—

Cosmo Liney: It was stabbing in the dark.

Patrick: With a lot of the album, it wasn’t like we went in like, “This is exactly what we’re gonna make.” We were figuring it out over three years and piecing together all these bits. So it wasn’t an album like, “This is the concept and we’re gonna smash it out in two months.” When we finished it and looked back, it sort of made sense that it was a combination of all these different things that influenced us growing up, up until the point that we became producers and musicians.

Cosmo: We feel really lucky to have had it work out, especially with a lot of the things that happened in the process. It was very fortunate because they may not have happened. For example, when we sampled N.E.R.D./Pharrell, that could’ve not happened.

Patrick: Yeah, they might not have cleared it.

Cosmo: A lot of the features were very difficult to get and hard to maintain contacts for.

Patrick: For example, we’d get a sick verse from a rapper and you just wouldn’t hear from them for like six months. You’re like, “This demo is so sick. Let’s finish it off,” and then they hit you back like, “Here’s a finished song.”

Cosmo: We’re very used to writing songs in the studio with the person and getting the songs made that way. A lot of this album was done over the Internet.

Patrick: Yeah, just emailing back and forth with ideas and stuff.

Cosmo: We’re just really glad it came together and that it’s something we can be proud of for our first album.

Patrick: Again, with a lot of the songs, we never met who wrote on them so a lot of it feels like we have this connection with the people we haven’t met yet. We wrote that song with Jay Prince and Buddy as well.

Those guys worked independently from each other as well, right?

Patrick:  Yeah, yeah. Then there’s Boogie, Winston Surfshirt, and Tove Styrke. Panama is from Sydney so and that was good for the process. I feel like we write our best music like that.

Cosmo: It’s easier to write like that.

Patrick: It’s definitely a challenge to work over emails. You can’t be like, “Change that take,” and stuff like that because it just takes too long, whereas in the studio you can change so much in a minute.

What was it like curating what ultimately ended up on the album? Are there a lot of unused demos?

Patrick: So, so, so much. The album has 12 tracks including the interlude, but I think we had somewhere around 50-ish demos.

Cosmo: And a lot of them were good. It was about finding—

Patrick: What works. There were songs that we really liked that we kind of put on hold. They just wouldn’t have worked for the album. We’re saving them for something later, further down the line. We sort of curated the album four months out of release like, “This is the final ones,” and then we went out and finished all the tracks after that. You always have the “What if?” in your head like, “What if we did this song instead? What if I tweaked this song forever?” which is why it’s good we didn’t mix it ourselves. This is the first project we’ve not mixed ourselves. I mixed all of our previous singles up until “Get to Know.” We brought in this incredible mixing engineer, George Nicholas, on board. He’s from this band called Seekae. Sometimes when you’ve been working on a song so closely for so long, you get tunnel vision. You need someone who’s objectively looking at it like, “I know what’s best for this song.” When I mix my own stuff, I don’t know what to change: “Am I making it worse or am I making it better?”

Cosmo: You just don’t know. You kind of lose track of the entire thing.

Patrick: We often come up with ideas really quickly and take a long time to finish it because all the details take a long time.

Is there any validity to artists who say that the songs that come together fast are usually the best cuts?

Cosmo: There’s no really right or wrong way to do it, but I think you can’t argue that when you write something that quickly and something that feels so right, you’ve kind of hit a nerve in some way.

Patrick: And you can only hit it every now and then. A lot of the times, you’re banging your head like, “Come on! Come out, song!” Then sometimes it happens without you even doing much and it sort of writes itself. It’s super weird. It feels really good when it’s effortless.

You guys came to play a show in South Korea just around this time last year, right?

Patrick: We did.

You were just in Singapore and headed to Thailand tomorrow. Are the vibes glaringly different?

Patrick: Oh, it’s so vast.

Cosmo: Even in Australia, it’s so different between cities. I don’t know what that comes down to at all.

Patrick: Cultural differences and like—

Cosmo: Just how much it’s different, though.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s insane. Playing in Singapore yesterday was kind of a shock. I couldn’t believe that people came to see us play in Singapore. It was really cool. Then you have the different crowd vibes. The crowd here in Seoul—at Soap anyways—they go crazy. [Laughs] At least at our last show, it was so much fun. We’ve played in China and other places where they’re more reserved.

Cosmos: They’ll politely enjoy the show and come up to you afterwards like, “That was amazing! I had so much fun!” and you’re like, “Really?” But they really did. They just didn’t show it.

What do you prefer?

Patrick: Obviously, the instant gratification of everyone sort of jumping around is really fun. But a lot of the times, we also go and talk to people after the show to see what they thought or just to say “Hi.” Hearing what they thought of the show is where you feel good. Some people just don’t like dancing and drinking or whatever—it’s not necessarily their vibe. There are different flavors. As long as they enjoyed it, that’s all that matters to me. At the end of the day, if they have a good time, then we have a good time. If someone’s not having a good time, me and Cosmo will not have a good time and it would just spiral. If everyone’s having a good time, it spirals in the reverse way.

Cosmos: Upwards.

One of the things that seems to come up a lot when you’re asked about your early influences is your older brother Nik who really turned you onto music, as older siblings tend to do. Is he shocked by how much you took to music and how far you’ve come?

Patrick: I think so.

Cosmo: None of us were prepared for what would happen. None of us really knew that we’d be touring and playing around the world and stuff. To him, being our brother, I think it’s just more shocking because he knows us so well. To see it happening is really surprising for him.

Patrick: It’s weird. And he lives in London so he has this outsider’s perspective. Even though he’s our brother, he sees a lot of stuff through—

Cosmo: He won’t be at the shows, but he’ll see recaps or photos or something.

Patrick: We’re gonna go over to Europe next month so we’re gonna hang out and he’ll come to some of the shows. I don’t think he’s seen us play in a super long time—it’ll be cool to hang out. We’re really close, even though we don’t see each other that much. He’s only two years older than us so we’re pretty close in years as well.

What Comes Next is an interesting title for your debut album because it sounds prophetic. It seems to really set you up for what’s to come after this work.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s kind of cool because it’s acknowledging that it’s our debut effort—a launchpad for all the things that can come afterward. It’s prophetic in like a hopeful sense. It’s a prediction. At the same time, it acknowledges all the stuff that built up to this point as well. When we’re talking about our album and our process, we’re referring back to when we were kids. On the album cover, the artwork is based off a collage of all these photos of us from when we were little. We’ll be sitting in different rooms in our family house and my dad would be playing vinyls to us. They’re basically three things: Switch-On Bach, which is like a Minimoog version of all these Bach songs. Then he’d play us Jim Hall’s Undercurrent, which is this jazz-guitar album that I heard a million times. Also, a lot of disco as well. At the time, we were like, “Ugh—I hate this so much.” But then, you know, as you start getting into music, you come to appreciate it. My mom and dad would email us all this music like, “You listened to this when you were little! Don’t you remember it?” It’s like, “Holy shit. We’re really just a product of our parents.” They totally put us into this shit without us knowing. Then you’re like, “Cool.” [Laughs] I’m happy for it. That’s sort of what the album is about. It’s all these things that have coalesced and shaped us into musicians and just as people in general. We’re sort of filtering that through our experiences into a musical format. So a lot of the inspirations behind the album is super far and wide. There’s a lot of the disco stuff like Chic and Nile Rodgers. There’s some jazzy elements as well on a few tracks. Then there’s like 2000s R&B and Hip-Hop that we listen to a lot. Recently, we came back to Pharrell’s stuff and Timbaland and N.E.R.D. and The Neptunes and stuff. Then there are new inspirations—we listen to so much stuff. Lately, we’ve been listening to BadBadNotGood, The Internet, Blood Orange…

Cosmo: It’s obviously a big one. I just love Kaytranada for the fact that he can still sound like he’s got enough going on, even though he has such a specific sound.

Patrick: It’s just what’s really minimal about it that’s really full. We learned a lesson listening to all these artists we like where they do a lot with little. A lot of people will try to—us included—fill in the album’s gaps and stuff by adding more layers and details, but often, you just have to get rid of that and just make the initial sound bigger. You can write a really good, incredibly dense song with just 10 layers, whereas when we were starting out we’d do like 100+ tracks and it would just get super dense and get to be a nightmare to mix. This album was about paring back from that and going back to the fundamentals—just really focusing on the core things that make a song great to us. It’s about what we really like about the song and not over embellishing it and trying to keep it to “This is what works.” If it gets overdone, when we finally know that we’ve worked a song too hard, we can stop and pull back a bit and then send it off to George so he can just mix it. It’s good—we finally figured it out. The funnest part of writing a song is like the first day and the rest is hard, meticulous work where you’re concentrated but not necessarily creative. You’re just working at that point and it doesn’t feel fun.

What is your FAULT?

Patrick: Maybe I’m too meticulous—to a fault. I’m too overanalyzed and too self-critical and detailed.

Cosmo: My fault is that I’m the opposite of that. I don’t bring enough control to what I do. It’s too off-kilter to what we’re trying to do.

Patrick: So it kind of works out.

The yin and yang.

Cosmo: It’s totally feng shui.

Patrick: Cosmo brings the vibe and I bring the technicality to it.

For more information on COSMO’S MIDNIGHT, including tour dates, head over to www.cosmos-Midnight.com.

A special thanks to Astral People and SOAP Seoul.