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.

MAALS Watches: guest post by co-founder Andy Sealey

In the beginning: the start of MAALS Watches

 

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Jump Over The Moon brushed steel by MAALS

 

Guest post by @AndyLSealey

My brother and I have always collected watches. None of them too expensive – some old, some new – but all a bit out of the norm in design. After years of talking but not doing, we bit the bullet and finally decided to start our own watch company and design watches that we’d be happy to have in our own collections.

This series of blogs will be about our journey from cool idea to reality. We’ve never written a blog or started a company before, so this is a whole new exciting – but a little scary – world for us. Welcome to MAALS Watches.

 

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Etched caseback art by The Art of Okse on the steel and black versions of Jump Over The Moon

 

MAALS Watches: the history

 

I, (Andy), started collecting watches when I moved to my own place at 18. New job, new city, new flat, so (of course) new clothes and a new watch or two had to be done. I started off with a Storm Camera which I stumbled across in a trendy charity shop in Worcester where I was living. That first one sparked an interest in Storm watches and their designs. After that I picked up a Storm Navigator and a lovely Storm Bubble, then a couple of Tokyo flash pieces.

The Storm Bubble was swapped for drinks on a special works night out by a friend of mine, whom I’d lent it to – we had some serious words about that one. The rest of my collection was unfortunately stolen – along with the TV, Stereo, photographs, (honestly, why?), and my housemates’ car – when the house I was living in was burgled. I stopped collecting after that for a long while. Partly because there wasn’t anything I really wanted, but mostly because I simply didn’t feel like collecting anymore.

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Jump Over The Moon black and steel – UK designed, unique moonphase timepieces

 

I started collecting again thanks to my other half who bought me an Armani as a birthday present. My small collection now consists of:

  • Armani
  • Two Skagens
  • Nooka Zub Blue
  • Nooka Zaz with its see-through dial
  • Storm Ovnik Blue
  • A gorgeous brushed rose gold Lasser jump hour, which is about as old as me I think.

My brother Bruno’s love of watches started much longer ago than mine. Old Mr Manny, who lived upstairs from us in the block of flats we lived in when we were both young, used to repair watches and taught him about movements and some basic repair bits for mechanical watches.

 

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Jump Over The Moon black steel by MAALS

 

MAALS Watches: the watch collectors

 

Time moved on and so did we. Bruno went to Uni in Liverpool in the 1990s where he brought his first watch: an Adidas sports watch, with money from being a lifeguard and working for the university. He had been given several by then but this one was with his own money. That was followed quickly by one of the first Puma watches, which he unfortunately lost. Several digital watches came and went while living and working in Japan, which would have been exceptionally cool if he still had them.

His collection today is very eclectic and goes like this:

  • Adidas sports watch
  • Next Prism
  • 1973 Damas 17 jewels automatic jump hour
  • Swatch London
  • Swatch California
  • Zirro Mercury
  • A Skagen
  • A Mondaine
  • Citizen Eco Drive Stealth
  • Lip Mach 2000 Chronograph
  • Xeric Xeriscope Square
  • A Garmin fitness tracker/sports watch

And

  • 3 Disney watches

I did say it was eclectic…

 

MAALS Watches - #MAALSWatches

Jump Over The Moon black steel with MAALS handmade leather watch pouch

 

MAALS Watches: The brand

 

Coming up with the idea for our watch has been far easier than creating the brand for it, to be honest. At first, we just wanted a cool name, which sounds easy but, frankly, every idea sounded rubbish. Eventually moving away from trying to be cool, we settled on simply making the brand personal. The idea being that the more it means to us, then the more we’ll put into it. It all sounds so obvious now that  I’m sitting here writing it…!

MAALS stands for Mark Anthony Andrew Lee Sealey – the initials from my brother and my name tailed with our family name. Simple and personal.

After that it was just a question of researching the watch market, creating a unique watch design, finding a reputable manufacturing partner, creating business and finance plans and lots more besides…

Still: at least the name is simple.

 

For more information on MAALS watches, visit http://maals.co.uk

Follow MAALS watches on Facebook | Instagram |

Follow MAALS watches co-founder, Andy Sealey, on Twitter

Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years, A Retrospective

The House at the End of the World, 2005 By David LaChapelle Studio Viktor&Rolf, Bedtime Story, ready-to-wear collection, AW 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion royalty Viktor&Rolf, are celebrating a 25 year retrospective at the Kunsthal gallery in Rotterdam, Holland. From May through to 30 September 2018, fans of the designers can get an up close and personal viewpoint of some of their most famous and innovative pieces. From the theatrical Van Gogh Girls of 2015, the iconic 2010 Chainsaw Massacre collection, with gaping, gravity-defying holes in each piece, to the overtly padded 2005 Bedtime Story collection, consistently taking the designer’s concept of ‘Wearable art’ to the highest levels of art and dramatic haute couture.

Russian Doll, haute couture collection, AW 1999

 

Canadian curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot has worked directly in collaboration with the Dutch designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren,  to create a thoroughly intriguing exploration into the various areas of inspiration in the designers’ World. Enabling the general public to view in accurate detail, the construction of each iconic runway couture garment and a glimpse into the genius psyche of the Viktor & Rolf partnership.

 

Van Gogh Girls, haute couture collection, SS 2015

 

In their own words: “We often play with the idea of two people being one, or both of us being of one mind, and we play with our image to express that.” This theme is visible throughout the retrospective, showcasing the power of two creative minds in creating serious art-based fashion and then fabricating these mind-bending concepts into reality. These show-stopping and notable couture pieces by the design duo are now all available for scrutiny at the Kunsthal, a homecoming for the Dutch designers.

 

Viktor&Rolf by Anton Corbijn Amsterdam, 2018

 

Over 60 haute couture pieces from the designers’ archives have been carefully selected by Loriot for the Kunsthal retrospective, including stage costumes created for ballet and operas, alongside special pieces, such as the costume created for Madonna’s 2016 Miami Art Basel fundraising concert. New works from the latest collections, ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ and ‘Action Dolls’ are also displayed for the first time within the retrospective.

Solidifying Viktor&Rolf’s 25 year journey to date within their home country of Holland, the retrospective features their strongest collections, marking a chapter of exceptional high couture work and achievement so rarely achieved by designers within fashion. The fact that the duo have also managed to remain as unpredictable, ground-breaking and art-driven within that timeframe, well, we cannot wait to witness the next 25 years of their creative partnership.

 

Getting There

Rotterdam or Amsterdam airport is only a short (less than an hour) flight from London. We flew from Heathrow to Amsterdam via British Airways and the flight only lasted a mere 45 minutes. A train shuttle will then quickly transport you across to Rotterdam with the metro system being extremely easy to navigate on arrival.

 

Accommodation

The 5 star Design hotel, Mainport is offering a Viktor & Rolf Hotel package for visitors of the Kunsthal. Upgrade your visit to the exhibition by booking the V&R hotel package, which includes a City XL room, entrance to the Kunsthal ‘Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years’, a signed catalogue of Viktor&Rolf, a poster, the champagne breakfast buffet on the relaxing riverside terrace, cocktail bar, rooftop swimming pool, gym & sauna. Mainport is ideally located at the shores of the Maas in the city centre and it’s then only a short walk or metro journey into the town centre.

Book here: www.mainporthotel.com/en/viktorrolf
The offer is 144.50eu per night until the 30th September.

 

Places to Eat

Heroine Restaurant

Unique 70’s inspired decor combined with cosy fine dining.
Address: Kipstraat 12, 3011 RT Rotterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 10 310 0870

Supermercado

A unique concept restaurant & bar situated in a disused Swimming pool,  featuring Mexican & Latin-American cuisine. After the meal the rooftop turns into a dance party for a fun dining experience.
Address: Schiedamse Vest 91A, 3012 BG Rotterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 10 404 8070

Ayla

Mediterranean food suitable for lunch, brunch, bites, dinner or drinks.
Interesting food combinations & killer cocktails.
Address: Kruisplein 153, 3014 DD Rotterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 10 254 0005

Acufocal: Focus on camera bag brand founder Robert Baggs

Acufocal is a camera bag brand founded by London-based professional photographer and FStoppers.com editor Robert Baggs. Launched after years of exasperation at having to lug around ungainly, unsightly rucksacks, Acufocal released their first design, the Orwell, in Summer 2017. Fashioned from quality, heavy duty black canvas while sporting stylish leather straps and glistening chrome buckles, the Orwell is just as slick and sophisticated as it is rugged and utilitarian.

Modestly priced in the £150 bracket, the Orwell’s stand-out feature is its bipartite design. Splitting the bag into two compartments, separated by a simple zip, means easy access to important gear – imperative for photographers working in testing environments. The fact that it’s beautiful and practical in equal measures is more than just a bonus: it makes it a no-brainer for freelancers for whom image is so important.

 

FAULT: There are a few designers out there trying to offer what Acufocal does. What gives you the edge?

Robert Baggs (Acufocal): What makes us different is the motivation behind the brand: my needs as a professional photographer who enjoys fashion. I don’t need to research what photographers need in this area, I just need to look at what it is I can’t seem to find when buying a camera bag and create it.

 

You’re a photographer yourself, and your website goes into a lot of depth describing your frustrations with having to choose between “function or fashion” in camera bags. Do you think that’s a universal concern among photographers or just for those who work in particularly fashion-conscious environments?

Acufocal: I try to remain as transparent and honest as possible, and the answer to that is: no, it’s not a universal problem. There are, I’m sure, myriad photographers who don’t care how their bag looks and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I also know there are lots of people like me who would love the functionality and the care for its contents that a good camera bag has, but with a design that looks more like a backpack from a fashion label. This has been confirmed by all the attention the Orwell has garnered and positivity, which has been gratifying. From the start my aim for Acufocal was and is to create products for photographers that don’t compromise fashion or functionality, despite how difficult it might be.

What were your top 3 concerns when developing the Orwell design?

Acufocal: That’s a tough one. Again, in the interest of honesty, the final design was far from the first sample we had made. My number one concern was always “where will I be expected to compromise functionality or style, and how will I get around it?” Second was creating enough space, padding, and pockets to house the plethora of gear us photographers carry, without infringing on the design; that was what changed the most from the first sample to the final product. Thirdly was achieving all my above goals, the highest quality materials I could get my hands on, weather proofing the materials (which takes a week), and heavy-duty zips and clasps, all without causing us to have to put a huge price tag on it.

 

What would you say the “hook” of the design is, functionality wise?

Acufocal: The bag being essentially comprised of two bags with the middle being unzippable to access the bottom section. Rucksacks make for great camera bags because equipment is heavy and it’s the best way to support the weight. However, trying to wade through everything at the top of the bag to get to the stuff at the bottom was so much hassle. To bypass that problem, the Orwell unzips in to halves.

 

Acufocal - FAULT Magazine interview Robert Baggs

 

You worked on the Orwell with the help of a fashion designer, and you’ve admitted that the prototype wasn’t perfect (to be fair, they rarely are!). It sounds like it was a bit of challenge to translate your understanding of how the bag should work into a final product. Did that come as a surprise to you?

Acufocal: Yes and no. I expected there to be problems before I’d received the first sample, but the areas that I wanted changed were not what I expected. The first prototype had a lower grade fabric, rougher cotton inside, cheaper leather, and so on. So, even after we made several changes to the design, I then had to just concede that I couldn’t accept a product that wasn’t the best we could possibly make, and so we upgraded every single element of the bag to the best quality we could get. The difference was utterly staggering and that really did surprise me. They say you get what you pay for and I’ve never seen that truer than in manufacturing.

 

Let’s talk price. For a boutique brand, your prices stack up remarkably well to your more mainstream competition (some of the nattier Nat Geo bags are priced in the region of £200). Is that sustainable for you, or will you be upping your prices for the Orwell or other products in future?

Acufocal: As you can guess from my above answers, money was a real consideration for both us and our customer base. We didn’t and don’t have any investors, it’s just me and my business partner trying to realise my vision for a brand. I have spent twice what our bag costs on an ugly (albeit functional) camera bag and I really wanted to avoid that price tag. The price is sustainable, yes, but it wasn’t set by the business side of my brain, that’s for sure. The price won’t be going up though. I want to see my bags being put to good use and enjoyed, not just something for the elite.

 

Are you planning on developing other products to expand the line?

Acufocal: That’s top of my list. I would like to add more products and more colours of the Orwell, but as I say, this is my passion project and I’m not the front man of a large corporation. As we continue to grow I will put my ideas to our designer and see where we go.

 

What are your plans to grow the business in general? Where does Acufocal go from here?

Acufocal: My end game is to comprehensively fill the void of fashion-conscious bags for photographers. I will continue to weather the headaches in order to never compromise on function or style and it would make me very happy if one day we’re the go-to for photographers who care what they look like when they’re out and about.

 

What has been your proudest moment working on Acufocal so far?

Acufocal: Without question it’s seeing top photographers enjoying the bag. After all the work, time and effort that has gone in to transitioning from a dream of mine, to having the bags on sale, to having a photographer tag me in a picture of his Orwell was so rewarding. One of our customers is a videographer working on the Olympics opening ceremony and for whatever reason, that was particularly pleasing!

~

For more information, please visit:

www.acufocal.com
www.facebook.com/Acufocal
www.instagram.com/acufocallondon

Janelle Monae Covers FAULT Magazine Issue 28

Janelle Monae X FAULT Magazine

janelle Monae FAULT Magazine dirty computer

Fashion Editor: Rachel Holland | Photographer: David Yeo | Make Up Artist: Jessica Smalls | Hair Stylist: Nikki Elms | Nail Artist: Diana Drummond | Photographer’s Assistant: Anna Forbes | Stylist’s Assistant: Anna Cirnu | Photographed at Handel & Hendrix in London handelhendrix.org

 

Words: Miles Holder

Special Thanks: Handel & Hendrix

In 2007, Janelle Monae released her EP entitled ‘Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), the first in a seven-part conceptual series set in the year 2719’s civilisation of Metropolis and told through the eyes of a sentient android, Cindi Mayweather.

The story continued through her 2010 album ‘The ArchAndroid’ and 2013’s ‘The Electric Lady’ and fans followed Cindi Mayweather as she fell in love with a human and travelled back in time to warn of the imminent threat posed by the secret organisation, ‘The Great Divide’.

For her 2018 Album entitled ‘Dirty Computer’, Janelle will be leaving Cindi behind and telling a new story, the story of Janelle Monae. The first two releases from the record ‘Django Jane’ and ‘Make Me Feel’ are still filled with Janelle’s signature style, Afrofuturism and punk soul swag. While a departure from the narrative fans are accustomed, it nevertheless provides what so many have a craved – a glimpse into Janelle’s personal life.

Could it be that as our reality begins to mimic that of the fictitious dystopian future of Metropolis, as too has Janelle been forced to follow in the footsteps of Cindi Mayweather and save the present day from its own “great divide”? Only time will tell. For Janelle at least, it’s all about being present, and at long last, finding the confidence to tell her own story.

 

janelle Monae FAULT Magazine dirty computer

 

FAULT Magazine: You’ve always included social commentary within your music but it was vailed within the narrative of Metropolis. On Dirty Computer, the message is a lot more in your face – why?

Janelle Monae: I knew I was supposed to make Dirty Computer before my first album came out and I always wanted to speak out, but I put it off because I needed to understand where my anger was coming from and how best to channel it.

I am such an honest person and speak very candidly when I’m with friends and family, and that’s what you’ll hear on this album. I sing about politics, race, sexuality, gender on the record but to release the album, I needed to make sure I had the confidence to not self-edit. I needed to be vulnerable, honest and open.

This project is about my freedom and challenging myself to live in the present and not in 2719 through Cindi. I feel like I can contribute to the present day and that I should contribute. I’m choosing to live in the now and to celebrate the people that are not celebrated in the present day. I want to honour those living on the outskirts of society due to their sexuality or gender identity. These are people who I love, and that love me but waking up as an American who cares deeply about the American dream and the rights of all people to it, I feel there is too much at stake to be quiet and to mince my words on specific issues.

 

Despite the social commentary, it doesn’t feel like a sad or hope lost album. There are many songs about self-love and sexual discovery that it ends up as quite an empowering record, was this the intention?

I’m happy you said that because it’s not meant as a sad album, it’s intended as a celebration for the “dirty computers” of the world who get told that they’re dirty and that they have viruses making them different which they need to have taken away. Dirty Computers should see their uniqueness and their so-called viruses as positive attributes which make them valuable to society.

 

What’s given you the confidence to say “Right, it’s time to tell the world who Janelle is and tell my story”?

Janelle Monae: There is power in vulnerability, and I think that it needed to start with me. I was inspired by many movies, some of which I’ve been a part of and the stories I read and people I’ve met; when people shared their stories with me so honestly, it resonated.

I’ve been talking about it, but I feel I wasn’t entirely embracing the things that made me unique. I was telling others to as part of my music, but I wasn’t living it, and I think that I was afraid I would lose supporters for doing so.

I had a lot of conversation with myself about who was going to be the subject of the album myself or Cindi, but I’m here now, and I think it’s right that I stay in the present and share my story and walk in my truth as fearlessly as possible.

janelle Monae FAULT Magazine dirty computer
And how does one live fearlessly?

Janelle Monae: It’s not that I don’t experience fear, but in those moments, I choose freedom and freedom is not free. Freedom always comes with great sacrifice, and there will be people who say hurtful things and not support me because I’m living my truth.

 

Does it scare you to put yourself out there for scrutiny when people won’t just discuss your music, they’ll twist your music and message and start discussions on you as a person and your personal life?

Janelle Monae: No, I have soul searched, and this time around, I think being honest is most important. It’s about being able to say “hey I’m ok if people don’t like that I’m embracing this side of me”, it’s the side that my friends and family get to see and they still love me the same. I think that my evolution is more important than pleasing people and I may not say it right, I might get some things wrong, and I may stumble along the way but was I honest, was I sincere, was my heart in the right place? Yes, yes and yes.

What scares Janelle Monae?

Janelle Monae: That I won’t have a family within the time frame that I want to have a family. I want to have children, but I don’t want to miss that time because I was so focused on my career and because I didn’t plan accordingly. That scares me most now more than anything. I do want to usher in a new generation of babies that will be better than me and able to dream bigger than me and go out into this world and turn it upside down in a very positive way.

janelle Monae FAULT Magazine dirty computer (1 of 1)
What is your FAULT?

Janelle Monae: One of my FAULTs is that I’m a self-editor and perfectionist and I don’t enjoy my experiences when I’m so focused on being consistently perfect in every situation. It’s something that I’ve had to work on my entire life actively. It used to consume my experience, and I couldn’t enjoy things because I was so focused on how they were going to be presented. I was so concerned with what people thought, but now I’m just at this point in my life where I’m finding strength in my imperfections, and I realise that I connect more with myself and with other people when my FAULTs are being shared for all to see.

 

 

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 28 – THE STRUCTURAL ISSUE –  IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

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ERA 50:50 – The Time for Change

Gemma Arterton ©Sophie_Mutevelian

The #metoo movement has been challenging all industries. Along with it, it’s time to raise all the important questions that women have been faced with for decades.

 

Last evening, ERA 50:50 – Equal Representation for Actresses – a movement of actors and actresses set up in 2015 by Elisabeth Berrington and Polly Kemp – hosted an incredible array of talks in partnership with Spotlight and Equity – currently the most poignant platforms in the industry that represent talent on screen.

 

In 2018, women represent more than half the population on the planet, yet on screen, they are still misrepresented in numbers as opposed to their male counterparts. The statistics say that there are twice as more men cast into roles as opposed to women, and the numbers rise nearly up to 3:1 for children’s television. Moreover, apart from taking up less physical space than their male co-stars, actresses also have predominantly less screen time, speak less and are also written by scriptwriters into secondary or supporting characters. In a day and age where women have more to say, they’ve got less space to do so.

James Nesbitt ©Sophie_Mutevelian

Last night, ERA brought together more than 200 of the most influential people in the entertainment industry and called for the tides to change. It takes a village – from producers to casting directors and writers, but the most important thing is to raise awareness over the issue.

 

Last evening’s supporting guests included Olivia Colman, Gemma Arterton, Lily James, Gemma Chan, Miles Jupp, Doon Mackichan, Ophelia Lovibond, Amanda Redman, Tobias Menzies, James Nesbitt, Philip Glennister, Stephanie Cole, Imelda Staunton, Shazad Latif, Jim Carter, Jess Phillips MP, Tulip Siddiq MP, Tracy Brabin MP, and Founding Leader of the Womens’ Equality Party, Sophie Walker. All the above are pioneers in their respective industries and showed their support and dedication to a cause that we all should stand behind.

Gemma Chan, Moira Buffini, Gemma Arterton, Emily Berrington, Lily James ©Sophie_Mutevelian

 

Olivia Colman introduced the evening before handing over to ERA 50:50 who showcased alarming statistics regarding the way women are misrepresented on screen.

 

The aim is to raise enough awareness so that by the year 2020 we can see equal gender balance on screen and a 50:50 gender balance across the yearly content in film and television.

 

Entertainment is the most powerful tool in today’s consumerism. As Hollywood aims to hold a mirror to society through its depictions of human stories, it’s pivotal that these stories accurately represent women as a poignant source of currency and power. I want my daughter to see herself on screen and not as a Disney princess.

Olivia Colman ©Sophie Mutevelian

Characters with authority are predominantly male. For the time being, we’re indoctrinating another generation to believe that women aren’t as valuable or as interesting. Weight and age are other factors that influence heavily how much work actresses are getting. The reason Three Billboards is so refreshing is that Frances McDormand walks bare-faced and unashamed as a character while being her 50-60-year-old self. It’s a palpable relief that she exists and is able to have such a strong influence, especially after how well received the film was at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs.

 

So what are the solutions? Here’s what ERA is actively proposing to producers, casting directors, production companies and everyone responsible for content creation:

 

Seek out female writers

Use your influence

Cast 50:50 background artists

Safeguard women in the workplace

Commit to 50:50 writers’ rooms

Commit to 50:50 onstage representation

Fund 50% female talent

Educate the next generation of content makers

Use job vacancies to achieve 50:50

Serve your audience

 Female-led films make money!

 

 

These are all solutions that can be implemented easily within any production house and with minimal hassle. It is actually illegal not to offer equal opportunities to both men and women alike.

We leave you with some of the most poignant quotes from ERA’s incredible array of speakers.

 

Ophelia Lovibond: “It is happening, I feel there is a seismic change and it is so exciting. I feel so invigorated and honoured to be a part of it.”

 

Tobias Menzies: “Shifting preconceptions of what gender representation should be in our industry was the invitation of the night…asking us to go back to our spheres of influence and talk about it where we can.”

 

Miles Jupp: “On the News Quiz, over 8 series, half of our guests have been women, half men. We made a decision, we stuck to it – so could everyone. Even if you only have a little bit of power, make positive use of it.”

 

Jess Phillips: “In 2018 it seems bizarre that we don’t have a representative media.

It’s not even a woman thing it’s a society thing.”

 

 

Most importantly, ERA is a campaign that is funded by the goodness of your hearts, so head over to http://www.equalrepresentationforactresses.co.uk and donate. Do it for yourself and for the next generations to come.

 

BAFTA EE Presents The Costume Series in partnership with Swarovski

 

Each year, the BAFTA Awards showcase an incredible array of talent in the most poignant cinematic categories.

 

This weekend, The Sessions held at BAFTA HQ shone a light on the makers of the most incredible films to grace the screen in 2017. From Production Design to Hair and Makeup, along with talks from this year’s EE Rising Star Nominees, the panels offered an exclusive in-depth look at the work and passion that is put behind each film and each talent nominated for this year’s awards.

 

As part of the Costume Sessions, we had an exclusive opportunity to see what actually went into the makings of the incredible dressings from BAFTA Nominated films The Shape of Water and I, Tonya.

 

The process that goes into the making of a costume is intrinsically fascinating and complex. Speaking to the crowd, Jennifer Johnson, the costume designer behind I, Tonya’s iconic looks has delved in depth into what actually goes into the garment-making of an iconic biographical film.

Photo: Neon

`’It’s a magical time when an actor feels incredibly wholesome with the costume” she says while reflecting on working with Margot Robbie. Robbie’s costumes were made from scratch – there was no particular insight into Tonya’s actual outfits that she wore during the Olympics. By studying significant amounts of documentary series on Tonya’s performances along with VHS footage and very old poor quality photographs, Johnson only had 5 weeks of pre-production time to be able to put together all of Robbie’s outfits. Challenging yet rewarding at the same time, the team behind I, Tonya acted as a very nurturing environment for Johnson to work in. Margot Robbie acted as a title character as well as a producer alongside her husband who was a screenwriter. We’d call it a family affair. It was very important for Johnson to get a good grasp of Margot’s character at first. Speaking to FAULT of her experience, she recalls that the moment Robbie became one with the costume was a wholesome process. “The body warms up, they accept the costume and they become one with it. If the actor doesn’t accept the costume in their sphere and their comfort, then that’s when difficulties occur.”

 

The second panelist of the evening was Luis Sequeira, the designer behind the iconic period looks of The Shape of Water who is currently being nominated in 13 different categories.

Octavia Spencer and Sally Hawkins in the film THE SHAPE OF WATER. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

When working with Guillermo Del Toro, Luis explains that it’s a very particular and intense experience. On a production of the scale of The Shape of Water, it was very important to keep all the details in check from start to finish. A fabric that looks a certain way in the palm of your hards takes entirely different dimensions when put in front of a camera. The second part of the film was shot entirely underwater, which added an extra element of difficulty when addressing the costumes. For the final scene, Sequiera explains that he chose to use a different type of fabric that would accurately reflect the movements of Sally. When speaking of his experience of working alongside her, he explains that there’s “always a magical melding of actually creating characters with Sally and that forms a healthy balance.” In perspective, the cast is at their most vulnerable with the costume designers and they believe in that a strong blend of trust and friendship needs to exist. Although Sequeira insists that a boundary still needs to exist. Even though he’s close to Sally, he explains that ‘close friends don’t tie her shoelaces’ – which inevitably creates a division in between a working relationship and an actual friendship. Not to say that one can’t be formed, but what’s most important on a film set is a level of professional trust in between designers and cast members.

 

The question on everyone’s lips is ‘Who’s going to win Best Picture at the awards this weekend?’ Reluctant to answer, Sequeira believes it’s quite likely ‘Guillerom del Torro’s turn this year’. We tend to agree, yet the answer to the question shall be revealed this evening.

 

The EE British Academy Film Awards is broadcast on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 18th February. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds working in film, games and television, visit:www.bafta.org/guru

 

 

 

 

 

Thatchface – Beard oil making a difference

Thatchface: Beard oil making a difference

 

At FAULT it’s all about the story, and we love to see brands who share the same ethos. It’s always humbling to hear from brands pursuing more than pure profit, and that’s why today we’re looking at the beard oils produces by Thatchface.

Thatchface will be donating 10% of all profits to Orchid Cancer Appeal, a cause close to founder Ben Cleaver’s heart as he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 21. The subsequent surgery and nine-week course of chemotherapy did not break Ben; it was the catalyst which drove him to create Thatchface. Thatchface as a brand hasn’t only seen Ben enter the grooming market with a solid product (more on this later) but it will continue to provide to those facing the same circumstances he did all those years ago.

What drove Ben to beard oils? While his chemotherapy treatment caused him to lose his head hair, what remained other than his fighting spirit was his beard. It kept growing, leading Ben to research and find ways of properly caring for it.

Experimenting with varying oils and scents, Ben and his wife Leanne perfected their products into a range of three premium beard oils, a range which is now on the market and what we’ve been putting through its paces for the last month.

While all three oils are different in scent, it was great to see that each one contain Argon oil, an ingredient used for centuries but one that’s made a boom within the beauty industry over the last few years. If you’re not too familiar with the benefits, Argon oil has been known to treat stretch marks, burns, acne and is frequently used an everyday moisturiser to revitalise dry skins. Thanks to its high vitamin properties, the trees which bore the fruit are so celebrated that in 1998 the argan forest was declared a biosphere reserve by Unesco. Of course, it’s not only the skin which benefits from the oils, but Argon oil is used in premium brand conditioners and deep cleansing hair products proving that Thatchface indeed just used the very best ingredients when it comes to their products.

The products come in three whimsically titled products ‘Got Wood’, ‘Wild Zest’ and ‘Full Minty’.

The ‘Got Wood’ beard oil is undoubtedly the most earthy of the three – hints of cedarwood, sandalwood and pine needles are present making for a rich scent of the great outdoors. The blend is just the right amount of intensity, not overpowering but still gives off a pleasant oaky fragrance.

Wild Zest beard oil is for lack of a better term, rather zesty! Lemon, lime, orange and ylang-ylang carry a delightful citrus fragrance.

Finally, the Full Minty is definitely on the Christmas list for its pleasant minty scent with hints of peppermint and eucalyptus transforming your beard into a fresh of breath air.

So what are the results after a month of using the oil, it’s fantastic. Beard oil has never been something that I saw as an essential for my grooming routine, but it does make all the difference. To the touch, my beard isn’t the course and scratchy bush I thought it naturally had to be. I’d highly recommend that you at least give it a try and see the results for yourself and if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for a bearded friend, then Thatchface has you covered!

For more information, head over to Thatchface.com