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.

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Fast Favs with San Holo

San Holo straddles the line between the electronic and pop worlds, all the while creating a new space for rising talent with his label bitbird and cementing himself as an industry juggernaut. Born Sander Van Dijck, the Dutch artist first gained international recognition with his remix of Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” in 2014. Since then it’s been his original music that’s continued to catapult his career.

In this next phase of his development, San Holo takes inspiration from bands like Explosions In The Sky and Sigur Ros, injecting atmospheric and warm soundscapes into his music. After announcing his upcoming album, aptly titled “album1,” San Holo today shares a new cut “brighter days” featuring Bipolar Sunshine.

We caught up with San Holo ahead of his performance this weekend at Electric Zoo Festival in NYC to ask him a few quick questions. Learn more about the man behind San Holo below with Fast Favs.

FAULT: Favorite rising artist?
San Holo: Ooph, there’s a few I really like. But if had a gun to my head, it would be Duskus. He’s been making some really good songs and developing his sound lately. Can’t wait to bring him on tour!

FAULT: Favorite guilty pleasure artist?
San Holo: I personally don’t believe in ‘guilty pleasures’ to be honest, I think that’s one of the biggest weird conceptions in music – only being able to listen to or like things that is ‘cool.’ I mean, why would you feel guilty about something you like? If you like something you like it, don’t feel guilty about it!

FAULT: Favorite collaborator?
San Holo: I think the Nicholas. We’ve known each other for a while now and we always just seem to click when we make music. He comes up with ideas I wouldn’t have thought of and vice versa. Also the way he plays guitar, besides his amazing voice of course, is unparalleled. Throughout the album process he’s been really helpful as well as somebody I can bounce ideas off of, or ask for feedback while I’m making music.

FAULT: Favorite piece of gear?
San Holo: I’m torn between my laptop and guitar. But I’m gonna go with guitar. Guitar playing is where everything started and also something I’ve been really incorporating in my music over the last couple of years – you’ll hear lots of it in the album!

FAULT: Favorite clothing brand?
San Holo: bitbird merch! Enough said.

FAULT: Favorite thing in your closet?
San Holo: The bitbird hoodie is my go-to item, I’ve already gone through so many of them. Biases aside, I have this long shimmery reflective jacket I picked up in Asia on tour last year. And there’s also this sweatshirt from De Anza College. I have no idea what that is or where it is but it has the flags of all the countries in the world which is super dope and somebody very special lent it to me which is nice. I also love tracksuit jackets from Nike and Adidas from the 90s. I guess it’s hard to pick just one thing!

Sold Out Minneapolis last night was a dream ?thank you 🙂

A post shared by San Holo (@sanholobeats) on

WE TOOK SEEING THE LIGHT VERY SERIOUS THIS YEAR @bitbirdofficial #edc

A post shared by San Holo (@sanholobeats) on

FAULT: Favorite city?
San Holo: My hometown Zoetermeer. It’s so ugly that it’s beautiful! Los Angeles is another place that’s very special to me.

FAULT: Favorite food?
San Holo: Vegeterian Pad Thai when I’m in the States and a Dutch dish called ‘broodje kaassouflé’ when I’m back home.

San Holo Socials:
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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.

FAULT Weekly Playlist: Weslee

Transatlantic R&B pop duo Weslee are donut lovers and wow, what a coincidence, we are too. Made up of Us born Josh and British vocalist Emma, Weslee are a pair on the rise. They released their EP “F-9” earlier this summer that includes the certified banger “Sweat Dreams” that’s the perfect listening companion for these hot summer nights.

We asked John and Emma to put together a playlist of tunes they can’t get enough of. Let these songs take you away on a summer breeze, tune in below.

Kwabs – Perfect Ruin

“When we first started working together we discovered we both loved Kwabs, then one day Emma was like ‘you gotta watch this video’ and played me Kwabs singing ‘Perfect Ruin’ just with the piano, at that point the song hadn’t been released yet, but we probably watched that video at least once or twice for the next few months that we worked.”

James Blake – Retrograde

“Another song that had come out around the same time we started working together, and another song we would randomly put on really loud when we were working together. I wish I could hear this song for the first time again, the programming is amazing.”

SIR – Ooh Nah Nah

“We spend a lot of time sending other songs back and forth to each other, you know, the like, ‘have you heard this? have you heard that?’ etc etc. Emma sent me this sometime last year and I still listen to it all the time. One of those songs you wish you had made.”

Drake – Sacrifices

“If Emma’s personality could be a beat it would be this one. She loves a bubbly beat, I know if we are ever having a shit day or if I’m like struggling with the Music side of us writing a song I try and channel my inner sacrifices and get something bubbly cooking.”

Kendrick Lamar – Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe

“As we finished our first EP and started writing for the next EP, Emma was back in the states and sent me a text that was like I’ve been listening to m.a.a.d city and I hadn’t forgotten but sort of had forgotten how good that album is , I started listening to it again on repeat, it’s one of those albums that you could just listen to over and over and over again and never get bored of, so picking one song off it would be Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe.”

Blackstreet – Don’t Leave Me

“Before our first session with Moss Kena we were blasting this on repeat in the studio, and then Moss showed up and started singing along and we all instantly felt comfortable with each other. It’s a banger.”

Frank Ocean – Thinking ‘Bout You

“Frank Ocean is the one, and this probably seems like an obvious one but people that say they like Frank Ocean but then try and talk about how they don’t like this song can get lost. He sort of paved the way and changed the game with this song. We celebrate his entire catalog, ha, but this would have to be the one one.”

Rihanna – Yeah I Said It

“This is one of the most recent songs we’ve both been vibing on … another one that I had slept on when the album first came out but then Emma was like “yeah I said it is a tune” I listened again and it’s another one that has been in the rotation ever since. So once again Emma is the teacher and I’m the student.”

Weslee Socials:
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FAULT Weekly Playlist: Kirk Spencer

Hailed as one of the most promising newcomers, Kirk Spencer recently shared his new single “Animals” feat. Lexus and Pollena that mixes together the slick electronic production with African rhythms. The Nottingham, UK native creates an infectiously summery sound that sounds like a sip of cool water.

We asked Kirk to put together a playlist of tunes he’s currently got on heavy rotation to keep the summer vibes going. Check it out below.

Boston Bun – Missing You
I decided to make this playlist based on science of my most played songs. What better way to start off a playlist than my most streamed song of 2018? Super additive song.

Brodinski & Lil Reek – Rock Out
Love the combination of bringing to the two worlds of Techno atheistic and Rap. Super bouncy beat. Check out Lil Reek he is going to be huge.

DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Quavo – No Brainer
Another 1! DJ Khaled is a big inspiration. I can’t record successfully without “The Keys” book in the room, something me and Lexus discovered when recording “Animals”.

Littlebabyangel – Alarm Song
I think this song would be incredible to see live. I’m currently working on some newer music using a similar Modular palette.

Tomas Barfod & Jonas Smith – Family
When I first played this to my girlfriend she hated it but it soon became her most streamed song as well. Such a well crafted song.

Rich The Kid & Tripe Redd – Early Morning Trappin
Sometimes the little things in a song can make me repeat a song over and over. In this song I’ve fallen in love with the rim/snare.

ZAYN – Entertainer
When this was first released I probably repeated it 30 times on YouTube. The whole video and song is such a good presentation.

SG Lewis & J Warner – Aura
I first heard this song in a car journey half asleep. I woke up and shazammed it. Also played this recently in a DJ set and the crowd loved it.

Gesaffelstein – Maryland Theme
Good for having a bath in the dark which I must have done a lot this winter as its in this playlist of most listened to tracks. It is from a Soundtrack to an awesome film by my favourite producer.

TALA & Naughty Boy – Stay Here in the Sun
Again couldn’t stop listening to this one when it was first released. After I have figured out that I love a track I proceed to repeat the song over until I know why and sometimes I can’t figure out why which is the joy of listening to music for me.

Kirk Spencer Socials:
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Olivia Holt cover shoot for FAULT Issue 29 Screen section

Olivia Holt X FAULT Magazine

Olivia Holt - FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Screen section cover

Photography: Benjo Arwas | Styling: Courtnee Scully @lalaluxe | Make-up: Tonya Brewer | Hair: David Stanwell @thewallgroup | Post-production: Nadia Selander | Director of Photography: Scott Smith | Editor: The Pioneers | Production: Kiley Coleman | Thank You to Saksfifthavenue.com

By most standards, actress and musical performer Olivia Holt appears to be on the precipice of a career breakthrough.  With her new role as Dagger in Marvel’s latest superhero incarnation, Cloak and Dagger, alongside co-star Aubrey Joseph, the 20-year old, Mississippi-bred talent is very quickly establishing herself as an on-screen force with the talent and fortitude to portray characters substantially more complex than audiences have previously seen from her.

In addition to her new show, Holt has been working daily on writing and recording her brand of music, which she describes as pop that pays homage to her soulful, Southern roots. The success of her recent single, ‘Generous’, which gained one million views in just five days after its release in late 2017, should serve as teaser to fans of what to expect.

Holt recently took the time to talk with FAULT about the new show and her unguarded approach to her career and to life.

FAULT: Can you remember the very first performance you ever put on for an audience?
Olivia Holt: It was an audience of four as a kid: my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister. That lasted for a very long time until they were totally over me forcing them to sit down and watch me perform. But, I’d say for like a legit audience the first thing I ever did was ‘Annie,’ I think. I played an orphan and I loved every second of it.

Olivia Holt for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

Full shoot and interview available exclusively in FAULT Magazine Issue 29 – available to pre-order now!

How did you prepare for the role of Tandy?
Olivia Holt: Tandy has a lot of layers. She’s not just one note. She is a cynical human being. A lot has happened to her and she experienced something very traumatic as a child and is sort of living in survival mode and with that a comes lot of responsibility. She’s sort of the parent in her mother-daughter relationship. She’s having to take care of everything and everyone around her and I think that’s a lot for a teenager to deal with. So she have a lot on her plate.

I would remember being a physically and emotionally exhausted at the end of some of the days just because of some of the stuff that Tandy is dealing with, whether that be her relationship with her mother, or addiction, or sexual assault. So, preparing was not an easy thing, and I think I’m still preparing. But, I think she was learning and so I was learning too. We were sort of finding where we fit in our lives. That was that was an interesting journey to go on.

How was it like working with your co-star Aubrey Joseph?
Olivia Holt: He is a gem of a human being. He is just so down to earth, talented — a great scene partner but an even better friend and I feel so grateful to work with somebody who has this insane work ethic and who is genuinely nice and so passionate, not just about his character but  about the story that his character and my character share. I just think we have an awesome, special connection and the fact that both of us get to tell that story is so surreal, and I think we’re both forever grateful for it. But, I love working with him.

What can we expect from you musically later this year?
Holt: I’ve been in the studio almost every single day writing and recording this year. I actually feel like I’ve been able to prioritize music rather than bouncing around and trying to balance both acting and music. This year has really been focused on honing in on the music and making sure that I’m involved in putting in the work to find my sound and, lyrically, what I want to do. And, it’s been an incredible journey just exploring all of that. I have a few things coming up this year that I’m really excited for people to hear.

Olivia Holt for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

How would you describe your overall sound and what are some of your influences, musically?
Holt: I’m making pop records but I grew up in the South so I’m very drawn to organic instruments. So there’s a little bit of soul, a little bit of alternative — it’s artistic and cool and it just really showcases my energy and my personality and the way I talk. They are all stories coming from my real life experiences or things that I want to experience. So it’s all very personal and vulnerable and that’s my creative outlet for my specific headspace, in hopes that people are going to be able to relate and feel things when they hear my music.

Olivia Holt for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

What is your FAULT?
Olivia Holt: Acting and music are my creative outlets. It’s a way for me to escape and a way for me to be vulnerable and have that space to connect with people. But I want the projects that I work on and the music that I make to move people and make them feel alive and to keep curious and to thrive and to live so fiercely… I want to change people for the better and I want them to live a fulfilled life and hopefully I can do that through what I love to do. I want to create an environment for people to feel wanted and loved. I think that’s my fault.

~

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

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Afrojack exclusive shoot for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

Afrojack X FAULT Magazine

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Full shoot and interview available exclusively in FAULT Magazine Issue 29 – available to pre-order now!

In an overly saturated music industry, there are only a few names worthy of mention as of recent times. One of the most difficult genres to break into is dance music – by far due to the increased online presence of an abundance of up and coming producers. FAULT Favourite Kygo is one of the many that have managed to break into mainstream music through Soundcloud and ever since, he’s been dominating the charts. Before the new talent outburst, however, the EDM community was held together by only a few artists who are still breaking the charts with their continuous growth in the field.

Dance veteran Afrojack is a complex character worthy of appraisal and with his busy touring schedule and hectic media time, pinning down one of the powerhouses in dance music proved itself to be a rewarding and surprising experience altogether.

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FAULT: You’ve previously said in interviews that at clubs, you’ve got 90% of your audience who enjoy the big tracks and then you’ve got the 10% who actually know dance music. What do you do for the 10%?
Afrojack: I’ve always been that person in the club that’s enjoying the music and not there for the girls. When I DJ, that’s still my priority. I still want to make sure that everyone is having a great time, but I always make sure that I show people something new that caters to the ‘in’ crowd.

How do you approach releasing new music? You’ve got a body of work that was only yours to listen to and afterwards you have the whole world judging it. Does that make you nervous?
Afrojack: It used to, but over the last year or so it hasn’t. Beforehand, I’d feel a lot of social pressure. ‘You’re a Top 10 DJ – so that better be good!’ And now I’m more relaxed and I’ve started doing the same thing that I was doing 10 years ago. I make music, I release it and then you can do whatever you want with it.

You’re about to embark on your North American Tour. What’s in store for the fans?
Afrojack: Anytime you prepare for a new tour you try to refurbish your set. I’ve been focusing a lot on doing more club records. I premiered a few back at Ultra and the reaction was really good. Now I’m getting the chance to present the final versions of those tracks. I see my set as an opportunity to show people tracks that they already love and also tracks that are new. People say that you’re only as good as your last record, which is not true. You’re only as good as your next record.

 

Do you have a particular track or tracks that you enjoy playing live because of the reaction that you get from your audience?
Afrojack: ‘Ten Feet Tall’ always gets amazing reactions, so I always save that for the end. I have the most fun with the beats and the drops.

You recently released One More Day with Jewelz & Sparks. How did it come to life?
Afrojack: I didn’t write it, I simply co-produced it. I’ve been working with Jewelz & Sparks a lot and they played me the demo version of this song. At the time, nobody was looking after their marketing or helping them promote any of their songs. So, I simply said to them that they should come to my studio and sit down for a bit. And a few months later I signed them, and we put out this single as the first track that we worked on together. We’ve got a lot more to come.

 

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Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your production work?
Afrojack: Yes, I am, but I have a middle ground. I don’t want to completely modify a demo that made me feel something in the first place, but at the same time, I still feel that I’ve got to clean up. For example – we’re in a great hotel room right now, but if it was trash everywhere, it would be a very trashy great hotel room. That’s basically what I try to do when I work on a production. I try to make it as clean as possible. To make a song the best version of itself.

You’ve worked with an array of established artists and you’ve recently added Sia to the list as well. What was your experience of working with one of the most powerful voices in pop music right now?
Afrojack: It was great, but I never actually met her. I’ve never been in the studio with her. Everything I’ve done with Sia was through other people, whether it was mixing or producing. I’m actually working on another record with her right now and I’ve never spoken to her. It’s insane, I put out a lot of songs with a lot of people that I’ve never been in the studio with.

 

EDM is quite a close-knit community. When I look at the line-ups, it’s always the same people. Yourself, Martin Garrix, Marshmello, David Guetta. When you’re touring, do you think of them as your home away from home?
Afrojack: David and Martin are actually some of my best friends. Especially David, he’s almost like family. When we’re doing these festivals, it’s like seeing your family, but I also see them outside the festivals too. Everyone that you can imagine in this scene is in the same boat. It’s a very weird experience to go out to 10,000 people screaming your name and then go back to your hotel room and twiddle your thumbs because you haven’t got anything to do. I can’t really call anyone, I don’t know anyone there. I know there are 10,000 people who know my music, but I don’t know them and then they don’t know me! With the other DJs, we’re all in that same boat, so when we see each other at the festivals, we’ve got a subconscious connection with each other. We’re very happy to be amongst other people who know exactly how we feel.

 

Can you look back and tell us about one of your most memorable moments spent with them?
Afrojack: When I played Ultra a few years ago, they put a pool right next to the dance floor. So – you had the stage, the pool and the party. And obviously, at one point all of the DJs were in the pool with the crowd. It’s always fun when the stage is ‘artist-friendly’ and we all get to hang out together. The party actually became a part of the set.

 

What do you think is the future of dance music? How will it reinvent itself?
Afrojack: Nobody can tell the future. That’s the beautiful thing, it’s always a surprise. But I definitely feel that it’s ever-growing. Everything in the future is growing. The future is growth in itself. I would also love to know what’s happening in the future, that’s why I’m studying philosophy. I would love to be able to predict what comes next.

What’s your FAULT?
Afrojack: The more I started learning about psychology and philosophy, everything pointed to the same thing: If you want to live as free as possible, stop trying to learn and start being instead. Being implies that we should stop trying to evolve our knowledge to better predict the future. I don’t see it as a fault, but I’m very addicted to learning and growing that I keep learning more and more. And the more I learn, the more I forget about being.

 

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Words: Adina Ilie
Photo: Robert K. Baggs

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

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

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Bebe Rexha Exclusive Covershoot and Interview with FAULT Magazine

Bebe Rexha X FAULT Magazine

Bebe Rexha for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

Photography: David Yeo | Fashion Editor – Rachel Holland | Make-Up: Brittany Lambert Paige | Hair: Rio Sreedharan | Nails: Diane Drummond | Fashion Assistant: Ana Carnu & Lupe Baeyens | Words: Aimee Phillips

 

FAULT Magazine speaks to Bebe Rexha about her debut album, Expectations, the importance of retaining creative control and still having those pinch-me moments in this exclusive FAULT Magazine issue 29 reverse cover shoot.

 

FAULT: Let’s talk about your single ‘Meant To Be’ ft. Florida Georgia Line. The country vibe is quite different from your usual style – what made you switch things up?

Bebe Rexha: It was quite unexpected but I kinda think all the best things in life are unexpected. That’s why I called my album Expectations, because you never know what’s gonna happen. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m so grateful for it. I’d never done country before so didn’t really know what to expect, and I think that was the beauty of it.

Bebe Rexha for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 is available to order for delivery worldwide

 

Where was your head at when you were creating the album? What were the circumstances and emotions that inspired it?

Bebe Rexha: I was thinking a lot about life and how I’ve always expected it to go a certain way but it took me on a different path. Life is better when you just go with the flow. For me, this album has been all about me trying to figure things out.

 

You’ve co-written or co-produced every song on the album – that’s quite rare. It must be extremely important to you to retain creative control?

Bebe Rexha: Yeah definitely. There were some songs that were sent to me and I was like, oh gosh, I need to have this record, it just speaks to me in such an incredible way. I would go in and make it my own, working with the producer to tweak it. Throughout the process, I’ve been involved in the production of various songs. I couldn’t see any other way. For me, writing music has been like therapy. I couldn’t imagine putting out an album or song without being

 Bebe Rexha for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

On writing “Monster” for Eminem

Bebe Rexha:  That really changed the game for me. It changed everyone’s perspective of who I was and really shone a spotlight on my songwriting, so when I transitioned into an artist, I never once had people tell me what to do. When you write the song yourself, people really connect with it on a different level.

 

You started off writing songs for other people. What journey did you have to go on in order to get where you are today?

Bebe Rexha:  I was signed to my first record deal when I was 18 or 19 but I was mainly writing pop songs for other people. Then I got into a band with Pete Wentz called Black Cards. We travelled the world for a few years and then got dropped, so that spurred me into really focusing on my songwriting and my craft. It was a blessing in disguise because it taught me a lot about the industry and perfecting what I can do. That’s when I wrote ‘The Monster’. No one really understood the song because they thought it was a little creepy or too weird, so when Eminem got it I was thrilled. That really changed the game for me. It changed everyone’s perspective of who I was and really shone a spotlight on my songwriting, so when I transitioned into an artist, I never once had people tell me what to do. When you write the song yourself, people really connect with it on a different level.

Bebe Rexha for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

Do you think you’ve gotten used to all then – the success and fame?

Bebe Rexha: Not at all, I still feel like I don’t belong. It was never handed to me on a silver platter, like, here you go, you’re a star! I was always the underdog. I was a little quirky, a little different, I would write my own songs. But I’m so supportive of other females and other artists

 

What is your FAULT?

Bebe Rexha: It’s hard for me to enjoy being in the moment, I’m always thinking about the next thing.

 

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

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40