As we transition from the Summer to thinking about the Fall, we love when there's apparel in our closets that's truly seasonless and easy to move around, travel and do an array of activities in. At Athleisure Mag, we became major fans of Aviator Nation and started incorporating it into our celeb shoots last fall. In addition, our team has defintiely rocked these pieces when we've been on set, hitting a day of activities and more.
We took some time to sit down with Page Mycoskie, the brand's founder and designer who launched the brand back in 2006 with a focus on that retro vintage vibe and super soft fabrication. We remember her and her brother Blake Mycoskie (founder of TOMS Shoes) when they competed together on CBS' The Amazing Race season 2.
We wanted to find out how this brand was created, how being an athlete has tied into the ethos of the brand, how she approaches bringing on new designs and styles into the line as well as how she approaches finding and opening her stores at various locations. Along the way, we learned how integral music and specifically music festivals, as well as aviators, play into the brand and how manifesting her passions and interests continue to fuel the direction of this lifestyle brand.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Can you tell us about your background as you’re an artist, an entrepreneur, an athlete – how did this all come together in terms of your background and bringing you to the creation of Aviator Nation?
PAIGE MYCOSKIE: It’s kind of funny because ever since I was a young girl, I really had this mentality that I could do anything that I wanted to do. I really think that that came from hanging with my grandmother a lot. When I was little, I used to spend time with her during the day and she was super creative and super artistic. She would be like, “hey what do you want to learn today?” She was all about teaching me new things and I wanted to do creative things. It’s kind of interesting and I’d be like, I’d like to know about pottery and we’d spend the day learning how to do pottery and a lot of times, it was creative stuff. She was super artistic and she made her own clothes. So hanging out with her, I became very hands on and it’s super interesting now because a lot of what I do is very hands on. I think that that’s something that makes me very different from other people who start companies. I like to be super involved in all of the details at Aviator Nation.
It’s also funny to look back at the entrepreneurial thing. When I was little, I was constantly trying to sell things. Being an entrepreneur extends from that and I love being able to create things from scratch. I just loved the whole interaction of making something, selling something, earning money and then going to shop. Then being an athlete, that was an important part of this too. Now, I’m in a super competitive industry, the fashion world and being an athlete – ever since I was a young girl, I love doing sports.
Team sports was an important thing for me because the team I am building and the culture with the company is directly from when I was a child and on team sports with other people a lot. I think that being super competitive has always been inside of me and l like to compete because I like to win. Being an athlete and learning – the more you practice the better you will be and when you continue with that, you’ll be the best. I’m all about constantly making the best product and every time we do a production run, I’m all about testing the fabrics and new methods. It’s not just about putting out clothes every few months like new designs. It’s about continuing to make the product better. I think it helps that I wear the products because it’s all I wear. I’ll be like, “this is actually a little bit tighter than what I want it to be." Or I'd like to make this fabric a little lighter weight during this time of the year. Being an athlete, learning that the more you practice and the more you work with your team, the better that that team can be.
AM: What was that moment when you realized that you wanted to create this brand and what was the thought process behind the name, Aviator Nation? Your brand is really unique from your 5 stripes, to other designs, its gender fluidity and we love that you can literally look at your Instagram and see you truly building your company and the brand heritage that you present as well as continuity.
PM: It all kind of started with a personal obsession with clothes that are super comfortable and had this colorful look to them. I was living in California at the time and I had a job in a surf shop and I was doing photography. I didn’t go to school for fashion or for business. I went to school for journalism because I always liked to write and to tell stories. When I moved to California, I was interning with Shape Magazine for a little while and I realized that I loved the culture and the stories, but I couldn’t see myself working in an office.
So I got a job at a surf shop and I started to get into the retail world through that. I learned how fun it could be to work at a mom and pop shop and that was the beginning of my experience working in that world. What happened was, I personally had these ideas for clothes that I wanted to find and couldn’t. I would go shopping and the clothes were never soft enough for me. I have always been obsessed with my dads old t-shirts because they are so much softer then anything that was out there. Then I learned, that you could get them at thrift stores and I started shopping there and would look for old t-shirts. I just liked how those broken in garments felt. Then it was of course, not the right fit. So I found myself chopping off the bottom and cutting off the sleeves. I was manipulating these garments that I found at these thrift stores, Then it dawned on me when I found this one shirt – I loved how it fit and I wanted all my shirts to feel like that. I took the t-shirt a part and I laid out paper and made a pattern and bought a sewing machine and I taught myself how to sew. So I literally started doing it for myself because I couldn't find garments that felt the way that I wanted them to feel. Then, when I realized that I could make other garments that fit the way the t-shirt did with patterns and being able to sew, I could do the same thing with the designs that I wanted. So if I wanted sunsets or stripes, it was pretty simple because my skillset was there. I didn’t have experience. So I cut out stripes and put them on this garment and it was looking super cool and it was simple. So the reason why we do this applique technique now (which is essentially sewing fabric ontop of another fabric) was because that’s how we started in terms of creating a design to put on the garments.
Once I started to do that, I was wearing the clothes around town in Venice and wearing it to the surf shop that I worked at and everyone around me was asking about it, the brand that I was wearing and I told them that I made it myself. Not only did it feel good but the clothes felt good because I made them with this comfortable material from soft old t-shirts and the colors were attracting people.
AM: So where did the name come from?
PM: So growing up, my favorite movie was Top Gun and I had the movie poster on my wall, I still have it in my office. I just love that movie and I love the style of Tom Cruise and Kelly McGinnis and the aviator sunglasses were just such a key part of that style and that look. When I was little, I always had aviator sunglasses and all through high school and college – aviator sunglasses were always my go to. So I had this vintage collection of aviator sunglasses on my desk when I was thinking about the name for the company and I looked at them and thought, “I really love aviator sunglasses and I really love that word aviator and I feel that this brand is going to bring people together.” I always thought that aviator shades did that. I could have had a long night in college and then put on those shades and then I would look great. The aviator sunglasses were just the go to and I wanted the clothes to be the go to as well.
AM: Completely agree with everything that you’ve said as we’ve styled it in our shoots and have had great feedback and when we wear it around the city, the feedback is always so much fun. Especially when rocking the velvet ones which have such a retro vibe to them. How do you get your inspiration when you are creating the line?
PM: A lot of times, I will randomly think of something that I want to put into clothes. Sometimes things just pop in my head and I just want to see what that color combo would look like. Color is just a part of my brain. I’m always wanting to put colors together. I have Pantone books everywhere and I am always looking at putting them together. I walk around with a Ziploc bag of fabric in all different colors everywhere I go. I’ll be at the beach and I’ll say, I want to see this color with this color – so it just comes to me and I’m surrounded by old things all the time. I go to flea markets all the time because I love finding vintage stuff. I have hundreds of vintage skate boards and surf boards. I’ve always been really into retro stuff from the 70s and I have a ton of vinyl – album covers are a part of my inspiration because I’m playing vinyl all the time. I think that the old stuff that’s around me plays into it as well as it’s always around me. The color thing is just something inside of me – it’s weird.
Sometimes I’ll go to rock shows and different concerts. It’s what I do for entertainment. I don’t go to bars a lot, I’m not extremely social but I do love concerts and festivals and things like that. I remember when I thought about the velvet for example. I was backstage at a rock show and I was inspired by velvet curtains and things like that. It definitely came from Rock & Roll and there’s a lot of velvet in that world. I think sometimes my lifestyle whether it’s being at Venice Beach or at a rock show plays a little bit into my inspiration.
AM: In terms of product assortment, you have apparel, accessories and surfboards. Do you see other things that could grow into Aviator Nation as it really is a lifestyle brand.
PM: Yeah totally, I love creating new things whether it’s clothing, stores or whatever. I love building things from scratch. I see myself creating new products. It’s funny because I want to do everything, but I force myself to not do that because it could be taken the wrong way. I don't want to be that brand that tries to do everything. I really do try to draw it back and look at what I am really passionate about right now and focus on that. We just came out with outerwear this last year and that was something that I was super passionate about, but that we weren’t doing. I love snowboarding and I love the mountains and I'm always throwing on a jacket. I feel that the right jacket is a game changer and a jacket that you can travel with, stands up to the elements, it’s not too hot or too cold. I found this insulation that was kind of beyond what is being used right now – even with high end performance jackets. I want the best quality because it’s for me too and I like pushing the envelope on quality. Anyone who has my jackets understands. It's a super lightweight jacket that’s extremely warm and it packs down into your backpack. I’m also passionate about high top tennis shoes so right now I have a big collection myself and I’m always thinking that it would be cool to make shoes and doing a collection of high tops. Stuff that makes sense for me personally that I’m passionate about because it is authentic. For people that are fans of the brand, they’re all about authentic. I think everyone is becoming that way and it works well for business. This brand has been this way from day one as I started it making it for myself. If the quality is not good enough for me, then I am not going to put it on the shelf. I’m extremely picky.
AM: We appreciate the pickiness of it. You can literally travel in it without a problem, it photographs well, it‘s great and so soft.
PM: It’s crazy comfortable. I’m turning down washes all the time. I’m like that’s not good enough, it’s not soft enough. The people that work in my production at times they’re like, this is crazy this is soft and I’m like, “not soft enough.” I feel that the best feeling is like you don’t have clothes on at all. So if we’re going to make clothes, we should make them feel like you’re not. That’s what I like to think that the sweats feel like – it’s just an extension of your body.
AM: It seems like you partner with a lot of events including Austin City Limits Music Festival and Global Citizen. How important is it for you to grow your brand and to be aligned in that way?
PM: Yeah, it’s super important. It really happened organically. When I opened my first store on Abbott Kenney and built that stage on the patio, that was kind of the beginning of getting involved in the music world. I always say, “if you build it, they will come” very field of dreams. That’s what I did. I built this stage and I had all kinds of artists wanting to play on our little patio in Venice. Doing that was such a cool experience. Getting to know the artist and creating a place where bands get to play – Foster the People rolled in there one day and played on the stage and it was a couple of years before they got cool. That was happening all the time and now I have other stores with stages as a lot of my stores have these stages and I’m always saying yes to artists that want to play. It’s so fun and one day someone from Austin City Limits came into the store in Venice and they loved what I was doing. I really personally love Austin City Limits Music Festival and so when I met that person it was such a unique moment. When I did that festival, it was funny because I go to music festivals a lot – it’s part of my life and I’m always kind of feeling like I don’t want music festivals to be super commercialized and I felt like that old school vibe. I like to imagine what Woodstock would have been. I love when festivals aren’t super commercialized and built up and the one Austin really is a lot less commercialized than others. The thing is, it’s surrounded by trees and grass. Another big thing is that I felt like the artists as I’m friends with a number of artists now and was back then too – they were 3 years into having stages and a lot of the artists were burnt out I noticed – especially on the festivals. It was something that was fun but exhausting. They’d show up, they’d play their show and get back on the road. I have a lot of friends in the music industry and know how it is when they’re going on tour as I’ve actually joined friends on tour too. It’s grueling. So when the people at Austin City Limits came to my store and asked for me to get involved into what they were doing, they wanted to know that if I could do anything, what would I do?
It was an interesting moment and I said I wanted to do something for the artist. They just have these basic trailers backstage and they have their beer or water. They play their show and then they leave. Back in the day, the artist used to sit around and play music together and sit around and get to know one another. I know that because of my friends in the industry and their parents are people like Grand Nash. People who were in that world, I read a lot of books, seen a lot of documentaries and I know about how it was back in the day. I’m always about restoring the past. I told them, “what if I built a teepee that was backstage” and they could hang out there and it was just a place for the artist to chill in between their sets. They loved it and thought it was amazing. They let me build a teepee backstage where only the artists and friends and family of the artists could be and I designed it, drew it and had these Native American guys make it out of fabric and hand painted it. It has this cool rainbow look to it and we set it up backstage at ACL and it was the most incredible thing that I ever witnessed. Basically, I set it up and then bought some old vintage guitars and instruments and had it in there, candles, a couch and blankets. It was super chill and not commercial at all. They asked if I wanted signage and I said no, I just wanted a teepee. I made t-shirts that I was going to give to the artists as a gift and I make clothes and I wanted to make cool ones. The artists come to concerts but they don’t really get gear. So I wanted to make a shirt that I felt that they would wear and not the typical concert shirt. So I designed this shirt that was a vintage cool looking shirt that said Austin City Limits on it, but it was a cool one that didn’t look like the typical concert shirt. On the back of it, it actually said, “It’s All About the Music.” I felt that it was all about the artists and a festival is better if the artists is super stoked. Literally all day for the full weekend, artists would come into the teepee and they would sit down, pick up a guitar and jam out. We had The Alabama Shakes and Phoenix jamming out together.
We had Leon Bridges come in and sit down and start playing a song. He said he had just made up the song by being inspired in the teepee to make this song. It’s exactly what I wanted to happen and all the artists really started to love the teepee. It was a dream come true to come up with this environment. I think it made their experience at Austin City Limits so much better because it was so much more grounding for them, they made friends and they had the t-shirt.
Everyone wanted the t-shirt because they knew it wasn’t available but they wanted to know where they could get it. It was authentic to the artist because they had met us and hung out with us, the shirts were super soft and they probably had a bag filled with dirty clothes. Now we have done it with ACL since 2012, I’ve done a lot more festival shirts for others as well. We do the same thing where we take the teepee and it allows us to get to know the artists backstage and we make sure to make pieces where it doesn’t feel like the typical concert tee.
My thing is, I want to make gear that people will want to continue on wearing. As the customer myself, I will buy a shirt at a festival and not wear it. What you want to do is to wear a shirt that is super soft from the start and that you will want to wear. I make festival gear that is more fashionable and that people will want to continue wearing.
AM: Do you see the brand being at NYFW or at Miami Fashion Week?
PM: I think that with the swim collection, Miami Fashion Week is a great way to showcase that and I really love Miami. We did a small fashion show at the Soho House Miami when I first released our swim collection with the new velvet collection. I got invited to be a part of an event right at the time that it was coming out and it made sense. It was fun, a small show and I think doing fashion shows is really cool. I love putting the brand in front of a lot of people that love fashion. I think that sweats and swimwear really is fashionable. I don’t say no when I think that something comes about that makes sense doing. I think NYFW and Miami Fashion Week is great for us.
AM: Do you sponsor or have any athlete ambassadors?
PM: We have several athletes that shop with us that come in and a lot of times, managers reach out to us and ask if you want to sponsor. We’ll send them things and it’s about people that specifically and personally like the brand. We don’t have any specific sponsorships but we have a lot of athletes that shop in the store.
AM: As someone who is active and an athlete, what are 3 things that are always in your bag when you’re heading to the beach to relax or to surf?
PM: When I go to the beach to surf, I always have to have my speaker – a portable one that I love and I take everywhere I go. I always have a good book – I love to read and I’m into business books. It’s interesting to read on philosophies that entrepreneurs have taken. Maybe my ukele – I grew up learning whatever instruments I could get my hands on and I have always liked this instrument because it’s small and easy to carry around.
You can hear Paige Mycoskie on our show, BUNGALOW SK which is a part of Athleisure Studio, our multi-media podcast network! Make sure to subscribe to find out when the episode drops. You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts and wherever you enjoy listening to your favorite podcast.
We headed to Randall's Island here in NYC to attend Electric Zoo Evolved which had 40+ hours of EDM DJs, 4 stages, an array of food and beverage options and more. Our Labor Day Weekend was jam packed with a number of sets from some of our faves that included Kaskade, Oliver Heldens, Diplo, Good Times Ahead and more. We also checked out acts that we were less familiar with. In the midst of getting in on the good vibes, we sat down with 5 acclaimed EDM DJs to catch up with them on what they're working on, hearing about their sound and more.
We caught up with DJ/Producer SayMyName who is also this month's cover. Known as the Godfather of Hard Trap, when it comes to style - he definitely has it. We found out about his style of music, his latest collaboration with Riot Ten and what he does when he's outside of the stage and studio.
ATHLEISURE MAG: So you are known as the Godfather of Hard Trap. What is that and what is it about this genre of music that you love so much?
SAYMYNAME: Ok so Hard Trap is a genre that I started in 2012. It’s basically a fusion between Hard Style and Trap or like Hip Hop and it’s the best of both worlds. My favorite part about Hard Trap is basically the energy and uniqueness of the sound that it brings to every set no matter whether it’s a festival or a club – it stands up.
AM: Does it change for you whether you’re in a massive venue like here at Electric Zoo or if you’re in an intimate club? How does that work for you in terms of vibe?
SMN: The vibe or the energy is always there. Whether it’s a 100 or 10,000 – like there’s always this raw energy that matches the music. I don’t like to go to a smaller room and change the setup because I still want to see that same energy.
AM: So you just collaborated with Riot Ten with Glocks which is pretty exciting. How did that come about and how excited are you to finally release this?
SMN: Oh I’m excited it’s finally out. Riot Ten and I, we go back and this is something that we have talked about for a minute. He’s done the harder music like more of the Dubstep stuff and just basically using the Dubstep and the Hard Trap and just giving something that our fan base wanted. I’m excited that we got to do it.
AM: We love the new magenta color. How do you love the fact that you can express yourself with your hair color?
SMN: I love that it’s like varied on the season or my mood. So I have done blue, red, orange and now I’m on magenta. I feel like when I go in I just say, “ok I’m going to do yellow.” I think that the louder and the brighter the color, it’s just a bigger representation of the style and that energy. When you see that color and you’re on stage – it’s just in your face!
AM: What other collaborations do you have going on that we should keep an eye out for?
SMN: Right now, I just finished a collaboration with Afrojack. So we’re working on a release for that so keep an eye out for that. R3HAB and I, Timmy Trumpet – there has been a lot of music that I have been working on during the summer so I’m just taking some time off.
AM: You’re a busy guy and you have been at a lot of festivals this season. How do you keep yourself relaxed and focused on what’s happening?
SMN: For me, it’s all about balance. When I’m not on the road, I’m in the gym when I’m not in the studio. I feel that the gym it’s not like I’m coming down because I’m working out, but it’s about really staying healthy physically and mentally. It keeps the creative flow going and the energy. Festival season – the festivals that I have played this year, it’s been insane.
AM: We’re excited to see you perform tomorrow!
SMN: I’m so excited! It’s my first Electric Zoo and this has been a bucket list festival. I think I caught a Hardwell festival clip in 2012 or 2013 and I was like, “what is this Electric Zoo – it’s crazy!”
AM: As someone who travels so much, what are 3 items that are in your carry on to feel like you’re at home and centered?
SMN: I feel like with my carry on, that’s a good question. This is going to sound super cliché, but my laptop. I can take my music with me on it when I want to work from the road. I have books on my phone. I think that the books and the music that I have on my phone keeps the connection between everything. Then just essential hygiene products – my skincare routine is a big one.
AM: You need to be fresh!
SMN: I’m trying, I’m trying – I have to stay on top of that.
We sat down with 2019 Grammy Nominated DJ/Producer EDX moments before he hit the stage. He had just arrived after performing in Montreal to kick off Labor Day Weekend and was in NYC just long enough to play a set at Electric Zoo. We talked about being #1 on Spotify's Dance Rising Charts, musicality and more.
ATHLEISURE MAG: You’ve been known as a genius for all the amazing music production you've done. What is the symbiosis between musicality and production to you in terms of making the great sound that you do?
EDX: Well you know, I think that there first, there is always a good song, a nice chord progression and if it’s a vocal song, there is a meaningful vocal. Then you add to it your signature sound and like the high end production. I think that you can have the best production possible if the musicality is there. It’s very hard to touch people when that’s not there. I’m always focusing on touching people with my music and when I have been doing this for so many years, the quality today shouldn’t even be an issue anymore.
AM: So STAY is on the Dance Rising Charts on Spotify. How excited are you about that?
EDX: It’s awesome because it has actually been the #1 track on Dance Rising. That’s something that is so special each time. It’s like making you a Sir for music – every once in awhile when this happens! For me, I’m just a kid living in Switzerland in a neighborhood next to Zurich and just exposed to music and trying to reach the world. This achievement is like a big achievement in my point of view because you actually reach so many people all over the world with this and it’s a good opportunity to be on that Dance Rising once in awhile.
AM: What are your 3 favorite remixes that you have done?
EDX: Haha it’s a hard question! I think that I have done more than 50 or 100 remixes. I don’t know and I’m still counting. It’s hard to pick just 3. I like the remix to the Janelle Monae (‘Make Me Feel’) record because it was just a cool song and I liked the whole vibe from it in the original. All the others are like in themselves, are something special because they all have this collaboration with some other songwriter, singer, artist and being able to get influenced by the original version and to add your own vibe to it to make it your own. It’s something that’s a blessing if you get this opportunity and it’s hard to just pick my favorite ones. But the Janelle Monae remix from last year has really given me the challenge that I wanted once in awhile.
I just started a remix for the new single of Loud Luxury. Which was just sent recently to Sirius XM before the release for their playlist at BPM so it is coming out in 2 weeks. It ended up being an effective remix and I was very excited to tease it and play it out like right now.
EDX: Oh yes, that was a good one.
AM: Labor Day Weekend has been very busy for you. You were in Montreal on Fri, you are here today in NYC at Electric Zoo and tomorrow you will be in Dallas, how do you keep all that energy going and feeding all of these people your music?
EDX: Well, it’s like a very rewarding industry that we are in. Being able to play out your own music in front of so many people that give you such great feedback each time. It’s actually cool. I’m actually flying out tonight to Dallas because I’m playing tonight and tomorrow I will be out back to Europe!
Talking with the NJ based trio, Cash Cash, we defintiely got their vibe of just giving a great show that is filled with an array of genres that are just about having a good time. We sat down with them right before their show to find out about what they've been working on, how they work with one another and some of the tools of their trade.
ATHLEISURE MAG: So how do you define the Cash Cash sound?
CASH CASH: We’re a mix of a lot of different things. We’re kind of like a buffet. You get everything with us. You get chicken, beef, vegetables, carbs, salad, dessert – we do it all. We work with Hip Hop artists, we work with pop artists, rock artists, alternative artists. We love it all and we’re always mixing electronic music with different feels and styles of music. Even with just instruments or singers.
AM: How does that work to have 3 of you working together in terms of being on stage or in the studio? How do you deal with those dynamics?
CC: We run a majority rules kind of thing. So if 2 people agree on something, then that’s how it goes. If one person cries enough and pleads their case …
AM: Oh nice so the minority vote can come forward and win!
CC: Yeah if they can convince us yeah – haha the minority vote could win that’s funny!
CC: Really excited. We did a remix for her in the last month of 2017 and the remix did really well. She was happy with it, the team was happy with it and we have been trying to send her songs for a long time and finally she sent us the acapella and we were like, “this is great, we can do something with this.” So we built a song around that and it came together that way. It was great to finally make that happen because artists are so busy these days. She’s out doing world tours and we’re in the club every night. It was great to finally make it happen.
AM: With you guys having so much club time, how do you take time for yourself?
CC: It’s minimal I guess! We’re used to it though. We’ve been doing this for awhile so we’re used to the up and go lifestyle. We’ve been going and you get time off when you get to come home and we love traveling to see the world. It’s always cool to go to new places and then to be able to go back and return.
AM: When you guys are recording, what are your 3 favorite pieces of equipment that you love to use?
CC: Probably the computers – it’s like a love hate thing. Because you think it sucks sometimes, but you couldn’t make music without it. You could have a tape machine, but the computer is better. I feel that it switches – you’ll love a certain synth or something and then you’ll get sick of it, move on and then you’ll look at the wall and there’s your acoustic guitar and you’re like – this is the best!
Around Athleisure Mag's office, we've been playing DRIP by Boombox Cartel, Dillon Francis featuring Desiigner on loop since it dropped a few days ago. During Electric Zoo, we took some time to hang out with the man himself to find out how he experiments with his sound to make distinctive music while continuing to express himself with his collabs as well as his clothing brand.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How do you define the Boombox Cartel sound?
BOOMBOX CARTEL: I define it as breaking the rules and doing everything wrong. Stuff that’s not supposed to be done and trying to make it work. I try to come up with original ideas and there is a lot of research and development.
AM: What's that like?
BC: Putting a lot of time in the studio and making a lot of weird demos. It’s like evil scientist vibes, but I think that that’s what it is. Then just staying true to the underground and staying true to where we all came from.
AM: How do you get inspired and where does that come from?
BC: Well just influences from when I was a kid. Indie bands, synth rock bands to like Hip Hop to Trap, to Houston stuff to just a big mix. I lived in Monterrey, Mexico for half of my life. I was born in Laredo, Texas in South Texas and I went to music school in Minneapolis. So it’s just kind of like gathering cultures and gathering styles and sounds and just putting it all together.
AM: We’re loving DRIP with you, Dillon Francis and featuring Desiigner from an Athleisure Mag perspective, amazing song to workout to! How did that come about?
BC: Thank you so much and that’s what we wanted! Dillon is one of the most happiest human beings that I know. He’s always really enthusiastic and we tried to make something that meets in the middle. Something euphoric, something happy, something bright, something really colorful and that’s what came to be. And also, with Desiigner, he’s one of the most down to Earth rappers. I work with so many rappers and I think that Desiigner is the only rapper that I can say he is like a genuinely good person that is down to work and to do it for the people. He was there and we were in the studio until 7am like coming up with ideas – smoking weed and my whole house smelled like weed for the next week.
AM: But it was worth it!
BC: But it was worth it! We made a really positive and happy song and we’re all happy to put it out.
AM: It’s a hot song. We can’t say how many times we’ve had it on loop.
BC: Thank you so much!
AM: So your FC custom jerseys – those are really cool! Where did that come from?
BC: That came from living in Monterrey, Mexico and just going to soccer games every week. I see a lot of baseball jerseys in the EDM community and there’s isn’t enough love for the soccer community. Soccer is just as big or I think bigger! So just playing soccer, every show I go to I ask for a soccer ball and collect a university ball or something like that. I’m a huge fan. So working on those from scratch with a friend in Downtown LA – right now we’re working on a brand partnership with a big company. We did it all from scratch. One of my good friends Colby, helped us out. He has a beautiful warehouse – cut and sew, he created the patches from scratch and they will be back in stock this next week!
AM: Exciting – eventually you can have a whole line!
BC: We have some shorts coming up, socks, the whole kit for the kids.
AM: What are 3 things that you do being so busy and spreading yourself in so many places – to just get back to you?
BC: Yeah, I grew up in Texas with my dad grilling twice a week. So me and my homies barbecue twice a week – or at least once a week. I have a Harley Davidson back at home and I take it out on the 1 highway to go get some fried shrimp and then I come back home and just head to the studio.
One of our favorite remixes is 'Red Lips' by Good Times Ahead as it's been earcandy on our playlist for nearly a decade. So sitting down with this duo talking about a number of exciting changes taking place in the group was a lot of fun. In addition to hearing about their new label, their rebrand and what they've been up to this year, we also found out about where we should be eating the next time we're in Miami.
ATHLEISURE MAG: You guys have had a lot of going on lately – you have the rebrand of your name and your own label. Can you tell us about this?
GOOD TIMES AHEAD: The label is called Good Times/Bad Times and I think that one of our favorite things about having our own label is being able to put out our own music whenever we want. It’s kind of like the main reason. At the same time, it’s also a good platform for us to showcase the Latin influence we have in our music and a lot of the people that we play in our sets and just showcasing that to everyone. Kind of bringing a new thing to the game.
AM: When it came to introducing us to some of his favorite music, our Co-Founder Paul, introduced us to your music. We covered the Fold Festival and we saw you there as well. What is it about your free of genre music and just really bringing together good music?
GTA: For us, it’s mostly just about the energy that music has and the type of energy that makes you feel the way that you do. That’s why whenever we play music, any music that we play either hand selecting it or making it – it, has a certain kind of energy to it. It’s kind of what lets people just have fun as it’s such a fun sound to it. That’s pretty much what attracts us to music in general. It’s about having a good energy about it.
AM: Once again you guys have been super busy with so many festivals. How many have you done just this summer alone?
GTA: This summer probably like 4, but that’s light for us. We still played a lot of festivals and shows, but this year, we took it a little easier because we were focusing on finishing up so much music. 2 or 3 weeks ago we put out our album. We had the record label launch and the whole rebranding of everything. We have been working a lot behind the scenes and just taking this year kind of slow to just work on that. We’ve been doing this now for 8 or 9 years so it’s kind of nice to have a little easy period.
AM: You guys also have a clothing line as well – tell us about that.
GTA: Oh yeah, so it’s kind of something that we dabbled in a little bit. I’m personally a fan of fashion and that kind of thing and street brands. Shout out to Jay of Triple 7 – he hooked us up with so much knowledge on just how to make your own label and your own kind of style. We just kind of wanted to bring that to the festivals that we went to and the parties that we go to and it’s been cool. It’s kind of the same thing that we do with our music. We kind of let the clothes speak for themselves – they’re just really cool and really good quality. They’re good to wear and you can wear them at a festival or just to go out in. It’s kind of in line with our same kind of style as well.
AM: What are you working on right now in terms of collabs?
GTA: We’re definitely doing a lot of stuff as far as on our own with our own label and stuff. We have a lot of collabs. We’ve been playing this one thing we did with this group called Fight Club which they’re actually from here. We have a couple of other ones too. A lot of club music a lot of Latin music. We have been working with a lot of Latin artists. We've had some writing camps last year and this year in Mexico and playing in Brazil and stuff. We’re working with a lot of up and coming people and it’s really exciting especially now that we’re about to launch the label. All of that was for the label and now it’s about being able to put it out and being able to show everyone.
AM: What are 3 restaurants that you guys love eating at in Miami?
GTA: In Miami? Crab Man 305 that’s our number 1! Shout out to Crab Man 305. We’ll also say that there are many many Cuban restaurants, but Sergio’s is a very good restaurant - it’s classic Miami. And then I’d say that obviously Joe’s Stone Crab is a good one – it’s a fancy one but one to go to!
This past Electric Zoo not only included DJ/producer NGHTMRE performing, but he had a stage for the artists on his label Gud Vibrations which he cofounded with SLANDER. We talked with him about his sound, the responsibilities of running his labels, his current tour and of course being at this year's EZoo.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How do you define the NGHTMRE sound?
NGHTMRE: I like to just call it bass music. I try to incorporate and tempos and various styles of electronic music in my records and live shows. It’s a mixture of melodic and heavy. I focus on keeping everything high-energy!
AM: In addition to working on your music, you’re also the Co-Founder of your own label along with SLANDER. How is it juggling those responsibilities and needs?
N: It’s great actually. We have a great team helping us and it really allows us to focus on the music rather than having to worry about small details and infrastructure building. It’s only just getting started in our eyes.
AM: You’re back at EZoo and not only are you performing but you have an entire stage with Gud Vibrations artists – how did this come about and how exciting is it to have this going on this going on this year?
N: I think the Gud Vibrations label and brand in general works so well because it came about organically. Me and the Slander boys are great friends and our tastes align so well that we eventually started our own events and parties. We’re extremely grateful for Electric Zoo for inviting us to bring the Gud Vibrations energy to New York.
AM: Gud Vibrations also has its own clothing line – the Bomber Jackets are definitely something cool that we would include in a future shoot – how do you go about deciding what goes into the line and how it feeds the ethos of your label?
N: Gud Vibrations in general is an outlet for us to put out what we think is cool into the world. We don’t have any specific method to deciding what goes out, but if there’s something we particularly love or feel is cool we take our time developing it to make sure it’s exactly how we like it, then share it!
AM: Tell us about The Alchemy Tour.
N: For this tour I’m doing a b2b set with Slander for each show and this is the first time we’ve been able to bring our stage “The Atom” on the road with us! To top it off we’ve been looking up to Seven Lions and The Glitch Mob for years so to be performing alongside them is amazing!
AM: Tell us about collabs and projects that you have dropping within your music as well as things that we should know about regarding the label.
N: Earlier this year I released a record with ASAP Ferg called Redlight! He’s another person I’ve looked up to for a long time so being able to work together and create a full music video together was a special experience. I have a new track with “Zhu” called Man’s First Inhibition that just dropped and is a bit different from my other stuff. I am always collaborating on new music!
AM: You’re constantly on the road going from one gig to the next. Do you have 3 things that you do prior to a gig to get in the right mindset to perform in front of your fans?
N: Nothing usually actually. I spend time in Rekordbox on my computer before each show. Its a software that allows me to plan out and organize my music a bit better so when I’m in stage it’s easier to switch things up.
AM: In addition to traveling, I’m sure you workout, what are 3 workouts that you feel are the core of your fitness routine?
N: I actually only just started doing this recently but I got a personal trailer to help me while I was home for a bit and this is my “on the road” routine.
STRETCHES | Samson Lunge, Worlds Greatest Stretch, Downdog, Frog Stretch and Pigeon | CORE WORK @ 3 Rounds | (Rotation) Russian Twist x30, (Flexion) Leg Raise x30, (Static hold) Plank 30 sec | @ 4 Rounds | Squats x40, SIT UPS x30, Push Up x20 |
PHOTO CREDITS | PG 26, 52 + 54 aLIVE Coverage for ElectricZoo.com | This editorial contains elements of images, courtesy Dreamstime.com: PG 16 Richochet69, PG 19 Rolffimages, PG 29 Nadezda Mikusova, PG 30 Philip Openshaw, PG 34 Golfxx, PG 36 Steve Ford, PG 41 Alisbab, PG 42 Tatiana Kuklina, PG 46 Alphonse99 + Back Cover Santi Ri |
It’s been a busy series of days. We went from covering Electric Zoo Evolved (which you can see in our latest issue) during Labor Day Weekend to heading straight to NYFW. On the first night of NYFW, we had to hang out at the Ultra Records party which took place at the Hudson Mercantile’s rooftop and had an array of performances throughout the night!
Last summer we hung out with Icona Pop as they were the closing musical act for Propel Fitness Lab’s event. Recently signed to Ultra Music, we enjoyed hearing, “We Got That Cool,” (which also features Afrojack and has Yves V) which reminded us of why we love having them in our playlists when we’re working out. We know that they’re working on another single that will drop this fall as well as an upcoming tour where they will be performing both DJ sets and live.
In addition to a number of acts that hit the stage (including: Chris Malinchak, MK(Marc Kinchen) and Sofi Tukker), we enjoyed Tropical House DJ and Producer, Klingande who released his new single “Messiah” with Bright Sparks on September 13. In addition to new music that will come out with his album dropping this fall, keep an eye out for his documentary. We also loved his set being accompanied by this saxophonist which added great texture to the performance as well!
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
The latest issue of Athleisure Mag dropped as we headed to Randall’s Island for Electric Zoo Evolved which had a number of acclaimed EDM DJ/producers that performed throughout Labor Day Weekend. This month’s cover is the Godfather of Hard Trap, SayMyName. In addition, we have an interview with Danielle Collins, professional tennis player and jewelry designer who shared what her season has been like, the US Open and her jewelry line. We sat down with Celebrity Hypnotherapist, Kimberly Friedman who talks about the power and the importance of the subconscious. We also talked with beauty trailblazer, Bobbi Brown from being a makeup artist to celebrity makeup artist, beauty entrepreneur and currently being a hotelier for The George in Montclair, New Jersey.
Read the Aug Issue of Athleisure Mag.
Last month, we had the chance to catch up with Vanessa Williams who partnered with Kellogg’s and Penguin Random House for Kellogg’s Feeding Reading Program, encouraging childhood reading at Kellogg’s NYC. Vanessa read to the kids through her support with Kellogg’s Feeding Reading program with Penguin Random House. She read one of our favorite books growing up, The Pokey Little Puppy. We took a moment to ask her a few questions as we are inspired by the first African American Miss America, recording artist, Broadway star and actress.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was the moment that you realized that you wanted to be this triple threat from being the First African American to be Miss America, being a recording artist as well as an actress – was it always a plan to showcase your talents across various verticals?
VANESSA WILLIAMS: Growing up music was a requirement in my household. The arts were revered and my parents who were music educators never told me to get a “real job”. They supported my love for the arts and to major in musical theater that combined my talents. A Broadway career was the goal. All the rest of my career has been a huge blessing that I never dreamed of.
AM: Looking back on the legacy that you have created, what is the takeaway that want others to have in looking at what you have accomplished throughout your career?
VW: My career has been an example of being brave to take unexpected opportunities when they arise and then being prepared to do your best when given those opportunities. You can plan all you want but life always gives you challenges that you that force you to grow and change your path
AM: The Pokey Little Puppy is a book that we enjoyed growing up – how did this partnership with you and Kellogg’s as well as Penguin Random House come about and why did you want to participate in this?
VW: As an author, mother of 4 and the daughter of two teachers, I know the importance of reading in order to fuel kids. It helps you think and learn and grow your imagination. I read to my kids as they were growing up and The Pokey Little Puppy was one of our favorites. I also showed the kids the picture of my new Great Dane puppy Roscoe Rider that I just got this week. Plus, I’m also working on a children’s book so when Kellogg’s reached out it was a no-brainer.
AM: Can you tell us about Feeding Reading Program and why this is so important to you?
VW: The Kellogg’s Reading Feeding program gets books into kids hands to fuel their minds and bodies, which is so important to me. Last year alone, more than 400,000 books were distributed to kids and families across the country.
It’s easy for parents to participate, too. Buy a specially marked Kellogg’s product to earn a credit for one of 125 Penguin Random House books across multiple reading levels. Books also can be donated to a school or library. Visit www.FeedingReading.com to learn more about the program.
AM: What was it like to be with your mom and reading to the children yesterday and what do you hope that the children got from being able to participate?
VW: I came alone to read to the enthusiastic kids entering 2nd grade next fall. I asked lots of questions of course about puppies , pets and the many creatures that are featured in the book. The highlight was hearing the children ooh and aah about my new puppy
AM: What projects are you working on that we can share with our readers to keep an eye out for?
VW: I have a new children’s book coming out soon by Sterling Publishing called “Bubble Kisses”, just launched a fashion line on HSN, recording a new album for BMG records and have a few scripts in the works for future projects that I’m producing
AM: You always look phenomenal, what are 3 beauty/skincare products that you swear by that you can share with us?
VW: Ziip microcurrent portable device helps keeps my skin toned. I use it before any appearances on camera. Eye lash extensions are my new favorite go to for instant killer eyes and the HydraFacial does wonders for pore cleansing and rejuvenation.
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
This month marked Athleisure Mag's 3rd year of being media sponsors for NYC PRIDE! In addition, this year WorldPride took place throughout the month here in NYC. WorldPride has been in existence for 20 years and has had 6 times that it has been showcased; however, this year was the first time that it has taken place in the US. It came to NYC as a means to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising Commemorating the historic event where the modern movement began in 1969.
This year's theme, "Millions of Moments of Pride" included events ranging from panels, parties, movie nights, brunches and more. Being able to share the events as they took place as well as attending them is part of the fun of celebrating during this time of year while also supporting and being an ally to our LGBTQI+ community. The events culminated in one of our favorites - Pride Island. This event takes place over the last 2 days of pride and includes a number of performances from an array of entertainers. This year included Grace Jones, Teyana Taylor, Kim Petras, Amara La Negra and Madonna! Check out amazing moments from PRIDE ISLAND.
PHOTO CREDITS FOR NYC PRIDE + WORLD PRIDE | THIS PG - 67 Mary Kang | PG 68 -71 Sansho Scott | PG 72 - 79 Benjamin Lozovsky |
This month, our cover is graced by Michelin starred Chef and Restaurateur, George Mendes. We talk about his restaurant Aldea as well as his pop up concept currently at Chefs Club Counter in NYC. In addition, we interview 4 x NBA Champion, John Salley to talk about how he came to basketball, his forray into the wellness and health industry as an investor and gifting for Father's Day. We also interviewed Celebrity Fashion Stylist, Brad Goreski to talk about his style inspirations, summer's perfect accessory, being a Co-Host on E! Live from the Red Carpet and his thoughts on the Met Gala! We also interviewed, fitness icon, Denise Austin about being an innovative in the industry, her success with her shows and what she is currently focused on. In addition, as our third year of being media sponsors for PRIDE, we included imagery from PRIDE ISLAND with performances by Madonna, Amara La Negra, Teyana Taylor, Grace Jones and more. In addition, we have a number of our monthly features showcasing athleisure culture.
Read the June Issue of Athleisure Mag.
With a busy summer ahead, we took some time to talk with country star, John King while he was prepping for CMA Fest. We talk about his newest single “Try Saying Goodbye”, performing at the Grand Ole Opry, the importance of family and where he goes in Nashville.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Your newest single “Try Saying Goodbye” is quite a hit. What inspired you to create this song?
JOHN KING: “Try Saying Goodbye” is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever released. I’ve been blown away by the reaction so far. I feel like what makes it special is everybody can relate. The inspiration for this song came from my relationship with my wife, Hannah. We started dating when we were 15 and grew up together. There were moments in our relationship, where we could have gone different ways but instead we decided to work through the hard times. When we wrote this song, I started thinking about everything I would have missed out on if we had chosen a different path – our love for each other, this wonderful life we’ve built together and our precious baby girl Scarlett.
AM: You’re juggling a lot between your career, family and Scarlett – how do you ensure that you’re present when you are with your family and that they get the time that they need?
JK: There is nothing more important to me than family. Luckily, my wife and baby girl get to join me on the road a lot! When they can’t, we’re always sharing photos, texting and video chatting. My partnership with Straight Talk Wireless makes it really easy to stay connected on the road with their new Ultimate Unlimited 2-line plan.
AM: A fanbase is essential, how do you interact with your fans and make it feel fresh to them?
JK: I’m fortunate enough to have amazing fans who have been following me for years. Recently we had the idea to give my cell phone number out so they could text me directly anytime they want. So far, I’ve literally received thousands of texts – anything from people reaching out about “Try Saying Goodbye” to folks who are in disbelief that it’s actually me texting them back! The support has been overwhelming and exciting!
AM: You’ve partnered with Straight Talk Wireless. Why is this a synergistic partnership and why is it important to find the best ways to communicate in order to stay on track professionally and personally?
JK: One of the most important things to me as an artist is communicating with my fans on a personal level. I’m a Straight Talk Wireless user myself and I can attest to the affordable and reliable service, so this partnership was a no brainer. For more info on Straight Talk, visit www.StraightTalk.com.
AM: When did you know that you wanted to be a musician and specifically wanted to be a country artist?
JK: It’s really been my passion since I was a kid. I grew up singing in church, school talent shows, county fairs, you name it. I’ve always loved getting up on that stage and entertaining a crowd. It’s one of the best feelings in the world!
AM: How do you get inspired when you are creating your songs?
JK: Writing a song is such a fun process for me because there really is no formula for how it’s done. It can happen a million different ways at unexpected times. Sometimes the inspiration can be triggered from a melody, a conversation or something I’ve lived firsthand, so I use my smartphone to easily keep track of all my ideas when I’m on-the-go. It’s different every time and always exciting.
AM: You recently played at CMA Fest, you’re on a national tour and you’re returning to the Grand Ole Opry stage – what excited you about doing this and what are you looking forward to?
JK: Touring is one of my favorite parts of what I do. I love every aspect of being an artist – writing songs, recording and releasing music but there really is something special about performing for a crowd that paid their hard earned money to come see a show. CMA Fest is always such an exciting experience because the whole week is about the fans. This year was especially great because we got to play The CMA Spotlight and Spotify Hot Country stages and the energy was unreal! To top off an amazing month, I’m so honored to be playing the Grand Ole Opry. Just doesn’t get any better than that!
AM: What are your goals this year in terms of awards, those you wish to collaborate or play with etc.?
JK: My goal this year is to continue the success we’re already having with touring, writing and releasing new music. So far it’s been my biggest year to date with the impact of “Try Saying Goodbye.” I’m just excited for as many people to hear this song as possible!
AM: As someone who is on the road quite a bit, what are 3 things that you always have on your carryon that make you feel at home?
JK: I’d say my go tos are 1. My Bible 2. My smartphone, so I can look at family photos at all times 3. My band (don’t wanna forget them haha)
AM: In Nashville, where can we find you grabbing a meal/cocktail, working out and shopping?
JK: Nashville is such a great town with limitless options, but my go to place is Blake Shelton’s bar Ole Red! I do my daily workout routine using my smartphone at the house with Baby Scarlett! She loves to work out with Dad so that’s our time together.
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
When it comes to getting a full body workout, STRONG by Zumba® takes its approach to high intensity workouts through music to another level - as this is not a dance class. They partnered with Grammy nominated music producer Sevn (he has collaborated with Travis Scott's "Astroworld" and Beyonce and Jay-Z's "Everything is Love") to create exclusive beats for this music led program that focuses on the innovative approach of syncing music to moves while pushing and motivating participants beyond their limits.
The Athleisure Mag team had the opportunity to try out the class as well as to hear the track created for the class recently. Their unique process of reverse engineering the beats around the routines so that the high intensity moves are seamlessly melded with the music allows integrative motivation. Previous collaborations have included Timbaland, Steve Aoki and Krewella.
This program is a non-dance, one hour group exercise class that combines body weight, muscle conditioning, cardio and plyometric training moves specifically designed and synced to original music. Driven by beats as the ultimate motivator to burn calories while toning abs, legs, arms, and glutes.
STRONG by Zumba®
Check their website for a class near you.
We enjoyed Contact High, a Visual History of HipHop: Pop Up Experience at the Hasselblad NY Experience Studio in Soho. The exhibition celebrated the recently published book Contact High: A Visual History of Hip Hop by Vikki Tobak, documenting the history and progression of Hiphop and some of its key influencers over a 40 year span.
Curated by Vikki Tobak, based on the bestselling book of the same name, and with creative direction by Fab 5 Freddy and forward by Questlove, it includes works from 60 photographers forming a chronological journey from old-school to alternative hip-hop. The ultimate companion for music and photography enthusiasts, Contact High is the definitive history of hip-hop’s early days, celebrating the artists that shaped the iconic album covers, t-shirts and posters beloved by hip-hop fans today.
Founded in 1941, Hasselblad is the leading manufacturer of medium format cameras and lenses. Made in Sweden, Hasselblad cameras are renowned for their iconic ergonomic design, uncompromising image quality and Swedish craftsmanship. For over half a century, Hasselblad cameras have captured some of the world’s most iconic images – including the first landing on the moon - and helped shape the way we look at the world through genuine photographic artistry. Trusted by NASA and used by the greatest photographers in the world, Hasselblad continues to create products with uncompromising image quality that inspire. In 2016, Hasselblad introduced the world’s first compact mirrorless digital medium format camera – the X1D.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We loved seeing the contact sheets presented in the book at Hasselblad's pop-up experience exhibit. When did you come up with the concept for the book and how long was the process making it?
VIKKI TOBAK: The whole process took about three years for me to write and research the book, but the idea came from me actually working in the music business in the early ’90s. I worked for an indie Hiphop label called Payday Records and Empire Management and worked with a lot of young Hiphop artists. I would coordinate a lot of their photo shoots, so I also met all these young photographers way back then. As I started my writing career and became a journalist working for bigger news organizations like CNN, I saw how they treated their archives, contact sheets, and historic photos and got to thinking about all the photos that I had worked on in my younger days – all the photographers who had these archives they were sitting on. So I set out to tell that story: The story of the photographer and a deeper story of those photos.
AM: How did you go about connecting with and interviewing the photographers and essayists featured in the book to hear about the accompanying stories of the shoots and how the images were created?
VT: I t wasn’t easy because photographers don’t generally like to show their contact sheets, they don’t like to show their outtakes or imperfect moments. So I started by going to the photographers who I already knew and who really trusted me with their stories. One by one, I started reaching out to Janette Beckman, then to Delphine Fawundu, Jamil GS – photographers that I have been on-set with when they photographed young Jay-Z, young Mos Def, young Gang Starr… I started writing a column for a magazine called Mass Appeal while I was researching the book. At first, the photographers thought it was kind of weird, like, “You want to see my contact sheets?” And I was like, "Yeah, I want to hear the back stories and I want to see all those weird photos of the person not looking into the frame or the photos that you shot of what was going on around them to kind of give it a more candid, documentary feel. And they loved the idea because they also like seeing each other’s contact sheets – photographers work really independently, so just seeing the work of their peers and just seeing that all these photos lie on a historic continuum (if you will) was really great. They realized that they were part of this great collective that documented this music, this new music that was created in our lifetime and was really something that nobody had ever seen before. They visualized that music.
AM: Did you have the title “Contact High” going into the project, or did it emerge during the course of the book?
VT: I didn’t have the name at first but it came to me pretty quickly. It just kind of popped into my head very early on. I had a good laugh with myself because a lot of Hiphop is associated with weed-smoking and hanging out. But more than that, Contact High speaks to immersing others into this world, this kind of bubble. It speaks to bringing people not just into one photo but bringing them into the world where that photo lives.
AM: We see chronologically, the first featured shoot kicks off in 1979 in the Bronx with Kool Herc. How is it to trace the past of Hiphop visual culture from its early days as a small subculture?
VT: Because I’ve been writing about the music for so long, I understood that this was the music that started with everyday people in neighborhoods, in communities. A lot of the earlier photos are not of the big stars but are of the dancers, the DJs, the kids from the neighborhood where a lot of the MCs came from. You see photos from the early days of Brooklyn and the Bronx all these places where the culture was born. Those early documentary photos also talk about the fact that this is much bigger than the music and much bigger than just this cultural phenomenon that we now know is kind of leading our mainstream. You can trace the history through the photos from the late ’70s and see it going into other cities, all of which have their own styles. You see it go into L.A., which had a very specific look and feel to it, to New Orleans, to Houston, to Detroit, to Atlanta. All the artists and photos that came out of that are super distinct, with their own flavor. So you have to see it and not just hear it. That’s what the contact sheets do.
AM: How was it to have Fab 5 Freddy as a creative director with the book?
VT: Oh my goodness, he’s a dream. He is a historian, he was a part of the culture, and he also gets this as part of the larger storytelling of Hiphop. As soon as I told him about this project, he got it right away. To be able to go deeper into these photos, he also realized there had never been a real retrospective done of Hiphop photography. Individual artists had sort of had little shows here and there but never on this kind of scale. So he not only wrote an essay for the book (which was incredible), he’s also in a lot of photos in the book.
And when it came time for me to curate the show’s exhibition, which we now have at the Annenberg Space For Photography in Los Angles through August 18 and which we hope to make a traveling exhibit after that, I knew he was the right person to be the creative director because he just got it – he got the whole project. We worked great together. He’s now working on so many amazing things related to the culture: He has a new film on Netflix called The Grass Is Greener about cannabis policy and the history of music in the black community. I like that he is a deeper, broader thinker – more than just about the music and more than just about the style. He sees how all the dots connect, which is why I really wanted to work with him.
AM: Core roots and aspects of athleisure are steeped in Hiphop style and culture. We love seeing Adidas, Kangol, Dapper Dan, and an array of other iconic fashion and culture laced throughout the images and contact sheets. What are some stories that the photographers and essayists offered about Hiphop style from the early days to rising to mainstream as a truly dominant and global authoritative stature?
VT: The whole phenomenon and athleisure wear and just comfort was really something that started in Hiphop, absolutely. Young kids were very aspirational in wanting certain sneakers or wanting a certain look, but at the same time this was all super personalized and all flipped on its head to have a very unique look and feel that was very Hiphop. So they started trends, they started a lot of the sneaker culture that you see right now: Run DMC and Adidas, the whole Nike Air Force 1 movement. A lot of even little details like the baggy sweatsuits, the caps, all that kind of stuff was very much self-styled and sort of remixed, if you will, from mainstream fashion. To see it come 360 now and be thriving as mainstream fashion is really cool. All these elements that were originally just about being an individual are now available to everyone.
AM: Tell us more about your spotlight on the importance of telling the story of women and Hiphop in the book.
VT: It wasn’t really a decision to play it up in the book. For someone who has always worked in the industry (as a woman, obviously), writing about the music for years, women have always been a really strong part of Hiphop, both in front of the camera and behind it. I had so many incredible black women editors when I was a writer; so many women ran the label that I worked for: Lucia Cortez, Silvia Rowne, really powerful women. And then of course the artists….
People ask me a lot, “How did you find all the women photographers in the book?” They were there all along. It wasn’t an effort on my part to become equitable – I wish I could say it was, but it just is. To me it’s just been something that I recognized always, and I think it’s a little bit of a stereotype with Hiphop. If you look at Hiphop as a culture, women have always been super prominent.
Also, April Walker started Walker Wear, and a lot of people didn’t even realize she was a woman because Tupac and Treach from Naughty By Nature were her spokespeople. There was this big wave of streetwear entrepreneurs in the early ’90s, and she should really be commended as part of that: she and all the women stylists who gave Hiphop its look in terms of selecting baggy clothes for Mary J. Blige or a lot of the other looks. I think all those women deserve to be celebrated and remembered.
AM: What have you seen with having such a multi-dimensional audience by design as it cuts across music, Hiphop, photography, portraiture and selfies, as shown with such acclaim, like the dynamic Amazon chart success across categories?
VT: A lot of people say Hiphop is now post-genre, so there’s not just one kind of Hiphop, there’s not just one kind of listener or audience. Hiphop now is global on all levels – it’s not just the subculture in a neighborhood anymore. The elements of it have been appropriated. That’s a loaded word; I guess a better word would be integrated into all facets of fashion and music. Kids in the suburbs listen to it, everyone listens to it, but at its core it will always be a music that speaks truth to power. That attitude will always come through in the photos, that attitude will always come through in the lyrics and all the different offshoot of any music culture. But now it’s a global phenomenon. Biggie has this line in one of his songs where he says, “You never thought that Hiphop would take it this far.” Indeed, a lot of people thought it was going to be a passing fad. It’s just really beautiful to celebrate the men and women who documented this culture that has not just stayed around but now defines many facets of our shared lives.
AM: It’s so interesting – and a treat – to get such an extensive intimate look at contact sheets and outtakes and see the interplay of photographers and artists in the creative journey together. What are some behind-the-scenes stories in the book about how the shoots started and went?
VT: Oh my goodness, I have so many. The one that people bring up most often is the story of Biggie in the crown that was taken by Barron Claiborne because it is a very stern-looking photo. The story behind it is that Barron was a young black photographer who was given the opportunity to photograph a fellow young black man and wanted to go against all the cliché imagery that he was seeing in the mainstream media at the time. He decided to photograph Biggie as a king. The editor of Rap Pages Magazine, a woman by the name of Dream Hampton, saw the importance of Barron’s vision of portraying someone like Biggie as royalty. In fact, that photo was called King of New York. The photo almost didn’t happen because Puffy/Diddy, who was leading Biggie’s career at that time, thought that he would kind of look like Burger King. So there was a lot of behind-the-scenes back-and forth, and it was interesting to hear the “this classic photo almost didn’t happen” accounts. I really like that photo for sure. I would say that’s a really good story.
AM: What are some accounts from the photographers about their work at that time? What cameras and gear were they shooting with, and did they comment about how it impacted the look and feel of their work and narrative?
VT: A lot o f big photographers – Janette Beckman, Danny Clinch – love shooting with medium-format Hasselblads. Lugging medium-format cameras around different neighborhoods, on the subways, is a little more challenging. But they always said it was very worth it. Not only did they produce this very beautiful, serious, historic moment, the Hiphop artist also felt that way. Janette Beckman shares the story about when she showed up in Hollis, Queens to photograph Run DMC. She had brought her Hasselblad on the subway from Manhattan way up to Queens. When she showed up, they understood that she was serious – not just here to take a few snapshots of us but here to really photograph us. Same goes for Danny Clinch for the Big L album covershot taken in front of his stoop in Harlem. Same thing. I feel like the photographers loved using Hasselblad medium-format because it set the tone.
AM: What have you heard from newer photographer fans, who love seeing contact sheets and negatives as a secret workflow?
VT: In digital culture, Instagram, imagery in general is very disposable in many ways, and we’re also bombarded with a lot of it. For younger fans, it’s often hard to imagine a world where you didn’t see the photo instantly or where you didn’t erase any photos. They’re also used to seeing a lot of finished product. The concept of contact sheets is important because it shows the stakes and it shows growth and it shows the artist in an imperfect setting and it shows the photographer working their process out, their creative process of trying to get the lighting right or not quite getting one out of 36 photos or one out of 12 photos right if you’re shooting medium-format.
So for young people, they see that the process takes time, and a lot of mistakes were made. That’s really important in this day and age. I think they really appreciate it - seeing photos of a young Kendrick Lamar in the studio where he looks kind of tired or frustrated recording his debut album. It’s a different Kendrick Lamar than the Pulitzer Prize winner with this amazing album on the other side of the process. So young people are really loving it. Also, just picking up on all those great style elements of the early days. A lot of it has definitely come back, and a lot of younger fans don’t even realize it’s been around for years and years.
British photographer Janette Beckman began her career at the dawn of punk rock working for publications such as The Face and Melody Maker. She shot bands from The Clash to Boy George as well as three Police album covers and documented the youth culture of the era. Moving to NYC in 1983, Beckman was drawn to the underground hip-hop scene where she photographed the pioneers of the culture such as RUN DMC, Slick Rick, Salt-N-Pepa, Grandmaster Flash, Big Daddy Kane, and LL Cool J.
Beckman has published five books: ‘Rap, Portraits & Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers’, ‘Made In The UK The Music of Attitude 1977-1983’, ‘The Beckman has publi-Breaks, Stylin' and Profilin' 1982-1990", 'El Hoyo Maravilla’ and ‘The MashUp, Hip Hop Photos Remixed by Iconic Graffiti Artists’.
Her dedication to documenting the outliers of society remains evident in the works she creates surrounding subjects such as Manhattan based dirt bike bandits, The Go Hard Boyz, an illegal girl fight club in Brownsville, New York, and the hardnosed rodeo riders of the River City Rodeo in Omaha, Nebraska. Her work has been shown in galleries worldwide and is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Museum of the City of New York and the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe. She is represented by the Fahey Klein Gallery. She continues to live and work in New York City today. Beckman’s commercial work includes assignments for clients such as Dior, Kangol, Levi’s, Schott, and Shinola.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How did you know you wanted to make portraits growing up?
JANETTE BECKMAN: I always liked portraits, I used to visit a lot of museums like the National Portrait Gallery in London as a kid and stare at the paintings, imagining what life was like in the 1800’s or whenever.
AM: Tell us about the London punk scene in the late-70s and how you became immersed?
JB: I came out of art school and the punk and youth culture scenes were happening on the streets. I was always into music and style, so it was natural for me to start documenting what I saw on my doorstep. I started working for a weekly music magazine called Sounds and soon was photographing 2 or 3 bands a week.
AM: What led you to NYC in the early 80’s and how did you start photographing rap groups?
JB: I saw my first Hiphop show in London in the fall of 1982 and that Christmas I came to NYC to visit a friend. The trains were covered in graffiti, kids with boomboxes on the platform. I loved it.
AM: What were some of the first Hiphop concerts that you attended, and how did the blend of DJs, rappers, break dancers and graffiti artists speak to you and what you saw with the culture at large?
JB: The first Hiphop concert was in London in 1982. I was blown away by the sounds and visuals, rappers, DJs, graffiti writers, break dancers all on stage together - I photographed Fab 5 Freddy, Grand Mixer DST, Afrika Bambaataa, RockSteady Crew, Double Dutch Girls, Rammellzee, Futura, Dondi - legends of the culture.
AM: Tell us about the 1984 shoot with Run-DMC for The Face magazine.
JB: The British magazine The Face commissioned me to photograph Run DMC. They gave me a phone number, which turned out to be Jam Master Jay’s mom’s house. I spoke to Jay and we arranged to meet at the Hollis subway station. Hollis turned out to be a leafy suburb in Queens. I walked down the street with him, met Run DMC hanging out under the trees on a spring day with some friends, and began taking photos - I got that shot in the first few frames. It was really a moment in time.
AM: What camera and lenses did you shoot with? How important was it to be shoot-ready when approaching shoots those days?
JB: I had a Hasselblad with an 80mm lens, I had 3 backs (12 shots in each), always ready/loaded.
AM: What was it like to work with Def Jam?
JB: Def Jam was a small label. I was also working with other small labels like Next Plateau and Sleeping Bag. They would bring their artists ’round to my studio. I had shown my portfolio to Lyor Cohen and Def Jam started to hire me. The first shoot I did for them was when Bill Adler, the Press Officer for Def Jam, brought LL Cool J to my studio for his first press shot.
AM: We loved seeing the early Afrocentric style reflected with your work with Tribe Called Quest. How did this come about and what was the day like?
JB: I was a huge fan of Tribe Called Quest and Hiphop style was becoming more Afrocentric. We decided that we wanted to shoot in nature. We were in NYC and the trees were still bare, so we went to the Chelsea Flower Market and found this greenery. The band had their little cousin with them and we had him in the shot too.
AM: What are some of the similarities and differences between shooting album covers and magazine candids and portraits?
JB: Album covers are square, you have to think about that when you are composing a shot. Magazine pages are usually vertical.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF CONTACT HIGH: A VISUAL HISTORY OF HIP HOP, BY VIKKI TOBAK | Fugees - Jayson Keeling | Jay-Z – Danny Hastings | Kanye – Danny Clinch | Memphis Bleek - Armen Djerrahain | Mos Def - Jamil GS | RUN DMC – Janette Beckman | Salt-n-Pepa – Janette Beckman | A Tribe Called Quest – Janette Beckman |
This month's issue focuses on love in many forms. When we talked with music producer, rapper, composer, philanthropist and businessman Drumma Boy, it was clear that he has a love for music, fashion and the ability to bring people together. We chatted with him about how his life started infusing with diversity in music, the important role that producers play in Artist Development, his upcoming projects with Too $hort, Musiq Soulchild, his musical work with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, his business in Atlanta and his must hav3s that you will find in his studio if you're ever working with him.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Clearly music heritage runs in your family. What was it like to be infused with such insights and talents growing up?
DRUMMA BOY: Coming from my mom, she used to always tell me stories about plugging the record album into the speaker and playing Isaac Hayes and all of that. I was young, but from her doing that, I would have these dreams of hearing music and when you would put your hands over your ears it sounds like this beautiful sound. Like you know it’s coming from somewhere, but you don’t know where! So in real life, even right now – there is a beat swimming in my ears. There is music in my ear and I have to transfer that to actuality which is what the recording process, beat making and all of that is. And to me, that’s the writing of music.
That’s the best way that I can understand Beethoven. By losing your hearing, you can still hear. Your brain can hear. Even if I muted my ears or covered them where I couldn’t hear anything – I could still hear the music. That process transfers into writing music.
AM: What was the moment that you realized that producing was going to be the way that you worked musically?
DB: That inspiration came from my brother, Ensayne Wayne who was older than me and was recently shot and killed on Feb 10, 2018. I remember being 12 or 14 and he took me into the studio with him and he was working with Three 6 Mafia and all of these different artists through Memphis. Just going through all of these different studios was amazing. I remember that the first studio I went into, it was like I was in a spaceship. I was like, “man all of these lights!” I knew that if I could transfer the orchestral knowledge and the ability to write, compose and to arrange and to put that with this Hip Hop – I could have my own sound! That’s how I came into the game making beats.
I was motivated by Ensayne Wayne, Jazze Pha, and a lot of the legendary cats that were doing it at that time.
AM: How would you define your style?
DB: I call it a pot of gumbo, there are so many different styles of the music in it. Mama would make the best from the scraps. She had some leftover chicken, black eyed peas and whatever and cooked it down in one pot and stretched the food out. Like gumbo, my style is a little bit of blues, a little bit of country, a little splash of rhythm and blues, and you have a bit of hip hop and a pinch of orchestra. Just all of these genres of music like jazz, bluegrass, funk, oldies but goodies. I loved Isaac Hayes, operas and orchestras as well as plays and then I could run out into the street and hear Three 6 Mafia. Then I could go downtown to hear the blues like BB King. There was so much history musically that it was just destined.
AM: What artists and groups have inspired you beyond a lot of those that you have mentioned? Do you get inspiration from EDM artists?
DB: Yeah I mean, I always respected the DJ. I DJ’d parties when I was coming up and I would do things here and there. As a DJ, it’s about spreading good energy because people just want to have a good time, dance and have fun. As a DJ, when you have that repertoire and that ear for what people really want to hear you can infuse that energy. So for me David Guetta, Tiesto, Flosstradamus.
When I met Flosstradamus in Atlanta, they told me that I needed to get in on EDM and doing my first song Hulk Smash Remix which hit a million streams on Spotify – it’s a blessing to get that genuine love with independents and pushing heavy on that party side. When I first released Hulk Smash Remix, Dan Bilzerian picked up the record and put it behind one of his videos and I was like, “damn this is my first time even playing around with EDM!” It was just mad love!
AM: What’s involved in producing? How do you work with your artists to your vision and the artists’ vision come together in a true collaboration?
DB: Well when I say produce music, I mean it starts with the vibe, the music and the energy of the room. Sometimes the artist may be pacing back and forth even when the music starts playing. Then we might come and bring in more energy like singing a vibe or coming up with concepts with adding in words here or there. Throw a bar or two in there. I mean producing – I look at it like I’m in therapy. The artist may not be in the mood to do the job in a certain way. I’m telling them that we need to go about it in this way or that because that is what the record label is saying. I’m telling them that they need to do something uptempo, but they may have come out of the hood and they’re about Trap. T hey may have negativity going on in their lives, they’re frowning, frustrated, they’re on the phone arguing and I’m like, “hey put the phone down – let’s get some drinks, we might have to go to the strip club, or whatever to get your mind off of that so that we can take the good energy and go back to the studio.
So now it’s been 7 hours, but it comes down to that one moment that you can capture. As a producer, we capture moments and when that artists gets into that rhythm – we capture that. That will be the best presentation that will be the best presentation that you record and then you will study that to see that it’s a hit or a smash and as you perform, it’s a completely different ballgame when game when you do that. As a producer, we’re really about artist development, enhancement, choreography, concept, theme, messages, stories etc and really giving that dedication to a successful artist.
AM: What artists are you working with that are coming out this year that you’re really excited to work with?
DB: Right now, we’re heavily working with my label Drum Squad Records. We just signed an artist Kdogg, 17 out of Memphis. He just comes from the mud, that bottom and you can just hear his struggle in his music. We released his single on Apple Music that you can download now called No Turning Back. We’re also working with Scott King a very cool artist out of Atlanta whose voice is his message. Also go get The Pimp a Too $hort Album that I just did 2 tracks on: Ain’t My Girlfriend and Tables. There are so many different artists it’s hard to say. I just went in with Kevin Gates. We’re working on DJ Drama’s new album – there’s no telling who he will drop on a track. He might pull an artist from Toronto, another from NY and an artist from the West Coast. I just got off the phone with Jeezy, he’s working on some exclusive things so I’m definitely excited about that as well. I’m all over the place!
There are so many great songs I’m working on with songwriters, I’m working on 2-3 albums and I’m about to drop my album, My Brother’s Keeper – another rap project that gives more details into my family and how we plan to continue the legacy of my brother. It will drop on 2-23 which is Insane Wayne Day in the city of Memphis. I’m also executive producing Musiq Soulchild. When I say that it has been some of the most amazing music I have made in my life! I’m very excited about that as well!
AM: Who have you yet to work with that you would like to work with?
DB: I’d say John Legend. I’ve always wanted to work with him and I’m a real jazz and R&B hip cat. I haven’t had the opportunity to really showcase my expertise in that world. Beyonce would be another one as well. Rhianna is also in there too!
AM: We know that you work with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. How did this come about and how do you approach the projects that you create with them season to season?
DB: Man with the Memphis Grizzlies they just wanted energy and me and DJ Paul did a rap project collaboration back and forth called Clash of the Titans and we did a song called We Don’t Bluff, which is the message behind Memphis. We don’t take no shit and it was just an amazing run for the city and the people don’t understand how big the Grizzlies are for our youth in our community because there aren’t too many things to do. They took Liberty Land which is an amusement park, we don’t have any water parks, not too many community centers or things of that nature. So there’s not a lot of things to do for the youth and one of those things is to go to a Memphis Grizzlies game. So to be able to create a record like We Don’t Bluff, to sit floorside with them and it’s been a 3-4 year process – it’s been a blessing. To be able to support them and to just believe and to share that message that someone can get it done is great.
AM: We also know that you have worked with Grey Goose – how did that come about?
DB: We have a lot of chemistry and a lot of love. They reached out and wanted to show some love so although it’s not an official deal, they respect what I do and appreciate it. It’s been a relationship that continues to expand and I am open to future opportunities with them as well? It’s a great non exclusive relationship.
AM: What is the House of Fresh, what do you carry there and how did it come about?
DB: The House of Fresh – well one of my first jobs when I was 14/15 was selling shoes and they put me in the Com bat Zone which was where the cheap and ugly shoes were. Nobody wanted to buy those $9.99 shoes and the retailer put you there first because they felt if you could do well there, then you could make it to the Shoe Pit. Everybody wants to buy the Jordans and other hot shoes that are in that area.
In a week, I probably sold the most $9.99 shoes because I was good at selling in the Combat Zone. So they saw that and let me go to the Shoe Pit. Within a month, I was the number 1 sales person. You got a $500 bonus every time you came in as the #1 sales person. That incentive made me push for it. I did it by selling accessories with them. You came in for shoes, but I said let’s dress that up and I let them know about sneaker cleaners, hats, etc. When you come into the store expecting to spend $200, you leave spending $500 or $700.
That energy, I liked it and I liked making people happy. Touching people through music has always been my things, but fashion is also the other. I started selling my own clothes because people wanted what I was wearing. When you look at my pictures on Google, you’ll see me in Drumma Squad gear. My own custom, extra large waist and oversized clothes. We would have it all over and people would buy it. I used to sell it out of my trunk and one day I thought what could I do with the relationships that I had with these clothing labels? So many of the lines would send me free packages. I knew I was bigger than a sales rack and a walking billboard. I looked at how I could expand the relationship and I saw a location and said if I can get it, then that's it. House of Fresh is an actual house that is on a busy street in the middle of Midtown Atlanta with a lot of walking traffic. I called Reebok, this one and that one and they said that they would send their shoe reps in. My music relationships with Ludacris, 2 Chainz played well for love and support as well.
I’m also excited that we’re opening Pre-Game, a Bar, Grill and Lounge. It’s on 899 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW in Atlanta. It’s right down the street from the Mercedes Benz and we plan on being open right before the Super Bowl.
AM: What are three key things that you truly believe in in terms of the success of your career?
DB: I believe in the importance of watering relationships. You get so many contacts, but it’s important to circle back from time to time to ask them how they are doing. I love to share the message of loving practice. Loving to get up every day and to practice - whatever it is that you want to do and enjoy that process. It’s the ultimate confidence builder. I also believe in having multiple revenue streams of income. I feel that these things have been instrumental in my success.
AM: Your hands are in so many pots, how do you take time for yourself?
DB: Well it’s weird. The music saves me. I’m up every morning 8/8:30am and I start out with breakfast and getting the proper nutrients, fruits and of that nature and I just think/brainstorm on what I want to accomplish for the day. I start getting phone calls and I attack the priorities. I zoom in on the top things that I have to do and I have that schedule. Usually House of Fresh, Pre-Game Lounge and everything that I have to do business wise is orchestrated between 9am - 2:30pm. By 2:30/3pm I’m all studio. I’m not so much on the phone so people can just leave a message and I’m there until 2:30/3am. I come home, I get about 3-4 hours of sleep and then repeat. It’s a dedicated process, but I find it very effective.
AM: What are must hav3s that you always have in the studio when you’re working?
DB: I would say company is one thing
that you have to confirm – ladies in particular – to know when you have a hit. It’s when they move or not period point blank. If someone says, “ooo I like this.” You know we have a hit. When you get a lot of chatter and no one is paying attention, then that just confirms that I need to go to the next beat. Another thing is candles. We’ve been supporting a brand, 1122 Candles for the simple fact that they’re natural and soy – there are no chemicals when they burn. They also have a great scent! My third thing is the fun – I have to have fun. That’s one thing I do. I’ll do something silly or just try something out for no reason and that turns out into something incredible.
AM: In Atlanta, where can we find you grabbing a cocktail/meal, working out and shopping?
DB: I work out at Heat Gym. I work out with my trainer shout out to Mr Shut Up and Train on Instagram. As far as grabbing a meal you may catch me at the STK or at Paschal’s. It’s a really well known Southern wine and dine spot. For shopping, you will find me at Phipps Plaza as I love that it’s exclusive and you can get right to the point and get out without being stopped by too many people. Every now and then I might run into Lenox Square to stop by Zara and see what they’ve got.
PHOTOS COURTESY | Drumma Boy
It seems like at any given point, there is a festival of some sort. Groups plan on attending these music events from where they will stay, what attire they will bring, enjoying performances and of course, to capture the perfect Instagrammable moments. When the Fyre festival hit the Internet, everyone saw a number of the world's top models and influencers who rocked swimwear and enjoyed a number of activities that were on an island estate formerly owned by Pablo Escobar.
What was built as a luxury festival ended up being an epic disaster that left guests stranded and confused. Netflix's Fyre documentary shows how Billy McFarland looked to launch his musical booking app with the festival and partnered with Ja Rule. In addition, we see other vendors and team members that worked with him to bring his vision to light.
Throughout the documentary, viewers watch the mounting problems that forced the venue to change, push decision makers to consider unsavory decisions to bring water to the event and more. Billed as, "The Greatest Party That Never Happened" - you get the benefit of a bird's eye of all the details that led to this avoidable disaster.
Amazon Prime Original
Fans of NBC's, "This is Us" are aware of Dan Fogelman, who also directs this Amazon Prime movie, Life Itself. This film focuses on a young couple (Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde) that begins as a college romance, to marriage and the birth of their first child. With unexpected twists along the way, this story is a multigenerational love story that spans decades as well as continents that includes NYC in the US and the Spanish countryside. Interestingly enough, everything is connected by a single event throughout various lifetimes.
THE ROAD TO TOKYO 2020
Our avid readers have enjoyed reading our previous 36 issues. Over the holiday season, we launched Athleisure Studio, our multimedia podcast network for Athleisure Culture which has a number of shows within its slate. Our programming focuses on the inspirations, stories and shared moments with athletes, designers, artists, celebrities, entrepreneur changemakers creating dynamic impact.
What does it take to be an athlete that dedicates years to making a national team and to compete on a global stage for the coveted medal that defines their career. We all enjoy watching the Olympic Games whether it’s a sport, a specific athlete or just getting into the competitions. Before they hit the stadium, there are years of work, drive and focus that take place with countless training session, coaches, and qualifying competitions. Athletes come from various backgrounds and walks of life. They sacrifice their lifestyle, homes, jobs and personal life to prepare for and win these monumental moments and leave a lasting legacy.
The Olympics is a registered trademark of the International Olympic Committee.
This holiday season we had fun catching up with Gianluca Vacchi, business magnate, producer, global DJ and Instagram star. Like many, we have been fans of his after seeing his infamous yacht dancing and stylish travel clips dubbed #GVLifestyle. In our chat, we learn about his business background and how he is enjoying his second life to the fullest each day. He dishes about how he started his music career, working with music labels, and his practice of healthy eating and daily workouts. Quickly in, we recognized this is also a man to learn from, and we're fortunate to share his message to be diligent to earn success, feed curiosity and enjoy.
ATHLEISURE MAG: How do you define the #GVLifestyle?
GIANLUCA VACCHI: The world is my playground, enjoy life, every minute of it.
AM: You caught the world’s eye about a year and a half ago dancing on your yacht – you attribute your passion to dancing due to your abuela who was in Argentina – where do you attribute your ability to produce and DJ?
GV: Music runs in my family, that definitely helps. I followed piano lessons when I grew up in Bologna. My close cousin grew up to be a contemporary composer, so this also influenced me when I was younger.
J Balvin reached out to me via Instagram, that’s how we became friends and he, together with my other close friend Luis Fonsi, began to offer me advice to start a new career in music. And that’s what I did!
AM: Prior to being an entertainer, DJ and social media star – you enjoyed a successful career in business. How did you transition from the corporate world to one that allows you to showcase your fun style?
GV: When I was 45, I was still a financial guy, an entrepreneur. I still am. By that time, I had joined twelve different sectors with many different companies – travel, video games, machinery production, plastic watches, among others. But after a certain point, that kind of life just didn’t move my curiosity any more. I am not driven by an accumulation of money. It was important to me when I was 20, because most young men want to accomplish something. Though it may not be a sole target, it can be a reflection of and a result of things done well.
AM: Via your Instagram, we know that you are all about enjoying life which is also the title of your book - #ENJOY how important is it to have this concept within your life?
GV: I’m now enjoying my second life and it’s an amazing experience. When I was 45 I realized I had achieved everything I wanted, it was time to find other ways to spend the rest of my life. The world is my playground and I live life to the fullest, I enjoy life every day.
AM: We love that you never refuse impromptu advice to people and that definitely makes you a role model in our book. About your view that life is a loan and people need to dream more – what are some tips that you have about achieving goals, staying curious and not just surviving?
GV: To answer this, I need to start by speaking about my philosophy on life. It’s very important, because it’s the foundation upon which I base how to live. I consider myself a guest of my own life. It’s like it was borrowed, or it’s a loan. I'm going to give it back; I just don’t know when. Every time I feel myself starting to get tired or bored, I try to change something. Life is a huge privilege. I believe in respecting others, but first I need to respect my desire, my dreams, and myself.
GV: It’s very important to work with a label that supports you, especially when you’re a beginning artist like me. Universal is a major label who can help me develop myself as a producer. I’m very happy to be working with them.
AM: What is it about latin music and reggaeton that inspires your work?
GV: Latin music is amongst one of my favorite music genres. The rhythm of the songs are really catchy, music you can really dance to. And you know I really love to dance.
AM: You travel frequently, what are 3 must have items that are always in your bag regardless of the city that you are in?
GV: I travel so much, I actually only get to spend about 60 days a year now in Italy. The constant change is keeping me alive. When I travel, I never leave without my headphones, glasses and phone!
AM: With 2019 around the corner, what festivals and/or residencies are on your calendar that we should keep an eye out for?
GV: There are so many good things coming in 2019, I can’t wait to share with all of you. We will kick-off in January with gigs in NY and Miami and of course I can’t wait for the summer season to start again. For the future I really plan on further perfecting my skills as a DJ and producer. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but there are definitely some great things coming up.
AM: You have collaborated with Luis Fonsi and have had producers such as Andres Torres and Mauricio Rengifo who have worked on your music. Who else will you be working with that we should keep an eye out for?
GV: In one of my videos you see me dancing with MC Fioti, that’s all I can say for now...
AM: With the year coming to a close, what are the good things that took place this year that you enjoyed, what are items that you felt would be taken care of this year but will be tackled next year due to time and what items will be released next year that you can share with us that we should keep an eye out for?
GV: I look back at 2018 with a big smile on my face. So many good things, like my own party Vibra! At Amnesia in Ibiza and releasing Sigamos Bailando and Love with Sebastian Yatra. Every year I try to improve myself and work on further perfecting my skills as a DJ and producer to DJ and produce even better in 2019. So many good things to come in 2019, stay tuned!
AM: We know that you spend a lot of your time in Miami – where would we find you grabbing a drink/meal, shopping and working out?
GV: I love Miami and I love being here during the winter in Europe. It is very hard for me to pick a favorite place to eat, drink and shop, since there are a lot of good places in Miami! But a new hotspot I really love is restaurant Swan! Great restaurant with a modern cuisine. There are so many good gyms in Miami and sometimes I go for a run at the beach.
AM: What is a typical day like for you when you know that you will be playing a set?
GV: Every day I work out, so also on the days I have a performance. Afterwards I prepare my set and go through all my music. I still practice a lot, since my goal is to get better and better. Before the show I like to have dinner with my crew, so I have enough energy for my performance.
AM: What workouts and eating choices do you to maintain such a great body?
GV: I maintain a very healthy lifestyle, I love to work-out and try to do this daily. From time to time I share some work-out video’s on my Instagram account to share the type of work-outs I like to do with my followers. Being fit gives you a great feeling of power and strength.
AM: How many tattoos do you have and how do you decide what will be the next work of art that will appear on your body?
GV: I have more than a 100 tattoos and they are all connected to my personal life. I got my first tattoo when I was 33, now you see people getting tattoos at the age of 15, but you first need to experience life and translate that experience in a tattoo.
AM: Your pajama and swim trunk game is pretty strong, describe some of your favorites in your collection.
GV: Fashion is important in my life. I’m Italian so we do take our time when it comes to fashion. I own like 40 different tuxedos and I have 100 different hats. I guess you can say that these items belong to my favorites.
AM: We hear that you are becoming an actor, can’t wait to see that happen – do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us and who are you looking forward to working with?
GV: I am always open to new things and challenges. Keep an eye open for 2019, new and big things are coming!
Season 1; Debuts 12.21.18
This classic novel created by William Thackeray comes to Prime Original as a 7-part miniseries that focuses on an orphan girl that climbs the social ladder of English society in the Georgian era.
Her mobility takes place in a post Napoleonic defeat. Becky Sharp is focused on rising above her station regardless of the consequences and social implications that may take place in doing so.
Every movement that drives her forward creates an entrance into King George IV's court as she breaks the hearts and fortunes of those that happen to fall between her and her ultimate ascension.
REMASTERED WHO KILLED JAM MASTER JAY
Netflix; Debuts 12.07.18
Musically speaking, there are a number of mysteries involving the deaths of great artists, musicians and performers. In 2002 at the age of 37, Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC) was added to this list. Friends and family of this artist have toiled over the DJ's unsolved murder. In Netflix's docu-series, ReMastered, each episode analyzes these deaths and in the latest installment (the first episode looks at Bob Marley's attempted assassination and the second looks at the political evolution of Johnny Cash) they investigate, "Who Killed Jam Master Jay?"
This show looks at his rise in the music industry in the 80s with Run-DMC along with interviews of those who were impressed and inspired by his work. But it all comes to a head when the series focuses on his murder when his individuals were buzzed into his Queens recording studio and moments later, they opened fire killing the hip-hop legend.
Theories of how this happened includes, looking at witnesses that were intimidated, security cameras that were tampered and more. As someone that was known as a peaceful force in the industry, the idea of having so many unanswered questions that have resulted in a lack of justice for his friends and family and no convictions is perplexing.
The Boston Globe's Spotlight Team sits down and investigates football's Aaron Hernandez as he climbed the ladder from high school sports in Bristol to playing with the New England Patriots and hitting the stage of the Super Bowl. But as quickly as he moved closer to his epic dream, he found himself a convicted murderer years later.
The investigative team looks at the story of Anthony Hernandez's life through the crimes he committed and how football via brain damage may have contributed to his violent behavior. Were his sexual interests in a masculine football culture also an element to how he approached his life? Did elite coach interests trump his needs when he wasn't ready to participate as a mature adult despite his skills? The podcast shares new documents as well as audio about his life, death and what has taken place since.
It’s the last issue of the year and we are excited to have Entrepreneur, EDM DJ and Instagram Star - Universal Music Latin America’s, Gianluca Vacchi for this month’s cover! In addition, we have interviews with La La Anthony of STARZ’s Power, Parveen Kaur of NBC’s hit show Manifest, Poppy Jamie of Happy Not Perfect, Sarah Potempa - Celebrity Hairstylist and founder of Beachwaver Co and more. We also have brought back our annual, NEW YEAR N3W YOU as well. Read the full issue here.