WE ARE MORTALS® is an evolutionary gender-free urban streetwear brand.
We call ourselves MORTALS because we are the ones who understand the brevity of human life and the need to live it fully and limitlessly. We also believe that as MORTALS, we’re all equal. That is why we created our brand around this idea of a future in which we wear our personalities, not our gender identities or other stereotypical labels. Coining the phrase The Future Has No Gender, WE ARE MORTALS® seeks to challenge the conventional and outdated his/hers formula of clothing design and retail. In the future, there will be room to exist in a ‘gray area’ in which our identities don’t rely on gender, sexual, or racial classification. Ultimately, we hope that by removing the traditional gender designations from our clothing, we can facilitate a cultural shift in the way we view gender, sexuality, and each other.
WeAreMortals living soundtrack, sonic couture for the post-structural human culture, in founder Anji Becker’s own words…
“(W)orld Town” – M.I.A
She’s an artist that speaks up for causes, represents underprivileged people in the world. she’s fearless, a powerful woman who doesn’t accept traditional gender stereotypes.
Beyond the bayou’s Britney Jean, and Magnolia’s Lil’ Wayne, we have something fundamental, something fresh, and something authentically New Orleans in the midst – call it an amalgam, call it NOLA-EDM: a mix of “destruction – kind of – creation, improvisation, taking something very modern like EDM – or what people perceive it to be – twisted up and given a soul:” welcome Hello Negro.
Me: For you I think, you’re kind of rebuilding this idea of a post-colonial sound for a Post-Katrina New Orleans. A lot of people say, “electronic music is soulless,” because there is that preconception of “just press play and repeat” – but you improvise. I guess I want to get your thoughts for how you see your music as an environment, and seeing it as if it were this soundtrack for New Orleans – you being New Orleans’ native son – what does the music say to the environment you’re building?
Hello Negro: That’s an interesting question. In my experience, if you look at some great New Orleans musicians – you bring it back to Jelly Roll Morton, and you look at Louis Armstrong, you look at Kid Orie, you look at King Oliver, you look at Dr. John, you look at James Booker, you know Terrence Blanchard, Wynton Marsalis, Duvel Crawford, Troy Andrews, George Porter – who’s a bass player for The Funky Meters – these are all the New Orleans musicians… What we do in New Orleans, and this is going back to “the amalgam,”
what we do in New Orleans is we create, as musicians, we create music as a function of our environment. So, there’s not this “thing” you can do to make your music “New Orleans,” you either understand what that is because of the environment that you came up in – or you don’t.
So, the techniques I use – whether it’s sampling the funky Meters, or it’s a specific rhythm I’m using – none of it is overly … it’s not deliberate.
So, this aKO … installment shines the spotlight on a former-and-forever favorite band du jour: Fool’s Gold. I had the pleasure of interviewing lead singer, Luke Top, for TITLE Magazine back in the day – so figured, why not get reintroduced for the first time. #exactly
“Opening skies with broken keys…” By now this young maestro’s hands have been heard around the world and weberverse; from Holy Ship to Ultra, Born This Way Ball to Poseidon Tour, Zedd’s fingers have fueled quite the spectral pulse. What about the mind behind the music, though? What makes Zedd’s metronome tick, and what cultivates a sound so kaleidoscopic? Leave it to the prodigy priest of EDM himself, preaching nightly behind pierced lips atop DJ booth pulpits, to clarify the scape of this spectrum we call the contemporary music scene.
Me: Who/what/when/where/how is Zedd? … In 59 characters or less.
Zedd: Zedd is musical soul-bacon.
Skin… is a many layered thing; it is artistic, it is cultural, it is biological, it rests on the fragile fringe of one’s inner and outer space… not to be melodramatic, but we consider it an overlooked focus – an abstract opus – of cultural connective tissue.
So, for Art Nouveau’s Skin issue, we chose a duo who connected all of those elements in a most masterful manner: Chester French – black tears, faced fears, a pair so open-minded about the lovable future that their well-endowed brains have descended upon every listener’s ears. We had a chat with Max and D.A. to get an inside look at how they view those elements that make the epidermis so oddly endearing.
When we come into this world, our skin is supple and soft, that unhindered remnant of divine design. For artists like Chester French, the first album is of that same fresh design. The label signs you because of that new-new you bring to this world. Musicians wear that skin like a manifestation of the self. Unlike the child though, an artist can craft their own primary skin; now more than ever though, it is getting harder to make that sonic aesthetic a signature different than all others.
KE: How important is it to build your own sonic aesthetic through your music, and what do you think your skin is in the industry?
CF: I think – to answer the first part of the question – I think for us it’s kind of important to try and carve out what is our territory creatively in terms of what we want to make and how we want it to sound. I think there’s so much music and so many people in music feel like they have to constantly be following, either super-new trends or really established ideas about how music should sound at a given moment. For us it’s way more important to find a sound that’s unique to us, than it is to “fit in” to any group, necessarily…
KE: Basically, my thing is this: skin is functional and fashionable. It is the first line of defense, but musically it is that very foundation of artistic identity which requires the greatest defense of all.
It’s one thing to look good, a freshman feat that Love the Future achieved, but it’s another entirely to make that good look last: enter Music 4 TNGRS.
KE: What is a TNGR, and what is this music you’re making for them from this standpoint?
As a bit of a Pop fiend, it was a pleasure to discuss New Blood with Morgan Spurlock; as a bit of a Pop theorist, it’s something of a marvel to ponder the nine-minute manifesto…
Why New Blood, why now?
I don’t know if it was a question of now, or if I just felt like there was a need to show – I feel like there’s still this shifty new movement in the art space where the people who kind of launched this whole “low brow” art movement, this street art movement are now inspiring this whole new generation of artists; y’know these new kinds of Pop graffiti artists who are kind of coming up in their wake, and I find that to be really fascinating. You gotta think it wasn’t that long ago when low brow art and street art was being relegated to the lowest smallest of the fringe galleries, to now where these paintings are being put up in the cornerstones of the modern art movement. So I think to see where that ripple effect is continuing to affect, not only our generation, but the next generation of artists is really inspiring.
Nick Lepard: painter by way of Vancouver with portraiture as richly layered as his artistic perspective; check out my interview with Lepard.
“My goal is to reflect people in the modern world, but not the modern world itself;” meet Nick Lepard, a 22-year-old artist by way of Vancouver. As the product of a media immersed society, Lepard’s artwork represents the human in the midst – not necessarily at the whim, or in complete control – of a world that is constantly changing, and “here one minute, gone the next.” His portraits capture the essence of the person: layered, multi-faceted, rich, deep, integrated, contemporary, classic, and complete in the face of fragmentation.