TI's fascination with NY style mavericks Hood By Air is pretty self-evident. They are like a new chapter in the myth of New York living in the grand tradition of boomboxes and breakdancing, vogue balls and languorous summer days spent on handball courts. I hear the music of New York night clubs when I see their clothes which is practical and flamboyant, sportif and conceptual, plus I love their homemade videos which always has me in stitches. I caught up with Shayen, one of the architects of HBA , where he schooled me to the ways and by-laws of a taste point called Hood By Air.
Is New York "late" right now next to London and Berlin ? Is there hope for NY to snatch the moment back?
No, never that. London has its cocky sensibility. We're realist... or too conservative lol. From a New York point of view, I feel like they have this way of complicating expression, or at least mocking it in a way that comes off as pompous...even late. We are everyday show queens, whereas they're queens that put on a show. Which is pretty cool both ways.NY is coming back though, We always birth the urban renewal.
From HBA I get a feeling of Nike but also of a vogue battle with a little vintage Gaultier...vintage Westwood.... Something Yohji is up in there too. I get many things. Am I wrong?
These are a few things that have been an inspiration, not necessarily reference... I love the sense of active restriction which I feel these inspirations embody.
Where do you all come from?
I'm from Trinidad, Raul's from Brooklyn/Dominican Republic... Lacole from Staten island, James's from Brooklyn, Prince's from Queens
Are you like all art school drop outs with trust funds? Of course I've been telling people this.
I dropped out of FIT after a few semesters. James is currently at FIT. Prince attends fashion college, Lacole also dropped out of fashion school. None of us are trust fund babies though. We fund everything from our sweat and tears.
What kind of music did you grow up to?
I grew up on hip house, soca, Bad Boy records, dancehall,and jazz. Lacole grew up on disco, Paradise Garage classics and funk. James is a show tune queen. Raul grew up in the DR, enough said. Prince... hip hop
If HBA had its own category at a ball, what would it be?
Butch queen realness in athletic heels.
What is the secret to having luscious hair Shayen?
Hair mayonnaise, kid relaxers and a silk scarf.
What happened to your club night? Will you dip back into Clubland sometime soon?
Wasn't feelin it. I'm tired of parties that reference the same shit and have this sense of being appropriate... that's not what a parties about. Not sayin you shouldn't have class but if I wanted to be stiff ass and hear music my friend had on his playlist last year I would go to a store opening or something. There's no clash any more, the elements are all the same. I will begin again, in the upcoming months...
I'm tryin to work on something that's very Hood By Air
Speaking of...give me your current play list.
Lil Kim- Hardcore album
Ralph Rosario mixes
West End Records
Hercules and Love Affair- Roar(We're working on their merchandise)
Radiohead- Reckoner and Idioteque
Larry Heard mixes
Tobell von Cartier- Current Affair
Kingdom Mixtape Vol.2
A lot of Nas
Rub n Tug
Now could you give me a quick run down of all the new phrases the kids are spitting. The last one I caught was "coming together". Am I hopelessly late?
Yeah that is kind of dated. Here's a few to get into.
Traving-the new carrying: Doing too much, being extra
Tanjee/Tanjee cunt- Tacky/ tacky person, it can be tacky in a good way.
Gerls- The girls, when grouping someone into a certain category of behavior or character
Brilliant. I've just been schooled (lol)