Maha Satva – Art and Hip Hop
Maha Sattva is an artist inspired by social media, pop culture and hip hop. The likes of Kanye West, Drake and J. Cole have his portraits in their collection and his reputation is growing, even as he works outside the gallery system from his base in Wisconsin. An active presence on twitter and Instagram has brought him a growing fan base both intrigued by his creative work and the life-coaching that comes with it. We talk about the time he flew to a Kanye concert in the hope of meeting and delivering a painting he’d made to his favorite rapper. How painting people he admires inspires him.Turning losses into lessons. And how he was saved from selling his soul.
Michelle Lhooq – On Underground Nightlife and Drugs
“Goddamnit I am hooked on nicotine again thanks to this fucking Flum!” writes Michel Lhooq. “I can’t even fucking deal!!! Just when I thought I’d left my crackhead vaping days behind, motherfuckers pulled me back in with this thing that literally looks like a whippit canister capped by a nipple-shaped teat.” Dubbed by some as “a female Hunter Thompson,” the drug guzzling gonzo writer of yore, Michelle is making a name for herself with her brazenly open cultural commentary and field notes from the fringes of underground nightlife and drugs. The author of “Weed: Everything You Want to Know But are too Stoned to Ask” and the Substack newsletter: “Rave New World,” Lhooq was an editor at VICE in New York covering electronic music and global nightlife before moving to Los Angeles to write about the counterculture and political autonomy. We talk about the shift from alcohol to psychedelics in nightlife culture and the rise of mushroom parties, the transformational power of weed, the false binary of medical and recreational, and pleasure as a tool for transformation.
Estelle Bailey-Babenzien – Designing Dreams
As both a creative and a business owner, Estelle Bailey-Babenzien sits at the intersection of art and commerce. She’s a partner in the clothing brand Noah with her husband Brendon, formerly of Supreme, and the owner of Dream Awake, an interior design studio whose clients have included Adrien Grenier. Born and raised in the UK, and of half Ghanaian descent, Estelle moved to New York in 1999 with a fashion degree from London’s prestigious arts and design college Central St. Martins. Responsible for the interior architecture and spatial experiences of the brand’s retail spaces in New York, LA, London and Tokyo, she puts sustainability and social conscience at the top of her brand ethos. Today, her company Dream Awake Inc. is a full service Interior Architecture and Experiential Design studio that embodies her philosophy of life and enables her to bring her unique perspective and sensibility to the table. We talk about New York in the early aughts, being inspired by travel, Supreme’s incredible success, the travails of the music business – especially for women – and how she’d approach designing a cannabis lounge.
Buff Monster’s – A Master’s Class on Business and Art
Buff Monster is a street artist who first made a name for himself by pasting thousands of silk screened posters across Los Angeles. Over the 20 years or so that he has been an artist, his colorful Buff Monster character has inspired paintings, stickers, toys, murals, NFTs and private commissions. Born in Hawaii to a family of artists, he went to college in LA to study business, but decided that New York City was the place to be. He is an active presence on social media where he talks directly to his legion of fans eager to hear more about his latest Internet drop, zine or collection of vintage-style trading cards created in homage to the Garbage Pail Kids called The Melty Misfits. We talk about art as business, Kaws, Andy Warhol, his love of heavy metal, collecting art, insider v. outsider, and how to make it in the art world.
Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter – Long Live Indie-Sleaze
It’s one of those happy moments for the photographer Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter. His new book, “The Cobrasnake: Y2Ks Archive,” features a kaleidoscopic selection of photos that helped define the party scenes of Los Angeles and New York at the beginning of the 21st century. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also earning kudos (and photo assignments) as a visionary of what fashion magazines are calling “a mid-aughts Indie Sleaze” revival. His relentless pursuit of the next party and the next photo brought him to the edgier fringes of the fashion, music, and art worlds, where he documented LA’s burgeoning underground nightlife scene that attracted up-and-coming stars like Kanye, Katy Perry, Jeremy Scott, Beth Ditto, Steve Aoki, Smanatha Ronson, Virgil Abloh and his personal muse Cory Kennedy. Before there was Instagram, there was The Cobrasnake snapping away and capturing the last generation of partiers to predate social media. We talk about his hope for the Indie Sleaze revival; growing up in LA; American Apparel; the return of Interpol, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and The Strokes; Paper and Nylon magazines.
Saul Williams’ Sci-fi Afro-Futurist Musical
Saul Williams is a legend who refuses to rest on his laurels. A pioneer of the Hip hop meets spoken word movement of the 90s, he created a lane that drove poetry from the musty halls of academe into the modern era. As a recording artist, he has worked with Rick Rubin, Trent Reznor, Nas, The Fugees, Erykah Badu, KRS-One, Zack De La Rocha, De La Soul, as well as poets Allen Ginsberg and Sonia Sanchez. Perhaps his most ambitious project to date is Neptune Frost, a sci-fi Afro-Futurist musical movie written, composed and co-directed by Williams. We talk about his love of Broadway, the writing of a modern musical, African e-waste camps where our tech goes to die, hip hop’s continued relevance as mixed media, making connections between the ancient and the future and much more.
Travis Mills & Nick Gross – Pop-Punk’s Girlfriends
Travis Mills and Nick Gross are Girlfriends. No, not like that. Like the pop punk band Girlfriends that’s dropping new singles as we speak with a full-length album out this summer. Once known by the stage name T.Mills, Travis rose to fame as a rapper collaborating with the likes of T.I., Dom Kennedy, and Ty Dolla $ign. He is also an actor and the host of the “Travis Mills Show” on Apple 1 Radio. Nick has produced songs for Ariana Grande and Wiz Khalifa while also playing drums for the band Goldfinger. He’s a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Big Noise Music Group. We talk about the resurgence of pop-punk, outlaw culture, the punk-hip hop connection, genre-free music, mental health and giving back.
Valentina Ferrer – J. Balvin’s Better Half
Valentina Ferrer is half of a power couple with the father of her child, the Reggaeton super star J. Balvin. The Miss Universe contestant and entrepreneur grew up in modest circumstances on a mountaintop in Argentina in a large “hippie” family. Her lifestyle today as a supermodel and co-founder of Kapowder, a “superfood for superhumans,” is very different. We talk about being a businesswoman, raising a son in the age of social media, growing up a tomboy, her baby daddy J. Balvin and her love for Ed Sheeran, Beyonce and New York.
Jefferson Osei of Daily Paper – From Blog to Global Fashion Brand
Daily Paper is an unlikely name for a fashion brand founded as a blog by three childhood friends from Ghana, Morocco and Somalia who met while living in Amsterdam. But there you have it. My guest today is Jefferson Osei, who along with his childhood friends Abderrahmane Trabsini and Hussein Suleiman, first started a blog – hence the name Daily Paper – that focused on their shared love for music, art, fashion, and culture. All that changed when they released a small collection of t-shirts that went viral. Today Daily Paper is a growing luxury fashion brand Inspired by African heritage –as well music, art, fashion and culture – translated toward a more western narrative. With retail stores in Amsterdam, New York and London – and fans like F1 driver Lewis Hamilton – it’s full steam ahead for this forward thinking brand.