On being a kid and having musical parents, what advice do you have for parents? I would say if you’re gonna invest in anything musical for the house it should be a standup piano. It doesn’t take up much space, and you can usually find one on Craigslist for free or cheap. Just get it tuned (this is important). The best thing about piano is it’s available and ready for whenever inspiration strikes. No cords, no gear, no plugging in, no amps, just a practical acoustic instrument perfect for babies and kids. When small children play piano, they have an instant intuitive relationship with it, and do surprising things. Toddlers just finger around, and compose little avant-garde pieces, unaware that they’re discovering where the notes they like live. A lot of kids have an innate sense of note relations, so when they’re small little sponges, they’ll inadvertently tackle the most frustrating stage of learning an instrument. Always have an acoustic guitar in the house too, but since it hurts little fingers I wouldn’t push it until they’re older. Even though I’m a guitarist, I think the piano is king.
What are your thoughts on hair? It’s so easy to ebb and flow with the trends when you’re at the mercy of your hair stylist, so that’s why working with someone who understands what you’re trying to present is so important. As an artist, I always want to try to match the style of my work with my look, so that for example if you’re in a hotel robe, your haircut is working to represent your style.
Do you have a hair horror story? I’ve done everything under the sun to my hair; a lot of fashion bombs and offensive looks and hair harm, most of which were self inflicted. My hair culture as a teen was kitchen shears, bleach and manic panic. Drastic experimentation from ages 14-20, anything that could go wrong in the teen laboratory went wrong on my head, and I’m hoping I can unearth more photos one day.
What are your tour packing your essentials? A nice leave in (like yours tbh) because I do the Jersey housewife towel move after the shower, so before I comb I have to detangle a little. And I definitely need MARE Mediterranean Sea Mist and RAKE Styling balm (yours is AMAZING and thickening). Since I cut my hair short, I usually let my hair do it’s own thing which is boring straight and smooth (which for long hair could be sweet) but when I use these products on my bob it makes it look a little more done. And if I forget my show-shorts, I have to buy some more, so show-shorts so I don’t flash anybody.
Any pre show rituals? We blast a playlist with Decendents, Magazine, The Slits, Black Flag, all the punk greats to set the tone. The sets are pretty organized and laid out so it reminds me to present the real energy and remember my musical roots.
What do you do when you cant sleep? I usually think I can’t sleep when I’m tooling around on my phone, so first things first; put the damn phone down. Then, drink some herbal tea, and try to pretend like I’m tired. Fake it til you make it. Melatonin sometimes helps, and I recently got a tip to try tryptophan lotion!
Thoughts on volubility? You’re asking the person who loves absolute silence in an Uber. I guess it completely depends on where, when and why. Sometimes holding something in reserve is better than having an active external thought process, leaving people feeling like they were a forced spectator. I can either be a low key social fixture or the one driving a conversation, but I pick my moments wisely. Sometimes it’s better to listen than to preach. Of course it’s usually the person least qualified on a subject who’s postulating the loudest, and the experts are letting showy commentary hang there like the bad fart that it is (that was a Peep Show quote).
As a artist do you struggle with control? No not at all, I could actually use a little bit more chutzpah. I’ve been lucky to have Gothic Tropic all to myself, so there aren’t any collaborators disagreeing with my creative decisions. Logistically, I’m pretty amenable because it matches the resources I have to carry out my vision. I’m not expectant, I know where I am in my growth so listening to feedback from people I profoundly respect is welcome, not unwelcome.
Photography and Hair Garrett Markenson
Make Up Javier Mena