Backstage at Coachella with Harlem's Most-Wanted Hip-Hop Mobster
“Trap Lord, The Fergenstein, Dark Caesar Line, Egyptian God”—A$AP Ferg fires off his roll call of pseudonyms in Wrinkled $ilks, Barbara Anastacio’s energetic short filmed at Coachella 2014. Like his A$AP Mob clan-mate Rocky, Ferg is a lot of things to a lot of people: party starter, a fashion icon, a pierced-eyed purist and vibe machine. “Trap Lord is like the gritty, grime-conscious hood person and Hood Pope is like the person who comes out of the hood with all the hope in the world,” says Ferg. “I look at Obama as a Hood Pope.” His debut LP Trap Lord is a hallmark modern age hip-hop moment: all slow-mo vocals, builds, drops, fizzing high-hats and rumbling 808 basslines. The sartorially focused artist’s latest project sees him modeling London menswear designer Astrid Andersen’s summer streetwear collection for Topman. “I’m continuing the legacy of my father Darold; he did the Bad Boy logo and helped [Def Jam co-founder] Russell Simmons with his Phat Farm line,” says Harlem native Ferg, who launched the Devoni Clothing line in 2005. “Fashion is important to any rapper. It’s like seeing yourself as the person you think you are. The clothes give you the hope, so you can turn into whichever superhero you want to turn into.”
As the World Cup Begins,Tom Horan Talks to the Soccer-Mad Photographer About His Passion for the Beautiful Game
For soccer nut Juergen Teller, it has never been enough simply to watch the World Cup. What the photographer and Bayern Munich fan likes is to watch himself watching it. During the 2002 final he asked an assistant to video his every grimace and expletive, as he squirmed on the couch while Germany lost to Brazil. The artwork didn't make for pretty viewing. “It was terrifying,” says Teller with a hearty laugh. “I was horrified. It took me three months to sit through the whole thing. But watching football is a time when you can be really stupid, and I like that. There aren't many times in life when you can let yourself go.”
Part of Macho, a new show at the Deste Foundation in Athens, finds him back on the sofa again, this time with his son Ed, watching their beloved Bayern lose to Chelsea in the Champions League final. “I stationed two assistants left and right, next to the television. They bombarded us with pictures, and we ended up with a portfolio of 24 photographs. I thought if we win, we win. And if we lose, it’s terrible. But I had this idea that I was going to sell the portfolio to Dasha Zhukova, partner of Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea. And we lost, but I sold it for a lot of money, and she gave it to Roman as a present. It was a win-win situation!”
Ed is his son with wife Sadie Coles, the British gallerist. Having a foot in both the Anglo and Teutonic camps, Teller Junior evidently boxes clever. “Last time England played Germany we were at the artist Darren Almond’s,” says Teller. “There were about 30 English supporters, and me and my assistant over in the corner supporting Germany. Ed was with my wife, saying ‘I'm with mummy!’ The game starts: 1-0 to Germany, then 2-0. At half time he comes over: ‘Daddy? Can I sit next to you guys?’” How the average England fan would love to have that option…
Did you watch football with your own father?
Juergen Teller: No he wasn’t a football fan, but my mum was. He was always a bit jealous of this bonding thing between me and my mother. He was a very melancholic, aggressive alcoholic, who ended up killing himself in 1988. In my World Cup final video, I recognized my dad in myself, when I was so aggressively shouting at the TV. And that was really hard to take.
Do you play sports yourself?
JT: You always bend over or sideways when you take photographs, and it's not a good position for your body. So I got a personal trainer to build up my core strength. I’m in this modern nylon, wearing crazy colours—it looks really ugly, and I grunt like a pig. And I thought, I’ve got to do something with this. So I started doing self-portraits while I’m doing exercise, to see what I looked like.
Will you be hosting a World Cup party?
JT: I like to invite people to watch the games—English and German friends. That’s the good thing about it, when you have kids, men and women together. It’s a great mixture. Beer. Barbecue. Sausages!
Macho, curated by Marina Fokidis, runs from June 20 through October 29 at Deste Foundation, Nea Ionia, Athens.
Tom Horan writes for the Guardian and the Observer.
The Multitalented Musician and Actress Duets with Ariel Pink Over a Bittersweet LA Tale
A street-stranded mermaid fends off a kitsch beast in Monster Love, a new VHS-recorded promo directed by Soko, who also stars alongside Morgan Krantz and actor, model and marine activist Hannah Fraser. Filmed in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, the short is soundtracked by a song that shares its title, the French polymath’s brand new duet with Los Angeles’ lo-fi underground star, Ariel Pink, that will feature on her forthcoming album. “The whole thing was super DIY and felt like making a school project video with all my friends,” she says. Born in Bordeaux, Soko has starred in a number of films in her homeland, and recently attracted much acclaim in Augustine, a sensuous, César-nominated tale about a 19th-century maid consigned to an asylum. But despite her passion for acting, music remains Soko’s most cherished source of creativity. She has just released her debut album I Thought I Was an Alien in the US, which opens with the stripped-down and haunting track that also features here: “I Just Want to Make It New With You,” written with her collaborator Pink in mind. “We were friends, falling in love, but he was just out of a relationship and I—as always—was broken hearted,” the singer says of a near miss that was the catalyst for today’s film, in which she falls for the luckless protagonist. “We hadn’t shed the heaviness of our past. I imagined that after relationships, we all turn into some sort of monster, and only if we stop being monstrous will we ever be able to be real lovers again.” We got the two together to talk about recording, acting, and the logistics behind becoming a mermaid.
Ariel Pink: The song “I Just Want to Make It New With You” has to do with me a little bit, right?
Soko: Yeah, I wrote it for you Ariel! And you’re singing on the first song in the film, “Monster Love.”
AP: I saw the video and, like all your work, it’s so good. It’s touching, I can’t help but feel for the character. Who the beautiful mermaid lady?
S: She’s actually a real mermaid performer—it’s my friend Hannah who does performances in Las Vegas. She goes swimming with sharks, whales and dolphins all over the world, and hand makes her own costumes. She’s really incredible. She gave me some footage of her swimming under water so that the monster could dream of her. Morgan’s costume was actually a Halloween costume made by my friend Diva: it was perfect, a monster costume with a heart on it.
AP: It’s so great, all this attention you’re getting. And your new movie [Augustine] just came out. How do you feel about the movie and your performance?
S: It was crazy, insane and one of the best things I have done in my whole life. It was the best adventure and experience because it was so far from me. The only reason why I wanted to do movies was because I want to experience things I would never get to experience in my real life. And then I get to be in a film where I’m back in the 1880s in costume, wearing a corset, being a patient in a mental hospital and getting diagnosed.
AP: You’re not acting. You probably would be committed to a mental institution.
S: Yeah right! Well I was paralyzed in the movie, I had my eyes shut for half of the movie and I had my hand paralyzed. I don’t have that in my real life.
AP: Well let’s hope not. I think that’s amazing. I want to make a video with you sometime. I want you to be in my movie when I make it.
S: I wanted you to be in my video.
AP: Me too, but you know how busy we are.
S: But I’m glad throughout the years we always get to collaborate and you are always a part of my creative work as a constant pole and an inspiring muse. It is really important for me, and I love making music with you too.
AP: Oh my God, we have to make so much more together. There is so much left to do, we have just scratched the surface.