Don’t be afraid of expressing yourself. Be crazy.
“What I care for? …. Hmm, maybe socks”. Thundercat is one of the masterminds behind the recent hype of the black music scene. His extraordinary bass technique, beautiful voice and unique character attract not only fans but also other artists.
I asked him what is the one fashion item that he cares about most. He always dresses himself up with kinky fashion and even sometimes covers his face with a mask. Unexpectedly, the answer was socks. “Maybe because I often wear sandals. I’d pay sometimes 1,500 dollars for a pair of socks. Putting it another way, there are people out there who really take ‘making socks’ seriously. The world is a crazy place, right?” Although he said so, we can find his unique style in a lot of things other than just his pair of socks; pink dreadlocks, an unique mixture of colours and patterns, golden jewellery and last but not least, his album covers and activities that often provoke controversy. What does style mean to Thundercat?
“It was my parents who first made me aware of ‘style’. My dad always dyed his hair blond and had a crazy hairstyle. When our family went to church people used to give a little condescending look towards us. But since my dad was a musician, he kept his style to express himself. My mum was also the same. She still dyes her hair purple.” Thundercat was born to a family of musicians. His family has a strong influence on his very eccentric dress code. “You shouldn’t be afraid of expressing yourself. Since I was a child, I have been wearing whatever I felt right. I believe everybody has got their own style but one should keep trying to make it evolve. To do so, it is important to find out who you are.” As a way of expressing himself, Thundercat dresses extravagantly. Even if their style isn’t fashionable, an artist can still make great music.
But “I’d want to be challenging” said, Thundercat. He knows the importance of the connection between style in fashion and music. And he puts it into action. “To your readers, I want you to send out a message; ‘be weird!’ There are a lot of people in this world, who are over-conscious about people’s eyes and afraid of telling jokes. It is not bad at all to challenge this kind of world, saying like ‘how about that?’ The mentality that one overly concerns what other people would think is seen everywhere. Doesn’t matter wherever and whichever the industry you are in. But style is a personal thing. It’s an individual thing. So it’s worthwhile to express yourself independently.” In terms of keeping an individual style, Thundercat said that he is inspired by Japan. Not to my surprise, we can find many elements that are influenced by Japanese cultures in his music and album covers. “I like watching Cosplay. Some considers it as Otaku culture but I believe, over the last 10 years, people started to understand it as a style. To make a good Cosplay you have to be serious and also need some creativity. Japanese can do that very naturally. For example, suits with sneaker style. In the States, you might get funny looks from people. But Japanese has got a natural sense to be able to tell the reason why the pair of sneakers was picked. What I like about Japan is the importance of having one’s own style is rooted in their culture.”
Thundercat: was born into a family of musicians, started playing bass at an early age. At the age of 16, he joined Suicidal Tendencies with his brother. Now he is a leading artist in the black music scene, working with Flying Lotus’s record label, Brainfeeder.