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In this month’s riveting issue of Skinnie Magazine, DJ extraordinaire and Dim Mak records founder Steve Aoki prepares his troops to stop the imminent destruction of Earth. The Desert Outlawz prepare to battle the Baja armed only with a chewing gum, toothpicks, a coat hanger and a giant custom truck. Meanwhile, aspiring actor Sean Faris from the upcoming film Never Back Down transcends back injuries and continues in his quest to um… do something. The Dirty Heads also appear in this episode to help solve the murder mystery, and learn a little something about sharing and friendship along the way. But will they be in time to save Bullet For My Valentine from the vile clutches of the true culprit, who has yet to be revealed? God only knows. To complicate the storyline even further, Terry Dipple makes his triumphant return to the City of Pomona to open up his very own Ink’d Chronicles. But is he too late to save the populace? Perhaps, with the aid of Jeremy Hanna and Ryan Smith of Sullen Clothing, our heroes can stop the countdown of destruction before it’s too late and rescue the maidens fair. Or not. Also appearing: Supercross, Longway, UFC, 7-Teen, King of the Cage and more!!!

Skinnie Entertainment Magazine - March 2008

In this month’s riveting issue of Skinnie Magazine, DJ extraordinaire and Dim Mak records founder Steve Aoki prepares his troops to stop the imminent destruction of Earth. The Desert Outlawz prepare to battle the Baja armed only with a chewing gum, toothpicks, a coat hanger and a giant custom truck. Meanwhile, aspiring actor Sean Faris from the upcoming film Never Back Down transcends back injuries and continues in his quest to um… do something. The Dirty Heads also appear in this episode to help solve the murder mystery, and learn a little something about sharing and friendship along the way. But will they be in time to save Bullet For My Valentine from the vile clutches of the true culprit, who has yet to be revealed? God only knows. To complicate the storyline even further, Terry Dipple makes his triumphant return to the City of Pomona to open up his very own Ink’d Chronicles. But is he too late to save the populace? Perhaps, with the aid of Jeremy Hanna and Ryan Smith of Sullen Clothing, our heroes can stop the countdown of destruction before it’s too late and rescue the maidens fair. Or not. Also appearing: Supercross, Longway, UFC, 7-Teen, King of the Cage and more!!!
 

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2008 MAVERICKS SURF CONTEST Words: Don Stefanovich Photos: PEter Buranzon The dirty heads - Want You To Have A Good Time
words by: Donald C. Stefanovich
photos by: Martin Leahy

"Way to give me the wrong pass code," says a sarcastic Jared Watson. "Thanks, bro." The Dirty Heads vocalist shines on his publicist after we connect on a conference call, his dialect deceiving his current place of residence, upbringing and ultimately, greatest influence: the Southern California Coastline.

The other end of the line still silently awaiting the arrival of co-founding member of the Huntington Beach outfit Dustin Bushnell (Duddy, as I would later be corrected), Jared begins to speak of their origins. "Duddy was in punk bands and stuff, he was actually the one that got me interested in it [music]. We met in high school through mutual friends and our older brothers and he had his garage changed into a sound proof room so they could practice, the punk bands and stuff, and we would go over there and write songs. We started doing acoustic shows by ourselves and we started selling out acoustic shows and we were like, 'We gotta' get a band!' We started playing shows at like the Roxy and in LA with a DJ. Once we started selling out those shows a lot of the labels got interested. We signed with Warner Bros. and recorded the album for a year and a half with Warner Bros.," Jared says matter-of-factly, undoubtedly oversimplifying their story before getting cut off by a bad connection.

Repeated attempts to reconnect fail; another reason to add to the list of why I'd rather do in person interviews, especially with a group as dynamic as the Dirty Heads. Upon first listening to their music, it is clear that the Heads have a lot to offer - from the album opening, high-octane hip hop enfilade "Hip Hop Misfits" to the feel-good reggae vibe of "Stand Tall" and the up-all-night party anthem "Morning Light" - this is a group difficult to file away neatly under one genre after just one listen with a persona equally difficult to appreciate via conference call. It was all too easy to picture them in their element, skating the sun-washed sidewalks that flirted with the sand along the Orange County coast - or as Jared would later describe himself, "...sitting in my room 'cause I'm sick because I partied too much this weekend. I'm actually laying in bed drinking half a bottle of Nyquil, trying not to feel like shit." That was part of the reason for a phoner. Also to be discovered later in the conversation, Duddy's description of his surroundings was just as far removed from the sun and surf. "This is going to sound really, really cliché and stupid but I'm not kidding you. I'm sitting here playing video games, smoking weed and my buddy's sitting here playing guitar next to me." But just as the transition from one track to another on their album (yet to be released in the States), the Heads were unpredictable - and so are the phone lines apparently.

After a bit of frustration, and a little help from the publicist, we are reconnected. Jared attempts to gather his thoughts and goes on to give me the extended version of his Orange County origins. "I was skating a lot. I honestly thought I was either going to be a pro skater or go to art school. Then I met Duddy and music was fun and I was not that into school (laughs) and I figured I could make a lot more money and get a lot more chicks in a band," says Jared, revealing an unspoken truth likely shared by many musicians. "It's been working out really good but before that I was just skating, surfing and was probably going to go to art school. I didn't play any instruments, didn't sing, didn't do anything like that. I was just a fan, just listened to music. Beastie Boys were huge - that was my first CD. My parents, like hippy parents, always had music playing like folk or classic rock. My brother got me into a lot of old reggae and stuff like that so my family had a lot to do with it. My uncle owns a surf shop, my dad is a carpenter and his woodshop is connected to the surf shop so I pretty much grew up in the surf shop and that's as typical OC as you can get." We are interrupted by the publicist who ushers Duddy into the conversation - as fashionably late as one can possibly be over the phone. He begins by describing a similar influential O.C. upbringing. "I grew up always in music as well. My older brother, he played music. Most of my friends growing up, they played music so it was kind of like something we always did when we were younger. The same as Jared grew up surfing and skating and doing all that shit and whatnot. I don't know, it just seems like a lifestyle. You get into reggae and that kind of music and it's just kind of staying together. I was in a punk band and we were really young and I was just first starting to get really into music, you know? That was just the thing I was into. I wanted to start playing something else. It was fun and it was different and then I met Jared and we started making music together. Grew up surfing, grew up skating - just kind of a lazy fucking childhood. OG I guess, I don't know how else to explain it."

While at first they may not have taken themselves too seriously, it wasn't long before others in the coastal community did. "My brother was the drummer for HB Surround Sound," recalls Duddy of their kickstart through the seminal punk/reggae group. "So we'd always be at their shows and for fun, they had learned one of our songs, one of the first songs we made, and we would play it at their shows. We'd play that one song and we'd come up and it was cool just to see. People were really into it. I think starting that way, being at shows that had a good crowd, going up on stage and having everyone be into it helped a lot to make us really want to do it. You kind of get a little taste of how cool it is - how fun it could be."

Jared jumps in, suddenly excited by the nostalgic recollections. "We'd talked about it all the time and how rad it would be if this happened and then this happened and then this happened and it didn't really sink in or we didn't ever really take it serious until at the shows there were kids that knew the songs. Once we really started packing shows and we were in demand, that's when I was like, 'Okay, we can maybe actually do this.' Then we met our manager and were signed within a couple months of working with our manager and these producers. Then it really hit us and it was like, 'This is exactly what I want to do now.' Once we got our first taste of some bigger shows and stuff I definitely knew this was what we wanted to do."

After selling out numerous shows in LA and building a diehard fan base in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties, they attracted some major label attention. With HB Surround Sound percussionist Jon Jon in tow, the Heads entered into a short-lived signing with Warner Bros. during which they managed to record their album over the course of a year and half from a studio in their own backyard - Newport Beach. Before parting ways amicably with the label, they were left with a finely polished album, touched by the hands of industry greats, the names of which the Heads have no qualms about dropping "We got to work with Billy Preston from The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Chili Peppers... like how the fuck?" exclaims Jared. "That's insane, you know? Billy Preston, Josh Freese, Alex Acuna, even Rob Cavallo. If we didn't go to a label, we probably wouldn't have gotten to work with all those people."

While no longer signed, they managed to retain all rights to their album, already released in Japan with a supporting tour, are poised to do the same stateside soon, just released their EP on iTunes and are rumored to be being courted by several labels, a subject which Jared prefers to say little about for the time being. "We just want to find a home that we feel comfortable with that we can trust."

"We've got a lot further to go," Duddy readily admits. "We're already starting to write the second album and we haven't even put out the first one in America yet," Jared adds. "I think our songs are getting better, our live show is really, really good right now so I'm pretty stoked with where we're at. I love gaining new fans and building that big foundation and having a long lasting career with fans that we can keep happy. We definitely want you to have a good time."

AT A GLANCE...
+ TOURED WITH The Expendables, Matisyahu, 311, The B Foundation and Kottonmouth Kings.

+ ON A RECENT TOUR IN JAPAN Had their first encounter with beer in vending machines and a bidet in a hotel room, which led to someone being squirted in the face, a fight with a "poo towel" and an $800 hole in the wall.

+ SOUNDTRACKS
- The track "Stand Tall" was featured in Sony Pictures animated film SURF'S UP.
- The track "Easy" was featured on the CBS drama, SHARK.

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UFC 79 - Nemesis Words: Hans Fink Photos: Josh Hedges SEAN FARIS - High School Knock Out
words by: Brett "Felix" Ulery
photos courtesy of: Yu Tsai
Sean Faris (Yours, Mine and Ours) stars in the film Never Back Down as Jake Tyler, an all-American High School football star with a hot temper. After the death of his father, Jake relocates to Florida with his family in order to regroup and get a clean slate. Instead of starting over, he is lured by a flirtatious classmate, Baja (Alpha Dog's Amber Heard) into an underground world of brawlers where he is forced to master his own emotions as well as Mixed Martial Arts. With the help of trainer Jean Roqua, (Blood Diamond's Djimon Hounsou) Jake challenges himself to take on the reigning beatdown champion and popular school bully Ryan McCarthy (The OC's Cam Gigandet) and settle an internal battle once and for all. Sean has taken a few minutes out of his increasingly busy schedule to break rules number one and two to talk to Skinnie Magazine about his own Fight Club, being in High School for over a decade and the literally backbreaking lead role he played in Never Back Down

Just so we can get a little background; where did you get your start in acting?
Sean:
I started acting when I was 17. I did an independent film in Cleveland and got a lead part in it and from there I realized that I could do it so I started setting my sights for LA. 

What was this independent film you were in back in Cleveland?
Sean:
The film I was in was called Twisted. I don't think it ever got finished, but it was where I got bit by the bug. 

To date, what do you think is the most significant role that you've played?
Sean:
In terms of what the character inspires it would have to be this movie or another that I was in. The other one is called Forever Strong. They both have similar qualities as far as both characters are going down the wrong path in life and they both have a bit of this coming-of-age moment where he realizes what's right in life and what's good for him and kind of becomes a man.

What are some of the differences or similarities from Never Back Down and the role you played in Yours, Mine and Ours?

Sean:
The differences were night and day. Yours, Mine and Ours was a remake from a long time ago; a family comedy with 18 kids where two families come together to make one and it was ridiculous. In that film I was a jungle gym for 17 other children, which was enough work in itself. Then going into the fight stuff was really nothing similar at all. I trained for months and months in Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do – all sorts of fun things. 

You share a lot of time on the screen with Djimon Hounsou, what was it like working with him?

Sean:
He was really, really helpful. I've never respected someone as much as I respect him. As far as work ethic, he really brought a lot to the table and pushed the limit beyond and challenged me to stick with him. It was really quite an interesting connection we had on set. Actually, Djimon doesn't know it yet but there was one moment where I get body slammed in the movie where I actually broke a bone in my back called the L3 spinous transverse process. We did probably about 10 takes of Djimon body slamming me and my body finally gave up and we didn't realize until two weeks later, after we wrapped. 

What did you have to endure in order to prepare for this role?
Sean:
We trained for six hours a day, six days a week for three months before we even left to go to Orlando. Um, I gained 15 pounds of lean muscle for the movie. They had both [Djimon] and I on a special diet where food was being delivered to us daily and we had to eat all of it. I had a meal like every two and a half hours. It's all about putting fuel in the body and the workout was rigorous. We were required to see a massage therapist and a chiropractor three times a week. So I put on about 15 pounds of lean muscle in about three and a half months, then I turned around and lost 17 pounds in about two and a half months while filming. I'm gonna' tell you, dude, this was the hardest, push-yourself-to-the-limit thing I've ever done. 

Did you have to do this to perform your own stunts?
Sean:
We had to learn quite a bit and, and yeah I did a majority of my stunts. Even after I broke my back I did 35% of my own stunts and I'm pretty sure Cam did all of the stunts on his own.  

What types of roles do you hope to do in the future?
Sean:
Well I'd like to graduate High School. I'd like to start playing college age, or my own age. I've been playing High School for the last decade and I'm kind of ready to move on and take on some more mature dialogue. 

So, do you have anything lined up or any projects you're involved in?
Sean:
I'm currently producing a film called The Glass Eye and I will also star in that and I was just offered a movie today, but I don't know if I'll be able to take it so I can't talk about it. The next project that follows this one is going to be very important for my career because I have to one-up my self on each movie. 

AT A GLANCE...DOB: 03/25/1982 UPCOMING PROJECTS:Forever Strong (2008) as Rick Penning, Brooklyn to Manhattan (2008) as LoganThe Glass Eye (2008) as Danny. INTERESTS:Golfing, reading, movies, working out HOPES:"Where I want to end up - I want to be in Texas on a ranch, growing my own food, growing my own crops, fishing, and hunting. That's what I do when I go and be me." NEVER BACK DOWN in Theatres on March 14, 2008.

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THE MARS VOLTA - Quantum Entanglement and the Unseen Muse Words: Brett "Felix" Ulery Photos: Ross Halfin INK'D CHRONICLES - How A Former Politician Brought Tattooing To The Arts Colony
words by: Matthew McLaughlin
photos by: Jeffrey Easton

INK'D CHRONICLES in Pomona's Arts Colony is "not your typical tattoo parlor" according to its owner, Terry Dipple. Then again, Terry Dipple isn't your typical tattoo shop owner. For over 20 years, Terry has been involved in real-estate development in the Southern California area.  Even more atypical of an owner of a tattoo shop, Terry Dipple was on the San Dimas city council for 12 years followed by an eight year stint as mayor. So how does an average business man and politician end up bringing a tattoo shop to Pomona? It wasn't easy - oh, and Terry Dipple isn't average.

From an early age, Terry Dipple has always been interested in art. His turn as a politician took him away from what he had always loved but after leaving the political affairs, Terry embarked on a 12 year, "more of a slow evolution," that saw him having tattoo parties in his loft to eventually convincing Pomona's city council that his shop "fit perfectly for downtown." Always interested in art, Terry envisioned a tattoo shop that was "not your typical tattoo parlor... it's a tattoo studio and an art gallery [that's] all about the art." One of his guests at a tattoo party convinced him that a tattoo shop on 2nd Street in Pomona's Art Colony was sorely needed. Terry Dipple agreed but was told "it would never happen." Never one to lay down easily, Terry decided to bring his case to the city council.

"It was very difficult convincing them,"Terry acknowledged but he spent his time and money to "show the city that I wanted to do something different." In his first attempt, the city planning commission turned down his idea by one vote, worried that their attempts to upgrade the area would be hampered by a tattoo shop that would attract the wrong clientele. Terry then petitioned the local businesses in the area, who all signed and agreed with Terry's vision. With the assistance of local police officers, firemen and citizens, Terry was able to prove that tattoos, while they "are edgy, they still have a mainstream feel." The city council agreed and a vote was approved, 4-3, to allow Terry to open his shop.

On November 10th, 2007, Ink'd Chronicles opened with over 500 people packed in his shop including famed artist, Corey Miller (of television's L.A. Ink and Upland's Six Feet Under tattoo shop). Since then, Terry Dipple has welcomed anyone interested in art and tattoos. He feels that, "some shops have that 'rockstar attitude'" that is "all about making money." At Ink'd Chronicles, Terry feels he is "creating a comfortable environment where people want to come out and hang out and get a tattoo and feel like they know the people... like it's an extended family." To make sure this happened, Terry interviewed over 50 artists to ensure that Ink'd Chronicles is a place that is comfortable for "a 25-year old guy finishing up his sleeve, but also for a 40-year old women getting a tattoo for the first time."

Working with his daughter, Tess, a piercer and budding tattoo artist herself, is something that Terry Dipple "never envisioned." He loves it. He also loves the perks that come along with it. From meeting and hanging out with Tim Armstrong and Lars Fredrickson of the band Rancid, to Mike Ness of Social Distortion and others, Terry is enjoying every minute of what his passion brings. Although, don't worry that his business savvy and celebrity connections will cost you - Terry can promise you that he's "not trying to squeeze every nickel out of you" as other shops do. He wants his artists to make money but being a businessman, the shop is not his sole source of income. He simply wants an "atmosphere that is comfortable" when getting a tattoo where people understand that it "has to be about the art."

Nearly four months later, Ink'd Chronicles is succeeding with Terry Dipple's vision. He welcomes anyone to come hang out and learn more about art. In fact, Terry is most proud about the fact that his shop is "a relaxed environment where people can check out the art and talk with the artists." So next time you happen to be in Pomona, visit Terry and his staff. Even if you do not get a tattoo, it's okay. Terry is all about art. If you do happen to get a tattoo, tell him and the artist what it means, because as the slogan says, "Every Tattoo Has a Story."

www.inkdchronicles.com

www.myspace.com/inkdchronicles

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EMERY - Breaking the Scene Words: Jeffrey Easton Photos: Jerad Knudson DESERT OUTLAWZ - Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads!
words by: Sean Cooke
photos by: David Gatson

Desert Racing is every bit as dirty, dangerous and exhilarating as the name might imply. Jenkins Motorsports ventures into this world with their racing team, The Desert Outlawz. They faced a world of competition with their customized Sports-man Ford F150 as they stepped back into the world of the SCORE racing series last year. Jenkins was a relatively unknown challenger to the world's most grueling desert races on the planet. Last year marked the 39th annual running of the Baja 500 with over 450 drivers risking everything across 424 miles of unpredictable desert. To give you an idea of how grueling offroad racing is, only 253 of the 450 race teams entered were able to finish the 424 mile race. Some 200,000 fans witnessed the dreams of the many Baja participants disappear into the silt beds. There is a large dynamic of vehicles and classes participating in the SCORE series, From 800 Horsepower Trophy Trucks driven by Robby Gordon, B.J. Baldwin, and Alan Pflueger, the 400 Horsepower Ford F-150 driven by Mike Jenkins, to motorcycles and buggies. The series is sure to entertain, with unknown terrain, balls-out racing and miles of wide open desert to cross; finishing the marathon-style race is exhausting and extremely exciting. Jenkins Motorsports, needless to say, drew some attention in the Baja racing world. With over 15 years of off-road racing experience, Mike Jenkins brings a long history of great finishes and series championships into the 2008 season. With a win at the 2007 opening round in Laughlin and some very competitive finishes throughout the season Jenkins Motorsports has now become a force to be reckoned with in desert racing. A history of wins in multiple classes since 1996 prove that Mike has the experience to lead the Skinnie backed truck to the finish. However as established earlier, SCORE races have been notorious for being the toughest races on the planet. Running deep through Mexico's mountain and desert terrain you never know what you might come across. "The Desert Outlawz/Jenkins Motorsports truck was taking positions left and right but along the way we came across some issues that kept us from winning but we don't quit and with my teammates we will be running for a championship in the up coming season." Sammy "The Bull" Navarro said it best. "Either we win or we break and there is one well known fact about Baja: sometime the Baja wins." In the 40-year history of the SCORE there are six races totaling up to the series finally and most prestigious race the Baja 1000. This odyssey of the world's longest non-stop and most famous desert race will be a grueling and memorable 1,296 mile adventure down Mexico's mysterious Baja California peninsula. Starting in Ensenada and finishing in Cabo San Lucas, last year will mark the 33rd time the race has started in Ensenada. This will also mark the second time it has finished in Cabo San Lucas. It has also started three times in Mexicali (1972, 1993, and 1994), twice in Tijuana (1967, 1995) and once each in Santo Tomas (1998) and Ojos Negro (1999). The only other time this race ended in Cabo San Lucas was in 2000. The Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Desert Race features nearly 450 entries in 28 Pro & 6 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. Class winners are decided along with the overall race winner in Pro 4-wheel, Pro Motorcycle and Pro ATV. There is a lot of technology that goes into helping each individual navigate across the desert, considering that Trophy Trucks can reach speeds in excess of 135 miles per hour even over rough terrain. This puts them among the fastest off-road vehicles in the world. Safety is very important, SCORE GPS data loggers continue to help increase safety, verify route and speed, SCORE requires the mandatory use of GPS data loggers in ALL classes. Be sure to look for the Skinnie backed Jenkins Motorsports/Desert Outlawz Sportsman Ford F150 team in the desert and at all its future races and events. Mike Jenkins and Sammy "the Bull" Navarro reiterated, "Oh man what an adventure it has been! Let me start by thanking Skinnie Magazine for the opportunity to run the Skinnie name on the truck, we had a good truck in Baja and it was fast. Thank you to everyone who helped us get to where we are today Harrahs, Outlaw Offroad, Land Motorsports, Dezert Nation.com, Balls Deep Boxers, Llamafest.com, Ed Hardy Watches.com, Captains Cabaret, Hit-It clothing.

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JIME LITWALK - From Motor City to Sin City Words and Photos: Hans Fink STEVE AOKI - Live, From the Center of Chaos!!!
words by: Hans Fink
photos by: Michael Vincent

Steve Aoki is one of the most prominent yet elusive individuals at the forefront of the burgeoning Los Angeles music scene; a fact easily evidenced by his hectic touring schedule, in which he will sometimes play shows in two different states on the same date. "I'm just touring like the Grateful Dead right now, on the road like five, six days of every week," Mr. Aoki states. In addition to heavily traveling the world as a respected DJ and becoming the new poster boy for Los Angeles underground hip, he has also been running his own independent record label, Dim Mak (named in honor of his childhood hero, Bruce Lee), for 12 years and is directly responsible for the popularity of bands such as Bloc Party. Furthermore, he has started branching out into the realm of fashion and design and has some interesting musical collaborations looming on the horizon. Evolving from a young, iconoclastic music-nerd who did not fit in with his Huntington Beach habitat to the ranks of a notorious and consummate Renaissance Man who currently dominates and redefines the Los Angeles scene, it's quite possible that Steve Aoki and sleep have become distant strangers. "My entire life I was always juggling like 10 things," Aoki says. "When I was in college in Santa Barbara, obviously I was going to school full time and I had a job on the side as a telemarketer. I wrote for a music magazine, I was in a band and I was putting on shows in my living room, which really gave birth to my label. In that living room, we called it the 'pickle patch,' we had over 450 bands. This is a small little stage and we had The Rapture play my living room, Al Hunt, Jimmy Eat World played two different times. At The Drive-In, 10 years ago At The Drive-In was playing at The Greek Theatre but they were also playing in my living room. There were all kinds of bands. I was juggling the whole music thing and school and work and all that stuff. I live in the center of chaos."

"I was still working out of my apartment, I had like 13 interns in my apartment," Steve recalls, describing the past and present of Dim Mak records. "When we found Bloc Party or when we did the record with them, the rise of Bloc Party in America was a huge support vehicle for us. We got offices after that, we got more employees, started building the label to support other bands, to support Bloc Party... It's like a big process in my life is running the label." Indeed, whether he is in his modest and unglamorous Los Angeles based offices or in an airport terminal during his downtime between flights, Steve still takes a very involved approach to this labor of love. "I've signed every single band to the label myself. I ran the label on my own completely, I mean every aspect of running a label, from sending out promos to press people to picking up mail at the P.O. box to fuckin' going to the packing plant and making sure the vinyl was right, like every fuckin' aspect I've done for the label up until maybe four years ago when we got our first employee. It's still very much like my baby. I still nurture it like it's a six-year old child, or even younger. It's a very important part of what we are, the artists that we represent, that we decide to sign are important and the face of what we do."

Every business decision Steve makes seems more rooted in stylistic preference and the ethos of artistic credibility than it is in the cold and pragmatic logos of financial gain. "For the most part when someone does something so unique and different, the majority hates it," Aoki elaborates. "That's just how it works. That is the way in which this world evolves. The most extraordinary things happen and the majority has to hate it. It's not meant for the majority ever. That's just how life is... People get it later, they just don't get it right away. If you're able to do it the right way, everyone will get it, it just takes time." So is the process of cultivating obscure but promising artists via the record label; clearly mainstream accessibility is not the essential criteria for an artist to get signed to Dim Mak. "If I believe in it, I say, 'Can I market this?' and, 'How do I Market this?' because that's a huge part of the label's responsibility. A label, essentially, should be for distribution and marketing really. That's what a label is there for, the band. Get it out, accessible... the band's going to connect to people through their sound, we're going to connect to people by making sure it's out there and people are seeing it... So it's like, once we believe in someone, we let them do whatever the fuck they wanna' do. The more artistic they are, to me it's not necessarily about selling records, it's about just finding who they are."

This being the case, the label and the bands on it are sustained largely of their own merits; however Steve's sudden emergence as a highly coveted and sought-after DJ has definitely helped, providing additional resources for the label to promote its artists. However intertwined with Dim Mak it may be, Steve's career as a DJ is also in many ways its own entity. "Life changes," Aoki says of his ascension in the realm of ones and twos. "You never know where you're going to go, you never know how things evolve. The sound too, like musically, I play all kinds of different stuff. I do the full intro, the house set, I do the whole mainstream fucking industry party. I have an album that dropped, Pillowface and His Airplane Chronicles, that came out three weeks ago. We're still in Billboard's Top 15 for electronic music, which is great. I remember the first week, we made the Billboard Top 10, second week we went up two spots, third week we're still in the Top 10. I was like, 'Oh, this is fuckin' great! We're still relevant and kids are buying my records.' That record to me is like a story of different sounds of this lifestyle that we're all part of - this whole new wave of amazing, amazing electro. And also just combining with all the amazing new hip hop like Kid Sister and Amanda Blank, Spank Rock and Santogold and Mickey Avalon, Uffie - they're all part, they're all sharing their hooks on these really popular, huge collective tracks."

Many in the scene know Aoki only as a DJ, label owner and promoter. What many may not realize is that, inspired by a mixtape of punk and hardcore bands he received from a peer as a teenager, he would go on to initially get his feet wet as the singer of a short-lived hardcore band. In the coming months, it would seem his musical evolution will come full circle; "We're doing a band, a real band. It's going to be me, Boys Noize, Jesse from MSTRKRFT and three guys from The Faint. We're going to start a hardcore band and record it in Omaha. I'm going to sing," he states matter of factly. In spite of his calm exterior, the excitement in his voice becomes increasingly apparent the more he talks about this luminous project; "We try to experiment as well. You put all these different people in a room and we'll see what comes out. I want it to be spontaneous, it's not supposed to be well thought out... This is a band that's thrown together just for the fucking idea. And some of the best ideas that I was able to follow through on were the ones that were just thrown together, like randomly and spontaneously... I put the whole thing together but I'm just glad to be working with all these guys!" 

Aside from his overflowing passion for many genres of music (his mixing as a DJ is more random and unpredictable than the roster of artists signed to his label), Aoki has a strong sense of aesthetics. "The right clothes," he states, as he ponders some of his biggest vices. "Sometimes I'll see something, I'll walk by something and I'll try it on, it might be the most expensive thing in the fucking world and I might only wear it one time, but I'll find a way to buy it. The right sneakers, the right sunglasses - I'm a huge sunglass freak. I don't really wear them that much honestly but I just have a thing for it." This has lead him to the arena of designing, already collaborating on a signature shoe with Supra and the development of the Dim Mak Signature line. His downtime whilst traveling is also spent developing designs on his laptop. He has even begun collaborative efforts with his younger half-sister, actress and super-model Devon Aoki. "The reason I do so much for my sister Devon is we're in the same work. She's in the entertainment business, she's in fashion, she's been a model for 15 years. So, we do a lot of work together because we have the same kind of ideas."

If the present situation appears overwhelming for any ordinary human being, one might shudder to think what this ambitious trendsetter has planned for the near future. "This year I'm really going to focus on my line and fashion in general, my DJ'ing and production," Aoki reveals. "Like I have scheduled days, my schedule is booked up all the way until June, but I'll schedule days that I know... the six days that I'm going to be in a studio in LA for the month of March and the 10 days I'm going to be in the studio in the month of April. I'm finishing up my first single with Weird Science. We just did a Snoop Dogg remix for Weird Science and we're doing a lot of other remixes as well." But wait, Holy Jumping Jesus there's more! "We did a joint venture with downtown records who are responsible for Gnarls Barkley, Spank Rock, Eagles of Death Metal, Cold War Kids - just a fuckin' A&R source, great infrastructure, just good fuckin' people. So we get to partner with them, they're gonna' help Dim Mak out a lot... Me and DJ AM, we formed a management company and we manage all kinds of DJs and help them out and get them gigs. It's like basically our managers and us just came together and formed this company, and Paul Rosenberg as well who manages all Eminem's stuff and he was responsible helping out Aftermath and the whole Fifty Cent thing with Interscope. It's called The DJ Company."

At many points in this interview I wondered to myself if Steve would pause for breath; but upon further analysis, I realized just how contagious his enthusiasm and lust for life truly are. This level of activity and ambition are clearly not superhuman traits; rather, these are feats accomplished by individuals who are synchronized with and passionate about their life calling. Out of envy, admiration and morbid curiosity came the compulsion to solicit Aoki for closing words of wisdom. "A Bruce Lee fact that I definitely live by, and I think anyone can understand and live by as well is that you need a goal," Steve illuminates. "You have a goal in your life, you have a vision of what you want to do and you aim for that vision, only just so you keep growing and evolving. Like 95% of the time you won't get to that place, it's going to keep changing and wherever you go it's not going to be that same place you thought of five years ago. But at least you have it so you can keep fucking going."

www.dimmak.com

www.dimmakcollection.com

www.steveaoki.com

AT A GLANCE...

+ CELEBRITY RELATIVES: His father is Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki, founder of the Benihana's restaurant chain. Although close to his father, all his accomplishments were achieved on his own; his father did not finance any of Steve's endeavors. His half-sister is actress and super-model Devon Aoki.

+ THE ELECTION: "I'm for Obama. Everything that he's talking about, for the most part, I'm down with. When I see a black man speaking for the entire country that's also a powerful thing for me... I think he's definitely the best bet for sure."

+ FOR SANITY: "There's a lot of down time. What do you do to bide you're time so that you don't go crazy? I have five things that I bring. I have my Nintendo DS, I have my Sudoku, I have a book, I have my phone and I have my computer if I need it."

+ FAVORITE LITERATURE: "My favorite book ever is The Autobiography of Malcom X... It's rare that I read a book twice and I read that book five fucking times. Him and Bruce Lee are the two guys that are big mentors in my life. I have like fucking six books of Bruce Lee. Books that he wrote, Tao of Jeet Kune Do and all kinds of books like that."

+ Favorite band that never made it: "The Refused were set to play my living room on the tour and it was a big deal because it was their last year living in the states and it was their last tour and they broke up on the tour. That was like my favorite fucking band. I mean that's the band that opens the Pillowface and His Airplane Chronicles CD."

+ MOST MEMORABLE GIG: "The biggest impact in my life was from Singapore. I played this festival called ZoukOut. They have this whole beach that's just completely man-made. Besides that, Singapore is like the cleanest country in the world. Everyone's very reserved, people don't go crazy and so I was like, 'Oh, this is gonna suck.' I get to this festival and it's 25,000 people there. I had at least 15,000 people watching the set... it was a fuckin' really great set."

+ BIGGEST WEAKNESS: "I'm a packrat so I have all kinds of memorabilia of all sorts. I have a huge record collection, over 15,000 records. I've been doing that since I was 13 years old, that's when I bought my first 7" - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, A Nightmare on My Street.

+ FAVORITE SPOT: "LA is my favorite fuckin' place in the world. I try to give as much as I can back to LA. You just want to build a community with what you're doing and that's what we've been doing with Dim Mak.  The same kind of rock scene I was doing in my apartment I'm now doing at my parties every Tuesday... so many fucking bands have played at our parties and it's fucking great. What makes a scene good is the kids in the scene. It's the kids that give to those artists. When they fuckin' show the energy and get into it and not be reserved and hide in the corner and drink their bottles."

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CHOLO - Making Art, One Piercing at a Time Words: Kristie Bertucci Photo: Malachi Banales

Sullen - Clothing The Scene
words by: Jeffrey Easton
photos by: Joanna Tichauer

When you are preparing to go out, what is the main thing that you are paying attention to? No, it is not the gel in your hair (although with some of today's hairstyles I might beg to differ on another occasion). It is the clothes you are getting ready to wear that you are paying attention to; the same clothes that everybody else will notice once you step out. It is one of the first things that people notice and Sullen Clothing wants people to specifically notice their clothing. Jeremy Hanna and Ryan Smith, the industrious and quite creative duo that started the company, have created a line of clothing with their personal stamp on it that continues to gain attention and popularity. Alongside the talent of Ryan Smith, a multitude of collaborations with well-known artists are being spotlighted in their designs as well.

Who starts a clothing company and what kind of person does it take? That is the first thing that I wanted to know from Mr. Jeremy Hannah. "The kind of person that has to love what you are doing because you learn rather quickly that it is a lot harder than you could imagine and most people drop like flies in this industry because it takes a long time to make it," he related. Jeremy went on to state that "it takes a lot of sacrifice to see a financial gain because only at this time are we even able to pay our bills, but people are starting to recognize the brand and we are starting to reap the rewards of those first five years."

Name recognition is everything. When you think of a mag dictating a scene, you naturally think Skinnie (shameless plug... but it's true). A lot is in a name and I wondered about the name Sullen. To me it means a dour attitude but I was set straight by Mr. Hanna. "The word Sullen has a lot of definitions and the reason we liked it is that most people that we run across do not know what it means," offered Jeremy. "It was important to us to have something that was not immediately identifiable and it does take a take a little bit of interest to find out what it means." Sullen is definitely not descriptive of a mood that you will feel while wearing or looking at their clothing and corresponding art.

The art and design makes the clothes and if you do not stand out you do not make it out. It's obvious that a great deal of attention goes into to the art on the clothing and it was deemed necessary to know who was on the creative side. "I grew up with Ryan before he went to Arizona to live and be a tattoo artist before being accepted to the Art Center in Pasadena and once he graduated I dragged him into this business," added Jeremy. Ryan added "I was into art since I was young when I realized I could draw better than I could read. When I went to college I saw artwork that was on another level and I wanted to be on that level." If you look on their website you will see many interesting and captivating designs adorning the clothing but they must have gone through many concepts that did not make the final cut. As good as their art is, is there anything on the cutting room floor? "When we started the company we were going after the skate scene and a lot of Ryan's art was logo driven and we were playing it safe. It was not until Ryan started doing hand drawn pencil sketches of art that we started going in that direction," Jeremy confides. "To give an example, he was up late drawing a piece for a tattoo and I told him that would be a sick T-shirt and after pushing him he finished it for a shirt and that was our first shirt to be accepted by Tilly's," emphasized Jeremy. "When Ryan started doing more of the tattoo artwork our brand went darker and that broadened our horizon for the people who wore our stuff; one year we are pushing skate and the next we are going after the surf market."

Art is art but when great artists collaborate the results can only be ingenious. Ryan is an amazing artist but the guest artists they have brought in have generated collaborative pieces that are just amazing. "I am always trying to make clothing different and one of the things we came up with is the Collaboration Series," interjected Ryan. "It is the true collaboration between two artists where I will start a drawing and I will send it to someone to finish or they will start one and send it to me. I mailed a piece to Jay Cooper and I told him to do what he wanted to and mail it back to me for a shirt, when you look at our shirt, you can tell who did what." Along with Jay Cooper, they have collaborated with a swath of uber talented artists as mentioned. One of the pieces that you can see on their website, which is the So Cal Tattoo shirt, belongs to Tom Berg and Carlos Torres of So Cal Tattoo with Ryan doing the Logo. They have collaborated as well with Jay Langer of Ink Factory in Hudson, Wisconsin and Nikko Hurtado from Ignition Tattoo in Apple Valley of whom was recently featured on L.A. Ink tattooing Kat Von D while wearing a Sullen shirt! They are also in cahoots with Jack "Horimouja" Mosher, the famous artist that is well known for his books and his Japanese art.

The ASR Trade show is THE trade show for industry clothing and what is getting hot. Sullen made a big dent in the recent edition, proving they are on the rise and establishing an unmistakable presence. Getting a big notice at this trade show means you have come correct on what you are doing and there is no stopping you. "We focus a lot of our attention on our artwork and a lot of hard work went into this last line and people respond to that and they are finally recognizing us for it," relayed Ryan. They are indeed getting recognized and you will to when you are wearing their stuff.

www.sullenclothing.com

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