Maison Kitsuné, founded in 2002 by former Daft Punk manager Gildas Loaëc and architect Masaya Kuroki, is a boutique label and Parisian fashion brand known for its stylish aesthetic and danceable tunes steeped in electronica. Lately, the label has expanded its visibility through their Kitsuné Afterwork party series that have become immensely popular in the underground scene in cities such as Paris and Tokyo.
In November, Kitsuné Afterwork made its way to New York City, bringing the fashion and music crowds together at Spring Place to enjoy sets by artists like Innanet James and Ishdarr, as well as Tuesday night’s lineup of Lewis OfMan, Allen French, Eli Escobar, and Midnight Magic. More dates are expected to be announced through 2018.
Inspired by their Afterwork events, Kitsuné is preparing to release their first hip-hop and R&B compilation on Dec. 8. Afterwork Vol. 1 aims to spotlight new and emerging talent globally, keeping within the same essence as their famed parties.
Loaëc tells Complex:
“We have always been keen on reinventing ourselves at Kitsuné, both on the fashion and the music side. And, after listening and learning the dynamics of hip-hop with our parties Kitsuné Afterwork, I’m very happy that the label is releasing its first hip-hop and R&B compilation this year."
"Curating new music and exploring genres has always been at the core of the label, and I’m very proud of the image we have established. We are not just an electronic or indie label, we are everything we want to be, and with Kitsuné Hot Stream, we're embodying the future of our curation with a focus on streaming, and on artists from any musical background, and any countries, as long as the song is great and they fit our style."
"It’s all about good music.”
Below, you can get a sampling of Afterwork Vol. 1 with Ishdarr’s “Moon Girl,” which Complex is premiering today. Produced by Skater and J. Robb, “Moon Girl” is about the journey of exploring a new relationship for the first time and testing each other's emotions. Ish, who just released the video for “Foreplay” off his Four The Better EP, is working on a full-length album next year and will appear in the upcoming film, White Boy Rick, starring Matthew McConaughey.
Your song “Moon Girl” is the first single off Afterwork Vol. 1. How did Kitsuné discover your music?
Kitsuné discovered my music through my manager. One of my managers is New York-based, who is good friends with Kitsuné. You know, people gather around and they start talking. My manager Amanda [Berkowitz], she brought up that she managed me. Kitsuné was interested and they wanted to hear me.
Mind you, I am in Milwaukee, I didn’t know any kind of these moves were happening. So Amanda said it and she got the music to them. I believe she sent them the link to "Sugar" and "Locals." From there, they hit her back and was like, "Yo, we like Ish." She hit me and I was like, "What?" Amanda, she kind of introduced me to the whole Kitsuné family.
Afterwork Vol. 1 is their first foray into hip-hop and R&B. Why do you think your sound fits their aesthetic?
I definitely did some research on the label and their music, their roster, and just the sound. Like you said, it’s more electronic with their producers. That sound for me since I got into music, it was always cool and super dope for me. It was a vibe for me always. So when I started exploring more producers and going deeper into music, that’s something I always said. If it ever came about, I would try to incorporate it and see what I can do with it because it has always been like a vibe to me. So understanding that, I feel like them hearing “Sugar” and “Locals” it was hip-hop, but it had a dance vibe to it as well, hearing that mashed together I feel like it was something that caught their ear. And that’s just me really from the jump. You know, trying everything. Not letting anything [hold me back]. I like music, I like sounds. What sounds good, what create a good vibe. And I feel like if I can create that, I’m going to attempt it. I feel like that’s why it definitely fits.
Tell me about this record “Moon Girl.” How did you go about making it?
So “Moon Girl” is a story about my adventures with a girl that’s really based on a true story. She likes all the daily things, but she’s still trying to find something else and trying to find out what’s really me and what the core of me is. I feel like that was something, just the vibe of the whole feel I got from the initial beat when I heard it. It involved all of those elements, I feel like I could use to create that. Add a nice bridge, I’m like, “Oh, this is crazy.” And the drop is just a mood, just a vibe. That was it. When I made it, I was like, “Hell, I freaking love this song.” I knew It’ll come [out]. We didn’t rush to drop it or anything. It was just one of my gems that I was sitting on.
This Afterwork Vol. 1 project is spotlighting talent globally. What do you want people to know about Milwaukee’s music scene?
For people who don’t know Milwaukee’s music scene, I like to say that it is in a good state right now. And everybody is working and pushing to really take it to the next level. I feel like just myself and a few others in the city. We have WebsterX, Munch Lauren. In every sector of the city right now, there’s literally somebody working and going hard and pushing that kind of [music], just the Milwaukee name. It’s amazing to see.
I was definitely a big break for it because I came into it extremely young and it worked. That gave the city a lot of love as far as the youth, that’s really where it starts. [We're] really pushing. Everybody on some creative wave. We have talent, we just gotta learn how to unite, and everybody is grinding and it’s crazy. We are in a Milwaukee renaissance is what I say.