How did No Vacancy Inn come about?
Acyde: We’re friends first and foremost, and we were doing parties and events around East London and Soho for two or three years: he was a host and I was a DJ. After a while it got to a point where we’d run out of parties and places to go. We also had an acute interest in clothing, merchandise, style, culture, and were getting asked to consult for people or brands. So we thought it would make sense to amalgamate all of our interests into one concept and the easiest way to do that was to put a name to it. Which is what No Vacancy Inn became.
You just mentioned making one concept, but you also do many different things. How would you define what No Vacancy Inn is?
Tremaine: No Vacancy Inn was created on a phone call last August. Acyde called me and said we needed to have something where it all leads back to us. He thought I might want to do a store, but I was more into creating something where we can take over places and do different things, whether it’s selling clothing or doing a radio show or working with artists. No Vacancy is two things, it’s me and Acyde’s brain, and it’s also just like this ethereal hotel, a Hotel Chelsea on legs.
You’ve spoken before about the idea of ‘curating culture’. What do you mean by that?
T: I came to this realisation: culture is really just caring. Like in the Bronx in the 80s, the way they had their jean jackets with the embroidery and the patches, that’s care. The graffiti on the trains, risking your life to get up on the train, that’s care. Spending all your money on records, that’s care. And when you really care about something and you take the time to do it, it stands out, that’s what becomes culture. And we're curating that care.
A: I read somewhere the real definition of culture is all the things we absolutely don’t need to do as human beings. We don’t need to be into fashion, to make music, listen to it or preserve it, we don’t need to look at art or make art. We need water, oxygen. We need a house, but it doesn’t need to be beautiful it just needs to function. So I think when you reverse that, caring is the whole point. When you care about the things that make existence interesting or wonderful, that’s when it becomes culture.
Also some parts of the culture don't get noticed, they don't get preserved and there’s no way of carrying them on for another generation. We care about the culture we’re within and we want to curate it and put it in a context that we can share with people, so people can make what they want out of it.
You say that sometimes we don’t preserve our culture. You've done USB mixtapes [at their pop up earlier this year, Tremaine and Acyde sold physical mixtapes contributed by guests and friends] – were you trying to do that with those?
T: We wanted to make something special. Time is the most important thing, so we wanted to give something to people who took time out to come down to the first thing we ever did, our pop up [at artist Tom Sachs’ New York installation/store Bodega 245]. Also we had some really talented people do mixes for us: Hiroshi [Fujiwara], Fraser Cooke [from Nike], Angelo >Baque [Supreme].
A: A-Trak, Cosy Boys.
T: And out of respect for them we didn’t just want to put it online. People put up free mixes all the time, but that’s just how we care.