You’re from different countries and backgrounds. What made you want to work and hang out together?
A: I went to Cuba six, seven years ago and picked up a cigar habit. Everyone smokes cigars in Cuba, it’s a national pastime and I really got in to it. I went to an event in East London and was smoking a cigar. I bumped into this fella and we just got talking about the fact that he also smoked cigars. It was literally that minute a detail.
Once there were things that separated a bunch of people from the rest of society – whether it was the way they tied their shoelaces or it was the gangs in the Bronx who had the jackets so you knew they were a gang, whether it was the teddy boys in the 60s, the punks in the 70s. I hear stories about how in the 80s only five people on the planet wore a Stüssy jacket.
For whatever reason, the cigar was a signifier of us being the only two people in the room who were on the same wavelength. We got talking and that just sparked a whole load of other conversations, and then mutual friends, mutual interests. From there we developed a natural friendship that turned into hosting and DJing parties and then organically formed into where we are now with No Vacancy Inn.
Do you think the idea that there are these small groups of people all over the world is still relevant with the internet?
A: I think it goes back to that cigar detail. It’s a really irrelevant thing, not irrelevant in the sense of it doesn’t mean anything but irrelevant in the bigger context of what’s going on in the world. They are signifiers for people to identify with other people but they’re really abstract and quite detailed and it only matters if you care about it. There are certain clothing brands that Tremaine and I are really into, and when we wear them we literally end up seeing two or three other people wearing it. That’s the equivalent of those Stüssy jackets, but no one's talking about it that way because everyone thinks they can get everything, when actually you still can’t. If you don’t go to Japan you’re not going to get certain pieces, you’re just not. There are many versions of that – say in the North of England the Stüssy jacket might still be really rare, so for the two, four, five or ten kids that have that, they’re their own little gang. It’s about scale I think.
T: I’ll give you an example. I became friends with Bon Iver because when I ran into him at Glastonbury backstage, me him and Acyde were all nerding out about this song called Babys. That was a song most people probably don’t come up to him and talk about. Most people probably come up to him and say stuff about his work with Kanye, what great work he’s doing with Kanye. It’s the same kind of thing as the Stüssy jacket. Connecting with someone with the abstract. Babys is an abstract record to know. It could be a cigar, it could be coming up to an artist, acknowledging a record that no-one usually acknowledges.