JESSE（Jesse McFaddin）Born in 1980/08/11, Singer / Rapper / MC / Rock Guitarist, American nationality.
The front-man from Japanese established alternative 3 pieces rock band "RIZE".
He has also proven careers as Music Producer / Composer, plus as "Fashion Icon" among youngsters by appearances on SONY CM + Vans sponsored 2009 Live Tour, in addition to gracing the cover of various fashion magazines.
For three days from October 19th through the 21st Shibuya Hikarie, one of the main event spaces for the currently underway Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2013 S/S, will be the home for a pop-up store for the French casual brand “MARITHÉ+FRANÇOIS” (hereinafter referred to as, “Girbaud”). Along with creators from other industries, the brand calls attention to the serious environmental problems through “NO WATER NO CHEMICAL” and uses guitarist / vocalist Jesse McFaddin from the rockband Rize as a model for its key visuals. I had the opportunity to interview this up-and-coming artist about his various projects including the launch of his own shop and fashion brand as well as the release of a music video done in collaboration with Girbaud.
Tell me about how you got involved in MARITHÉ+FRANÇOIS’s NO WATER NO CHEMICAL.
It all started when I was asked to be a model for the project. I have always been a fan of the American-style and Girbaud makes wide jeans that have stylish stitching and belt loops, of which I have several pairs. When I actually met Girbaud’s staff they were relatively weird, but in a good way, and we got along (laugh). I thought the idea to choose me as a model was interesting as well and we naturally formed a good relationship. The music video that I made collaboration Girbaud was shot by Mote Sinabel and will be done soon, and I’m looking forward to it. We have this great mutual relationship of proposing things and doing new things and I hope it continues.
MARITHÉ+FRANÇOIS GIRBAUD / GLOBAL CAMPAIGN
Do you share many of the same views with Girbaud in regard to the environment?
Of course. I don’t think many people, myself included, know about the multitude of workers that are suffering through the manufacturing of jeans. For example, it was the first time I had seen just how difficult the job of sandblasting denim is for the workers. When I was in American school, we used the same method to draw pictures on steel in art class, and it was really hard even with a small piece of work. But regardless of this fact we thought nothing about wearing jeans that had been sandblasted in the same way.
I think it’s very significant that many people will learn of these truths through people such as you.
One of the things we can’t forget is that Girbaud is not just making jeans that are more environment friendly. Not being locked into one way of doing things and trying different patterns is necessary for a brand. A person can’t change themselves completely, but striving to do so is important. For example, rock musicians like me that use electric guitars are in a sense prevented from being environment friendly. However, for example, either considering for trying to use solar or wind power to perform tends to provoke huge gap between an artist trying nothing at all. The same thing goes for just manufacturing jeans as compared to thinking of different ways to manufacture them since whatever the case they will be made. It’s their courage to take that first step that I would like to continue to endorse.
How old were you when you took an interest in fashion?
Well, I went to an American school and when I was in elementary school a brand called Bugle Boy was really popular. At the time MC Hammer was quite popular, and I was greatly influenced by those really wide bellbottom-like pants that totally clashed with one side pink and the other side blue. I’d wear these pants with an earring and a gold necklace; I was a very showy schoolboy (laugh). I walked on the streets in Togoshi Ginza, where I grew up, and I clashed so much with the surroundings that I earned the nickname the “Togoshi Gaijin” (laugh).
When did you start linking music with fashion?
When I was in junior high and I learned of hip-hop. The problem with hip-hop though is that you have to clean your shoes every day and iron your T-shirts and dickies, and make sure that you’re spick-and-span. And, at the time I was really into skateboarding so my clothes would get dirty. So the hip-hop style started to fit less and less with my personality and that’s when I came upon grunge. With grunge you can’t look cool, you can’t have your hair perfect, and you can’t wash your clothes so I thought to myself, “This pumps me up!” (laugh). Now I wear a lot of different clothes, but that idea of linking what I do with what I wear has not changed since I got hooked on fashion.
What artists have influenced you in terms of fashion?
There are many but in 2003 I toured the US with a group called Kottonmouth Kings. These guys took merchandising to a different level. Their presentation was so cool, they would renovate a guitar case into a four-tiered showcase and had velvet seats and everything so it felt like the store was actually a concert venue. The customers would come to the store and remake their clothes and I thought that they really had a good sense of style. Using merchandising to change the style of your customers is very risky though, one misstep and you could become like a dictator, but I thought it was cool.
You have your own store (Takenaka Sound Shop) and even have your own line of designer clothing, what started all this?
It all began when I went to the US and I started my specialty bouteque that sold things I thought were interesting. I started to get customers that wanted to wear clothes that I designed so I started selling plain T-shirts with stenciled graphics. With the money I earned from that I bought a simple silkscreen print machine called “T-Shirt Kun” and then gradually upgraded to larger machines. So, I’m proud of the fact that I didn’t start this brand with money I earned from music but rather by selling T-shirts for 1,000 yen a piece.
What you think about when you’re designing clothes?
I feel that the fads of tomorrow are things that haven’t been a fad yet. So, when I design things I try to think of things opposite to my likes and habits. For example, I don’t normally wear pink, but if I were to design my clothes based on that preference I’d always make the same thing. That’s why I intentionally force me to design something pink. Another example is I once told one of my juniors “never to wear a V-neck”, but then I go ahead and design one myself (laugh). Some may think I’m contradicting myself but that’s how I’m able to design such different things. I’m addicted to destroying my own stereotypes (laugh).
You have experience with fashion in both the US and Japan, what do you think of fashion in Japan?
When I was living in the US I realized just how many people were looking at Japanese magazines and culture and trying to copy it. You saw people like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and JAY-Z wear EVISU Jeans, right? Well, on the flip side I see Japan copying America and sometimes I think to myself, “So, what’s in the middle?” (laugh) I had an offer this year to have a booth at MAGIC (exhibition held in Las Vegas). I’m very particular about having my brand made in Japan and with the earthquake and tsunami there were a lot of people who sympathized with us. I guess having the clothes being produced by Japan would be the same thing but whichever the case I would like to bring Japan to many different countries.
Lastly, could you tell me about your first solo album that will be released on November 11?
What I did was to choose one from among many via a special audition that applied to come into the studio and produce an album with me. The artist I selected is from Okayama and whereas he didn’t have any experience, in some aspects he has more talent than I do. It has a roughness that’s great for a debut album. I felt the same emotions I did when I made the debut album for RIZE, and just as the album title “Stand up!” says, this is an album in which we all stood up. Whether it should be music or fashion, I think it’s easier to promote something if there is a concept behind it, it’s about wanting to make something happen. It needs to have meaning, but at the same time “having no meaning has meaning” in itself. In that sense, it was great to be able to make something without getting all uptight about it, and it’s totally bad!
“Stand Up!” solo album to be released on November 11th!
On November 11, 2012 JESSE, the front man for the band RIZE that started mashed up multi-entertainment projects, will release his first solo album entitled “Stand Up!”! The album was produced by a rising producer discovered by JESSE and features a duet with an American Idol finalist, an arrangement of “Stand”, made famous by JESSE’s father, char. In addition to the varied assortment of 15 global songs on the album, the CD will be sold as part of a multi-entertainment package that includes popular items from JESSE’s fashion brand “SLIP&Co”, a digital album of more than 160 photos, and special presents from partnering corporations, such as MARITHÉ+FRANÇOIS GIRBAUD!
*Only 1,111 limited edition copies available.