De pop-up bar Hendrick's Chambers of the Curious opent bijna weer zijn deuren. Baloji nam de rol van art director op zich en creëerde ook één van de cocktails.
Hello Baloji. Am I pronouncing that right? Thank you for meeting up with us. How are you enjoying the Chambers experience so far?
I think it’s really great, it’s a really nice experience. It’s funny because for one of my video’s - in which I'm talking about beer issues in America - I created a fake beer with a fake logo, fake name, and I made fake commercials for it in Kinshasa. It was really fun to do, I loved it. When my manager told me about eventually working with Hendrick’s for Chambers of the Curious, and creating my own cocktail, I was like ‘oh, yeah!’. I already had the experience of doing my own project, but that was only for me. We only produced like 500 bottles that were sold on festivals and special concerts we played. It was all very exclusive, very limited, but very cool though. So I was like ‘oh, yeah, to do my own cocktail could be really nice’, because I like to play with taste and the last two years I have been obsessed with flowers.
I did a lot of work with flowers so I figured I could work something out with gin, because gin goes great with flowers, aroma. I ended up with jasmin. It’s an infused tea with jasmin rice and the whole mixup is a very refreshing cocktail.
Why did you choose this particular cocktail, these flavours?
Because it was one of the most fresh ones. I got a lot of suggestions, but that was the one that went the best with the bar system, which is a lot of volume. The other stuff I came up with was a little bit too delicate to be overproduced.
You make music, you’re an art director, you have collaborated with Komono to design a line of sunglasses... It seems you have many talents, but which one has brought you the most joy so far?
I’m also a movie director. I direct all my videos myself, which is something I really love. I would also love to take more photographs. I think that’s the thing I like the most, because it’s fantastic to capture a moment. I just started doing it, because every video set I’m working on, I always take a picture first. It helps me to do the framing for the camera. I started doing that for fun, and I love it now. I took a picture, did the colours and the grading, the whole thing, and then I showed it to the cameraman so he could see how I wanted it, and that became the foundation. Since then I bought a camera and now I’m obsessed with photographs, it’s crazy!
Yeah, I have a lot of fun, and you can capture so many interesting stuff, and give another perspective to talents. I love it.
Who inspires you in fashion?
Hmm... Do you have two hours? A lot! I would say Raf Simons, and Haider. Who else... I love the creative team behind Céline, I think it’s always beautiful. The people around Opening Ceremony are also fantastic. Two guys, just genius. The list goes on and on and on. Even the people at Supreme are great. It’s not technically fashion, but I think, at the end of the day, you can call it fashion anyway.
I really like this french brand, Pigalle. And also two stylists I worked with on my previous video, one of which is called Simone Rocha. With her I did a video with a dancer. We designed the whole thing. For this we also worked together with this designer from London, called Grace Wales Bonner. She’s the winner of the British Frashion Awards. She’s one of the best, she’s a really big deal. What she does is very beautiful, it’s extremely elegant. So: a lot of people, I love fashion!
Talking about fashion, can you tell us something about the eyewear collection you did with Komono?
One of my EP’s is called 64 bits and Malachite, and the Malachite is the only stone of the Congolese soil that has no value except personal value. It’s a jewelry that is a residu of copper. Copper has big value, and for example when the copper is used, it turns green malachite. Nobody cares about it, but I think it’s so beautiful. It totally looks like a green African tortoiseshell. We talked about it and together with Komono we came up with the idea to do an African tortoise eyewear collection. They gave me total freedom, I did everything myself. It was really inspiring, really great.
BALOJI X KOMONO present : the Mujinga part of the capsule collection i’ve create with KOMONO based on malachite this limited shape is available on this page https://shop.komono.com/collections/baloji-komono/products/mujinga The design is a tribute to my mother and her wide almond shaped eyes. It is through theses oblong eyes that I recognized her in the crowded Lubumbashi market after our first meeting 25 years later. Intense attractive eyes, great eyes betraying the soul by using a mask subtract under eyeglasses, a protection and dissimulation shield.Eyes, we try to soften by griming eyebrows, to get this "Cat's Eyes" look design. Pearls are suspended tears and gold underlines the eyebrows to smooth out the receding forehead so typical of "Eastern People" from my native Katanga the Copper city, the diggers city and its raw material is considered noble here. photo : Kristen Lee Moolman /makeup : Perla Moleka/PM makeUP / styling : baloji /local production: stephanie Suffren + keben/ suit: @cafecostume X @artcomesfirst #komonosunglasses #glasses #malachite #eyewear #Komono #layers
Those were pretty much all my questions. Thank you very much!
De Hendrick's Chambers of the Curious pop-up bar opent van vrijdag 21 oktober 2016 tot en met zaterdag 3 december 2016 in het 'Depot voor Gevaarlijke Goederen' in Tour & Taxix, Brussel, van 17u:30 tot 01:00.