los angeles


My name is Jesse Boykins III, I’m 29 years old and I was born in Chicago, Illinois and my childhood was spent in Jamaica, then Miami and New York. Now I’m here, in Los Angeles. I went to New School University for Jazz and I taught myself how to produce there as well. Five years ago I was in Bed Stuy, in a duplex brownstone, working on the album with Steve Wyreman and doing all the visual stuff with Dr Woo. When I was 21 I was working on an album called ‘My Notebook and I’.

All I did was make songs about this girl who broke up with me on Christmas.

I really was trying to write mean songs and I couldn’t; they all came out happy or apologetic. But that was my first release and people really responded. I was doing some shows in Brooklyn with it but I just didn’t want to perform those songs because I didn’t want to think about that heartbreak all the time. So I started a new album so people can forget about the first one (laughs). And that’s why I moved from Jersey back to Brooklyn. At the time, Machine Drum lived like four blocks from me, Theophilus lived like three blocks from me and Melo was always over at the house. It was a good crew and we would always make music together. So when I was in Jersey I really missed that community and had to get back to it.

I believe firmly in collaboration. I feel like that’s what the art of music is; being able to have a band and have different energies combining to make this one entity. I don’t have a problem producing my own stuff; I just never want my voice to be the only thing that’s expressed. I have a lot to say for sure but not only do I learn in the experience of collaborating with someone, but we definitely bring things out of each other. So although I have been collaborating with some people since 2007, I still love to bring in new talent. There are two songs off my new album, “Love Apparatus”, that are from producers who are just starting to have artists on the music they’re making. So it’s a beautiful thing, it’s empowering that I believed in them enough to make this song and to shoot the video for it, I like that feeling. If someone saw the potential in me and put me on even if I wasn’t necessarily ready yet, that’s an opportunity!

I did all right early on; I was an independent artist, shooting all my own things but would have videos on TV and was getting awards for things I didn’t even know I was nominated for.

The main thing I wish I knew earlier on in my career is the art of collaboration with brands,

like I did last year. It started by just taking a lot of pictures and conceptualizing ideas and then they’d meet me and I’d have more to talk about besides the music. Sometimes I would pitch ideas and sometimes get requests; brands ask me if I have anything on the table or any thoughts. For example, I’m doing a shoe collaboration with this Australian company who simply wanted to give me shoes because they were fans of my music. I’m like that’s cool and thank you! But I also have this book full of little shoe design sketches, can we try one of them?! So we actually started working on a shoe and he was really surprised because I had all the images, references, the year and the type of cloth etc. I really do the research, I’m always trying to show people mood boards (laughs) and people are pleasantly surprised that they can relate to you not only through the music but with something they’re just as passionate about too.

FF- Do you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?

JB- I would probably say a sophomore. Because I’ve accomplished a lot in my career and definitely on an independent level it’s been interesting the opportunities that come about and the respect I have from people in the industry and from fans. But I’ve never had access to my full potential. To sit in a studio and actually make a record and be able to say I want so and so on this song, or I want this live choir… you know, I haven’t yet been able to experiment whole heartedly with what I envision in my mind, as far as the music that I can really produce.

I definitely have a long way to go as far as people being able to hear what i hear in my head; my full potential.

I don’t want someone to just give me files and that’s it, I want the process to be organic from beginning to end and to have no limitations as far as what we can bring in. That’s pretty much all I need for the next project.

FF- In order to have that kind of access you kind of have to loose control. So what’s been the battle for you between being independent and everything that comes with being signed?

JB- Well I’m more of an artist that you would consider a risk when you think of business, because my business model isn’t scaled off anything that’s out. Just like ‘Love Apparatus’ sounds nothing like ‘the Beauty Created’. Some people that love ‘Beauty Created’ feel I should’ve just made another ‘Beauty Created’. But that’s not the kind of artist that I am. I’d like to definitely evolve. So when you get into labels and they’re like ok this sound is what’s hot right now, these are the people putting it out, so let’s get you on tracks and you’re gonna sell! But that’s not a guarantee and I’m the one that has to live with it, it’s my name that’s attached to it. So I always find myself having to dumb what I do down a little bit. But I’ve learned how to do it in a way that I want, so that’s fine. I think of myself as an intellectual, I like to express how I feel exactly how I feel it but I love having to find that balance too. And that’s the strangest thing about music; that relationship between what people expect of you and then what you give them. The fans expecting another ‘Beauty Created’ may have been partial to ‘Love Apparatus’ because it’s different and they haven’t been evolving with me.

So I put myself in this position where I have to be a lot more patient. I had to push ‘Love Apparatus’ for two years before it got to where it is. But I don’t really have an issue with it because at the end of the day, it’s me! I’m pushing what I like.

FF- So I want to hear about the female project you’re doing and how random projects like this are related to your music. How and why did you decide to, instead of putting in the music, give women a direct voice with that project?

JB- I always go back to my childhood and think about how certain situations were handled. I felt like most men didn’t necessarily take the time out to understand women. So I thought that was how you’re supposed to be as a man. And then growing older and having to deal with my ego within relationships, I realized that’s not how you should be as a man (laughs). Often when a man and woman have a conversation it feels like a show because of the concept of attraction. So with the women’s project I interviewed women ages 17-65 and asked questions that I felt they were probably never asked before. The questions were: ‘What do you love about being a woman?’ ‘Long term lust or short term love?’ ‘Tell me the first time you experienced love and the feelings that come with it?’ ‘Beauty or danger?’ ‘Climax or balance?’ ‘Chaos or structure?’ ‘All the things you hate about a man?’ ‘All the things you love about a man?’ ‘What’s on your list of a paper perfect man?’ ‘When I say Love Apparatus what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?’ And ‘do you like smiling?’

FF- Choose one of your questions that you ask on the woman project to answer yourself.

JB- Short term love or long term lust? Long term lust all the way!

Short-term love isn’t real, it’s your perception of what you desired from someone else but it’s not necessarily a development of something, it’s a fantasy,

like… you’re my boyfriend now so I love you! This is how I love you, I do this, this and this for you. Instead of being like cool we’re friends, we like hanging out, oh you did something thoughtful for me! Cool! Oh I’m thinking about you… that’s cool too! I love that natural evolution of what love is. Definitely long term lust, because that is love; it’s one of the stages of it. It doesn’t have to be a sexual thing; you can lust after someone’s walk or how someone holds you and get that same fiery feeling from those simple things.

I started doing the interviews half way through making ‘Love Apparatus’ and then came back to it and finished four more songs, so you can actually hear some of things I’ve learned in the process.

That album is now actually the process of what a relationship is, even down to the track listing...

The first song (Greyscale) is about acknowledgement and saying that you’re open to things, the second song (B4 the Night is Thru) is about bravery, seeing someone that you’re interested in talking to and the third song (Created Beauty) is about fantasy, the fourth song (I Wish) is about actually becoming that person’s friend. The fifth song (Tell Me) is like ok now we’re friends but we’re lovers as well so it’s harder to communicate, and then the song after that is Show Me Who You Are; which is like let’s see how far we can take this passion. The song after that is Living Me, like ok now we’ve evolved in all these ways let’s find a way to coexist etc. I even used some of the audio from the documentary in the album because I really have learned from it. I can sit up here and say I read a thousand books, but no I have a lot of conversations and I catch references and am inspired and I enjoy the concept of sharing; I feel that’s more of a feminine thing, because it comes with nurturing; development and growth.

FF- What do you think are the qualities of a life well lived?

JB- An honest life is a well-lived life. And I don’t feel like a lot of people are honest with each other, or even with themselves. Challenge; it’s good to challenge yourself, especially in a time where everything is so convenient. And creative freedom! Because it’s therapy, happiness, bravery, courage and it could be in anything… creative freedom is like going for a walk and taking pictures of leaves if you want, if it makes you feel good that’s what it is. I want to earn those privileges.

you can check out Jesse's music here, and follow him on instagram.
as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Olivia Seally


My name is Theophilus Martins, I am 29 and I was born in Providence, Rhode Island.

FF - What were you doing five years ago?

TM - I was just starting to bubble off making music and I was connecting with a lot of the kids in New York, I really wanted to be a part of that scene. And so Myspace was my way of connecting… I remember I hit up Mickey Factz; he was like the first person to show me so much love. I was just trying to be a part of all that. And I ended up being the tour manager for this group from LA called U+I. They actually contacted me online… I put out something with okayplayer and they liked my shit and asked if I wanted to come on the road as their DJ.

So we ended up going on tour with Warren G. I connected with Curtains and Kidz in the Hall, they were so popular… they were like one of the bands in LA who were doing shit that was progressive and innovative and they were cool with a bunch of New York cats. So they were like my introduction, I’ve always been the kid on the outside of the group trying to get in, so I just tried to find whatever relationships I could (laughs). We did a song called Beautiful Day, it was me, Evidence, Aloe Blacc was on that fucking song! and Mickey Factz was on it, so that was my way of getting into that.

FF - What do you do now?

TM - I’ve always been into entertainment. As a kid I did some child acting, I did performance… I didn’t like it because I was super shy, so I started DJing, which was my way of being a performer in music without being the face of it. And then I got more comfortable and wanted to start to make my own music. I lived in London for a good part of last year, I took some time off and I felt I had an understanding of what I want to do, as opposed to trying to be this great rapper, or an amazing DJ. I was just like why don’t I build the world that I want to live in? So I just do cool shit now; I DJ, I perform, I creative direct. I think that it’s more appropriate for me to just do what I want and plant those seeds now and let that grow and let people see it. 

Being a part of art and a part of so many things that you like… I used to look at it as a burden, but then I realized well, for one, I don’t like putting out music regularly, I want to build it and look over every detail because I care about it.

If you get one from me and I don’t feel like putting another one out for a few months, then you’ll just have to accept that. But I also realize in those moments the art never dies,  the passion never dies. It can be applied to so many things and I feel like I was trying to channel that energy into one lane, but I don’t want anything I have to force, nothing. So I’m just going to do what comes natural. And for me, that took trust, like do what comes natural?! No! College! Bills! but I was just like I’m gonna be good regardless and things changed from that point.

FF - Tell us about your company ‘Good Posture’

TM - Good Posture… it’s a little bit like I birthed the baby, like I spent last year figuring out who I was and what I’m doing and how to launch it and in January I premiered a collaboration I did with this company called Flexfit. I partnered with them to design this product and then designed this experience, so I had these big 15 foot walls that I designed at Agenda and it introduced my company and what inspired it. Colors drove the idea for the music, which translated to the hats… yellow and blue are primary colors and yellow is this color, like how I felt when I was making this music, it was very much lively, it was cool, it was fun. And that canary blue was like a lot of the music I was making while I was in London, it was very melodic, it was sad, it was emotional. And so I designed a yellow corduroy hat and a blue hat so just attributing those colors into a physical manifestation, so now I’ve designed some clothes that will accompany those hats too. Just making it a full experience, so like I’ve given birth to the baby by premiering it at Agenda, where it got great press and people fucked with it.

FF - Do you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior now?

TM - OK, well in music… I had my debut LA show two days ago! That show was like a graduating step, I was watching myself while performing, like wow this is what I’ve always envisioned! I performed in a way that I’ve always wanted to and delivered it the way I wanted to and it was a very joyous experience. I felt like ok! I’ve graduated one level, I’m a freshman entering a new stage of being an artist and being fearless. It feels very new, it’s like first day of graduation, you have family dinner and walk around like yeah! (laughs) it’s that kind of feeling, where I feel accomplished. I know who I am now, God damn! It took twenty five years (laughs) but I’m thankful, it took a lot to get here but it was worth it.

you can listen to Theophilus Martins here.

As told to: Olivia Seally / Video: Olivia Seally / Photos: courtesy of Theophilus Martins


We were pushed into the dimly lit bedroom; “Welcome,” pronounced a lady lounging on the bed in lingerie, “There are a few rules here: no photography, no name-dropping and no neon drinks. Have fun.” We barely had time to recover before the bed slid back to reveal a staircase.

This was our first experience of one of the Houston Brothers’ bars, No Vacancy, a 1920s-style speakeasy in an old Victorian house in Hollywood. Waiters serve punch bowls rather than bottles to guests settled into red velvet loungers or sitting at wrought-iron tables in the vine-covered courtyard outside. A DJ spins a great selection of oldies for the mass of bodies on the dance floor, who will only stop to watch the burlesque performers or the tightrope walkers precariously tiptoeing above them.

Seven hours later we were back in the club interviewing the business partners, who have so far opened a total of six bars and one restaurant, with new projects at The Line Hotel in Koreatown and one in Austin also on the horizon. We wanted to hear more about the concept behind their speakeasy enterprises – all of which are completely different, with each entrance proving even more interesting than the last. Most importantly, we wanted to find out more about their role in giving the L.A. nightlife scene a much-needed revamp...


For the full article get issue 10 here.

you can check out No Vacancy here, and keep up with the brothers here.

words: Serena Guen // photos: Olivia Seally


My name is Kish Robinson, I’m 24 and was born in Orlando, Florida. I make music (under the name Kilo Kish), make art and do some design stuff. Five years ago I was at Pratt and took a year off because my financial aid didn’t go through… I was such an academic kid, I never imagined my life without school in it so I was devastated. I never really worked for myself or had to provide, my financial aid paid for my dorm, so I was like what am I going to do?! I got a touch of freedom and couldn’t go back to Florida, I was dating J. Scott at the time and I moved into the extra room in his house in Ridgewood. The rent was $443 a month… it was so far from everything! I never really worked for myself, had to provide, didn't even have a resume! I walked into this salon in SoHo called Georgia and I went in like can I work here? And they asked me if I wanted to be an intern and I said no (laughs). And they’re like OK! You can work here, for $7.50 an hour. So I worked there for like 40 hours a week and I made the $443 a month to live in New York… that’s what I did for the whole year!

I never went back to Pratt, I did an internship with this brand called Salvore and it sold to Barney’s, it was scarves and just patterns… cool screen-printing stuff and I was kind of into tactile arts, I wanted to see where that went, I knew I didn’t want to be a fashion designer but I am into patterns and working with my hands.

I didn't have any formal education in music; when I was little I played the violin for three years but I don’t remember anything. And I was in chorus in elementary school, I knew how to read music when I was a kid, but I forgot everything because I just didn’t care or keep up with it. So my music started around that same time when I was living in the house with J and Smash. Smash had a little home studio set up and we would just make weird stuff and Mel would make beats for us (laughs). Mel was so into it, it was just fun… typing out bars to people on AIM, I just saw it as a funny thing to do for a couple years. Then when I was 21 I started getting comfortable playing my music for people and taking it more serious, I played it for Ty and all those guys at Supreme, then they would play it in there.

The moment that everyone found out that I was making music was when I had that Village Voice cover and if you were in New York it was everywhere and just so easy to see, so everyone was like wait when were you even doing this? That was great because I didn’t have to explain it or make it a thing.

FF- How do all of your interests relate to each other?

KR- When I was a kid I had every magazine sent to my house. Magazine subscriptions were my favorite thing when I was like 14, 15, I had all the Vogues on my wall. When I was in high school I started a fashion club and I won best dressed in my senior polls and stuff (laughs). But I liked thrift shopping then and cutting up clothes and sewing stuff. I had a shirt brand that I started when I was a kid, I sold them to nerds in my class. And I had a bracelet brand when I was sixteen… they were the shittiest! Phil (Annand) when he was in high school made an actual, legitimate brand that made money…

FF- Yeah he said the stuff he made was shitty back then too (laughs)

KR- He made a legitimate brand that was really good… mine was not that!

I’ve always wanted to have a store,

to have a space that exists where all the different parts of my creativity can live.

I think that’s my actual dream creative project, this cool space where I can sell and keep all of the fun, different things that I make and collect. I love making music but I also love crafts and weird stuff like that, stupid little figurines, children’s books, audio books, clothing, games, things that I just make up.  

I liked music for the same reason, when I first started and because you could just be complete; if I have an idea I can make a complete thing that’s finished by the end of the day. Whereas with drawing and painting was something I always had to go back to, spend so much time and fixing. It takes a lot of precision, where as with music you can be freer.

Now, of course, it just became every other art outlet for me where I have to dissect it and painting and drawing is a little more freeing. The relationship among them is that

they switch back and forth between the one that’s the main focus and the one that’s the hobby. When all of your outlets are commodified, when do you make your personal art? And where does that fit?

If you’re doing a Capsule collection and your design aesthetic is being commodified, if you’re doing music and your sound is being commodified, if all of these things are consumed, then where does the art for you come in? They shift and you just find that balance… that’s how they’re related.

FF- Three people that are in a similar lane that you can recommend FF to chat to?

KR- Brandee Brown, Laura Harrier and young Kitty Cash!

FF- Do you feel like you are a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?

KR- Sophomore… I feel like you kind of have to kick around and go through certain things to get a handle on what you’re doing and now I’m definitely in a different head space about it. I was a freshman was up until maybe last year, because I didn’t really take it that seriously and I feel like I hadn’t done anything yet. But I wish I would have trusted myself a little bit more, in my own capabilities. I wish I was able to see what other people saw in me, earlier on. But now that

I see music as an outlet for my art, just like I can make painting my art, just like I can make a collection my art. That gave it a different level of seriousness for me.

So that’s where I am now, it’s also just getting older… you have a little more pride in the things you do and they’re more calculated and you’re less aloof with your work method. So I just want to make the best things that I can make and try to learn and get better at what I do. I just want to make stuff until I’m old. Hopefully, by the time I’m sixty I’ll just be able to chill, money-wise and be able to paint and draw and make books and eat fruit in the morning and just be old, you know?

you can listen to Kish's music here, and follow her instagram.
as told to: Olivia Seally // photos + styling: Olivia Seally