We sat down with the owner of Sameheads Nathan Dukes and Raki to speak up about their unique & signature place of Neukölln, where music, art & fashion come together. His partner in crime, stylist Raki Fernandez, joined us a little later for some fashion project insights.
NATHAN is the owner of Sameheads. Responsible for curation of Sameheads programming, Heads Radio weekly streams, multiple festivals including New Dance Fantasy and City of a Thousand Suns, vinyl and tape label development of the Sameheads in-house label and various other off location events throughout the city and internationally.
Raki is a stylist, fashion & costume designer based in Berlin since 2006, and is a central figure in curation and assistance during Sameheads fashion shows, installations and editorial photoshoots.
我们与Sameheads的老板Nathan Dukes和Raki一起探讨了他们在Neukölln的独特和标志性的地方，在这里，音乐、艺术和时尚汇聚在一起。他的合作伙伴，造型师Raki Fernandez，稍后也加入了我们的行列，与我们分享了一些时尚项目的见解。
Could you tell us about the concept of Sameheads? What does it mean to you? Did you come up with the idea way earlier in life or did it pop up in Berlin? How long was the process of building up the team and each part of Sameheads or is it a constant never-ending story?
Sameheads is not really a concept as such, more a feeling. An evolving community of free spirited creative individuals supporting each other in artistic projects and providing an inclusive environment to be who you want to be. The story began 15 years ago, with the community only growing stronger and becoming more diverse and creatively prolific as time goes by.
Let’s talk about the set design of your place. It’s like a playground from another planet. Dozens of photographers have published pictures of it in some of the most renowned magazines, the space seems to portray your idea perfectly. How long did it take you to collect all the items there? Could you tell us more about some of the objects that might have a personal meaning for you?
Much like the community, the space has developed organically, an interplay between the ongoing installations of the day, combined with a variety of curious objects designed and developed by people from the Sameheads community. Currently you may come across a window display from MATAM, some airbrushed fans from NEMESIS, or a straw mannequin designed by RaKi….. I’ve always been really into odd texture and colour combinations, the possibilities of reflective surfaces, and toying with people’s perspectives. It’s about a series of small moments, micro worlds which bounce off each other. The unifying factors are a series of subtle frames found throughout the space…. A self made wallpaper printed from a Xerox machine, or a dotted line of neutral black and white tiling punctuating the space. Objects come and go, as do colours, backgrounds, textures, and furnishings. Boredom and inspiration work together to produce change. It’s a lot of fun!
You guys are always combining visuals, music and fashion with your concepts which is something we really admire. What do you think is the future of Berlin with the constant digitalisation we’re seeing in the world nowadays? We have seen you build up the Sameheads with 3d animation for one of your compilations, a very clear expression of this scary digitalisation process we’re going through, what else should we be expecting from you?
This cross pollinating factor has always been a thing for us. Ultimately, this “factory” model has always existed in the art communities of the day. We’ve been on board with our own version of this digitisation process, as finding your own take on the trends of the day keeps you relevant, and is a tricky thing to pull off. The next generation should see you as a reference point, and a place to meet and work on their own visions of art outside the mainstream. Our in-house animator Gomito is a fantastic example of an extremely talented animator who comes from a multidisciplinary background, very much inspired with a hands on analog approach and absolutely representing the kind of tongue in cheek satire of the themes of the day in which Sameheads thrives. We were also fortunate enough to have some wonderful work produced for our “Hooch!” record by Stacie Ant when she first touched down in Europe, and have more digital projects upcoming for which I’m currently bound to secrecy!
这种交叉授粉的因素对我们来说一直都是一个东西。归根结底，这种 “工厂 “模式一直存在于当时的艺术群体中。 我们一直在加入我们自己版本的这种数字化进程，因为在当时的潮流中找到自己的看法，可以让你保持相关性，而且是一件很棘手的事情。下一代人应该把你当成一个参考点，也是一个在主流之外的地方，去满足和研究自己的艺术愿景。我们的内部动画师Gomito就是一个非常棒的例子，他是一个非常有才华的动画师，他来自于多学科的背景，非常有灵感的模拟手法，绝对代表了Sameheads所盛行的那种对当下主题的诙谐讽刺。我们还有幸在Stacie Ant第一次登陆欧洲时，为我们的 “Hooch!”唱片制作了一些精彩的作品，还有更多的数字项目即将推出，我目前还在保密中。
Talking about music, you have run your Radio Show Sameheads for a long time. How has it worked for you so far? I believe you started before the pandemic… Do you think we will still be seeing more and more shows online after things go back to normal? What do you think will be your secret weapon to be more visible if that happens?
The weekly stream we run at Sameheads was something we felt could add to the overall aesthetic and sonic footprint we have in the city and beyond. It was set-up quite some time before the pandemic kicked in and was never intended as anything more than an extra midweek gathering point for interesting analog music sets, weird music excursions, and ground zero for flamboyant locals to gather and have some fun. When the pandemic is over, things will remain as they had before. Once a week, and aggressively curated to promote our artistic viewpoint without compromise.
You worked with artists like Donato Dozzy or Franz Scala for your compilations with such great selection taste. What could you say about the compilations themselves? Is there any message behind them?
Much like the off location warehouse events, or festivals, the vinyl and tape releases should be seen as an extension of the wider culture of the project, and not simply as independent commercial products. These releases don’t make money, but they create a more tangible, visceral experience of what you might feel when you connect with Sameheads. A flashback to an early morning dancefloor moment, or a hint of the colours, textures or characters you might come across at one of our events. We are extremely humbled that so many pioneering electronic artists wish to play for us, or be released through us.
The strong support for independent brands from your side is incredible, as we could see it in your participation in MBFW 2020 with ‘Walkingheads’What do you think about changing the place of the next edition of the Fashion Week from Berlin to Frankfurt? Would you like to continue hosting events like this in your concept bar?
Nathan: Yes, Sameheads began as an independent fashion boutique back in 2006, representing a spectrum of edgy designers looking for a central showroom to exhibit their unique pieces and / or collections. The guys we partnered with for “Walkingheads” formed part of our early fashion community here in Berlin, and remain closely aligned to Sameheads. The sisters Mariangeles & Paula at Therapy Recycle & Exorcise, along with Andrea & Nicola of Fade Out are part of the family and each have a super cool take on street style.
Raki: When the shop part of Sameheads had to close, we missed the buzz of looking for interesting independent designers doing their thing in Berlin, so, we like to honour our fashion past by occasionally organizing pop up shops or photoshootings internationally and shop window installations or catwalks in house. That permits us to still remain in contact with the underground fashion community in Berlin and discover some new designer talents.
Nathan:是的，Sameheads早在2006年就开始作为一家独立的时尚精品店，代表了一批前卫的设计师，他们正在寻找一个中心展厅来展示他们的独特作品和/或系列。在 “Walkingheads “中与我们合作的人是我们柏林早期时尚社区的一部分，并且与Sameheads保持着紧密的联系。Therapy Recycle & Exorcise的姐妹Mariangeles和Paula，以及Fade Out的Andrea和Nicola都是这个大家庭的成员，他们每个人都有超酷的街头风格
You recently went to Cuba for a project didn’t you? How was it? Sounds exciting!
Raki: Through the years we have been lucky enough to mix with an expansive creative community in Berlin, some of it involved in film. So when some friends went to Cuba to shoot a dystopian sci-fi art house film, we didn’t doubt getting involved with the styling part of it. Was real fun to bring our aesthetic to a place like that and work with local talent to archive it, and of course, the perfect excuse to leave Berlin in the midst of a pandemic and keep on being creative while the business is closed.
Nathan: Wow, what a place! Wonderful friendly people living inside a decaying colonial paradise. Such an experience. Such a welcome break from the dreary grey skies of Berlin…. We will return.
We know you also were traveling around Asia to work with different designers. What was the main idea of it? Also, I’m curious, who’s your favourite fashion designer here in Berlin? And have you ever thought about opening your own fashion label?
Nathan: To date, we have made two separate tours of Asia representing the community of Sameheads affiliated fashion designers. In Japan in 2016 & China in 2018. We managed to secure a pop up shop at the world famous Dog Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan which was quite the eye opener and enabled us to push the fashion aesthetics of our European designers to an excitable and energetic Japanese youth market. Spending time with the local “fashion icons” of the neighbourhood was a really unforgettable experience for us….. As a result of the trip, we also established close ties with Excube, a go-to alternative fashion shop in Osaka. Makoto, the owner, has since made two separate trips to Berlin, bringing with him a range of Japanese designers to showcase at Sameheads.
Raki: After the unbeliavable experience in Japan, we were invited to showcase independent Berlin designers, and the concept of Sameheads in Shanghai, China. This time we traveled with not only fashion but also a couple of our resident Djs and video artists and made the pop up an overall Sameheads experience to show to the Chinese youth, who are more disconnected from underground culture, but were incredibly open minded and curious, making this a really interesting cultural and creative interchange.
Nathan:到目前为止，我们已经分别代表Sameheads附属时装设计师社区进行了两次亚洲之旅。2016年在日本&2018年在中国。我们成功地在日本东京世界著名的Dog Harajuku开了一家弹出式店铺，这让我们大开眼界，也让我们能够将欧洲设计师的时尚美学推向兴奋而有活力的日本年轻人市场。与当地的 “时尚偶像 “共度时光，对我们来说是一次非常难忘的经历…..。此行的结果是，我们还与大阪的另类时装店Excube建立了密切的联系。店主Makoto此后两次前往柏林，带着一系列日本设计师的作品在Sameheads展示。
If you would consider moving to an Asian country for a few months to get some inspiration and work on some creative project, where would you and your team go?
Raki: I´ve never been in Indonesia, but I´m extremely curious to check out the underground artistic scene of the country and particularly Yogyakarta as i´ve heard great things about it.
Nathan: I would happily return to China. We haven’t even scratched the surface of a place with such a rich history on the verge of becoming the major superpower in the world, yet still with such an untapped underground youth market. Watch out for the next big wave of experimental fashion and music creatives coming out of China.
Interview 作者: Grzegorz Bacinski & Izabella Chrobok
Translation 翻译: Emi & Joyce
Photos照片：Page 2: Jun Kim – Flam! Vinyl cover shoot
Page 3: Attila Kenyeres – Backstage – China Zero Magazine shoot
Page 4: Amiee Oh – Attitude Holland shoot
Page 5: Lemuria Wang – China Zero Magazine shoot
Page 6: (Left) Attila Kenyeres (Right) Christoph Neumann for Huf Magazine
Page 7: Poster design by Molly Dyson
Page 8: Phillip Kaminiak – China pop up poster shoot.