TB! > In new THE BRILLIANCE interview fashion...how many voicemails do you currently have on your phone? Are you the type to leave voicemail's or text right after people don't pick up?
V! > I TEXT AFTER PEOPLE DON'T PICK UP... TOO MANY HE-SAID-SHE-SAID'S, SO IT'S BETTER TO LEAVE THE MESSAGE IN WRITTEN FORM!
TB! > Where in the world would we find you today?
SHIBUYA, TOKYO, EVERY DAY
TB! > Favorite alias or nickname you have for yourself?
I HAD LOTS OF MC ALIASES IN THE PAST... L-UNIVERSE, VINCENT GALLUO, MR.V, BARBER YANAGI, JOHNNY ASTRO, ETC. BUT I THINK I SIT WELL WTIH JUST "VERBAL".
TB! > What's the first cd you bought and last album you downloaded?
MY FIRST RECORD (CASSETTE) WAS EITHER RUN DMC'S "RAISING HELL" OR THE "FOOTLOOSE SOUND TRACK"...
TB! > How intertwined is being a music artist, designer and fashion icon? I would assume the creative energy stems from the same place? Was it something you had since childhood?
VERY! I'M ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO CAN'T SIT STILL... IF I'M NOT IN THE STUDIO OR ON STAGE, I HAVE TO BE DESIGNING OR SOMETHING. PEOPLE HERE THINK I'M WORKAHOLIC, AND THE JAPANESE WORK ENVIRONMENT ALREADY IS WORKAHOLIC ENOUGH!!! I LOVE WHAT I DO!! SINCE I WAS LITTLE I ALWAYS WANTED TO WORK IN A CREATIVE ENVIRONMENT. ALWAYS LOVED MUSIC, ARTS, ETC. BUT I GREW UP WITH STRICT KOREAN PARENTS WHO WEREN'T ABOUT TO HAVE A SON WHO RAPS... YOU KNOW, THEY WANTED ME TO GO TO COLLEGE AND GET A DEGREE, SO I GOT THAT BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN BUSINESS AND PHILOSOPHY. BUT THAT STILL DIDN'T EXTINGUISH MY DREAMS, AND GOD OPENED DOORS FOR ME TO PURSUE WHAT I DO NOW.
TB! > What city around the world do you find most inspiring?
TOKYO, PARIS, LONDON, NEW YORK, BANGKOK
TB! > I remember seeing that Monocle article last year back and your house looked crazy fresh. What would you call you decorating aesthetic? Do you consider interior design and fashion one in the same expression?
"SPACY". I GREW UP WATCHING ALL THOSE JAPANESE ANIMATION AND SCI-FI STUFF, AND ALWAYS DREAMED OF WORKING IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE I'M CONSTANTLY SURROUNDED BUT PEOPLE AND THINGS I LOVE. TO ME, INTERIOR DESIGN IS IMPORTANT, B/C LIKE FASHION, IT'S NOT A "NECESSITY" IN LIFE, BUT IT'S A MANIFESTATION OF YOUR TASTE AND WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT.
TB! > Your jewelry line is really building up steam. What's the concept, what's the backstory behind your line? It is amazing what one of your POW chains can do for a whole outfit. Personally I'd like to say thanks for creating this piece, ha.
THANK YOU!!! IT ALL STARTED WITH MY FIRST LINE, ANTONIO MURPHY & ASTROª BACK IN 2004, I COULDN'T FIND JEWELRY THAT I HAD IN MIND, SO I DECIDED TO MAKE ONE MYSELF, WHICH WAS A RING WITH A CROWN SITTING ON TOP OF MY FINGER. THEN MY FRIENDS IN THE FASHIO INDUSTRY WERE LIKE, "WHERE'D YOU GET THAT?" SO I TOLD THEM HOW I CREATED THEM MYSELF, AND THAT LED TO A STORE IN HARAJUKU ASKING ME MAKE SAME ONES SO THEY CAN CARRY THEM. THAT'S HOW I GOT INTO THE JEWELRY GAME."
THEN I WOULD MEET ARTISTS IN AND OUT OF JAPAN WHO'D SEE MY PIECES AND ASK ME ABOUT THEM. KANYE IS ONE OF THEM. HE JUST CAME UP TO ME WHEN I MET HIM IN TOKYO, AND HE WAS LIKE, "WHERE'D YOU GET THAT CHAIN?" SO I WAS LIKE, "IT'S MY BRAND". THEN HE GOES, "I WANT THE SAME THING, EXCEPT BIGGER!"
ANTONIO MURPHY & ASTROª IS ABOUT HIGH-END JEWELRY WITH 18K GOLD, PLATINUM, AND DIAMONDS. SO I STARTED AMBUSHª, THE SECOND LINE EXPERIMENTING WITH ALL TYPES OF MATERIALS BESIDES GOLD AND DIAMONDS, WITH CRAZY COLORS.
THE CONCEPT BEHIND AMBUSHª, IS "PORTABLE ART". I LOVE POP ART AND I CAN STARE AT WARHOL AND LICHTENSTEIN FOR DAYS. I JUST FEEL INSPIRED TO BE NEAR IT. I FEEL THE ENERGY AND THE VIBE. I WANT AMBUSHª TO DO THE SAME FOR OTHERS AS WELL.
TB! > The verdict is out. You arguably have the best chain in the game. The marathon runner piece. Tell us how the design came together...
WOW!! THANKS AGAIN!!! WELL, I THINK MY TASTE FOR JEWELRY CHANGED AFTER BEING AROUND NIGO(R). I USED TO BE AMAZED AT REGULAR CROSSES WITH DIAMONDS, BUT HE HAD HUGE PIECES WITH MULTI-COLORED DIAMONDS. CRAZY!!! SO FOR MINE, I WANTED TO MAKE A PIECE THAT WAS LIKE A GOLD MEDAL WITH THE TRI-COLORED TAPE, LIKE WHAT YOU GET IN THE OLYMPICS. THE CHARM PART CONSISTS OF DIAMONDS OF VARIOUS COLORS, WITH THE "RUNNER" IN FRONT OF THE "V". "V" FOR "VERBAL", AND FOR ROMAN NUMERAL "V", SINCE I CAME OUT WITH MY FIFTH ALBUM FOR MY MUSIC GROUP "M-FLO". THE CHAIN PART IS THE "TAPE" PART OF THE MEDAL, USING WHITE DIAMONDS, BLUE SAPPHIRE, AND RUBIES. I WANTED THE COLORS TO BE JUST LIKE THE "TAPE" SO I'M HAPPY ABOUT THE WAY IT TURNED OUT! THTE TOTAL CARATS IS APPROX. 200CT.
TB! > Who is your favorite high-end fashion designer and why?
KARL LAGERFELD FOR CHANEL. AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, HE STILL KEEPS THE BRAND YOUNG AND FRESH WITHOUT LOSING THE INTEGRITY AND NOT FORGETTING WHAT THE HOUSE STANDS FOR. CAN YOU BELIEVE HE'S 75??? TOO FRESH!!!!!!
TB! > Favorite non Hip-Hop artist.
RECENTLY... CAT POWER ALL TIME... THE CURE
TB! > You ever turn your swagger off? Like one day do you just kick it in beat up sneakers and an old washed out tee?
NEVER!!! I'M NOT SUPERSTITIOUS, BUT I FEEL LIKE WHEN WEAR BEAT UP STUFF, IT'S LIKE I GAVE UP ON MYSELF OR SOMETHING.
TB! > What's the last movie you saw?
TB! > For those that are unfamilar what's the story behind your music career m-flo & The Teriyaki Boyz?
I ALWAYS LOVED MUSIC, AND I WAS OFFERED A RECORD DEAL BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL. BUT LIKE I SAID, SINCE MY PARENTS WERE STRICT, I WENT TO COLLEGE AND PAID MY DUES. THEN I GOT TOGETHER WITH MY FRIEND FROM THE BAND I DID IN HIGH SCHOOL, AND A RECORD THAT WE PUT OUT IN 1999 WAS OUR TICKET INTO THE GAME. IN M-FLO, ME AND MY PARTNER TAKU WRITE SONGS AND PRODUCE, AND I GUESS WE'RE SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WHAT DAFT PUNK AND NEPTUNES DO. TERIYAKI BOYZ STARTED WHEN NIGO PUT OUT THE ALBUM "(B)APER SOUNDS", WHERE HE GOT TOGETHER ALL THE HOTTEST HIP HOP ARTISTS IN JAPAN WITH NON-JAPANESE PRODUCERS. IT WAS ILMARI, RYO-Z, WISE, AND ME MC-ING IN THE SONG, AND ORIGINALLY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A ONE-TIME THING. BUT WE GOT CARRIED AWAY WITH IT, DOING IMPROMPTU SHOWS IN CLUBS, AND NIGO GOT CARRIED AWAY WITH IT, GETTING US TRACKS FROM PHARRELL, KANYE, JUST BLAZE, ETC. BEFORE WE KNEW IT, WE HAD A DEAL WITH DEF JAM/UNIVERSAL.
TB! > Sunglasses. How many pairs do you own. What's your most prized pair? What's the one pair you bought but have still never worn?
TOO MANY!!! COUPLE HUNDREDS?? I LOVE THE VINTAGE COURREGES ESKIMO SHADES... I'VE WORN ALL THEM!!!
TB! > What similarities do you see between American an Japanese culture. Which do you feel is more progressive in terms of style/taste?
I FEEL LIKE THEY ARE POLAR OPPOSITES, THAT'S WHY THEY ATTRACT ONE ANOTHER. AMERICA HAS SWAG, AND JAPAN KNOWS HOW TO PACKAGE THAT. PEOPLE FOCUS ON JAPAN FOR FASHION, BUT IF IT WASN'T FOR AMERICA JAPAN WOULDN'T HAVE THE RESOURCES AND IDEAS TO SAMPLE FROM, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. BUT I GUESS JAPAN IS MORE PROGRESSIVE, BECAUSE WHEN JAPANESE PEOPLE GET INTO SOMETHING, THEY GET INTO IT HARD AND MAKE SOMETHING NEW OUT OF IT.
TB! > Aston Martin or Maserati? Wii or Internet? iPhone or blackberry? White or black iPhone. Reasonble Doubt or Blueprint I? Beaches or Concrete? Chanel or Fendi?
-ASTON MARTIN -INTERNET -NEITHER... I LIKE MY SIMPLE JAPANESE CELL PHONE -WHITE -REASONABLE DOUBT -CONCRETE -BOTH
TB! > One trend you regret following?
EXTENSION DREADS. JUST WRONG ON MOST ASIANS PERIOD!
TB! > Who's personal style do you admire?
MICHAEL JACKSON. ONLY HE CAN GET AWAY WITH KNEE PADS.
TB! > It feels like we are at that time again where men can get away with anything in terms of fashion. Does the norm effect you in terms of you expressing your opinion?
IT DEPENDS WHERE YOU ARE IN THE WORLD. DEFINITELY AND GENERALLY YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH MORE CRAZY STUFF HERE IN JAPAN BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T BUTT INTO YOUR SITUATION ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK. I DRESS HOWEVER I LIKE NO MATTER WHERE I GO.
TB! > What one piece generally dictates the rest of your outfit?
TB! > Current goals in life?
-KEEPING THE HOUSE CLEAN. -STARTING A NEW MUSIC LABEL
TB! > What's the best hotel you ever stayed in?
IT'S NOT A HOTEL, BUT RECENT TRIP TO FLORENCE, CARRIE (CASSETTE PLAYA) RENTED OUT THIS 15TH CENTURY VILLA FOR HER GUESTS WHO FLEW IN FOR PITTI PARTY. THE VILLA SITS ON TOP OF A HILL SO YOU GET THIS AMAZING VIEW OF FLORENCE. SO BEAUTIFUL.
TB! > Foods you don't eat.
PEANUTS. ALLERGIC TO THEM.