Big Air Package, Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany, Christo
This year, we partnered with Brooklyn Brewery and The Bell House to help put on Brooklyn Country Cantina at SXSW at Papi Tino’s in Austin’s East Side. Plenty of beer and tacos accompanied the great performances by Austin and Brooklyn bands. As the sun was setting on Friday night, Austin bluegrass darlings The Whiskey Shivers took the stage delivering their distinctive blend of bluegrass/country/folk/roots (dubbed “trash grass” by guitarist Jeff “Horti” Hortillosa) to hollering and kicked up dust from worn-in cowboy boots. The band closed with a song they composed by riffing off actual (not-so-friendly) comments received on their YouTube videos. Back in the courtyard, our favorite Brooklyn country revivalists, The Defibulators took the stage to a visibly excited crowd, as frontman Bug Jennings belted out to the crowd, “Eveybody’s got a banjo!” Their rowdy sound and the rowdy crowd proved that country music is alive and well from Brooklyn to Austin. Until next year SXSW!
On heavy rotation last year in the studio was Brooklyn’s Class Actress’ release Rapprocher, so we were thrilled at the chance of co-designing a graphic T-shirt with lead singer Elizabeth Harper. We loved the synth-pop beats, with the sexy and sometimes bittersweet lyrics, so we came up with a synth-inspired, hand-lettered design on a burnout boyfriend body based on her song, Love Me Like You Used To.
We’ve been pretty thrilled around the office about these bags finally hitting stores. We sourced the best leather here in the U.S. and the most skilled local craftsmen for these premium leather bags available as a backpack, tote, satchel, or cross body. Available in classic black and pop turquoise or orange, the collection derives its inspiration and namesake from Montague Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, which opens up onto the resplendent Promenade and a view of the city. Shop the entire collection here.
After their raucous set at Union Pool in Williamsburg last month, we caught up with Erin and Bug from the Brooklyn band, The Defibulators at their Brooklyn Heights home to ask them a couple of questions about what it’s like to play country music in New York City.
So Bug is from Texas so I understand his country connection, but Erin, as an L.A. to Brooklyn transplant, how did you get involved with country music here?
Well, it’s funny cuz Bug didn’t get into country music until he got to NY either. I think it’s the same for both of us in that what we heard on country radio stations growing up never excited us. It wasn’t until we heard classic country, like Buck Owens and George Jones, that we really got hooked. Then when I heard Wanda Jackson for the first time, I was convinced, country can be cool and worth giving a second chance. The more I listened to older country singers, I dug the real honest and direct story telling without a forced twang or any other affectation for that matter. And a well written country song can be pretty powerful. So we decided to give it a shot. We got a small band together and started playing in bars all over town.
What’s it like playing country and bluegrass in New York City?
It’s fun. I think NYC audiences really get into it cuz it isn’t something they’re used to hearing all the time. Not like in Nashville where there’s a country band playing in every bar downtown. Our brand of country is also spiked with a New York kind of energy, so I think that helps. It tends to be on the frenetic, anxious side, verging on chaos. Folks can relate to that here, we’re not trying to sugar coat anything. And living in the city, you tend to romanticize country life, which of course goes hand in hand with country music.
The Defibulators will be playing at the Brooklyn Country Cantina at SXSW in Austin, TX on March 15th and 16th, and another free show at Hill Country in NYC on March 28th.
For the latest spring photo campaign, our team captured a landscape as unfamiliar as a foreign country to most living in NYC – space within the city. The harbor in Sunset Park, Brooklyn - a vast expanse of relatively unoccupied warehouses brought together the themes of the new line – awakening, rebirth, and the opportunity presented by new horizons. Earlier in the decade, Sunset Park’s location along the New York harbor presented a similar opportunity at the time – waterfront acreage to fulfill America’s needs for wartime production and industrial manufacturing. After World War II, demand for heavy industry waned, and coupled with suburban flight, the neighborhood saw a huge decline in activity and value. Adding insult to injury, perennial New York punching bag Robert Moses’ newly constructed artery, The Gowanus, made a deep incision into the neighborhood, creating a dividing line between its residents and the waterfront, creating a no man’s land by the harbor.
With the rise in Brooklyn’s popularity, and the difficulty of finding square footage to work in, Brooklyn Industries wanted to highlight this Brooklyn gem that has been neglected for so long, yet still maintains a great amount of potential. With a camera, creativity, and fresh outlook for the new season, much like the Williamsburg neighborhood the company helped grow 15 years ago, hopefully a new sense of place will develop in the once bustling community along the water.
View the lookbook here.