Listen to ‘How Do You Feel?

For his Paris mens fashion Week show, Rick Owens turned to artist and shaman Matthew Stone to provide its musical accompaniment. The result? A collaboration between Stone, Owens’ wife/muse Michele Lamy, and New York rapper Zebra Katz.

The track, called ‘How Do You Feel?’ is part of an ongoing project for Stone, where he aims to spread his “Manifesto of Love” across different meduims such as fashion shoots for i-D magazine, an upcoming video project for Channel 4, and indeed our very own Clash, wherein Issue 76 Stone shot rapper A$AP Rocky wearing jewellery he’d commissioned, bearing slogans from his manifesto “Everything is possible and love changes everything”.

For the special collaborative song, Matthew chose Michele and Zebra Katz (AKA Ojay Morgan) for their stand-out voices (Ojay’s silky smooth deep tone - reminiscent of Barry White - and Michele’s thick French accent) to recite the poem ‘Old Age’ by the renaissance writer Langston Hughes.

“The collaboration was Rick’s idea,” Stone explains. “We were having dinner in Paris and he asked me to work on some music for Michele to provide vocals for. Michele has done music before and often uses the poet Langston Hughes as lyrical material; she normally works with a live jazz band, so making electronic dance music was probably a big change.”

The lyrics in the poem were a perfect match for Stone as the lyrics seem to mimic and carry the same ethos as those in his personal manifesto.

“Michele read the poem to me as we sat at dinner and then wrote the words out for me to keep. I put the lyrics under my pillow while I slept that night and sadly forgot them when leaving the hotel the next day. As I understand it the poem focuses on the perspectives gained with the passing of time. The lyrics ask: “Having known snow in winter and the burst of bloom in spring / What can you dream of now to make your heart still sing?” On one hand it says that there is nothing new or beautiful, but then it also suggests that “might not the self-same wonders do?””

Matthew and Ojay met while in New York and Matthew was taking portraits of him; the pair hit it off and started to work together mostly via email where Ojay would record vocal parts and Matthew would manipulate them and mix them with Michele’s vocals recorded in London, the effect being the two voices in conversation.

Zebra Katz first came to be known on a wider scale due to Rick Owens choosing their song ‘Ima Read’ as the soundtrack for his womens show last winter. The song was on loop for the eleven minutes of models walking up and down in Owens’ new wares. Ojay has said he was a fan of Rick Owens before and that he never thought that ‘Ima Read’ would be a track played at a Paris Fashion Week show. From there, fashion fans heard it and spread it all over the Internet, the music video flooding Facebook feeds and becoming viral. The track referenced New York’s underground vogue ball culture and alludes to the scene’s documentary Paris Is Burning. Zebra Katz are the band that are spearheading the “queer rap” movement that is breaking out of New York at the moment. Stone took inspiration from this to produce a track that sounds like a sexy slowed down version of something you could imagine Paris Is Burning’s outcast youths dancing to at a ball.

On a wider music scale the track has done the rounds with house and dance DJs, who’ve taken the vocals and beats from the song and put their own spin on it. Owens proceeded to commission a series of remixes from artists like MikeQ (Ballroom House DJ and producer), DJ Sliink (Jersey Footwork producer), Reilly Steel and Zebra Katz.

‘How Do You Feel?’ may prove a launch pad of another aspect of Stone’s music career - he already works closely with designer Gareth Pugh, making unique soundtracks tailored to each collection. “I’m making more music than ever and thinking about how to proceed with that,” he admits. “Most of the music I have made so far has been part of collaborative work for other people’s creative projects, like Gareth Pugh’s fashion shows and films. Now I’m just considering how to present the music I make on it own.”

Listen to ‘How Do You Feel?’ by Matthew Stone feat. Michele Lamy and Zebra Katz

Words by Matthews Josephs
Photo by by Matthew Stone

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