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  • Catching Up With Elephant Stone At Levitation Vancouver


    Vanessa Tam is a freelance marketing consultant and lifestyle writer based in Vancouver, Canada.  An all around music lover and friend of HEX, she takes every opportunity to attend as many live music events as possible.  Vanessa met up with Montreal based Psych-Pop band Elephant Stone at Levitation Vancouver and here is how the conversation went:

    Levitation Vancouver is our version of the Austin Psych Fest music festival produced in collaboration with Timbre Concerts, a local concert production company.  Along with live performances happening all day at Malkin Bowl, a scaled replica of the Hollywood Bowl in LA, the party continues throughout the night at select venues in the city.  The festival boasts a solid curation of both local and international artists celebrating psychedelic, pop, electronic, shoegaze, metal and experimental music.

    I was stoked to be able to sit down to chat with Rishi Dhir from Elephant Stone, with a cameo by Christian Bland from The Black Angels, after their set.  Influenced by bands such as The Beatles and Primal Scream, Elephant Stone incorporates traditional Indian instruments like the sitar and the tabla into their psychedelic sound.  Outside of Elephant Stone, Rishi has toured around the world with bands such as The Black Angels as one of the most sought after bass and sitar players in the genre.  Scroll down to check it out our interview below.


    Rishi Dhir and Christian Bland

    Vanessa: So this is your first time in Vancouver eh? Welcome!

    Rishi (Elephant Stone): Thank you!

    V: So I read somewhere that you were first inspired to pick up the sitar when you were traveling with your family in India?

    R: True?

    Christian Bland (The Black Angels): False!

    R: Correct! I grew up listening to a lot of Indian music and you know, we also grew up on The Beatles.

    C: Yeah and we were exposed to The Rolling Stones.

    R: Yeah and all those bands.  The sitar was just something that's always been there, and everyone wants to own a sitar correct?

    C: Oh yeah, I wish I could get a left handed one...

    R: And it just so happens, you're in India.  So what are you gonna do?  Buy a sitar.  So in India, I bought a sitar.


    Elephant Stone

    V: So here at Levitation, you're sharing a stage with The Black Angels, whom you went on tour with as a bassist in the past.

    R: True?

    C: Yes, that is a true statement.  Haha!  What a job Rishi did.

    R: Man, what a time.  That was in 2012!  My second child was born and I was like, awesome!  Then Christian called me and said, wanna tour Europe with us?  I was like okay!  Then I was on the road for a year.

    V: Awesome!  So are you still lending your sound to other bands or is Elephant Stone your main focus musically?

    R: Elephant Stone, but...

    C: Yeah we're mainly focusing on Elephant Stone

    R: Haha!  Yeah it's true!  Elephant Stone is my baby, but I'm always interested in collaborating with bands.



    Elephant Stone

    V: I read somewhere that when you were touring with The Black Angels, their music influenced your musical style and also influenced Elephant Stone.  In a positive way of course.

    R: Now there's a lot of truth to that because Three Poisons (Elephant Stone’s third LP), have you heard my record? *looks at Christian*

    C: Yeah!

    R: You have? No you haven't!

    C: Yeah I have!

    R: Sing a verse!


    R: Yeah so during 2012, playing with him (Christian Bland) for a year, I learned a lot.  These guys are a phenomenal band.  Like one of the first songs on our record, that riff, that could've been an Angels riff.  It's funny because I wrote the riff thinking of you (Christian Bland) playing it.  I was like, ugh, it sounds too much like the Angels!  Then I put it on a sitar and it sounded more like Elephant Stone.  So yeah, I had a lot of influence from these guys from touring with them.


    Elephant Stone

    V: I read somewhere that your main goal when writing a new song is to create the perfect pop song.

    R: Well yeah, every song should be your best song.  You always want to refine your craft, so I always want to write a better song.  You don't want to release stuff that's not the best thing you could make.

    V: I feel like, especially in music now, there's a lot of pressure on artists to constantly just pump out stuff.  Not necessarily good stuff, but just volume.  Because people's attention span, especially on blogs or on Soundcloud, it's so short.

    C: I mean, I don't know.  I guess you just gotta play what you enjoy.

    R: I don't know.  I think it's too unfiltered, music right now.  I think the industry needs people to tell bands that's not the best you can do.  Like the last record we did,  Three Poisons, we pretty much recorded ourselves.  Now I look back on it and i'm like, it sounds like it's pre-production when it released.  So to answer your question, yes I do believe people need to filter their music and that people are putting out too much music right now.

    C: Yeah, it's hard to weed through the good stuff.


    The Black Angels

    V: What are your favourite festivals that you've played in your career so far?

    R: Well, I've played a lot of festivals with these guys (The Black Angels).  I would say Coachella was great.

    C: Yeah, oh that was really cool!

    R: Harvest Festival was really cool too; that was in Australia.

    V: Last question:  What's going on with the rest of your summer?  Are you guys touring a lot?

    R: No, we're not touring much.  We're in pre-production for the new record.  So we're recording in September then we're coming back to play California in November.  So yeah, I don't want to tour much this year, I just want to make the best record I can make, no matter what.

  • Fall 2015 Lookbook

    Check out the latest from HEX in our Fall 2015 Lookbook that just dropped!

    HEX Fall 2015 Lookbook

  • Art Sux Anyways Photo Show in DTLA

    We recently sponsored a photo show in Los Angeles at Think Tank Gallery.  The show was organized by Art Sux Anyways and raised money for the Music Unites charity, so we were down with that for sure.


    The curated mix of photographers spanned both East and West coasts and was intended to "document the lifestyles that we live and breathe, bringing the tranquil and the disobedient to one location where the viewer can, too, participate in the simplicity of nature and the complexity of adapting to urbanization".  Some of the photographers on display included C.R. Stecyk III, Grant Gutierez, Liz Gilson, and Morgan Phillips, to name a few.



    We were lucky enough to be able to select and feature one of our favorite photographers, trashhand, and it was great to see his shot of the Paris underground on such a large scale.


    We brought the HEX Bus along and maneuvered into a very Austin Powers inspired parking spot for the evening.  Desillusion Magazine was also out back showing videos over their projector.

    The Black Suns provided the music and Golden Road Brewery provided the beer, so it was a good night for all involved.


    Max Ehrlich and Nathan Warner were our distinguished hosts


    So check out some of these fine photographers and be on the lookout for The HEX Bus - you never know where it will turn up next!

    Flyer (2)

  • Introducing The Highland Collection

    We are proud to announce the release of the Highland Collection, a 8-piece capsule of bags, sleeves, and carry-alls.


    “The Highland Collection brings a summer vibe with echoes of linen and flax,” says Dan Maravilla, Co-Founder. “The rich texture and tonal color story are there to compliment long, warm summer days.”


    The collection features an engineered linen blend that is treated for water resistance.  Nude leatherette accents and gold strap webbing compliment the antique copper hardware to achieve a new look with a classic feel.  Interior device pockets are lined with micro fleece to keep devices pampered and protected.  The Highland Collection is timeless in its roots and current in its execution and will pair well with a modern summer wardrobe.   The Highland Collection is priced from $29.95 to $129.95.



    Worth noting in the Highland Collection are 2 new envelope sleeves for iPad and iPad Mini, or other tablets.  These offer a stylish way to easily protect your tablet in the most minimalistic way possible.  The inside is padded and fleece-lined, and the envelopes are trimmed in the same nude leatherette at the rest of the collection for a sharp new option and a great entry price-point into quality HEX gear.


  • Field Report: Stumptown Coffee - LA's Brew Masters

    Coffee is the world's second most valuable commodity behind petroleum, so I think it's fair to say that most people enjoy a cup of coffee to get their morning started. Well over half of American adults drink coffee daily and to most, coffee is just coffee, no matter where it comes from.  For others, it is much more than that.  Studies and statistics are showing that coffee drinkers are ditching their basic beverages for quality, strength and taste. Gourmet coffee, fancy espresso drinks and unique coffee concepts are becoming super trendy and sought after these days.  In a market that is so saturated and competitive, roasters and brewers have to focus on perfecting their product and differentiating themselves to stay on top.


    I'll admit it, I was not a huge coffee drinker, but I enjoy the taste and it saves me from passing out at my desk a few times a week. When I first stumbled upon Stumptown Coffee, via one of its milk carton cold brews, I instantly loved it. It was chocolate milk for adults and man was it strong!  Since we are always downtown at meetings, events or photo shoots, Stumptown's Los Angeles location at 806 S Santa Fe Ave has become one of our favorites. This place was not only a coffee shop, but a full on roastery and distribution hub for the southwest - an extensive operation. I thought to myself, this would make an awesome Field Report, and with the help of manager Lisa Reeve, we made it happen!  It was incredible to see the whole process and we can't thank the staff enough for rolling out the welcome mat for us.


    Stumptown is doing it right. You walk in to a large, open space that is clean, modern and minimal - just the way we like it!  There is usually a line, but you might just be lucky enough to walk right up. As you place your order with a friendly and educated staff member, you are tempted by a variety of fresh pastries in a case next to the register. Today we were fortunate enough to meet assistant manager, Jason, and master barista, Matt, who were both crazy busy, but managed to answer all of our questions and let us taste a ton of great espresso drinks. You are in good hands with these gentlemen, they know their coffee!


    The staff are not only super chill, but they know pretty much everything there is to know about coffee. This isn't your average cafe, it is a full circle coffee operation from bean to brew. While working in a roastery, you see it all and learn it all. Stumptown's mission is quality, taste and consistency. Their coffee and techniques are so far from average that they have a large test kitchen to train baristas and wholesale accounts their ways. Training can last from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on experience. We couldn't wait to get the full tour and learn more, but first we had to do some taste testing.


    The cafe has a great atmosphere and vibe.  Barista, Matt puts on some classic tunes before whipping up some tasty espresso for us.


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    3P1A2426 3P1A2405 3P1A2462


    Unlimited Cold Brew on tap.  Don't think about sleeping anytime soon...


    Cold Brew with Nitro.  A unique twist that makes their ridiculously strong Cold Brew with nitrogen like Guinness.


    Highest quality, roasted daily.  This sign says it all.  Stumptown coffee is roasted to order with a three day lead time and a two week shelf life, so customers only get the freshest roast possible.  They care more about the quality, consistency and taste than anything else.  They take care of their suppliers around the world and aren't afraid to pay more for a better product.  A team visits each of their farms multiple times per year and strategizes with the farmer on growing, cherry/bean selection, separation and preparation.  Producing great coffee is expensive and Stumptown knows it.  They care so much about the quality of their beans, that, at their own expense, they help educate their farmers on what they are looking for and how to achieve this standard.  Long term relationships are developed with farmers to insure they can make the most profit and not give in to standard bean prices. Very impressive.


     Stumptown works with coffee growers from all over the world.  Some of it's biggest sources come from Colombia (of course), Africa and Indonesia.


    Raw beans, it all starts here.  The beans are picked in their cherry form (the fruit around the bean) and have to be picked at their ripest to ensure quality.


    Beans are roasted daily in order to deliver the freshest product possible.  Each batch is made specifically to fill an order, so there is no excess produced.  Stumptown's Los Angeles roastery will usually roast 25-30 batches daily.  Batch size is 60 kilos (or 132 pounds), which means they roast around 3500 pounds daily!  Stumptown has roasteries in Portland, Seattle and New York, but when you are the only one in the South, you have to roast a lot of coffee.


    Beans are sent directly to the roaster, where they roast at between 300 to 500 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the batch.  The massive Probat roaster acts more like a convection oven churning out very hot air that gives the beans an even roast.  It is very important that the beans get roasted evenly, not just on the inside or outside. The beans are checked very carefully during the roast to make sure they are roasting properly and do not burn.


    As soon as the batch is done roasting, the beans drop into the cooling tray and are spun around for a few minutes to cool off.  You can only imagine how good it smells in the roasting room!  Head roaster, Ben Angelo, educated us on the full roasting process and walked us through it step by step.


    After the beans have cooled, they are sucked up by this Willy Wonka looking tube, dropped into a bin, and go straight to bagging.  Freshness at it's finest.



    The beans are brought to a packaging area in back where they are scooped up, weighed and bagged. The bags are stickered with the bean/roast information and then sealed tight for optimal freshness. From here they are ready to sell and ship to all of California, Arizona and Texas.


    Fresh Stumptown beans can be found at finer coffee retailers, or you can subscribe at Stumptown's website and get coffee delivered right to your house!



    We got a sneak peek into the Stumptown tasting lab, the key to their consistency.  This regional tasting guide was pretty rad and broke down the flavors.


    Stumptown has 10 cafes in 4 states and a roastery in each state. They are growing rapidly and can be found across America in gourmet coffee shops, grocery stores and even taco shops. The key to their success is consistency and they do an excellent job of monitoring this. Each roastery sends weekly samples of their featured coffees and the time and temperature to roast at.  From there the coffee is roasted, brewed, compared and adjusted if necessary.


    To serious coffee drinkers, even brewing makes a difference. This is a Chemex coffee maker that uses thick oxygen-cleansed filters. These filters regulate the filtration rate while extracting undesirable components and allow a perfect infusion of the grounds to give the coffee a richer flavor.  Stumptown's LA cafe specializes in amazing coffee, but they have a great selection of pots, filters and mugs to complete your caffeinated experience.


    Hard at work. Touring Stumptown's Los Angeles facility was truly amazing and educational. We can't thank Lisa and the staff enough for having us and taking time out of their busy day to show us around.  Hats off to you guys, we had a great afternoon with you and will be seeing you real soon!


     If you are downtown, go see our friends at Stumptown at 1pm daily for a free tasting. Warning: This is how they get you, you'll be hooked at first sip!


    Take home a growler of cold brew and bring it back for a refill.  You can never have enough cold brew!


  • Ghost Writer: Jeff Staple - Different Drums, Same Rhythm

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    Many of you know Jeff Staple, or think you do.  But to us, he is more than just the enigmatic force behind his namesake fashion brand, Staple Pigeon.  He is also an aficionado of art, music, and all things creative.  So, when he agreed to contribute to our Ghost Writer series, we knew we were in for a treat.  So enjoy Jeff's take on two current exhibits at The Brooklyn Museum and his exclusive words and pics.

    There are currently two exhibitions happening right now at the Brooklyn Museum  The pairing could not be more perfect and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in town.


    “Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks” is on display until August 23rd and "Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic" is on display until May 24th. Their work is decades apart from each other chronologically, but their mission could not be more complimentary. If you read every single caption and subtext of the exhibition, you may notice a small coincidence (or maybe not) that both artists agree on one thing: They wanted to place people of color in a world where they don’t normally see it: ART. It’s extremely likely that Wiley is influenced by JMB, but you don’t actually get that feeling. Stylistically, they could not be more different.


    Wiley is a master—and he knows it. You know how a skater will pull a ridiculous trick even though he knows he’s won the competition? He’ll risk humiliation or even worse, injury; all in the name of just going for it. Wiley does the same. It’s obvious he’s good at his craft. But he just rubs in it. Cmon! These pieces are on a level fit for Napoleon.






    Basquiat on the other hand, wields what any pauper has at their disposal: A composition notepad found at any 24-hour bodega and a No. 2 pencil. Maybe sometimes a crayon if you’re lucky. Basquiat makes you think with his word play. Wiley makes you think with his sheer artistic prowess. The great thing about what you see in Basquiat’s work is his brainstorming process. Most of the words, phrases and sketches seen in these notebooks never appear in his actual exhibited work. It’s like being a fly on the wall in his thought process. It’s really a rare experience.





    The curator of the museum gets five stars from me for pairing these two artists together. One from the era of Fab Five Freddy and Boogie Down Productions. The other from the Rocafella Era and Watch The Throne. Two artists from different eras, different instruments, but playing the same exact rhythm.

    - Jeff Staple

    follow Jeff Staple on Instagram

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