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The Allah-Las are one of our favorite Los Angeles bands. We recently had a great time chatting with Matt, Spencer, Miles, and Pedrum before their killer set at Echo Park Rising downtown. It was short and sweet and the guys talked about beginnings, inspirations and their new album.
Here's how the convo went down:
HEX: I know a bunch of you guys met when you were at Amoeba Records, can you give us the backstory on that. What brought you there, and how did it all come together?
Allah-Las: Matt started working at the San Francisco Amoeba, and then he got me a job, and Pedrum worked there as well. We worked there for a little while together, and then started the band together, with Miles. That was about six years ago.
Three of us went to high school together. That's how we knew each other.
HEX: You guys work a lot with Nick Waterhouse on your recordings. How has he influenced the progression of the sound?
Allah-Las: We also want to give a shout-out to Dan Horn who was a big part of the last record we did.
The studio is actually right here, on the other side of that red, that red brick building [points].
So Dan Horn and Nick Waterhouse both have a good influence, and are great people to work with. It's always fun making records with those guys.
HEX: You guys are traveling all over the world now. How would you define “The L.A. Sound” , or what you guys' version of the L.A. sound is?
Allah-Las: I think people take different things and try to mix them up together. That's, that's kind of what this town is all about. But it’s hard to say. Everybody takes their different route, I guess.
HEX: What's the vibe behind the new album? Where did it come from, where are you going with it?
Allah-Las: This one we had all the songs were thought out on the road by us individually or collectively, and we've gotten a chance to kind of work them out, hash them out in the studio afterward. As opposed to the last record where we just played them live over and over again, and figured them out that way. Doing it in the studio gave us the opportunity to be a little more creative with instrumentation and throw different things in there, try things. It was a good experience for us. We really enjoyed doing that.
HEX: It's coming out, what, September, next month?
Allah-Las: The 16th, yes.
HEX: So your tour will start off in Europe. Are there any specific place you guys are really looking forward to playing or places you're looking forward to getting back to?
Allah-Las: We really like Greece.
The South of France. Spain. Those were fun places to visit.
The first show we're playing is in Mallorca. It's a festival out there, so that's going to be really rad. We are really looking forward to that.
HEX: When I listen to your music, I hear a lot of modern elements, but I also hear some kind-of classic, and some nostalgic stuff. Is that something that you guys do on purpose, mixing the modern and the nostalgic stuff, or does it just kind of come out that way?
Allah-Las: Well, since it's being made now, it's going to sound modern in some capacity.
That's the modern thing about it. It's music being made now by people alive now. But we also like a lot of old music, so that's in there, too. It's not a very conscious thing.
With the sounds we like, it just adds up.
HEX: So it just comes about organically then?
Allah-Las: Yeah, we didn't get together like, "Let's make an old-sounding band." We just kind of got together and started playing music together and we were all inspired and influenced by a lot of the same stuff, and a lot of that's older stuff, so it just kind of came out that way.
HEX: When you write your songs, do you guys write lyrics first, and then construct the songs around it, or do you guys just jam and get the music, and then put lyrics to it? How does it usually come about?
Allah-Las: Well, the first record, it was mostly that someone would have a riff or something, and we would jam on it and make the parts, and then Miles would go and write lyrics for it. For the most part, that's how the first record went. The second record, I wrote some songs, Miles wrote some songs, and we just put them together with all of us, all the input, to make them what they are now.
HEX: So it's almost a different each time, kind of based on where you're at.
Allah-Las: Yeah. It's kind of how it happened after being on the road for so long after the first record.
You never know what's going to become a song and what's not. Maybe you'll think of a lyrical idea, or maybe you'll think of a musical idea that forms into something great.
HEX: To finish up: What are you guys listening to currently? What would we find on your playlists?
Allah-Las: We've got this blog called Reverberation Radio. It's a podcast we do with us and six of our close friends, and every week, we have a 30-minute playlist, and share music around and post it up. So that's the best way to, to find out what we're listening to, is... Too much stuff to name, really.
That’s kind-of our outlet for sharing the stuff that inspires us.
This past weekend we headed to downtown LA for our very first Dwell On Design show. We are huge fans of Dwell so this event was a no-brainer. We have only heard great things about this show, so we were excited to get set up and see what Dwell On Design was all about. As America's largest design event, we found ourselves asking "Why have we not shown here before!?" It was unreal to say the least...I'm sure most have you have seen us post about The HEX Bus: our mobile retail pop-up shop. Of course we drove it in to show off our new collections and we couldn't have asked for a better spot! As part of Dwell's Outdoor Exhibit, we were placed around some huge and amazing pre-fabricated homes. We were surrounded by awesome neighbors such as Bend Goods, Sprouting Sprocket and a giant Airstream trailer. Being right next to the beer garden didn't hurt either!
The neat thing about Dwell On Design is that the show is a Trade Show as well as a retail event. So we were able to show off some of our Fall & Holiday 2014 Collections as well as sell current gear. We brought a ton of stock from our new Outpost, Hayward, Gallery, Option-G and Supply (coming soon) collections and we had an overwhelming response. Thanks to everyone that came by and picked up a bag or phone case from us, enjoy!
This show was amazing. They showcased everything from furniture to kitchen appliances to massive houses. Anyone and everyone focusing on design and innovation was here and there was inspiration everywhere! We had a great weekend and you will definitely see us at Dwell On Design next year!
Keep an eye out for the HEX Bus, we are always on the road at different events such as trade shows, concerts, pop-up markets and street fairs. Here are some photos from a recent night market put on by LA Canvas. They invited us out for an exclusive warehouse sale featuring brands like Stussy, Love Nail Tree, Lee and Hotel 1171. The space got packed, gear got sold and everyone had a great time!
Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @shophex to see where the HEX Bus is going to be next. If you want us to be apart of your event, email email@example.com We are always looking for new places to #HEXplore.
Modernist Take On Classic Pattern Is Graphically Stunning
Oxnard, Calif. (March 11 2014)—HEX, award-winning fashion tech accessory brand, today announced the release of its collaboration with artist, designer and illustrator Cole Gerst, of Option-G Visual Communications. The 9-piece collection of bags, phone cases, and tablet covers is printed in Cole’s custom artwork for the project. The HEX x Option-G collection features several new silhouettes including folios for the iPad Air and iPad Mini as well as a Weekender Travel Bag and tablet envelopes, in addition to best sellers like HEX’s Laptop Tote, Origin Backpack, and Icon and Focus Cases for iPhone 5/5s.
The Weekender is especially noteworthy as it features a roomy main compartment for plenty of clothing. However, the front of the bag contains two pockets: one fleece-lined and padded for tablets and e-readers, and the other contains an organizer and room for phone, chargers, or accessories. The rear-side of the bag boast a large padded exterior access pocket for laptops of various sizes. This combination of features truly provides thoughtful device storage and protection while still maintaining a slim profile and plenty of space for whatever your travels dictate. A removable shoulder strap in also included.
The concept was a traditional toile pulled into HEX’s world of music, art, design, and architecture. The result was “take your pleasure seriously”. A daydream of leaving life in the city and escaping to the cabin in the woods….relaxing, listening to music and contemplating mystical creatures, geometry and architecture.
“The collaboration with Cole is exactly where we want to be,” says Trent Valladares, Co-Founder. “We love modernism and combining this with an original commission from an artist of Cole’s caliber is a dream come true.”
“I love HEX’s aesthetic and they have a quality product.” says designer Cole Gerst, “I always get asked where I got my HEX backpack or iPhone case. I was thrilled when they asked me to collaborate on a series of products with them. They had the concept to make a toile pattern but with a modern twist. I loved the idea of putting my take on the classic pattern. I grew up watching my father, who is an interior designer, comb through fabric swatches and wallpaper patterns daily. I wanted to use the opportunity to tell a story with it, and the result is what you see.”
Featuring a durable, water resistant, heavy premium coated canvas combined with contrasting trims and HEX’s signature surplus grade cotton web strapping and interior micro fleece lined pockets for ultimate device protection, the Option-G collection boasts both refined retrospection as well as cutting modern direction. Prices range from $39.95 to $139.95 and bring style to spare without sacrificing HEX’s reputation for slim form factors and maximum gadget protection. The products come in a timeless off white background with black print coloration.
The Option-G Collection was Facilitated by MAS creative and is available now for purchase at www.shophex.com and other select high-end retailers near you. For more information on the collection and HEX’s extensive line of techcessories, visit shophex.com, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Established in 2010, HEX is proud to bring fashion forward thinking to the often mundane world of tech apparel and merchandise. With over 20 years of design roots in the fashion industry, HEX has not only come on the scene, but stolen it. With a collection that showcases a stylish array of bags, wallets and cases, HEX has fused fashion with technology to create innovative products that will provide top-quality storage for all of your tech devices without inflicting any damage on your style. We’re here to serve… More information on HEX can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Cole Gerst
Cole Gerst is an award winning art director, graphic designer, illustrator & painter. After stints as the art director for two record labels, art directing and designing album packaging and ad campaigns for some of the world's most influential musicians, Gerst became the first in-house art director for the House of Blues corporation. Here he established a full service art department and created company wide brand guidelines overseeing a nationwide group of designers. In 2002 Gerst left House of Blues to create Option-G visual communication. For the last 12 years Option-G has been continuously growing and gaining notoriety with its design and illustration style. It has been highly influential and accredited for helping foster the resurgence of the "gig" poster, designing posters for such bands as the Shins, Beck, Modest Mouse, Bright Eyes & Interpol. He has won multiple awards for design from Communication Arts, Print and How Magazine.
Option-G has recently been creating & directing original animated, mobile and flash content for clients such as Sundance Channel, Mazda, Toyota & Nickelodeon. Option-G won the Sundance Channel “Greenimation” award for the "Yung Yeti" cartoon series and was nominated for a Streamy Award for their Good Magazine "Inventions" animated work. More information on Cole can be found on www.option-g.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
As you know, we are big art fans at HEX. We had the opportunity to have a private showing of the new LAB ART show in Palm Springs over the weekend. Eddie Donaldson did another great job at curating an extensive collection including art from Alec Monopoly, Kai Aspire, Skyler Grey, Louis XXX, and MAR, to name a few.
Eddie's idea is to bring some of the young and relevant street artists out and introduce them to the Palm Springs market most known for its connection to the Mid-Century Modern genre.
The show was held at Gallery 446 on Indian Canyon Drive.
Judge for yourself from the pics below from our private viewing what you think....and what you would like to take home. The show runs through March 22, so take that gorgeous drive through the desert and check it out.
It seems like another lifetime, the life of a full-time musician. But that’s what I was blessed enough to do “back in the day” – and by that I mean the Nineties. Los Angeles and the Sunset Strip were my home away from home. Dan and I were co-conspirators of our musical journey much like we are co-founders here at HEX. We mixed genres and styles and refined our craft until we held our own and produced some pretty progressive stuff, in my opinion.
We always enjoyed the visual arts as well. We drew and painted on just about everything. We plastered concert flyers, carrying our photocopied artistry all over Melrose Boulevard. We built art installations on an epic scale and would turn the various concert venues into temporary visual exhibitions to set the proper stage for the music. I also had a couple jobs – and I use the term loosely – booking bands for gigs around the LA club scene, and rubbed elbows with A&R reps from the major labels, when that actually seemed to matter.
It’s funny how much all of that has been so familiar as we traverse the contemporary landscape of brand building. It’s so much the same. If it’s done well, it must be real and organic. You have to believe in your vision, or product, as it were. You have to be excited. You have to truly enjoy the creative process in all of its non-glamorous glory. You write, design, edit and revise at all hours – any hour where the feeling is pure. All of you who are creative-types know the feeling I’m talking about; when you feel your pulse quicken because you know you are on to something.
Well, it seems I have found another unifying link between my past life and my present one. Our preferred method of transportation in my gigging days was our trusty VW bus. Of course we painted it completely by hand, of course it had a stereo powered by an entirely too-massive amp, and of course it announced our arrival into whatever neighborhood we chose with appropriate style. There is just no substitute for that kind of basic, boots-on-the-ground marketing. These days you can find the HEX crew charging in a similar, although radically more cherry, ride. We’ve just logo’d up a nicely restored 1963 VW Splitty, with vintage wood interior, as a rolling pop-up shop on wheels. This time the bus has a starter that works, a cleaner paint job (in L380 Turquoise), and timeless design cues that the buses of the 1970’s apparently grew out of. But the effect is the same – heads turn, conversations are started, and connections are made.
The Original Bus Complete With Hand Painted Exterior
Version 2.0 - The HEX Bus
Our bus, version 2.0, is a fully functional retail experience. But it won’t be chained down to some strip mall somewhere, it will move with the moment. Every time I look at it I am reminded of where I come from, and where I am going. I am reminded that if you want to have a brand that resonates, you have to be out where your message can be heard by real people. So, we look forward to seeing all you real people in the flesh, out on the road, shaking hands and kissing babies wherever the journey takes us.
Rolling Pop-Up Shop
Inside The Rear Hatch
The Original Bus - Front View
The Original Bus