Kicking off the new ‘Spotlight‘ feature, we present you an exclusive interview with Cardiff born superstar producer and DJ, Lincoln Barrett, better known as High Contrast. The interview comes in support of a new collaboration between Cardiff’s other big export, DroneBoy Laundry, and homegrown charity The SAFE Foundation. With ‘Spotlight’ we seek to draw your eye to things that really deserve your attention, and we couldn’t think of a better way to kick if off.
The SAFE Foundation works all over the world, battling poverty and fighting for human rights wherever their support is needed. Their recent work has taken them to Cambodia, working with young adults and providing them with teacher training, so that they can then go on to teach children deprived of the access to government schools. DroneBoy have stepped in to represent the charity’s social side, and the energy they carry in all their work, with a one off T-shirt release. The brand roped in local hero High Contrast to model the tee for a small shoot, and grabbed some time with the man himself to hear his thoughts on his hometown, the global streetwear scene, and what we can expect from his forthcoming album…
We have to kick things off by asking what helping DroneBoy and The SAFE Foundation in this project means to you?
I’m always happy to help Droneboy as he’s my best mate and thankfully, makes great stuff. The SAFE Foundation also seemed like a very worthy cause, and this is a great way for people to support it.
Obviously SAFE is based in Cardiff, which of course is the city you call home, so, is giving back to this community important to you?
I don’t support things just because they are local to me but if they are also doing good in my eyes then of course I’ll help where I can.
Let’s talk style, you’ve got a bit of a reputation for not fitting the typical drum and bass fashion stereotype… is this a conscience decision you make every morning when getting dressed, or is it just you?
I seem to live in my own little world outside of drum and bass (and society in general?), so it never really crosses my mind whether I’m conforming or not. I’ll wear something if it makes me smile or if it’s free (ideally both).
Who’s your style icon on the DJ circuit, and what makes them so special?
Rockwell gets points for bringing the bow-tie back. Also Breakage and London Elektricity, as I’m always impressed when a DJ shows up in a a suit. Full committal.
What about you? What brands always make the suitcase when jetting off on tour?
Droneboy of course… Graniph, and BBC.
Having spent a lot of time in exotic towns and cities the world over, how do you feel the UK fits into the surrounding culture on a global scale?
Well, it certainly seems like the rest of the world still looks to Britain for cultural guidance. It’s like the last thing we have going for us – music, fashion, art.
Are there any foreign stores or boutiques you’ve had the pleasure of shopping in, that you always look forward to re-visting?
Mandarake in Tokyo is geek heaven, full of Godzillas, robots and hot chicks reading manga, and Amoeba Records in LA is awesome for music and DVD’s.
Which country’s idea of fashion impresses you most?
Haven’t got a clue but I do know I love how Japanese girls dress. Goddamn!
We heard a rumor you once used a pair of kicks to get in to an exclusive NY club… can you shed some light on this?
I was in New York and some local friends wanted to show me a strip club… Not my kinda thing, seems fantastically awkward, but to be fair this was a classy joint. The doorman wouldn’t let me in as I was wearing trainers, and as we were about to turn away, he stopped me and said “Hang on, are those VELOUR sneakers!? Powder blue Velour sneakers?”. They were. And he was so impressed with my fashion gumption that he let us in.
Sounds like a hell of an outfit..! Finally, it’s three and a half years since ‘Tough Guys Don’t Dance’ and alot has changed in electronic music since, what can we expect from the new album and when is it likely to drop?
This album feels more personal than anything else I’ve done, perhaps because I’m using less samples and writing more of the music in a classical sense. It will be out later this year and I’m really looking forward to getting the new material out there, it’s been too long.
Big thanks to Mr High Contrast for taking the time out of his hectic work/party schedule to not only model for a great cause, but also shed some light on why he’s involved. The DroneBoy x SAFE Foundation T-shirt will be available this week with proceeds going direct to the charity. The tee is limited to 52, with the proceeds from each safe being enough to fund a teacher to teach for one week, so if all of the T-shirts sell, that’s enough to fund a teacher for a whole year. Do your bit by picking up one for yourself. Find out more about the charity and their work at SAFE Foundation.