Category: ALL


Hands Ekali 5elect5 Vancouver born and raised Ekali, aka Nathan Shaw, started his musical career playing bass in the award-winning band Said the Whale. When his solo project got selected to participate the renown Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo in 2014, a new chapter opened for him personally and musically. It didn’t take long until he was contacted by Drake’s team to sample one of his tracks he had uploaded on Soundcloud for the Canadian rapper’s mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”. Nathan doesn’t only know how to produce and remix top chart hits to add that recognizable “Ekali” flavor, a mixture of soulful catchy bass and smooth R&B, but has also figured out how to heat up the stage at small and big venues worldwide.

On the night of the photo shoot, Nathan had just flown in from his previous gig and mentioned that he has not been home in almost 3 months. What caught our attention was to see how attentive he was with all the fans that came up to him for a chat, to share demos on USB sticks, a photo or simply a hand shake. Despite the success he has gained in less than 2 years and the fast-paced life on the road, Nathan appears to have found the balance and selection of items that keeps him focused and level-headed.  His essentials are pragmatic, yet romantic in a sense of being the one constant that fuels his inspiration and energy wherever he tours and is away from home.

Essentials Ekali 5elect5

1. ADAPTER (APPLE, CHECK HERE): I always make sure to pack this adaptor when I travel internationally, that way I can charge my mac and other devices whenever.

2. EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE (WESTERN DIGITAL, CHECK HERE): I always make sure to pack this external as well. With all the traveling I do, I need to be able to work from a plane, train, hotel, or even a car.

3. CANDY (JELLY BEANS, CHECK HERE): Jelly beans are definitely my favorite candy. I try to find these wherever I can.

4. T-SHIRT (ACAPULCO GOLD, CHECK HERE): This is my favorite baseball jersey T-shirt to wear. I’m sure my fans have seen it on me a million times by now!

Writing Illustration Quote Ekali 5elect5

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Hands Alinka 5elect5 Chicago native Alinka started off her career playing alongside Justin Long at the city’s infamous Smartbar. Picking her battles wisely, releasing on Crosstown Rebels and Classic Records, she then teamed up with DJ and vocalist Shaun J Wright (previously part of Hercules & Love Affair) to start Twirl, a monthly party in Chicago. Their focus always stayed on the music and artists that inspire them, so it was inevitable that they expanded the Twirl empire with its own imprint: Twirl Recordings, a platform to support and manifest the music she loves. Living and working between Chicago, Berlin and New York, Shaun and Alinka just finished their latest collaborative EP “Time for Action” which was picked up by Heidi on her Jackathon Jams imprint last month.

We met Alinka at her new flat / studio in Berlin and go a warm welcome by her flatmate – a black cat named “Acid”. The reason why Alinka had chosen a flat with a garden, which is a rare find on the Berlin housing market, was that “Acid” could go outside and play. She also shared the story of cat “Acid” breaking her favorite toy bear by the artist “Acid” with the biggest smile and laugh. As it turns out, Alinka is not only a music lover but also a big cat lover – especially “Acid”. Each of Alinka’s essentials came with a unique story, a collection describing her past, present and future desires. The high quality of Twirl’s merchandising is proof of her professionalism and passion behind the project.

Essentials Alinka 5elect5

1. JACKET (TWIRL ORIGINAL, CREATE YOUR OWN HERE): I got this custom-made varsity coat as a parting gift for myself before leaving Chicago and it’s still the only one in existence. It’s by far my favorite clothing item I own, and luckily Berlin is cold enough for me to wear this a lot of the year.

2. TOYS (BEAR QUEE, CHECK HERE): I’ve been collecting designer toys for years! They’re great additions to any flat, make you feel a little less like a grown up, and hunting for the rare designs is quite fun. This Acid bear was the first of my collection and he’s still my favorite. Check out and, both have a great selection!

3. HEADPHONES (V-MODA, CHECK HERE): I find myself working more and more in headphones these days so a comfortable pair to travel with is vital. These V-Moda headphones are the first wireless headphones I’ve owned and I’m hooked! It’s really great to not be tangled in cables when you’re on the move and they’re really comfortable so you can wear them for long periods of time when needed. ( They’re also customizable, I have a Crosstown Rebels pair the label gave us which I’m always proud to pull out of my bag.

4. PERFUME (LE LABO, CHECK HERE): When you spend a lot of times at smoky clubs it’s vital to have a little travel scent to always keep you fresh! No one wants to be that person that smells like last night’s party on a crowded airplane. My friend works at Le Labo and made me this personalized scent. It says Alinka and Chicago on the bottle so I’m a bit obsessed with it. They have a lot of great products I highly recommend.

Writing Illustration Quote Alinka 5elect5

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Hands Mr Statik 5elect5

Mr. Statik, aka Stathis Kalatzis, is a tall man of many faces: an international DJ with a popular monthly residency at Athen’s “Six D.O.G.S“, a producer, an illustrator and a full-time program manager at Red Bull Music Academy. As one of the pioneers of the Greek electronic music scene, he stays true to his roots and seems to always support and push the local scene even though he is now based in Berlin for the past 4 years. The fact that he was one of the first Red Bull Music Academy graduates from the 2003 edition in Cape Town proves his talent as well as his wide international network of artists and friends.

When we visited his studio / apartment in Berlin, we were impressed by Stathis’ studio set up as well as his book and art collection. He seems to particularly enjoy graphic novels focusing on beautiful but dark subject matters.  This became very visible when he started successfully merging his passion for music and art by drawing his own cover art such as the “A Boy Named Crow” record on Amam. The selection of his essentials capture the secret to his career: find the balance in life that keep you going while staying inspired.

Essentials Mr Statik 5elect5

1. MEDICINE (PRONTALGINE, BUY IN FRANCE): It’s actually sad that Prontalgine is among my essentials these days but it’s my definite go-to hangover remedy when you’ve had one too many, particularly when traveling.

2. BOOKS (TWIN PEAKS, BUY HERE): This is one damn good book! Like all loyal Twin Peaks fans I’m counting days for the iconic show’s return after 25 years. In the meantime this wonderfully curated edition is ticking all the surreal boxes thus being my favorite winter bed time story companion.

3. INK PENS (VARIOUS BRANDS): Sketching and comic book culture has always been a huge love for me, one that I cheated on with music at some point in my life. I’ve slowly created the space to start drawing again, whether it’s been for lil’ design / editorial purposes or just for the kicks of it. This is my current inks collection and I only plan to expand it in the coming year.

Writing Illustration Quote Mr Statik 5elect5

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Hands Soundwalk Collective 5elect5

Soundwalk Collective is an award-winning international art and music trio based between New York and Berlin. The members consisting of Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli and Kamran Sadeghi produce concept albums, sound installations and live performances with collaborators such as Patti Smith, Berghain and Nan Goldin. For their latest album “Before Music There Is Blood” on Apollo Records, the ambient division of R&S Records, Soundwalk Collective worked with the world’s most prestigious music conservatories such as the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (China) and the N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory (Russia). They recorded and collected sounds from courtyards, corridors and classrooms of these academies as well as hundreds of hours of students practicing and rehearsing. Re-interpreting these notes “out of their context” into four productions, they question the definition of music, composition, and harmony.

When we walked into their studio / living room in Berlin during rehearsals, we were greeted by a concert piece that had the sound and the spacial depth of a symphony orchestra. Their live set up was as complex as their sound but blended in beautifully with the antique furniture, ambient lighting and a selection of french literature on the floor. Despite the creative chaos of cables and analogue equipment, the space felt warm and tranquil just like Stephan, Simone and Kamran’s essentials: a collection of seemingly practical objects with an individual poetic touch.

Essentials Soundwalk Collective 5elect5

1. HIMALAYAN SALT ROCK (KINGDOM OF LO): Salt for the brain. A pure rock of pink salt I collected in Lo Manthang, at the very top of the Mustang Valley in Nepal, as I was carrying out field recordings for our recent sound installation at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC. (by Simone)

2. HANDWRITTEN SCORE: My sections of our current live set, cues and notes. In making and performing music I need to manually write words, make sketches and see things graphically to understand the flow of it all. (by Simone)

3. PERSONAL NOTEBOOK (NO BRAND): To ground thoughts flying suspended in the air. (by Stephan)

4. SWISS EARPLUGS (CALMOR, BUY HERE): Silence is what really matters. To properly hear you need a counterpoint. (by Stephan)

5. LIGHTER (BIC, CHECK HERE): Holding onto my only vice. The rituals of smoking. (by Kamran)

6. PATCHCABLE (NO BRAND): The blood vessel of modular synthesis.  For exploring and discovering new sonic territories. (by Kamran)

Writing Illustration Quote Soundwalk Collective 5elect5

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Hands Eric Cloutier 5elect5

From Detroit via New York to Berlin, Eric Cloutier seems to have made all the right city choices for his musical career to succeed. Describing himself as a “record digging psychopath” in one of the interviews with Resident Advisor, it shows that he turned his obsession into a profession while staying level-headed and keeping a healthy sense of humor. Being a resident DJ of the influential club The Bunker in New York for a long time, Eric’s Techno mixes are musical journeys through his massive collection of rare vinyls that you wished was yours. His highly polished mixing technique as well as his constant effort to refine his unique “Cloutier” sound are what sets him apart from plain crate diggers. With his newly launched label “Palinoia”, which is a Greek term for “the obsessive repetition of an act until it is perfect or mastered”, he doesn’t only set the quality standard for the releases but also shares his character strength. Furthermore, his selection of essentials seem to narrate this very well: Eric appreciates and stays loyal to the things he trusts and loves.

Essentials Eric Cloutier 5elect5

1. RECORD CLEANING CLOTH (HARDWAX, BUY HERE): As someone that still drags vinyl around the globe to make people dance, a proper way to clean my little circular friends while playing is important. Fortunately Hardwax here in Berlin sells their own record cleaning cloths that work absolutely fantastic – not only are they good at keeping the grooves clean, they’re antistatic AND they can be thrown in the wash to refresh them. Best 8€ you can spend in that store for sure!

2. CONTACT LENSE SOLUTION (JAPANESE BOTTLE):  One of the perils of wearing contacts while flying and gigging is the eye fatigue from wearing them for a bit too long and smokey rooms. My little bottle of contact solution, though not filled with anything unusual, is one of the first things I make sure is full when I’m about to embark upon worldly travels, and I always keep it in my carry-on in case I need to get my peepers wet after passing out on long-haul journeys. Fun fact – this bottle pictured I purchased in Japan in 2009 when I played Labyrinth and have been carrying it with me ever since.

3. HEADPHONES (RHA, BUY HERE): A good set of earbuds are crucial for moving about the planet and surviving airports, and these RHA T20i’s are the best I’ve found. Most people fawn over noise cancellation ones but I find those mildly disorienting, but this pair, besides not only being massively comfortable for hours on end (literally, I’ve worn them for an entire 30hr journey to Australia and not been in pain), they sound glorious – I’ve discovered nuances to albums I never knew existed before because of these gems.

Writing Illustration Quote Eric Cloutier 5elect5

Footer Eric Cloutier 5elect5

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Hands Tim Parker 5elect5

London-based Tim Parker is a professional tastemaker and a professional nerd. We remember him as the founder of the mysterious but well designed music blog “You’ll soon know ” that kept posting a diverse selection of amazing unknown tunes.  From classic Hip Hop to beats to experimental electronica with cute glitchy moments. There was something for everyone, for every mood every day. His same-titled weekly radio show on NTS radio keeps that spirit alive with carefully curated guests that are determined to expand your musical horizon. Tim’s fine taste in music also shines through his own productions and DJ sets he plays around the world. As if this is not already enough of a full-time profession, we found out that he is a full-time designer and developer for Mixcloud. What has once started as small passion project to collect and share music discoveries turned into making a proper website for it and now catering to even bigger audience through an online streaming platform he helps building and designing. His essentials at first seem very straight-forwad but the stories behind them just reveal how he succesfully turned a passion into a profession during both day and night time.

Essentials Tim Parker 5elect5

1. HEADPHONES (ZERO AUDIO, BUY HERE): Be it a 10 hour flight or a 1 hour bus ride it’s always great to be able to listen to music to pass the time. I picked up these Zero-Audio headphones in Tokyo for around $30, they’re amazing and are in my pocket most of the time.

2. FRUIT (FRESH FROM YOUR LOCAL SHOP):  You never know what you’re going to end up eating whilst on the road. The obvious aim is to eat all the local delicacies and lots of amazing food… but sometimes that just doesn’t always end up being the case. 3 days of pizza and snacks can easily happen in unknown locations, so I always try to grab fresh fruit to keep things healthy and keep me feeling good!

3. LAPTOP (APPLE, CHECK HERE): I actually hate that this is an essential, but it is. Being away either with work or for music, it’s all stored on this thing. There’s Serato or Rekordbox for the club and code from web projects scattered around. I grabbed the smallest Mac I could find so it at doesn’t feel overpowering or bulky whilst traveling.

Writing Illustration Quote Tim Parker 5elect5

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Hands Heathered Pearls 5elect5

Heathered Pearls is Jakub Alexander, a highly talented but humble multitasker. Working as a producer, DJ, label co-founder, A&R and curator, one might wonder how many full-time jobs a single human can handle. Jakub found a way to do them all very successfully. He is now on tour with his old friend Tycho , who recently got nominated for a Grammy. Obviously, Jakub was involved with this project as well as the A&R at the Ghostly International, a label known for its quality, individuality and forward-thinking involvement in music and art. We visited his new home in Berlin and were impressed how the space resembled his personality and sound: tastefully curated with attention to every detail. As he is based in New York, Detroit and Berlin, his belongings seem to be stripped down to only the things he really cares about: his dog Theo, records, music gear, sneakers and the essentials he chose for this shoot. We like to believe that we found an important key to successful work life balance through a peek into Jakub’s life.

Essentials Heathered Pearls 5elect5

1. PERFUME (MAISON LOUIS MARIE, BUY HERE): There’s a vibrancy to this scent that calms me down. The motion of rubbing your wrists together with this specific musk eases any rush i’m in.

2. SHIRTS (CARHARTT, BUY HERE):  I love long sleeves in the winter, I have about 40 Carhartt shirts in total, even one from high school that’s still too big. Now they’re en vogue and they make softer ones. When they go out of style I’ll still be wearing mine.

3. RING (GHOSTLY, CHECK HERE): The ghostly ring, there’s a handful of them out there among the artists and co-workers. It’ll be my 15th year at Ghostly this year, I got this pretty guy 7 years in from Sam, I always DJ with it, he helps me pick the next track.

Writing Illustration Quote Heathered Pearls 5elect5

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