A LINEAR INFLUENCE | Starchild & The New Romantic
[New York City- BRYNDON COOK IS STARCHILD & THE NEW ROMANTIC. Words by Jay Escobara. Photos by Brandon Nunn | Styling by Anthony Tony Hendrickson of M65 Studio. Bryndon Cook wears SAENAI Collection on a hot June 15th afternoon in Lower Manhattan’s Seward Park.]
In 2017, he was noted as Rolling Stones' 25 under 25 list for his EP 'Crucial', Bryndon Cook (a.k.a. Starchild) is well recognized among the music and creative industries as a collaborator to such artists Kindness, Solange, and Blood Orange. Now, he continues to draw inspirations from a deeper and more meaningful space that emboldens Starchild & The New Romantic as a powerful creative voice! He is uniquely his own sound and we love to share our enthusiasm for his creative efforts and appreciate him.
SAENAI: We have So many questions and happy to catch up with you- So tell us, Who is Starchild and the New Romantic and how he came to be? What have you been up to today, recently? Are you working on new material, touring, etc?
Bryndon Cook: Hi, this is Bryndon Cook. Starchild is doing fine. This is a project about love and independence. We’ve been doing this thing for a while now and released an album this past year. Just finished another one this year and looking to give it out rather soon! Lately, I’ve been working with other artists on songs and production lately as well.
SAENAI: Have you been traveling lately? What's your favourite places to visit?
Bryndon: Recently I spent some time in Mississippi with family and it was wonderful. Certain places in Mississippi are my favorite places to visit, like Magnolia, the home of my namesake. This past time I was there celebrating my grandmothers birthday. i swam a lot and ate a lot, it was beautiful. I love visiting London, LA and seeing friends out in those places. Some of the best times have been spent on the road for sure, touring and seeing places like Japan. Tokyo and Shibuya, mostly. Such incredible times.
SAENAI: Tokyo! Our 2nd home of SAENAI- ha! Im happy you enjoy it there. it is a good vibe there for sure!. Now, your music finds us usually in mid day at our atelier amidst our daily process- building concepts, cutting fabrics, draping, and sewing- its a really great mood opener. As a multi- disciplined artist, can you describe a glimpse or insight to your process as Starchild? What are those in between moments that help define who you are as an artist? Do you find yourself digging deep to a particular source of inspiration than others or is there an inspiration you consistently hold close to and how does it impact you?
Bryndon: I feel that. The more music I make, the more I find it is good for accompaniment. Travel and transit. However, things are always changing with direction and inspiration. As time goes by, I can sometimes deal with being uninspired. Working within that has been a new experience for me. I keep managing to come out on the other side, so that ends up being a big motivation. I’m always finding myself inspired by groove, and what I’ll call “sonic unctuousness”. I will sometimes just sit down and seek that out. Letting the search for that sensation be my guide.
SAENAI: Your sound can be perceived introspective, personal, and in a lot of ways nostalgic. Is this a reflection of you as a person? In your video Mood, an interviewer suggest that your music about one particular person. It's personal. Can you elaborate on your approach and what makes it so personal?
Bryndon: It definitely comes from a super internal space, which feels risky because I’m not banking on anything external. Even down to production or rollout, for example. So the records can come off a bit unconventional. I think a lot, and way too much in my day to day life. I’m sure everyone battles with criticism and thoughts of inauthenticity in our modern time, for sure. My only solace from that is in songwriting. My only recompense is never being able to squeeze out something untrue to me. My voice really only works when I am singing my truth. So therefore, it’s almost always personal. Unless I’m speaking from a different perspective unique to my own experiences in life. I would love to continue to be an artist and songwriter who can give an authentic point of view to feelings we all feel.
SAENAI: We enjoy everything about your sense of style, it is portrayed with a considered lens and unique ownership- It's nostalgic, romantic, thoughtful, strong, and delicate- all the things commonly appreciated at SAENAI. What is it you want to portray through fashion? Who influences your persona? What designers do you pay attention to that best represent you?
Bryndon: Always a sense of self. Grounded self. I’ve always struggled with low self esteem and body images issues since I was very young. I was never the most athletic or popular, for instance. Many folk can identify with that feeling. However, it’s been a journey to find that power within myself and for myself. What does it even look like?! I love defining it for myself, and the mystery of it all. My inspirations are drawn from all kinds of places. But I find the Black Experience to be a never ending well of love, passion and creativity. I enjoy waking up reminding myself of the never ending capacity of our people. I only wish to extend that legacy through my own authenticity. I love artists whose art tells their story and the stories of many others. Telfar and Luar are wonderful and have changed so much about what fashion is for me. To be so specific and unique, yet at the same time be for everyone. It’s hard to describe, but they accomplish that. Solange & Frank should also be looked at as incredible designers too. Talk about crafting moments and painting perspective. It can give you chills. I think that’s the feeling I like the most. Chaz from Toro Y Moi is an amazing designer and can cater an experience on so many palettes. And it’s virtually effortless, or at least that’s how it feels.
SAENAI: Aside from music, are there additional loves and passions you're courting / pursuing?
Bryndon: I love acting. Theater and Film are big for me. I’m doing more of it lately too which is great. The Forrest Whitaker series, Godfather of Harlem, and the third season of The Marvelous Miss Maisel. The costume design and fashion of that show is also very inspiring as well. It is a profound joy for me to be on set and surrounded by people engaging in “storytelling” in a thousand different ways. Environments like that can really recalibrate your own reasons for doing the things you love to do.
SAENAI: In your words, what does youth mean to you?
Bryndon: Feels like agreed-upon, common knowledge that “youth” is a state of mind. I gather, the more one moves through life, the more “younger years” they have behind them to reflect on, in a literal sense. Responsibilities and complexes naturally accrue and people change from kids to adults. It seems to me, your youthfulness is defined by how you can keep the detracting elements of life from wiping out the initial carefree spirit from whence you came. Responsibility and discipline are great byproducts of growing up, but i believe having fun and focus come from childhood. They show up differently for all of us, and that’s what makes us all unique.