Love Sick with Heavy Lids
Posted on April 28 2019
Heavy Lids, aka Tristan James, is my husband of 2 years.
We met in Melbourne, Australia, and now live in New York City together.
Heavy Lids is a musician, creative, consults in the fashion industry and an all round amazing person who I find very good to look at.
I wanted to interview him for Love Sick because he has so many amazing hidden talents that aren't broadcasted enough.
Here's our chat...
Name: Tristan James
Star Sign: Aries
IG alias: @heyitsheavylids
Laurel aka Kee Kee: This is a little bit fun isn’t it? Having an interview with your wife. I usually start most interviews with how we met, and our story is really cute. Cosmic attraction, Aries on Aries flame, the internet! Do you want to indulge the readers?
Tristan James: IT IS a little bit cute/fun. Usually, I am being interviewed about why I haven't done the vacuuming. So, this is a nice change.
We met when I was living in Melbourne and you were in Sydney, you had messaged me out of the blue after adding me on Facebook and we spoke for about an hour and you mentioned you were coming down for a visit. I gave you my number and thought nothing of it. Two weeks later you hit me up and after a few trips back and forth we have basically been living together ever since.
KK: Haha Lids, I'm going to pretend you didn't bring up cleaning. Anyways, you’ve named yourself Heavy Lids since before I met you, where did the nickname come about?
TJ: Anyone knows me or knows what I look like day to day, knows that I look tired or stoned all the time. I have faced a lot of rejection getting into bars because my face just looks like this. It's a curse. I think it was 2015 and I got rejected from the Brighton Hotel, one of my friends yelled at the bouncer 'he's not even drunk, his lids are just heavy!' and 'Heavy Lids' was birthed.
KK: Your music alias is Heavy Lids, you’ve gone through a few stages with your music and now have ended up as a solo performer. What has been the gradual process of Heavy Lids and where do you see yourself taking it.
TJ: The goal with Heavy Lids was to always make it as DIY and immediate as possible. I am attracted to the concept of having a dynamic and tactile performance that can literally be plugged in anywhere at any time with minimal setups, like the way MC's just need a beat and a mic and that's it.
I guess the first iteration of that was doing hardcore songs, and as my personal taste progressed Heavy Lids moved into a more electronic space. I still don't really think I've crystalized the vision just yet, it feels like a constant work in progress.
KK: How would you describe your stage persona?
TJ: To be honest, I got into this weird place where I was kind of performing these hardcore and punk songs and they would literally be so fucking short that the full set would only be 20 minutes worth of music. We were getting booked for 30 - 45-minute sets, so I'd fill in the time with talking and then kind of went into this thing where I was doing standup comedy. It was honestly wild. I would be in a power stance fucking screaming at people and then hitting them with my tight five in between songs. In a way that's kind of like me, I guess; I feel like I'm an introvert performing as an extrovert a lot of the time. There's a duality there.
KK: I’ve changed my methods with designing, and instead of sketching first, I go out and find the fabric. What comes first with you, a melody, lyric, sound?
TJ: Usually a lyric or a line, I'll then sort of create the soundscape in my head. I look at the mood of the song and try and service the song from there. I try not to attach myself to anything and keep the process as natural as possible.
KK: What got you into music in the first place? Was it a particular song or inspiration?
TJ: I grew up in this incredibly multicultural, white minority area and punk rock did not exist within that community - so I was exposed to a lot of 90s rap and R&B growing up. That's really what shaped a lot of my taste musically. My first ever CD that I bought with my own money was TLC - CrazySexyCool. I think I saw the video for 'Waterfalls’, and it was just everything to me, I had the biggest crush on T-Boz. It was a total awakening for me.
KK: Who’s your ultimate diva? (mines Dolly and Whitney)
TJ: I have Shania Twain's name tattoo on the back of my leg. So, Shania for sure, that last Las Vegas concert she did was world class. I fucking LOVE Lady Gaga though.
KK: You’re a fairly spiritual person, you’re a qualified yoga teacher, you know how to charge up a crystal in a full moon, you tap into meditation from time to time. What would be your daily spiritual practice?
TJ: Lol @ the crystal moon charging, I love that shit. I try and connect and check in with my spirit guides daily, I try and bring myself back to the realest and authentic version of myself that I can. Once I'm in that space, the day flows better. I wanna get back into Yoga though, now that I am in my 30s my lower back is fucked.
KK: Meditation can be difficult, sometimes it’s hard to hit that sweet spot and shut out the ‘monkey mind’, what advice would you give to people trying it for the first time?
TJ: Stick with it, it’s about practice not about perfection. The monkey mind is really fucking clever and will do anything to be heard, in and outside of meditation. Bring your meditation practice with you to every moment.
KK: I want to get into fashion with you, so, you were the General Manager for Discount Universe, you were BTS for their SS19 runway show, what was it like for you?
TJ: It was touch and go for sure, you're in the mindset where the last few months have all been leading up to this one 15 minutes that you have spent money and time on and once the runway starts you no control over anymore so it's incredibly high pressure. You're speaking to a lot of different people and things are coming up on the fly and you're just handling things as best you can. We were lucky in that we had an amazing team behind us as well.
KK: Do you think it’s important for a brand to show at Fashion Week?
TJ: It depends on who you are and where you are at as a brand, Fashion Week can be a great vehicle for brands, but your brand has got to be robust infrastructure-wise to able to support that vehicle or you'll go broke or waste the momentum you get from all the press.
KK: What're your views on fashion now?
TJ: I'm seeing a lot of DIY '1 of 1' labels pop up on Instagram and that is what is really exciting me right now. Fashion is more socialized economically in the sense that the means of production and the platform to an audience and right in front of people and are completely accessible, so you have these true fucking weirdos expressing themselves and putting their own twist on existing pieces, or totally creating their own visions from scratch and the audience is there to lift them up and buy their stuff.
KK: The market is saturated with so many new fashion labels, how do you think a brand can stand out?
TJ: Brands needs to fucking chill on trying to be everything to everybody. I think it’s important for brands to stand out by telling their own story and not commoditizing somebody else’s movement or identity to jump on trends and make quick money.
KK: What draws you to a fashion label?
TJ: Sustainability practices, exciting ideas, and quality.
KK: You’ve accidentally started consulting for smaller fashion labels, like mine and a few of our friends. Can you explain what it is that you do for these labels?
TJ: That kind of got born from my friends graduating Fashion School and then just not knowing what the first steps are to get where they want to go. They come out as these fully-fledged designers in the sense that they can put together entire collections based on their creative vision alone, but those jobs do not exist for graduates and a lot of what they learn does not collate with what goes on in the real world.
I am essentially there to facilitate a way for them to grow into business people as well as designers.
KK: What’s a common mistake that smaller labels make?
TJ: Not promoting themselves enough or being embarrassed that they must push their own clothes and do their own self-promotion. Putting off making plans or setting goals because they think they are too small and don't need them.
KK: Do you have any golden advice for a new brand?
TJ: As a new brand you need to have a plan and set goals. Design and bringing clothes to life is one small part of the overall process. The rest is running a business, and you will need to know how to run a business to be successful. If you don't understand the business and financial components is it almost a guarantee you will do dumb shit with your money and that can be fatal to any startup type organization.
KK: You’re a full blown ‘sneakerhead’, what got you into collecting sneakers?
TJ: It was part of the culture of when I was growing up, you had to have fresh sneakers on. I spent a lot of my 20's doing music so it took me a long time for me to get into full-time work and start making money. Once I started making money, I went fucking nuts. I've cut down though and slimmed the collection down to a highly curated highlight reel of the best of the best.
KK: Three questions in one; what’s your favorite sneaker brand? Favorite sneaker collaboration? And, who would you want to design a shoe for?
TJ: I love Vans, that's my go-to shoe. My favorite collabs are usually when Vans team up with WTAPS. I would love to design a Black Flag range for Vans. They did a lot of collabs with punk bands in the early 2000s and Black Flag never happened. I have the whole range designed in my head; I'm just waiting on Vans to give me the green light.
KK: What’s the best and worst thing about living in New York?
TJ: The best thing is the constant stimulation and that is also the worst thing. Also, New York is the sneaker capital of the world do not @ me.
KK: If people want to stalk you, buy Heavy Lids merch, book you for a show or hit you up to consult for their brand, how can they find you?
TJ: Instagram or my website is best, IG - @heyitsheavylids, and website are www.heyitsheavylids.com. I'm also on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.
KK: I always love talking to you, we talk literally every day all day, texting if we’re not together. You inspire me in so many aspects of my life. I love you so much. Thanks for sitting down to talk to me and roaming around Brooklyn to shoot.
TJ: I love you too!! Thank you so much for having me on your blog.