“We live in the mind, in ideas, in fragments. We no longer drink in the wild outer music of the streets — we remember only.” — Henry Miller
Welcome to our bent world. That’s the first phrase Kai Neville sent us for his new film, which you’ll see is “announced” inside this book. It’s called Cluster, but you won’t read about it in an official press release. Instead, we’re just going to bring you along. Show you the way. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. With Champagne! And aerials! It’s time to drink the music, not read about it.
You see, a few years ago, we left our rather fair and respectable 9-to-5 dream jobs and ventured into this all-inclusive globetrot disguised as a media venture. The goal: Show more of this. We wanted to deliver things in a new way. Less like an email. More like an experience. And while it hasn’t always been pretty (we didn’t ask for pretty), it has been us.
If you’ve been coming along you’ve seen us do surf trips, skate trips, fashion shoots, Dear Suburbia and you’ve even seen us wrangle Christian Fletcher long enough to get our hands on an image of him at 3 years old chugging a full-strength Coors [What Youth Issue 6]. So, fuck, when you think about it like that, we’re well on our way to documenting these merry pranksters of the sea quite well.
There was a moment a few years ago that still stands out as a turning point. We were all in New York at a Dirty Beaches show. It was the “Are you in?” moment for What Youth. That night, we carved the word “Bummer” into the wood wall in the bathroom at Glasslands, a music venue in Brooklyn, headbanged our way through the evening and woke up changed and excited to do this. And since that morning, nothing’s been the same. Not one single day. And that was the whole goal.
We decided that night — while watching Alex Zhang Hungtai make a lot of noise on stage — that there was no possible wrong way to do this. And you’re holding evidence that changing directions to get closer to who you are is very worth the effort and risk. Because we’re now officially doing what we want. Being ourselves. Whatever that may be. Every day. We got a Hobgood to open up and reflect. I sat on the floor of Shawn Briley’s North Shore home and talked to him about leaving surfing behind. We have a Rolodex of some of the world’s best artists, photographers, models, writers, surfers, shapers and personalities contributing. There is art, music, beauty, thrash and fun. And now we have the world’s best dudes and surfers working on a new movie. You’re holding the “press release.” — What Youth