Inspiration is mysterious. How it comes about, how it is maintained, how it is accessed. These are the questions that every artist chases. These inspirations create some of our favorite songs, books, movies and clothing lines. This is how Selector! was founded. One idea spawned a line, solid in their execution of style but mysterious in who they are. This is why we were excited to catch up with the creator of Selector! and explore the brand's genesis, as well as it's ever evolving role in our reggae community.
KingstonToLA: Can you give us an overview on how you got started?
Selector: I was working in the streetwear industry around 2005, and had the opportunity to launch my own project. A lot of brands at the time were hip-hop-inspired, and I wanted to do something different. Being a fan of early Stussy tees, and later, the Natural Born brand by Kevin Lyons, it motivated me to try producing reggae-inspired t-shirts with a streetwear vibe. I called on the expertise of friends like Selector JD of Deadly Dragon Sound in NYC for guidance. Other creative friends contributed artwork. The brand was then born in 2006.
KNG2LA: Inspired by Jamaican music and ting: Are you or is anyone on your team originally from Jamaica? Give us some more background on your Jamaican connection.
Selector: Nope, I’m not Jamaican, and neither is my wife. That’s pretty much the whole team. Not including the many talented artists and designers who create our graphics. I’m Australian by way of UK, Japan, NYC, and for the last 10 years, Los Angeles. My Jamaican connection is simply that I’ve loved reggae ever since my Dad first introduced me to Bob Marley as a kid. Since then I’ve dug deeper, and kept on finding more and more gold. The time in Japan and NYC exposed me to more dancehall and sound system culture. There are reggae fans in every corner of the world - it’s amazing all this musical influence came from one island.
KNG2LA: What are some of your favorite old school reggae songs?
Selector: “54-46 That’s My Number” by Toots & the Maytals, Peter Tosh’s “Stepping Razor,” “Tenement Yard” by Jacob Miller, Willi Williams’ “Armagideon Man,” Max Romeo’s “Chase the Devil,” Dennis Brown “Easy Take It Easy,” Gregory Isaacs “Babylon Too Rough”…I could go on for days…
KNG2LA: What other genres of Jamaican music do you listen to to find inspiration?
Selector: Mostly ska, rocksteady, dub and a lot of dancehall - from foundation through to the latest thing. Everything from Big Youth to Busy Signal. Buju is my favorite though.
KNG2LA: It seems like you are into vinyl, what are your thoughts on music production and DJing becoming more digital; does listening to records on vinyl give you classic inspiration?
Selector: I do love vinyl, from the cover art on LPs, and the label art on 45s, to digging through dusty record store crates looking for gems. It’s great to see vinyl making a comeback in the US. That said, I’ve got nothing against digital production & DJing. Good music is good music; whatever the format. When I’m not playing records, I’m usually listening to mp3s or streaming mixes online.
KNG2LA: What are you working on next; what can we look forward to?
Selector: We recently launched our first snapback hat, which is nice. Stay tuned for more graphic tees and tanks this summer, as well as some fleece for the Fall. We’ll keep pushing forward, expanding the range of products, continuing to work with talented artists and creatives, and having fun. Forward ever…backward never!
Well said. We leave you with a slideshow of some of our favorite Selector! products as well as a deep cut, inspired by our conversation on crate digging. There it is; inspiration in all it's glory. Shop more looks from Selector! here.