We talked to the up-and-comer about nostalgia, change, Coppola, and whether he actually shot his dog.
At 17, the now LA-based artist, Jimi Somewhere, was a Norwegian kid dreaming of moving to the US to pursue his musical dreams.
Today, he's 20 years old and releasing his first EP, PONYBOY, after a string of singles including the infectious "I Shot My Dog."
JIMI SOMEWHERE - I SHOT MY DOG / 1st PLACE www.youtube.com
Despite all this, life was better—or at least less complicated—when he was 17. Or at least that's the thesis of his most popular song, "1st Place," which forms the heart of his nostalgic and infectious EP
. Like the movie from which it draws its name, the EP explores the simultaneous discomfort and thrill of leaving home and striking out on one's own.
In a way, Jimi Somewhere's music is youth incarnate. Intense, saturated with feeling, and yet still buoyant and dreamlike, existing somewhere outside of time, PONYBOY is tailor-made for savoring sunsets by the ocean or late-night drives in the heart of summer while knowing that soon, nothing will ever be the same.
Image via P3
Popdust caught up with Jimi Somewhere—real name Benjamin Schnandy—to talk about Los Angeles living, famous friends, songwriting therapy, Coppola movies, and that simultaneously universal and intimate experience called coming of age.
What was the move from Norway to LA like? How was meeting Kevin Abstract, getting connected with all these producers and having all that happen so quickly?
It all felt really organic. I was scared before leaving since being so far away from home on my own for so long felt super scary, but it all ended up flowing really well. I've met Kevin [Abstract] a couple of times, and he is the nicest guy, so it was cool even though I was always nervous. When it came to the producers and stuff, it was so much fun. Me and Milo Orchis (the producer behind all my music) hadn't been in any session with other people before LA, so it was interesting to experience that.
What was growing up in Norway like? What music did you cut your teeth on? Do you feel like being Norwegian influences your work?
Growing up in Norway was great—it was also a bit boring. I listened to all kinds of music during those years. My dad is heavy into Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Elton John, and all those 80s artists so that's what was playing in the car when I was a kid, while my sisters played a lot of Coldplay, Green Day and U2 in their rooms. Other than that I got heavy into hip-hop in elementary school and used to listen to a lot of 90s, early 2000s stuff. And then later I got into pop punk and folk-rock. I really love all kinds of music [so long as it's] made with passion and has some emotion to it. Emotion is what I'm drawn the most to.
I do think being Norwegian influences my work. I think that growing up unable to understand a lot of the lyrics in the music I listened to made me pay more attention to the melody and flow. I think that's a strength in Scandinavian music in general. We've got great melodies.
A lot of your songs are about coming of age. Has your music helped you process growing up?
Yeah. Writing is therapeutic, and it helps me deal with stuff that feels overwhelming. When I feel bad or sad I can turn those dark feelings into something worth something, which makes it feel better, like my sadness isn't wasted.
How do you write your songs? What's the process?
I don't really have a routine or anything, but usually, it starts with Milo bringing me chords or a small idea he had, and me just sitting down with it and starting to write. I write really fast; it just pours out.
The emo-suburban-coming of age story is a very specific one, and it's been prominent for a while, especially with artists like Kevin Abstract and Roy Blair really pushing that imagery. Do you feel connected to this narrative? What about it inspires you?
Overall I guess I'm inspired by it because I grew up in a suburb myself. I don't overthink it or anything. I just try to replicate the feelings I've experienced in different situations and make them into songs. In general, I'm just very nostalgic as a person. I'm always thinking about things that have been.
What inspires you in general? What makes you want to share your voice through music?
I have a need to express myself. It's always been there. I've written songs for as long as I can remember, so it's just in my nature. Whenever I've gone through something or experienced something, I just put it into words and melody.
What's the story behind the name "I Shot My Dog"? It's a pretty intense title.
I had this dog in elementary called Noddy that we had to put down because he was getting aggressive and bit this girl in my class. It was really sad and broke my heart. In the old days, farmers used to shoot their dogs when they had to put them down. So instead of singing "I put down my dog" I chose to write "I shot my dog." I thought it had more punch and felt more cinematic. But for everybody asking, for the millionth time, I didn't actually shoot a dog.
Your new EP is called PONYBOY—what made you choose that name? Why do you feel connected to Coppola, and how does film influence your music?
I chose the name just because I felt so connected with the movie. Coppola's Ponyboy is who I want Jimi Somewhere to be. The whole feeling in that movie is so special, and I definitely found myself thinking about it while writing. Film influences all my music pretty heavily. I love movies, and I watch one almost every day. My favorite movies are always spinning in my head whenever I write.
Where do you see yourself going in the future? Where do you want to be?
I've been thinking about that a lot. Watching Billie Eilish doing what she is doing right now is really inspiring. That's the position I want to be in—to be able to create freely whatever I want, whenever I want and still have it top the charts. That's the ultimate dream, but I'm happy as long as I get to do this for a living.
JIMI SOMEWHERE - BLUE SKIES www.youtube.com
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.
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Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.
Villains always have the best outfits.
From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.
Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com
But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.
Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.
Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.
Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com
Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.
As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.
History of Nazi Chic
For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.
The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.
Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it
Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.
The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com
Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.
Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.
Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com
Nazi Chic in Asia
Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.
A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.
In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.
OF COURSE. i.imgur.com
That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.
In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.
So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?
The answer is not so black and white.
On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.
But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.
Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.
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Summer Walker returns and is no longer playing games.
Summer Walker loves creating music but despises the music industry.
She regularly considers retirement and ended her 2019 tour early because of social anxiety. "I hope that people understand and respect that at the end of the day I'm a person, I have feelings, I get tired, I get sad," she said in a video post. "I don't want to lose myself for someone else." She was relentlessly vilified for her decision. Fans cited stiff meet-and-greets and chalked up Walker's cancellations to a sense of entitlement.
Then she was presented with the "Best New Artist" award at the 2019 Soul Train Awards, and her hurried acceptance speech was dissected by tasteless memes all across the country. Walker's candid cries for understanding remained completely ignored by years end. The truth of the matter is that Walker suffers from anxiety and stage fright that is all but totally crippling. So she did what any misunderstood artist does, she disappeared and stopped saying anything at all.