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PAQ

Photography: Jonny Wilson // @jonnywilson
Videographer: Vinny Villain // @_vinnyvillain
Wardrobe Styling: Terence Sambo // @terencesambo  (1st group shot look)
Interviewer/Producer: Johnson Gold // @Johnson_Gold
Featured: PAQ // @paq.official

Tell us about PAQ and what it stands for?

Dexter: PAQ stands for ‘pack’.

Elias: Pack like a wolf, a pack of wolves.

Danny: Well basically the reason we got it is because we were going to call ourselves DDSE. But then we were just like well it’s too obvious to work out and we needed something short and snappy so the PAQ is like the pack, but P-A-Q.

Who came up with the PAQ?

Shaq: Dexter came up with the name.

Dexter: I was like, we’re the pack init [isn’t it] and then they were like yeah.

Elias: It rang and then we were all like you know what… yeah, let’s get it.

How did you come up with the name?

Dexter: We was going through different names, we wanted something short and punchy.

Danny: It’s because we were looking at stuff like Wu-Tang Clan, they’re all like clan, gang, and stuff like that.

Dexter: I was like can’t we just call ourselves a pack init.

Elias: Yeah and then we spelt it like P-A-Q instead of the actual way to spell pack cos it looks better. We actually decided on the name just before we shot the first episode.

So with just 4 of you, how did you all come together?

Elias: So… well… Shaq’s known Dexter the longest.

Dexter: We used to dance with each other at Trocadero, London.

Shaq: Yeah lets phrase that again *laughs* that sounds weird.

All: *laughs*

Shaq: There was like a big dance community, that we were part of so we knew each other from then in like 2010 times and then obviously I used to see Elias around all the time like events and stuff so he was cool, it was actually at that PAUSE picnic last year as well!

Elias: Yeah yeah *laughs*

Shaq: And then Danny is like, he always comes down to London here and there.

Danny: Yeah, for that basement bop [underground clubs].

Dexter: We hadn’t formally met we just…

Elias: Yeah we just introduced each other.

Danny: Right place right time.

Elias: Fate!

Danny: *laughs* fate!

So you guys just clicked like that?

All: Yeah!

Dexter: So actually me and Shaq used to bump into each other on Carnaby Street and we just used to talk about just general life and that.

Shaq: Deep, deep talks.

Dexter: We’d have deep convos man.

Tell us about your backgrounds, where are each of you from, and where did you grow up?

Elias: I’m half Moroccan and half Greek Cypriot, so I’m from zone 9 which is Watford so shout out to Anthony Joshua, shout out to Elton John, Connie Constance my girl repping’ the Zone 9 ends from the towns so yeah. *laughs*

Danny: I’m from Zone 100.

Elias: *laughs*

Danny: So I’m from Yorkshire, Driffield, a small town near like near Driffield, Beverly, Hull, York kind of square, still live in Yorkshire… don’t think I’ll ever really leave, just kind of commute … happy days …

Shaq: I’m from Trinidad, both my parents are born and bred in South London then moved to like Bexley side for personal reasons. Then I did education there. Now I live in North London, for university.

Dexter: Well my mums from Dominica, not Dominica republic either, Dominica init, if you know you know… My dad’s from Jamaica and Ireland. I grew up in Harrow Road, well just off Harrow Road and just off Westbourne park and I went to live in Enfield for a couple of months when I was younger and High Wycombe for just a lot of s**t that went down and I currently live in a place called West Drayton and there’s a lot more to me but you’ll find out when you find out and if you don’t, I don’t want you to know.

Shaq: Yo, yo can I add yeah I from Lewisham in south London, yeah just wanted to put that out there.. big up Lewisham init.

Danny: And I’m just completely full English from Yorkshire.

All: *laughs*

What were you each doing before PAQ?

Danny: I worked at a skate park, and then worked at Fred Perry and still do, so I work at the Fred Perry store in York, and yeah, it’s a kind of everyday job, it keeps me sane and constant income and whatever and then just come down and film PAQ every other… once or twice a month.

Shaq: So, I was doing, I was trapped in the system man, I was doing uni [university], still doing uni yeah, writing my dissertation and I’m in my last year also.

What are you studying?

Shaq: Illustration, I’m a fine artist so I paint and stuff like that. That’s my main main main main main main main main passion, is art. Like I want to be one of the biggest artists ever, in history! So, I’m still doing that, I’m still pushing that forward as well as PAQ, so yeah that’s my life.

Elias: I was doing an apprenticeship in videography and modelling as well. I got scouted through Instagram and then I started with you guys with PAUSE, presenting with you guys. So yeah, I was doing all of that before and then PAQ came about.

Dexter: In all honesty, I had a job in Office [shoe retailer] in Westfield, I actually quit because I just went through a really low time and I wasn’t really doing nothing. I came up with a plan for PAQ and made the right moves and here I am today.

Danny: Music?

Dexter: Oh yeah I do music, I always wanted to do music and due to the fact I’m in PAQ I actually managed to get enough finance to get myself a studio and actually pursue what I wanna [want to] do … and not going to lie Shaq’s not the only artist in here.

Elias: *laughs* 2 different types.

Dexter: Nah, but his illustrations are crazy, mine just kind of go with the flow, with what I want to do with music.

How important is youth culture to each of you?

All: Very!

Dexter: You see actually, not even just with youth culture… mental health in youth as well, you know.

Danny: It’s more common than people think.

Dexter: Yeah, it is a lot more common than people think.

Elias: “A lot of that stuff comes from the pressure of the society, things like Instagram and fashion, the pressures of fashion to look good it’s all a culture. It’s so bougie. Everyone’s so like, ‘thinks they’re so good’, it’s all about likes, and I’m like you know what, ‘why is fashion taken so seriously?’ and we’re like let’s just flip it on its head and make you know, it’s a laugh you know what I mean? have fun with friends.”

Shaq: The hardest thing about tackling it is like obviously when you’re on a platform or whatever, like whoever you are, because people like you have to care about your image and that, you can’t really fully address it without offending other people, so you have to kind of do it in the most discrete way. So, I think for us doing PAQ is probably the most discrete thing ever. So obviously, fashion is a big world, you know what I’m saying, like people can be prejudice init. But what we’re trying to say is that you don’t have to be like that, you can have fun and it’s just light-hearted at the end of the day, it’s cool but its clothes, we always have to remember that.

Elias: It’s materialistic.

Shaq: Yeah, so that’s basically that’s what we’re trying to do and just try to like you know bring fun back to just everyday life you know what I’m saying?

Dexter: I agree I think nowadays because of social media and imagery. I grew up in a time where Nokia phones were just coming out, when I had my Nokia yeah I was gassed [excited] man, and when BBM first came out, do you remember them? and nowadays you’ve got young kids on Instagram, they can actually make them so insecure, do you know what I’m saying? We’re trying to show them, yeah you can flex [show off] and it’s fun and stuff but don’t let that stuff control you because it’s kind of pushed over mental health and stuff like that and how someone can actually just get depressed just because they don’t feel like they’re good looking or have a certain image. Plus nowadays cyberbullying is something that’s massive as well and it goes on with the culture inside street fashion, music everything.

Danny: It’s a dog eat dog world.

What’s been your favourite PAQ video that you guys have done to date?

Elias: Either for me, personally, the lake district one or the Converse ad.

Danny: Yeah that’s true, I love the shoot in the lake district, that was sick.

Elias: That was an experience. The NY episodes were sick!

Shaq: I think it would probably be lake district.

Dexter: Yeah same.

Shaq: Cos I have a fear of heights so that was like a big wall I knocked down you know, I think like that was probably my favourite one so far.

Do you guys watch TV shows or do you stick to watching stuff online?

Elias: I feel like TV is definitely dead and the whole like concept… which is why we’re what this whole gang is about… TV is dead. So, it’s literally like, everything is online nowadays Netflix, you got Amazon, no one has the time to like change their life schedule to watch something at a certain time on TV, so like catch up, yeah, Netflix originals the series on there wipe out all the mainstream TV stuff so definitely online. Danny: I just don’t watch TV. If I’ve got spare time I’ll sit and play on Xbox, but then I just stick the TV on but then all I do is watch the channel ‘Dave’ so stuff like 8 out of 10 Cats, QI.

Shaq: Only Fools and Horses.

Danny: *laughs* yeah and stuff like that.

You guys are an online TV show, what does it take for you to get people tuned in?

Danny: Original content, literally ours is so simple, everyone watches Top Gear, everyone wears clothes and the majority of people are into fashion especially the ones that we know so, why don’t you just do something like that where you can go out and see that stuff.

Elias: The internet is a big place, there’s so much competition if someone posts something, someone’s going to post something better, so it’s important to have original content. If you have original content you’re going to first of all, stand out, and second of all, the traction from online which is crazy! I mean we never knew that in 6 or 7 months we would be reaching tens of millions of people in hundreds of countries, like… that was just original content, and yeah stuff that people enjoyed watching and wanted to watch and wanted to tell their friends to repost it and all that kind of stuff.

Danny: Also, a good kind of tip as well is if you’ve got an idea that’s going to go completely viral, don’t blow it all in one go because then you’re going to become a one-hit wonder kind of thing! Break it down and do it as loads of little bits because then you’ve got longevity.

Balenciaga or Gucci?

Shaq: Balenciaga.

Dexter: Gucci.

Elias: Balenciaga just released some new stuff and it’s really nice.

Danny: Gucci is just like the classic, whereas Balenciaga is kind of just more new.

Shaq: Balenciaga is consistent, Gucci just rebranded.

Dexter: Gucci!

Danny: Gucci.

Shaq: Balenciaga.

Elias: Balenciaga.

How would you describe your style in one word?

Elias: Spacey.

Shaq: Artistic.

Danny: Timeless.

Dexter: Comfortable.

Instagram or YouTube?

Elias: YouTube.

Dexter: YouTube.

Shaq: YouTube.

Danny: Instagram.

Nike Airmax or Jordans?

Elias: Airmax.

Shaq: Airmax.

Dexter: Jordans.

Danny: Neither.

Describe each of your personalities in one word?

Dexter: Mysterious.

Danny: Old-school, you can have a hyphen.

Shaq: Artistic.

Elias: Flamboyant

What’s next for PAQ?

Dexter: “World domination!”

Watch the PAQ photoshoot style challenge video here.