“if you ain’t got no haters you ain’t popping.”
A force to be reckoned with, the collective commonly known as SHO are tearing up the London scene one party, installation and workshop at a time. With their own refined aesthetic and works with brands such as Napajiri, Max Clarke and Daniel Mould are at the reigns of a subculture that sees creatives from all disciplines collaborating, creating their own spaces and breaking through to mainstream platforms on their own terms. Using the hate as fuel to achieve their dreams, this new art-music-clothing collective sat down with PAUSE to talk about how it got started, and what to expect next.
What is SHO?
Max: It is a collaborative platform, so like all lanes of creativity, music, art & fashion, based in London, that is set up with the objective of putting good people in good places and by that we mean putting artists on platforms that they wouldn’t necessarily get to, creating shows for artists, connecting dots between people, collaborating with loads of different types of creative people in all different lanes. We just started doing the music lane a lot which is already going quite well, and then we got these collaborations coming out soon for the fashion side. And then the art side we’ve already done a gallery exhibition with Harif Guzman, T O’Donnell & Josephine Butcher and those are just 3 completely different artists that wouldn’t have been in the same room as each other, level wise and status wise.
Dan: Definitely wouldn’t have been in the same room as Harif.
Max: Yeah exactly, like Harif big contemporary New York artist, Josephine our friend from Kensal Rise, we just get a lot of pleasure from being able to do that, so it is actually a creative platform but everyone says creative platform nowadays, so I feel like if there was another word we could use…
Does SHO mean something?
Max: Yeah it means Something To Hate On. But we don’t want it to be a negative thing, we made it like that because when things snowball in popularity there’s always a bandwagon of people that just hate it for no reason, so it’s like an ironic name and obviously it shortens to SHO which is a word that we all use anyway.
I like the way you guys do guest list by DM right?
Max: A lot of the time.
Who came up with that idea?
Dan: That was me.
Max: Yeah you came up with the idea of the brand.
Dan: Actually Relly made the name.
Max: Nah I made the name.
Dan: Did you?
Max: Yeah 100%, you needed a Gram and I was like bro just do it.
Dan: Really? I thought it was Rells.
Max: Nah Rells came up with the idea of making a completely different Instagram page where we post all our flyers but then we couldn’t think of a name. But yeah we do it on DM’s, it’s kind of easier.
Dan: It’s way easier.
Max: Like even tho @iswearimonthelist has like 600 followers, it’s like a nice little community of people that you know are going to come to every single event because they follow and they reply. It’s like a nice little sub-community.
Dan: Rather than having just a random email, that’s just one email you can’t see anything before that. Whereas on DM’s you have a history, like oh this person’s actually RSVP’d to like every party we’ve ever done. And obviously, that means something.
Max: And then for one of our parties we have this thing called super phone as well, where you can compare it to the old school rave lines. So we have a number that sends out a text and invitations and then like the location and then they can reply. When we did it at Scotch, like ages ago before Scotch was like Scotch and everyone did it, we did a Christmas party there like two Christmases ago, like we had people texting the number like “Yo I’m outside can you come and get me in.” We’re definitely going to bring that back at some point.
Dan: We still have it. We still get texts.
Max: Yeah we have it but we’re gonna use it more.
Isn’t it stressful to manage?
Dan: Not really though because it’s just an app. But it is kind of long. It was made by this guy to –
Max: It was made by Ryan Leslie wasn’t it?
Dan: Yeah to basically have like a more personal relationship with the people that are f*cking with you.
Max: Like that singer Eric Bellinger, he uses it so much.
Dan: He sells his tour tickets on it and everything.
Max: It’s crazy.
So how do you guys monetise your events? Do you make a profit?
Max: We don’t.
Dan: We kinda don’t. Events are a money loser.
Max: The whole idea of our events, for us ideally, the perfect events is free entry, free drinks in a good location, in the same way, we wouldn’t really design any clothes we wouldn’t want to wear, we wouldn’t throw a party we wouldn’t really go to.
So how many people are involved in the whole team and where’s everyone based?
Dan: So it started me and Raf and Max. And then now it’s just kind of me and Max but in terms of like the wider team, who would you say? Montel?
Max: Yeah so like you got me and Dan. Then you have family and friends, it’s funny you say that because the other day I said to Jev like “yo, if people ask you do you say you’re part of Sho” and he was like “definitely man, stupid question” so like me, Dan, Jevon, like the producer/singer/ songwriter and rapper.
Dan: Genius that is Jevon.
Max: Mulalley the other singer. Then we have Montel who is definitely our brand ambassador, he’s just been ride or die for the brand from day one. Gabriel is housemate is definitely part of SHO, got Robert Murray my friend who just pulls up to every single event and lends a helping hand. T O’Donnell, Kida, all the artists we’ve been working with from the beginning or over an extended period of time or even just on multiple projects, the SHO thing, we’re not like you’re a part of SHO and you’re not, it’s more just like omnipresent and collective and you can see on the Instagram who’s involved and I think it’s nice that way. Even though we’re kind of inclusive, someone said we’re inclusive but also exclusive and that we found the balance quite well and I like that. I like having not actually you’re in it/you’re not.
Dan: But it’s also very inclusive at the same time because think about how many people we’ve worked with that have just messaged us on Instagram randomly and we’ll just be like “ah sh*t this person’s so lit, and then we’ll end up setting them up with someone.
Max: I’d say the SHO Friends and Family is really just everyone. You got J Mags who I’d say is part of it, Savanna, Eva, Ocean, just the whole gang really. Everyone who shows love continuously is a part of SHO.
What are some of the brands you guys have collaborated with?
Dan: The first thing we ever really did was with Lewis. Oh, Lewis is definitely part of SHO. Lewis is this guy who runs a brand called Palmer Pouch. He’s been there from the beginning and we’ve shown in fashion week our collection with him which was a Boiler Suit and this smokers pouch which they’re gonna release this year at some point.
Max: And the boiler suit is cool because it splits into two so it looks like a full boiler suit and there’s like a very invisible zip that goes all the way around and then it turns into a really nice fitting jacket.
Dan: Other than that Kai and Adrian Shacter, they’ve been there from the beginning, we sort of kicked off SHO with them in New York. And then we did a painted denim collection in fashion week with Kai and we’re working on some stuff with Adrian.
Max: He made that blue candle.
Dan: But in terms of established big brands –
Max: Napapijri. Yeah so the first major brand we did anything with was Napapijri, but this year is looking crazy. We got some cool stuff on the horizon.
Dan: But for us, we’ve never really been about doing clothes for the sake of benefit. And it sounds weird to say that but up until now at least, we’ve kind of served the purpose of facilitating artists and putting good people in good places, like when we have done the stuff with Tia, it was more like she didn’t make her own clothes and we’re like “yo, this art would be so fire on clothes.” And then we sort of like showed her that it would be. And now she makes her own sh*t which is good.
Max: There’s something more enjoyable about making clothes with someone who doesn’t usually make clothes, than making clothes with another brand.
Where do you want to take your clothing, what’s the next step?
Dan: In the short term, we’re kind of are looking at, we’ve had people come and try stop us but we’ve kind of just wanted to keep it, but like abroad we’re definitely this year are looking to get a couple of stockists, Japan and Europe.
Max: And New York.
Dan: And then we’re just kind of working on a big proper, like our first full collection for next January. It’s quite a long time but it takes so long.
Max: The thing about getting stocked is, I feel like I try and get my own long term pop up or own shop if I could, over being stocked anywhere, because you kind of lose a bit of brand identity when you put something into let’s say Selfridges.
Dan: That’s never really been a goal, getting into Selfridges. It’s not our vibe.
Max: Using Trapstar as an example, for me and for a lot of people who like that brand, part of it is going to Portobello, finding a little dingy shop, going in there, only 5 people allowed in at a time, that’s kind of the identity and then you just get a t-shirt that says Trapstar on it. But you’re not buying a t-shirt because it says Trapstar on it, you’re buying it because you’re involved with the brand and so when we do pop-ups we really enjoy it because they come in and speak to us, they ask us questions, and then they leave with a t-shirt.
Where have you guys done Pop-Ups?
Dan: We did one on Charlotte Street in East, which was like an artist exhibition pop-up, so that’s when we had Harif and T’O and everyone.
Max: We’ve done small ones too, we did one at The Mill. Then we did one in New York at the Moxy in Times Square, that was fun. We’re definitely doing more pop-ups this year because we’ve got to the stage we’ve got boxes and boxes of stock waiting for the new website, waiting to do pop-ups and stuff like that. So we’re at the stage now where we can be like “oh yeah let’s do a pop-up” whereas before it was like “let’s do a pop-up!…with three hoodies”
Dan: And it’s also a process man like it’s taken so long to get, like even from thinking of something to getting something made to, getting to the point where you feel ready to sell it, it’s such a process.
How long have you guys been going for?
Dan: Like 2 years.
So within 2 years, you guys have actually managed to travel, run pop-ups events and parties in Copenhagen – London plus more.
Dan: I think financially that’s definitely the hardest part of starting anything like we’d be so much further towards where we want to be if we had more money.
For someone that’s reading this and they have no money, but they do something in London or anywhere in the world, how do they do that?
Dan: You need to flip your bag, you need to make one thing, sell it, make another thing, sell it and keep growing and spend your money very wisely. At the beginning we were doing things which probably weren’t that beneficial, I feel like sometimes we spent money in ways that we didn’t really need to spend money.
Max: Trust, the only comparison I can draw it to is drug dealing. Like how do you start drug dealing? You pick up a 1/4, next time you pick up a 1/2, next time you pick up an ounce, next time you pick up like 2/3, I don’t know if you can put that in like but I’m using that as an example, so like our first box of hoodies was like 20 hoodies, the second box like 50 hoodies, the next box was a whole box of tracksuits. We just really started small and the reason I think travel and SHO go hand in hand is because we almost set ourselves up for that because the first time we actually ever released any clothes and gave them out anywhere was in New York. And we did that and it kind of created the first tier, because all the London kids saw the New York kids had this London product before them, and they just went crazy.
Sometimes it’s the best way, we’ve done it like that ourselves, when sometimes you have to go out of your town and then create the buzz abroad then people are like no come back here and do something here, and they want more from you so that’s the way to do it.
Dan: And for us it was important to just, because obviously what we were trying to do was promote people from London and promote the people around us, it was important to do that abroad, so with that in mind all of these things like Copenhagen, Paris, we just did a party in Paris and we had Kas perform, our friend Junior, Daniel OG, and that stuff is like, all of the people in there, if we did that same party in London they might already know these people.
When was your guy’s party?
Dan: Friday night in Paris, the same night as the Stussy party. Details were on gram [Instagram], it’s always on the gram. That’s the kind of thing where I think it’s important to be international because the 350 people at that party, hardly any of them would have known Daniel OG, Junior, Kas, whereas if you throw that same party in London, a lot of people would know those people, so it’s like exposing them to a new audience.
Max: And it’s exciting for us as well because every single time we do something abroad, we kind of doubt our call. And then the night’s sick, so I get a lot of enjoyment from throwing parties abroad. So we’ve done Copenhagen, Tokyo, New York, Paris.
Dan: Oh yeah even Tokyo, we literally got flown out to Tokyo for this party which Jevon headlined the whole thing which was sick.
You got flown out for which party?
Dan: For this random party at One Oak Tokyo.
Max: Our supplier’s called Supplier was throwing a party
What’s next? What are you guys looking to tap into next?
Dan: Amsterdam. I f*ck with the Daily Paper a lot.
Do you speak with them?
Dan: We do, we do, we’re planning don’t worry.
Max: Definitely planning. And then even though we’ve done there, we’re definitely trying to keep our foot in the door in New York.
Dan: LA this year too.
That’s good. Describe SHO in one word?
Max: Multi-faceted or wavey.
Do you want to give us any hints on any collaborations you got coming up?
Max: We could probably hint that we’re going to do something with quite a big alcohol company.
Dan: And maybe something else with Napapijri. But the other ones are a bit sticky right now.
Max: I don’t know if we can talk too much.
So definitely another Napapijri collab?
Max: Yeah, some sort of collaboration.
Dan: Yeah some sort of.
Max: Yeah yeah.
Dan: But really the music is what we’re really focusing on right now.
Max: Yeah the music is definitely a key thing to us right now.
Dan: We’re trying to get the mixtape out.
Tell me about that single you guys are dropping? Did you guys produce it?
Max: Basically after Tokyo, we went straight to LA with Jevon, which was kind on a whim, Jevon had some record label stuff to do there, and Dan got us a studio basically for the whole week and we could just use it in downtime.
Dan: We kind of just had the studio, every night we were there from like 11-5am.
Did you get the studio for free?
How did you get the studio for free?
Dan: My friend has one, when he came to London and stayed with me, he owed me one. So I kicked him out of his house for a week.
Max: It was like a studio half the size of this room, it was a sick studio it was really nice it’s like a home studio.
Dan: And we’d just be there every night with Jevon and we’d just like invite people to come and work with him.
Max: So we acted as the A & R.
Dan: Literally, everyone pulled up, Octavian, Cole, Miraa, Kida. The way that song actually happened, yeah that’s how it happened, we were there, Jevon laid this crazy beat, Kida laid down the chorus, then Diggie was like where you at and I was like come to the studio, and he ended up putting down this stupid verse at the end.
Max: This crazy verse, and then we just had that song, and then I went on tour as Jevon’s DJ when he was supporting Cole, and so they made a song on tour and then when they were in LA they made a couple more. Jevon made some with Miraa, Jevon made a couple with Octavian, like I think they started another one with Kida, and then we were also there and like Jevon was doing sessions with the guy who made Controlla with Drake, and then ended up in No ID studio with Snow Elegro and they were working on Alisha Keys’ new album. I honestly believe in manifestation, like it’s so mad and it’s hard to speak to people who don’t really understand that stuff, but I think a lot of what happens in SHO with me and Dan, we just do believe it, and rather than saying I want to, we just say I am going to, or like we are going to or let’s do this. There’s never really like a maybe, we just go for it, and I think if you have that mentality as a person, good things will come your way.
Dan: I feel like with that, Kida, Jevon and Diggie would probably never have been in the same studio together.
Max: Never, and it probably would have taken a hot second before Jevon and Kida made a track together. And definitely, a hot hot second before Jevon and Octavian sat down and finished a couple of songs with each other. And that’s another thing connecting the dots.
Dan: Yeah just trying to bring the right people to the other right people. But sometimes you can say something to someone and they don’t really realise it, like we’ve been telling everyone Jevon’s the best.
Max: Like producer-wise, crazy. Once you meet Jevon, that’s going to be the first person you’ve met that’s going to get a Grammy in the next five years. He’s just a genius with it. Such a genius that Kanye West already stole one of his loops from the first track on his last album.
I guess London is such a melting pot with so many different backgrounds when you get together you just can’t help but tap into different cultures.
Exactly, I just found out that B Young is Greek and I was like what?! But he’s come from an area where he’s around the African boys and Jamaican boys so of course, he can make music like that. London is so multicultural everyone is everyone, I remember when Sneakbo was rapping over Jamaican beats and I was like are you Jamaican!
Max: Yeah like that type of genius. He really is.
Dan: And yeah then that song got made, and then came back to London, and then just put out.
Max: And then we’re speaking to some major record labels about upstreaming it and making sure it gets on the right playlist because it definitely deserves it. I think it’s a radio hit. It’s nice doing that and then there are other people like Oscar Sheller, who we know who we got him into sessions with Remel whose definitely one to watch, and Miraa May, Slow Thai.
Dan: There’s a lot of artists who are really really really talented.
Max: After that Oscar did some sessions with J-5 and worked on J Hus album before J Hus got put into pen.
Dan: Like there’s a lot of artists who are really talented but just need some pushing and need to be connected with the right people to really know what their sound should be.
Max: Yeah so it’s cool and it’s not always like “oh let’s just get a song and put it on the mixtape” but it’s honestly just amazing like Oscar Sheller’s a loose example of it, like we haven’t done any direct work with him but because of the people we were bringing to him just because he was good at producing and they needed some free recording time, his career’s gone way way-way up. And that’s almost better than getting a rack.
What would you say is the key to doing what you love in London because a lot of people just want to do something but they can’t do it but they see other people doing things and just probably get frustrated, what would you say is the key as young freelancers?
Max: Nike’s logo is so relevant, like their thing “Just Do It”, like fully, just do it. Any way possible.
Dan: Just make sure your aesthetics good and people will f*ck with it, eventually.
When you say just do it, I agree with that, but what about someone hasn’t got the connections and the dots but want to do it, how do they do it?
Dan: I think make something that you think’s cool and keep the aesthetic clean and people will f*ck with it.
Max: Like you see CIFF yeah, like honestly ask for advice that’s definitely the first thing.
Dan: That happens so much more like literally in the last three months the amount of kids that are like, especially since the Napapijri thing, we did a talk with Napapijri about brand building and collaboration, and that was like a crazy couple of hours it was really sick to see loads of kids come in and genuinely be starting up their brands and doing all of this different stuff and asking us for advice and actually taking something away from it.
Max: I think asking rather than just watching and drawing your own opinions on how they did it is very informed, because people would look at Cif and be like “oh those kids must have had a lot of money to get all that plastic and do that” when really we spent, if you take away the money we spent in the car, it’s two rolls of plastic. We spent £80 doing that whole thing, and the paint was half of that.
Dan: Paint’s expensive!
Max: And I feel like even before we started doing it I was looking at people like “how do they do that, what was the budget for that?” But you can make the most amazing things without barely any money and I think money is the, well people think money is the main obstacle, but it’s –
Dan: One thing I would say is, say you don’t have connections and stuff but you can make connections, people really feed off energy, especially with younger people. If you go to someone and you sell them an idea, you don’t need money to sell someone an idea or a concept. With us, it’s just worked, like we haven’t paid for a lot of the stuff we’ve done which we should have paid for like venues or exhibition spaces, just because we come with a mindset that you guys need us to do this you know.
Max: Yeah it’s self-confidence and not thinking that money or not having the right education in the area you’re in, you don’t need a degree to walk into a building with a good idea.
Dan: Neither of us has ever studied fashion or anything, and we did a presentation at fashion week, it’s just sort of like fake it till you make it.
Max: Yeah it kind of is.
Use what you can with what you have.
Dan: Yeah exactly. That’s a better way of putting it.
Max: Also fake it till you make it isn’t a negative thing, I’ve realised it’s really not, it’s really not. Because you see my IG Stories going out, houses were in that look really nice.
You’ve got to place yourself where you want to be.
Dan: Exactly! And nothing happens sitting at home, so many of the connections that we’ve made that have helped us do things and led to other things and snowballed, have been made out drunk with random people you know and just stuff like that. You meet someone, they f*ck with your energy, they ask you what you’re doing, you tell them, that person has the connection. Like we didn’t come into this with loads of connections, you just meet people and then you get things from different people. And there’s something you can do for everyone you know.
Max: Another thing is don’t just watch other people because if you watch other people, it will either inspire you or intimidate you, more times intimidate you.
Dan: Or influence you, which it shouldn’t, you should just do what you thinks right. Because you’ll look back and it will have been right, it might not have been the same as what someone else has done but –
Max: Some artists in the world, like painter artists, are so sh*t, but they’ve just been doing the same thing for fifteen years that enough people recognise it and now they’re legit. It’s same thing with everything.
Dan: It’s the same with brands, yeah you can’t really reward them on their merit with what they’re doing right now but they’ve been here for forty years and they’ve got the awareness so now they’re still making all of that money.
Max: Yeah, and even now, we’re not really in a position, I mean I guess we are because we got here but we still got money issues, we still can’t do 80% of the things we want to do, still not enough hours in the day, we still don’t have the most amazing work rate, I think that’s the same with everyone, from us all the way to Virgil, he probably complains about the same sh*t.
Dan: He’s just got a massive team. That’s the thing as well, getting help from other people is important. It’s been easy for us because we’re like a collaborative platform but whatever the situation is you can always get people to help you with what you’re doing.
Max: Yeah I ask for things all the time, all the time. A lot of people are scared to ask for things but you can’t get if you don’t ask.
You don’t know until you ask so always ask.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Definitely trying to go on proper big tours, just to see the fans across the world. I saw fans in Sweden singing everything recently and I’m like damn you have actually been fans. We need to go to these places more because we have fans there and we don’t realise. So yeah I definitely need to do a European tour, whether that’s the end of this year or the next I’m not sure. I guess in general I’m proper on the business, I’m not into wasting money, I just want to build something that’s sick that can benefit people as well.