An interview with Brendan Dunne: someone with your dream job

Courtesy of Complex

Very few people ever get the opportunity to speak with someone who has their dream job, recently I had the privilege of becoming one of those people. For some time now, I’ve been dead set on becoming a journalist. This website is my primary effort. In the past year and a half I’ve written over 50 unique articles, but it’s not like I have any professional experience in the field.

Enter, Brendan Dunne. Dunne, 30, is a writer currently employed at Complex; a media outlet primarily focused on covering youth culture. His main responsibility involves running Complex’s Snapchat discover platform, and managing a lot of behind the scenes aspects of Sole Collector shows Full Size Run and Price the Hype. He is also featured prominently on both series as a mainstay co-host. Before this, Dunne studied linguistics at the University of Oregon and worked for Sneakernews on the side before being brought on fulltime in 2012. He found himself at Complex after Sole Collector editor in chief Gerald Flores brought him onto the team in 2014.

I don’t work on Sole Collector explicitly anymore but (I’m) still involved with a lot of projects, Full Size Run chief among them.

That’s a quote from Dunne himself. On Wednesday, Sept. 18 I had the privilege of speaking to Dunne personally over the phone amidst his busy work schedule and the ambient bustling noises of New York City. Dunne was the prime subject to interview about my dream job. He’s an experienced journalist and editor with a big hand in a media outlet I consume regularly and yes, he loves talking about sneakers the same as I do. Getting his contact information was not the simplest task but after a few days and sheer luck I got his personal email and we started talking almost immediately. Within a few days, we had a phone call scheduled.

When the day finally came I was nervous. How do you talk to someone you look up to? Someone who, in more ways than one, is your superior.  I was pretty shaky to start off but, Dunne’s congenial attitude and casual yet articulate manner of speaking put me at ease. The interview only lasted 15 minutes but what it lacked in runtime it made up for in substance.

I’m going to leave a transcript below of the last few questions of the interview. What follows is some of the best career advice I’ve ever received, from a gentleman who is well beyond his years in terms of heart.

What do you love about your job?

I love being able to be critical about sneakers because I feel like the scene as a whole is lacking that so I like having that opportunity to voice my opinion on those things and also I like the opportunity to talk to industry people or famous people who have sneaker histories that aren’t necessarily out there and kinda bring those stories out… I think there’s a lot of things, about like the Off-White stuff, for instance, that is valuable and that is good design but it’s so obvious. Those shoes I see every day so I’d rather just try and do something a little different or show people that I appreciate something a little different. 

What’s one misconception you think people have about your profession?

I think a lot of people think that when you’re in the sneaker world professionally whether you’re writing, blogging, making videos is that people are just going to send you free things… I guess the idea that it’s easy to just get whatever you want from these brands you know? People have to work really hard to make these connections and make these relationships or convince people in various positions of power across the industry that they are someone worth listening to or someone worth talking to, you know what I mean? It took a long time for us to be able to do something as bold as to make a show where we present the idea that our opinions matter. I had to do this for a long time before I could be that bold or before Welty could get on camera and have people trust his opinion. People don’t necessarily realize that it takes a lot of work to get to that point a lot of writing, he worked in retail for years, I wrote thousands of blog posts on this stuff. It wasn’t a short road.

If you were me right now, a college student, what would you be doing to get where you are right now?

I would be looking for stories that aren’t being told by sites like Complex because I think there are a lot of them. We’re at a time now where big media is realizing how important sneakers are to so many people or how even profitable the idea of covering them can be and I think that we’re only at the beginning when it comes to sneaker media. I think there’s a long ways to go and I think there’s a lot of stories that haven’t been told… I mean I wish I had time to tell ’em. Always new stones to turn over.

One last question here, have you ever resold sneakers?

Yes, I have. I have, I do, and I don’t have any qualms about it really anymore. Unless it’s like a shoe somebody gave to me, somebody close to me gifted me something, means something personally. Otherwise, I have and will continue to resell sneakers. Just don’t tell Welty.

Sorry, I had to ask that one.

Yeah of course. The most important question.

I look forward to what you continue to do in the future, I look forward to the new season of FSR. Which is coming out soon I believe?

Next week.

Next Week?

Yes, sir, that’s an exclusive. Put it out there.

Glad I got that one. Alright, thank you so much, Brendan, have a great day my friend.

You can follow Brendan Dunne on Instagram and soon enough Twitter. You can also see him on the Sole Collector channel as a co-host for Full Size Run and Price the Hype.

Ameer Vann comes back to the spotlight.

ameer.pngAfter about fifteen months of silence, Ameer Vann, ex-member of BROCKHAMPTON, has returned to the music scene with a brand new EP. Many had believed he had left the industry for good, for all his social media had been deactivated and the details surrounding his departure from BROCKHAMPTON were quite muddled. However, behind the scenes, there was a lot of pseudo communication between Ameer fans and their beloved artist.

For at least ten months, dedicated listeners have been communicating with Ameer’s uncle via YouTube comments on his videos. It’s certainly unorthodox but it worked for some time now. Here’s a quote from Ameer’s uncle from two weeks ago. Before this, a fan had thanked him for putting up with all the comments on his videos asking about Ameer and asked about details for his eventual comeback. His uncle had this to say afterward:

Well. I just thank you all for supporting him and not believing everything you see or hear. We don’t focus on negativity in this family and always try to encourage him and each other. And when he looks at the comments section in my videos and sees the love, he knows how much you all still love him and he appreciates that. Stay tuned. You’ll be hearing from him.

Fans of Ameer clung to the last sentence and soon after on Sept. 9th his Instagram was reactivated. From there on after, only minor changes would occur things like him unfollowing people, deleting his photos, and taking BROCKHAMPTON out of his bio. This lead fans to believe that something new was coming soon. They were right.

On Sept. 16, 2019, Vann posted a photo of a sign on Hollywood Boulevard that read “Ameer Vann, Available now, Emmanuel.” Ironically at this time, Emmanuel was not available fans were only able to listen by switching their location to areas like New Zeland on Apple Music. Emmanuel would end up being Ameer’s first project since leaving BROCKHAMPTON was released just last night on all major streaming platforms. Along with this, a music video for the titular track was also released the very same night.

As for the music itself its radically different than anything Vann did with BROCKHAMPTON. The production isn’t poppy and melodic. It’s percussion focused and harrowing. The production owes itself to legendary producers, Hit-boy, G-Dav, and Cool & Dre. All of which are very prominent producers in the rap industry who have worked with very big names like Kanye West and Travis Scott just to name a few.

Vann also experiments with different flows and articulation on this EP. It still sounds like Ameer Vann but something has definitely changed. Chalk it up to it being a different studio, or perhaps age but this is without a doubt, a different side of Ameer fans are just barely being exposed to. The only thing that remains relatively similar is lyrical content.

Yes, Ameer still references drugs. However, as heard in the title track, Ameer has a lot to say about his departure from the old boyband. He even makes a few posthumous references to a few verses from his old BROCKHAMPTON days. It’s only fair considering the fact they’re very liberal about him on their own records.

Along with all of these developments, there have also been some setbacks. Vann’s alleged victim has taken to Twitter announcing her withstanding opinion on him. Many have been quick to typecase Ameer fans as abuse sympathizers with little to no understanding of what that actually entails. The BROCKHAMPTON community is also very split on the issue. Many complained about the BROCKHAMPTON subreddit because Ameer-centric posts were being taken down by the moderators.

It would seem Vann’s return is a divisive one. On one hand, you have those who simply want to support Vann and his creative endeavors. On the other, you have those who want to see him fall. Is it truly worth separating the artist from their art? Or is this indicative of a much bigger problem in the music industry? One can decide for themselves what spectrum they want to be apart of.

Emmanuel is available on most streaming platforms

I wrote something new but it isn’t here.

As some of you may know Evan “Burning the Celluloid” Ambrose and I are pretty good friends. His website primarily focuses on critiquing the film industry. While I focus on analyzing music and other forms of media.

For a while now, we’ve wanted to write something together. Evan proposed a so-called duo-review. While I still don’t consider myself a reviewer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about BROCKHAMPTON’s newest album. Evan and I have such differing views on music and different approaches to writing so I believe the article has a lot to offer for people on all sides of the viewing spectrum.

The review is up on Evan’s website and I will leave a link to it below. There’s a lot of hot takes and fun banter throughout the review. I had a blast creating it with Evan.

Aside from that, I have a few articles and interviews that are set to come out in the near future. I’m already working on my top albums of the year list too. Stay tuned.

The Review.