NEVIN & RAIDEN
With the long awaited release of the Bistro Pack, we had the chance to sit down with Nevin & Raiden, the eyes behind the rocky mountains and palm trees featured in our latest campaign. In this TAIKAN BY, we explore Nevin & Raiden's creative processes, inspirations that led to the output of the visually stunning imagery that represents our Bistro Pack drop.
Tell me a bit about yourselves.
N: So I’m [going into grade 11], and I’m pretty passionate about photography as well as filmmaking and a lot of creative areas. I’m getting into music and also really like writing.
R: I’m [just finished grade 12], and I guess my main passion is music. Although within that I'm still finding that I don't truly know exactly where it's going, but I do know that I'm really interested in music. I've had the privilege of having a lot of experiences during high school with music so I feel like the curation of my sound is becoming more coherent now.
What is your relationship as brothers?
R: We usually hang out throughout the day, other than when we're practicing our separate arts. We're always watching shows together and Nevin's introducing me to the film photography side of things and I'm introducing him to the music side of things.
N: I'd also say, as brothers it's pretty cool how we've known each other our whole life and we see each other get interested in different things. Only kind of more recently have we found more common passions and been more interested in things together like music and photography.
Is there a creative balance that comes from learning from each other? How does your relationship and sharing inform your respective art forms?
N: I definitely feel, for me at least, getting into music through Raiden who is constantly practicing multiple hours of drums and piano, definitely helps inspire me. And we push each other. We will work often to motivate ourselves, and also fight any creative resistance together.
I definitely think part of my interest in music recently is a huge part of thinking creatively. A lot of artists, or writers and filmmakers that I know, talk a lot about music and how it helps with their ideas. Also, scoring in film can be super powerful, and can both go hand in hand with each other so I think that part of the interest for me is learning about it because I definitely haven't had much experience in my life playing any instruments.
What does a day look like for Nevin & Raiden? What is important for you to maintain in your day?
R: The main important thing is being mindful, for example we started meditation with our whole family. That’s not necessarily what has caused our mindfulness but we're always thinking about basically if we're not being productive, we’re being mindful of why we’re not being productive.
The ultimate goal is to always be productive, or [doing something]. It's pretty easy to not be inspired and like I know we’ve both been in those kinds of times and that’s honestly the worst when you're doing creative stuff. We're just trying to motivate each other and stay productive and interested in our goals for sure.
What level do you want to reach with your art?
N: I don't use social media at all. I don't have Instagram or anything to really promote myself, other than a website so that's always kind of been like an interesting question. For right now I'm not too worried about reaching out for work to people until I really keep developing my skills. But the end goal for all my skills is to be able to like work for different people or do collaborations and bigger projects that are more related to always developing the skill.
R: I think for me it would just be about a conscious progression because I don't really know where my skill set will be going as it's progressing. But as long as it's kind of aware of where it's going and it's authentic to me that I think that's all I can hope for as my skills progress. That's all I really care about; the authenticity of what I'm doing, and that it's meaningful to me and it's something that I care about. Otherwise I won't be doing it.
Who/what are some of your influences?
N: We had this project called Night of the notables where you had to become a notable person, and then research them and dress up as them to do a presentation. It was a huge project and my notable choice was Stanley Kubrick. So I got really familiar with his films and his style and that kind of showed me filmmaking that is not super conventional. [His] unconventional approach led me to avant-garde film, which is super experimental, kind of visionary film which often breaks a lot of rules or tries new things. I like watching movies and seeing something totally new but also that works.
R: David Lynch is a pretty big film inspiration. He's kind of a musician himself, but he helps to score all this stuff for his films and they're amazing. So that would also relate to kind of a musical inspiration and how he talks about relating the two together is pretty inspiring. We also have his book called “Catching the Big Fish” that we wrote. It’s a pretty weird book but it’s pretty cool. It talks about all his interests, it’s very David Lynch.
Are you able to bring your influences into your art?
R: I mean, since I've been doing music for a long time and I'm pretty familiar with what I'm doing. I'd say it's a lot easier to take inspiration. Film is definitely a lot harder and I think it's on another level to have something to tackle and be inspired from just because it's not as accessible or at least it hasn't always been. But for music, I'm always taking inspiration from people, especially when I'm creating. Recently I've been interested in lots of jazz music and spontaneous kinds of music that's created in the moment and improvised. So when I'm playing drums or piano like the biggest focus for me is creating music that I can create spontaneously.
But the problem with that is it takes so much time to acquire the skills so I guess the hardest challenge is definitely having the skills in order to create and I'm always confused where that bound is because I could always work on my skills forever.
For my influences right now, it’s changed and it’s always changing. Right now I would say for music it falls over a wide variety of genres but I really like this Korean artist named Mid-Air Thief. I really like a lot of electronic and Folk Indie music coming from Japan and Korea. Then Jazz, [I’m listening to] is by Bill Evans, who is amazing and is inspiring me with piano.
N: One of Raiden and my top films that we’ve watched in the past few months is called Greener Grass. The director stars as the main character and it’s hard to explain what type of film it is but it’s super unconventional. It also has an interesting visual style and theme. The theme is probably conforming to societal norms and it reflects that theme because it’s so abnormal. It’s related to not following what everybody in society is doing and sometimes the challenges of breaking the pattern, which is a recurring theme in our lives.
What does this shoot for the Bistro Pack mean to you?
R: We were experimenting a lot and we were both doing a lot of portraits. We were also doing street style shooting, such as spontaneous shooting, and those turned out the best pictures. I definitely think my photography is more going towards that route of just point and shooting which is definitely my favorite style.
N: Working with Raiden on this shoot was really cool. One time we were in this area where there were a bunch of palm trees. There was a ladder on one of [the trees] so [we took photos] going up the tree, that was Raiden’s idea. Playing off of each other's ideas was a really cool part of it. Having that mindset of ‘we’re shooting TAIKAN bags in Palm Springs’, driving around and always thinking about it was a fun experience.
How do you use your TAIKAN?
N: I used the TAIKAN bag for school, the backpack. I like having it for school because it stands out but it’s not flashy and it’s good quality. I like the small Sacoche because there’s a lot of situations going on walks where I want to have a notepad, a camera and my wallet in a bag instead of having it all in my pockets. I try to leave my phone at home and take my notepad instead if I’m going to walk around the neighbourhood.
At TAIKAN, bags are the result of successfully accomplishing a creative venture. Who are we without the possessions that we cling to? Conceptualized in Vancouver, Canada, we yearn to bring that statement back into the vehicles that fuel our creativity. Check out the Bistro Pack Collection here.
Photo Credits: Nevin & Raiden Louie