Yo! We’re excited to introduce to y’all a new brand here at the shop, more importantly someone who has become a new friend to the family. Always a good time accompanied by positive energy when Riv comes thru the office. With that said it’s a no brainer we’d get him in the studio, chop it up, and send some questions his way. You can catch the drop of RRR123 this Thursday (08.08.19) online at 9AM PST and in-store at 11AM. Enjoy and peace y’all. #sooncome
To start things off, give us a little background on yourself, where’d you grow up?
I was born in Queens, NY. Grew up between Queens and the Dominican Republic. DR shares an island with Haiti, I guess it’s where my proclivity towards the fantastical and the wicked comes from?
What were you up to in NYC before heading out west? Building off that what made you move to Los Angeles?
I was living in Brooklyn, had just wrapped up a residency with my band at the Pyramid club in the LES. We took a Christmas break and decided to meet up here in LA to record some records right after. In the process the unimaginable happened… I met a girl and had to stay. The band seemed to have enjoyed the West coast enough to stay as well.
Since moving to LA what made you drop music and get into fashion?
Something seemed pretty ridiculous about the whole thing. Rock-n-roll is a museum piece, it no longer transforms but imitates itself; and like the Ouroboros, feeds off its own excrement. The allure we give musicians are remnants of an old order. the act and the audience, participants of something that once was and will never be again. I should have dropped the whole thing once a band like Greta Van Fleet seemed to be a thing people were down to identify with. Aside from that, it’s all a distortion of reality, the “superstar” projections, the expectations, and the fact that anything that I was hoping to achieve in music was directly connected to fame had gone against all i believed to be true. The benefits was that 95% of my time was spent reading and writing at a coffee shop on Beverly Blvd called Andante, or at my friends place on Highland that’s no longer there, but she fed and gave us free coffee over a three year span. Being in a group of anything is denial of the individual and a way to merge into the crowd and not be singled out. Like the zebra, to join any kind of group is a survival mechanism. It then became impossible for me to dial back fully fledged concepts that came into my head and try making them “our ideas.” I no longer had the ability to make everyone feel involved. I was the lead singer who lost his ability to lead. People don’t have ideas, ideas have people, and the idea of the rockstar had taken hold of me, I’m glad I peeped through the curtains and saw through the act. Right around the time all this was happening, I found out about the possible Union x Jordan 1’s drop… crazy to say but that was what got me interested in starting brand. Those sneakers revealed to me that the excitement garnered through fashion was of the most indicative of where we are as a society, it’s where today’s Magicians and poets play. While in the UNION store, patiently waiting for my pair that I had secured via a great friend, I reconnected with a someone I knew from the music days. He had moved on from music and was part of the brand, Rhude’s, insane climb. Later that week we had lunch in DTLA, I told him I would start a brand, he said I’d better call it “Rivington.” It’s clear to me today that we are all outside of the garden and before we make music, play a sport, make films, first we shall all be clothed!
Everything’s been happening pretty fast for you and RRR. Have you had time to think about what the next move is?
Just keep doing what I do, at the pace that I do it, it’s the only move I know. Aside from that, I’d propose a different timeline as for how things are happening. For me, it took endless summers at flushing meadow park, Uptown sneakers, Eastland boots, Polo, Wu Wear… it took the Orlando Magic vs Bulls, the Dominican Hustlers in the 80’s with their eagle charms, women in Edwin jeans and dudes with Jerry Curls. It took Clayton Caps and abismal rehearsals at the music building on 8th Ave. It took 4 am walks from Avenue B up to 42nd Street with my dearest friend Charlie to Port Authority, in the freezing cold, after scheduled visits to open bars. That’s on the surface level, deeper than that, it took the two-thousand-plus years of Christianity, the Gnostics, Zoroastrians, Spanish Moors, Egypt and Israel, Ancient Greece, Parmenides and Empedocles. It took the Situationist International, the DADAIST, French New Wave Cinema and Sábado Gigante. As Nietzsche said, “we stand on the corpses of our ancestors.” This shit took forever for me to get to you all. So far, my track record is to make things very few connect with, so let’s not go popping any corks just yet, I’m just happy to be doing this.
Where do you see RRR going in the future?
I don’t think I could have said that six months after starting a brand I’d be where I’m at today. If I project into the future, I’ll be in the way of where RRR wants to go and will naturally confuse things with what I want. With so many I’s, it’s hard to commit to any of their requests. I’ll be of assistance and at the service of the Rebis, most of the time I’m just running errands, trying to be of assistance and lend a hand for its ideas to surface into this bizarre realm of ours. As far as my involvement, I’m just the harbinger, the Rebis is the message.
Given that music was a big part of your life up to this point and I’m sure still is, if you had to draw parallels between artists, albums, or songs to describe RRR – what you coming up with?
This is the part where one can get really ridiculous! I’m not into music like that. When driving I’m listening to NPR or the BBC. I actually look forward to traffic at 5pm in order to catch ‘On Point’ on NPR. Lately, if I must listen to music I’ll put on the Billie Eilish and Bieber remix of ‘Bad Guy,’ and somehow I just discovered Plain Jain by Ferg… I’ll play those back to back, loud, and get on with the BBC World Service.
What were some of your media interest growing up that lead/inspired you? (Movies, television, books, etc.)
What was seminal for me was discovering Henry Miller. Once I pledged to Black Spring and the Tropics, I knew I was going to dedicate my life to join a lineage, “to forge my link on to the chain,” as Madame Blavatsky would put it. No one thing or any medium has impacted my life more than Miller.
We always like to ask people this one… A bit random so our apologies, but what’s the significance of the photo used on your phone’s lock screen/home page?
Very easy, Cuba Tornado Scott, my crush, love and anima. Both lock and home screens belong to her.
Share some of the latest music you’ve recently added to your music library. What about the music caught your interest if its something new, if it’s something old, what’s a memory that comes to mind from one of the songs?
I go in and out from paying and not being able to pay these streaming services any money. I haven’t committed as far as permanent residency in any of the platforms by adding music to a library. However, I do have one album that I make sure to keep on all devices and that is Paradise by Lana Del Rey. Since 2012, I’ve listened to this album on every flight upon take off. I think it gave me the courage to face death, it reminded me that it’s just as fine to live as it is to die. I listen to that album from start to finish, then I go for the films that I’d be embarrassed to suggest watching with anyone else.
Where does the name “RRR” come from?
My father was a dope dealer on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side of NYC. This was in the early 80’s. He made so much money on the block that he thought he’d name his son Rivington. The Rebis is the outcome of the great work in Alchemy, the merging of opposites. For example, Cuba (1) + Rivington (2) = The Rebis (3), a third entity. RIVINGTON roi Rebis, Rivington the King of Opposites. 123 is the monad, split into a duality and the outcome of that duality makes the trinity. It’s the way we make decisions, one situation, two ways we can judge or go about it, the third is the action we end up taking. RRR123 RIVINGTON roi Rebis.
If you weren’t doing fashion/music, what other industry would have you gone into?
I would have pursued a doctorate in divinity. For sure. I often think of all the things I could be and none of it requires Instagram nor much socializing, neither any networking. Slowly, I’m working my way up to an isolated cobbler living somewhere in Tangier, where I also package my own olive oil and send it to loved ones each Christmas.