Throughout Dr. Martens history our boots and shoes have been worn by an eclectic mix of people, who have fought for — and celebrated — their individuality. #WORNDIFFERENT NYC is a project bringing together NYC-based artists and makers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to celebrate self-expression with a clash of art and music.
Lo-fi indie rockers Beach Fossils lead the line-up for next week’s #WORNDIFFERENT NYC event in Brooklyn. The band’s latest album Somersault was released earlier this year on Bayonet Records — frontman Dustin Payseur’s new label. We spoke to Dustin about New York’s influence on his work, his favorite NYC neighborhood (Greenpoint) and spray painting his first pair of Doc’s. Read the interview below, and follow us on Instagram for coverage of the event.
Where are you from?
I grew up in North Carolina and moved to NYC nine years ago. I’ve been in Greenpoint for seven years. I wanted to get out of my hometown and find a city that had a thriving art and music community. I go insane with boredom and political frustration in a small place, so I had to find somewhere that felt like home.
What do you do?
I write songs, record them in my studio then go out and tour them. I also make videos and want to start making short films as soon as my touring schedule slows down. I’ve played music since I was a kid and I’m ADHD so it’s kind of the only thing I’ve ever been able to pay attention to and enjoy doing. I was horrible at school, worked shitty retail jobs, so this is my path. I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What advice would you want to tell artists looking to move to New York?
Just go for it. Don’t worry about it, just work hard and be dedicated. Love yourself and treat yourself right and hang with people who inspire, support and respect you.
What’s your favorite neighborhood and why?
Greenpoint. Sometimes I don’t leave for weeks. My recording studio is there, the office for my label Bayonet Records is there, tons of great food, and can walk right over the bridge into Queens.
What’s your favorite thing about living in New York?
Everything is available at all times. I love sitting around doing absolutely nothing in my apartment at 2am, knowing I could go out and party if I felt like it.
Where’s your favorite place to grab a slice of pizza?
Anywhere with a vegan slice, more and more places are starting to serve vegan pizza which makes me extremely happy because it’s definitely one of my favorite foods and New York is the best at it.
How does New York influence you and your work?
It’s a place that never turns off. You could go out every night, but the party lifestyle is a trap. You don’t have to feel guilty staying in and focusing on your craft. Take time going out and seeing what other artists are working on, then hide away in your zone and get back to work.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
So many. I used to be really protective and secretive and not like the idea of collaborating, but I’ve learned over the years that it’s so fun. The way you work and the way somebody else works is always going to be completely different. I’d like to work with more electronic producers and rappers.
Tell us about a memorable New York moment that happened to you.
Literally every show I’ve ever played in New York. They’ve all been some of my favorite and most memorable shows. There’s nothing like a hometown show, and every borough, every neighborhood has a completely different crowd and a different vibe. You could basically tour without having to leave NYC. That’s what Beach Fossils did when we first started. We would be playing 4 nights a week in a different venue and it was always a new feeling. Keeps things fresh and keeps you on your toes.
What comes to mind when you hear Dr. Martens?
I think of 80’s UK punk and Oi! bands like Blitz, 4-Skins, Partisans, Chaos UK, Adicts, etc. That was the style. Everybody had them.
Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens.
When I was a kid I stole a pair from my older sister. She had a pair and I thought they were the coolest things ever. So I took them and spray painted them green and started wearing them everywhere. I thought I was a punk.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Making art that’s genuine, something that’s real and moves people in the same way it moves me when I’m making it.