I remember the first time I heard the names Zebra Katz and Njena Reddd Foxxx. On Diplo’s Twitter, in between the rants and TwitPics from parties I couldn’t afford, came a link to a music video titled, “Ima Read.” Immediately catching the reference to Jennie Livingston’s 90s documentary “Paris is Burning,” I watched and gagged at the modern reinterpretation of classic Ballroom house beats.
A few months later the fashion industry caught a whiff when Rick Owens used the same tune for his Fall 2012 women’s runway presentation in Paris. “Ima Read” was then named the soundtrack of Paris Fashion Week. Every publication since, from The New York Times to Vogue Italia, became obsessed with the track. But hardly anyone knew anything about the artists.
I recently caught up with the duo in Brooklyn for an exclusive photo shoot and interview before they shipped off to San Francisco to continue their National tour. In this Bloginity exclusive Zebra Katz talks music, performance art, and personal style.
Keesean: How’d you come up with your DJ Moniker?
Zebra Katz: Off the top of the Katz’ head.
Keesean: When did you first sign with Mad Decent and how has that changed the trajectory of your career?
ZK: I signed Ima Read and Hey Ladies to Mad Decent in June of 2011 and it was remixed and released in mid January of 2012. After the release on Mad Decent the track started spreading like wildfire – a fire which Rick Owens helped fuel during his Mountain collection show in Paris.
Keesean: How supportive is Diplo of the artists in his collective?
ZK: Diplo has been beyond supportive. He’s the one who decided to release the track, he’s played Ima Read, hyped Ima Read, rocked the original Zebra Katz tank top, randomly pops up at our shows, and also shares our work with people from all around the world. That’s love!
Keesean: You’ve studied at the British American Dramatic Academy in London and Parsons School of Design. How does your experience with performance art inform your music and concerts?
ZK: My background in performance and design has helped shape me into the artist I am. I feel having a strong background in the arts gives you the tools, skills, and creative insight that you could use with almost any medium.
Keesean: How would you describe your personal style?
ZK: Vintage Blipster Couture
Keesean: If you have any advice for anyone trying to break into the art/music industry, what would it be?
ZK: Be yourself.
This exclusive with Zebra Katz and Njena Reddd Foxxx was made possible through an amazing collaborative effort that included Alison Brady – who was recently interviewed for Bloginity – the talented makeup artist Sally Streets, and Keesean’s good friend Sean Devlin. Keesean was also responsible for the styling of the photo shoot.
Photo Shoot Credits:
Photography: Alison Brady
Styling: Keesean Moore
Styling Assistant: Sean Devlin
Makeup: Sally Streets