My contentment of having an interview with my beloved multi-stranded Swedish label To whom it may concern (TWIMC) is ineffable. My first long lasting date with iamamiwhoami (a part of TWIMC/audiovisual project) started almost a year ago on YouTube, where I discovered Jonna’s Lee music which hooked me with surreal but at the same time natural visual narrative and melody. Soon, the Blue Blue became my song of adventures, breakfast’s supplements and final yes to just do it. Just recently TWIMC created a unisex line of organic clothing essentials called necessities with the purpose to encourage a sustainable mindset. Thus, finally, I got the pretext to approach John Strandh, co visual director, cinematographer/still photographer at TWIMC, and ask few questions about the audiovisuals and wear which care for ecology.
What made you decide to start To whom it may concern label? Is there a story behind the name?
TWIMC was founded in Stockholm, 2010 by artist and creator Jonna Lee. In the beginning it was solely used as an online tool to release the creations of her audiovisual project iamamiwhoami as there was little traditional outputs for their audiovisual releases. The label became a way to work outside the norm of a traditional record label and grew quickly into connecting and merging different art fields between the different creators involved in the project. We now have the foundation of a label, but rather than the traditional record label, we host creators from different art fields such as musicians, photographers, illustrators and directors.
Our work is made to anyone concerned to take part of. We aim to reflect this in our projects. The name reflects our outlook on consumption and how people consume, but also on identity and gender equality.
What‘s the core of the whole projects, what is the brand’s DNA?
Our main focus is audiovisuals and always has been. We do productions together as a team varying between the different art fields. This is the core of TWIMC. Working this way is great fun and it also enables us to do all creative parts of audiovisuals in house such as music, film, edit grade, mixing, mastering, artwork. TWIMC now produce, manufacture and ship our releases with our base in Stockholm.
If TWIMC were a person, how would you describe it?
A concrete but quiet person that rather does than talks, with a great imagination and will to explore.
How significant is sustainability to the whole brand?
We try to be conscious and responsible in every step and our aim is to both as a label and as people be better with every new project. As a young company, we build from the foundation in an age where we are becoming more environmentally aware, therefore that enable us to choose our base wisely. It may be harder to alter an already existing infrastructure that is established. Furthermore, running a webshop is not that environmentally friendly, because we leave handling to a third party such as shipping of items. In that case, our job is to choose our third party collaborators wisely.
What was the main purpose of starting clothing line? What or who has influenced your work as a socially and environmentally responsible label?
All of us creators at TWIMC spend a lot of time outdoors. We all grew up with the luxury of untouched, vast, nordic landscapes and spent a lot of time close to wildlife, both in our work and in our private lives. This, I would say, is the main influence. Our eyes are open. If you’re in nature a lot, you feel connected to it. We are all active and concerned about what’s going on in the world. If you never experience nature and felt part of it, you may not feel connected and you may not be concerned. The main inspiration behind “necessities” was to create a sustainable unisex wear line of all basic essential items of a minimalist, functional design, a design that in theory can be patented by no one and everyone. And that ourselves want to wear in our expeditions of creative projects.
“To whom it may concern; necessities” a unisex line of organic clothing ↑↓
How sustainability in TWIMC ‘necessities’ collection shows off? How organic is it?
TWIMC ‘necessities’ is very sustainable. All items are fairwear, which mean that the clothes were manufactured sustainably under fair work conditions. All items are made of sustainable fabrics to last, and most items are made of organic cotton or recyclable materials.
Did you have any challenges in your journey to launching a sustainable clothing line? How have you managed to meet those challenges?
Yes, definitely. It’s both more expensive and more difficult to create an organic line of clothing. Also we wanted to make it a unisex line, rather than categorise by gender. This was also something that demanded determination, finding an equal balance that suits most.
Do you have any plans for expanding the line of clothing, or to branch out into other products?
This is the first wear line we have created. We enjoyed the creative process of putting together the line as well as the visual creation of it as we got to combine creativity, nature and environmental care. We always have a continuous work flow of ideas at TWIMC, thus, maybe 2016 will bring a lot of exciting work ahead.
The visual vocabulary of the label, especially iamamiwhoami, is super impressive, although it‘s mainly nature, water, natural forces, but the taste is amazingly good. How does it relate with label‘s image?
Thank you. Jonna Lee and I direct the visuals together for both iamamiwhoami and TWIMC under the pseudonym of WAVE. Both hold our aesthetics, but iamamiwhoami is it’s own project telling their own storyline which affects their aesthetics. TWIMC is the mother label — growing and evolving, also hosting other acts and creators.
What can we learn from nature in the process of re-thinking uses of natural resources?
We believe in circular consumption habits, meaning you give back what you consume. If everyone has a linear mindset the road leads straight ahead until it stops. The Earth’s resources have been consumed as though they were unlimited when they are not.
Can music be sustainable? Is iamamiwhoami music sustainable?
Digital is sustainable. iamamiwhoami has been at the forefront of digital releases since their beginning. Their site and community THE ISLAND is a good example of how they explore and develop the digital music format to fit their audiovisual works in a world of music where there’s little room to think outside the box.
Who are your biggest inspirers? Is there something you have read over the last year that has inspired you or contributed to your thinking?
We have been very inspired by scientists, environmentalists and activists. The Anonymous community, scientist and agronomist Johan Rockström who has influenced our thinking. Philosophers and writers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist have written many interesting books on the digital evolution and revolution.
How do you yourself live out your environmental commitments? What’s your philosophy in that sense?
We view ourselves as part of one large organism. How this organism acts are consequences of all of us. We make this organism’s conscious or subconscious decisions together. Knowing that everyone is personally responsible and has an effect on the environment and through that, on ourselves, has brought us to be conscious and aware. Keeping your eyes and senses open is a good start. We do many small things in our daily lives, like eating little or no meat, recycling, taking the train if possible, using recyclable materials and clothing. In our work we have bigger muscles to affect others to do the same by creating awareness, through our releases, materials and in our communication. As do you.
The final question – to whom it may concern?
To anyone who is concerned.
Portrait of TWIMC creators for “To whom it may concern; necessities”↑
Image courtesy of TWIMC