Josh Madden: Don’t Judge a book by its cover

Sensu Indianapolis has only been open a little while, and they have already showcased some great DJ talent to the city of Indianapolis. This past Friday, Sensu hosted DJ Josh Madden from New York; it was his first time performing in Indianapolis. Josh looks like your typical rock musician, but is much more than just a DJ and Music Producer. He is also the Co-Founder for two different companies, DCMA COLLECTIVE (a clothing line) and West Hall Media (a new marketing company). AND? He is a stylist.

Yes, the tattooed DJ has styled bands such as: Good Charlotte, The Static Jacks, Pierce Brosnan, Metro Station, and the White Tie Affair. He has also styled for Ben Sherman, Kangol, and House of Cassette clothing lines. Josh has been featured in People, Nylon, Spin, Paper, Status, and Inked magazines. Not to mention being a writer for Nylon magazine.

I have been a fan of Josh’s styling, our tastes being quite similar, so when I heard he was coming to Indianapolis, I knew I wanted to pick his brain. Here is our interview:

Jeremiah: Thank you so much for your time. I am a fan of your styling work, and gain inspiration from your vibe and aesthetic. My intention for the interview: is to offer a platform to inspire and share experience and knowledge to my readers. I read, I think it was a Nylon spread that you started out doing projects based on the experience over the pay. What was your first styling job?

Josh Madden: My first formal work, that put my name in print, was for PAPER Magazine…Styling 50 kids for 3 days, to be photographed by this radical guy Torkil. I just googled it… wait…here is the link We did that for free, I think I actually lost $500 on the shoot, because all these kids ruined these George Cox shoes; it was more money than I had. I had a whole room of borrowed clothes and my own collected stuff. Shout outs to Jimmy at Trash & Vaudeville, on St. Marks, for letting me pay him back late. I love Jimmy. Hey also, whoever put that on their tumblr, thanks, that’s awesome to see. That shoot means a lot to me to this day. There’s so much I’ve done that I didn’t even keep for a portfolio or whatever…

Jeremiah: And what was that first “on the job” lesson you learned, and how did that change the way you approached future styling opportunities?

Josh Madden: The girls at the showrooms were rude, except for Betsey Johnson, she was at her actual showroom, I love you forever Betsey…I was real frustrated because I was a straight tattooed guy, going into these showrooms where the clothes weren’t really that great anyway; so I started collecting. I decided I was gonna take any job, because I wanted to change things up and work collected stuff in with stuff that had to be shown, because of advertisers. If you make something look amazing, nobody can ever say no. There were a lot of lessons for me, because I feel like a fashion outsider. I don’t think the fashion world will ever recognize me…I don’t feel accepted by the fashion magazine crowd, but that’s all good because people like Charlotte Ronson and Christian Siriano make stuff that people actually wear and they’re my friends. F*ck, I don’t wanna be around anyone that doesn’t want to discuss and be inspired by creativity. So if those two kids [Charlotte and Christian] are the only kids in the High School, of the fashion world that hang out with me, I’m cool because a large part of that world is lost and boring anyway, haha.

Jeremiah: You have since worked on some pretty dope campaigns and editorials, not to mention the bands you have styled. Living in New York, I can only imagine the amount of inspiration you visually come in contact with. Where or how do you find your inspiration, for your different styling projects?

Josh Madden: Really, most of the time someone is just like, “What if…” then someone else is like, “And also if…” then I’m just like, “Yea and also…” haha. I went to see my buddy Sky at his office and he was like, “I’m working on this video for Lupe’s band “Japanese Cartoon”. We were thinking you’d be good to style it…” He went to buy a Pepsi and then he returned and was like, “Lupe texted me back…We’re having lunch in a half hour.” We had lunch and two weeks later, I was making a video. There was no back and forth about money or manager or anything, we just created. We can make everything out of nothing…and we can make it awesome because we all do our part.

Jeremiah: What advice would you give someone who lives in the Midwest, who wants to explore getting into styling?

Josh Madden: Get all of your photographer friends together and make them friends. Get all of your styling friends together and make them friends. Get all of the bands you know and tell them to stop trying to look like other bands and to let you all help them look better. Make a zine. Get 5 people together and make a blog, with new content that you’ve made on it. Do whatever work you can for free. Get a job handling visuals for a department store. The only way to make a bigger effect is to work in teams. I would love to expound using examples in my life, but I’m not interested in discussing all the people I’ve worked with. I think as a stylist person or a behind the scenes person, it’s better if you’re invisible.

Jeremiah: What have you found to be the biggest misconception of people’s view of being a Stylist?

Josh Madden: That you get credit. That it pays well.

Jeremiah: Reading your Tumblr, Listening to you radio show, and reading articles you have written: The impression is that you are an everyday guy following your passion. Many people wouldn’t even assume that you were interested in fashion and styling, based upon stereo typical assumptions. What advice would you give guys in the Midwest, who might be afraid to explore the arts within the fashion industry based upon stereo types?

Josh Madden: None of us are going to change the minds of anyone who has a stereo typical subscribed vision…I’ve just found a place where I have to be so obsessed with what I’m doing, that I just don’t hear and try to see any of that. I engage people and openly accept them as best I can. Two years later when they’re doing exactly what they were making fun of me for, I’ll be on another wave. The recognition and good feeling comes when 30,000 people listen to your radio show weekly, and your inbox is flooded with questions from people you identify with. I love the people living all over America, don’t get it twisted, I love New York City…I could give 2 sh*ts about an invite to a fashion show that will underwhelm me and bum-out my positive and excited spirit. I live for the 15 year old me who was called “Chunk” on a daily basis, considered a weirdo and told I was wasting my time…No kidding, I find myself standing in the most awesome situations, feeling like there is nobody in the room but me and the 15 year old me, and we’re just laughing. The secret for me is…I found the part of my life that I loved and made it my whole life.

Jeremiah: Besides styling, you also write for popular magazines, produce music, the co-founder of two companies, and currently doing a DJ tour. What fashion/style advice would you give the guys, who are coming out to check out your shows?

Josh Madden: Wear your favorite sh*t. I find my favorite thing to wear and sometimes I wear it for days…I’m better at life when I’m wearing my favorite shirt.

Jeremiah: What’s your favorite brand?

Josh Madden: Can we have a whole different discussion about that next week? I need a couple hours on that one.

Jeremiah: One accessory you always wear.

Josh Madden: This Hermes bracelet my brother got me years and years ago…I’ve never gone a day without it.

Jeremiah: What’s the most important Spring/Summer trend you like?

Josh Madden: I don’t really like the current trends. I like the 90’s

Jeremiah: Thank you Josh for your time and advice.

Josh Madden: Thank you for taking the time to check out anything I’ve done and interviewing me…If anyone reads this, thank you. If anyone wants to live a life dedicated to creativity, thank you. If we ever meet in person I apologize ahead of time for being completely shy and quiet, or possibly being 180 degrees the other way and being really weird, saying odd stuff and maybe being inappropriate. I promise I get normal after a few minutes. I’m just cripples in some social situations. I really do like people.

To learn more about Josh Madden, check out JoshMadden.com for blog, portfolio, and links.

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3 Comments

  • I love that you don’t give two sh*ts about trends… I design what I like…when I try to incorporate trends or “the” colors, it just trips me up and annoys me. It also cracks me up about your social behavior…yeah, I get it. I either hate people or love them, I never can tell which it’s going to be.

  • I love that you don’t give two sh*ts about trends… I design what I like…when I try to incorporate trends or “the” colors, it just trips me up and annoys me. It also cracks me up about your social behavior…yeah, I get it. I either hate people or love them, I never can tell which it’s going to be.

  • Hey Cathy from Sweet Revenge. What I love is that, Josh comes across as someone who has passion in what he does. He doesn’t do it for anything else but for the fact that he enjoys what he does. That is why i wanted to post this interview. It not only encourages following your passion, but to have a sense of confidence.

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