As we approach Valentine's Day, we wanted to shed some light on creative couples who inspire us. First up: Dave Sutton and Victoria Masters, who have achieved the kind of #RelationshipGoals every millennial dreams of while they compulsively swipe right on their phones each night. They live in a gorgeous Brooklyn loft filled with plants and exposed brick, collaborate on creative projects together and find time to farm and garden on weekends, which is wildly impressive for someone like me, who can't find the time to eat vegetables, much less chop them, much less grow them. Seriously though, how does life work? We hung out with Dave and Victoria to find out a little bit more about their design aesthetic, creative projects and how they've managed to grow a community of creatives over the years. Seriously guys: Get. a. Room.
Hello! Tell us a little about yourselves.
Victoria: We live in Brooklyn with our doggies, Bean and Freeway. I work in fashion as a creative director for a handbag brand, and run a small CSA program called Llama Mama Good Farm with my parents at their home in New Jersey.
Dave: I work around music. At Hype Machine my focus is community/artist relations and editorial. On the side we run the site Stadiums & Shrines which broadcasts over Newtown Radio, an internet station based in Bushwick. Lately I've been helping curate a non-profit meditation event series called The Shine NYC.
I've always known the both of you to sort of be at the center of an emerging community of musicians, like you were always organizing shows or befriending artists or taking them in, how did that happen?
D: In the summer of 2010 I moved from California to live with Victoria. That October we put together a show at Glasslands and offered our guest room to artists traveling far. A few came from Canada (including this stranger, Landon Speers!) and we all got along really well. This started an inflow of musicians, friends of friends, in need of a place to stay while in New York. Eventually our calendars aligned with tour schedules.
We want this apartment to feel calming and welcoming. That mindset carried over from my time out West living somewhat communally, but more so this reflects who Vic is, intrinsically. She has a big heart. We love to be around interesting people. And will always be fascinated when connecting with someone as they figure out what they want to do and say with their art.
V: The night of our wedding, looking out and seeing the faces of some of these people, that moment really defined how much happiness in our lives we owe to this community.
You run the music blog Stadiums & Shrines with our mutual friend Nathaniel, I feel like we all met during the heyday of personal music blogs and since then it seems that streaming sites have taken over and people grew up/had less time. Dave, you also work at Hype Machine, which is like the OG music directory for blogs. How have you seen it evolve over the years and what place does the music blog have in today's world?
D: I do miss that era, before publications and album cycles adjusted, and the streaming industry closed the gap (the time between music being released and reaching a larger audience). It was special and genuine; a real dialogue of discovery. Music blogs may not have the same place now, but amidst infinite options and noise, human curation is as important as ever. Just as blogs resembled an earlier zine culture, there's no doubt a new wave of people, just as passionate and creative, expressing in different formats. Hype Machine is evolving with this, and tries to amplify not just an index of music sites, and there are still many doing excellent, considered and uncompromised work, highlighting young artists that may not yet be seeing attention or opportunities anywhere else (shoutout Portals), but voices found in longform writing, on mixes and radio shows, Bandcamp, Twitter, etc.
Nathaniel contributes a visual element to your musical curation, why was that component so important to the project?
D: I'm drawn to the way music interacts with environments and with color. How our minds can interpret sound visually, like low key synesthesia and ASMR. Nathaniel enabled us to explore this together in new ways, via collage and code. Time is limited, we've maybe built 10 percent of the ideas, but I'm really proud of what we have.
What are you guys listening to these days?
V: Frank Ocean's Blonde and Christine and the Queens are my top picks for running. When I'm working I like Nils Frahm.
D: Julie Byrne's new album. Noname's Telefone. And forever around the edges: Grouper.
Victoria, you are an art director, photographer, and farmer (or maybe I'm missing something else too!) how do you balance all of these different creative identities? Which do you enjoy most?
V: I love doing it all. My full time job can be taxing, especially with how much I travel, but as tired as I am come Friday, I can't wait to head to the farm. It feels good to get back on Sunday night with dirty nails and sore feet. It's all about creation for me; planting something, harvesting, seeing it become something beautiful and nourishing. It's like directing a photoshoot and seeing a killer campaign come together. Photography is something I only do occasionally now, mostly for friends. I just can't dedicate the amount of free time that I used to, as I'm also trying to learn new things, like dying my sheets indigo and making laundry soap. I'm always curious.
How do you both approach interior design? Do your personal styles conflict or are you pretty much on the same page with how you decorate your home?
V: Dave and I share a similar aesthetic taste. Organic materials and earthy colors. Living in a city, we don't get as much nature as we should daily, so I like to bring it into our home. Our space is full of plants, collected rocks, shells, fabrics from travels, handmade art from friends or failed first attempts at something on my behalf, photos, books and records. I like to call it a hippie den. It was important to me that our furniture is handmade from reclaimed wood, and Dave built our bookshelf with a friend.
D: It's all Vic.
Tell us about the creative community in Brooklyn? Would you say it's more inclusive than competitive? What inspires/excites you about where you live?
V: Brooklyn has always felt collaborative to me and I've learned a lot from my friends. There's so much potential for everyone to really hone their craft and take inspiration from fellow artists. It's too big a city to get competitive.
Can you tell us about any exciting projects coming up?
V: We are working on a project upstate. That's all I can reveal right now. :)
D: Currently I'm working with a bunch of local music people on a series of benefit shows. The goal is to support organizations that combat prejudice and inequality. Hopefully it can start this Spring.
And we have some plans for S&S' collaborative Dreams project. More on that soon.
Photos by Landon Speers.
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