We first bumped into Jasko and Jeremiah of Official Tourist back in January when they were styling Naeem with silver Reeboks and detached Zulu hoodies for Spankrock's's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. The dudes were so nice and their designs so wild we put 'em in Issue 46. That Style feature is after the jump, but the reason we're talking about OT today is because they're playing their crazy rap/electro/Subliminal Sounds hybrid jams at the Colette party for the Paris edition of the Bicycle Film Festival tonight. We're not jealous! Check out Official Tourist's fashion, music and spectacle here and here, and if you're in Paris, ride your bike to that party.
Official Tourist’s music mayhem a la mode
By Chioma Nnadi
In the four years since Jeremiah Nadya and Jasko Begovic founded Official Tourist, they’ve amassed a pretty extensive family of likeminded nomads, staging 20-deep fashion/music/art showdowns in galleries and warehouses across the Bay Area. On a good day you’ll find the duo behind the sewing machine at Berkeley boutique Momoka, popping off their one-of-a-kind trademark detachable hoods—“It’s like watching a baker make bread,” says Jasko. We found them beat-tinkering down at the studio, working on a new mixtape for their friend Spank Rock.
So what came first, music or fashion?
Jasko: Well, I started sewing and designing with my girlfriend Momoka in 2000. Music was a part of me too, but I never had the tools to do stuff until I met this crazy dude.
So, Jeremiah, you brought the music into the equation?
Jeremiah: Yeah, pretty much. I’ve always had a love for music even though I’m not classically trained. I started putting equipment together, like old drum machines from flea markets and adding weird stuff. Then I discovered the joy of computers and the whole world turned itself over.
Jasko: I invited him to perform at the opening for my art show in San Jose. At the opening my aunt, this very traditional Bosnian lady, turned to me and said, “Tell these black men to turn off this music!” [Laughs]. I was like, “Erm yes, I’ll tell him to turn it off.” It was definitely a new experience for an old Bosnian folk lady!
Jeremiah: At the time I was really infatuated with making electronic covers of Black Sabbath songs and Blind Melon songs. I just wanted to make noise and blow out sound systems—so that’s how I got started.
When did you start working together under the name Official Tourist?
Jasko: That would be around 2003, end of 2002. I’ve been moving around since the age of 11, so to me everyone is kind of a tourist. Even when you’re in your own city there are places that are new to you. Jeremiah has been moving all over the place since a young age too. It’s a way of life.
Jeremiah: A lot of people are scared of the word tourist because it makes them seem unsure when really it’s just about exploring new things.
Jasko: I wanted to make music and Jeremiah was in the store one day and we were like “Yo, let’s make some music, I like this name Official Tourist.” We started working on music in a kind of half-assed way. Back then I was like making some T-shirts, nothing too serious.
Jeremiah: He made me a hat and I was like, “Ok, he made me a hat, let’s get down to business.”
What’s an Official Tourist show like?
Jasko: It’s a big blowout, because there’s video art and we usually have surveillance cameras on the audience too. The costumes are different—our boy Kamau Amu Patton designs them, he’s part of the unit. He’s made everything from weird sequined African outfits, to helmets with drapes over the front of them, to animal heads—all with our own designs meshed in. We hate stages but I guess we have to use them. If we had our way we’d be at the bar performing where the people are. It’s just that we don’t like to be separated from where the fun is happening—in any way.