In collaboration with @escapetothepalace
Shot by Rainier Gonzales (@rgvizuals) at Yes Please (@yespleaseph), The Palace, BGC.
Slash. Hyphen. And/or.
As well as. Also. More.
Multi-skilled, multi-talented, multi-ill-ionaire.
Can do this, can do that, wear, tear, fanfare.
Welcome to 2018. The year “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” has officially become a single question worthy of multiple answers. Not for some, but for all.
Five people. All of them known by their single-syllable first names in their respective fields. Mars or Nix or Kat is spinning at the club. Jan styling this magazine cover. Pao on the mic to bring that hype. These five people are more than just five people. These five faces, all staples at The Palace, are royalty in their own rights. Because they’re good, ridiculously good, at what they do; at all that they do. Like a superhero movie, they’re standing there, an unfair abundance of abilities inside them: they look like the rest of us. But they’re not. They’re more than today’s best, more than future legends we’ll always talk about. They’re more.
Let me say it again.
These five people are more than just five people.
NIX DAMN P
aka KAPTAIN KILLA
DJ/ MUSICIAN/ ENTREPRENEUR/ LOVER OF THE ARTS
Nix is as much a party-starter as he is a partygoer. A set with him on the decks, as many of you know by know, is an experience in itself: it’s fun how he’ll spin the latest Kendrick joint for you to rap along to because you’ve been practicing all week. It’s a trip how he’ll delay a bass drop by a quarter beat just to make sure you’re always guessing.
He is however, a cheerleader by heart: for every person that tells him “Good set” or “Great job”, Nix puts his hands together as if in prayer, closes his eyes and bows with a sheepish look of disbelief and maybe even shyness on his face. He’ll be the first to ask you what your new hustle is, what your current passion obsession is. He’ll look, attend, listen or taste it. Because that’s what he’s about: he pushes the culture as much as he pushes those in and wanting to get in it. We call him “Kap”, a torchbearer and a shower-of-the-way, maybe not by his own intent, but definitely with the best of intentions. Asked how he keeps his passions burning, Nix flips it back: “It’s YOUR passion that fuels it. Just gotta keep doing, keep making mistakes. Sama-sama. Together.”
aka MOMMA GLITZ
Before being the mind and eye behind the biggest stars’ current reps as ‘style icons’, Jan Aranilla was a mother first. Check that, she’s still, and always, a mother first. “Being a stylist and a mother, your attention to detail grows. Sometimes you maybe have to compromise your aesthetic to fit the client’s need. As a mom, sometimes you need to balance the values you wanna teach and the things your kid wants.”
Jan looks like she’s got it all figured out. It’s impressive how a simple, oversized button-down falls on her shoulders in a way that looks like it’s straight from the pages of a magazine; how she’d take a handful of her hair, throw it over to one side and it looks – both in the moment of mid-flip and the result she doesn’t even feel the need to check – like every strand is where it’s supposed to be. Effortless is the word that many would use to describe her.
The product however, is as much process as it is polish. “It’s a continuous process. There’s always more things to improve on, that’s what keeps it all burning.”
aka BIG LOVE
Emcee/ Hypeman/ Host with the Most/ Party Rocker/ Entrepreneur
One time in the place, for the best in the business. The Beast is a true force of nature, a commanding combination of force and finesse, the voice of reason and ratchet, the conductor of club chaos. Pao is clear and away, by a full length, at least, the best emcee in the country. His finger on the collective pulse of a crowd not only detects their mood and wants, it can also dictate them. You can have a party without Pao on the mic, sure. But why would you?
Why when he’s better than anyone else? Why when, at any party he’s at, Pao, for as good as he is as a hypeman, is best when he’s off the mic. He’s a natural host. “Are you okay?” and “What do you need?” are his most commonly-spoken phrases. More than “Let’s go!” More than “Put your hands up!” He is a natural businessman, a curator of tastes with The Nines. He is an advocate of alcohol being the best cure to the common cold (true story). Above all however, Pao specializes in showing love, spreading love, making sure that by doing what he loves well, you feel what every DJ set intends for you to feel: the love for life and this moment and this place.
aka QUEEN KITTY
Every 90’s teen movie has that one girl: the nerdy girl, the artsy girl, the quiet, eats-by-herself-at-lunch girl. That same girl is drop-dead gorgeous, curiously fit for someone who never works out, and surprise, surprise, looks like a supermodel as soon as you take off the glasses and the ponytail. The takeaway is this: 90’s movie plots weren’t so complicated. Also, some people truly don’t know who they can be until it’s the prom at the end of the film, until it’s go time, until the lights are on.
Kat De Jesus was, and often is, the shy girl. She’ll deflect every compliment thrown her way. She’ll almost hide whenever someone starts saying how talented she is. Kat is one of the best young DJs to ever spin it. I’m just not sure if she’s comfortable with me saying that.
She’s truly, sincerely, selfless. That’s her “other.” It says entrepreneur there on top, and that too is true. Her acumen for the business and what it requires is uncanny. But her true other occupation is a sharer. From the music she plays, to the experience she provides to people who dance to her beat, to every person who’s ever been across from her in conversation. Tell her she’s good and she’ll point to her mentors who taught you. Tell her she’s pretty and she’ll blame it on the lights and the shadows in the club. Tell her she’s the future, and she’ll almost get upset and rattle off a list of names of peers and competitors she feels are more worthy. Make no mistake however, Kat will soon rule, rule fairly, rule justly, but rule nonetheless. Bow down.
Everyone name above his here, every person around him on these photos, they all look up and look to Mars. Style, business, music, how to be a professional in a world of artists and their idiosyncrasies. Been there, done that? Many can say that. Been there, done that, spun it around, re-invented it, still killing the game today? Only Mars.
He’s Mcconaughey in Interstellar, Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange, J. Fox in BTTF: seamlessly gliding through space and time and dimensions and worlds. He’s LeBron in 2018: better than ever 15 years in. He’s Uncle Drew on the blacktop, and Kyrie on the hardwood. He’s what Drake meant when he rapped “I’m a rookie and a vet.”
A new DJ is a dime a dozen. There’s a new businessman everyday. There’s a multi-dreamer wishing to chase multi-dreams every night. For every one of them just starting out, for every one of them on the grind today, for every one of them who’s been at it for years, there’s Mars to direct their telescope to. Musk, with every second of his days, with every penny in his deep pockets, dreams of the future, a new world. It’s always been there, for as long as Earth has, it’s seen so much, yet still has so much to show.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from being around these five people, professionally and personally, it’s that limits truly, as Cady Heron once postulated, do not exist. Be more than what you are. Be more than one. Switch up, bring it back, remix, create, destroy, repeat. Be more than what you were. Be more than what you are. Be more than what is possible. Be more than Nix, than Pao, than Jan and Kat and Mars. They’ll be the first to help you, the first to tell you:
* The Switch Flippers are laced in the Nike Air Force 1 “Swoosh Flavors” in all-white and all-black, with removable, interchangeable Swooshes. Available at Titan stores and TITAN22.COM on February 16, 2018. Follow @titan_22 for more.