An Interview With Electrolash Diva, Mandy Coon
by Michael Cohen
Electroclash over? Personally, I don't give a flying fuck.
I had a chat with Mandy from W.I.T. (Whatever It Takes)
at her apartment. She seems to have a lot going on: shoe
design for Adidas, fashion collaborations, and touring around
the world. Here's a candid log of our conversation.
Mandy's apartment in NoLita
Michael: Wanna start
with the shoe design?
Michael: Do they just
give you a bunch of shoes and say fuck around?
Yeah, they just gave me a bunch of samples and I can do
whatever I want to them. So it's cool. I'm used to working
Michael: What's your
7 & 1/2.
Michael: So what do
you think of Adidas and Yoshi (Y3)?
I think they're great. Especially Adidas Japan, they're
really open to working with different people and smaller
people just staring out. I don't know how they heard about
Michael: How did they
approach you? Did they go through you agent or do you have
I don't have an agent. I think it's because of alife. They
had seen the alife stuff then this other Japanese company
X-Girl (X-Large and X-Girl), they're having me do a bunch
of shows and customize clothes for them.
Michael: Were your
aspirations more along design lines rather than the music?
It's always been both.
Michael: How long have
you been doing the W.I.T. thing?
I've been doing W.I.T. since October.
Michael: Do you like
I love it.
Michael: You get to
travel a lot with the band, you toured with Peaches and
Chicks on Speed...
Basically they'd just come back from Europe, and I knew
the girls, I had helped make some costumes for them. They
asked me to go on their American tour and I was like, 'I'd
be stupid to not to.'
Michael: What's your
What's wrong with that.
Michael: I don't know.
'76. What are you?
Oh, super emotionally aren't we?
Michael: Maybe. And
during the day you're undercover?
I work very very very very hard for Barbara Pfister
Michael: We've had
some trouble getting together cause you're so busy. What
projects are you working on?
We do a lot a magazines and advertising.
Michael: Have you been
in a few magazine books?
Michael: Anything you
wanna talk about?
Over the years I've been in a few
Michael: As a model?
Writer? Graphic designer?
I used to model until about a year and half ago. And that's
actually how I knew Barbara. I haven't really been writing.
But its been nice 'cause I did a clothing line with Rose
Starr for a while. And I was doing a lot of painting. And
getting into things for doing that is a lot better than
getting into things for modeling. Modeling is so boring.
Michael: Where do you
Michael: Is your family
Michael: Are they proud
Yup. They're in Texas, they're so conservative.
Michael: Do you play
Michael: Who does the
Michael: I think he's
Michael: And you're
at Luxx every Friday?
No, usually once a month. Depends on our touring schedule.
Michael: Who's your
I live with Kenzo Minami, he's an artist; and Sara, she
Michael: How long have
you been in New York?
Off-and-on. I came here five years ago. I moved to London
for two years and just moved back like a year ago.
Michael: Did you go
I went to University of Houston, didn't graduate. But I
was going for computer science, that's when I got scouted.
Michael: Can we talk
about the process of the design? Its one thing to have a
shirt that doesn't fit so you make it work. But when you
have a client who is expecting samples to choose form, how
do you refine your approach?
It's hard because my favorite way to do things is always
by hand. When I was doing stuff for alife, or for different
Japanese clients, people would always ask 'why didn't I
get somebody to work for me?' But I didn't because I always
wanted to have my hands in it. And then it also makes it
harder because you can't make that many. People usually
know what they're expecting from me, I guess cause they've
seen my stuff. It depends, the stuff for alife is a total
process and it takes a long time because it's a lot of dying
and bleaching then dying and bleaching and all that type
Michael: Where does
that technique come from?
Just from fuckin around.
Michael: Do you have
people you collaborate with?
Before, the only person I really collaborated with was Rose
Starr, we were doing t-shirts and stuff like that. Now I'm
starting to do stuff, there's a guy named Joseph Ari Aloi,
and he actually has a show at alife right now, but he's
been one of my best friends for a while and we're going
to start doing some stuff, especially for X-Girl.
Michael: Do you hang
out with the girls in the group?
Yeah, we are friends, we have a lot of fun together. When
we're not on tour we hang out some, but we're around each
other so much anyways. Especially Melissa and I are always
at the same things. So we do see each see each other all
the time, we have such a good time.
Michael: Mind if I
No, go ahead.
Michael: Where do you
want to be 2 or 3 years from now. Are you able to think
ahead like that?
It's so hard to say, because it seems like every year things
are changing so much for me. But I think I'll definitely
be doing something with music and something with clothing.
Before I was with W.I.T. I was also producing music. I was
using ProTools and everything. So I think I keep on with
it. And then I've always been doing my own clothes so I'll
for sure be doing that too.
Michael: I'm surprised
you have to work so hard during the day.
To tell you the truth, I took that job so I could do the
other stuff and not have to worry about it. But the day
job is more than full time. It's been hard to find that
balance in New York.
Michael: Who does your
Michael: Is it your
Michael: My friend
Jose saw the Electroclash tour in San Francisco, and he
pulled his pants down and was dancing in the crowd.
Yeah. That's what we like to hear.
Michael: Did you like
We toured with her for three and a half weeks. She's amazing.
She's the sweetest thing ever. She gets on stage and she's
all power. When she's off stage she's so sweet. She's so
Michael: I interviewed
Princess Superstar. And her stage persona was different
that hoe she was in person.
Michael: Who chooses
the outfits for W.I.T.?
It's usually all of us together. Melissa, it was her idea
the whole thing, so the image is her idea. Then we kinda
collaborate on the outfits.
Michael: Do you feel
like you don't get enough respect cause you don't make the
That's hard. We all are in the studio when we're doing the
songs so it's not like its all Larry. But Larry knows what
he's doing and has a really good ear. And he's really good
at making catchy songs. So we have total trust in him
Michael: I like the
one with all the boys names.
The new one, "Boy's Club"
Michael: What's the
name of the album?
Whatever It Takes
Michael: What label
is it on?
Mogul Electro, Larry's label.
Michael: Is it doing
I think so.
Michael: When's the
Next month we go to Europe for a month.
Michael: When you're
on tour are you so tired that you stay in the hotel room
or do you go out and do rock star shit?
You don't really see the days much. Cause your playing every
night and then people are having parties for you.
Michael: I wish somebody
would have a party for me, hint hint know what I'm sayin?
Okay, I'll keep that in mind.