Name: Dances With White Girls aka Devin Duran Bolton
Occupation: Rapper, producer, DJ
Nationality: American
Current release: Dances With White Girls's "Skinny Dipping" is out now on Walker & Royce new label and "platform for dance music rebels", Rules Don’t Apply.
Fashion Recommendations: Hood By Air Durag tank; Opening Ceremony varsity Jacket

If you enjoyed this interview with Dances With White Girls, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.

Fashion and music are often closely related to one's identity. Can you please tell us a bit about your own sense of identity – and how it motivated you to take an artistic path?

My identity is: I'm at all times hiphop - which is a way of life not just music. And I'm a curious city kid.  I like to have fun and I was always into doing "me". I was always into rapping and beats, it was always around. You hear it on the streets and if you are hiphop, you pick a path from the elements. I just did music. I also still walk like a ball player

In which way do you feel your identity concretely influences your creativity?

Because I'm hiphop I feel you can always create something out of nothing, you can always flip anything but you must never be a biter. It doesnt matter what medium or genre, whether it's film or music, house or rap. I can come put my spin on it, drawing references from mad places - but it's still me

Describe your personal style, please, and how your choice of fashion allows you to express it. Which fashion brands or style icons do you personally find inspiring - and why?

My style is leisure, off kilter streetwear club demon. It will be a skateboarding t shirt with cinched technical baggy pants, slides and a silk hoodie designed to go from couch to club to studio to afters. My ideal outfit I could run ball and go to ballet in it.

Brands I find inspiring; Opening Ceremony (before it was bought by New Guards), Walter Van Beirendonck, Hood By Air, Telfar, Margiela and Pyer Moss. Style icons Diddy in 1998, Chloe Sevigny, Japanese Hostboys,  Queer black and brown youth and trappers 1983-1989.

Fashion can embody ideals that extend far beyond aesthetics, reaching into ecology, politics and social issues. Does this apply to you as well, and if so, in which way?  

The way I try to make fashion go beyond aesthetics is I keep my clothes or I give them away. I give away few clothes. They come with me everywhere, the amount of waste is little - that along with me now trying to buy more Black Designers and me from the beginning buying emerging designers because I believe there’s always a future.

What was the relationship between music and fashion for you like personally? When was the first time that you became aware of the connection between fashion and music?

Hiphop and fashion is so intertwined. Your style and being original is part of the game. Setting trends and not being behind is how you play. I probably first became aware with Run DMC “my adidas”. Why? No idea, it was always around.

What do fashion and design add to your perception of music?

I can't work if I'm not dripped out. And as a result, if a person isn't dripped out on stage, I can't vibe with it.

The drip isn't about spending. If I feel you don't care why would I be into the show? Only way I'm cool with no drip is if that's the drip. Anti drip bummy steez goes off.

Fashion can project an image, just like music can. As such, it is part of the storytelling process. What kinds of stories are being told, would you say?

There's only 2 stories being told in fashion:

1. Are you a follower?
2. Do you have a vision?

Brands are there to ultimately be an artistic project or a commercial endeavor. Sometimes both. The story is created by the styling, whether that is on the runway or street. The ones being told ultimately can be anything like a song or play.

What can fashion express what music can not?

Fashion can show how you live your life more than music. It exposes the lies of what you speak in your lyrics: Oh, you're Goth but you wear vineyard vines? Okay true I believe you.

It seems obvious that fashion and music are closely linked, but just how that influence works hasn't always been clear. Would you say that music leads fashion? Is it the other way round? Or are they inseparable in some ways?

Music is not influenced by fashion besides musicians copying fashion icons and the care in craft. Also the music played at fashion parties and shows effects some artists.

Fashion is only influenced by designers going to parties and the few fashionable musicians. Everyone wants to dress like rock/rap stars.

Fashion and music can be expressions or celebration of identity, but they can also be an effort to establish new ones or break free from them. How would you describe your own approach in this regard?

My approach is to show that anything can be hiphop. When you see it you know.

Does what you wear change your personality – and thus the music you create or the way you perform?

I don't think clothes change the music you make. Anybody can dress however and make any type of music.

That said, depending on how clothes make you feel, personally it might give you a different vibe. If I have a bad fit on, I can't work

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though designing a fashion item or even putting together a great outfit for yourself is inherently different from something like composing a piece of music?

I think it's only different time- and schedule wise. The schedule and logistics involved with designing clothing require a different, more regimented process than music: More consistency and seasonal awareness matters.

Whereas putting an outfit on can repeat way more motives and be tossed together quicker than any song.

Are you currently active in the fashion industry? If so, tell me about your experiences, please.

Outside of on the sideline running my brand Club Demon (only 2 shirts so far sad to say) I'm really just in music. And the reasoning is my experience with dealing with logistics and demand is a task.

Fashion extends to the artwork of releases and promotional photography as well. Could you talk about your approach in this regard and what some considerations were for some of your most recent cover designs and images?

I’m sad to say have had no input in recent cover designs.

There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. This is true both for music and fashion. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?

Using another culture's symbols is different than motives. It's different to create clothing, that is how people dress or you get a vibe from than to outright take the language.

I think the specificity of art is: Anybody can do any genre, but the only way to get a real first person perspective is from someone who embodies that perspective, no matter what the chops are inhabiting the artistic mind. As an outsider you can always tell.