Name: Messer aka Mitch Grassi
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Current release: Roses, the debut EP of Mitch Grassi's Messer project is out now.
a.) I think there's nothing more demanding than a black double-breasted duster suit coat, with a strong shoulder. It's a very practical, clean piece with longevity.
b.) Anything voluminous that acts as a cocoon, preferably in luxurious fabric.
If you enjoyed this interview with Mitch Grassi's work as Messer, visit him on Instagram and twitter. You can find even more information on the official Pentatonix homepage.
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?
I find that the more aligned I am with the art that I make, the better I can understand my own identity. I treat identity as delicately as I treat art. Both require heavy attention to detail. The exploration of self parallels the exploration in artistry.
In which way do you feel your identity concretely influences your creativity?
I think now I am attempting to replicate the internal through the external, and my inner world is only unique to me and me alone. The creative output is an extension of self.
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 personal style is quite functional nowadays. Nondescript, in my own way. I really appreciate what Demna is doing at Balenciaga, and I like that he is a romantic.
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?
I try to be responsible about the clothing I choose. I suppose you can really read a person's principles through the clothing they choose.
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?
For me, it is important to present strongly in both areas. I want the experience to be a bit bombarding, I guess. It's the way I like to experience music, and I think it's a really effective way to materialize the inner world.
I grew up in the 2000s, when pop stars ruled the world. That's probably when I first realized the impact of good music + good styling, or at least felt it.
What do fashion and design add to your perception of music?
Good design fleshes out the fantasy.
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?
Fashion itself, at least in my opinion, seems to be a dense tapestry of cultural, historical, and societal references. If you could somehow trace them all back, I think the stories would be an array of categories from trivial to tragic.
What can fashion express what music can not?
Fashion accentuates (or masks) the subtleties of the physical form. With music, of course, this is impossible.
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?
I think societally, we've come to a point where we're accustomed to digesting music with aesthetic, which isn't necessarily good or bad. This can be of great advantage to the musician (if they deem it so).
As an artist, I feel that fashion contextualizes me as the storyteller in the universe I've created.
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?
I think releasing art into the world is, in itself, a celebration of self. For me personally, my journey has been one of both death and rebirth.
Does what you wear change your personality – and thus the music you create or the way you perform?
Yes. Certain garments allow me to settle into different characters.
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?
That's a good question. No, I suppose they aren't all that different when you think about it. They both require thought and contextualization in the name of a greater goal.
Are you currently active in the fashion industry? If so, tell me about your experiences, please.
I'm not sure I am. I really only pay attention to what I like.
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 like to evoke a sense of humanity. My creative partner and I both share very similar ideas of beauty and romance, and it's important for us to imbue that into the work, as well.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. This 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?
The world is overflowing with many rich, beautiful cultures. I believe we all must make it a priority to be as respectful and reverent as we can toward them, and listen intently to their many voices.