Chris Kontos / Q&A and Store Mix for Neighbour
This is Chris Kontos. You may have seen his name pop up in any one of your multiple feeds recently. A man of many interests from Athens, Greece. He is an independent publisher, an engaging photographer, an eclectic music compilator and an active proponent of what it means to be a self-sufficient creative working within industries that are powered oftentimes by large corporations. He finds the most joy operating within his own growing network, a large bubble that extends from Athens to his new home in Paris, to overseas or as far as his imagination will take him. Chris Kontos is a connector in many ways, much like Malcolm Gladwell's definition of the term. He has used his work behind the lens to connect to people, to the ones he personally admires, finds interest in and wishes to collaborate with. Chris so kindly linked up with us for our second official store mix, opting for balearic sounds and nostalgic vibes of the Mediterranean summer.
Play his mix for Neighbour below as you read our short, personal interview with the man himself.
Kennedy Magazine (kennedymagazine.com) was born from and operates by this genuine personal modus, to work with and tell stories about people you admire. Can you tell us why you choose this natural approach to editorial?
The natural approach was adopted as means of making content interesting and exciting again. And it came out of the sheer fact that me, or any other part of our team is a real journalist. Our approach since day one was DIY and our ethos was always honesty. We want to feature honest content that makes our readers relate to it. When we decided to make the magazine we realised that what is missing from a lot of the print out there was that. Content in the real sense of it. A lot of people have favoured an interview from our 3rd issue with the owner of the iconic Paris bookstore Comptoir De L'Image. The interview was performed by a friend who has been going to the shop for some time. For me, even the flaws in the translation of language in that interview added to its appeal. It made sense to use my friend for the feature instead of any journalist that would not know where to start the chat and edit most of it in the end.
Your "window to the world” may have begun with photography, but now extends to your various musical ties and of course the magazine, what keeps you so closely connected to everything at once?
I guess it all boils down to one thing. Keeping busy and being creative. I can't stay still too long. And to be honest it all connects in a way. Everything we do in our lives defines us. From what we eat, to what we wear, to what we listen to. I always liked people that are consistent with all the parts of their lives and activities. I I was watching a video about Canadian artist Gordon Smith and he said something like that. It’s a way of life.
You recently moved to Paris. Has the shift in lifestyle changed your approach to the creative outlets you’re invested in, broadened it maybe or made things more accessible?
I'm still sharing my time between Athens and Paris. Still trying to keep my connection with my homeland. But Paris has brought a better sense of networking and it’s true that it has made things much more easy both for my personal projects and the magazine. Athens is beautiful but it’s pretty much still on the outside of the bigger scale of things. Paris on the other hand brings me together with more likeminded individuals that I can collaborate with and get inspired by at the same time. Most of my friends work in the art or fashion industry so there is some good grounds to start with.
Your foreword in Kennedy’s latest issue 4, lightly touches on the larger global crises happening in our world today but culminates to a point of optimism, in that each of us can affect change through our own creativity - “shaping the present” as you say. Can you speak more to this everyday philosophy and how it relates to your projects?
I think in a way we are all privileged. I do a magazine, you run a menswear shop. The possibilities are endless at the moment. It's a good time for being creative. For me, you just have to do things. Time is there. As well as resources most of the times. I can't believe that some people don’t understand that it’s a momentum we need to catch. That every day is a chance to create things. My philosophy is this. We are powerful, we just have to realise it.
What will it take for Kennedy to enjoy continued success as a printed magazine, do you think the world has put to rest the notion that print is, or was on the decline?
Print is by no means dead. Just look at how many magazines are filling up the shelves every month. The question is who will stay in the business. But in no means whatsoever is print on the decline. I think it’s just working on a smaller scale. And that is a good thing. For me, the big publications are the ones in trouble because there is no clientele for them anymore. It’s up to the independents now to shape the form of today’s print world. People want smaller and more accessible things. I think it’s the way of the world. Smaller houses, smaller cars, and so on. To answer your question, Kennedy to stay afloat, must continue being interesting. For me that is the key. The moment I find it getting dull, I will be the first one to discontinue it. And it has to be sustainable without selling out.
How important has the design approach of Commission Studio been to Kennedy Magazine?
It’s a real pleasure and privilege working with Commission (commission.studio) on our publication. It’s an interesting process working on every issue because the guys come up with different ideas every time and every new issue is getting more and more beautiful to look at. They have created an identity for the magazine that is both classic and playful at the same time. The original design of my friend Angelo Pandelidis offered them the opportunity to play around with a lot things while keeping the same original feeling. Another good thing about our collaboration is that we are friends and we like the same things and share the same aesthetics, from the design of a shoe to a chair...
So onto the music...You’ve been quoted as being fascinated by summer and the influence of the Mediterranean sun and the music scene in Ibiza in the 80s. Can you describe that more, perhaps your fascinations have also evolved?
I guess music is always an evolving thing. It’s true that a lot of my musical upbringing is really different from what I’m listening to now. But the feelings stay the same and the Mediterranean feeling is always a popular theme for my musical wanderings. I guess it has a lot to do with summer holidays and the innocence of them; and the love affairs. It’s a kind of romantic world in a way! I think if you have not experienced the Greek summer on a little island it might make no sense, but for me the fact that I have been spending all my summers here since I was kid, has shaped me to a great extent. Lately I have been diving more and more into Japanese stuff that would sound great on a sunny day driving by the sea.
Do you have quintessential music that define certain times in your life?
There is a mix I made a few years back called the ‘’The Sound of someone you love who is going away but it doesn’t matter’’ named after a Penguin Cafe Orchestra song, that defines me in many ways. Oh, and almost everything by the Smiths.
What's inspired the current mix that you’ve made for Neighbour?
I guess most of my mixes come from what I have been buying and listening to lately. I get bored really easily!
If you were to give us three music recommendations for where to find great music, what would you say?
Red Light Records! Music from Memory! Organic Music!
What is next for you, or rather, what creative medium might we expect to see you tackle next?
I would really like to see some of my photography work published or in a gallery. Other than that I’m sticking to my usual things!
Listen: Chris Kontos Mix for Neighbour
More information: www.kennedymagazine.com