Back in January I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most creative individuals I've ever come across, period. Theo Martins gave me insights into his life, beginnings in music and fashion and creative inspirations. One of the things Theo told me about when we wrapped up the interview was the cereal bar he had plans on launching really soon and a couple of months later here we are. Martins with the help of a couple of friends present to us Cereal and Such. I could go on and on about the contributions Theo is making as well as his creative vision but I'll let him tell it himself. Martins recently held a release event for 17 by Good Posture at Cereal and Such that he discusses in the interview below. If you're ever in LA head over to Virgil Village grab a bowl of cereal hangout for a little while.
Bran: The idea of cereal and such is really cool. I'm really glad this is a thing. Can you tell me who is involved in C&S and how you guys made the idea come to life?
Theo: Thanks man. Really its just myself and my friend Free, we pretty much run the shop. He's there day to day doing operations and I''m there when I can be. Usually on weekends or throughout afternoons during the weekday when I can be. And Virgil Normal too, Charlie (Staunton) and Shirley (Kurata) they let us in their home and allowed us to build in there. We aligned as far as our mission, we just wanna be the mom and pop location. Its great to see people naturally gravitating towards it because thats exactly what we wanted to do. We didn't really do anything we just opened the doors, told some people and its been like slowly growing and we appreciate that because its still very much in the neighborhood. Truly and honestly as a musician and even as a brand/business owner with Good Posture it was starting to grow and I couldn't have it in my apartment anymore. I wanted an office where I could do a lot of the art direction and creative direction I do for myself and other people, I just needed some separation. I needed to get out of working in my house all day so I needed an office. Then I was like I'd like the office to make money and people know me from liking cereal because of the Theo show so its like lets just open a cereal bar. Really with a simple twist of not trying to provide toppings, theres no like mocha lattes, none of that shit its really just cereal, tea and coffee and just focusing on providing great service and being regular for once. I think often times when you wanna grow as a company or as a business or as a person you wanna be everything for everyone. And I spent a lot of time trying to be everything for everyone in business and relationships and at some point you have to realize what you wanna excel at and who you wanna focus on. At this point I just wanna speak for the underdogs and the underprivileged and the regular people. Focusing on it has allowed me to really excel with the business and with my creative pursuits.
Last time we spoke in January you told me about the plans you had for Cereal and such, how good does it feel to see those plans come into fruition?
It feels really good to see it come to fruition because its been a really stressful time. Its not necessarily stressful opening a business or anything or like Good Posture or going on tour making music or finishing an album. Its more so like the mindset that you have to get into in order to do those things. I realized thats all it is. Going through the process of opening a cereal bar I was just like every little thing that I dont think about is being thought about, then you open it and you realize like okay cool it has nothing to do with those things. But that thinking is what allowed me to open a cereal bar, you have to really keep cutting through, again and again. So its good to see it come to fruition and I'm excited for the summertime. A lot of the program that we're gonna do will be there, I'm gonna release my album there. A live show, its gonna be fun just really normal and fun things.
How did the release for 17 by Good posture go?
The 17 release was great, probably the first collection that I completely sold out of. Caught your short post on it, I appreciate it all because I feel like its truly genuine and your putting a lot of effort into 1201 Morrison. I appreciate it all, even the support of the friends and fam who come buy.
What do you hope to accomplish with cereal and such?
It's really just a place where I can be comfortable, ya know? It sounds selfish but I think thats the best way to start. Its like I made Good Posture because I wanted to make clothes that I could afford that were also tasteful because when I was in high school and middle school thats what the gap was for me. Everyone had all this expensive ass shit and I didn't have that, I didn't have the money for it and neither did my parents. It's not even like they were poor they just weren't spending money on that shit, it was just not popping they had better taste. So I have much better taste then a lot of other individuals and I feel like I have an eye and a discipline to do something. I think its important for me to create something that people who may not have the finances to put towards a thousand dollar pair of jeans can also buy a shirt and a jacket. Its not even really about the clothes buts its more so about creating a space and that circles into cereal and such. I make clothes for the same kid that would come to the cereal bar and hang and that doesn't even mean they'd have to eat cereal. Its a space where they can be themselves and be around people who aren't gonna be on that stupid ass judgmental cliqy shit. Its like yo we just wanna be people and we wanna be treated as such. Its an in-between place, I wanna catch everybody thats in-between whatever race or walk of life. I just want people there and people who share that frame of mind, thats really what its for.
You guys receiving good feedback from it thus far?
The response had been good man, i don't tolerate ignorance so even if it was there I'm not seeing it. But truly its been great, the space is really inviting so it really sets the standard. We don't really get a lot of that fuck shit. I haven't gotten any of it and I don't plan on it.
In the last interview you told me how much love you had for Japan. The love carried over and inspired your making of cereal and such. Would you say that Japan is your favorite place in the world?
Its one of the most impactful for sure, its influenced a lot of what I do. I love the craftsmanship, I love the peace there. Its up there for sure. Rhode Island is one of my favorite places because its where I'm from. Its cool there, July 4th at night is tight. I like LA too, but Japan is super super up there.
Your mind seems to never stop creatively, what do you attribute to helping you stay inspired?
Really just life, having good conversations with my friends about things. Just tapping into the things that really keep me alive like the roots of what established my identity so thats like a lot of pop culture, being Nigerian in America, being the first son, being a first generation African boy, the perspective of all that, cartoons, Disney Channel, Fresh Prince, all of these things. For me as an artist to still keep the grass green its important that I still stay connected to those things. So its about still doing those things that really excite me. That may be something as simple as exploring areas that I'm a novice in. I'm very good at what I do so its important for me to never get too comfortable in it. Every brand likes to take the steps to be wholesaled, and I've said no to every store that wants Good Posture because truly my heart says no. What felt right was opening a cereal bar and using that space as a way to develop it. I'm making all of these things so that I can protect them and thats a lot of work. It's a lot of work to have a brand that you only keep online, it's a lot of work to have a cereal bar, it's a lot of work to make the music you wanna make, BUT individuals like Pharrell are a great example of why you should do that and thats where I'm tryna go so I'm sticking to my guns.