15 minutes with Yung Lean at the Converse One Star Hotel

One style, his new album and backgammon.

In what has to be one of this year’s most memorable events, Converse popped up in London’s Shoreditch for three days of fashion, music and sneaker culture.

The brand tapped some big names to deliver the experience, with hotel rooms curated by Converse collaborators including A$AP Nast, Yung Lean, MadeMe and Tizzy T. During the event, we caught up with Yung Lean to chat fashion influences, Scandanavian rap and what he gets up to in his spare time.

You curated this room we are in, tell us a little about it? 

It’s like an extension of myself and what I like… what I would like to see in a room. It’s got a tropical vibe, and the posters are inspired by barber shops. How they have early 2000s posters of 50 Cent, Akon, Prince and Ne-Yo. And Super Smash is in here because it’s my favourite video game.

You’ve got a backgammon board in here too…

I play a lot of backgammon, and we play it on tour. One of the guys in our tour crew, his father was in the Backgammon World Cup. It’s like an old person’s kind of game. It takes a long time and a lot of thinking but after a while, you play it without even thinking. It’s nice. When I was in Mexico, I saw a lot of people playing it, so I wanted to learn how to play.

Your current album, Stranger, is more minimalistic than your previous work. Were you going for a less is more approach?

Not to sound patriotic, but it’s a very Swedish way of making music. Swedes have always been minimalist in furniture, clothing and music – like Acne Studios, Fever Ray and The Knife. So, I think it came naturally. Focusing more on the voice I guess. Sometimes you go back to your roots.

How has your style evolved over the years?

I think I’ve gone anti-fashion. I started wearing my grandma’s jackets and stuff. I think whatever is happening with everyone, it’s looking more and more the same. I wanted to step away from that. I still like what’s going on though. There’s a lot of good upcoming designers.

What do you do in your downtime?

I read books, go swimming, play XBox. I guess travelling can be relaxing as well, if it’s not work-related.

The One Star brand message taps heavily into the ideology of embracing anti-heroes. What does this mean to you, especially musically?

It’s good. You don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations. You can do your own thing, and people respect you. And if they don’t, that’s fine as well.



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