Self-portrait created by #Been #Trill
For anyone with even a remote interest in music, fashion or the Internet, it might be hard to suppress feelings of intense jealousy when talking about #Been #Trill. Lately, the DJ-crew-turned-art-collective have had their hands in everything from buzzed-about New York Fashion Week parties and a meme-generating Tumblr page to DJ mixes and high-profile street apparel collaborations with the likes of Stussy and Hood by Air. "We all really love music, and that's at the heart of everything. But this is really just a group of friends having fun," says Matthew Williams, who along with Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston, Justin Saunders and YWP constitutes #Been #Trill.
All art directors by day (Williams has done art direction for Lady Gaga, Abloh is Kanye West's creative director), the team came together after a first-hand sampling of Europe's sub-par club music scene inspired the friends to turn people on to sounds they were into. An immediate musical influence was trap -- a drum-specific, maximalist strain of Southern rap music that has only recently begun to infiltrate pop and electronic music realms. "We don't represent the genre of trap music in any way," Williams says, citing the collective's eclectic mixes, where Swedish pop tarts like the Cardigans can be found rubbing shoulders with space-cadet rapper Future, as well as some of #Been #Trill's own original productions. If anything, #Been #Trill's true influence stems from where hip-hop party culture and the Web collide. "We wanted to recontextualize what the word means. When you hear 'trill,' it doesn't mean 'Underground Kingz/ trill/ South/ sipping lean.' 'Trill' means Internet music," Williams explains, a reference to #Been #Trill's playful meme-ifying of hip-hop culture. "It's funny."
And thanks to the Internet, the members can still call cities like Chicago, Montreal, New York and Venice Beach home while pushing #Been #Trill forward. Now with their very own webstore up and running (where T-shirts featuring emoji icons and the slogan "Irie Trill Vibes" go for $100 a pop), the crew played Coachella last month, and have more top-secret music and clothing collaborations in the pipeline. To which Williams adds, "It's a way to pay for all of our plane flights to one place to hang out for a weekend and play music."