THE ART OF
Running the show with Brett Kincaid of MATTE Projects
MATTE Projects is a company that produces culture — otherwise known as New York’s go-to cool kids. They started out in 2011, throwing parties all over the city and developed an aesthetic that felt underground, dark, and chic. It’s instantly recognizable. After Maison Kitsuné took notice and asked them to start hosting their events, things took off. Their work led them into all different forms of creative production: fashion, film, music, branding, web-design, festivals. These days, with Google and Prada just two of their recent clients, it’s hard to think of a brand that won’t work with them. We spoke to Brett Kincaid, the creative director and co-founder of MATTE, to learn about his role in getting them to where they are.
Who influenced you when you were growing up?
When I was a kid I had a huge amount of respect for Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Francis Ford Coppola. As I got a little older I was looking at the hotel and restaurant industry, people like Ian Schrager and André Balazs, but also the restaurant owner of one I worked at, which was one of the early influences into hospitality and the culture that surrounded it.
How did your interest in hotels bring you to creative directing?
By the age of 23 I’d moved to New York and managed to get a job in one of Balazs’ hotels. From the operational side of it, it wasn’t something I particularly liked. It was more the culture surrounding it that attracted me: the design, the environment, the whole aesthetic.
So when did you know you were going to pursue your career?
I was never exactly sure where I was gonna land, because I don't think you do when you're that age. But I knew I wanted freedom. I ran a gumball machine route at 15, in college I started a small company, and by 23 I’d made it to New York. I realized, okay, I can’t work in hotels forever, so I started producing concerts. Then I thought it would be cool to make films of them — things just went from there.
How did you build your brand?
While I wasn’t technically trained, I’d get pretty hands-on: using the camera, shooting, directing. I’ve always been heavily involved in a school of training by doing. I had an emotional and aesthetic vision that I wanted to create, which progressed into what we do now: images, films, concerts, events. I always focused on people, not clients.
„I realized, okay, i can’t work in hotels forever, so i started producing concerts.“ – Brett Kincaid
What brands and people do you look to as inspiration for your brand now?
Artist-wise, I love Pierre Soulages, I love Robert Rauschenberg. Hedi Slimane’s amazing at sticking to his visual mission — and he’s joined Céline, a fashion brand I really respect.
How has the city of new york been an inspiration?
When i arrived in the city it was total party madness; i was 23, going out every night. the first foray into doing my own thing was in the basement of an old New York rock club, that’s where all this came from. So it was natural that we went in that direction, the brand reflects that side of the city: gritty and glamorous.
Tell us about one of the best parties you've been to.
We've been going to a party in Brazil, Mareh, for a long time. It's a roaming fiesta in Bahia with like a thousand Brazilians. It’s intimate, it’s small, it’s super-cool. That's the best one I've been to in the last three years.
How would you describe your creative role?
Evolving. I'm still directing projects, taking pictures, creating and directing films we're working on, but there's also creativity in choosing the right people for MATTE.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Production & Interview by
Freunde von Freunden