Encounter with the Kid
Catch Me – Cosmic Willows
Early 2014, after a friend found out that I started a project called, ‘Stoners of the World‘, he invited me to his place at 255 McKibbin. Among all the crazy, pill popping party scenes in Bushwick, McKibbin artist loft is regarded to be one of the greatest or the shadiest places to go HAM. It’s an infamous artist loft located in industrial Brooklyn, and known to host promising young artists from all around the world to your local crack fiends and prostitute friends. Surely enough, I thought it was a great place for me to start shooting and I was intrigued to visit the notorious building.
The shoot was completely random for my subjects, my friend didn’t tell them that I was coming. They were however very welcoming, and the shoot went smoothly. My buddy left after the shoot, but I wasn’t finished. I asked my hosts if they knew anyone in the loft that was down with my project. Amanda told me that I could go around the entire loft and knock on random doors, but she would recommend going to the basement floor and look for her friend, Shaun. She couldn’t remember what Shaun’s door number was but she said it was near the elevator. So I went on a search to find this ‘Shaun’.
Couple of knocks later, I arrived at Shaun’s apartment door. His roommates were having an underground concert at their place, and were sketched out by my presence. ‘You a cop?’ ‘No, motherfucker, I’m a fucking photographer. I’m looking for Shaun.’ After a brief interrogation, I was invited into their apartment. It was a crazy fucking scene. A punk/heavy metal concert, fucked up people, and in the midst of it all, Shaun was making beats in his tiny ass room, smoking mad cigarettes. This was also the night when Shaun and rapper, Tom Charles, first became acquainted. It was a bizarre fucking night, but we knew it was a special moment. I didn’t even shoot my project that night. We drank, smoked, and embraced as we tried soaking everything in.
Shaun Benjamin, at that point in his life, was studying production at Dubspot. He came from a heavy metal background, playing drums for a hardcore band in Singapore. Hip-hop and electronic music was something that was still new to him. Being an open minded, all forgiving individual at heart, Shaun was experimenting his skills producing for all sorts of musical genre. He and other musical talents were always working on projects and jamming all through the night until the morning sun came up to remind us of reality. This is when I knew the kid had the hustle inside of him, and that he was a serious artist.
Kid Singapore moved to Florida after receiving a scholarship for his genius, and we eventually grew a bit distant; but all the while, I respected the Kid for his game. Just recently, he told me about his latest project, an indie electronic duo calling themselves ‘Cosmic Willows’. Like always, I listen to anything that he sends me, cuz his shit, I fuck with. Sometimes I think it’s too raw, but I knew with time, he would flourish into undeniable style. And god damn, their single ‘Catch Me’ really made me reminiscence of our nights and days chilling during his studio sessions at 255 McKibbin. He’s undoubtedly getting better.
So there it is. I’m promoting a great friend of mine. The Kid from Singapore. Shaun Benjamin, Kid Singapore, and now Cosmic Willows. Who knows what would happen of his projects. We met on a spontaneous note, and our relationship may end the same way. Even then, I will never forget our encounter, and our personal journey that made us who we are now. So here’s to you, Shaun, you talented motherfucker. Keep at it. Don’t ever stop.
Written and Photographed by Choi, David