TEXT LARS BYRRESEN PETERSEN
“It could be a cat eye,” says Zebra Katz about the minuscule eyes, which are seen on the artist himself and one of the vixens sporadically in his new video for the single “Last Name, Katz.” “Is it terrifying?” he laughs, noting that the eye should not be interpreted, necessarily, as evil. “There are a lot of glances in the video: a lot of looks from across the room. It’s definitely about a glare, a glace or a deep, penetrating, lustrous look,” he continues jokingly.
Most of us know Zebra Katz from his minimal hit “Ima Read,” which turned him into a fashion favorite when Rick Owens played an 11-minute long remix of it at his F/W ’12 Womenswear show. Since then, Katz, the alias of 27-year-old Ojay Morgan, has been traveling the world performing with the likes of Lana Del Rey and Azealia Banks and is often seen seated front row at runway shows in Paris, London and New York. “I think the music I make, which is really minimal and filled with a lot of attitude, carries over and translates to fashion so well because of the attitude,” Katz says, explaining his recent affiliation with fashion through his work. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was to pursue a career in fashion that Katz moved first to New York City, almost a decade ago.
“I grew up as a theater major in middle school and high school and I tended to do costume design a lot. I worked on shows and productions when I was at my school. So in my senior year of high school I decided I wanted to go to parsons and study fashion design. I went to the Parsons pre-fashion program and decided to continue but didn’t get in,” Katz explains, including that no matter what his occupation has been since then, it’s always been related to his premiere passion. Now that he gets to go to shows all over the world, he has a new appreciation for the designers’ choices of music. “I think it’s interesting to think about these intersections where music meets fashion. I think they go hand in hand,” he says, hoping that eventually he will get the opportunity to design his own line. “It’s something I have always wanted to do and it makes sense now.” He doesn’t want to reveal when or what his design debut will be, but if one was to judge from his personal style—we’re looking at leopard printed jump suits, spray painted or fully studded biker jackets, white suits, sequined tops and fur hoods—it’s going to be an eclectic blend of urban cool, uptown chic and downtown rebel perpetually accessorized with a black pair of “shades.” “It has nothing to do with shade,” says Katz about his new video, which we are proud to premiere today on VMAGAZINE.com. Directed by Ruben XYZ, who also directed “Ima Read,” the video features a group of girls having a “festive” New York night that ends in a more intimate version of Eyes Wide Shut. “I’m talking about don’t be throwing shade. It’s about coming correct, no fronting. I rap both choruses twice and it kind of drills home that if you didn’t think I was serious the first time then let me repeat myself,” he says. “I think it’s definitely another glimpse into the world of Zebra Katz with the characters we have in the video.”