Thundercat: 'This outfit looks playful, but it's very serious'

The virtuoso bass player on how cartoons influence his style, playing lockdown dress-up and how he learned not to care what other people think.

This outfit stands out to me because it’s always fun to put on. It looks very playful but it isn’t; it’s very serious. The giant sweater that I’m wearing is by Dope Tavio – it’s a handmade custom piece. I have a hoodie underneath and a vest on top. I’m also wearing leopard-print earmuffs and the two white things on my head are like receptors from the cartoon Neon Genesis Evangelion. Plus I have a giant yellow Pikachu backpack with a Pikachu hanging off the side. There’s so much you can do with the layers – I enjoy messing around and decorating it.

Cartoons are a major part of my style. I prefer to watch cartoons, but also I feel like people shy away from creativity when it comes to making a statement with clothing, and those things are not inhibited in cartoons. I am a cartoon sometimes.

During lockdown, I definitely have been playing dress-up. I feel like the Japanese part of my wardrobe excels because it’s cut differently and very flowing. I’m a big anime nerd so I have lots of T-shirts with anime references. Lockdown has given the way people view fashion a different dynamic: sometimes it’s OK to get dressed up just to sit down. I get made fun of because I’m the guy who will get dressed up to go to the grocery store, but there’s always a chance to enjoy the creativity.

When it comes to fashion, one of my favourite people is Taz Arnold. He is part of an LA-based trio called the Sa-Ra Creative Partners. Also Erykah Badu – I’m a big fan of hers. I also really enjoy Japanese style and Dapper Dan, of course. I tend to believe that everyone’s sense of style is theirs and theirs only – I’m often very shy to give my opinion because I don’t want to be too much of an influence.

I would describe my own style as “free”. It has changed over the years because I started to care less about what other people thought and learned to trust myself a bit more. If someone was to see me walking down the street wearing a giant bunch of feather plumes it would be a bit jarring, but I feel like every day is a day on stage.

Thundercat’s album It Is What It Is is out now

Contributor

As told to Leah Harper

The GuardianTramp

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