Words by Celiya Köster
Last Night in Paris’ Jordon Wi-Fi spoke to 94/5 on building a brand and their latest film, Equal.
We met Jordon at a studio in Parsons Green, I had seen Wi-Fi before in passing at one of Last Night In Paris’ Soirées but was excited to finally sit down with the LNIP co-founder and hear more about the collective, and in particular their latest short film ‘Equal’ - co-directed by Jordon Wi-Fi alongside Philip Ramhofer, a man who Wi-Fi describes as “the German version of me”. Jordon seems to be bit of a co-ordinator within the group. Prior to meeting, Wi-Fi was checking out a new studio location for potential future sessions, he’s fully involved in all LNIP projects; alongside the others in the collective he keeps an eye on where they can take LNIP in the future. When we sat down at a French Café around the corner, the first thing I noticed was a ‘LNIP’ tattoo above his right knee, his only one, though mostly due to the fact “it hurt so much”. All in all, I recognised an artistic entrepreneurial mind in him straight away, as conversation flows I see Last Night in Paris as a brand; realising that what we’ve seen of the group so far is just scratching the surface.
So, the first thing I wanted to understand was the origins of Last Night In Paris and how they got to where they are today. Reminiscing, Jordon tells me “there was a time in our lives when we were seventeen, eighteen, and Taurean’s mum went to Jamaica for like 6 months. I bought a camera, we were just chilling, making music, taking pictures and life was just life. I bought a camera with my last check from John Lewis, it was a camera or a car.” When I questioned if he made the right choice going for the camera, it’s a definite yes. Somewhere in those months Last Night In Paris was officially born, Jordon says “When we started we were militant. The branding was down. Our main focus was a gap in the market. There wasn’t that many people in London that was executing things the way we felt they should to represent young black boys. There was a lot of Grime and stuff but we weren’t really Grime, we were listening to everything. We wanted to change the climate and do something different by pulling in influences from all over the world. We were studying fine art and a bunch of different artistries as well as being heavily influenced by what was going on around us.”
Last Night In Paris have a slow and steady approach to achieving their ambitions; alongside a real friendship, what holds the group together is a shared vision and understanding of what they represent, making sure to retain control over their content and image. - “If you’re gonna work with LNIP or our brand you have to understand there is certain things we won’t do and it might be so little you don’t understand or think like ‘what, is that it?’. But it’s like bro, if we let that little thing go, let that little thing go, and let that little thing go, we lose a lot of control. It’s hard because it can get in the way sometimes and people in this industry will say ‘let [an intern] take over your Instagram and your social media, have your email account etc.’ but I’m the type of person whose like ‘wait a minute?’ no one’s having none of my nothing, we built this and we are overseeing everything”. I picked up on this when attending one of the collectives Hotel Soirées, the guys were handling the guestlist at the door, then began walking around making sure everyone was enjoying themselves - what more can you ask of your host? Furthermore, if you look at the credits on LNIP’s latest short film ‘Equal’, you can see even more clearly the multiple roles each member takes on in each project.
‘Equal’ was released earlier this year alongside the initial singles from the collective’s EP ‘Pure’ - if you haven’t already, go watch it! The film for me, explores young adulthood in London, touching on the dynamics and events that can make or break relationships, showing the way a crisis or one event can have a heavy impact on a group of individuals. The cinematography is gritty and intimate, it feels like the audience get a keyhole look into these characters lives, and when the credits roll you’re left wanting more while wondering what actually is it you just witnessed. The film is cryptic in some senses, Wi-Fi states this was the result of the open collaborative style the project had, although himself and Taurean originally wrote the script, ideas from each member was taken on board. The movie was slowly adapted until it was quite different from what they had originally set out to make.“We wanted to show the realities of life. In all of our lives, at that moment of time, a lot was happening where we felt like there’s a cloudy day and then the next day it rains. Life is like that, when you feel like you’re meant to get a break sometimes life is it’s hardest.” The film illustrates how quickly misfortune can strike, turning life around; by introducing us to characters with a seemingly carefree and hedonistic gaze, we immediately see how chaos impacts them. “Let’s say the crash, once we crashed and was in the room, we were almost against each other. We were such a strong team but that one moment in life will make you, go against you and you and you. But at the same time, after that, life just kind of goes on […] we are putting the group through certain moments, showing characters you might not like, that might be a bit different and difficult, but hopefully when the audience sees them set through a task that makes them go against each other, they feel empathy”. Even though the characters are not perfect when shit goes down, you can’t help but feel for them. However, I wondered if the characters were completely fictional or if LNIP were playing fictionalised versions of themselves, Jordon confirms “we was playing to what people already think of us”. The team’s focus was more on each members outer persona or image, amplifying some of their traits, “we set out to almost depict certain people as certain characters. […] KC for instance was like ‘that guy’, the loud mouth, gyalist. That’s what some people think of him, so we played with that”.
‘Equal’ is set in the same world as LNIP’s first short film ‘Pure’, using the same mysterious black liquid we were previously introduced to. When watching the films, I understood the liquid as a metaphor for some form of drug or addiction but Jordon simply stated, “It can be used as a drug and we can depict it as a drug […] but I feel like the black liquid is the magic, everyone has their own meaning for it and that’s how we like it.” The next question is of course, will there be more? It feels like ‘Pure’ and ‘Equal’ are the beginning of something that could be part of a longer series. So, I ask if we should expect a short to accompany future music releases and the response is positive, “I wish I could. I will try too, I promise I will try.”
Overall, what I find most refreshing about the interview with Wi-Fi was his outlook, there’s a real sense of consistent growth. Relating to their film-making, he’s not afraid to admit “We are still practising. I feel like the quality is good, our thing is execution. You can do anything but you have to execute it right, with a certain standard”. As a collective, Jordon states that they’re still “trying to gather talents and teach ourselves different things.” When I ask about their future ambitions, he responds “We have the opportunity to develop and build a brand that can be strong. I feel like it’s at the waviest it’s been right now. We have a base to do a lot of things and it is time to cement ourselves on a tier.”
It’s been a productive year for Jordon Wi-Fi & Last Night In Paris, and there’s a lot more to follow throughout the new year, you can follow Jordan on Twitter and Insta to keep up with everything, you should also head to the LNIP site. You can listen to their music on SoundCloud.