"I have so many obsessions, I don't even know where to start," Charlotte Kemp Muhl earnestly tells me. "Pick your three favorites," I suggest.
"Oh God, that's Sophie's Choice!"
Indeed, Muhl loves many things: She's a sought-after model (that's her in those Maybelline ads), but she also runs the record label Chimera Music with boyfriend Sean Lennon and performs in two bands. One of those two, Kemp & Eden, has just released its debut album Black Hole Lace
this week ("Oh, it's out? I didn't even know," she confesses--you can't blame her, since she clearly keeps busy), and it wouldn't be a stretch to say it's been many years in the making: She and childhood friend Eden Rice wrote the songs when they were teenagers growing up in Georgia. The folk tracks are beautiful, intricate, ethereal--but also insightful (and, in some instances, a bit biting) in their social commentary. But that doesn't mean they're down on the world. As Rice puts it, "Living life in as mind-blowingly wonderful a way as I can is my main obsession!" Here are a few others:
CHARLOTTE KEMP MUHL IS OBSESSED WITH:
Freaks by Tod Browning
"This movie was made in 1932 with real circus freaks, such as pin heads, bearded ladies, midgets, etc. It was very controversial needless to say, and has since resurfaced as a cult classic. The plot is tear-jerking, and makes you hate anyone who isn't a freak!"
Scientific American magazine
"It's my favorite magazine--besides NYLON! [Laughs
] Full of delightful factoids, such as: Hiccuping might be linked to leftover frog DNA in our biology. It's good fodder for dinner conversations…I'm a subscriber!"
"I'm kind of on a classical jag. I've been listening to a lot of Stravinsky--'The Rite of Spring' gives me goosebumps."
An all-around bad-ass with fearless pipes and primal beats. I'm really obsessed with [Merrill Garbus]. We're putting out a Tune-Yards 45 on our label!
"Heard a rumor recently that they were tearing the Cyclone down! I'm going to chain myself to it like a hippy protesting deforestation."
"I could live off of oysters and vinegar. Blue Ribbon
, The Spotted Pig
, and Fort Defiance
all do great oysters."
Tom Ford cologne
"It's so musty and sexy. Love the swarthiness of the Tuscan Leather
, and the sickly sweetness of the Tobacco Vanilla
Maybelline Illegal Length Mascara
"I know, I work for them, so this might be in danger of sounding disingenuous, but I have never found a better mascara than Maybelline! It's just the best."
EDEN RICE IS OBSESSED WITH:
"I absolutely love going around to places I've never been. I've just returned from a road trip out west to Canyonlands in Utah, where you could descend into the heart of the canyons and go off-roading into areas where there wasn't a soul in sight for hundreds of miles. It was magical! Finding vast expanses of uninhabited land is a rare delight in this modern world. To go where it's just you and the elements-- just silence and the stars-- is like a deep tissue soul massage. I really want to go see Kyoto, Japan--especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. I imagine for a painter it would be a very nourishing environment."
"He's a Spanish painter and I love how eerily beautiful his pieces are; they lure you in with their realism and this uncanny, almost ominous brush of surrealism. I leaf through his online gallery all the time because he's rather prolific."
"You'd think as a folk singer I'd be familiar with her already, but I've only recently discovered Gillian Welch
and just can't get enough of her! The melancholic beauty of her melodies and words are mesmerizing."
"I just can't stop listening to them while I'm painting…praises be to TED
! I love the amount of information available for free through the internet--it's like going to university lectures from the comfort of your room. And I'm reading a book right now called Optimum Nutrition for the Mind
. Trying to juggle a juice cleanse while still managing not to loose weight (good problem to have, I'm way too skinny already), so I'm trying to eat as healthy as possible and still reap the benefits of the "cleanse." I really want to feel as close to peak health as I possibly can, so that's become an obsession of sorts."
"It's on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 12th Street. I genuinely am obsessed with this place--best pour-over coffee in the city, I swear! This place is a coffee lover's dream!"
"I absolutely love it! Of all the dances I've tried, tango feels like the perfect fit with my temperament--it uplifts me in a way no other dance does, and New York City is a huge hub for it. There's a great open air milonga in Union Square on Sunday evenings for anyone that wants to walk by and check it out."
DIY face masks
"[I love] mashing up my own face masks out of avocados, honey and kale juice."
Barbara Feinman Millinery
It's in the East Village and is really a gem of a store--their hats are stunning!
REBECCA WILLA DAVIS
Buy the album here
--and then celebrate with them at their release show on September 14.