Polifacetic, to say the least. Larry Tee (Seattle, USA) currently lives in Berlin, which is probably the city that defines him best. Dj, Producer, Designer (Tzuji), Club Owner, Organizer of the craziest parties… and successful at all of them.
Larry is known everywhere he goes, and he is rather easy to spot. His individuality in undeniable and so f*** cool.
Tzuji kinda reflects the crazy that my life already was
He welcomed us in his apartment wearing his very own brand Tzuji and shared some stories that could easily be worth the plot of a Hollywood Production:
“My parents are Canadian and growing up in Seattle was idylic, I couldn’t have asked for more. There’s no drama in Seattle. “
There was never a place where I said “Oh, this is the point when my career took off”. It’s always been a weird something that has just gone on. When I wrote “Super Model Inc” (You better work, bitch!), I sold 5 MILL copies. That was interesting but you know what, after that I’ve done the Electro Clash Festivals, had a couple of hits with artists like Princess SuperStar and Afrojack. That was probably more personal because it was “Larry Tee featuring”, so it kinda was my thing. When I turned 50, I had a Gold Record. Which shows that it really doesn’t matter how old you are if you kick ass.
“I have this song called Licky with Princess Superstar that sounds like a sonic masterpiece. To this day there’s nothing that quite sounds like it. It’s a really unique sounding record. I feel like a hit my top note.”
“My craziest experience as Dj took place in Santiago de Chile. They had a love parade and there must have been a million people in the city centre because it was free! I was playing on a small stage, and I thought “This is great! Let’s just go back to the backstage and go to the main stage”. And this is when they close all the small stages. Everybody came to the main stage to see Ricardo Villalobos. So we get there and they go “You have to go out there in 15 min”. I was right before Ricardo Villalobos! There was just a sea of people, it was surreal. Like in Game of Thrones when the Queen of Dragons crowd-surfs and she’s pulled away from the crowd and you see the crowd just goes forever. It was like that.”
I’m really in touch with my higher power, and I’ve been saying if I really had my dream world, I would live part time in Berlin for the creative community, and part time in LA, because there’s where people would like my clothes. A year ago, I had no idea what was coming. And the Universe said “It’s time to move to Berlin.” and I was like, ok! And it was the right decision. Once I got here, everything was so easy. Some of the cool breaks that happened to Tzuji happened here. And I used to think, “they’ll never find me here”.
About 2 and a half years ago I ran a club in London called Super Electric Party Machine. When I was doing that, a lot of my kids who came to the club loved to dress-up, and I always wanted to be a part of dressing up and being fabulous, I want the best swag! I had always been secretly a closet designer in my head. I thought “God, designers are the coolest thing”. And one of my assistants asked me “what would you do if you could be anything?” and I said “I wanna be a designer!”; and when I said it, everyone in the room kinda went “ooh no…”, because they knew if I said, it would happen! I realized how much I cared about design. From all my treasures that I collected in New York over the years I only kept clothes, some didn’t even fit me. And now I know why! I was gonna be a designer. And that’s how Tzuji started!
I think people stopped believing in Pop Stars. If you ask people who their favorite new acts are, they’re all like gone for ten years. Tzuji to me is kinda like that evolution where you get to be the Rock Star. I make clothes for the inner Rock Stars. Because I think people now say “I don’t wanna see Rihanna wear that shit. I wanna wear it myself when I’m on vacation in Ibiza”.
I run parties and sometimes I wonder if it’s a good idea. Because if I only did one thing maybe I could do it even better and get there quicker. But there’s something about music that still calls me.
I’m hyper, a multi-tasker. I kinda need a lot to keep me out of trouble.
When I was young I was good at drawing and creating. The great thing about Tzuji is that it exercises other parts of my brain. For many years I said “I can’t do this, designers are the special ones”. I read Versace’s unauthorized biography, it was so tasty, so scandalous; but it never came out because The Versaces sued.
I don’t think drugs and alcohol are a bad thing, I think they’re people-openers, because people aren’t naturally open, you need tools. I can’t understand people who have never done them. But I do let people know about me being in recovery and I’m really proud (Larry has been drug and alcohol free for 18 years now). I run 12 step meetings here in Berlin, and the reason why I do it is because I know that not everyone’s an addict. Sometimes kids find themselves in a place where they can’t stop, and when they see that I’m in recovery it makes them a lot easier. Because they think “God, if he can do it, anyone can do it!”
Tzuji was in Berlin Alternative Fashion Week and it was amazing. German Fashion is a certain thing for the most part, and they don’t reach out for the colorful creators here in Berlin. Until Berlin Alternative Fashion Week came along and put them on the top of the list! There are some very amazing designers and BAFW is giving a platform for these designers and is making people accept that fashion is something else than just basics.
Berlin is intoxicating in a great way. When I’m walking or on my bike music just flows. And it’s not techno or house, it’s every kind of music. It’s the perfect place for Tzuji.
Tzuji was been worn by Rihanna, Sean Kingston, Missy Elliot, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Lawrance… and none of it was a PR stunt. They genuinely loved it and purchased it.
KEEP UP WITH LARRY & TZUJI:
PHOTOGRAPHY: BEATRIZ DLARA