conversations with bianca

Amped+Dangerous: An Obsession of Music, Fashion & Culture

I came across Kasturi’s blog Amped+Dangerous a little while back via another one of my favourite blogs chase.dakota. Kasturi’s enthusiasm is infectious—she is genuinely excited about all she shares including fabulous DIY tutorials and fashion ideas/trends. She is a staunch supporter of new music and also works as a publicist. Her hope is to inspire and motivate others to “expand their interests and to do something about it.” Kasturi also has her own jewellery line of sparkly, bold, bright creations.

What’s your story? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

KASTURI S: As my name might give away, I am half Tamil and half Australian. I come from the culturally rich Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and lived there until I was 13. I then moved to Australia with my family and have lived in Brisbane ever since. I come from a big family of academics, entrepreneurs and creatives which explains that I am soon to graduate from a double degree in Business and Creative Industries. As my social media moniker suggests, I am a Publicist, Blogger, Pop Culture Geek, Cool and Trend Hunter, Entrepreneur and Future Female Jay-Z. I recently left my full time job of two years as a publicist and am now in the process of house hunting, switching industries, planning a trip to New York and helping my Grandmother’s knitting label. Just your average twenty-one year old really.

Have you always been fascinated by pop culture? What were you like growing up?

KS: Yes, I think I have always been fascinated with pop culture, although I couldn’t articulate this as pop culture until a few years ago. I was a huge television, movie and music buff growing up and still am now – but as technology and entertainment have evolved over the years, so has my love for pop culture to include social media, blogs, Youtube, and everything in between.
Growing up as a child in Malaysia, I was a book worm – very studious. I worked hard at school and did all my extracurricular stuff on the weekends, like most Asian kids. I was put into a lot of creative classes too, my Indian side has a strong artistic background, so I used to take traditional dancing, the violin and so on… and I think this had a big part in me fostering my creative side. But growing up as a teenager in Australia opened me up to amazing things like live gigs and music festivals and really began my obsession with fashion and trends.

Tell us about the beginnings of Amped+Dangerous. Why did you decide to start it? How did it come into being?

KS: Honestly, it was pure egotism. I started Amped & Dangerous in December, 2008 and I remember feeling exasperated at the time. I’ve always shared my ideas, stories and news about facets of popular culture with my friends which they would just shrug off… “Oh Kaz, you’re so silly, there is no way that flatforms/polka dots/denim overalls are going to be in fashion”. Only to then get the same people coming back asking me to check out the very same trend/music/artist/designer/tv show that I introduced to them months earlier.I would get so frustrated with this happening repeatedly, and got tired of explaining that I already knew about the new ‘it’ thing.

The blog provided me with a time stamp – approval that yes, I did take notice and interest on the ‘it’ thing before it hit the mainstream. For some reason I wanted to make this acknowledgement on a more public scale, it was pure egotism. But this sort of become a bit of an unhealthy obsession of mine which has then manifested into what A&D is now… a purveyor of popular culture and musings of a wannabe cool hunter.

Your ‘about me’ blurb on A+D says that you’re the ‘future female Jay-Z’ can you elaborate on that please? In what sense: as an entertainer? As an entrepreneur?

KS: Haha! I wish I could rap, then it would definitely be the first one. I am interested and enamoured by how Jay-Z conducts himself as an entrepreneur and creative professional. I wrote an essay on Jay-Z for one of my Uni assignments, and as I looked into his portfolio I saw that Jay-Z has been so savvy on all aspects of his career; from the type of work he takes on to the people he chooses to work with. He has worked across a number of industries (music, fashion and lifestyle) and hasn’t boxed himself to one type of role. And this is how I want to live my professional life. I want to be able to work across a range of industries wearing many different hats and being successful in all these areas.

What does a day in the life look like for you?

KS: Being a freelancer my schedule always changes and not one day is like others before or after it. It usually starts off with me checking my emails and social media. I do a lot of my blog, Tumblr and Pinterest reading in the morning to get me inspired either for a day of shopping, blogging or DIYing. Then I usually get on to doing some work which involves me emailing, calling people and having meetings. And something I have noticed of late is that during the day, I almost always have something playing in the background; be it a TV show, radio, Hype Machine or my iTunes. I also love going to gigs, so I try to fit in some local bands when I can.

What music has been powering you through your days of late?

KS: Well immediately when I read this question I want to answer Childish Gambino’s Summer Camp, because there is this song called Sunrise on there which I always play when I need to get pumped up for the day or to power through a day of emails and research – “While they be sleepin’ I be on to that new sh*t”. So I have since called this my motivational song. Otherwise, I have been loving Azealia Banks, the new album from Frank Ocean (Channel Orange) and have been obsessed with the very taleneted Indie acts coming out of the UK like Django Django, Stealing Sheep and Alt-J.

Is there any community that you feel a part of?

KS: Wow, this is a tricky one. I think probably not. I have a lot of social circles which include groups of people… for example, the blogging circle, my live gig/art gallery circle, fashion circle, professional circle… and things like that, but I wouldn’t say that I was part of any community as such. And I don’t think I really mind either, I love dabbling across different groups and communities, I think it keeps me interested and on my toes.

What are you favourite blogs and why?

KS: There a number of blogs that I keep going back to to get my ‘fix’. Although I love my Google Reader, I also follow a lot of Youtubers religiously too, for example Anthony Fantano (Needledrop on Youtube) does a brilliant running segment where he reviews new music albums. I can’t get enough of Jen from Clothes Encounters on Youtube, Where Did U Get That, Olsen Anonymous and Man Repeller for my fashion inspiration. For my DIY cravings it has to be A Pair & A Spare, Honestly WTF and A Beautiful Mess. I then round all these out with Pugly Pixel and Nubbly Twiglet for all things graphic design, typography and cool tech news.

What do you think makes a good blogger?

KS: I think originality plays a huge huge huge role in blogging successfully. One of my pet peeves is when fashion bloggers posts images from fashion lookbook fresh from fashion labels, and almost always post these images without any text or foreward from the blogger about the lookbook. What is the point of reposting images from lookbooks with nothing to say, which also have already been posted by tens of other bloggers before you? I don’t mean that the type of blog that you write needs to original, but a blog should feature your point of view. I believe that this needs to be original and strong throughout your content. For example, you could have a fashion blog depicting your everyday style, but what about the way you dress differentiates you from the thousands of other personal style bloggers out there. Of course, theoretically, a good blogger should also look to factors such consistency, clean style, and good reader relationship, but I think that these can be taught or trained in a blogger… you can’t teach originality.

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