To Tommy Cash, Rick Owens is daddy
Tommy Cash is unique. In fact, the 30-year-old musical artist is a madman. Cash was first let out of the cage in 2018 with his second album ¥€$, which included features from hyperpop royals like Charli XCX and Caroline Polacheck. Since then, the Estonian-born Ukrainian-Russian artist has caused a sensation with his experimental post-Soviet rap sound, subversive fashion designs and provocative sculptural works.
Cash’s transgressive tastes have led him to collaborate with everyone from Maison Margiela and IKEA to Diplo, 100 Gecs and more Boys Noize. But for all of his creative mind-melding, there’s one person Cash keeps coming back to. Rick Owens has become the artist’s creative confidante, collaborating with Cash on “The pure and the damned”, a collection of the couple’s racy large-scale paintings on display in Cash’s hometown of Tallinn; appearance on Cash’s song “Mona Lisa”; and co-producing a number of NFTs. Owens – or “Daddy,” as Cash calls him – has established himself as both a muse and a mentor to the Eastern European inventor. So it’s no surprise that Cash handled the North American leg from him Biggest and strongest world tour, He took his time to check in. Here, the two discuss the importance of creating art in troubled times, sanity on the streets, and a mysterious tank full of Parisian sperm. – ERNEST MACIAS
TOMMY CASH: Hey, dad.
RICK OWENS: Hello, handsome. Look your pretty hair is. I’m glad you don’t cut it.
CASH: You know, I have moments in my life where I think about it, but it’s only like a millisecond. I will keep growing it.
OWENS: Well, whenever you think about it, think of me and whether I’ll agree or not.
CASH: I always think, “Rick has had his long hair for so long. I should keep going.”
OWENS: “How can I please Rick?”
CASH: That’s right. You’re the dad you know, so I’m trying. Where are you?
OWENS: I’m at my factory in Concordia, Italy.
CASH: So right after fashion week, Rick doesn’t rest at all?
OWENS: Well, I have. My show was on Thursday, and the rest of the week I only went to museums. Michelle [Lamy] and I had a party and we went to some other parties. Two weeks before the show I was in the Dolomites and I was in the snow for three days. That was great. My life isn’t really as stressful as you might think. It’s always moving forward and everything is sort of organized, so I don’t need a lot of free time. Oh, and Michelle and I went to Egypt for 10 days last month. I definitely take a lot of downtime. Where are you – in a hotel room?
CASH: I’m in DC with two shows left in America. Tonight in DC is sold out, and tomorrow in New York is also sold out.
OWENS: Congratulations. Michelle saw you in Los Angeles.
CASH: Yes, yes.
OWENS: Did you see them? You were at the pool at the chateau [Marmont]to the right?
OWENS: Yes, we were at the pool the next day. It was very nice to see her there and she also came to the concert beforehand. I was fresh then. Well, I’m fresh now too, but my body already feels – after that I need a three-week break because my body needs it. It’s stressful doing so many gigs.
OWENS: I can’t imagine how grueling it must be, it must be so exhausting. do you eat well
CASH: Yes, I eat well. I actually lost about eight pounds in America because I ate very well. We only eat clean stuff after gigs—salads and stuff like that. I have kept my sanity because I do a lot of cardio on stage. I can’t do what I normally do like swim or weights. I think my muscles have cramped up from all the jumping and sweating. This tour was basically a fitness boot camp.
OWENS: But you have to look really good. You must be pretty defined right now, right?
CASH: Yes. I was as strong as I’ve ever been before I came on tour. We worked hard in the gym and now my body has morphed into the body I need to have on stage – light enough, fast enough, like a statue.
OWENS: What is your favorite song that you perform on tour?
CASH: I think maybe “X Ray”. It’s the first song. i love to talk I don’t talk much between songs, but it’s always fun – “Hey guys, how are you?” – weird stuff like that.
OWENS: Do you have a monologue?
CASH : My favorite part is when I say, “Hey, my name is Tommy Cash,” and people go, “Whoa!” and that’s it.
OWENS: It must be very satisfying.
CASH: Yes, that’s very satisfying.
OWENS: I would like to do that. I’d love to say “Hey, it’s Rick Owens” and only hear cheers.
CASH: But why don’t you ever talk after your shows? Why?
OWENS: I’m talking.
CASH: You really storm off.
OWENS: Well, I’m talking backstage. I mean, I’m not going to stand there and start addressing everyone right after my show, it’s kind of weird. Which designer has ever done that?
CASH: That’s what I’m asking. Why isn’t it common?
OWENS: Oh, should I try? I have a feeling you just don’t want to ruin the magic of a show. I try not to smile because when we’ve done a nice, calm show and I then jump at everyone smiling, it ruins everything. So is a new album coming?
CASH: Yes, definitely.
OWENS: Do you know the schedule? Or you don’t want to define it.
CASH : You know how we are musicians. We take our time. But I love that in the fashion world you have to have a new collection every six months. Maybe it should be like that with music?
OWENS: I love it. It gives me purpose, it gives me cycles, and it gives me a sense of consistency. If you had all the time in the world, it would be hard to make decisions. What I love about it is that you have a certain amount of time, a certain amount of resources and you have to do something compelling.
CASH: I’ll try to use that – the structure – I think I need it.
OWENS: Is traveling good for your creativity or is it bad?
CASH: I think it’s good.
OWENS: I think it has something to do with being in motion, it gives you a sense of momentum, but there’s also nothing else you can do – it relieves you of any responsibility to do anything other than move forward . I never told you my favorite song of yours: it’s “Dostoyevsky”. I want more of this sound, I want a whole album of it – what do you call it?
CASH: I don’t know, it’s a very hard hitting noise – it’s very aggressive.
OWENS: Very aggressive. An entire album of this, or give me a 20 minute remix of this song. Their music has a lot of humor but also something menacing, we love a little bit menacing. There is a balance to hello. You walked the runway for Marine Serre and you looked great, you had a very scary look. How was it? You’re a runway model, wow.
CASH: It felt good. I was so angry. You know, because of what’s going on in the world – I felt this anger. I’m under a bit of pressure because I’m both Russian and Ukrainian. I feel like a lot of people, so I have to listen to my parents. My DJ is Russian and my mother is Ukrainian so I understand both sides and my fans are demanding, everyone is – it was like that tornado. I left, I had all this kind of anger about everything. Well, also because of what I was wearing, I felt like I needed to bring some emotion into it. It kind of came out of me.
OWENS: Everyone expects you to say the right thing. It’s very difficult being a public figure at the moment I think. However, your role is to bring your creativity to the world. It’s the most valuable thing you can do.
CASH: That’s it.
OWENS: You know, our culture needs a creative expression like yours, and here you create it. You are doing a very valuable service to the world. I think you’re great
CASH: We are, we are, yes.
ABOVE: [Opens a box] Ooh, fun things for me. They are examples of this collaboration with Aesop that I just did.
CASH: Tell me about this new collaboration because all my friends have been asking me about it.
OWENS: We make this travel set – all my favorite Aesop products but rebranded and we made a perfume together called Stoic.
CASH: How does it smell?
OWENS: It’s like frankincense, vetiver and elemi, which is a type of tree. Did you get a chance to check out the pages while you were in LA?
CASH: Not really. I guess I’m more of a fan of weird cities like Seattle and Detroit.
OWENS: What did you like about Detroit? I’ve never been to Detroit.
CASH: It’s a bit like Eastern Europe, a bit empty and the people are rougher, I think. I feel at home there and love Pittsburgh. I went to Andy [Warhol’s] Grave in Pittsburgh. I went and talked to Andy. I love weird cities – I don’t always like the main characters, I love the weird characters. Do you visit the Chateau Marmont when in LA?
OWENS: We’ve lived there in LA for the past few years. I just recently returned to LA to visit my mom, but before that I hadn’t been to LA in about 27 years. It just felt like it was in a state of decline. When are you coming to Italy?
CASH: Your next show is in six months right?
OWENS: It’s a men’s show in June in Paris. It’s gonna be a fun show, you should come to that, assuming the world hasn’t ended by then. We have to keep working and do our best. What is happening in Estonia? You live mainly in Estonia, you didn’t think about living somewhere else?
CASH: No, but I’m thinking about buying this old post-Soviet commune, an old concrete building. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but I’d love to rebuild it and have my own base there.
OWENS: Sounds great. I’m so jealous.
CASH : You and Michelle are huge inspirations and your world is like this – the architecture suits the creations. I’ve always been honest about my passion for everything post-Soviet, so I’ve dreamed of finding a house like this and making it my own. Let’s say like a Batcave.
OWENS: You know, I was thinking about you all the time in Paris last week because I walked past that tank of your sperm every day.
CASH REGISTER: [Laughs] This is so cute. I think about us all the time too.
OWENS: For the readers, you should explain the seed tank. You should explain how I ended up having a tank of your cum in my house.
CASH: I think it’s cooler if I don’t explain why. [Laughs] But it’s a work of art protected by this bulletproof glass – it’s funny because I saw you had this big party during fashion week with Dave Chappelle, Kanye, Pusha T and whoever, and there’s a photo , posing with my sperm container in the background . You know what’s better than being in the picture? Having your sperm in the picture. it was so cool
OWENS: You should have been tagged in all of them. Oh my god, this is so great.