How Mark McNairy’s Fall 2014 Soundtrack Mixed Miles Davis With Beavis And Butt-Head

Looks from Mark McNairy’s Fall 2014 New York Fashion Week show.
Photo: Getty Images

One of the guaranteed highlights of New York Fashion Week, at least for us here at MTV Style, is the Mark McNairy show. Without fail, his designs are this perfect combination of brazenly irreverent but just practical enough to wear out of the house without feeling like a cartoon. ALSO, much like us, McNasty loves his hip-hop and will incorporate it any which way he can, from inviting his favorite rappers to star in lookbooks à la Angel Haze or to walk in his shows as aDanny Brown and Pusha T have done for previous collections, and Cam’ron (accompanied by girlfriend Juju) did this season.

Being that the dude has an ear for music, his runway soundtrack is also consistently on-point, and this Fall 2014 show was no exception. McNairy presented a collection of fashionably IDGAF looks—knee-length camo fur, leggings as pants (PRAISE BE), and 8 a.m.-class-ready zip-up hoodies with buffalo plaid sweatpants—accompanied by a soundtrack riddled with film quotes and badassery. Stelios Phili (who’s also a very talented writer over at GQ and, full disclosure, a dear friend of mine) was the man behind the mix and kindly obliged my barrage of questions about the track he created.

MTV STYLE: How would you describe the soundscape you created for the Mark McNairy show?

STELIOS PHILI: What a person hears in their head every time they’re about to give zero effs. Like that scene from Napoleon Dynamite when the little kid on the bus asks Napoleon what he’s gonna do today. Napoleon responds, “Whatever I feel like I wanna do, GOSH!” I tried to apply that philosophy to the music. Like, I turned a beautiful Miles Davis trumpet solo into a house beat that changes tempo four or five times and, at one point, has Beavis and Butt-Head dousing it in fart noises. Can you find the effs given? I can’t.

Looks from Mark McNairy’s Fall 2014 New York Fashion Week show.
Photo: Getty Images

How much of it was based on preexisting tracks or audio that you sampled and how much from scratch?

A big source of inspiration for the new collection was Miles Davis, who Mark has described as “way badder than bad.” It was his idea to use Miles Davis samples, starting with the song “Right Off.” I mixed in other bits of early ’70s-era Miles with my original production, like that Auto-Tune melody I wrote (performed by Leaf), the dark synth line, and that thumping 909 house bass. This section (starting at 1:50) gets reprised throughout in mutated forms, sometimes mixed with American Beauty Kevin Spacey yelling “I RULE!”

Most important, whose idea was the ill Beavis and Butt-Head laugh breakdown at the nine-minute mark?

I’m responsible for that. I wrote that rhythm with a shaker and then realized it would be 800% more baller if I mimicked that pattern with their laughs. However, it was Mark’s idea to incorporate Beavis and Butt-Head audio in the first place, plus all the other quotes. Clips from Little Rascals, Joe Dirt, the Starsky & Hutch remake, Saturday Night Live’s “More Cowbell” skit…he provided me with all these quotes that had stuck with him. They’re like a Greatest Hits for Moments in Badass.

Looks from Mark McNairy’s Fall 2014 New York Fashion Week show.
Photo: Getty Images

How did Mark react to the track?

After I sent in the first draft, Mark wrote an email back that said, “THIS IS F*****’ AWESOME.” He’s very genuine and never says more than necessary. I remember calling attention to the Beavis and Butt-Head laugh breakdown and saying, “This has never been done before.” He smiled, nodded his head, and said “Yup.” That was mostly his reaction to the whole thing. It was like he gave a kid a Lego set, told him to tear up the directions, and then watched him make crazy s***. I think he knew the result would match his vision.

How familiar with Mark McNairy were you before working on this show?

I knew he was a full-on badass. I’d been following his work since his colored-sole shoes made a wave in menswear a few years back. I was also familiar with his more heritage work for J. Press and Woolrich Woolen Mills, plus his footwear collaborations with Bass and Keds. I also knew he always unleashed the kraken at the end of his runway shows. For previous collections, both Danny Brown and Pusha T have closed the show. This year, it was Cam’ron and his girl, Juju. Amazing.

Juju and Cam’ron close Mark McNairy’s Fall 2014 New York Fashion Week show.
Photo: Getty Images

How did you get this gig and what were those initial conversations like?

Last year, I did Gregorian trap music for En Noir’s Spring show. Their sales director and all-around champion Mike Camargo showed my Soundcloud to Mark. He dug it, and then called me up to explain the Miles Davis and pop culture quotes concept. I was down. After that, he emailed me lots of quotes. The first one was the Animal House line “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” He never explained the quotes to me, but once a clip from Falling Down came in, the unhinged badass factor became clear.

How would you say the soundtrack echoes the mood of the collection?

The final look was Cam’ron in a flannel suit, sideways camo cap, and a furry Dipset-branded cape. Similar to the music, it had that “whatever I feel like I wanna do” vibe. I imagine that’s what Mark wants you to feel when you wear his clothes. One model was holding a cigar, another a beer bottle. Again, zero effs. Each piece took a traditional menswear idea and twisted it, like how Mark made a trench coat in furry camo. In the same way, the beat took a jazz classic and transformed it into a whole other thing.

And finally, does this mean you get to chill with Killa Cam on the reg now? (If so, I’m tagging along.)

I wish. At the very least, I hope to own a matching cape.


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