10 Musician’s Non-Musical Side Projects That Don’t Suck

These artists are brazenly kicking “stay in your lane” culture to the curb.

2015 belongs to the slashers. You know, the filmmaker/DJ/web developer/food-blogger/pastry chef/penguin-bowtie-designer you follow on Twitter. The folks whose big ideas can’t seem to fit themselves neatly into one medium. Slashers are the visionary butterflies whose workflows we happily follow from genre-to-genre and field-to-field.

Here are a few artists who are starting to use that spirit of creative ADD to their advantage. (And no, there will be no leather jogging pants or signature fragrances on this list.)

1. Snoop Dogg – The Art of Inspiration


The only rapper alive with enough O.G. cred to rock pigtails has officially taken it to the next level.

Snoop and swedish design company Happy Socks have joined forces to create a line of utterly adorable socks in conjunction with this exclusive film which whimsically explores the rapper’s artsier-fartsier side.

The Art of Inspiration features the Dogg Pound leader tapping into his inner Jackson Pollock (with the help of a few colorful-underwear-and-Happy Sock-clad ladies, of course.)

One of Snoop’s pieces sold on eBay for $10,200 in February, the proceeds of which were donated to a Leukemia charity.

I’m not hatin.


2. Win Butler – RaRa Coffee


Arcade Fire’s frontman is showing some love to Haiti through his collabo with La Colombe Coffee with his new signature line of “RaRa” coffee.

Grown in Haiti and roasted in Philly, all of RaRa’s proceeds go directly to Partners in Health, The Coffee Academy and Haiti.

“Being in the mountains of Haiti, it is hard not to think about coffee,” Butler said in a statement. “The elevation, the sunshine, the soil and incredible people who have been growing the plant on tiny family plots for centuries. Haiti is buzzing with potential and possibility, and coffee can be an important part of its rebirth!


Win Butler.”

Described as “floral, balanced, and smooth,” Rara is now available for order.


3. Andrew WK – Village Voice Advice Column


Every Wednesday, New York’s own personal party ambassador sheds his festive-yet-insightful perspective with Village Voice readers seeking guidance. WK has tackled topics like getting over a devastating breakup, experimenting with the same sex, as well as overcoming body-image issues, and he’s done so with an incredible amount of grace for someone most recognizable for wearing a stream of blood down his shirt.

We definitely see what all the fuss is about, and proudly blast our confetti cannons in his direction.

Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com



4. John Darnielle (Mountain Goats) – Wolf in White Van


Mountain Goats’ frontdude John Darnielle published his debut novel which the Chicago Tribune has described as, “a darkly disturbing read that explores inexblicable violence and brutality.”

Coming from the same artist that The New Yorker once described as the “best non-hip-hop lyricist,” the book has received raving reviews as well as a National Book Award nod.

5. Antony Hegarty (of Antony and & Johnsons) – You Are My Sister


The dreamy, almost eerie nature of Antony Hegarty’s sound is beautifully reflected in the delicate and emotional nature of his visual art.

Antony presented a stunning body of work that included drawings, collage, and sculpture at Sikemma Jenkins Gallery in NYC this past September.

Hegarty just wrapped an art and media installation which actually utilized the bagillion humungous curvy screens of Times Square for something really cool, for once! Every night from 11:57 to midnight, passersby witnessed You Are My Sister (TURNING) in the heart of Manhattan. The installation ended with the New Year’s Eve countdown.


5. Bianca Casady (CocoRosie) – Girls Against God


In addition to collaborating with Antony Hegarty in September’s Future Feminism scupture exhibition in New York, CocoRosie lil-sis Bianca Casady has launched feminist arts magazine Girls Against God which she co-authored with artist Anne Sherwood Pundyck.

As described by their indie publisher Capricious, the magazine “deploys the arts to illuminate the oppressive, obsolete nature of traditional, male-defined religions and other patriarchal institutions.”

An artist of many mediums, Bianca has also published a limited-print book of her pieces entitled HOOM LUM in 2011, as well as presented Daisy Chain, an exhibition of her visual art, in Soho’s Cheim & Read Gallery in 2012.


6. Tunde Adebimpe (of TV on the Radio) – Nasty Baby


Indie-singer-slash-hipster-whisperer Tunde Adebimpe co-starred opposite Kristen Wiig in Sebastian Silva’s new feature-length film, “Nasty Baby,” which is expected to be debuted at 2015’s Sundance Film Festival. The synopsis sounds dope, but we’re still waiting on an official release date and trailer.

Tunde has a background in animation and has been a part of a long list of some pretty sweet projects including sculpting claymation brawls for MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch, creating several short films, and publishing his own comic book.


7. Amanda Palmer – The Art of Asking, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help


If you dug the TED talk Miss Palmer gave in 2012 on the same subject, you will surely dig this book, published this past November. The book sparks a timely discussion regarding the power of the asking/giving relationship between artists and fans in the era of crowdsourcing. While, as NPR pointed out, some voices in the discussion seem to be missing, Palmer does a fine job elaborating on her own.


8. Childish Gambino – Atlanta


FX has officially greenlighted the pilot for Atlanta — a half hour new series to be written, directed, and starred-in by Childish Gambino (aka writer/comedian Donald Glover, aka the rap and comedy worlds’ current golden boy.) The show has been in development since 2013 and will examine the misadventures of a young rapper (played by Glover) trying to come up in the game.

As a fan of the creative freedom that FX allotted Louie to do his triple threat writing/acting/directing thing, I have a good feeling about this endeavor.


9. Tyler, the Creator x OFWGKTA – Loiter Squad

Ok, so we knew these kids were supercool and talented but we are stoked to discover that they are also, like, pee your pants funny. Said to be like a combination of Jackass and Chappelle’s Show, Loiter Squad is the live action Adult Swim series created, written, and executed by the brilliantly mischievous Odd Future crew. And, ICYMI, it’s entering its 4th season.


10. Pharrell Williams – i am OTHER


“i am OTHER, created by Pharrell Williams, is a creative venture and way of life. We are proud to be different and believe that individuality is the new wealth. This shared philosophy flows through each pillar within the company: music, film, television, apparel, tech and multimedia.”


Some of the projects that currently fall under the i am OTHER umbrella include Friendswithyou, an ongoing magic/luck/friendship-themed visual art installation collaborative between Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval lll, Brooklyn Machine Works, a custom bike shop called in Bushwick, as well as the hilarious and addicting viral web series entering its 3rd season, Awkward Black Girl.


Friendswithyou’s Light Cave Installation



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