Est. 1941

D-WHY • New Frontiers (Season 01 // Episode 01)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Date: 07-31-13
Location: U.S.A.
Film by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: David Morris

If you've been following my career, you may have noticed a void when it comes to day-in-the-life / behind-the-scenes type of videos. You may even have a skewed interpretation of who I am as a person due to a lack of such content (always remember, music is meant to entertain). While many artists release "vlogs" religiously to give fans an insider's look into their lives and who they are as people, I have yet to put one out. That isn't because I didn't want to or didn't try (several attempts have failed to come to fruition for a variety of reasons), but, rather, because I never felt like I had quite the right content to release to the world. Getting quality footage for these type of behind-the-scenes videos requires that a) you have someone who is skilled and understands your vision to film you at all hours of the day so that you can ensure the quality of footage, and b) you are actively doing fun and interesting things that will make for compelling video footage for people to watch (I spend more time in the studio than anywhere and let's be honest, footage of that gets boring and repetitive).

A few months back, solutions to both of those dilemmas finally arrived. As the start of my first headlining tour approached, I would finally have something of merit to document and I was fortunate enough to bring on board my Canadian brother Luis Valdizon (the mastermind behind The Cleanest Corner's design, photography and curation) to document everything and execute my vision. I want fans to get to know the real me—not just D-WHY, but David Morris—and I've always wanted to do that in a unique way that is true to who I am as an artist and person.

I encourage viewers to consider 'New Frontiers' an ongoing documentary series rather than a vlog or series of behind-the-scenes videos. Going into the filming of everything, we derived inspiration from many classic rock 'n roll documentaries and wanted to take an almost fly-on-the-wall point-of-view to ensure the capture of the most natural footage and story. Documentaries like D.A. Pennebaker's 1965 film, 'Don't Look Back,' helped influence the random, yet candid and clean editing style. The journey is the narrative and each scene speaks for itself. It doesn't have to be chronological or cut-and-dry; it just has to be real. Our approach is to make the episodes of 'New Frontiers' in such a way that someday, if we wanted, we could go back and piece all the episodes together for a full-blown documentary.

In 'New Frontiers,' you'll get to know my great friend and touring partner, DJ ETrayn. You'll get to know our friends, family and fans, too. In turn, we hope to get to know you and bring you in on this journey. We hope to see you out on the road this fall and we hope to include you in footage that makes it into future episodes of 'New Frontiers.' I wouldn't be here without you and others like you, so nothing makes me happier than meeting you all at every show, taking photos, signing autographs, etc. These things are the least I can do.

On behalf of myself, DJ Etrayn, Luis and The Cleanest Corner team, thank you. Without further ado, I give you the first episode of 'New Frontiers.'

Your friend,
David (no, my name is not really Dwight)

P.S. - There will be several more episodes from our summer tour and we will continue filming throughout future shows, including my fall tour with Hoodie Allen—get tickets here!

Los Angeles, CA • Handsome Coffee Roasters

Monday, July 29, 2013

Date: 07-28-13
Location: 582 Mateo St. Los Angeles, CA.
Words and photography by: Luis Valdizon

There are places that serve coffee and there are places that understand, exemplify and seek to elevate coffee culture. Handsome Coffee Roasters embodies the latter. Their minimalist, refined approach is clear, starting from their branding and interior; however, what sets them apart most from other boutique coffee shops I've visited is their unwavering dedication to a standard most coffee connoisseurs share: no sweeteners, no nonfat or low-fat dairy options and no exceptions—period. Some may call their selection limited because of this, but where some see limitations, I see is an opportunity to demonstrate to unsuspecting patrons that good coffee doesn't mean a convoluted and at times superfluous list of demands. Call it pretension or whatever fancies you, but I think a little elitism within an industry riddled by button-pressing baristas is an ideal worth fighting for.

Hospitality and service at HCR is second-to-none. I let our barista know I've been patiently waiting to try their coffee from the first time I heard of them in my hometown of Vancouver (aforementioned here) and asked if it would be alright if I snapped a few photos of their locale, to which he responded with a welcoming yes. Another one of their staff, an expert roaster by the name of David Lopez, granted me access to the back end of their establishment where their roasting and behind-the-scenes business takes place. Mr. Lopez and I conversed for a few minutes about our crafts and he was even kind enough to allow me to photograph his portrait before I made my exit.

You may not care how your beans are sourced, how they are roasted, the method by which your coffee is prepared or how the final product is executed and presented. That's completely fine—Handsome does all the heavy lifting for you. Unfortunately, living out of a suitcase from state-to-state while we travel the country on tour and staying 35 minutes from the Downtown Arts District while in the Los Angeles area means I won't be able to frequent HCR. But with my very first visit yesterday, an establishment that opened its doors less than a year-and-a-half ago managed to single-handedly reinvigorate my passion for coffee with one perfect cup of cappuccino and outstanding customer service. It's an absolute necessity to stop in if you ever find yourself in the area.

Portland, OR • Pine State Biscuits

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Date: 07-08-13
Location: 2204 NE Alberta St. Portland, OR.
Photographed by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: David Morris

Growing up in West Virginia, homemade biscuits are something that we take pride in and are very critical about in the Southern part of the U.S. While recently visiting Portland, OR, for the first time, it was a nice surprise to discover a place that not only carries on the traditional taste, quality and care put into the biscuits I grew up eating, but takes the practice to a whole new level. Tucked away in the Alberta Arts District not far from where we were staying in PDX is Pine State Bisucits, a Southern-inspired eatery that has received critical acclaim and cult fanfare, and was a must for us to try out. Upon walking in, we were greeted with a handwritten chalk menu that had an abundance of delectable choices. The atmosphere was both country and rustic, and the staff was friendly and proficient. I chose The Chatfield, a biscuit with fried chicken, bacon and cheddar cheese, topped with apple butter. After a wait of about 15 minutes, the biscuit came out fresh and enormous, and a glass of organic, hand-squeezed orange juice made for the perfect pairing. It was hands-down one of the best biscuits I've ever had and one of the best meals of the tour. My mouth is watering as I write this. Even if Portland wasn't the great city that it is, I would still go back just for another Pine State Biscuit.

Los Angeles, CA • Hotel Roosevelt Pool Party

Monday, July 22, 2013

Date: 07-20-13
Location: 7000 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.
Photographed by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: David Morris

In Los Angeles, summertime is synonymous with pool parties. Over the weekend, we ventured out to The Roosevelt Hotel with my DJ and partner in crime, ETrayn, for his guest set at one of their famous Sunday gatherings. The hotel, which first opened in 1927 and is named after President Teddy Roosevelt, is located in the heart of Hollywood along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theater. The pool area, equipped with cabanas, multiple bars, and a full-order food kitchen, was packed with a variety of hotel guests, partygoers and VIPs. ETrayn played a 90-minute open-format set and kept everyone's attention. From rap, to EDM, to 90s, oldies and beyond, the vibes were radiating on this hot, summer day. If you're a fan of all genres of music like I am, you would have enjoyed it just as much as I did. We look forward to coming back in the future not only to experience another event, but also to explore more of the historic hotel. Special thank you to DJ Blakkout and Keith 2.0 for having us there.

Spokane, WA • Coeur Coffeehouse

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Date: 07-06-13
Location: 701 N Monroe St. Spokane, WA.
Words and photography by: Luis Valdizon

While in Spokane, Washington, recently on the Young, Loved, Hated & Broke Tour, we had the privilege of visiting Coeur Coffeehouse. At first glance, you can tell that the people behind the establishment care deeply about their product and the customer experience. With the temperature outside in the 80s, naturally, David inquired about their cold-brew coffee upon entering. The polite barista offered up a sample and explained their 14-hour cold brewing method. The chilled drink was naturally sweet and the roast's flavor shined through. However, we knew we would regret leaving without trying one of their espresso-based offerings, so we ended up ordering cappuccinos made of Stumptown's Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Chelbessa. We were far from disappointed. Ambrosial—that's the word that best describes what we tasted.

In addition to their coffee and pastries (which they were unfortunately sold out of at the time we were there), Coeur also has a back room with additional seating and a chessboard for guests. The sleek interior, incredible lighting and high ceilings makes for the perfect place to get work done, socialize with friends or have some one-on-one time with a date.

Chicago, IL • Wrigley Field + Giordano's

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Date: 05-30-13
Location: 1060 W Addison St. Chicago, IL
Photographed by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: David Morris

During some of our midwest tour dates last month, we stopped in Chicago to stay with a friend who happens to live next door to Wrigley Field. Having never been to the Friendly Confines, my expectations and excitement level were both at an all-time high. After scalping tickets for a day game (for $15 a piece), purchasing some refreshments and choosing random seats, we sat and enjoyed a game of good ol' fashioned American baseball at one of MLB's most iconic stadiums. The experience did not disappoint--how can you not enjoy a place with so much history? After the Cubs won, we stopped at Giadorno's in celebration to check out some of Chicago's finest deep-dish pizza. All I can say is, I can't wait to get back to Chi-town this fall.

Cincinnati, OH • Zip Dip

Date: 205-28-13
Location: 4050 Drew Ave, Cincinnati, OH
Words and photography by: Luis Valdizon

After spending a day in Eddie's (DJ Etrayn) hometown of Ross, Ohio, it was decided that a stop to Zip Dip was in order. The premium soft-served ice cream establishment has been a landmark for local residents of the Cincinnati area since the 1950s. Fortunately, its old-fashioned allure has been effortlessly retained throughout the years by a dedicated management team. For the night, David, Adam and I followed in Eddie's footsteps, ordering his lifelong favorite: vanilla ice cream camouflaged in sprinkles, atop a fresh cake cone. Perfection.

New York, NY • Bevin Elias

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Date: 08-11-12
Location: 5th Ave. New York, NY
Photographed by: Luis Valdizon
Words by: David Morris

Bevin Elias: the man, the myth, the legend. He was one of the first friends I made when I moved to New York City. We bonded over fashion while he worked at The Brooklyn Circus. I used to come in the store and chat for hours. He's hustled his way up the corporate ladder and now works for elite Italian suit maker, Brioni— the window display above is his creation. He also has an interior design and personal styling company on the side that caters to private events and individuals looking for curated assistance (special thanks to him for the Brioni suit I'm wearing in the "Flattery" video). He's one of the few people I turn to for advice, ideas and inspiration when it comes to fashion. Bev has inspired the evolution of my personal style and always seems to be one step ahead of the trends. He's a low-key tastemaker that carries himself with the supreme type of confidence that merits respect at first sight. Follow him on Instagram for visual guidance on how suits should be worn, clothes should fit and your event should be aesthetically designed.