Interview: Matt Sorum and Max Noce
Mon, 11 Aug 2008 13:52:47
Velvet Revolver Videos
"Oh dude, can I say something funny?" designer Max Noce asks his partner Matt Sorum from across a tufted bar in the middle of their West Hollywood boutique, Sorum Noce. Max flashes a quick grin. "You have Hootie and the Blowfish in your iPod. You know that, right?" Sorum laughs, "They're fucking cool, man! If you're not hip to Hootie there's something wrong with you." Maybe so, but really, if you're not hip to Sorum Noce then there's something wrong with you. Sorum Noce is the chic and stylish gentlemen's couture line from Matt Sorum and Max Noce. The clothes strike a balance between classy, refined style and rock n' roll attitude. The suits, leather jackets and shirts possess a simplicity that's vibrantly individualistic. Each piece stands out, and the pair has crafted one of the few high-end gentlemen's brands that speaks, "distinguished, yet real."
Max and Matt are a bit like The Odd Couple. Rock drummer extraordinaire Matt Sorum (Camp Freddy, Velvet Revolver, Ex-Guns N' Roses.) has just made the switch to budding fashion mogul. Designer and fashion visionary Max Noce has got a band on the side called BordellofGods. Given their mutual passion for music and fashion, the two make a perfect team. The store's decor reflects their love for rock and clothes. It has a classy and elegant vibe with clean, super-organized racks, classic tunes on the stereo and an ornate chandelier with sharp crystals in the center.
Sitting in their Melrose boutique on a sunny summer afternoon, the two discussed music, fashion and much more with ARTISTdirect. They even gave us some good tips on not what to wear, but how to wear it!
What inspired you guys to start Sorum Noce?
Max: It was out of necessity really. You can't find a lot of good clothing out there for guys. Most things are way too extravagant. There's never something that's just clean, nice and well-made. I never found what I wanted to wear, so I just decided to start making it myself.
Matt: Yeah, I agree [Laughs].
Max: Sometimes simplicity is actually the most difficult thing to achieve.
Matt: In the music world, it seems like when people think of "Rock n' Roll Attire," they think of skulls, daggers and dragons.
Max: Dragons are cool [Laughs].
Matt: They are, but if you look at the rock n' roll bands that Max and I grew up with, they had a certain classic style. Look around the shop at the photos we have. There's The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.
Max: Were you more of a Stones guy or a Beatles guy?
Matt: I thought The Beatles were a little fluffy in the early days, but then, in the late '60s and the early '70s, they started getting stoned, growing beards and writing groundbreaking songs. When they originally came out they were more of a pop group, but they definitely were really cool.
Max: The second phase of The Beatles is probably my favorite.
Matt: The style that we like is that basic rock n' roll flare that's not overdone. The '80s took rock fashion to a place that was more hair metal. It actually was mixed with glam. If you look at the early glam bands like T. Rex and David Bowie, they were very cool in the way they dressed. They didn't overdo it. When it got into the '80s hair metal phase, that's when the true glam got taken out.
Max: That whole '80s style was almost like a fantasy world. In a way, it was like a fantastic vision from their minds.
Matt: They were trying to mix it up, but it was just a fashion gone awry. The early glam stuff from T. Rex and Bowie was great—English bands again. There's a lot of English influence in our store as far as the suits go. They have that English-tailored style, and they're more fitted. The leather probably comes from a bit of a punk rock background—classic punk like The Ramones and Iggy Pop. The clothes we carry are real, rugged and rock n' roll. Any guy can wear our stuff though. It's like a guy with a good jacket. Think of Marlon Brando or Steve McQueen. All of those classic dudes just had it. It wasn't about much. They didn't have to wear a bunch of shit. They had a t-shirt and a good fucking jacket.
Max: You can have one good piece that's your main piece, and you can do a lot with it.
Sometimes all you need is that one great jacket to tie it all together.
Matt: You could even go further back. Look at guys like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Look at the classic Rat Pack movies. When those guys got dressed, they had their certain thing. When they picked up their accessories before they left the house, they had the same things all the time. They'd have a ring, a watch, a cigarette case and maybe some mints. That was it. Then they went out. They were ready, and they had everything they needed.
It was easy. It was something that didn't require much thought, and the style was more utilitarian.
Max: Well it was the standard of those times. Style is also the way you carry yourself as well. That's an important side of it too obviously.
Matt: We have a lot to offer in the store, but it's about the personality of the guy that's wearing it. Everybody's different, and everybody should have the option to be different. When I was growing up, I used to steal shirts out of my mom's closet because I was a skinny little kid. That was the '70s though. If you look at Robert Plant, he'd wear shirts that were three sizes too small for him [Laughs]. His pants were so tight that it looked like he was suffocating. It's all about the personality and how you want to wear the clothes.
Max: Sometimes, if you wear a well-done, well-fitting piece, it does transform the way you carry yourself. You act more confidently in whatever group you're in. I think clothes can add confidence. If you do feel stronger and more confident in yourself, then that transpires with other people.
Matt: Some people think I'm completely fucking weird for doing Sorum Noce.
Matt: In the rock and roll world, you're not allowed to do much except for what you're well-known for. So I've been getting some flack for it, on the Internet mainly, from rock n' roll fans. From my experience, some fans want you to be in Guns N' Roses for the rest of your life—or at least until they die. This is just an absolute creative outlet that has nothing to do with Guns N' Roses or any of that, except for the fact that I played in the band. I could've said something about the way Axl dressed or how I dressed in those days [Laughs].
Max: I liked that style though.
Matt: It was very biker, and it worked for the time. Times change and clothes change, but what we offer here is classic. When you find where you are as a guy and you get your whole thing going on, it just clicks. You finally feel like, "This is right." It's the same with being in a band. It's the same with getting a chick. That's how we feel about the store. We spent a lot of time thinking about how we were going to do this. We were like, "Let's just make a cool, small boutique that's classic and guys can feel like they're comfortable there." You go to these high-end places like Gucci, and it's kind of like, "Shit." The clerks stand there, and they don't really say anything to you. They look at you like you shouldn't be in there. They're like, "Can you even afford this?" Especially a guy like me, they're like, "Get the fuck out of here."
Max: He's got tattoos!
Matt: I remember I walked into a store on Saville Row one time. Above the door, it said, "Suits Appointed by the king and majesty of blah, blah, fuckin' blah." I went, "Fuck it. I'm going in there!" [Laughs]. I roll in, and the guy working there says, "What can I POSSIBLY help you for, sir?" I said, "I'd like to buy a suit actually." He said, "Well for you, our suits start at 7500 pounds." I said, "In America, that's 15 grand. No thank you sir, you won't be helping me today." He said, "That's exactly what I thought" [Laughs].
“If you see enough skulls, it's going to become mainstream to wear something with a skull.”
Why do you think that simplicity disappeared from fashion?
Matt: I don't know. I don't remember things being so trendy, but I guess they were. If you look at the '50s and '60s, you see trends and styles. I think trends are set by certain iconic figures and people follow them. For instance, when Elvis got famous, everybody slicked their hair back. When The Beatles got famous, everyone started wearing those same jackets. It happens usually because of what's going on in the music business or the film business. Some iconic figure will drive fashion. Now we have a better grasp of time. It's officially a modern world after the '50s, so we don't go back to the 1800s and dress like the Civil fuckin' War. You can't get away with that, but people do dabble in the styles from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s still for some reason. They don't go back much further. If you're going to dress like it's the '30s, you're going to look like you're heading to a Halloween party.
Max: You can absorb different factors from different eras, and that makes it cool.
Matt: The trends will always be here. It's just like trendy bands and pop music that no one will give a shit about. It's still big, but who knows why? Who knows why American Idol is fuckin' big, but people buy it because it's force-fed to them. If you see enough skulls, it's going to become mainstream to wear something with a skull. You see 60-year-old women wearing skulls now.
Max: That's hot [Laughs].
Matt: Fads and trends will always be here. They fuck things up for awhile. Even a big jean company will come around and they'll have some hot pair of jeans that everyone's got to have, but everybody still goes back to the Levi's, man. Why? Because they're fuckin' classic. I'm wearing them. You don't see me wearing that other shit.
Max: I wear Sorum Noce.
Matt: When are you supposed to know what's cool? You've got to watch and see what's going on. But what do we wear here?
Max: Sorum Noce, baby! [Laughs] Well, it's true. People will wear something until they see two other people wearing it. Then they're like, "Done," and they take it off. Being more personal about what you wear and not seeing anybody else wearing it are other factors. It's more about individuality. It's important for us to have that. You know there's not anyone else wearing the same piece from Sorum Noce ever.
Matt: Not right now anyway, until we go so huge we have to put skulls everywhere [Laughs].
Max: It'd be cool to do a karate video with people wearing our stuff [Laughs]. We could have naked chicks doing karate or something.
So each piece is different?
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