APE founder Jurgen Maelfeyt on The Molem Collective

Put sneaker fetish, hip hop love and publishing passion into the same sentence and, well, you’ve pretty much given us our Holy Grail. The result of the third collaborative effort between artist Hana Miletić and Ghent-based publishing imprint Art Paper Edition, The Molem Collective is a limited-run record – a first for the paper-proud publisher – that blends spoken words (each track is an ode to a different pair of sneakers, with Zak from Molem, their owner, telling their stories) with iconic rap productions. We speak with Jurgen, APE’s founder, about the project’s scope and plans for more records.

Can you tell us about your latest edition, Molem? How did it come about? Who are the people behind it? What is its central premise/objective?

The Molem Collective is our third publication with Hana Miletić. Last year we made ‘Euro cars’ and ‘Class of 2008’. The Molem Collective gathers a collection of hip hop sneakers of Zakaria Haddou aka Zak from Molem. He was commissioned by Hana to portray his collection of 24 pairs of sneakers he bought during the last eighteen months. The succession of different sneakers can be regarded as a short historiography of the hip hop subculture. The Molem Collective is part of a larger socio-artistic research project Molem. This versatile project has an organic structure where meetings and experiences can lead to a further exploration of this contested Brussels area. Resulting in an interactive archive consisting of digital photographs and videos made by a multicultural group of young individuals from Brussels. Molem is a very generous project, on the part of the artist as well as of the participating youngsters.

Releasing a record is a first for APE if I’m not mistaken…? Why did you decide to release the project in this way?

Yes, it is our first record. It was Hana who came up with the idea. Making a record was the only solution for this project if you put all elements together.The hip hop samples are important to contextualize the sneakers, the pictures fit the record sleeve and hearing Zak talk let’s you take part in his personal story.

The record’s title, The Molem Collective, is very insider as a label, even to locals. Is this something you considered knowing the international audience you cater to?

Molem is a local project but the content of this record is universal, it’s about youth and the hip hop culture.

Has working on this project brought any other similarly socially-inclined ideas? Or other plans of releasing records?

The form is always in function of the content so I don’t know. If there’s another project that would fit into a record, why not… we keep focussing on the book though.

How did the collaboration with Hana Miletic come about?

I’m getting to know Hana’s work very well. The combination of her bold easthetics and social-artistic content makes her work stand out. She contacted me in 2011 for her first publication and since then we have been working together very well. Her work is always situated in a social artistic content but the output is sometimes very surprising.

Can you talk to us about the project’s visual identity? Were their any major influences that guided it? 

Many compilation records from the eighties have the same grid inside to visualize the different titles on the record or to promote forthcoming albums. I used a same sort of grid to put the images of the sneakers. The compilation reference fits the content very well, the sneakers also represent a collection from a period in time. The yellow record sleeve and the blue vinyl label refer to the flag colours of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek.

Three websites you checked this morning?

manystuff.org / haw-lin / booking.com

The three IOS apps you recently downloaded? 

Camera+ / Instagram / Unlike

Three magazines you regularly read?

Fantastic Man / Apartamento / Kaleidoscope

Three albums you’re currently listening to?

The Knife, The Habitual / Sleater Kinney, The Woods / Sonic Youth, EJSTANS

Three ideas you’re currently toying with?

Books, a bookshop and a project space about books.

The Molem Collective, 22 euros

Available on the APE store