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Lockdown, DIY Culture and Creating Micro-economies | Tenth Sense Interview

‘Lockdown' is something we’re all probably sick to the back fucking teeth of hearing about, the amount of negative connotations the phrase brings out is parallel to mentioning you’re a Marilyn Manson fan in 2021. Across the UK, entire communities have ground to a halt - the economy has had a record slump and large global corporations have continued to profit from one click next day ‘devilry’ while small independent businesses have shut their doors forever.


But this isn’t a focus on all the shite we’re already aware of. Amidst all this doom, gloom and chaos, small groups of creatives and individuals alike have been given one thing we’d previously lacked - time to work on our crafts. Between a plethora of low paying menial jobs and trying to keep a roof over your head - its no surprise that creative arts and expression often takes a backseat. But with an unprecedented furlough scheme and working from home initiatives - creatives young and old across the UK have for once had time to think on their drivers and what they want to create out of this shit show. Tenth Sense is just one of these projects. Although not born out of lockdown, its clear that the effect this time period has had on its founding members Luke and Jack, so we sat down to talk a little bit more about Tenth Sense, what it represents and what drives them to create.


So where are you guys from?


Jack: I’m from Macclesfield which is about 20 minutes outside of Manchester, so I guess that’s my connection to here. I’m in my final year studying film production in Manchester. I’ve been here a few years now, and currently live with Luke and a group of other creatives who work and study around here.


Luke: I’m originally from Telford which is kind of in the middle of nowhere - there’s not much going on there. I feel like growing up, there was only two kind of jobs options most people from Telford go into, which is either getting a trade - or working an IT apprenticeship. Prior to coming to University here, I did even attempt to go down the apprenticeship route. I think we both did?


Jack: Yeah.


Luke: But I hated it, and quickly realised that wasn’t what I wanted to do. So I came to Manchester to Study Fashion at MMU. To be honest, that wasn’t really even what I wanted to do, I just knew I wanted to focus on something creative and this was the closest thing that would allow me to blend the two and get out of Telford.


Jack: Yeah, that’s very similar to where I’m from too, there’s not much going on. In some respects, it kind of feels like in these small towns you’re expected to go out and get a good job and settle down and get a house all as soon as possible. That didn’t really fit into what I wanted to do or where I see myself.




How did you meet?


Luke: We met at Platts, through a mutual friend Louis Butler


Jack: Yeah we met at the park and had a few mutual friends, we kind of clicked. We both have a lot of the same things in common and are in the same circles so it just made sense.


Luke: When a lot of your influences and the things you like are the same, it’s natural that you begin to form these connections. And now we live together and try to create stuff we like.



What are your influences? There’s clearly a lot of different things from both perspectives, but what shines through for you lot when you’re making something?


Jack: I’m really into film but I think for both of us, the internet and growing up alongside the internet has been one of the most formative things. With the internet, you’ve kind of got access to so many different forms of media and so many differing ideas - be it videos, art, music, whatever.


Luke: Yeah, I enjoy photography and fine art but I don’t think I could say there’s one specific thing that influences any of us. It’s more like a collection of constantly changing and evolving ideas. We’re not in the business of biting anyone else’s stuff, that’s just not really what we like. But from photography, to fine art, to just growing up with internet like Jack said, that really opens up a lot of things and ideas for you.


Jack: It’s also the DIY aspect of a lot of things we do, or create. The idea that anyone can do anything with the internet at their fingertips, there’s nothing stopping you from going out an making or doing something. Take filming for example, a lot of that is learning on the go. You might be influenced by certain things people have done or styles, but you want to take elements of that and put your own spin on it - it’s about using inspiration to make something new. I’ve also been really influenced by Cooper Winterson’s videos and a lot of the new generation of New York kids like homies network. Oh and of course, lurknyc!


Luke: The aspects of DIY culture are things that have been really important for us, exploring what we can do and what we can make. Last year, I was in Berlin as part of a placement for 032c Magazine and I think that really changed the way I perceived things and my resolve to create things for myself. But when I came back, I was stuck in Telford, locked down. It sucked, but it was also about using that time effectively.


Back to the video stuff then quickly, it was really interesting to see how ‘Siamese’ came out, in relation to your other videos - ‘fog’ for example. Did you expect it to blow up like that?


Jack: Not at all. It was really weird to see. Obviously, we’d spent a lot of time filming and my friends put so much effort into the whole process that I wanted to just create something that they’d like and be able to look back on. Our mate Louis said why not send it into Vague. I didn’t really expect much to come of it, but the idea of shining a light on our mates who’d worked so hard on getting tricks for it. And then it started to circle around a few different skate publications, it was nice to see and I know we were all hyped on it.


Was there a plan for Siamese?


Jack: Not really, we just wanted to represent our mates and our daily lives throughout this period of life and lockdown.


I think it really did show, the video felt so organic. And more often than not now, it’s not really about the skating - more so about how the video makes you feel.


Jack: Yeah, exactly. I think a lot of inspiration is drawn from the videos I watched when I got into skating, and things that have come out since, such as the Jesse Alba videos. That kind of stuff made everything feel accessible.



So, Sense Tenth? Do you wanna talk about that a little bit?


Luke: Well, it’s actually Tenth Sense [laughs]… a common mistake. We changed the name to @sensetenth on instagram just so it could be one word. But its Tenth Sense* Which is kind of a play on you know like, a sixth sense. It’s this feeling that you get, but one you can’t really put your finger on. So that’s where the name came from.


Luke: So yeah, we started it as something to put out our ideas and products that we liked. And I think that’s the main goal, it’s just creating something that we’re stoked on - and if other people like that too, great.


Jack: Everything we do is quite organic, we just make stuff in our house or from sources on the internet that allows us just to have an idea and make something. It’s the same thing that has always inspired us - and the internet has made it possible for us to get involved.


Luke: The set up isn’t perfect and there’s a lot to learn, I mean it’s quite messy. We’ve got a screen printing setup on the kitchen side for example. It’s nothing special, just us, a screen and a squeegee. But it’s a good way for us to learn and make a go at things ourselves.




How was the response to the scarves and beanies you did recently?


Jack: Yeah, that came from us looking at our mates old carpet and being like, wouldn’t that make a sick beanie? It stuff from our daily lives that inspires us or makes us think. And to see people respond to it in the way they did is mad.


Luke: Everything we do, we take these small parts from our lives that we like and this was a good example of that, to be honest we didn’t expect that much of a response but it was lovely to see. And part of our intentions as individuals and under Tenth Sense is that, everything we make money-wise goes directly back into either making more stuff by us or investing in other people who are making cool shit we want to buy and support.



I suppose in a sense as a group, you’re kind of making and facilitating your own micro-economies that allow you to keep producing stuff whilst support those who support you. Any future plans?


Jack: Yeah, probably, I don’t know what yet. I feel like there’s pressure to take on professional employment after uni - somewhere in media city, but that’s not really a route I see myself going down.


Luke: Same. I really struggle to put my time and effort into something i’m not stoked on - it just doesn’t feel like going down that path is for me. So we’ve got some things we are working on, some T-shirts that have been hand screened by us, and some other bits. But apart from that, just keep learning and putting things out there, I guess!


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