Top Shelf

Muse: Noemii J. Photography: PhotoHuynh

In 2012, I made the move up to LA from Orange County and moved in with INGWELL and Dice of the Moonshinerz Fam. Our house had become the party house for the crew in South Bay. That year, we did a lot of partying and going to shows and raves. Some of the guys went to Nocturnal Wonderland that year and met Noemii J. Soon after she started coming through to the house to see INGWELL and party at the house.

I had photos from various shoots we’d done hanging on the room of my wall. Noemii would come bug me every time she came over saying that we should shoot her. She was warming up to me every time she visited and I told her that we could probably shoot but we would have to meet up and talk first so I could kind of figure her out if she’d be a good fit since everyone we shot previous was through our SICKS Degrees Network and knew someone beforehand.

Noemii came over and came with me on a tshirt run. She listened and seemed to understand what we were doing and what we were about. I learned her background and what she was up too. We kind of peeled back each other’s layers like onions. She would become one of our biggest brand ambassadors & supporters, an adviser, and best friend.

“Top Shelf” was also the introduction of PhotoHuynh, who was Dan the Man of MSZ. Seemed like one day, Danny pretty much bought a Nikon camera and wanted to be a photographer. Danny is also known as “Dan the *insert category here* Man. He’s very technical and always goes one level deeper into whatever he’s into. We didn’t have anyone to take photos in LA, and me and the model either had to go to Vegas or Genix and Norm had to roll out to LA in order for us to get anything done. Putting together almost all of our shoots is 1/3 gut instinct, 1/3 preparation, and 1/3 just going with it.

INGWELL, Dice, and I just moved out of the Crack House and into a larger 5 bedroom house across the street which we named the “Frat House.” I had the master bedroom with a ton of space and set up IKEA bookshelves to make it look like a record collector/shoe aficionado’s bedroom. I borrowed records from the Moonshinerz Fam – MR10, Jagular, and INGWELL & Teddy Bomber. I also borrowed Shellz Bellz and Swag Dave’s shoe collections under careful instruction to be very careful with them so as not to scuff and crease the J’s.

We produced a tshirt with one of the shots and a double sided poster. We had a tshirt release event called “Top Shelf Tuesday” during the Waterhole Kings’ Tuesday Blend at Hard Rock Cafe on The Strip. That was one wild night that made its way back to my house in Vegas.

Assistant: Jagular