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Photo by P.M. Ken


Anything goes according to VERBAL and YOON’s Tokyo design collective

Tokyo’s AMBUSH duo of VERBAL (MC from art/music project Teriyaki Boyz) and YOON (stylist and DJ) have amassed an international family of fans and collaborators, from Kanye West to Matthew Stone, Nigo to Nick Knight and Hong Kong’s creative empire Silly Thing. Maybe it’s their lust for creation, their ‘Anything Goes!’ philosophy that they’ve been riding hard since 2002, or that they design in-your-face rings and pendants, sneakers and clothes with a sense of humour and all out rap attack audacity? It’s an epic, disaster movie aesthetic, an example of just how far you can go through insight and collaboration.

Dazed Digital: How did you first meet and start the label?
YOON: We met during our college days in Boston. We were dating back then but VERBAL ended up moving back to Japan because his music career was getting busier and busier.
VERBAL: I wanted her to come to Japan but the only way she would was if she found a better job than what she already had in the States. So I decided to start AMBUSH DESIGN, to lure her to Japan!

DD: What inspires you about Kanye or Nigo’s creative process?
VERBAL: I've had the rare opportunity to watch Kanye at work, through Teriyaki Boyz sessions and hanging out with him on different occasions. Contrary to popular belief, I think he is humble and always curious to learn. He embodies so much inspiration, it's amazing how he keeps flowing with ideas. Nigo on the other hand, is a man of few words. He never told me what I had to do but watching him from the sidelines, I learned so much. The way he executes projects and the way he incorporates uncanny and funny elements into his designs, is pure genius. He is a true inspiration and his presence is a catalyst to all my artistic endeavors.

DD: What inspired the Creeepsta shoes?
YOON: I have always been into B-rated sci-fi and horror movies. So when the BAPE collabo came VERBAL and I thought it would be fresh to add a bit of horror to their clean, sharp image. The end results were like Frankenstein. Openness is so important. When the opportunity comes, we jump on it and take on challenges whether it's business, music or design.

DD: And taking design inspiration from Dr Octagon? Weirdo rap 90‘s classics! What else were you listening to at that time?
VERBAL: Run DMC in elementary school, De La Soul and NWA in high school, Gang Starr when I started writing my own rhymes and Company Flow and lots of Kool Keith around the time when I released my first record!.

DD: What do you love about Silly Thing’s approach to work and art?
VERBAL: TK (Silly Thing) always seems to be on a pursuit for better aesthetics and new collabos. I don't know if it's Hong Kong style, but as Silly Thing, they definitely come out with fresh ideas and collabos.
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