Eddie Chacon is probably the coolest guy we’ve ever met. For real though, aside from being an insanely talented fashion photographer with published works for Oyster Magazine, Jimon, and Vaga Magazine to name a few, the California native is an accomplished singer, songwriter, and music producer with a #1 hit in the 90s and a childhood connection to Metallica.
Our Creative Lead, Anna Branch, chats with Chacon aka Metropolis of Vice, about shooting our TO THE SOURCE lookbook, his lovely wife and major stylist Sissy Saint-Marie, music, and his fondness for housecleaning.
AB: Hi Eddie! How are things in your world?
EC: Hiya, Things are great.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hayward California. A suburb of the Oakland / San Franscisco area.
Give me a little bit of backstory on the adventures and life of Eddie Chacon. I know you worked in the music industry for years and then, somewhat recently, switched gears to photography.
Mmm where to start. I spent basically my whole life as a musician / record producer / songwriter. I guess the highlights being my first band at age 12 with my neighborhood buddies, Cliff Burton of Metallica and Mike Bordon of Faith No More, then much later having a world wide #1 hit as a singer. Yes I’m a bit of a one hit wonder. I guess my personal favorite moment was writing and singing the song that plays while Terrence and Alabama in the movie TRUE ROMANCE have sex in a record store. Oh and performing at one of President Clinton’s Inauguration balls. That was pretty cool.
I moved to photography about 3 years ago because I ran out of things to do in music. It’s been a thrill to shoot for a lot of my favorite magazines and it’s kinda given me a new lease on life creatively.
Eddie’s #1 Single
Is there any meaning behind Metropolis of Vice (your virtual alias)? How did you come up with it?
Metropolis of Vice refers to Berlin in the 1920s and 30s. It was a modern day Babylon in a time of mass conservatism that gave refuge to the oppressed. It was a completely free society that welcomed artists, outcasts, gays, lesbians and all forms of sexual and creative freedom. I thought the name was a perfect fit.
I have to say after meeting you and your incredible wife, Sissy, I have a new life goal to be you guys. Haha
But in reality, it seems like you guys work together and collaborate often. Do you have a favorite shoot that you guys have done together?
It’s such a hard question to answer because Sissy and I are always thinking our latest is our best. Theres such a learning curve to all of this that every time we shoot we can’t wait to do it again so that we can implement the things we learned from our last shoot.
I can’t stop listening to The Polyamorous Affair, your music duo project with Sissy. How did this get started?
I’m smiling. I used to pick Sissy up from school when she was a 3rd grade school teacher and she would always be rapping these super cool rhymes that she would hear on the playground during recess. I just couldn’t resist dragging her up to the microphone because I so loved her phrasing and the sound of her voice. She’s actually a shy person and the idea of getting up on stage and making records was the furthest thing from her mind but I was persistent.
I was so, so excited to get to work with you on this project. What was your inspiration coming into it?
I was inspired by this idea that walking is the perfect metaphor for our journey in life. I also felt the desert represented the brutal and the beautiful side by side. And of course shoes are the perfect vehicle for all of this. I thought it would be great to place the models and shoes in the harshness and beauty of the desert but also to pepper in statues and water to represent what a holy journey life is.
I am curious what your process is in general when you approach shoots? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I usually figure everything out in my head before I pick up a camera. I did music the same way. I think mostly story, concept, what is it I’m trying to say and then I fill in the blanks. I have always tried to portray where melancholy and celebration lie side by side. That has always been my inspiration.
Who would be your ultimate subject to photograph and why?
Fashion is my main focus right now but I along with everyone else am fascinated by politicians. I think it would be pretty cool to photograph some of the biggest politicians.
What lies ahead for Metropolis of Vice? Do you have any exciting projects in the works? Vacation plans? Doctor’s appointments? Big purchases?
I recently spotted a random product shot that really resonated with me so right now I’m bit obsessed with doing super cool product shots. Oh and I’m excited to go to NYC for fun in the next few weeks. It’s been too long.
Now onto the portion of the interview that involves silly, super personal, less involved questions.
What are you listening to right now?
PULP, Different Class
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life what would it be?
Bryan Ferry, Boys and Girls
What’s your favorite website for…
Well for shoes I’d have to say this fabulous company called, Solestruck. For everything else Ebay and Amazon. I’m a dude so I’m always looking at electrical stuff. Cameras, tech type stuff… You know how guys are.
I’ve always loved CBS Sunday Morning and 60 minutes ever since I was a kid. I also really like John Stewart and the new VICE news show.
I really compulsively look at Pinterest.
Just random net surfing.
I’m crazy over Pinterest. It’s a photographers dream come true.
What’s one thing you do to pamper yourself?
Life is way too short I try to pamper us with everything.
I Wikipediaed (I highly doubt that’s even a word, but I did it. Haha) you. What was the last thing you Wikipediaed?
I just wiki’d (not sure if thats a word either) Anton Yelchin because I saw him in this amazing new Jim Jarmusch film, Only Lovers left Alive. I recently shot Anton but too be honest I didn’t really know who he was. I’m glad I didn’t know who he was because I would’ve been way more nervous.
What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Pepperoni is my super fave.
If you could only use one condiment for the rest of your life what would be?
Oooh thats a tough one. I guess Salsa Verde.
Sweet or Savory?
What’s your favorite bad tv show?
I don’t think John Stewart is bad but it makes me super happy to pretend that EVERYTHING he says is true. John Stewart is Jesus to us liberals.
I used to lick Play-doh, a lot, as a child. Your turn. Tell me something weird you did when you were a kid.
Dined and dashed at my local ice cream place. Snuck into the movie theatre constantly, Stole all of the chrome caps off of my neighbors fancy muscle car. Danced on desks in the 2nd grade, Got punched by a nun named Sister Marie, Stole the Host while I was an alter boy and gave out Holy Communion to all the kids on the playground. I was a 10 year old suburban Catholic School thug haha. Where do I stop?
What’s your secret talent?
Housecleaning. Is that a talent? No seriously I can clean a house like nobody’s business. I mean I make it art I get so into it.
Give us a piece of good advice.
Don’t get talked out of who you are.
The Work Magazine