Interviews

How to Build an Artistic Community from Scratch: A Conversation with Mandalay Social Club

Young Gosling is a musician, producer, director, and photographer from Clearwater, FL, working in New Orleans, LA. He is the founder of Mandalay Social Club, a community focused on presenting art with substance. Collaborating with local artists, he’s released a number of music videos, as well as a solo EP titled, The Coast.

mandalay

  • You’re an artist that promotes art as well – rank your favorite forms of art.

Music was always my first obsession. I wanted to be a drummer in a band and do more musically, but then I came across film. I don’t really know what it was, but I think I understood the depth of film a little differently than music. They both go hand in hand so perfectly.

If I had to choose, I would have to say film would be first because it’s the art form that has made more of an impact on my life. Music would be second, but on a similar scale. I do photography as well, so that would probably follow. I love other visual art and paintings, especially. I’m not a painter but I can appreciate other artists who are actually good at it. I really love Salvador Dali and there’s an artist here in Louisiana, George Rodrigue, who is really great.

  • How beneficial is it, in your opinion, to have the ability to create through multiple outlets of media? Are you able to express yourself differently through each of these channels?

Yes, definitely. Not to sound corny, but it starts with a feeling and an idea to talk about. I think, okay, how am I going to get this idea across? Whether it’s a music video, a short film, a photo essay, or what have you, I typically know which is the best way to present the idea. It depends on the mood that I’m trying to set along with what it is that I’m saying. I think there are stories that can be told better with cinema than anything else, but there are also things that can be only be expressed through music. I think that’s what makes the art authentic, by not forcing the medium. It is what it is.

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“I think that’s what makes the art authentic, by not forcing the medium. It is what it is.” (Shot by Young Gosling)
  • What was the initial idea behind starting Mandalay Social Club?

I named Mandalay Social Club after the road that runs parallel to Clearwater Beach, Florida, where I spent a lot of my time growing up. I originally intended Mandalay to be a place where I could showcase my newly built repertoire. There was so much I was into and I didn’t know how to fit it all together, so I made Mandalay to be a sort of hub where I could fully release everything I was working on. I wanted it to be a home base essentially. From there it evolved, especially when I started working with other artists. It’s inevitable that all kinds of collaboration will take place when you start to establish consistent work.

  • Did you feel as if it was necessary to create an escape hub for other artists seeking genuine art?

I met artists, especially in the Clearwater area, that had a lot of talent and were talking about important things. I thought Mandalay would be a good place to give them a voice as well. In this day and age, no one wants to pay attention to anything that challenges the way they think and a lot of current culture is aesthetically based. For me, Mandalay Social Club is where I can build a community and create an identity for like-minded people that are also striving to preserve artistic authenticity. It’s all about how you use what you’re creating. Art with a message is so much more powerful.

  • You’re also providing creative services on the website, which means you’re working with a lot of different minds. How do you balance your personal work between the work that you are doing for other artists?

I mainly shoot music videos, but I will definitely take odd requests. In order to produce personal work that I’m proud of, I have to have the finances right. I really have to approach client work in a way where I make money off of certain projects because if I don’t, then I’m not going to have anything to fund my own. As much as I would love to neglect those services, as much as I’d love to make my own films all day, unfortunately, shit isn’t free. It’s hard to balance, but I’m definitely trying to work as hard as I can. Each year, I’ll try to release at least one of my own projects. Two years ago it was an EP and the year after was a short film.

  • Do you have a favorite collaboration that you’ve done since the start of Mandalay?

The latest music video I’ve done is always my favorite. It’s nice to see a trend of progression in the work that I’m doing. How is my next release not going to be better when I keep learning and practicing? It’s almost impossible to get worse, unless you stop creating altogether. As long as you love what you’re doing, there’s no reason to not progress. The music video I did with Stoney Hoop for Shroom Tea was one that I really liked. I found that once I started devoting a lot of Mandalay’s purpose to Clearwater, everything worked out for the better. It’s such a great community of people that really care about art and each other.

  • Do you ever have any trouble handling the management of Mandalay Social Club? Highlight your struggles on a day-to-day basis. Is everything worth the hard work?

90% of it is self inflicted stress because I like to set my own deadlines. I want to be consistent, I want to have content, and I want to be something that is omnipresent, always there, and always relevant. As much as I hate the stress, I still like having that constant fire lit under my ass to motivate me. I don’t like not having anything to do. I think that the stress is something that I’ve gotten used to and I always want Mandalay to be in a comfortable position. I know my hard work is paying off, because I can see progression across the board. It’s also fulfilling on another level, because I’m not selling bullshit to people. I feel like everything I’m putting out has substance or is going to make people think. Everything I make is coming from a melting pot of influences and I’m trying to relay that message to more people. I know how art has changed my life, and if mine does the same for anyone else, it’s worth it.

  • Young Gosling’s Top 5 Albums (As of today, anyways): 
  1. Brand New – The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me
  2. Blink 182 – Enema of the State
  3. Mac Miller – Faces
  4. The Cure – Pornography
  5. The Story So Far – Under Soil and Dirt
  • Just for fun, what are five of your favorite films that you would recommend to someone wanting to learn more about cinema?
  1. Blue Velvet (1986)
  2. The Shining (1980)
  3. Easy Rider (1969)
  4. The Place Beyond Pines (2012)
  5. The 400 Blows (1949)

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