I met Alex Russell in the summer of 2015, one of the many reasons it's my favorite year so far. Atlanta was comically ratchet, unabashedly toxic, brimming with cutting edge swagger, and perpetually high. Guys like Young Thug and Future weren't missing a single shot, and it felt like the ground was gonna crack open and swallow the city every time another hit appeared out of the blue. There was no shortage of drama. The early days of our friendship were spent sleeping tandem on other people's couches around the east side and riffing bad ideas on long walks to shitty bars. Alex had just moved to town from New York because New York is objectively bad, and I was an unemployed visual artist mostly just drunk all the time. We were both very hungry, literally and figuratively, so every day was bookended by these long nebulous dialogues about financial freedom and how we would attain it as two virtually homeless artists, if ever. It wasn't long at all before we decided to form a creative partnership and try to develop something out of the constant brainstorm we shared. That wasn't verbalized, but one night during a dwindling kickback we hijacked the aux and traded Soulja Boy deep cuts to an unamused audience of Cabbagetown hipsters. After an hour of preaching lyrics to each other I thought to myself, "I'm gonna be friends with this nigga forever, we might as well be productive." Alex was the friend I didn't mind stepping away from the party to talk to because I knew he'd have something better to say than everyone else. We would DJ together, write sketches, video treatments, even absurd social experiments, whatever, all while pin-balling around the city trying to feign stability. Almost five years later, we still operate in the same fashion, the two grown men in the corner giggling like hoes. But now we get to do it in our dream setting. We've both written for TV and film, developed a pilot, and a cartoon together. We aren't literally hungry anymore, but If I've learned anything in the past few years its to maintain that same curiosity and stay close to anyone who inspires you to wander. My back is beyond fucked up from all the couches I slept on, but that's the price of friendship. Who else are you gonna sit and talk to about the future of everything? - Zack Fox
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