We had the good fortune of connecting with Zachary Asdourian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zachary, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
To me, being an artist is defined by the ability to “create value” versus the concept of “acquiring value”. Most people spend their lives carving out their career as a personal safe space, which does not exist for artists or creatives whose work is a constant, living reaction; attempting to find solutions or answers to the conditions we face, individually as people and collectively as a society. I chose the artistic career path in order to foster an open mind for myself and for others, and to embrace that constantly “reactive” state of mind.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
cri·tique (kri ˈtēk ) (n): 1. a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory. (v): 1. evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way. “Creating a world in response to the world around us.” Born out of the COVID pandemic, Critique is a reaction to the exodus of thousands of music industry professionals. With major companies such as Live Nation impacted just as much as independent players, there is no better time than now for a displaced entrepreneur to plant their flag in the ground and prepare for the long, painful journey back to normalcy. Critique is a music-focused creative agency providing artist management, development and label services. Critique is not a traditional artist management or record label company; it is rather a “brand” that helps artists identify, incubate and implement their creative vision. By working closely with its first artist, GL4M, Critique is most excited about the long-term goal of building a community around the brand by advancing the career of its primary client. To date, Critique has released 3 singles for GL4M and is now A&R’ing the release of GL4M’s first EP before the end of the year. In following this pursuit, Critique is now developing a 2nd artist, DJibouti, and preparing to release a compilation of various independent electronic artists before the end of the year. The scope of Critique’s work can be boiled down into one sentence, our mantra: “creating a world in response to the world around us”.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Even in the middle of a global pandemic, Los Angeles still has plenty of experience to offer for those who know where to look. A great place to start is the architecture of the city. Downtown has some of the city’s most striking examples; a couple of my favorites are the Eastern Columbia and the Bradbury buildings. The ground floor of the Eastern Columbia also hosts an Acne Studios boutique to complement its sophisticated aura. For the real fashionistas, there is Clade: a nearby, appointment-only boutique on Spring and 6th with one-of-a-kind pieces fit for A-list rockstars. Downtown’s restaurants shine brightest at night, so I would recommend a light lunch at the Grand Central Market. The city’s most social dining experience is currently at the Chapman Market in Koreatown, where all the surrounding restaurants have parted the shared inner patio into respective outdoor dining areas. It is an inspiring reaction to the pandemic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this patio stays for good! Try Escala; the Colombian-Korean fusion restaurant that boasts platters of chicharron, bulgogi and everything in between for 2, 4, and 6 people. The fashion fix continues in Silverlake, home to some of the city’s best vintage curators like Golden Age and Sleeper. They are both on Sunset Boulevard, so why not take the street for a full cruise and stop off for some coffee alone the way? Luckily, my favorite roaster Tierra Mia has a location at the intersection of Sunset and Alvarado, as well as several other neighborhoods all over Los Angeles. I had never seen coffee turn the color of gold until I poured cream into a cup of Tierra Mia. All along Sunset Boulevard, there is an artisanal vibe between the bungalows hidden up in the palm trees and the colorful storefronts that stretch for miles. The craft also applies to the food here, and Bowery Bungalow is a strong example of this quality that constructs the neighborhood. The Bungalow is also open for outdoor dining and has slow-cooked lamb that melts in your mouth like brisket. If you have a broad palette, the dining options in Los Angeles are endless. However, if you are from the East Coast and you are particular about, let’s say pizza, then the search can become a little exhausting. Fear not; New York-style pizza is alive and well in Los Angeles! Prime Pizza (Fairfax x Little Tokyo) has THE best square Sicilian slice in the city, bound to curl those freezing Manhattan lips into a smile. For the familiar thin-crust slices, I have been dependent on Pizzanista in the Arts District and Garage Pizza in Silverlake. However, I strongly believe Prime Pizza has crafted something special. Out of the city’s older establishments, Village Pizzeria in Larchmont is a much better bet than Mulberry Street in Beverly Hills, or “the same Joe’s that’s in New York”. If you have to dedicate a day to finding the perfect slice, the above-mentioned places should be able to lead you all over town in your quest. I would save my current neighborhood, West Hollywood, for last. The spotlight for contemporary culture and streetwear is in the heart of Fairfax and Melrose. Boutiques are abound here, and the crowd is strongest on Sundays when the Melrose Trading Post and accompanying flea markets are open. If your wallet is a little light at this point and can only feed “must-have” impulses, there is an impeccable selection of vintage touring shirts at Popup LA. my latest find from there is a vintage band tee from Wham’s last concert ever at the Wimbledon Stadium. Magnificent! Pro tip: get takeout from Jon and Vinny’s instead of waiting for a table.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe the genesis of my music career to the man who offered me my first job in the business: Marc Geiger. Marc recognized my passion and gave me the golden opportunity to work in the William Morris Endeavor Agency, as an agent assistant and as an A&R scout for the [former] Head of Electronic Music, Joel Zimmerman. Between these two responsibilities, I learned life lessons that no class could have taught me. Many want to “be” in the music business, but the select few who succeed in it are those who run the fastest, care the most, and react to problems the most methodically. Furthermore, they are not distracted by competition with their colleagues. Instead, they build them up and assume a leadership role for themselves so that everybody benefits from the collective effort. I believe Marc Geiger embodies these values, and I had the privilege of witnessing his leadership in the offices of WME during my time there. He is a pioneer in this industry, and often times I can find the answers to my own questions by asking myself, “what would Marc say?”
Logos: Josef Edmonds Song Covers: Josef Edmonds GL4M Photos: Chloe Jane Thompson