1166: The Mark Of The Beats
1166 is a music and arts collective centered around Brooklyn-based trap-goth rock band Monsters On The Horizon. It is also the title of the Marvin Van Buren-directed documentary about the collective. Cell Vision co-founder Prince Terrence spoke to Steve Narvaez of 1166 and Monsters On The Horizon about the magic and meaning behind the multi-generational, multi-ethnic collective.
photos by Kathydia Price
1166 is a collective of artists, musicians, photographers, videographers, designers and nearly everything else under the arts umbrella. “1166” serves many functions—it is the name of their crew, the street number of their studio location in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and the title of the brand new short documentary about the collective that is exclusively premiering on Cell Vision.
Founded by Rashawn Wilkinson of the band Monsters On The Horizon, he and his bandmates Steven Narvaez, Carina Zachary, and Kevin McAdams use 1166 as both a physical and figurative space for their own creative outlets as well as those of their contemporaries and collaborators. The documentary, directed by Marvin Van Buren, brings you directly into the world of 1166 and Monsters On The Horizon, from a performance in a literal wrestling ring to their backstory and origins as musicians. Scenes from the studio, and various Brooklyn locales are the backdrop for the story of how they all met and came to create this collective. Blending generations, and multi-ethnic cultures, the various members each bring a different swath to the fabric that weaves this tale. I spoke to 1166 Collective member Steve Narvaez to find out more about what 1166 is about, and how this “place for weirdos of color” came to be.
CELL VISION: How does one become a part of the 1166 collective? What draws you to an individual’s artistic output?
1166: 1166 is open to anyone with something to say and a need to get creativity out. 1166 is a fully stocked media house. State of the art recording studio, video studio, photography studio and event space. The studio has become a fixture for many Brooklyn-based artists to capture some of their most fire music. We accept artists from all over the world—everywhere from around the block [in Crown Heights] to Tokyo, we’ve had artists come through and vibe. The collective is composed of a rotating cast of musicians, producers, content creators, photographers, videographers, and models. Anyone that has recorded or performed at one of our events becomes part of the family. There are a handful of artists and groups that have become an integral part of the sound and vibe of 1166. You can find them at the studio helping out even when they’re not working on their own stuff; Iron M0nk, Gordon Andres, Kathydia Pryce, Mic Dee, Jaymison Beverly, Kas, Shunji Matsumura, Tae Designs, Ali Caldwell, Yumi Muse, Jerrbul, Nao Fukui, Noa Iimura, and Monsters On The Horizon are some of the consistent creatives that have put time, love, and energy into making 1166 what it is.
CELL VISION: How have you kept your creativity alive during the COVID-19 pandemic and how have things like quarantine and isolation impacted you and your crew for better or worse during this time?
1166: For us, this has been a most creatively fertile time. The studio implemented a very strict sanitizing protocol and limited capacity [in the space]. So people have been able to continue to work and produce new content. Some members have relocated to other parts of the country during this time, and thanks to technology we have been able to continue to work. The main part we all have been missing is the LIVE PERFORMANCE aspect obviously which is severely impacted by COVID. Monsters On The Horizon (our band) just got together for our first rehearsal in 7 months a few weeks ago. To say it was a fun time would be an understatement.
"[Having your own hub for creativity] is a freedom that can truly open up and release your creativity to another level. Any idea, no matter how big, small, or crazy, you can get down. Sometimes it yields a fun time, sometimes the seed to a masterpiece somewhere down the line."
CELL VISION: Monsters On The Horizon is your band, do you each have individual projects as well or is this your primary outlet?
1166: Monsters On The Horizon is a super-group of sorts, as everyone in the group has multiple bands/projects going on concurrently. Carina Zachary, one of our lead singers is also the singer in the Post-Hardcore band Husbandry, as well as having her own solo project called The Lone Wolf Co. Rashawn BLKZEN Wilkinson, our other lead vocalist and producer has so many projects and features it would take up the whole of this piece to list. In regards to solo work, BLKZEN has not just been featuring but also producing for some dope up and coming artists as well. Kevin McAdams plays drums in no less than 4-5 bands at any given time. He was in the band Elefant back in the mid 2000s and has continued being one of the best drummers you can find in NYC today. I launched my first solo project in 7 years called Nites Alone during the pandemic, and have been playing music in different bands and projects in NYC for over 25 years. But Monsters is definitely the centrifugal force that pulled us and keeps us all bound together.
CELL VISION: What is the biggest benefit to having your own hub for creativity and not having to rely on anyone else for recording time or scheduling?
1166: It is a freedom that can truly open up and release your creativity to another level. Any idea, no matter how big, small, or crazy, you can get down. Sometimes it yields a fun time, sometimes the seed to a masterpiece somewhere down the line. Finding a balance between working on other peoples’ projects and your own is sometimes a tough one to strike. BLKZEN can have 3-4 different artists come through the studio to record on any given day, so you’ll get the 3am text from him working in the studio on some of his own stuff, or something he might want your input on. My man is an alien.
"We are a place for weirdos of color, who want to express themselves and have something to say."
CELL VISION: It seems that you have built a community even outside of the artists that are physically involved with 1166, expanding to individuals that enjoy the space that you provide for entertainment purposes. Do you see 1166 as a safe space for people who may have found solace in the things that you provide and the general ethos of 1166?
1166: I think 1166 is a beacon of sorts. It draws a very particular type of artist to it. I came up in the Punk/Hardcore scene of the mid 90s out in Long Island. I remember playing shows with some of my closest friends. They weren’t just friends, they were also in my favorite bands. Playing VFWs and basements with guys that would go on to be in Taking Back Sunday, Glassjaw, Vision Of Disorder, At The Drive In, The Bouncing Souls, and many others is truly what endeared so many to the punk/hardcore ethos and community. When I met BLKZEN and heard his ideas for 1166 some 3 years ago, I got flashbacks to those days. I feel 1166 is the modern day version of that—although the genres are different, that DIY spirit is at the heart of this movement. I think Marvin Van Buren captured that in his documentary on 1166. We are a place for weirdos of color, who want to express themselves and have something to say.
CELL VISION: Right now we are in the new era of social distance. What types of re-imagining have you done at 1166 to adapt to this moment?
1166: Social media and technology have truly helped to keep the momentum going as far as the studio and the creation of music, photography and video content. I am actually answering these questions because BLKZEN, the founder of 1166, and my musical partner in Monsters On The Horizon is actually on the road traveling cross country until Election Day. He is shooting a docuseries on voting-age youth, and encouraging them to vote. The Uniting States Project is his and Noa Iimura’s way of making a difference in this year’s vital Presidential Election. If that’s not a re-imagining of what 1166 is to rise up and meet the moment I don’t know what is.
You can watch Marvin Van Buren's documentary "1166" and connect with Monsters On The Horizon and the 1166 collective via the links below.