For his debut music video, “To The Moon,” Quinton Brock thought of every detail down to the well-worn sneakers on his feet. He didn’t just roll up on a bike as his Pixies-esque power chords rang out, but did so shirtless and in dark Levi’s — a nod to one of his idols Pharrell Williams from N.E.R.D.’s “Provider” clip. The rose he burns at the end of the song is a symbol of unrequited love, an image he hopes to work with as he develops his own merch line. And he didn’t lace up just any pair of kicks, but black Converse Chuck Taylors, which he considers to be the “original rock star shoe.”
“It’s all about those Converse sneakers,” he says when asked above his favorite pieces in his closet. “When I think of rock music, I think of Converse, the Ramones, Julian Casablancas — all these great artists. That’s why in ‘To the Moon,’ the very first time that you see me, I swing my leg over that bike and I flip my ankle out so you see that Converse logo. I really wanted to make sure that everyone knows that was the shoe that was chosen, that classic Black converse.”
Brock — an up-and-coming rocker who’s eyeing the release of his full-length debut in 2021 — has been preparing for, and dressing for, this moment his whole life. He has a keen eye, one he’s honed as a fashion-forward thinker who’s modeled for NY Mag and elsewhere, and seeks to imbue everything he creates with layers of meaning, from his music videos down to his merch. Born and raised in Buffalo, Brock credits his hometown, and its proximity to the U.S.-Canadian border, for his sartorial spark.
“We really get it in on the fashion tip, because everyone’s always coming up from New York and [down] from Toronto with all the different clothes,” he says. “While we’re not as early as New York, I’d get stuff six months, seven months after. It was a huge influence growing up, just watching the fashion shows and making my own brands. We’d always paint on our own t-shirts when we didn’t want to buy t-shirts and everything. It’s all a piece of it.”
They’d hit the thrift store, too, which is a regular destination Brock mines for inspiration. A fervent believer in the power of a high-low mix, Brock is less about the brands and more about meshing cheap and tagless finds — like the Levi’s 511 jeans he scored for $11, or his “Nickelodeon shirt,” a no-name blue, purple, and orange button-down — with Comme des Garçon tees, as he wears in the “To the Moon” video, or designer scores. He appreciates a hand-me-down Wrangler jean jacket as much as he does a beautifully tailored suit, and if he had the chance to play Madison Square Garden tomorrow, he’s work in a costume change or two to rock both looks.
“It doesn’t matter if it costs $3 or $3,000 — if it’s dope, it’s dope,” he says of honing his thrifting shops in his hometown. “The kids will hang around all the expensive stuff, but then if they see something, or they see somebody walk up, and they’re like, ‘You got that out the thrift? That’s hot.’ I found this Dior pullover at a thrift store for $13. It’s incredible.”
Buffalo’s hip-hop scene offered endless inspiration to Brock, who constantly turned to Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher — a.k.a. rap collective Griselda — for their streetwear and strong merch game. For him, a tee or sweatshirt copped at a show is more than a garment: it’s a chance to elevate your art to another medium instead of treating it as a wearable advertisement.
“The way [Westside Gunn] has taken on the merch game, the way he’s taken on the design, the fashion, his clothing, he’s created something that’s more popular than Supreme,” he says, “It’s culture; it’s a piece of that. That’s what I hope to inspire. I want to bring a piece of that hip-hop fashion culture to rock music, because rock music has never felt it before.”
Brock eventually made his way to Brooklyn, where he’s currently plotting and planning for the rollout of his debut album, the shows he’ll play to support it, and what will fill the merch table. Unsurprisingly, his notebooks are brimming with sketches and ideas, and he’s quick to gush about his friends and collaborators. The stunning yet simple silver necklace Brock wears in “To the Moon” is a KHIRY piece, and Brock is looking forward to teaming up with Jameel Mohammed, its creator, to craft his own jewelry. He approaches these projects with the same intensity he does his music: no production is complete without a compelling visual, and Brock wants every aspect of his live show to be as flawless and eye-catching as the fashion-forward pieces he’s dreaming up in the meantime. He’s gone so far as to create an Instagram filter that corresponds with the lighting design and visuals that play behind him during his set. As it was with “To the Moon,” every last detail counts.
“Aspects of my personality are shown through the music and the aesthetic value of what I bring, just who I am,” he says. “What you see is what you get with me. I got a literal chip tattooed on my shoulder. My next tattoo, I’m gonna get my heart on my sleeve. I just want to do everything I can in the best way.”