Danish trio Giana Factory played a haunting and beautiful last show at Lille Vega on October 30th 2014.
The visuals were created by Obscura.
I’ve gotten lots of questions about my hairstyle over the years and thought I’d post some info for anyone who wants to get knots. Back in 2010, when I was young, naïve and scared, I spent a substantial amount of time on finding ANY relevant info about making dreadlocks and maintaining them. The net is full of myths and lies. I wanna save you guys the hassle and give you all the insider wisdom that dreadheads usually keep to themselves to appear more mysterious, (because usually that’s the only way we can make a living).
Step 1: Do you really want dreadlocks?
Dreads are great, but it is a fucking commitment and no one likes the kind of person who gets dreads, posts selfies everywhere, only to untangle them after a week. This is not ‘Nam! This is dreadlocks! There are rules!
Some things to be aware of:
- Random people may shout at you on the street that you’re stealing their heritage and corrupting their culture. As far as I know, lots of cultures had dreadlocks, including ancient Egyptians, Greek warriors, sikhs, sufis etc. etc. All cool people. Personally, I got my inspiration from the movie Predator, in which a giant alien with dreads systematically slays 80′s beefcakes.
- You will have to get used to the weekly “Hey Rasta!” by randoms, even though having dreads and being a Rastafarian are not the same thing. Also, be prepared that people will more than likely assume you’re REALLY passionate about smoking weed. I have never had any interest in drugs and haven’t touched a cigarette in my life, let alone a joint. Nevertheless, it comes with the territory. Just be polite about it when correcting people. Don’t be a dick. People with dreads aren’t dicks.
- Having dreads and piercings is sometimes not your strongest card if you wanna be taken seriously in a professional environment. We live in a colorful world, but some people and contexts aren’t as open to colorfulness. Please consider this seriously. I’m fortunate enough to work in a creative industry and being an artist pretty much allows me to look like a weirdo if I so desire. However, I’m also serious about my academic pursuits and there will be occasions where you need to make an effort to look neat and serious. So, it’s always been important to me to be able to tame my appearance for those occasions. If you manage to pull it off, having dreads and wearing a suit can be a killer combo.
- You may injure people while headbanging.
Step 2: Making knots
There are lots of ways to make dreads. Some nastier than others. I’ve personally never been a fan of letting your hair stay unwashed until it forms into bundles of dirt and sweat. Other people claim that using honey or wax will make dreadlocks. If you’re cool with having a sticky, smelly mess on your head, feel free. But this is how I did it:
- Make sure you have enough hair. Once dreaded, your hair will be approximately 1/3 of the original length.
- Get your tools. I used this dread kit, but this shit is expensive and if you wanna save money:
- Elastic bands: found pretty much anywhere.
- Dread comb: basically a metal comb, because regular plastic ones will break. Often found in a pet store!
- Locking accelerator: I have no idea where to find this, it’s some type of powder that makes your hair really dry so it will dread faster. Can be bought separately. You can also live without it. You’re pretty much only gonna use it in the beginning to speed up the locking process.
- Dread soap/shampoo: I used this stuff forever. It’s nice, but also really expensive. However, lately I found this: Sanex 0% shampoo. Basically, you wanna make sure that the products you wash your hair with don’t leave any residues, because stuff that gets stuck in your dreads is staying there forever. And it will eventually rot, and/or untangle the hair. Avoid conditioners. Avoid stuff with perfume.
- Crochet needle: You’ll use this to tidy up your locks after every time you shower. Find one with a thin tip and enough of a hook to gather hair. Mine looks something like this.
- Wash your hair thoroughly with your dread soap, spray it with the locking accelerator and let it dry. Basically, you wanna get your hair as dry as possible so it will lock together easily.
- Divide your hair into little squares all over your head, like a chessboard. The thickness of the square will be the thickness of your lock. Use elastic bands to keep the locks separate. I have about 50 individual locks.
- Dread! Pick a lock, Start at the root and brush your hair towards the root like you’re teasing the hair. This is called backcombing. Get it really nice and tight, don’t worry if it looks messy and pieces of hair are sticking out. Use your hand to take these hairs and bring them into the rest of the lock that needs to be dreaded. Then go over the whole thing again and again until you’ve kinda formed a cylindrical shape of solid hairknots. Then, move on to your next lock. Get comfortable, this will take a while. It took me a week to finish dreading my hair, but I did it myself and I wasn’t in a hurry. I also kept some locks untangled and made braids, just to see how long my hair would get if it wasn’t dreaded.
- Your dreads will probably not look like the solid dreadlocks you see on people who have had them for a while. Your new dreads will probably look extremely messy and kinda thin. Don’t worry about it. Over time, the hair gets matted and makes more solid, even shapes all by itself. Magic! Just make sure to take care of it.
Step 3: Maintenance
Dreads are actually surprisingly low-maintenance. I had dreads down to my hips and spent approximately an hour after each time I washed my hair to tidy up. The rest of the week, you’re ready to get outta bed and head to work without touching your hair.
I like having clean hair, and washing your dreadlocks actually helps keep them nice and neat, because dirt makes hair untangle. I use the previously mentioned shampoo to wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week. No conditioner.
Beware! One of the biggest downsides to having dreads is the time it takes for your hair to dry. Also, it will get REALLY heavy when wet. Long dreads are basically like having a thick wool coat hanging from your head. You’re likely to break your neck if you don’t take care. I’ve also consistently avoided pools and seawater, since I don’t like the idea of anything but clean water coming into contact with my hair. And since dreads get super heavy when wet, you may drown.
Don’t wrap your hair in a towel after you’ve washed it. Keeping your hair hot and humid for a long time is not smart if you wanna make sure it stays clean and smells fresh.
Most importantly: after every time you shower, spend time on tidying up your locks. You’re gonna need your crochet needle for this. Here’s how you do it:
- Take your dread. Observe that there are flyaways everywhere, most likely at the root, but also all over the length of the dread. What we wanna do is stuff these flyaways into the dread, so it will look nice and neat, and get a cylindrical shape.
- Take the flyaways around the root of the dread. Wrap them together in a little hairlock.
- Stick your crochet needle through the dread so the tip comes out on the side with the hairlock.
- Wrap your hairlock around the tip of the needle, and pull it through to the other side of the dread. Generally, putting holes in a dreadlock is not great, since more strands and loops will come out from there, so what I usually do is I stick the crochet needle vertically into the dread along its length, so the hairlock has plenty of space to be pulled into the inside of the dread, and won’t come out immediately on the other side.
- Repeat, until the hairlock is stuck inside the dread and looks neat. Go over the entire length of the dread and use this method to also fix loops and stuff.
Pro tip: If you really like cylindrical dreads without waves or loops or bumps, get some beads and pull those over the bumps. This will force the hair to stick together more in that area and get a neater shape. Sorta like braces. You can also use metal string or hairbands. I got some gold string to wrap around the loops and bumps.
Step 4: Removal
Yes, it is possible to remove dreads if you don’t want them anymore. The easy way is to cut them at the root. But with a lot of conditioner, patience and good movies, you can brush out the dreads pretty easily. So don’t worry.
Go forth and enjoy your awesome warrior mane!
*possible side-effects include obsession with yoga and smiling a lot more than usual