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Behind The Scenes

Billy Bartels’s Four Favorite Seattle Bands

“The Tractor is my favorite venue, and it happens to be right in my neighborhood. I’ve seen some of my favorite bands and favorite shows here—it’s a Seattle stronghold.” A Wisconsin native, Billy Bartels moved to Seattle when he was 27 after a few deceptive trips out there a friend. “I visited a few times when it was perfect weather,” he laughs. “Everyone goes crazy on sunny days—it goes from 10 people on the sidewalk to 30.” Despite the notoriously rainy city’s biggest drawback, Billy, who has since launched an impressively wearable line of men’s jewelry Vim Beget, says he’s got nothing but love for his locale. One of the reasons? The music: Though it’s a far cry from the nineties grunge scene that put the city on the map, there are some really stellar, under-the-radar bands that call Seattle home. These are Billy’s favorites. —anthonia akitunde Charles Leo Gebhardt IV: “Charles Leo Gebhardt IV is a good friend and a talented person—honest lyrics and great pop melodies. He’s on a label named GGNZLA with a lot of other very talented people.” THEESatisfaction: “They sit right on the edge of funky soul and hip hop—a very positive energy and lyrics coming from two very cool girls.” Craft Spells: “Some good dark, dance-y stuff—this is the kind of stuff I listen to while working. They’re not your average Seattle sound. I’m pretty proud of how eclectic the music scene in Seattle has become, and this is a good example.” Smooth Sailing: “Gotta love a little heavy music. This is metal in its finest form, in my humble opinion of course. Their live show is not to be messed with.” Get your hands on the rockin’ edition Billy made for us: a faded-out, made-by-hand chain bracelet.
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A Guys’ Guide to Jewelry From Billy Bartels

Though there are more and more jewelry options out there for men these days—rope bracelets, signet rings, and pendant necklaces among them—the abundance doesn’t necessarily make the actual owning and wearing any easier. But, with his metal-and-leather line Vim Beget, Billy Bartels is aiming to make all this a little less scary. “I’m trying to offer something a little more soft-spoken—to not be so heavy-handed in its aesthetic so guys are not intimidated to wear it,” he explains. If you need a little more nudging, let Billy’s five rules guide you. —anthonia akitunde Now’s your chance to get the chain bracelet Billy made just for us. Get to it. Billy does a ring. 1) Keep it simple. “Don’t wear too much. Try to keep it to just a couple pieces. Unless you’re Steven Tyler, then by all means…” 2) Keep it appropriate to the occasion. “Just like you wouldn’t show up to work in your weekend gear, that thick rope chain has its place—and that’s usually as part of a Run DMC Halloween costume.” Billy does a bracelet. 3) Keep it proportional “The biggest thing that annoys me is just gaudy, large jewelry. Make sure it’s of an appropriate proportion.” Billy does a necklace. 4) Keep out of your girlfriend’s jewelry box. “Don’t wear your girlfriend’s jewelry—even if it fits. Buy something that’s made for a male. You’re a different size and different gender—embrace that.” 5) Keep it on “Get comfortable with it. If that means wearing it to bed, then do it. It’s nice to wear a piece and forget that it’s even there. Then you’re wearing the piece and not the other way around.”
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