Ian Mellencamp Proves Midwestern Boys Make the Cutest NYC Tranpslants

Ian Mellencamp is living the dream. The Ohio native DJs at some of New York’s coolest clubs, he has modeled for Tom Ford and Calvin Klein, and he just released his debut EP Free AF.

From Ian’s many jobs to the variety of influences that led to his latest creation, he’s all about balance. But in reality, he’s just like the rest of us (if not cooler with way better hair). He moved to NYC, he uses dating apps, and he swears that he’s shy.

We talked Free AF, working in the creative industry, and male models with Ian.

Photo Credit: Jesse Fox

Your music definitely sounds different from a lot of what’s out there, who are your influences?

It’s all over the place. I like rock n roll and house music and jazz and even a little classical. I listen to a lot of 70’s rock, I’m listening to a lot of hip-hop too right now actually. It kind of comes through subliminally. It’s not what the style is, but it’s there.

Do you play mostly house when you DJ?

Yeah, and hip hop.

What’s the biggest difference between DJing and performing?

You’re still trying to keep an eye on the crowd and keep everyone engaged and happy and excited, but when I’m performing it’s all original music and creating everything, singing and dancing, whereas DJing I’m solely focused on playing songs that have already been created to create an atmosphere and keep it going. Performing for me is more fun because it’s just a full body experience.

What’s your favorite NYC venue to play at?

Baby’s All Right is pretty dope. Mercury Lounge is pretty cool, I’ve played there a few times.

You have your hand in a ton of different creative industries. What’s the key to crossing over between multiple creative platforms?

I think it’s just having a creative mindset. Just thinking artistically and creatively, whatever you’re doing. It could be making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but just being in the moment and in the now. If that makes sense? Just trusting your soul and yourself. Just being in an artistic mindset.

Do you think it’s better for someone to get into the industry any way they can? Even if it’s initially not in the exact position they want to be in?

It depends on what the creative industry is, but yeah if it’s a creative outlet and someone recognizes you, don’t be totally closed off to it. People may see things that you’re blind to. If you get the opportunity to do something creatively on a regular basis, then it only adds to that part of your brain that creates.

What’s the biggest false stereotype about male models?

Umm… well some of them are true. But I’m not going to admit to any of those. I don’t know, you tell me, what are some of the stereotypes and I’ll tell you if they’re right or wrong?

I feel like a lot of people say male models are all looks and no brain.

I don’t think that’s true. They were all doing something before they were discovered. Especially male models don’t go into [modeling] thinking that’s what they’re going to do. So they’re already doing some other things or a profession. I haven’t really met anyone who from day one they knew they wanted to model. They all have hobbies and activities that they can speak very well about, whether it’s skateboarding or starting a new business. It’s also something that can numb you a little bit when you get on set and all you are is a canvas. I always like to be the painter, not the canvas, but it’s never bad to be involved with creative people.

I know what you mean, it can feel very objectified.

Yeah and if you do it for years and years and you’re not doing anything else than it does… it can numb you a little bit. At times. I’ve been lucky and determined to stay active in the other realms of my life, you know.

Do you find that men face similar body image issues that female models face?

Not as much as females, but they do to some extent. They’re aware of it, but they’re not quite as coached and scolded as females are. People don’t come down on them as hard if they’re a little off.

Where’s the best place to take someone on a first date in NYC?

Trick question… home. Can I say that? Or do you want a specific place? It depends on the person. I like to go dancing to see if they can let loose, like go to a club.

Have you ever used any dating apps?

But of course.

Which one do you like using the the best?

I don’t know if I can answer that. I use some very popular ones that are very common. If the magic happens, it happens. If you find me on there I’ll say hello and refer to my previous comment on where we’re going to go.

What do you think of apps like Bumble encouraging women to make the first move?

I’m all for it. I think the world is changing and we may have a female president, we’re trying to even out the power playing field. We’re not there yet, but I think it should be. Everyone should be motivated to go for what they want. I’m completely shy, so I appreciate someone who makes the move.

How long have you lived in NYC for?

Almost six years. It feels like home.

What’s the biggest giveaway that someone in NYC is a tourist?

I don’t know, where they hang out. The fanny packs are a giveaway. The group huddle over an iPhone trying to figure out directions on the subway, you see that a lot.

Why did you choose to type out your song titles in caps and lower case on your album?

I’m not trying to be a specific genre, I’m just trying to create whatever comes out and trying to create a new musical language so I feel like that kind of went hand and hand with trying not to particularly identify songs to the music with what style it is.

Do you think the music industry is too harsh trying to get artists to stick to one genre?

Normal people don’t react negatively. They’re cool with that, we all listen to different styles these days so we’re all pretty open minded. But when it comes to the business side and the record company side, they want to brand you a certain way as long as they can because you’re just a product to them. They want to keep you as what they invested in and consistent. That’s why I’ve gone independent with this release and that’s why the album is called Free AF because I had the freedom to do whatever I want. I listen to all these different genres and I don’t want to be that concerned with fitting into a genre. I’ve had that in the past where people have said “it’s gotta be poppier” or it’s gotta be this or that. I want to create and see what comes out.

I feel like the creative industry is never as creative as the actual artists are.

Exactly, yeah. They want to try to control it. You do have to work together, but it’s often dumbed down or takes the edge off what the artist is trying to say. But now the internet exists, so we can basically put out whatever we want.

Gimme More Dating

Do You Like?

Some things are only found on Facebook. Don't miss out.