Billy and Mai. Two strong, beautiful individuals; people that make you feel at home, welcomed, and in the end… not wanting to leave, no goodbyes, please. While incredibly connected and obviously completely in love, they haven’t lost themselves, not one bit… something to admire in devoted, loving couples. They are both visionaries that undoubtedly know what they like. They, quite simply put, are good friends to their eyes… they know them well, and have given them proper exercise to excel in their creative endeavors. Mai’s collection of vintage rock tees had me salivating open-mouthed on the floor until I got smacked out of the trance… Billy’s bike Priscilla gave me the urge to at least learn about bikes… nonetheless buy one impulsively just so I could stare and smile. They just moved to San Francisco from New York, and I must say, I am happy to have them here.
…A snippet into their love, their story… how they met… and where they are going next…
How long have the two of you been together?
5 1/2 years.
Billy… Do you remember the first thing you thought when you met Mai?
When I first met Mai, I thought, “Man, this girl’s out of my league.” We were at a mutual friend’s birthday party in the Lower East Side back in New York. We struck up conversation and she was so sweet, and the connection was so good, that I just up and left. Thought there was no way anything was going to happen, she was out of my league.
Mai… describe Billy in one sentence…
Billy is kind, smart, driven, silly, patient… my best friend.
Your favorite weekend plan includes this….
(Billy) Jump in the car with the girls, and just drive. Get somewhere we’ve never been before, stay in a sketchy roadside motel. If we could get a side-car for the bike to put Louise in, then it’d truly be a dream weekend plan.
(Mai) Same! We’ve taken a few road trips to find secret ghost towns, and it’s something we love to do together. Any sort of exploration when we can truly be partners in crime, is us at our best… San Francisco is just the next adventure.
…. You both just moved here from New York. Why? How are you feeling about this transition?
(Billy) So far so good. San Francisco and the bay area are gorgeous and the people have been really great. We moved out here so I could take a job at WIRED as their Creative Director. It’s truly a dream job, as WIRED is such an incredible brand.
(Mai) Billy was offered an amazing opportunity to become the Creative Director for WIRED. It couldn’t be a better fit for him, so there was no question that we had to go. For me, it’s a chance to discover a new city and lifestyle. So far, the bay area has welcomed us with open arms, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I left a big part of my heart in New York.
What do you a.) miss most about New York… and b.) love most about California so far?
(Billy) NEW YORK: a) Playing music daily with BROTHERS; b) Having beers at Skinny Dennis or Lady Jays; c) Riding motorcycles with my New York buds.
CALIFORNIA: a) Creating a new home with Ms. Fujiwara; b) Seeing how much Louise loves this weather; c) WIRED. Dream job.
(Mai) New York has an energy unlike anywhere else I’ve been in the world. The buzz and grit of the city are so inspiring to me. California is gorgeous and the quality of life here is unreal. I’m fortunate enough to be working between both cities, so I’m able to get the best of both worlds!
Billy, tell me about your band “BROTHERS”. When did you start playing? Instrument of choice? Best venue thus far? Hopes for the band in the future?
BROTHERS is my outlaw country band. We were originally based in Brooklyn for the last five years, but now we’re bi-coastal as me and our bass player live here in California. We’re about to release our second record BROTHERS: VOLUME 2. I write most of our songs, sing and play guitar. My favorite venue we’ve played has either been Irving Plaza or Bowery Ballroom, but I’d say my two most consistently favorite venues are Skinny Dennis and Mercury Lounge. Always an incredible time. I’m really excited right now for BROTHERS in 2014. We’ll be releasing our sophomore record, heading out to SXSW, playing a handful of East Coast dates, then a summer West Coast tour!
When did your love affair with motorcycles begin? Favorite bike?
(Billy) I’ve loved motorcycles since I was a kid. My dad rode growing up. I’ve got a ton of favorite bikes, but right now it’s a tie between my buddy Jeffrey Schad’s custom High Lil’ Pony, a 1969 Triumph Tiger, and Pricilla, my Harley 48.
When did you first meet Priscilla? The name… how did she acquire it?
(Billy) I first met her at the Harley dealer, wish I had a better story, but I knew I wanted that bike from the first time I laid eyes on her. The name honors Mr. Presley’s beautiful wife.
(Mai) Billy had talked about getting a bike since the first day I met him. I remember being at work (consulting for a tattoo shop at the time) and seeing this total stud pull up and park in front of my shop. When he took off his helmet and I realized it was him, I think I just about fainted. I always say it’s the best gift he’s ever gotten me!
Mai, you work as a fashion stylist… tell me some of your favorite jobs so far and what you love/hate most about your job…
I fell into styling after years of work in visual merchandising, retail design, and small business consulting. I really enjoy my work… no complaints! I love that every project/client is new; it keeps my job interesting and challenging. I’m constantly learning, and have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing photographers. As far as favorite jobs go, I recently did a still life shoot for Vogue where I got to create cosmetic display compositions based on famous works of art. That was a fun day! Every job I’ve done for Courtshop denim ranks high on my list… great brand, great product, great people.
Your dream catchers are incredible, special… and completely one of a kind. When did you make the first one? How long does each one take? Can we purchase them somewhere?
I wanted to make something unique for my closest friends for the holidays a few years ago. After that, I couldn’t stop! Each piece is made with a specific person in mind, which makes them that much more fun to produce, and the end product that much more special. They can take anywhere from 6-10 hours each. I have an Etsy shop, where I am currently taking custom orders only.
Mai, if you were to live in one outfit for a few months… what would it be?
Courtshop high waist skinny jeans, a vintage tee, black ankle boots. Schott motorcycle jacket in SF, vintage fur when I’m in NY… It’s pretty much what I live in now. I love all of my dresses, but recently I’m all for function over fashion.
Mai…Your collection of vintage band tees is unreal. How long have you been hoarding all these gems (errhhmmm)?
To me, there’s nothing better than the perfectly worn in t-shirt. I’ve been collecting them since I was in high school, so it’s been a slow and steady build. It’s all about patience, and I’m constantly on the hunt… eBay and Etsy are how I unwind.
Tell me about this tiger rug here…
(Mai) I worked for Betsey Johnson for many years; as a Sales Girl in college and eventually as her Visual and Brand Experience Manager. One of the last projects I did was redesign the flagship store in Soho, which for 20 years prior was still furnished with Betsey’s personal collection of antiques. During construction, this rug was put out on the curb, but only until I could snag it! I was told it is a vintage Versace. Billy loves this rug more than anything else I own. I’m pretty sure it’s the reason he first wanted to move in with me!
Billy… what do you admire most about Mai? If you were to give her one word… what would it be?
Limitless. The girl can seriously do anything. She’s amazing.
So far… what are your favorite finds and go-to spots in San Francisco? Escapes?
(Mai) We haven’t been here long enough to do very much (less than 2 months!), but just returned from a week in Big Sur for New Years. Between the beaches, the redwoods, the hot tubs at Esalen… It was truly unforgettable.
Photos: Ashley Jordan Gordon