Founder of Cremate London Junior Adesanya draws on the modern-day ritual of burning incense to encourage a moment of calm contemplation.

With a shared affinity for 70s surf and skate culture and a history of working together, read our Journal interview with Junior Adesanya below.

Hi Junior, hope you are well. Could you start by telling us a bit about Cremate?

Cremate is an incense/scent brand with its inspirations rooted in surf, skate, the hippie movement and more. I am the founder, creative lead, scent maker – all of it, really. A proper one-man band. Cremate was the by-product of an already existing interest in good smells and late-night web surfing. I’d always burned a lot of incense and sort of arrived at a point where I was so invested in incense as a part of my everyday that I thought it would be cool to produce some just for my space. This then got out to a few friends, friends of friends, and snowballed from there.

What is it about incense and scents that we, as humans, respond to?

Scent is the most primal of our senses. For a smell to get to the thalamus, the part of the brain that deals with all the sensory and motor signals, it first has to pass through the areas that deal with memory and emotion. Because of this, olfactory signals will tend to trigger some form of emotional and nostalgic response before anything else.

What’s the process for making your products?

I usually sit with an initial theme or feeling, maybe even an existing scent to riff off. I can work off of anything, no matter how obscure or literal. I then make various iterations relating back to the original idea and then develop the favourite. It can be a very intricate process and involves a lot of trial and error to get to something real good.

What’s your background?

I’m kind of a mixed bag. My background initially sat in fashion design and illustration; I’d been working for brands since I was around 15, and much later on dabbled in fashion PR and then creative strategy. I always liked being at more intimate spots because of the whole all-hands-on-deck vibe. At smaller businesses, you’re usually able to do a variety of tasks, and therefore you learn a lot more.

What other products do you offer?

Right now, alongside the incense, there is the room spray and some online exclusives like the hippy daisy incense burners, Clipper lighters and stress balls.

Explain the importance of ritual to you.

I feel ritual is pattern – developed behaviours. No matter how stagnant or chaotic the pattern medium, ritual is the pattern itself. Everyone and everything has a ritual, and therefore ritual is life.

You’ve done a collaboration with YMC, which is just coming out.

Yes. So, I actually used to work for YMC for just over two years. I worked as a sales assistant when I was still at uni. I really enjoyed it; big family vibes, so it’s nice to be doing this collaboration. It feels like everything has come back full circle.

What inspires you?

I always like to say I’m most inspired by the human condition. Thoughts, feelings, the ways of doing and being displayed by my fellow human beings. This is the stuff that gets me thinking the most.

YMC is 25 years old this year. And to help us celebrate, we’d love you to complete the phrase “You Must Create ….because if you don’t, then what are you really doing?”