Issue 99 - Grimes

Page 1

Grimes Crack Magazine | Issue 99


Skepta Jorja Smith Diplo Jungle Pusha-T

Bonobo dj Octavian Death Grips Modeselektor live Earl Sweatshirt The Black Madonna Denis Sulta

George FitzGerald

Mall Grab Actress Channel Tres Erol Alkan HÆLOS

Seth Troxler

Alfie Templeman

Charlotte Adigéry Fall Forward

Femi Kuti

Jvck James

LEON VYNEHALL

The Mauskovic Dance Band

Mella Dee

Roosevelt

Sinkane

live

JPEGMAFIA

Marie Davidson

Methyl Ethel

Tiga

HAAi

Kojey Radical

Rachel Chinouriri

Skee Mask

Eclair Fifi

Grainger

John Talabot

Kelly Lee Owens

Nocturnal Sunshine Pip Blom

Celeste

DJ Seinfeld

FLOHIO

Lost Souls of Saturn

Mahalia

Todd Terje

Boy Azooga

Courtesy

Homeshake Jessica Winter

Julia Holter

Deerhunter

live

MorMor

Red Axes

and more TBA

7 – 8 J U N E M E R I D IAN WATE R LO N DO N N1 8 FI E LD DAYFESTIVALS .CO M





FLOATING POINTS

“As intimate, beautiful and romantic as you would hope for” DJ Mag “Epic, eclectic selection. Strap in and enjoy the whole journey” Electronic Sound Magazine “Gorgeous mix of ambient electronics, modal jazz, primitive soul and other edifying obscurities” Uncut “A lovingly curated lesson in 1970s spirituality and the contemporary avant-garde” Crack

VINYL / CD / DIGITAL Out Now


Skepta Jorja Smith Diplo Jungle Pusha-T

Bonobo dj Octavian Death Grips Modeselektor live Earl Sweatshirt The Black Madonna Denis Sulta

George FitzGerald

Mall Grab Actress Channel Tres Erol Alkan HÆLOS

Seth Troxler

Alfie Templeman

Charlotte Adigéry Fall Forward

Femi Kuti

Jvck James

LEON VYNEHALL

The Mauskovic Dance Band

Mella Dee

Roosevelt

Sinkane

live

JPEGMAFIA

Marie Davidson

Methyl Ethel

Tiga

HAAi

Kojey Radical

Rachel Chinouriri

Skee Mask

Eclair Fifi

Grainger

John Talabot

Kelly Lee Owens

Nocturnal Sunshine Pip Blom

Celeste

DJ Seinfeld

FLOHIO

Lost Souls of Saturn

Mahalia

Todd Terje

Boy Azooga

Courtesy

Homeshake Jessica Winter

Julia Holter

Deerhunter

live

MorMor

Red Axes

and more TBA

7 – 8 J U N E M E R I D IAN WATE R LO N DO N N1 8 FI E LD DAYFESTIVALS .CO M




Sat 13 Apr Boiler Room x Total Refreshment Centre with Seed Ensemble, Kwake Bass, Rozi Plain, Oscar Jerome + more Sat 27 Apr Apparat +KÁRYYN Sun 28 Apr Saloli Sun 12 May Manana//Cuba x Jazz re:freshed with Yussef Dayes, Space Afrika, Seiji, Hammadi Valdes (Ariwo) + more Mon 8 Jul Jónsi & Alex Somers: Riceboy Sleeps with the London Contemporary Orchestra Sat 28 Sep Max Cooper: Yearning for the Infinite

Space Afrika © Jonangelo Molinari

Upcoming highlights ...



Tue 14 May, Royal Festival Hall

Actress x Stockhausen Sin {x} II The British electronic artist and his AI project, Young Paint, reimagine Stockhausen’s opera on the meaning of love, Welt-Parlament #SCGIGS

B R U TA L LY G O O D M U S I C


Join us for the last dance at Fort Punta Christo. 28 August—01 September

04—08 September

Opening Concert, 28 August

Opening Concert, 04 September

Andy C Loyle Carner Shy FX pres: Cult.ure Gentleman’s Dub Club Mala & The Outlook Orchestra (rhythm section) Flohio

Anderson .Paak Hunee Objekt (live) Tony Allen & Jeff Mills (live) Main Festival, 29 August—01 September

Andrew Weatherall Awesome Tapes From Africa Blawan Call Super Craig Richards & Nicolas Lutz dBridge DJ Bone (electro set) DJ Stingray DVS1 Eris Drew Gilles Peterson & Mr. Scruff (all night long) Helena Hauff Hessle Audio – Ben UFO, Pangaea & Pearson Sound Hunee Jane Fitz Jayda G Jeff Mills (DJ) Josey Rebelle Joy Orbison Larry Heard a.k.a. Mr. Fingers (live) Mala Nina Kraviz Objekt (DJ) Octave One (live) Omar-S Paula Temple Peggy Gou Sadar Bahar Shanti Celeste Skee Mask Vladimir Ivkovic Zip & many more dimensionsfestival.com

Main Festival, 05—08 September

Alix Perez Bugzy Malone Calibre Channel One Chase & Status – RTRN II Jungle DJ Set Children of Zeus D Double E dBridge DJ Zinc Flava D Ghetts Goldie (live) Holy Goof Hybrid Minds Jimothy Lacoste Kabaka Pyramid Lenzman Loefah LTJ Bukem Mala Mefjus & Maksim MC Mungo’s Hifi My Nu Leng & Dread MC Oneman President T Randall Shy FX Sister Nancy & Legal Shot Sound Skeptical The Bug The Heatwave Tommy Cash Unknown T & many more Photo of the Moat by Dan Medhurst.

outlookfestival.com






CROSSTOWW N CONCERTS

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P R E S E N T S

SUNDAY 21 A P R I L 2019

EartH

)

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EVOLUTIONARY ARTS HACKNEY

SUPPORT FROM

JOYERO (ANDY STACK FROM WYE OAK)

LONDON

BY ARRANGMENT WITH ASGARD

FILTHY FRIENDS

MONDAY 24 JUNE

EartH

(EVOLUTIONARY ARTS HACKNEY)

LONDON

PERFORMING SOLO NO SUPPORT

WEDNESDAY 17 APRIL 2019

HOXTON BAR&KITCHEN

JOANTHOLOGY

LONDON

OUT MAY 24 (PIAS)

BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CAA

BY ARRANGEMENT WITH ITB

ETON ALIVE UK TOUR 2019 SPECIAL GUESTS

FRIDAY 19 APRIL

DREAMLAND

MARGATE SATURDAY 20 APRIL

THURSDAY 25 JULY 2019

ELECTRIC BALLROOM LONDON

FRIDAY 31 MAY 2019

THE GARAGE

DE LA WARR PAVILION

LONDON

BEXHILL

THE NEW ALBUM ETON ALIVE OUT NOW

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BY ARRANGEMENT WITH GROUND CONTROL TOURING

IN ASSOCIATION WITH ATC LIVE (★ A CO-PRODUCTION WITH AEG LIVE)

B Y A R R A N G E M E N T W I T H X - R AY

The Triumphant Return of

The Triumphant Return of

Gomez UK TOUR 2019

SUNDAY 12 MAY

O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN LONDON

ALBIONROOMS.COM

The World’s Number One Entertainers WEDNESDAY 21 AUGUST 2019

EVENTIM APOLLO HAMMERSMITH

EELSTHEBAND.COM BY ARRANGEMENT WITH ITB

BY ARRANGEMENT WITH PRIMARY TALENT INTERNATIONAL

MONDAY 29 APRIL 2019

EartH

(EVOLUTIONARY ARTS HACKNEY) LONDON

CELEBRATING THE REISSUE OF LIQUID SKIN

SUNDAY 21 JULY 2019

O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE LONDON

THE NEW ALBUM

THE SECRET OF LETTING GO OUT 26 APRIL 2019

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T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E F R O M

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le e ds > june 1st 2019 le e ds > june 1st 2019

nina nina kraviz kraviz

24 hours in the city 24 hours in the city

motor motor cit cit yy drum drum ensemble ensemble nightmares nightmares on on wax wax (( dd jj ss ee tt ))

(live) afrodeutsche afrodeutsche >> ben ben ufo ufo >> carl carl finlow finlow ( l i v e ) (live) craig r ichards > dan shake > dj bor ing craig r ichards > dan shake > dj bor ing ( l i v e ) dj seinfeld > dj stingray > josey rebelle dj seinfeld > dj stingray > josey rebelle (live) jj uju uju & & jordash jordash ( l i v e ) >> kelly kelly le le e e owens owens ( l i v e ) > leifur james ( l i v e ) kosh kosh ( l i v e ) > leifur james ( l i v e ) (live) mor mor eli eli an an >> moxie moxie >> oc oc tave tave one one ( l i v e ) orpheu orpheu the the wizard wizard >> ralph ralph lawson lawson ( d j s e t ) > shanti celeste ross from fr iends ross from fr iends ( d j s e t ) > shanti celeste tr tr istan istan da da cunha cunha >> the the ghost ghost >> willow willow a-future > algorave > bobby > but ter side up djs > dave be er > dimensions soundsystem a-future > algorave > bobby ter&side up djs> >clandestino dave be er >> dimensions soundsystem alex t > brudenell groove djs>>but baba ganoush cole proc ter > damu alex t > brudenell > baba & ganoush > clandestino > cole proc ter > damu downtown sciencegroove > elliotdjs holt > efenar > e qualiser > galaxi ans > grainger > ge orge har tshorn downtown science > elliot holt > efenar > e qualiser > galaxi ans > grainger > ge har hatfield brothers > imogen > jesse stone > kag katumba > kepler > keroua c > krorge y wald & tshorn farrer hatfield brothers > imogen > jesse stone > kag katumba > kepler > keroua c > kr y wald & farrer kudan > lost colours nightsha des > lijero > lindenbaum modular > mar iiin > mat t long kudangre > lost colours nightsha des > >lijero > mar iiin > mat long mike enwell > mezla & rowland natali>alindenbaum > nikol b2b modular cosm > passpor t to parat dise mike gre enwell mezla & rowland > natali a > nikol b2b cosm passpor t to para dise pleasure conne c>tion > rubik > reuben > serene > stevie cox > >sara gar vey > sonny pl pleasure c tion pro > rubik serene&>lova stevie sara gar vey > sonny pl tam tam >conne the native je c t >> reuben unco > >wollfer c > cox yak >> yaxu tam tam > the native pro je c t > unco > wollfer & lova c > yak > yaxu

events hosted by events hosted by resident advisor > blue dot > dimensions > flux > percolate > 20/20 vision resident advisor > blue dot > dimensions > flux > percolate > 20/20 vision brudenell groove > brotherhood > cosmic slop > love dose > kmah radio brudenell groove > brotherhood > cosmic slop > love dose > kmah radio mass > pre t t y pre t t y good > transmission funk > truelove mass > pre t t y pre t t y good > transmission funk > truelove

music, talks, technology & workshops music, talks, technology & workshops curated by ralph lawson curated by ralph lawson

1 day 1 day 1 ticket ticket 11 1venues 11 venues innercit yele c tronic.com innercit yele c tronic.com


7t 13 s e Au gust, Budap

foo fighters

ed sheeran

twenty one pilots

the 1975

florence + the machine

the national

post malone martin garrix

Richard ashcroft Franz Ferdinand james blake years & years Tove lo Catfish and the Bottlemen mura masa kodaline chvrches johnny marr jungle tom odell the blaze razorlight big thief son lux Richie Hawtin CLOSEr honne maribou state david august JAIN idles Yeasayer Yellow Days broken social scene parcels superorganism pale waves Tove Styrke boy pablo masego iamddb Protoje & The Indiggnation Xavier Rudd coheed and cambria frank turner & the sleeping souls alma gang of youths frank carter & the rattlesnakes w&w vini vici carnage jax jones live sigala yungblud of mice and men wanda Elderbrook sonny fodera polo & pan khruangbin anna of the north Roosevelt black mountain Hucci Fakear grace carter tamino Valeras Welshly Arms ocean alley burak yeter and many more...



023 Crack Magazine is a free and independent platform for contemporary culture Published and distributed monthly by Crack Industries Ltd. For any distribution enquiries please contact distribution@crackmagazine.net

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O N H C E T BU T STARGATE DJ STINGRAY

GGS

J

U

AN DU RAN

RP BOO

E

OUNOU DANIEL HI

A HU N X LIA

BAMB

MICA LEVI (DJ)

Y CAT ZZ R B O A A R R B N I E I I

A T N O O D E L D B A T R E S N D O N A U R E I LA

KELM

/ / 5-6-7 07 2019 *In collaborazione con il Festival di Villa Arconati – FAR


Grimes

025

Contents

São Paulo’s nightlife collectives 42

52

crackmagazine.net

32

Ezra Collective:

Kiki Hitomi: 58

Editor's Letter – p.27

Recommended – p.28

My Life as a Mixtape: Murlo – p.73 Dear Frankie – p.96

Reviews – p.88

20 Questions: Doja Cat – p.97

Rising: LYZZA – p.31 Retrospective: Moby – p.93 A Love Letter To: MySpace – p.98

CONTENTS

Virgen María 64



Crack Magazine Was Made Using

We’re getting old. As we send our 99th issue to print, nostalgia is creeping up on us. And this month, there’s a special resonance to all this looking back. In the magazine’s early years, Grimes appeared on the cover of our 19th issue. It was a pivotal point for Claire Boucher, landing as the release of 2012 breakthrough album Visions pushed the underground artist into the spotlight.

Dave Psycho Roddy Ricch Down Below Philip Budny Somnambulism Selena Dreaming of You Janet Jackson Velvet Rope Moomin Time Circle Kedr Livanskiy Kiska Ata Kak Obaa Sima Efdemin At The Stranger’s House Big Bully, DJ Sprinkles Low Point On High Ground Scott Walker It’s Raining Today Ms Nina Tu Sicaria Tierra Whack Only Child Octo Octa I Need You Solange Stay Flo IVVVO PUNK Carla dal Forno So Much Better

As we check in again ahead of her latest record, the circumstances we find her in are remarkably different. Post-Visions, she’s built an audacious legacy in weirdo pop. In the past year, a surreal series of events have dragged her even further into the public eye. Amidst all this chaos, Grimes might be longing for a simpler time, but her fierce artistic world has never made room for nostalgia. As she views it, there’s no turning back now. In our cover story she’s captured powering forward – and summoning the fantastical in true Grimes fashion in an epic shoot by Charlotte Rutherford – in a role that’s been written for her.

027

April 2019

crackmagazine.net

Issue 99

Sometimes, you have to work with what you’ve got and hope people stick with you along the way. We’d like to think our 99th issue is typical of our journey so far: featuring artists trying to collapse boundaries and create something sincere, in whatever way they can. And, as ever, we’re thankful you’re still here with us.

Grimes shot exclusively for Crack Magazine by Charlotte Rutherford in Los Angeles, March 2019

EDITORIAL

Anna Tehabsim, Editor


028

Recommended

James Blake Eventim Apollo 17 April

O ur g ui d e to wh at's goi n g on i n y ou r c i ty Junction 2 Umfang b2b Volvox, DJ Stingray, Ricardo Villalobos Boston Manor Park 7-8 June Looking to get a weekend of summer raving booked in with the crew? Junction 2 festival is making its two-day debut this year, with a colossal line-up running from midday til 10pm across five stages. Crack Magazine recommendations include Peach, Objekt, DJ Stingray, Batu, re:ni and b2b sets from Umfang and Volvox as well as Call Super and Shanti Celeste. Suggest this one in the group chat.

Dave O2 Academy Brixton 2 May Crack 100 Exhibition Htown Gallery 10-11 May In May, Crack Magazine will have printed 100 issues. We don’t usually need a reason to party, but this feat calls for us to pull out all the stops. So we’re hosting a free Crack Magazine exhibition at Shoreditch’s Htown Gallery, showcasing some of our favourite images printed across these pages over the years. Open from 10am to 6pm, here you’ll be able to buy exclusive Crack 100 merch. Roll through if you think we look cute.

Pabllo Vittar Heaven 30 April

Love Saves The Day Orpheu The Wizard, Little Simz, slowthai Eastville Park, Bristol 25-26 May Powder Corsica Studios 18 April

Tirzah Scala 23 April After the long-awaited arrival of her debut album Devotion in 2018, East London singer Tirzah cemented herself as a visionary of leftof-centre pop. With the help of childhood friend and collaborator Mica Levi on production, Tirzah navigates love, accountability and forgiveness over lo-fi, wonky beats. Taking their low-key attitude out on the road, Tirzah and her live band – made up of Levi and Coby Sey – are landing at Scala for a show that will be nothing short of spellbinding.

Daughters The Dome 20 April

Love Saves The Day is touching down in Bristol’s Eastville Park once more. Its eighth edition, 2019 is bringing a typically stacked line-up of big hitters and emerging acts alike. R&B-pop queens Lily Allen, IAMDDB and Ray Blk head up the main stage, while the Crack Magazine stage brings you a dose of this year’s freshest talent with electric appearances from slowthai, Little Simz, Flohio and Ross From Friends. Elsewhere, you can get lost in the rave with Midland, Peggy Gou, Palms Trax and more. Thirsty for big festival vibes smack in the middle of the city? This is it.

In 2010, Rhode Island noisemakers Daughters officially broke up, citing internal conflict. Then they came back in 2018, harder and more menacing than ever, with fourth studio album You Won’t Get What You Want. The quartet’s musical style has always been ambiguous to say the least. A dizzying concoction of post-hardcore, angular techno, art rock and black noise, Daughters know how to make a bold statement. Don’t miss seeing it for yourself.

Courtesy Corsica Studios 12 April

EVENTS

Clark Royal Albert Hall 1 May

These New Puritans The Dome 17 April

Yazz Ahmed XOYO 3 May


029 Midori Takada + Lafawndah Barbican Centre 7 April

Perc Village Underground 6 April UNUM Craig Richards, Zip, Sonja Moonear Shengjin, Albania 31 May-2 June

Awesome Tapes From Africa XOYO 19 April

Albania – a country rich in history and natural beauty – is in flux. The Albanian Riviera is Europe’s newest festival destination, hosting its first international festival last year. Now, UNUM is kicking off their first edition with a 24-hour schedule promising beachside raving and parties in the pine forest of Shengjin, set against the scenic backdrop of the Alps and a charming coastal town to explore. Alongside a long list of respected underground selectors, you’ll find Ricardo Villalobos, Craig Richards, Raresh, Margaret Dygas and Sonja Moonear on the bill. Move over, Croatia.

Ho99o9 The Garage 29 April

GZA O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire 19 April

Ex:Re Union Chapel 5 April EXIT Skepta, Jeff Mills, The Cure Novi Sad, Serbia 4-7 July

The Ghost All Night Long The Pickle Factory 12 April DJ duo The Ghost are the masterminds behind Berlin’s first record shop on wheels. Made up of Josh Tweek and James Creed, the pair have combined their electronic music expertise to bring diggers the best of underground house and techno from the back of a vintage Mercedes. Now, they’re bringing treats from the van to an all-nighter at Hackney’s beloved Pickle Factory. You won’t want to skip this.

Spread across the medieval Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, EXIT has been attracting punters from across the globe to Serbia for almost two decades. With epic stage production, navigate the picturesque fortress to discover international and underground acts alongside big names like The Cure, Carl Cox, Skepta, Jeff Mills, IAMDDB, Desiigner and more. This is one for the adventurous festival-goer. Test Pressing Lust for Youth, Moon Duo, Ancient Methods Various Venues, Hackney 27 April

Roy Ayers Union Chapel 12 April

Following a successfully sweaty inaugural year in Tottenham, Test Pressing festival is returning with an onslaught of psych rock, synth-pop and electronic experimentation that runs from 2pm to 6am in Hackney Wick. Highlights on the line-up include emotive Danish group Lust For Youth, uncompromising techno project Ancient Methods and the mighty Bo Ningen – but half the fun will be having your mind blown by the hungry new acts lower down on the bill.

Robyn Alexandra Palace 13 April When Robyn announced her long-awaited comeback to music after eight years, the world practically spun off its axis. The Swedish singer, songwriter and producer has been releasing beaming, slightly left-of-centre pop songs since the mid-90s, and 2018 saw her return with eighth studio album Honey. A sparkling, headstrong collection of love songs, break up songs and everything in between, Robyn has cemented herself as one of the greatest pop songwriters of our generation – but we all already knew that. Run, don’t walk, to her desperately-awaited tour, and get ready to cry in the club.

Rival Consoles Electric Brixton 25 April Rival Consoles, the project of London-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Lee West, inhabits a cosmic space. Known for creating wistful, otherworldly atmospheres, the Erased Tapes recruit views digital sounds through an analog lens. 2018 album Persona saw this vision crystallise, and West’s shows have a similar way of showing us beauty in bleakness. That’s something we can all use right now.

Move D Phonox 6 April

Romare XOYO 5 April

IDLES Electric Ballroom 6 April

EVENTS

Weyes Blood Islington Assembly Hall 25 April



031

Rising: LYZZA

Words: Niloufar Haidari Photography: Nikola Lamburov

“When I was 16 I was lying about my age,” Lyzza confesses, “telling promoters that I’m scared of flying so they’d book me a bus and I didn't have to send them my passport.” Three years later, the orange-haired, Brazilian-born producer has played Amsterdam’s De School on New Year’s Day, released two EPs and has recently moved to London, fuelled by a desire to be surrounded by like-minded artists her own age. “In Amsterdam I felt like the black sheep, production-

wise,” she says of her sound, which feels more at home on Rinse FM than Red Light Radio. “I didn't really feel like I had people I could sit down with and just jam. I want to be around people my age that make music.” With a list of accomplishments this big, it’s easy to forget the rising DJ, producer and vocalist is only 19. Last year’s release, Imposter, is five tracks of quiet emotion wrapped in anxious melodies. It veers between twinkling, melodic pop and club-ready industrial

bass. “I like to play music that feels really good on ecstasy,” she laughs. “As a DJ, I definitely feel like I’m more of a selector, but when I produce it's really me expressing myself and I hope that people are able to relate to it on a deeper level.” Essentially, Lyzza wants to make music without limitation or classification, and is inspired by artists who have managed to cultivate personas so iconic and radical that they transcend all boundaries and cataloguing. She cites Björk as an example. “I like the fact that she's been able to have her own vision and expand that further than just her music – anything she does, that's just Björk,” she muses. “Arca, SOPHIE… even Marilyn Manson. He's cultivated such an image where you can't really pinpoint who this person is, and you can't really compare them to anyone else either. Those are the people that really inspire me.” Aside from her upcoming festival appearances, Lyzza has a remix EP in the works and is also busy with her third solo EP, which she hopes to release later this year. “I’ve slowly been cultivating a team of people around me who have great ideas in the creative direction,” she says of her current projects and new life in London. “I feel very blessed. If you work hard and put good energy out into the world those things will eventually come back to you. If they don't, just work harder. You’ll get there.” Lyzza appears at Crack Magazine’s Crack100 stage at Lente Kabinet, Amsterdam, 25 May

Sounds Like: Neneh Cherry meets Fade To Mind Soundtrack For: Crying in the club File Next To: Lafawndah, Kelela

Where to Find Her: @lyzzalefteye

MUSIC

Our Favourite Song: Get What U Got


Grimes is ready to play the villain

MUSIC

After watching her reputation implode, Grimes leaned into destruction. For her latest album, she brings us the end of the world


033 MUSIC

Vivienne Westwood corset: Pechuga Vintage Green dress: Collina Strada Brass choker: Josh Wallace Jewellery


034 MUSIC

Butterfly top: Maroske Peech Dyed shorts: Collina Strada Boned lingerie: Aleksandra Kolanko Jewellery: Vintage


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Words: Kevin EG Perry Photography: Charlotte Rutherford Photographer’s Assistants: Morgan Kranston, Christopher Joseph Production: LMC Worldwide Production Design: Kaycee Tarricone PD assistant: Travis Fischer 3D Artist: Metapoint.xyz Styling: Jessica Worrell Makeup: Anthony Nguyen Hair: Chanel Croker

Boucher has had a lot to reckon with. She’s been better known as Grimes since she started making music under that name in 2007, but in the past 12 months the power to define her creation seems to her to have slipped from her grasp. “Without me doing anything, just by random association with other people, I’ve watched my career and my reputation get totally fucking smashed,” she says. “I worked my whole fucking life for this and now everyone thinks I’m so stupid. I was just sitting there incredulous watching my life’s work go down the drain.” It was in May last year, a couple of months after she turned 30, that Boucher and her boyfriend decided to make their relationship public by appearing together at the Met Gala in New York. This decision was complicated by the fact that her boyfriend is Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX who, depending on your perspective, is either humanity’s last hope to colonise Mars and save the species or a unionbusting, megalomaniacal James Bond villain in waiting. They made a striking pair: him in a white blazer and an inverted notched priest collar, her in a

Musk-designed white marbled high-cut corset paired with a metal collar which looked, as online commentators were quick to point out, not entirely unlike the Tesla logo. Some Grimes fans weren’t sure what to make of Boucher’s newly-public relationship. She had first emerged from the Montreal warehouse scene as a fiercely independent artist, putting out a pair of hypnotic electronic albums in 2010 on DIY label Arbutus Records: Geidi Primes, a concept album about Frank Herbert’s fantasy novel Dune, and Halfaxa. Her mainstream breakthrough came with third record Visions in 2012, which was met with such critical acclaim that two years later Pitchfork named Visions track Oblivion as the best song of the decade so far. Genre-bending 2015 follow-up Art Angels proved, according to this magazine, that it’s “okay to like what you like, even if you’re a Dolly Parton fan who’s into J-pop and medieval Mongolia.” Alongside her artistic output, Boucher has consistently proved herself unafraid to speak out on the political issues that are important to her. In 2016, in the face of a Trump presidency, she recreated a 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson advert in support of Hillary Clinton, stating that in the coming election: “The stakes are too high for you to stay home.” The following year, after President Trump announced a travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries, she tweeted that she would match donations up to $10,000 for the Council on American-Islam Relations. Last year she joined protesters in British Columbia against Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

It was in this context that Boucher and Musk’s relationship was swiftly and mercilessly dissected in the press. Many publications were quick to link Musk to Boucher’s decision to remove the phrase “anti-imperialist” from her Twitter bio. In an article headlined ‘The Trouble with Elon Musk and Grimes’, the New Yorker painted their pairing as nothing less than the final collapse of indie culture. “What if ideological distinctions still mattered and were not so easily swept away by a levelling torrent of information and capital?” asked staff writer Naomi Fry. “What if anything still meant something?” Boucher, it’s fair to say, does not agree with this characterisation. “Seriously, fuck the New Yorker,” she says, growing agitated. She stops fiddling with the pale pink scrunchie around her right wrist and makes unwavering eye contact. “Fuck the New York Times. Fuck Vice. You guys think you have journalistic integrity? What the fuck? Now I can’t read the Guardian because they’ve written things about me which are completely false. We really do live in a post-truth society. I know it sounds right-wing of me, but the majority of things that have been written about me in the past year were not true.” In this case the truth, according to Boucher, is that she’d removed the phrase on a whim long before even meeting Musk. “I change my Twitter bio every week,” she says. “I took ‘anti-imperialist’ out literally three or four months before I met Elon. I changed it from ‘anti-imperialist’ to ‘baby wolverine’. That means I love colonialism now? Seriously, what the fuck?”

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Five days before her 31st birthday, Claire Boucher is sat on a pink suede banquette in the Terrace Room of the Sunset Tower Hotel facing out towards a glistening swimming pool. Beyond it is the humdrum brilliance of another sun-bleached day in Los Angeles. If she looks like she’s just rolled out of bed it’s because she has. She’s decided to postpone her birthday celebrations until summer, but whether you acknowledge them or not, birthdays have a special way of making you reflect on the year just gone.


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“If I’m stuck being a villain, I want to pursue villainy artistically. If there’s nothing left to lose, that’s actually a really fun idea to me... Everyone loves the villain. Everyone fucking loves Thanos. Let’s make some Thanos art.” MUSIC


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Dress: Discount Universe Platforms: JF London Jewellery: Vintage


039 While some Grimes fans saw these statements as evidence of Musk’s nefarious influence turning Boucher towards greed, avarice and unfettered capitalism, she argues that in truth her politics could never be easily defined. “I didn’t realise everyone thought I was such a by-the-books socialist,” she says. “My politics are literally insane. I’ll probably go down for it in the end.” When I ask her what she means by “literally insane,” she elaborates: “My Instagram bio was: ‘I pledge allegiance to the robot overlords’ for, like, two years. I thought people understood that I ultimately probably believe in an AI dictatorship. I mean, I don’t think humanity is going to survive anyway. We’re fucked. I think AI is the natural evolution. It’s just like we killed the fucking Neanderthals, and now they’re going to kill us. I don’t think democracy really works. These are the kinds of things I think. I actually, for the short term, am a bit of a socialist, but not economically. I’m into free markets. What can I say? I think capitalism can solve some things.” As 2018 wore on, things got progressively weirder. On 7 August, Elon Musk tweeted that he was taking Tesla private at a share price of $420. Azealia Banks, who said she was at Musk’s home waiting to collaborate with Boucher at the time, would later claim that Musk was high when he sent the tweet, and that he’d come up with the figure $420 because Boucher had recently taught him the significance of the number 420 in weed culture.

Over the next month, Banks posted a string of text messages supposedly sent by Boucher on her Instagram story. The screenshots portrayed sexually explicit details and accused “the Russians” of wanting to kill Musk. The whole surreal mess is now the subject of a class action lawsuit by Tesla investors so it’s understandable that Boucher doesn’t want to comment directly, but it’s hard not to assume she has the alleged texts in mind when she tells me: “There have been quotes ascribed to me that I did not say. I can’t go into detail, but I didn’t type that. I’ve never seen that. That’s not me. It sucks when you want to do good in the world and you’re forced to do bad in the world because people are putting things in your mouth that are negative and shitty.” It’s a difficult realisation for anyone who finds themselves in the public eye that they’re no longer in control of their own narrative. But it seems like a particularly cruel irony for Boucher after she worked so hard for so long to make sure she had complete artistic control over every aspect of Grimes. She self-produced every song on every Grimes album, drew her own artwork and directed her own videos, creating a distinct aesthetic universe that may have been influenced by Japanese manga and gothic dystopias but became something all of her own. She has never relied on anybody else. “For most artists if you’re not cool for 20 minutes then you can’t get in a room with a good producer and your career is fucking over,” she says. “I never want to be in that situation. I want to be in a situation like I am now where my reputation is at an all-time low and I can still make sick-ass fucking music because I don’t rely on anybody.” If her reputation is truly, as she believes, “at an all-time low” then where does she go from here? The answer, to Boucher, is simple. “If I’m stuck being a villain, I want to pursue villainy artistically,” she says. “If there’s nothing left to lose, that’s actually a really fun idea to me. I think it has freed me artistically. The best part of the movie is the Joker. Everyone loves the villain. Everyone fucking loves Thanos. Let’s make some Thanos art.” All of which goes some way to explain why the next Grimes album will be, in Boucher’s words, “an evil album about how great climate change is.”

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With their relationship out in the open, Boucher found herself being asked by fans on social media to defend Musk’s business practices. In May she tweeted that reports Musk had prevented his workers unionising were “fake news”. She later deleted that post, and in July wrote that she had “literally tried to instigate union vote so y’all wud lay off”. A couple of days earlier, she had argued that Musk’s donations to the Republican party were simply “the price of doing business in America” for an aerospace company. She added that Musk “donates way more money, like absurdly more, to environmental causes.” When this became a news story in its own right, she clarified: “there is no world in which i’m ok w republican donations.. was just trying to explain wut happened.”


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Corset Dress, Brass Bra: Elena Velez Tights: Collina Strada Rhine stoned claw: Wesley Berryman Headpiece, Jewellery: Vintage

“I think AI is the natural evolution”

The record will be called Miss Anthropocene, named after a character that Boucher has created for herself to portray. Miss Anthropocene is climate change brought to life as an anthropomorphic supervillain. Her name, which casts her as a beauty queen, is a pun on ‘misanthrope’ and ‘anthropocene’, which is a proposed scientific name for the geological epoch we’re currently living through – the time period during which human activity has become the dominant influence on climate and the environment. “The way I figure it is that climate change sucks and no one wants to read about it because the only time you hear about it is when you’re getting guilted,” explains Boucher. “I wanted to make climate change fun. Miss Anthropocene has got a Voldemort kind of vibe. She’s naked all the time and she’s made out of ivory and oil. It’s going to be super tight.” The album itself is, as yet, unfinished. It may not even be her next release. “I just made a bunch of music this month and I’ll probably drop that as an EP first, honestly,” she admits. “Just so I can clear my mind to then go back and finish the goddamn album.” Her most recent single, K-pop-meetsnu-metal banger We Appreciate Power, will probably be on the record. The song would fit thematically, because it deals with the possibility that an AI dictatorship might be vindictive and she wants “every song to be about a

different way the world could end.” The only thing holding her back from confirming it’ll be on the record is that she shares production credits on the track with frequent collaborator Hana and producer and guitarist Chris Greatti. “I’ve never had any other producers on my records,” she says. “But I should probably just let that go.” Before meeting Boucher I’d been sent three other new tracks which may or may not appear on either the new record or the EP, each wildly different from the last in style and composition. The first is So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth, a slow-moving, chaotic tune made using the Google NSynth that will appeal to fans of her second record, Halfaxa. The second, Shall I Compare Thee, sounds like it’s been lifted from an anime soundtrack and is one of the more recent tracks that Boucher says she made in “like two hours” and could end up on the EP. The last, My Name Is Dark, is an overwhelming nu-metal monster in the lineage of Kill V. Maim and Medieval Warfare, which also serves to introduce another new character for Boucher to play with. “Dark is going to be my main alter ego,” she says. “It’s visually the best thing I’ve ever come up with. Everyone is very tired of me making metal and screamo and stuff, so that can just be Dark.” Not for the first time, I find myself disagreeing with Boucher’s perceived critics. Where has she got the idea that “everyone” is very tired of her making metal and screamo?

“People are always like, ‘When are you going to make another…’” Which people? “On Twitter. Fans. Honestly, my parents. I came out making beautiful, ethereal, chill synth music and I do still really like that, I just don’t like being pigeonholed so I had to react against it for a minute. Now I’m back to it. I honestly think Shall I Compare Thee is kind of Visions-y.” She pauses to take a sip of her coffee, and it occurs to me that the more I listen to Boucher the more I realise she is talking to me above a background roar that only she can hear. The deafening cacophony of voices on the internet pulling apart every aspect of her music, her politics and her relationship is always there whether she engages with it or not. She tells me she quit social media for six months, and now uses it only sparingly, “because there’s just no point in knowing. It’s like in high school when I had major problems. People have always hated me.” She is turning 31 now, a long way from high school, and she has learned how to take in hate and convert it like fuel into defiant power. “That’s why I’m making this pro-climate change album,” she says. “I’ll just be a villain now, and that’s cool. I’ll find a way to make that useful to society.” Miss Anthropocene is coming soon via 4AD


Ana Giselle


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Words: Biju Belinky Additional Reporting: Ariana Paoletti / Volvox Club Photography: Marcelo Oliveira Studio Photography: Guilherme Licurgo

In the city's club spaces, communities kick back at their political landscape

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São Paulo’s nightlife collectives are building a home for themselves


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“The scene in São Paulo is a universe of its own. A playful space with incredible, talented people, and a huge amount of diversity.”

I must have been barely 15 when I first walked into a gay club in my hometown, São Paulo. I remember it distinctly – my hair short, half-dyed blue, eyeliner beyond my years, a leather collar I bought at a pet shop, holding a vague notion of my queerness and fake ID in hand. The building used to be a church in the 1950s, turned theatre, abandoned, and then into a nightclub. It was called Glória, meaning glory, or praise. Above the door, painted purple, the old church adage was still there: “A space of prayer for all peoples”. A deep breath and I took a step into the unknown.

Amanda Mussi

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Glória might be shut down now – likely demolished, I haven’t been there in years – but other buildings rise, spaces are created, and for parts of the LGBTQ+ community, nightclubs remain the closest space they have to a place of worship. Worship not in the God-fearing way that often insidiously controls many aspects of Brazilian society, but in the way of shelter. Nightclubs are where we go to feel safe, to sweat and enjoy being alive, to flirt in times of despair. Places to start a revolution. Unfortunately, much like many of their counterparts worldwide, the LGBTQ+ spaces of São Paulo aren't without their own issues. They are, in many ways, reflections of Brazil as a whole: a country where unparalleled creativity and diversity are forced to exist

alongside structural and violent sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism and classism. Despite hosting one of the largest pride parades in the world, Brazil holds the highest rate of violence against LGBTQ+ people, with one of us announced dead every 19 hours. The perpetrators vary (from police to middle-class teenagers) and so do the victims, but trans women and those from marginalised communities who come from low-income backgrounds remain those most affected by daily aggressions and institutionalised prejudice. This violence has become even more obvious as of 2018, following the election of Jair Bolsonaro as president, a man famous for saying he’d rather have “a dead son than a gay son”, his government flanked by conservative Christians and the military. During his election period, a trans woman was murdered in the centre of São Paulo, the perpetrators allegedly screaming the name of the current president. There have been ties established between his family and those responsible for the death of activist Marielle Franco, and homophobic threats have driven Brazil’s second openly gay member of Congress, Jean Wyllys, to flee the country in fear of his life.


Laura Diaz


046 But even amidst all this violence, LGBTQ+ Brazilians are not unfamiliar to resistance. As such, over the past few years, several performers in the São Paulo scene have been working hard to eradicate institutional intolerance, both within club spaces and outside. They are DJs, drag queens, singers, dancers and multidisciplinary artists, fighting fearlessly for the right to expression. They are angry, chests naked and covered in glitter, claws out, refusing to stand down in a political landscape that promises to become more oppressive every day. Standing at the epicentre of this revolution in the São Paulo scene is Mamba Negra, a party founded by DJ Cashu (Carol Schutzer) and Teto Preto’s Laura Diaz back in May of 2013, after both women became fed up with the financial and social inaccessibility of mainstream clubs.

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“The expansion of almost all cities in Brazil is characterised by a lack of urban planning and public policies that take people into account,” explains Cashu on the decision to host Mamba Negra in dilapidated spaces throughout the city. “Because of that, there were many buildings left completely empty, either neglected by the government or abandoned because the owners were in debt. Open wounds in areas left forgotten, which needed to be exposed and discussed. When

we hosted parties in these spaces, we exposed them [for the first time] to many people who were attending – as a way to question them, but also party in grief.” Mamba, as it’s affectionately referred to by those who take part in it, is not only the initial meeting place for many in this new wave of Brazilian creators but also the one common thread that has been tying the scene together for the past few years. It's a live organism, thrumming, expanding. “The scene in São Paulo is a universe of its own. A playful space with incredible, talented people, and a huge amount of diversity. Because we are Brazilian and Latin American there is a lot of care and a sense of family,” explains Amanda Mussi, a BrazilianParaguayan DJ who runs the monthly techno party Dûsk, a present-day staple for the queer community of São Paulo. “The artistic expression here is unique. I feel like our lack of privilege as a colonised country makes our decision to express ourselves artistically one that is made with a lot of effort and courage. We have had, and still have, very little financial access to have infrastructure, but we always make it happen.” “Outside [of Brazil],” Amanda explains, “[performers] often have access to everything from the beginning, from equipment to studio spaces.

First world countries have a socioeconomic landscape that offers a huge amount of privilege to create a scene that is professional and organised government-wise. I believe that both not having privilege and being overlyprivileged affects your reality. It affects whether or not you are aware of your surroundings. The harder or easier you have it [as a creative], the more genuine or bland the results of your art are.” An icon of the scene’s signature defiance is Teto Preto. Part of Mamba Negra’s ingenious family tree, they are a music and performance art group intrinsically woven with politics that pointedly defies any kind of definition, fronted by Laura Diaz, who goes by the name CARNEOSSO (a portmanteau of flesh and bone). When she writes, it’s poetry. On stage, her body language,


“Women – black women, lesbian and bi women, trans women – rarely have a singular moment in which they choose: I will be an artist,” she explains when asked what led her to the stage. “Everyday women tell themselves and the world what they want to be. [My experiences] are part of what makes me an artist, it is in these moments that I reaffirmed my need to conquer the right to become who I want to be.” Artistically, Teto Preto tackles many issues pertinent to young Brazilians. Like abortion, still illegal in the country. Domestic violence. The statesanctioned brutality inflicted upon those in marginalised communities – especially trans women, lesbian women, black women, poor women. Teto also refuses to make the questions tackled by the work of the new wave of Brazilian artists soft and easily digestible for American and European audiences –

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something often encouraged by largescale event promoters. A key participant of the scene also at the helm of these issues is Misael Franco (also known as Euvira), a multidisciplinary performer, party organiser and drag queen originally from the outskirts of Salvador, Bahia, but now living in São Paulo. He's the founder and one of the driving forces behind Coletividade NÁMÍBIÀ, an electronic music and visual art collective. Coletividade is currently comprised of over 40 black, majority LGBTQ+ artists. Their focus is on fighting racism, homophobia and classism within the techno scene through reclaiming space, empowering young creatives and contesting the whitewashing of a genre rooted in black culture. Getting his start in the São Paulo electronic scene as a van driver back in 2016, bringing party-goers to the centre of the city while fully glammed up, Misael quickly began questioning the absence of black people in these spaces of celebration. “I asked

Carol Schutzer

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combined with that of performer Loïc Koutana, is close to the construction of her words: an artistry that is instinctual, animalistic, but simultaneously deeply considered and emotionally savvy.


Misael Franco


One of the members of Coletividade NÁMÍBIÀ is Ana Giselle, who runs the party and art project MARSHA!, focused around uplifting the oftensilenced voices of trans people in the São Paulo party scene. After getting her start as a DJ in Bahia’s club circuit back in 2014, Ana also established TRANSFREE, a structural inclusion policy now adopted by locations country-wide, which offers trans people free access to events, gigs and festivals. “Around 2015 I coined the term ‘TRANSÄLIEN’. It was born out of the displacement of my existence, as an individual who is trans, monster-like

and ‘strange’ – shunned categories in which I fit in, am proud of and seek to resignify,” explains Ana. “I shift the social concepts imposed over my body and translate them into art. It was the way I found to live my subjectiveness, and that is where I come from when I establish spaces where people who are ‘different’, like me, can have a place.” Ultimately, standing behind all these artists at the forefront of the São Paulo scene is one collective idea: that LGBTQ+ parties should be spaces not only of celebration, but also political awareness and support. That safety in these spaces means safety for everyone, not just white, cis, middleclass gay men. And they’re willing to fight for that safety with all it takes. “Politics are made everywhere,” explains Ana Giselle, referring to the inclusion of politics in party spaces. “To me, it is the ethical duty of dissident bodies to use their voices, be they artistic or not. Starting debates through cultural production is a political strategy. As I am a political body, I take my discussions and perspectives wherever I am.” Coletividade NÁMÍBIÀ’s Misael also echoes Ana Giselle’s sentiment and adds that, as a black gay man from

the north east of the country, the Bolsonaro government only means more of the same oppression. The resistance will continue as usual, the spaces created continuing to blossom in the face of adversity. “I believe that there are many ways to protest – there are people who write, there are people who perform, there are people who are so saddened by the state of things that they get sick,” he continues, “and there are people who throw parties and create spaces that are not only entertaining, but social.” “Black people will be in those spaces, speak about things they experience collectively and become stronger. Trans people, queer people, people from the outskirts will find themselves and do the same. Because there are more people like them,” he explains. “We like partying. That’s why it’s important to see parties as ways to discuss politics. Yes, we meet to celebrate, to have fun. But it is also a space of sharing. A space of resistance. A space of exchanging love. A space to heal yourself. To be alive.” @coletividade.namibia @mamba.n

Misael Franco

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promoters why there weren’t any black people in the spotlight. Where were the artists, the DJs? They would say ‘I don’t know any.’ So I gathered the artists I knew and researched those I didn’t know who could be a part of these parties. That’s how Coletividade NÁMÍBIÀ was born.” Today, Misael has played a role in discussing the whitewashing of not only national parties, but also international festivals such as Dekmantel, who came under fire this year for the absence of Latin American artists in their Amsterdambased line-up, despite hosting a series of festivals across South America in the past two years.

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“It’s important to see parties as ways to discuss politics. Yes, we meet to celebrate, to have fun. But also it is a space of sharing. A space of resistance. A space of exchanging love. A space to heal yourself. To be alive”



Produced exclusively for Crack Magazine by Harry Butt - @butt_studio


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Young Masters

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Confronted with bleakness, London jazz crew Ezra Collective choose joy


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“We're constantly being taught to be negative. So we decided to write an album purely about joy, to go against the grain and focus on the positives that might bring us together”

One place could be with Quincy Jones. Femi and his bandmates played the iconic producer’s birthday party in Montreux last year, at the behest of the man himself. Sharing a line-up with US heavyweights like Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Robert Glasper, Femi was unfazed. “That party was a madness,” he says in his North London drawl, laughing mischievously. “But this is happening more and more. There's a feeling of being really honoured to be somewhere but at the same time knowing that we deserve to be there, that we weren't intruding.” “Maybe a jazz band doesn't have to look like five guys in suits playing in an elite club. Maybe it can look like a bunch of black and white guys in tracksuits, jumping around in KOKO. It’s all about those contrasts.” Femi Koleoso, drummer and bandleader of Ezra Collective, sits across from me dressed all in black, sipping on a fruit-flavoured cider as he muses on his genre’s evolution.

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It's late afternoon on Valentine’s Day and he hunches down to text on his phone as I ask each question, bursting back to life and gesturing animatedly with each response. For perhaps the most exciting band to come out of the nascent London jazz scene in recent years, I’m sure there are other, more exciting places Femi could be right now.

At only 24 years old, Femi speaks with squared shoulders and the confidence that an an old master like Jones would respect. Ezra Collective’s fans would agree. After self-releasing their debut Chapter 7 EP in 2016, followed by the Juan Pablo the Philosopher EP the following year, the band sold out KOKO in 2018 – no mean feat for an unsigned group playing a genre largely deemed unfashionable for young audiences as recently as a few years ago – and are now set to release their debut album, You Can’t Steal My Joy. Femi’s younger brother TJ plays bass in Ezra Collective, and the Koleosos met the other members through the grassroots jazz workshop Tomorrow’s Warriors as young teens. Each member is becoming increasingly renowned

in their own right. While Femi is Jorja Smith’s longtime drummer (“she’s like my little sister – everything she does inspires me”), both trumpeter Dylan Jones and saxophonist James Mollison regularly play for keys player Joe Armon-Jones’ solo project, while Mollison also occasionally plays in Puma Blue’s band. Surely these knotty schedules can create friction in the group? “We’re brothers,” Femi says – not just referring to him and TJ . “When we’re on stage as a family, that magical energy that we have between each other, that's something you can't steal away from us. No matter how many other projects we have going on, we’ll always find time for each other, to roll into a space and to make music.” Armon-Jones adds that “having both Ezra Collective and my solo project to write music for means I never feel like I'm being constrained creatively; I never feel like there is a clash musically – the two sounds draw from different influences.” And this varying music is a beguiling blend of Soulquarian-era Erykah Badu grooves, George Duke funk-work, and the spiritual jazz freneticism of Sun Ra and Kamasi Washington. “Whether we're referencing Afrobeat or garage,” Femi says, “the underpinning principle is music that has been birthed out of the great black American artform, jazz.”


055 Words: Ammar Kalia Photography: Cian Oba-Smith

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TJ Koleoso


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“Whether we're referencing Afrobeat or garage, the underpinning principle is music that has been birthed out of the great black American artform, jazz”

In keeping with the politicised history of the jazz tradition, You Can’t Steal My Joy isn’t just an exercise in energetic and dextrous playing, it's a statement on our times. As TJ says, “it got to me last year when I was on Twitter and I realised that we're constantly being taught to be negative, no one seemed to have any hope. So, we decided to write an album purely about joy, to go against the grain and focus on the positives that might bring us together. We even made a song about being broke – how many people do that?” This single Quest for Coin encapsulates the Ezra Collective sound: an infectious shuffling rhythm from the Koleosos, an urgent, plosive horn-arrangement channelling the likes of Fela Kuti, all underpinned by Armon-Jones’ chiming keys. Femi pauses when I ask him what it is that steals their optimism and he continues, earnestly leaning forward. “As a young person, Brexit felt like a stealing of our joy. I want to go around Europe and play this music, and then immigration processes in America make it so difficult for us to play too. You have tuition fees that are £9000 per year which makes it so much harder for

us to study, rising rent prices make it so hard to survive in London. It feels like they've stolen our ability to live in comfort and peace but they can't steal our ability to create joy.” Armon-Jones agrees: “we each make the best music when we’re joyful and even more so when we're joyful and together.” The record is a joyous listening experience, from the easy-rolling rapping of Loyle Carner on What Am I to Do? to the club-focused cover of Fela Kuti’s Shakara featuring London Afrobeat collective and fellow Tomorrow’s Warriors members KOKOROKO, and Jorja Smith’s unmistakable, tender delivery on Reason In Disguise. “We don’t pay for a feature,” Femi says proudly. “These people are our family, they show us love and that’s why they kill it on the record.” Ezra Collective’s success – as well the range of musicians in their network – reflects the diverse stories being told in the UK’s contemporary music scene, and they’re not shy to credit their humble jazz workshop beginnings. “Arts Council-funded youth clubs have birthed some of the greatest

albums and songs ever to come out of the UK,” Femi says, almost knocking over his cider as he gestures out of his seat. “It’s something that needs to be championed. I'm so sick and tired of the youth culture in the UK being solely about grime because that’s not everyone’s reality. Not all of us have to articulate our struggles through rapping or singing, you can do it in other ways.” With open-spirited jazz music as their chosen medium, Ezra Collective’s message is reaching a bigger audience, and there’s an international touring schedule built around the promotion of You Can’t Steal My Joy. So where will they go from there? Mostly silent throughout the interview, patiently listening, saxophonist James Mollison speaks up. “All the future holds is that we will stay together as a band and stay together as best friends. All the positive vibrations will follow.” You Can’t Steal My Joy is due 26 April via Enter the Jungle

Femi Koleoso


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DRAMATIC DUB

Words: Cameron Cook Photography: Yannick Schuette Styling: Simon Winkelmueller Styling Assistant: Carmen Wolfschluckner Hair and Makeup: Eva Dieckhoff Photographers Assistant: Dean Cocozza

Kiki Hitomi’s dreamy productions are informed by the spirits of her childhood


Dress: Wendy Jim (archive)


“I featured a lot of Japanese enka on my debut album. I just wanted to express myself, purely free.”


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IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ASAHI SUPER DRY

Coat: Lala Berlin Shirt and Trousers: Ganni Shoes: Axel Arigato

It makes perfect sense, and not only because Hitomi, 46, grew up in one of the golden eras of Japanese TV. Her music, which brashly mixes everything from reggae to bashment, 8-bit, J-pop and trip-hop, pulls from a deep well of the kind of dramatic melancholy that is personified in classic anime. “In the late 70s and early 80s, a lot of anime had that anti-hero vibe,” she continues, explaining the link between her childhood television consumption and her current affinity for moody, heartfelt music. “I love the old Devilman series. The theme songs were always in a minor chord. I got really into minor chords and sad, passionate ballads. Drama.” While the through line from watching anime in her living room as a kid to her first solo album, 2013’s blanketof-bass Karma No Kusari, is clear, it took Hitomi a long time to establish herself as a singer. Making her mark as a graphic designer with a degree from London’s Goldsmiths University, she spent her 20s creating psychedout, iconographic designs and logos for legendary skate companies like Etnies. She had been considering pursuing music for a while, and the penny dropped when she first heard Damian Marley’s 2005 song There for You, which married reggae and enka, a type of Japanese folk music popular in the 1950s. While still in London, she swiftly founded experimental dubstep duo Dokkebi Q with producer Goh “Gorgonn” Nakada, and was recruited

into King Midas Sound, a dark trip-hop trio founded by ultra-prolific producer Kevin “The Bug” Martin and featuring poet and performer Roger Robinson. By the time she was ready to write and record Karma, she felt the urge to focus on a project that would be entirely hers. “The theme of King Midas Sound was heartbreak,” Hitomi says, talking about her decision to quit King Midas Sound. “The particular type of singing that Kevin likes was very fragile. When I would go for more punky stuff he'd be like ‘no!’,” she says, laughing. So she called on her heritage of dramatic balladry to record something unique: a mix of island music, enka, experimental dub and pop. “You know, like Ghostface Killah samples all those tracks from old Japanese samurai shows like Shogun, and those theme songs were also a barrage of enka,” she says. “I featured a lot of enka on my debut album. I just wanted to express myself, purely free.” Yellow Story, a standout track from Karma, tells the story of Hitomi’s experiences as an East Asian immigrant in London through dark and twisted reggae, like a cloud of static obscuring tropical sunshine. “The city was getting so gentrified, and everyday life was a hustle for me,” she states. Hitomi has since relocated to the German city of Leipzig (via a stint in Berlin), where she lives with her partner, Jan Gleichmar, who runs her current label, Jahtari, and their daughter. “The lyrics and the themes of that album just became about me stressing in London, experiencing racism. I would pop out of the house for five minutes and hear ‘Hey, Ms Chin!’ and stuff like that. Now I live in Leipzig, it's so amazing. I have a nice flat, I can make music, I've got my daughter and I've got nothing to complain about.” But with her newfound happiness came an unanticipated set-back: a mean case of writer’s block. “All of my emotions normally fit into my lyrics. So now I have been in the position

where I can think about other people, finally! I started writing about politics, but in a soft and abstract way.” A brand new project, a duo with Japanvia-Berlin producer DJ Scotch Egg called WaqWaq Kingdom, was born from this frustration. “I started writing about environmental issues as well. I have a daughter now and I'm terrified. Why can't humans and nature coexist? I don't want to preach, but I want to encourage people to change, through the music.” At a recent show in Leipzig, WaqWaq Kingdom performed in giant, flowing neon robes while images of traditional Japanese dance was projected behind them. Their music, which is heavily influenced by a genre of folk called minyo, uses almost tribal percussion to create a trance-like aura. This cultural exchange makes Hitomi a natural fit for Unfold, a series of parties curated by Asahi Super Dry and Crack Magazine celebrating innovative strands in underground Japanese electronics. “I heard a Japanese DJ mix minyo and

bashment together, and it was so amazing. DJ Scotch Egg is really into African music as well, and WaqWaq Kingdom became a melting pot of Afrobeat, UK bass and Japanese minyo. And I sing a lot in Japanese this time.” While we’re talking, Hitomi shows me the brand new WaqWaq cassette, adorned with tiny monsters she created and designed herself, not unlike the heroes of her childhood animes. But even now, on the eve of a new release, she’s nowhere close to taking a break. “Normally I always had a collaborator, or a producer I work with, but I've just started making music from scratch, so I'm struggling,” she says, laughing. “But I've got another what, 40 years, still! I don't want to get bored! If I can make music, and I can sing, I won't get bored until I die.” Kiki Hitomi performs as part of Crack Magazine and Asahi Super Dry's Unfold series, along with Kahn & Neek and L U C Y, at Arnolfini Bristol, 11 May

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“No way, you know Cutie Honey?” Kiki Hitomi exclaims, as we’re huddled around a small table in the kitchen of a Berlin apartment, makeup artists and stylists scurrying about, putting together looks for today’s shoot. “Have you heard of Dororo Enma Kun? It’s about this boy who was the son of Satan, I don’t think it was ever exported…” Within seconds of meeting each other, Kiki and I have discovered a mutual adoration of Japanese animated television series from the 70s and 80s, which of course, being born in Minoh (a suburb of Osaka), she experienced in real time.


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IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ASAHI SUPER DRY

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Dress: Lee Mathews via matchesfashion.com Earrings: Julia Seemann



Virgen María Words: Anna Tehabsim Photography: Carlota Guerrero Photo assistant: Fran Rios Reaction photos: Cristina Stolhe

The day of her birthday in 2017, María Forqué decided to take a naked stroll through Madrid. “I had never done it before,” Forqué says. But the adventure only lasted five minutes. “Because some people started shouting at me aggressively, like, 'Bitch!’ So I had to stop.” Walking the streets of your hometown naked might be a unusual way to treat yourself, but Forqué doesn’t see it that way. By now, the musician and artist is used to public nudity, which has a deeper meaning in her work. In her time as a visual artist in New York, Forqué played with constructions of femininity and sexuality as a ‘living installation’ at galleries: suspended from the ceiling in Japanese ‘Shibari’ bondage rope; pouring fake blood over herself, often wearing nothing but heels. Now reincarnated as Virgen María, she performs her high-intensity sound, a mix of holistic hardcore and ASMR she refers to as electronic dance meditation, perched on top of decks, covered by little more than a long cascade of hair. It’s certainly grabbing people’s attention. A$AP Rocky flew her out to DJ at New York fashion week, she’s performed at MoMA, sold out her show at Barcelona’s Razzmatazz, and even walked the runway for Vetements.

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But for Forqué, public nudity is more than a provocative stunt. “Society dictates that being naked is bad, that you should be ashamed of your body,” she explains. “I suffered a lot

when I was a teenager – I had eating disorders, I was very judged because of my body. So one day I decided to take my clothes off and express myself. This is my body, there's nothing sinful about it. It's powerful.” As Virgen María, Forqué’s body is a temple – and it’s also God. Inspired by the Virgin Mary, the project is heady blend of music, sex and spirituality. She claims to be 1,000 years old, and her tracks borrow from both rave sensibilities and meditation techniques to carry her message: she wants to ‘bless your sex’, or “blex” you. “For me Virgin Mary is a symbol of life, because she's like the mother of God. Sex is what creates life. There is nothing closer to God than that.” This idea is taken to futuristic extremes in her visual world. On Instagram she’s a divine sexbot-meets-wellness guru, either working out (yoga and pole dancing), channelling some holy light, or contorting into impossible configurations like a digital art deity. One image features an extra breast superimposed on the middle of her chest, with all three nipples censored to comply with Instagram’s infamous guidelines. It's likely a pointed move: Forqué herself has been stung by the platform’s controversial rules before, having had her page deleted numerous times. “When an app like Instagram bans you, it feels like you are a criminal and you have done nothing wrong,” she says. Forqué’s work could be seen

as a clapback to the increasingly draconian landscape of online censorship in 2019, as the internet becomes a battleground for sexual freedoms. Tumblr recently banned all explicit content from its site; the US’s Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act continues to target consensual sex workers by clamping down on their online communities; and soon in the UK you’ll even need ID to watch porn – age checks are to be introduced on pornographic websites as part of the Digital Economy Act. Sex-positive activists and sex workers are often at the sharp end of these changes, their voices buried deeper in the shadows in a society that commodifies sex one minute then vilifies it the next. “Censorship has been more and more extreme and people, mainly women, have to wake up and fight,” Forqué claims. “It's creating a movement.” While not everyone’s sold on the gospel of Virgen María, Forqué does have a formidable crew of collaborators who are on the same page. She’s a fixture of the Spanish underground scene, where she initially formed her love for gabber and reggaeton as a teen. On Virgen María’s G.O.D EP, largely co-produced by perth Daijing of London’s Perth Records, a mix of gabber, trap and hardcore underpins her steps to tapping into a higher consciousness. “Each song is a journey, but it's danceable.” Like Yoga, which is “a yoga class in a song that puts you in a very meditative state.”

According to Forqué, the music works its magic live. “In my sets, it's always a meditation with the people. I don't move, I'm like a statue. At first people just stare at me, they can't even dance. It's a mix of being a DJ and a theatre show, because people are listening, but they don't stop looking at me. It builds a very strong connection.” Naturally, Forqué is a Hentai goddess in the EP’s artwork, created by surrealist photographer Filip Custic. Custic is one of her many high profile visual collaborators, including Barcelona photographer Carlota Guerrero, who chose to recreate Forqué’s fateful ‘birthday suit’ stroll for Crack Magazine’s photoshoot in Madrid. This time, “there were no eccentric reactions,” Forqué recalls. “Everyone was very accepting. Since I have started being naked in real life and on social media, a lot of people write [to] me: 'Seeing you naked made me feel more free.' Helping people to acknowledge that their body is nothing to be ashamed of is something that I'm really proud of.” After all, for Forqué, being naked is life at its most pure. “It’s nature, just like a flower.” The G.O.D EP is due 26 April via Perth Records. Virgin María appears at Sónar festival, Barcelona, 18 - 20 July


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26 ·27 · 28 July 2019 · Monopoli–Itria Valley · APULIA, Italy

Jeff Mills · Floating Points DJ · Craig Richards DJ Tennis · Jeremy Underground Nu Guinea DJ Set + Live Keys · Young Marco Dr. Rubinstein · Eclair Fifi · Paramida · Eris Drew Hunter/Game Live · 999999999 Live Adiel · Silvia Kastel · Hiver AND MANY MORE... polifonic.it · hello@polifonic.it · #PLFNC2019


073

My Life as a Mixtape: Murlo

Words: Rachel Grace Almeida Photography: Murlo

A soundtrack that made me fall in love wuth video games. Ridge Racer on PSP [Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, 2004]. It got me crazy-hyped and made me realise that video game soundtracks are a work of art. A lot of tracks on it are inspired by jungle. I used to play that video game mainly so I could hear those songs again. An album that had an irreversible impact on me. At the Drive In’s Relationship of Command [Fearless Records, 2000] left a massive imprint on me. I was

completely obsessed with that album. It’s funny, actually, because I listened to it recently and it's aged so well. A lot of music I grew up with makes me slightly cringe, but this holds up. I wasn’t very sociable in school – I was totally introverted and just used to stay in my room drawing, so I think I was drawn to music that sounded angry. I haven’t connected with an album as intensely since. An album that helps me escape reality. Glass Swords by Rustie [Warp, 2011]. There was a moment in time where I used to listen to that album everyday because I was working in a t-shirt shop. My days were really slow so it helped me escape mentally. I was just folding t-shirts all day and was slowly going crazy. The first club track I ever connected with. Where I grew up in the Midlands, every night revolved around chart music. When I went down to university I started going to clubs. I remember hearing Heartbroken by T2 [All Around the World, 2007] and was instantly obsessed. It was a bassline song that

got really huge and ended up in the charts. I was constantly requesting it at clubs, and being a DJ now, I realise I must have been really annoying. An album with a visual aesthetic that struck me. First Opus by Sinjin Hawke [Fractal Fantasy, 2017]. The roll-out for that was incredible. It had a website where you could go and alter this CGI head into different light. I’ve never seen visuals like this that worked really well on different platforms. In the last few years, it’s definitely the one release that struck me as really confident and complete. If I could only ever listen to one song ever again, it would be... Green by Hiroshi Yoshimura [Sona Gaia, 1986]. I came across it randomly on a YouTube playlist a few years ago and then it opened this whole new world up to me. I’ll put it on while I work or any time I’m overwhelmed. It’s just amazing. Dolos is out now via Coil Records

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Manchester-based DJ, producer and illustrator Murlo builds his own alternate realities. Since his debut in 2011, he’s inhabited a fantastical pocket of electronic music, weaving shimmering R&B hooks, misty textures and bassline futurism to commanding effect. This year saw him release his long-awaited debut album Dolos, an audiovisual odyssey following a lone protagonist through a bleak, dystopian metropolis. We spoke to him about the records that inspired his otherworldly visions.


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www.villageunderground.co.uk

Edge of Everything Album Launch


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Releases

07 08 07

07

09 Lizzo Cuz I Love You Nice Life/Atlantic

Ezra Collective You Can’t Steal My Joy Enter The Jungle

REVIEWS

The Cranberries In the End BMG

DJ Nate Take Off Mode Planet Mu

With a vocal style once described as “the voice of a saint trapped in a glass harp”, Dolores O’Riordan tore through boundaries for women in rock music in the 90s. News of her tragic death in January 2018 left the band with an unenviable quandary: should they go on and complete the final Cranberries album, which O’Riordan had worked on extensively, or leave their legacy well alone? With the support of O’Riordan’s family, they opted for the former. In the words of drummer Fergal Lawler: “The album celebrates the work that Dolores did… it’s like a little gift she left behind.” It would be a mistake to expect a melancholic album. At times, In the End is quite the opposite. Returning to recognisable Cranberries hallmarks, it navigates the heavier, grunge-like feel the band favoured in their early years (Wake Me When It’s Over) with the acoustic lightness of their later career (In the End) with ease. The sense of cohesion comes, of course, via O’Riordan’s soaring, unmistakable voice. Above all, In the End provides a sense of closure for a much-loved band.

It’s been almost a decade since DJ Nate’s first album for Planet Mu, Da Trak Genious, kicked off the UK label’s affiliation with footwork. In that time the once hyperlocal soundtrack to Chicago’s frenetic dance battles has expanded the world over, its scope and creative potential pushed to new extremes and its stars made famous in club circles across the globe. But despite his influence, DJ Nate’s path since has been different, largely forgoing footwork in favour of hip-hop and R&B, making a second album for Mike Paradinas’ label seeming unlikely. Made up of recordings spanning eight years, 160 BPM fans will be delighted at this return. Take Off Mode demonstrates the same mastery of texture and mood as Da Trak Genious, albeit in a more concise, digestible package. Highlights come when DJ Nate mines a particularly haunting vein of melody (Go Krazy) or squeezes the bittersweet romance from his samples (Talk 2 Me), underpinning these qualities with a hard-bumping, raw approach to percussion. A welcome return from a legend of the scene.

! Liz Aubrey

!

Theo Kotz

Ezra Collective bring the fire on a stunning debut album, both an incredible cross section of London life and a testimony to their individual passions and inspirations. From the dubbedout skank of Red Whine to the Jorja Smith-aided neo-soul of Reason in Disguise, this album blots out any preconceived notions of jazz, replacing them instead with conduits that criss-cross UK culture, while remaining true to their deep musical roots. Quest for Coin is sheer exuberance, while Loyle Carner’s appearance on What Am I to Do Now? links Ezra Collective to the hip-hop jams that fuel their rehearsal sessions. People Saved offers a taut Latin groove, while the soft introspection of Why You Mad? quickly makes way for an inferno of trumpet and saxophone. An album rich in depth but also one that thrives on immediacy, You Can’t Steal My Joy is an incredible statement, somehow distilling the potency of their already-legendary live shows into one album. From Afrobeat to Jamaican soundsystems, Corsica Studios to Ronnie Scott’s, You Can’t Steal My Joy is pure, unrestricted expression; timeless music without borders that could only be made in London in 2019. !

Robin Murray

Dave Psychodrama Neighbourhood Recordings There aren’t many coming-of-age stories in UK rap that have been as well-crafted and emotionally vivid as Dave’s Psychodrama. At least not since Boy in Da Corner. The Streatham-born rapper’s debut album is punctuated with skits, largely featuring the voice of a therapist who, as the album progresses, challenges Dave to reconsider how he views himself. Across the journey, the 20-year-old explores race and identity through introspection and a sharp eye for injustice, which has become one of his signifying skills since his politically-charged 2017 anthem Question Time. But it’s the production from Fraser T Smith, Jae5, Nana Rogues and 169 that grounds Psychodrama, giving it an ominous but incisive foundation for Dave to express what he sees in the world around him. Psychodrama, for all intents and purposes, is an earnest and vulnerable tale of a black British man seeking to find some understanding of himself. It’s also a story of being young, black and working class in a post-Brexit Tory Britain. On Screwface Capital Dave raps, “Good kid but I grew up 'round animals/ No chick can't tell me about attitude/ I got girl from the Screwface Capital” reinforcing the dog-eat-dog survival tactics that many Londoners endure in the face of austerity. Dave's level of self-awareness and display of unabashed rawness allows listeners to be drawn in on an emotive level, allowing Psychodrama to resonate with young people across Britain. It’s no stretch of the imagination to consider Dave as one of the UK’s most important voices in a generation. Every so often, a record like Psychodrama comes to represent an era. !

Jesse Bernard

It almost feels like Lizzo was scientifically engineered to enjoy massive crossover success in 2019: a gorgeous woman of colour who preaches body positivity and self-empowerment through hybrid pop-R&B that is equal parts Erykah Badu, Kelis and Bruno Mars. Even on the eve of releasing her third studio album, Lizzo has been enjoying the kind of up-and-coming overnight-sensation success that is usually reserved for an artist at the beginning of their career. Cuz I Love You is chock-full of the type of melodic, infectious party bangers that Lizzo has been threatening to unleash since she first busted out on the scene in 2013. Lead single Juice is so universally catchy that it could be played at weddings and bar mitzvahs 30 years from now. It has all the trappings of a Mark Ronson-esque retro chart-topper with double the charm, fun and sophistication. The album showcases an instantly enjoyable balance of pop sensibility and hip-hop stylings. Tempo, featuring Lizzo’s spiritual forbearer Missy Elliott, brings out the best in both artists, including a Missy verse that could rival any of her late 90s/early 00s output. For an artist that has been bubbling under the radar for years, Lizzo chose the right moment to shoot her shot – and it looks like Cuz I Love You will be the vehicle to catapult her to superstardom. !

Cameron Cook


089

08

08 05

Big Thief U.F.O.F. 4AD Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief has never feared darkness. She stared it down directly on the band’s debut, Masterpiece, and again on 2017 follow-up Capacity, with songwriting dredged through childhood trauma, domestic abuse and death. Darkness is as inescapable on U.F.O.F., their first full-length for 4AD, but here it manifests itself as the unknown, and it isn’t necessarily synonymous with dread. Here, Lenker is at peace with embracing the unfamiliar, be that the supernatural or the mysteries of the natural world. On Strange she sounds awed contemplating how suffering and beauty are inextricable with lines like “Iridescent thread, beautiful and dead/ Billions of worms were boiled to make the bed”. Lenker’s voice alone embodies this paradox, her tremulous tones at once painfully fragile and exquisitely gorgeous. That Lenker remains the focal point throughout is testament to the sensitivity with which these arrangements are executed. It’s even more impressive considering the variety of the collection, which extends from psych-folk (Century) and cascading dream-pop (U.F.O.F.) to brisk, Wilco-style Americana (Strange). Once again, Lenker proves that gazing into the abyss can be gainful employment. !

Gemma Samways

!

Sammy Jones

Kelsey Lu Blood Columbia

07

Show Me the Body Dog Whistle Loma Vista Former Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau displays tens of thousands of pairs of shoes that were taken from the 1.1 million people that were killed there. To promote this album, New York punk innovators and Jewish cousins Show Me the Body piled thousands of trendy sneakers in a shuttered warehouse, posting the image to Instagram. The band haven’t directly acknowledged the link, but with ICE holding more than 50,000 people in US detention centres, far-right groups on the rise, and inclusive communities like the band’s Corpus collective steadily being displaced, you can assume this chilling mirroring is deliberate. This is only the band’s second album despite their enduring spot in the New York scene, and it’s filled with bleak rage. Opening song Camp Orchestra, named for the imprisoned musicians of Auschwitz, features a haunting opening melody. The whole album pushes the idea of what hardcore should sound like. Just when you think you'll be getting a power chord-laden HXC prototype, they reel it back in, subverting the sound with electronics, vocoders or spoken word. Madonna Rocket, the standout single on this album of heavy thumpers, is all highfrequency post-punk guitars strained over pounding cymbals. By explicitly invoking the Holocaust to describe the current state of America, SMTB are trying to shake out repression-induced apathy. With the raw, provocative Dog Whistle, they've achieved this on every level.

07

The Cinematic Orchestra To Believe Ninja Tune The world is a very different place now compared to 12 years ago, which is when The Cinematic Orchestra last released a new album. The weight of those changes is felt across To Believe, even if the central question being proposed by Dominic Smith and Jason Swinscoe is never addressed head-on. Instead, they ask us what belief means in a world characterised by its turbulent political landscape and social media pressures. Musically, though, it doesn’t feel like an especially profound leap forwards. The title track opens the record and will feel cosily familiar to the many fans who found them via their one big hit, To Build a Home – all stately strings and hushed vocals from Moses Sumney. The highlight guest turn comes via Roots Manuva’s contribution to the gripping A Caged Bird/ Imitations of Life (Smith and Swinscoe first worked with the South London rapper in 2002). The softly epic, reflective jazz of Lessons and Wait for Now/ Leave the World are deft in their execution but light on fresh ideas. It’s when they aim for pointed drama that they excel, as on the standout The Workers of Art, which thrillingly juxtaposes electronics and strings. To Believe is a welcome return, but seldom strives to break new ground. !

Joe Goggins

Weyes Blood Titanic Rising Sub Pop

Girl Unit Song Feel Night Slugs Girl Unit has been a constant fixture of the Night Slugs crew over the label’s near-decadelong existence, but the London DJ/producer hasn't had his own new release since 2012. Now, the label is closing the gap with his first full-length that's slowly been in the works this whole time. Song Feel is unmistakably a love letter to the American R&B and hip-hop canon, with cutting-edge beats that take it far beyond retro fetishism. The personalities of the featured vocalists are what give the LP its titular “song feel”. Previous collaborator Kelela opens the LP with WWYD, a tender jam echoing 80s West Coast electro and 90s G-funk, while Taliwoah soars like a radio diva atop the tropical dancehall of Stuck. Elsewhere, the four instrumentals range from the laid-back, Dilla-inspired Head to the skittering 130 BPM album closer Pure Gold, the most club-oriented track present. The record is a mixed bag stylistically – getting as raunchy as Lil Kim and as heartfelt as Mary J Blige – but Girl Unit's meticulous production provides a unified quality. !

Joey Hansom

Natalie Mering’s 70s-indebted psych folk project Weyes Blood has increasingly become an outlet for exploring life’s biggest questions: the difficulties of love, finding meaning, the fate of the planet. While her sentiments were often veiled in metaphor, her latest album Titanic Rising soars into certitude. Titanic Rising sounds cathartic and triumphant. Ethereal strings and slide guitars carry the atmosphere skywards and there’s a sense that Mering has been finding a lot of answers, both personally and artistically, to the questions she’s alluded to in previous work. Still, darker sentiments persist, with lines like “Got a lot of years of bad love to make OK/ It gets me every day/ Then again it might just be me”, from Everyday, making it clear that progress is always ongoing and salvation is never absolute. Mering’s otherworldly demeanour and rich, assured soprano creates a sense of removal. As a narrator, she seems to float above the unfolding drama without ever falling into self-indulgence. And while critics might label Mering a throwback on account of how heavily she mines 60s and 70s sounds, there’s always just enough of her own contemporary spin to mark her out as a truly unique voice. !

Steve Mallon

“Blood is a recognition of the Pain, the Horror and the Beauty of finding the ability to observe it all in order to move through it,” explains Kelsey Lu in a press release. After escaping a strict Jehovah’s Witness upbringing and finding solace in music, the North Carolina-born cellist and singer/songwriter – who has collaborated with Solange, Kelela and Sampha – is casting out her demons on one of the year’s most unique debut albums. There won’t be many pop-adjacent debuts in 2019 that begin with a solitary line of cello pizzicato. Kelsey Lu demonstrates a synergy with the centuries-old instrument that takes it to modern climes and sees her voice seamlessly run alongside the notes. The silky, driving soul of Due West features Skrillex as a producer, while Knock for You incorporates production work from Jamie xx, who sprinkles a layer of bleep-strewn electronic drift over Lu’s R&B-rich baroque pop. Since her 2016 debut EP Church, Kelsey Lu has infused her music with a deep sense of spirituality. This can be heard on Pushing Against the Wind, a minor-key folk reverie that was written after an ayahuasca ceremony. Meanwhile, Lu’s atmospheric cover of 10cc’s I’m Not in Love and the 80s pomp of Poor Fake suggest an older soul at play. Lu’s confessional outlook and openness to genreblending aligns Blood with the fluidity of the digital era. But there’s also a classic quality to what she is doing. Hers is a timeless soul that resonates beautifully with the cello’s ageworn timbre, one that won’t ever go out of fashion. !

April Clare Welsh

REVIEWS

07


LINE UP

AXEL BOMAN CURSES (LIVE) DJ TENNIS HVOB MATHEW JONSON & FRANK WIEDEMANN PEREL (LIVE) THE TESKEY BROTHERS TORA W.H. LUNG MORE ARTISTS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON! EDITION NO 5

DATE

CURATED BY

SACRED GROUND FESTIVAL

12 — 14 JULY 2019

RY X AND FRANK WIEDEMANN

OPEN EAR BBC RADIO 3

Saturday 13 April Experimental new music with London Contemporary Orchestra and Yaron Deutsch

LSO St Luke’s 161 Old Street EC1V 9NG

Hosted by Sara Mohr-Pietsch

lso.co.uk/openear


091

Fat White Family, Serfs Up!

has been billed as something of an about-turn. Freed from self-described addiction battles and self-destruction, the band reportedly reformed, wisened to the crassness of their previous records, which made caricatures out of Holocaust survivors, self-released on a label titled Without Consent. It takes just minutes for the cleaned-up act to melt away.

Fat White Family Serfs Up! Domino

Words: Tom Connick

For some, Fat White Family are a much-needed breath of toxic air. They’re pinned as a band of revolution; a wilfully controversial spanner in the works of all things slick and soft. The last true bastion of rebellious punk, they claim. But then again, for some, Ricky Gervais is a seer. In many ways, Fat White Family share thematic DNA with that one-time comedy genius turned transphobic waffler. A rabble of controversy-first creatives who, much like Gervais’ recent After Life series, veer far too freely into lethargic old tropes, forgetting the actual art in their dogged avoidance of anything resembling a ‘norm’. Fat White Family are all mouth and – often literally – no trousers. Serfs Up!, Fat White Family’s third full-length and debut for Domino,

Feet, the opener to Serfs Up!, starts pleasantly enough. Atop a sludgy groove, they showcase their lack of abrasion in textured, almostdanceable style, as frontman Lias Saoudi mumbles away like a drunk conspiracy theorist. Before long, the track drops away and Saoudi clears his throat, sneering of a “sand n***** storm” with a clarity as yet unheard – a needlessly on-the-nose reference to a time the band were rightfully criticised for hurling that same slur around on Twitter. Their defence at the time was that it was ‘parody’. Their intention on Feet is less clear. The record does little to shake that lingering feeling of discomfort. The languid aesthetic continues: gloomy and ghostly, but lacking any real bite, as the discordant I Believe In Something Better offers none of the transparency its title would suggest,

and Vagina Dentata comes off like Tranquility Base-era Arctic Monkeys, were it helmed by a witless horror movie villain. In the standout sounds of Tastes Good With the Money’s gothic choir, and the carnivale electronics of Fringe Runner, there are hints at a desire to create something more rich and baroque in instrumentation. But Fat White Family are so devoid of charisma that each plodding number instead sinks quickly into tedium. By the time closer Bobby’s Boyfriend rears its head, Serfs Up! feels like wading through knee-high, coughed-up mud. In a recent So Young Magazine interview, Fat White Family spoke freely of the dedication to controversy that has, to-date, been their calling card. “It’s quite hard to be offensive today,” stated Saoudi, as wilfully ignorant to the non-stop bigotry and bile polluting the world around him as you might expect. “We intend to stay the course and be as belligerently offensive as possible,” he added. On the evidence of Serfs Up!, their modus operandi seems to be causing offence through sheer banality. A trudging, charmless effort, Fat White Family’s most offensive act might just be the utter dullness their every move inspires.

REVIEWS

03

The controversial quasi-punks inspire little more than boredom on their third full-length



093

Play

Moby’s Play is an album critics love to hate

Words: Chal Ravens

There’s the distinct album-within-analbum structure, in which a separate narrative of bruised introspection emerges from finger-picked guitars, foggy drums and mumbled poetry. Starting from Down Slow – once the record’s eight hit singles are out of the way – Play gets loose and hypnotic, even hypnagogic. In the first few years of the millennium, I would stick on Play

As for the first half, and those hit singles – that’s the album you think you remember. When Play came out in 1999 it tanked, only managing five weeks at the bottom end of the UK albums chart between May and December. So Moby did something that would become Play’s epitaph: he sold out. Every single track on the album was licensed for commercial use – though mostly for stuff like TV soundbeds rather than branded ads – slowly lifting the album to No.1 in April 2000. If selling out damaged the former techno-punk’s credibility, he was just the canary in the coalmine. Twenty years later, sync deals are a liferaft for struggling independent acts. What seemed crassly commercial then has been normalised now. The opposite is true of Play’s other serious crime. Contemporary pop discourse is practically defined by issues of identity and appropriation, and if Play came out today, it’d be torn to shreds for its arrogant instrumentalisation of black voices, whose time-worn harmonies

are used to signify a kind of authentic pain. These samples came from the famous collection of field recordings made in the 1930s by the ethnographer Alan Lomax. More specifically, they came from a CD box set loaned to a then-down-and-out Moby by his friend Gregor. As Gregor told it on the ersatztherapy podcast Heavyweight two years ago, Moby didn’t even give him the damn CDs back. Since 1999, our ideas about ownership and attribution have changed dramatically. “Selling out” is almost meaningless. We rarely attach moral weight to owning music anymore (even borrowed CDs). We listen on different terms. And 20 years on, it’s those ghostly voices that make me most uncomfortable. I offer you this, though: the album starts on track 12.

REVIEWS

Critics praised it too, though over time it has become an album we love to hate. There are probably three or four reasons for that, and several are legitimate. Fact is, there’s a lot to enjoy about this pompous, sentimental, overlong album and its postmodern melange of techno, ambient and rootsy blues, all callously thrown together with the arrogance of a man who thought he was making his final record and accompanied by a set of preachy essays about veganism, fundamentalism and drugs. Yes, Play is an easy target for your snark. But let’s acknowledge its lightweight charms.

as I went to sleep, trying to count the separate instruments in each track like sheep jumping over a gate. Still awake by Everloving and it’s been a bad night – but those were the times when I almost grasped the longing within The Sky is Broken, a whispered poem for “the darkness before the dawn,” with its synthetic strings reaching feebly towards a climax. My Weakness, the closing track, sounded near-mystical then and still does an ineffable something-or-other to me, with its flickering image of a choir tangled up in those plastic strings.

Original release date: 17 May, 1999 Label: Mute / Virgin

In the summer of 2000, I borrowed my dad’s credit card and ordered three CDs from Play.com – the first music I’d ever bought on the internet. I still remember opening the Jiffy bag to reveal Craig David’s Born to Do It, Coldplay’s Parachutes and Moby’s Play. Three very different records, all huge commercial successes – specifically, crossover hits from the worlds of UK garage, indie rock and techno. Play was universally adored, statistically speaking. Certified platinum in over 20 countries, it remains the biggest selling “electronica” album of all time.


END OF THE ROAD 29 Aug - 1 Sept

Larmer Tree Gardens Dorset

“A truly special musical celebration” ★★★★★ The Guardian

BEIRUT / METRONOMY / MICHAEL KIWANUKA / SPIRITUALIZED /

COURTNEY BARNETT / JARVIS COCKER ( )/ SLEAFORD MODS / LOW / DEERHUNTER / INTRODUCING JARV IS

PARQUET COURTS / MITSKI / CATE LE BON / BAXTER DURY / DANIEL AVERY / WIRE / CASS MCCOMBS / BEAK> / GOAT GIRL / SERPENTWITHFEET / NUBYA GARCIA / LET’S EAT GRANDMA / JESSICA PRATT / ATA KAK / YVES TUMOR / STEVE GUNN / KIKAGAKU MOYO / BC CAMPLIGHT / MOSES BOYD / BLACK MIDI / KELLY LEE OWENS / KERO KERO BONITO / FONTAINES D.C. / GEORGIA / TUNNG / BCUC / KOKOKO! / TYLER CHILDERS / LONNIE HOLLEY / WILLIAM TYLER / NÉRIJA / STELLA DONNELLY / JADE BIRD / THE BETHS / & MANY MORE

Secret shows, art, comedy, cinema, literature, karaoke, late night dance floors, family friendly activities, award-winning food, real ale, and rubber dinghy rapids.

endoftheroadfestival.com


095

Film

09 07

08 08 Happy as Lazzaro dir: Alice Rohrwacher Starring: Adriano Tardiolo, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher

The directorial debut from Apatow alumnusturned-Oscar nominee Jonah Hill, Mid90s is a lovingly crafted scrapbook of a time when Clinton was president, Cypress Hill and Nirvana ruled the airwaves and clothes were so baggy they could swallow you up whole. Hill assembles a melange of misfit skateboarders in LA and tails their everyday triumphs and grievances in a manner not dissimilar to Shane Meadows or Richard Linklater, expertly stoking the camaraderie amongst the posse. At the heart of the story is Stevie (Sunny Suljic), a 13-year-old from a single parent household, who edges into the fold as his home life becomes increasingly unbearable. With an earnest face and thick hair that serves more as emotional insulation than an aesthetic choice, Stevie maintains a quiet appreciation of the group, although is too afraid to say anything should he jeopardise his new and only friendships. Back home, Katherine Waterston plays the overwhelmed single mother valiantly, but it’s Lucas Hedges who lingers as Stevie’s older brother, a chain-wearing loner with thick fists and a mercurial temperament. Hill has captured the transitory period of freedom that comes from being a teenager excellently, but don’t expect a honey-coated homage. Mid90s is as much about a harsh world that kids are not yet equipped to deal with, and must take their wins where they can. This may be the first time behind the camera for the director, but in front he's collaborated with everyone from Scorsese to the Coen brothers, and he has clearly been paying attention. Calling in Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to score the film and indie cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt to give it its peak summer shimmer, Hill has concocted a bold and authoritative first feature that lays bare the frustrations of being young and poor. ! Beth Webb

There’s a touch of magic to Happy as Lazzaro’s secret world. Set in a remote northern Italian village, which comprises largely of one three-generation family, men work the fields while women make the home. We meet Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo), a cherub-faced young man whose kind nature is often taken advantage of by the villagers, but he doesn’t seem to mind, content with the day-to-day humdrum of labour. There’s a timeless quality to the place and despite a few stray details – a phone, a baseball cap – this sleepy, rural existence could be taking place in the 1910s or the 1710s. Disruption comes to the village and Lazzaro’s life in the form of Tancredi (Luca Chikovani), the bleach-haired, smoking, punky son of the villagers’ overlord, the Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna. Slowly director Alice Rohrwacher fills in the blanks and we discover that the farmers are sharecroppers, working the land as unpaid servants for the Marchesa. While Lazarro and Tancredi form a strange bond, reality comes crashing into the village, and the film lurches out of the pastoral and sprawls into the urban with Lazzaro caught somewhere between the two. There’s much to admire about Happy as Lazzaro, chiefly Rohrwacher’s unhurried direction that allows her characters to unfurl. While time passes in the film, it does so like a dream captured on Super 16mm. On one hand, a socio-economic critique of capitalism and, on the other, a magical realist fable, Happy as Lazzaro pitches it just right with a standout performance by Tardiolo. ! Katie Goh

Minding the Gap dir: Bing Liu Starring: Keire Johnson, Bing Liu, Zack Mulligan Us dir: Jordan Peele Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss They say your first film is the hardest to get right. But if you’re Jordan Peele, the second one might be even tougher. Topping his debut smash Get Out was always going to be difficult, but you wouldn’t bet against him pulling it off. Unfortunately, the comedian-turned-director doesn’t quite manage it this time – although he comes very close. In a tense, dread-filled prologue, Us sets up its nightmarish story. Adelaide, a young girl, wanders off at the funfair and into a beachside hall of mirrors. There she meets her creepy doppelgänger who appears to commit an unnamed atrocity upon her. Decades later, we join a family as they drive to the beach. Two children giggle at their dad’s bad jokes while mum – grown-up Adelaide – rolls her eyes in the passenger seat. It’s a pictureperfect scene of domestic bliss. What could go wrong? Without giving too much away, quite a lot goes wrong. Adelaide’s doppelgänger resurfaces in murderous fashion – and this time she’s got company. What follows is a gore-splattered home invasion horror that seamlessly weaves searing social critique into a bloody, breakneck thrill-ride. Stuffed with deliciously creepy performances, Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke are the film’s standouts. Both are on song as mum and dad’s crazed counterparts, but Duke nails the comedy while Nyong’o brings an impressive level of precision to her on-screen psychosis. If there is any criticism of Peele’s sophomore attempt, it’s the ending. For most, the finale will wrap things up nicely, but, given how carefully Peele maintains tension, some will find the sharp change of direction confusing. However, ignore this minor blip and you’ll see Us for what it is: another near-perfect horror satire from one of cinema’s most exciting new talents.

It seems that we’re living in the golden age of skateboarding movies. Films like Skate Kitchen and Mid90s have spurred a mainstream reevaluation of this subculture. But it’s documentary Minding the Gap, the enormously affecting debut feature from cinematographer Bing Liu, that perhaps best presents the allure of skateboarding. The opening of the film shows Bing and his childhood friends Kiere and Zach hurtling through parking lots and city streets, and the camerawork might be the best expression of the freedom that this lifestyle can bring. The power of Minding the Gap comes from the contrast between these brief moments of catharsis and escape, and the home lives that the boys are escaping. Liu’s sly filmmaking slowly unfolds and then interrogates the cycles of abuse that has trapped them for most of their young lives, taking a particular interest in the relationship between Zach and his partner, Zach and Kiere’s parents, Kiere’s experience growing up black, and the father figures in his own life. The responses that the boys give to Liu are intimate and honest, unquestionably due to the deep connection between them. The result is a documentary that is emotive and self-reflexive in a manner that recalls Sandi Tan’s excellent Shirkers. Minding the Gap is already a powerful work before Liu turns the camera on himself. His naturalistic style of interviewing paves the way for a genuine, heartbreaking look inward at his past, the company he keeps, and what on earth he can do about all of it. It’s the kind of introspection that feels particularly valuable right now. ! Kambole Campbell

! Alex Flood

REVIEWS

Mid90s dir: Jonah Hill Starring: Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges


Advice on dating, saving and handling your business from the member of NYC’s Discwoman collective

FULL COLOUR MAGAZINE

NOVEMBER ‘99

$5.00

Design : CokeOak

Hi Frankie,

Hi Frankie, I have a question about dating/romance as ‘a creative’. I can imagine it may be different for everyone, but has pursuing your creative passions full-time helped attract people more like you or is it more overshadowed by attracting people for the wrong reasons? I’ve always dreamt of finding a partner into some of the same nerdy creative things as me but recognize that that may be naive to its own set of issues (competition, one-sidedness, ego, travel schedules, idk?). Maybe it’s best to date someone who supports you having that life but has a different set of interests themself? It may be simply a matter of experimenting and seeing what feels/works best... but I'm curious to hear anything you could share based on your exp/those of others you know?

I think someone who respects you is the most important thing. Even in the case where maybe the person you’re with has had a change of feelings, if that person has respect for you they will communicate how they feel rather than ghost. You can’t control getting hurt, it’s an inevitable part of life, but I think the gravity of the hurt changes depending on how much that person respects you and how they communicate.

As someone who is finding my feet in the electronic music industry and trying to get paid while staying true to my vision, what advice would you have for me about navigating the branded side of the scene, like sponsors, sponsored events, etc? What's important to consider when dealing with the more corporate side of the industry? It seems like a tricky thing to get right. Would appreciate any advice you can share :)

I don’t think there’s a one size fits all answer to this question, but trust your instincts. Listen to your friends. Love is completely blind.

We’ve done some work with brands etc. Here are some tips:

Sincerely, Pensive Californian in the Discwoman hat Men I’ve been with in music have pretty much consistently treated me like trash and I can say the same for my friends too. I don’t think that’s always the case of course, but there’s definitely something to be said for men who are put on a pedestal because of their creativity. If we think about super famous artists who are men, a lot of them have rumours around cheating or being trash to women because they can get away with it. R. Kelly is a primary example of that. I think the same transpires in the underground scene too. I have had well-known men DJs be lecherous towards me while wasted and then the next day act like I don’t exist. I had one instance where this prominent dude DJ had a GF, he took a photo with me and posted it on his IG and then deleted it the next day, erasing his lecherous footprints. I found through becoming a more confident and vocal person that I don’t try and seek as much validation from men as I used to so in turn I’m taken advantage of less. However, I had a recent experience where my kindness was taken advantage of and naively thought that my work could protect me from men in a way. I was wrong and this experience still hurts me, though it’s been over a year.

Looking for wisdom on sex, politics, techno and reality TV? Ask Frankie at agonyaunt@crackmagazine.net

Dear Frankie, I’m going to be moving from London to New York in June for a job. I’m excited but scared. Do you have any tips for settling into NYC life? Honestly I think the less of a plan you have the better, which is such reckless advice lol but welcome to my headspace. NYC has just so much going on at all times, so the more you indulge in it the more rich your experience is and from there you can figure out more of a plan in terms of what you want to spend your time doing. Couple of points of advice though that will make you feel less depressed and isolated: - Don’t spend all your money on rent, try your best to find something within your budget. I’ve had countless experiences where this pressure has given me crippling anxiety. - Don’t spend all your money on ubers, use public transport as much as you can. Cook and walk around as much as you can, too.

- Make sure you’re getting paid. It’s actually insanity that multimillion dollar companies have reached out expecting us to work for free in exchange for promotion. I have literally hung up the phone mid-conversation. - Try to get a read on how much the brand is familiar with what you do. When we worked with certain brands they had done some thorough research on what we do, which made us feel way more comfortable and in turn made the experience actually enjoyable rather than just feeling like a prop. - Be ready for criticism. It’s unavoidable and fair that people will criticise corporate collaborations. Dear Frankie, I’d love to put on nights again and I feel like my city needs something fresh on the scene. But I did it twice when I was at uni and they were both a flop and the DJs basically ended up playing to empty dancefloors. I’m still pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. Do you have any tips for beginners so I don’t mess it up again haha. It’s a tough one. It’s hard to figure out the alchemy of a great party. But it’s definitely something that builds over time, it’s rare that something is instantly successful. I think things have the ability to work if you have a large community of friends around you, if you’re able to bring in acts that can draw a crowd or you have a really strong party concept. All three of those things together make for a successful event I reckon.


20 QUESTIONS

DOJA CAT - EST. 1983 -

MOOO!, Doja Cat’s viral song about – you guessed it – cows, took the internet by storm. It’s currently sitting at a casual 41 million (and counting) views on YouTube. But the LA-based singer’s musical arsenal is just as strong. Her 2014 sleepy R&B hit So High saw her gain a loyal following on SoundCloud, eventually leading to a record deal with RCA Records. Then 2018 brought us her debut album Amala, where she flexes her impressive songwriting chops once more. From honey-dipped R&B groovers to take-no-shit trap bangers, Doja Cat’s eccentric personality remains the star of the show. Here, Doja talks bad habits, clapbacks, and, of course, The Big Cow.

Words: Rachel Grace Almeida

How would your friends describe you in three words? This lil’ bitch. Earliest childhood memory? I remember holding my mom’s hand walking through hectic New York City and I was so small that all these adult butts just kept hitting me in the face. Best advice you’ve ever been given? Madonna once said in an interview that all she really wants is to be happy. That stuck with me. Favourite meme? I love all memes. But: “it’s an avocaaado!” What are your thoughts on The Big Cow? How the hell did it get like that? Are we gonna eat it, what are we gonna do with it? I can’t believe it. I don’t believe in The Big Cow. That shit’s photoshopped, bruh. Believe it or not, The Big Cow is real. Also, the farting. That cow’s fart is a big fart – three or four cow’s worth. That’s a lot of methane in the ozone layer. I’m scared for the world.

What annoys you the most? When you’re venting to a friend and that friend isn’t on your side, telling you that you’re overreacting instead of just listening. Sometimes you just want your friend to be like, “yeah, fuck that bitch!” Favourite clapback? When people on Twitter say I fell off so I go to their page and screenshot a picture of them still following me and send it back to them. Worst habit? Biting the inside of my cheek. It hurts, I bleed and then I can’t talk. Best thing about the internet. Being able to showcase your creativity.

Tell me about your bougiest indulgence. Caviar, caviar and also caviar. What makes you feel like a bad bitch? When my pants fit right. I struggle a lot because I have a really fat ass and nothing else on my body matches it. It’s like I’ve stolen someone else's lower half. If I find pants that hug everything and act as Spanx, nobody can fuck with me, I’m on top of the world. Favourite cartoon? Family Guy. I’ve watched every season maybe 10 times.

Worst thing about the internet. It gives people a mask where they can hurt and bully people with no consequences.

The wildest party you’ve ever been to. I was at a backyard house party when I was 14 and a gun went off, so everyone had to run out. There was some sort of gang run-in.

What would you want written on your tombstone? Boom.

Something you look for in an ideal partner. A really big nose.

What’s the weirdest thing someone has caught you doing? I was in high school and I was in my brother’s old room that we turned into a room to hang out in. I was in there making out with somebody and my mom came upstairs and walked in on us mid-make out, lights still off, and asked us if we wanted some cranberry juice. It was really fucking weird. What makes you feel nostalgic? Rain and 90s cartoons. The biggest realisation you’ve had this past year. I don’t need to be like anyone else but myself. That sounds so corny, but there were times where I felt like a baby duck, just doing what the momma duck did. I took my own leap of faith. When I’m natural, people really fuck with me. Amala is out now via RCA Records


Myspace

My first Myspace wallpaper was green with white polka dots. I remember settling on it after spending hours scouring layout sites for the HTML code that really represented me. I was relieved to have finally found the patterned background that would communicate my personality in exactly the way that I – a precocious 12-yearold whose sense of self was wholly based on the fact that I bought NME every week – wanted to be seen. It was 2005; another world, a lifetime ago. I signed up to Myspace after attempting to make profiles on other proto-social media sites like Piczo and Bebo, but my interest in them never really stuck. People at school said Myspace was more fun than the others, and also that, crucially, it gave users the option to add music to their pages. I was, to understate my feelings, very interested. Myspace’s relationship with music sketched the template for much of how we consume culture on the internet. This is why the news that MySpace recently lost all of the music which had been uploaded to it before 2015 came as such a disappointment to so many who’d found their love of music via the site. Not necessarily because we still use it, but because it felt like a significant piece of both the internet’s history and our own personal narratives had disappeared. Music was one of Myspace’s major selling points, both for artists and fans. It occupied a unique place in the music-internet ecosystem in the 00s which hasn’t really been replicated. At its most pervasive cultural moment, however, the site offered bands a way to get their work into people’s ears without the interference of the music industry, and gave music lovers a chance to engage directly with new releases before SoundCloud rap or Instagram stories were but a twinkle in the eye of some Silicon Valley tech developer. Because of the timing (I was on Myspace in my early teens, when

lots of discovery tends to take place for most people), and because I used the internet pretty much exclusively to hear music and socialise, Myspace feels like it was necessarily intertwined with the growth of my entire identity. In my mind, the site will be forever enshrined alongside two other internet mainstays of the past, which also influenced my development as a fan and a person. First there was MSN Messenger, the chat programme that I sat on for hours every night after school, exchanging songs I liked with friends (close your eyes and say the immortal words with me: “What’s your addy?”). Secondly, LimeWire, the p2p download software that I’d trawl almost nightly, searching for bands I’d been recommended or read about in magazines – and destroying the family desktop with viruses in the process. Together, MSN, Myspace, and LimeWire formed the basis for my early tastes, which are still fundamental to my choices about the culture I consume now. On Myspace, I discovered artists like Uffie, the scene queen who made icy, directional pop-rap a decade before Charli XCX, and I heard Emergency by Paramore while sat in the bedroom of a school friend who played the song from their page, essentially introducing me to this genre called “emo”. I also found out about another, little-known group who were supposedly making some noise. Within a couple of years I’d go from being one of the hundreds of fans clamouring to hear the demo versions of their songs uploaded to MySpace music profiles, to watching them play

an open air show at a cricket ground in Manchester, such was the heft of their early viral fame, fuelled and enabled by the site (they were called Arctic Monkeys). More than anything, Myspace encouraged the thrill of discovery; the excitement of digging around, finding something new, and wanting to hear as much of it as possible because it sparked interest somewhere in your belly or your brain or your legs. And while it’s sad to think that many of the songs which delighted us so much – and which many people uploaded as teens starting out as musicians – have now vanished, Myspace’s most powerful musical legacy is the love of music that it helped to foster inspired in millions, as a crucial part of seedling internet culture. That, I’m sure, will not be so easily lost.

Words: Lauren O’Neill Illustration: Dominic Kesterton