DISCLOSURE Charli XCX james blake night slugs Mount Kimbie
CD / 2ﾃ有P / DIGITAL JONHOPKINS.CO.UK
OLYMPIA CD / 2ﾃ有P / DIGITAL AUSTRAMUSIC.COM
-------------------------------> NEW ALBuMs FroM MErGE rEcords <--------------------------------
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tHE MouNtAIN GoAts All Hail West texas
ELEANor FrIEdBErGEr Personal record
“this track feels as big as a Beatles ‘Abbey road’-era jam.” --NyLoN Guys on track “Pilot Light”
John darnielle’s home-recorded masterpiece remastered and on vinyl for the first time. Includes 7 unreleased tracks plus new liner notes.
“supreme, whipsmart songwriting from a woman at the top of her game” -—MoJo
cd/LP AVAILABLE 7/23 cd/LP AVAILABLE 7/23
FuturE BIBLE HEroEs Partygoing
MIKAL croNIN McII
sHE & HIM Volume 3
“delightfully, sounds like nothing else around.” —-tHE A.V. cLuB
“Grungy garage-pop perfected” -—sPIN
“Breezy, inviting, confidently arranged tunes” -—PItcHForK
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ MorE FroM MErGE: tELEKINEsIs “dormarion” -- WILLIAM tyLEr “Impossible truth” -- sHout out Louds “optica” MouNt MorIAH “Miracle temple” -- rAdAr BrotHErs “Eight” -- dEstroyEr “this Night” (LP reissue) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AVAILABLE At your LocAL rEcord storE
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Editor-in-Chief / Publisher Andrew Parks, Pop Mart Media firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director / Deputy Editor Aaron Richter (M.R.S.) email@example.com Managing Editor Arye Dworken firstname.lastname@example.org Consulting Photo Editor Jennifer Edmondson Staff Photographer Caroline Mort Contributing Writers Camille Dodero, Robert Ham, Colleen Nika Contributing Photographers Shawn Brackbill, Matthieu Lemaire Courapied, Collin Erie, Michael Flores, Jimmy Fontaine, Nick Helderman, Bella Howard, Jesse Jacobs, Alena Jascanka, Meredith Jenks, Kyle Johnson, Jeremy Liebman, James Pearson-Howes, Ysa Pérez, Mads Teglers, Nathaniel Wood Advertising, Submissions & Other Inquiries Andrew Parks / self-titled 685 Metropolitan Ave. #1 Brooklyn, NY 11211 email@example.com
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Disclosure cover photography Bella Howard
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EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY & DAVID WINGO AN ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK
ELUVIUM NIGHTMARE ENDING
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THE N EW ALBUM “Pushing heavy music in th rilling new direction s.” –‟PREFIX “An album packed with huge hooks, which a l l sou nd g re a t when you play them really loud .” – PITCHFORK ON TOUR W ITH BARON ESS
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350 WORDS OR LESS From the Editor: Whether you consider Disclosure’s breakout album, Settle, a filler-free pop record or an airtight collection of dance anthems, one thing is abundantly clear: The Lawrence brothers are as passionate about hoarding records as we are. And their extensive knowledge of everything from J Dilla to Joy Orbison makes their immediate melodies, hooks and choruses sound both incredibly satisfying and strangely familiar. In this issue’s cover story, writer Camille Dodero steers the duo through their first trip to Detroit and witnesses their wide-eyed fandom firsthand. If you were wondering how a couple college-aged kids ended up writing such breathtaking house tracks, here is your answer—hidden in the streets and buildings of a city that’s as much a part of Disclosure’s creative makeup as the glory days of UK garage in London. Since this issue doubles as our definitive guide to underground electronic music, we also asked James Blake to discuss club culture, flipped through Night Slugs’ record collection, and explored the outside passions of DJs and producers like Andy Stott (rally-car racing) and L.I.E.S. founder Ron Morelli (surfing). Elsewhere, artists tackle topics such as Polish comfort food (Jon Hopkins), the “mind-fuckery of the sciences” (Lee Gamble) and Italian arthouse films (Stellar OM Source). ST—006
And if you’d rather read about Swedish rock, Brit-pop, avant-garde everything and Rod Stewart, we have all of that, too, presented by Ghost, Jenny Hval, Total Control, Primal Scream, Rhys Chatham and more. See you in the fall, when we celebrate our 20th issue with a new Web site, expanded quarterly magazine and many other things we can’t quite reveal just yet. Andrew Parks Editor-in-Chief / Publisher
Top five rave-on anthems of my young-adult life 1. Underworld, “Born Slippy (Nuxx)” 2. The Prodigy, “Out of Space” 3. Aphex Twin, “Girl/Boy” 4. Orbital, “The Box” 5. Roni Size + Reprazent, “Brown Paper Bag” — tap HERE TO Subscribe to my “Selected Electronica Works” playlisT
Charli XCX | Jenny Hval White Lung | Carmen Villain Total Control | Baths
Charli XCX photography Jimmy fontaine
ROLL THE TAPE
Charli XCX Interview arye dworken Photography jimmy fontaine
A quick, random chat with the British pop singer. We met in a hotel lobby during CMJ, remember? I remember you! I was eating a pizza, right? You were eating two intimidating slices of pizza. Oh, yeah. Ha! Well, I’m eating again right now. What are you eating? Chicken nuggets. I’m not much of a health nut. I’m trying to change that, though, since I’m touring a lot and eating McDonalds every day. What’s going on today? I’m prepping for my tour. It’s a big deal figuring out what clothes to take. Guys wear jeans and a T-shirt, and it’s done. You just played in Russia. How was that? I was there for, like, five minutes. But it was nice. Did you hear about the asteroid that fell there? I watched all the footage. I would have loved to have been there for that. Can you imagine something like that falling out of the sky and being nearby? Epic. You’ve opened for Coldplay. Let’s be honest: Do you listen to Coldplay?
Yes. I was a big fan of Parachutes and Rush of Blood to the Head. They’re a pop band, and I love pop bands. I’m tired of people feeling guilty about loving them. You like dark music, though, don’t you? Yeah, my tastes vary. I’m listening to a lot of Bow Wow Wow, Kate Bush and Kitty Pryde. I love her. At this point, all I care about is listening to pop music that feels lush and rich. You’re a vocal Spice Girls advocate. What did you think about their reunion at the Olympics? They were great. I’m not sure if you know about the musical they have now in London; it’s based on their songs. I don’t want to see it, though, because I feel like it would ruin the music for me. What’s it like finally having your debut album out? I’m scared, of course. It’s like my fucking kid, and if anyone trash-talks it, I feel like I’ll want to hit them. At the same time, I know I made the best pop record I could make. Part of me doesn’t care about the haters. I want to play it for people who want to get into it. I’m trying not to overthink it. I know I made what was the perfect record for me. Who are some of your style icons? I have a stylist who’s an old friend of mine— Alexis Knox. Our influences are, like, Liv Tyler from Empire Records. One of my biggest influences is that movie The Craft. It’s great. Again, you’re such a positive person yet you gravitate toward darker material. Yeah, but I also love Britney Spears. She was this pretty pop princess, but then she shaves her head and has a breakdown. I find that juxtaposition fascinating. Everything poppy generally has a dark side. Nothing’s pure bubblegum. The song you wrote for Icona Pop, “I Love It,” has been licensed to Snooki’s show here in the US. Have you watched it? No, but I’m a Snooki fan, so I’m rather pleased it’s being put to good use. Better than being used on a Kardashian show? Oh, definitely. Charli XCX’s True Romance is out now via Atlantic. ST—011
RECORDING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
jenny hval Photography mads teglers ST—012
The Norwegian singer explains what really inspired her new album, Innocence Is Kinky. Federici, Bifo, Nina Power, Tiqqun, Zizek, Occupy books—books I’ve wanted to read for a long time.
1. 1 Night in Paris
If you’re not into celebrity sex tapes, Rick Salomon is Paris Hilton’s ex, the one responsible for her infamous sex tape, 1 Night in Paris. In 2011, I worked on a trash TV project that later found its way into my album. 1 Night in Paris presents itself as about Paris, but it’s actually about Rick— his cock, his eyes, his manic chewing of gum. The more I watched this video, the more I lost interest in Paris and took interest in his stressful, somewhat desperate staging of himself.
2. Chris Kraus
Some time in 2012, I started reading after not reading a single book in many months. (I was writing a book at the time, so that was probably why.) I started with Chris Kraus; I Love Dick and Torpor are the best books I’ve read in years. She is revolutionary. Instead of trying to explain what she’s doing, I’ll give you a clue in her own words: “Why do people still not get it when we handle vulnerability like philosophy, at some remove?”
3. Getting up early (to read political theory)
While we recorded the album, I had to do something that wasn’t music every day—if only for an hour—to not shut down completely. So I got up at 7 am every day to read books, mostly political theory. I read Giorgio Agamben, Silvia
4. Music criticism
I sometimes write music commentaries or record reviews, and I’ve realized how hard it is to say something interesting about contemporary music, something that isn’t just a pile of references or a nostalgia trip, but makes sense here and now as the music is playing. Hardest of all is to say something about energy, gender and identification. Last year I got obsessed with two pieces about this: Luke Turner’s review of the Swans live album [We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Head, written for the Quietus] and Mark Richardson’s piece on Grimes and Bill Callahan [for Pitchfork]. Recommended.
5. My inferiority complex
While making this album, I wanted to sing like Nick Cave but was trapped in my own body. I wanted to feel like Michael Gira but was trapped in my own emotions. I wanted to make sound installations but had no experience with visual or sound art and felt like a loser because I made narrative, melodic music. I wanted to improvise, but I couldn’t free myself from lyrics. I wanted to write in English, but I was Norwegian and couldn’t find the words. I tried all these things anyway with varying degrees of success. — read other installments of Recording under the influence with M83, perfume genius, how to dress well and more. ST—013
Photography jesse jacobs
white lung From left: Anne-Marie Vassiliou, Mish Way, Kenneth William, Grady Mackintosh
Singer Mish Way on her early years as a figure skater. I don’t know why I started figure skating. All I know is it was my life until I turned 16. I trained every day; I had to do Pilates, cardio, swimming, jazz dancing and ballet with a Russian woman who taught me how to twirl my arms like a swan. I rarely sat and watched television; at my choreographer’s request, I stood in front of our TV with a cane across my shoulders to work on my posture. I hung on to our fireplace and pulled my leg above my head over and over to maximize my flexibility. I replayed my routines in my sleep. Aside from teaching me self-discipline, figure skating shaped my understanding of body image, beauty and gender. A skater is not only awarded points for her technical merit but also her artistry on the ice. Under the umbrella of artistry falls grace, poise, her emotional connection to the musical routine and her appearance. Judges will tell you this is not true, but it most certainly is. Lucky for me, I did not have a “crazy mother” like most of the girls I competed against. Sure, she loved gossiping with the other moms, but she didn’t treat competitions like pageants. While other girls were being doused in glitter, selftanner and fake eyelashes, my mother only let me have a little blush and lipstick. You can tell when adults are living through the double axels of their children. I remember watching my competitors get bulldozed by their buxom mothers as they teased their daughters’ hairdos. We were kids, maybe 12 years old. The last thing our psyches needed was pressure in the powder room about our tacky makeup and hair.
And then there was the body thing: feeling fat. Like ballerinas, figure skaters have to maintain a certain physique. Your body is your instrument and works like a machine. I had no chest and slender arms, yet I could strangle a horse with my thighs. I remember when I quit figure skating. I got tits, a real ass, and my body started to change. It freaked me out. I panicked. I had what appeared to be cellulite. I’ll never forget that image. It fucked me up. All girls have a moment like this, and it stays with us well into our adult years, even when we know better. I never saw my body the same way again. When I started a band and people began to care, I was tossed back into the public eye. I’ve known this world since I was a child, and it does not scare me. I thrive on it. However, being the object lends itself to criticism and, eventually, twisted self-doubt. I’m used to reviewers talking about my body, which is arguably sexist. (Have you ever seen a review that mentions Danny Brown’s figure or Mac DeMarco’s stomach? No.) I can deal with this reality, even if I do not accept it. I still have that self-disciplined child inside me. She’s the one that keeps me working hard and striving for more. She’s the one that gets pissed off when White Lung is in the studio and my voice feels off, when I can’t produce the sound I want. She’s the one who comes down on me when it’s 7 am and I’m high as a kite, trying to finish those last few deadlines. I need her inside me to keep me going. I wouldn’t trade my history on the ice for anything. I’m better for it. White Lung’s latest album, Sorry, is out now via Deranged Records. ST—015
IN THE CITY
Photography MICHAEL FLORES
CARMEN VILLAIN Carmen Villain’s debut album, Sleeper, is out now via Smalltown Supersound.
The former model reflects on her musical journey in four cities. Oslo (part one)
As a kid in Norway, when everyone else was obsessed with Beverly Hills, 90210, I joined the marching band, where I was handed a clarinet, began playing piano and got a good foundation of musical theory. I quit the clarinet early and continued with the piano until I became an angsty teenager. Norwegians tend to start partying early on, and with this hazy new world came an obsession with music, especially hip-hop. I was introduced to the guitar. Life was all right, but something dark was clouding my mind until I got the urge to jack it all in. A week later I moved to New York, not knowing what to expect, at age 17.
I was lucky to instantly land great jobs, and with these jobs came travel. I learned to create a bubble around myself to deal with the shallow judgements in my job. This skill was okay for a while, but it’s not good to be so detached. When 9/11 happened, I was living three blocks away and had to run when the first tower fell. I remember being knee deep in ash, certain I was going to die while running east on Wall Street. Anxiety issues ensued. Mind clouds. But work went on. I spent a lot of time writing stories alone on airplanes. Someone (then) special bought me my first electric guitar and amp. I discovered Swans, Royal Trux and Sun City Girls. I then moved to London for that (then) someone special.
I hated London that first year but slowly started understanding its dark humor and linguistic charms. Dub music, Stephen Fry, Blake. Being
here has hardened me. I kept playing the guitar, drum machines and basic recording equipment. My personal state of mind and personal life were in decline, and the songs I wrote reflected that. It all ended in heartbreak, major anxiety problems, a decent amount of demos and the first studio session in Oslo. The results were really something: the beginning of my first album, and what appeared to help me out of the dirt.
When I first went to LA, work tended to put me in a showy Beverly Hills hotel; I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to live in such a shallow world. But I found it fascinating to observe those mainstream “ideals.” Bimbo plastic—you got the money, they can’t say no. Lipgloss. Men that look like pigs and think fucking should be like they do in their porn collection. The ultimate place to crash and burn for people desperate for attention. On later visits, I discovered more sides to LA: faded beautiful pastels, kitsch houses, Mexico everywhere, the vegetation, the freaks, the sea, the desert, the sun.
Oslo (part two)
During my years away from Oslo, I grew to dislike the embarrassing ignorance in certain areas. I’d see my small group of friends and family, then get the fuck out. But when I started working with these amazing musicians, I discovered the majority of people aren’t ignorant, solarium-tanned fucks. I have split most of my time between London and Oslo ever since, and it’s been great. — Tap here to read more from Carmen. ST—017
Photography jimmy fontaine
From left: Mikey Young, Dan Steward, Dave West, Zephyr Pavey, James Vinciguerra, Al Montfort STâ€”018
Frontman Daniel Steward on Rod Stewart. My love for Rod Stewart is longer than any other musical love I have. When I was a child, my bedroom door had a giant poster of Rod in red leather pants looking back at me over his shoulder (taken from the Foolish Behavior LP). My main memories of my folks’ divorce in ’82 seem to center on a copy of Tonight I’m Yours sitting on my dad’s record player in his new, near furnitureless bachelor pad. I find sincerity in Rod’s voice that I don’t get from most other music. It’s all too intertwined with heavy life memories to judge properly, and weirdly, I find it harder to write about than I thought I would.
sounds so natural and in the room with you, and was a big inspiration on how I wanted my records to sound—a perfect balance of looseness and connection and intuition. — LISTEN to this: “Mandolin Wind”
THEN TRY Never a Dull Moment (Mercury, 1972) The same as before, but a little more consistent. “You Wear It Well” is the second perfect Quittenton collaboration, copying the rambling, chorus-less formula of “Maggie May” but cutting out the heartbreak. My fave of Rod’s many Dylan covers (“Mama You’ve Been on My Mind”) is also on here. Perhaps the weak link for me is the Hendrix cover “Angel,” but judging from the singalongs this one always got at Faces shows, I may be alone in thinking this. — LISTEN TO THIS: “Mama You’ve Been on My Mind”
FOR SERIOUS FANS ONLY
A Night on the Town (Warner Bros., 1976) A Night on the Town’s thriftstore ubiquity causes people to overlook it. “The Killing of Georgie” is perhaps his best solo songwriting effort. “Tonight’s the Night” is an amazing piece of sleazy poetry about slaying virgins, complete with Britt Ekland’s French orgasmic mumblings at the end (cut from the US version, I think, because you guys are squares). “The First Cut Is the Deepest” achieves START HERE a miracle and makes Cat Stevens enjoyable. And “Ball Trap” is a hella boogie rocker about chicks Every Picture Tells a Story ’n’ all that. This LP has it all and sounds fantastic, (Mercury, 1971) and the band—now American based, as Rod has The peak of his early career, gone Hollywood by this point—is killing it. The where Rod perfected his formula of well-chosen covers, best thing about Rod LPs is that they are cheap and you can take a chance for fuck all outlay. Give sassy rockers, folkies and him a chance; he’s a better man than you think. heartbreaking originals. The — LISTEN TO THIS: “The Killing of Georgie” first of his trilogy of perfect songs with Martin Quittenton, — Tap here to Read Total Control ”Maggie May,” is here, as is “Mandolin Wind,” my guitarist/producer Mikey Young’s favorite Rod song and the only “our song” I’ve additional thoughts on Rod Stewart. ever had with someone I loved. The production ST—019
Photography Collin erie
baths Baths’ latest album, Obsidian, is out now via Anticon.
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switched on Three NYC artists— Gavin Russom, Laurel Halo and Brenmar—unpack a heady haul of Moog gear to craft exclusive tracks for self-titled inspired by Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies.” Photography shawn brackbill
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gavin russom “Our Streets” — Oblique Strategies Card: “Spectrum Analysis” Equipment Used: Logic as my master clock and recording deck; an MPC2000 as MIDI Sequencer and beat programmer; and a TR-707, KPR-77, DX-7, two Slim Phattys, MF-104M Analog Delay, MF-105M MIDI MuRF and MF-102 Ring Modulator for sounds and processing The Story Behind the Song: “I look at music very physically, from constructing patches of gear that function like living organisms to creating sounds that impact the body, with a strong element of spontaneity. This track was partly about getting pumped up, like the soundtrack for a workout montage in a movie like Rocky. Only it’s a holistic workout that includes spiritual and physical fitness. Maybe that relates to the card in how “Spectrum Analysis” is like going over the whole system and tuning it up. I found interesting ways to use the new Moog gear, too, playing the knobs live and thinking of ways to use each piece that might not be the standard “set and forget” approach. Keeping everything moving like that made each sound feel alive, like they’re all getting together and doing their thing.”
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laurel halo “M-14” — Oblique Strategies Card: “Remember Those Quiet Evenings” Equipment Used: Little Phatty Stage II, MF-104M Analog Delay, MF-102 Ring Modulator, MF-101 Low Pass Filter, various hardware/software samplers The Story Behind the Song: “You could dedicate an entire discography to exploring ‘those quiet evenings,’ so I focused on the gear itself. I knew that the Moogerfoogers would be great, but I had to spend some time with the Little Phatty to see what I could get out of it. I wanted the track to have a vague nighttime feel—a bit spaced-out and impressionistic. So with the Oblique Strategy prompt in mind, the track came out sounding freer than previous ones I’ve made, exploring modal types of improvisation with the recording and responding to the pitches the Delay pedal would create. I enjoy creating both percussive and ambient tracks these days, focusing mostly on sound design, and this project was a good way to explore both a looser sound and writing that places a premium on mood and timbre before structure and complexity.”
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brenmar “Moog Beat” — Oblique Strategies Card: “Be Extravagant” Equipment Used: Little Phatty Stage II, MF-101 Low Pass Filter, MF-102 Ring Modulator and MF-105M MIDI MuRF, recorded/mixed on a Mac Pro running Ableton Live The Story Behind the Song: “When I think of Moog and most analog synths in general, they usually represent a previous era of synth-based electronic music. I gave myself the task of using analog gear to sound very contemporary and fresh. I had to do a fair amount of postprocessing to get there, but the actual journey of making the track was the most fun I’ve had in a while. I’m a sound nerd at the end of the day; actually playing with the knobs and waveforms in real time is so great. I basically made a heavy hip-hop beat utilizing a lot of my own processed Moog samples—pretty cool. It’s meant for the club. I make music I can DJ out; I’ve already added it to the setlist.”
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this ain’t no disco
as dance music continues to dominate the charts, the underground’s staged its own uprising. here’s our take:
Disclosure Matthew Herbert | Zomby numero group | tokimonsta james blake airhead | andy stott michael mayer | night slugs jon hopkins | deadboy lee gamble | the prodigy pete swanson | wolf eyes hyetal | john talabot L.I.E.S. | stellar om source larry gus | mount kimbie adult. | moon wiring club solar bears ST—041 ST—031
homework The UK duo Disclosure heads to Detroit, in search of Dilla, abandoned buildings and the ghosts of techno’s past . Words camille dodero Photography Bella Howard This is the brothers’ first time visiting the birthplace of techno, so everything is a tourist attraction, especially Motown’s post-industrial desolation. “That whole road back there was empty!” shouts Guy, as if we’d just spotted our first elephant on an afternoon safari. “Every single house. But look! This one’s not as bad.” It is a very Detroit juxtaposition: two parallel side streets sharing a connective cul-de-sac, one road inhabited with cars and kids and lawn furniture, the other a vacant row of pillaged husks. The 2012 documentary Detropia, an elegiac meditation on the bankrupt city’s economic plight, proffers the statistic that that every 20 minutes, a family moves out of the metropolitan area. This seems like supporting evidence. We circle back to observe more closely. That’s how we end up trespassing into 17258 Bloom Street—a misnomer considering the block’s overwhelming desiccation—and walking past a vestigial no soliciting sign, stepping over a uy Lawrence is hesitant to enter toy Spider-Man with an amputated leg, with Guy the abandoned house, the one with the windows punched out and no front door. “It smells funny,” wondering if we’ll find a rotting human carcass. We find no corpse. There is, however, a he whispers, glass shards crunching under his unmatched construction boot standing upright black Nike trainers. “I’m a little worried there’s in a common area, as if someone just stepped out going to be a dead body in here.” of it. Sledgehammered walls reveal wooden-lath We’ve been driving around Detroit’s rustbelt wilderness for almost two hours with Guy, now 22, teeth. A thick coating of plaster dust layers the riding shotgun and his younger brother, Howard, moldy carpet, where a broken Vaseline jar has left 19, alone in the back seat. Together, they comprise greasy stains. Every appliance is missing; there’s a discarded toilet seat where the kitchen sink the British dance-music duo Disclosure, a rising UK garage/house act who would not exist without used to be. A grocery store shopper from nearby Seven Mile Foods dates the last occupants back Detroit’s influence, a dotted-line ancestry they honored by setting the video for their future-R&B to March 2012. March 2012 seems like a lifetime ago in Guy single “White Noise” here. and Howard Lawrence’s world. It was the month “We’re just fascinated by the city,” explains BBC Radio 1 playlisted Disclosure’s techno remix Guy, as he navigates us out of downtown with of “Running,” a sultry incantation by Mercury an iPhone. “So much music we like from here. Prize–nominated British soul singer Jessie Ware, Everything about J Dilla and that kind of scene, which the elated brothers described online as Slum Village. But also house-wise—Juan Atkins, “MAD. NESS.” It was before Disclosure sold Kenny Larkin, Derrick May.”
out live shows in New York City, signed to the Interscope venture label Cherrytree or closed out this year’s Coachella. March 2012 was before their smash “White Noise,” featuring AlunaGeorge’s Aluna Francis, hit No. 2 on the official UK singles chart, before Disclosure effectively ruled their home country, their wildly rapturous two-step anthems spilling out of cars and blasting in taxis, before they became “not household names—but getting there,” as Luke Monaghan, the 25-yearold director for the “White Noise” video, put it recently over Skype. March 2012 was before Disclosure really happened. But now it is 2013, and Disclosure are happening. Skrillex has somehow fit their gorgeously emotive triplet-groove single “Latch” into his live sets. Mark Ronson, an expert radiohit manufacturer, endorsed them on Twitter (“nice guys, dope album”). Brooklyn trap-rave producer Baauer, the Diplo confrere whose future-crunk meme “Harlem Shake” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, dropped a sneak preview of an upcoming Disclosure remix at Coachella (and that short clip was more widely ST—034
circulated online than his signature-hit encore). Nile Rodgers, the ’70s-disco icon behind Chic’s triple-platinum “Le Freak” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” guitar boogie, just announced plans to collaborate with the brothers. Most importantly, Disclosure just released their debut album, Settle, a sheeny, enormous dance record of crisp hi-hatted club hits, UK-garage revivalism and deep-house love-step pop serenades, featuring vocals from the likes of Friendly Fires frontman Ed Macfarlane and Lily Allen satellite Eliza Doolittle. And it is fucking amazing. “From seeing them play a gig in a basement in Brixton two years ago, where Howard wasn’t even old enough to be there, to seeing them smash it now is just the best thing,” says friend and ardent supporter Jessie Ware, one of Settle’s eight guest vocalists. “They are such a talent.” In a year from now, Disclosure will probably be in a very different, and much bigger, place. “Maybe,” says Guy evenly, backstage at Saint Andrew’s Hall, before headlining Detroit for the first time. “Hopefully. But we still won’t be dickheads.”
Some things we learned about Disclosure in Detroit: Guy is very paranoid about guns, so much that he initially vows not to get out of the car. (“I wish your country didn’t give out guns. It’s not cool.”) Howard plays Game Boy to pass time on tour. Guy is the one who turns on the dressing room stereo. (Backstage at St. Andrew’s, he chooses Vondelpark’s “Always Forever.”) Howard saw Sonny Moore’s old emo band, From First to Last, when he was 13 and still prefers that music over Skrillex’s robot metal. (“Can’t believe you just admitted that,” Guy scoffs.) Guy thinks Tyler, the Creator’s newest record, Wolf, is great; he’s particularly taken by “Bimmer,” an uneasily sensual vignette in which the Odd Future ringleader likens his girl to a BMW. (Guy sings the refrain as we’re paused at a stoplight.) Howard got kicked out of college for poor attendance—his Disclosure obligations conflicted with his classes—but now his school wants to claim him publicly as a model achiever. (“Now the college is calling me and e-mailing me and texting me and asking me to big-up them and say, ‘Go, Surrey College! They taught me, and look where I am,” Howard says bemusedly.) So far, they aren’t annoyed with the task of having to answer the same questions over and over. (“How can you ever be angry at anything?” asks Guy. “It’s not even a real job.”) As future pop icons, the brothers appear atypically regular. They perform in white T-shirts and jeans; offstage they favor varsity jackets and hoodies. Howard is taller than Guy, but not by much. Guy’s full of energy; Howard has honest eyes and a gentle spirit. Guy admits a “fetish” for Nike Air Max trainers; Howard often reps an Adidas logo. They don’t wear hats. Next to Jessie Ware, a uniquely styled woman prone to shoulder pads and gargantuan hoop earrings, they look like university students who just left the pub. They took a limousine to Detroit from Toronto, where they’d headlined the previous night, but they don’t exude any measure of extravagance. Yet they’re already self-aware enough to be conscientious about becoming, in their words, dickheads. “We’ve definitely had a glimpse into why people become that,” confides Howard. “You don’t see your friends. Period. You’re on your own a lot, just on the tour bus. You go a bit mental.” Before all this escalated to the point
Matthew Herbert’s One Bit of Advice For Young Producers My advice is always the same: Why do we need anymore music? Seventy-five percent of iTunes has never even been downloaded once, so chances are no one will ever download your work. Presumably everything has already been written about love by now, so if you can answer that question—why I should be writing music in the first place, and what I am hoping to achieve from it—then all of your other decisions will fall into place, really. You don’t have to answer that question straight away, but you should be thinking about it. Like if I’m making an album about sneakers and I’m politically engaged, it’s hard not to think, “I should record some sounds at a sneaker factory and use that.” Creativity inevitably follows the core reason of why you’re doing something in the first place. where they were Glastonbury draws, he’d catch up with his friends at the pub. But now with Disclosure’s schedule so tightly constrained, constantly shifting among international time zones, he has to hunt down free time to call them: “I have to make such a conscious effort to contact my mates just to have a chat. And I never had to do that before, so it’s quite weird.” The Lawrences hail from Redhill, a Surrey suburb with little discernible nightlife, where writer Nick Hornby was born. “It’s really kind of middle-class, but not posh,” reports Guy. “There’s not a lot of crime at all. You can leave your car unlocked on the street, and it’ll probably be all right for a night.” They came from a robust musical lineage. Their grandparents performed in orchestras. Their father, a guitarist and singer who worked as an auctioneer, was in a moderately successful band that toured Canada and met with record labels, but never succeeded with a major deal. Their mother, Carolyn, recorded radio jingles and entertained on cruise ships; she now gets paid to update the official Disclosure blog. Since instruments were always around the house, it was inevitable the brothers would learn ST—035
how to play something. Guy attacked the drums at age three; Howard started messing with the bass guitar at eight or nine. Their parents preferred ’80s pop, but Howard gravitated more toward musically instructional genres like funk and jazz, singer-songwriters like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, and his dad’s prog-rock collection. In high school, Guy listened almost exclusively to hip-hop, stuff like A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, Busta Rhymes. And the elder sibling drummed in an indie-dance band that had primarily social ambitions. “It took us, like, a year to get a few 100 Facebook likes,” he remembers. “Our main priority was playing as many house parties at college as we could.” They weren’t exposed to electronic music until Guy started going to clubs in Brighton, a 45-minute drive away. “I wish we had been,” he
admits. “Our parents weren’t into it. But as soon as we heard house music and garage and hip-hop—that’s what I’d been looking for.” The Disclosure origin story has all the dramatic arc of a homework assignment. Howard was teaching himself the production software Logic Pro, and Guy, who’d introduced him to Burial, asked to remix some of those files for fun. A few weeks later, on a lark, Guy uploaded a couple of the completed tracks to MySpace; the project had no name, so Guy cribbed the word “Disclosure” from a nearby car insurance form. Guy cites Joy Orbison’s 2009 formative ecstasy lift “Hyph Mngo” as the first track to trigger his interest in an electronic-music songwriting. You can hear that single’s atmospheric influence in the ethereal post-dubstep wash of 2010’s “Street Light Chronicle,” one of the brothers’ first finished compositions. Amusingly, Disclosure not only have Joy Orbison to thank for their creative inspiration, but also for their online connections: To promote those first tracks, Guy friend blasted Joy Orbison’s MySpace fanbase. A respected music blog got the alert, posted their MP3s, and within a week, the siblings were fielding inquiries from prospective managers. In fact, Disclosure’s status as a spamming success story might be one of the band’s best-kept secrets.
Six YouTube Clips Zomby IM’d us, As Evidence of Why We Need to Hear the Grime MC Big H 1. BIG H - “ALARM” (FIRE & SMOKE) @TVTOXIC 2. Big H - Practice hours 2 3. BIG H FREESTYLE RISKYROADZ.COM 4. A-STAR TV GREEZY BARS : BIG H 5. Big H - *Hero* Radio Rip [Prod. Flash G - Dj Springy P - HightzLive FM] 6. Big H - No Fear ST—036
DOLLARS TO DONUTS
When we first met Guy and Howard at Saint Andrew’s Hall, we’d planned on tracking down one of the locations where “White Noise” was shot. The video stars local 313 urban-dance legend Grand Master Kafani, playing the role of a guy who takes care of derelict buildings and privately channels their former glory by throwing one-man dance parties in them. Places like the Packard Plant, a crumbling 35-acre ruin that’s become an international emblem of Motor City’s decline; the Michigan Central Station, a popular urban spelunking spot only a 10-minute drive West from Saint Andrew’s; or the Eastown Theatre, a former 2,500-seat concert hall where the Kinks, MC5 and Stooges once performed. But the Lawrences weren’t interested in admiring their own micro-legacy; what they really wanted to do was find Conant Gardens, the Northeastern Detroit neighborhood where auteurist hip-hop producer J Dilla grew up. Disclosure are massive Dilla fans. Guy calls him “the best producer who ever lived—and probably ever will.” In interviews, they gush about him endlessly. While crafting Settle, Guy kept a few seminal records by his studio computer as visual lodestars of towering greatness: D’Angelo’s neo-soul monument Voodoo; Fantastic, Vol. 2, the sophomore installment from Dilla’s rap crew Slum Village, in which he was billed as Jay Dee; Onra’s 2010 retro patchwork Long Distance—all of which have ties to Dilla. (Long Distance boasts a cameo from his Slum Village cohort T3.) Somehow, Disclosure even finagled a Dilla sample for Settle, which appears in the bubbling scale-climbing club jam “Grab Her.” Heading to Conant Gardens, we aren’t sure what we’re looking for, exactly, but we do find Pershing High, the school where Slum Village’s three founding members attended their senior year. We whiz by McNichols Road, and Howard asks to pull over; the street is mentioned in “Conant Gardens,” the bass-thumping hoodshouting Slum Village tune, and he wants to take a picture. “Let him do it,” says Guy reluctantly. “But don’t get shot.” We’d hoped to discover a Dilla plaque somewhere—fellow Detroit musical luminary Carl Craig has, in fact, pushed for one—but the closest we come to any sort of official designation
is a Conant Gardens historical marker in a park on the corner of East Nevada and Conant Street. We trudge out to poke around in the heathergray weather, and the Lawrences have us take a photo of them posted beside the tall sign, which they immediately upload to their social-media accounts. “Truly humbled to be in Detroit today,” reads the caption. “Home of all things musically great, techno, house and J Dilla.” Since this trek came together on a whim, we’re not sure where anything else is, so our collective imagination animates the decaying scenery, like children who see a plundering pirate ship in a rotting picnic table. Every Conant Gardens house may’ve been Dilla’s crib; every possible matriarch on the street might be his mother, Ma Dukes; every rusty trailer set off from the road might just be holding the next Eminem. Mound Correctional Facility, an ungainly state-prison sprawl circumscribed by 12-foot razor-coil fences, conjured superlative villains. “The people who are in there—think what they’ve done,” posits Guy. “Like the worst of the worst things.” In fact, as we later learn, Dilla’s childhood home is located on the corner of MacDougal and Nevada, which we missed by a block; Eminem never lived in a trailer (that was his fictional
8 Mile alter-ego, Rabbit); and Mound Correctional Facility hasn’t had inmates since January 2012. But exploring with an ignorant curiosity and filling in the blanks with enthusiastic speculation was a fitting thing to do with Disclosure. That’s the same process that led Guy and Howard to their particular strand of UK garage and house revivalism: They became enchanted by post-dubstep acts like Burial, Mount Kimbie, and Joy Orbison, yet had no sense of context or history, so they worked their way backward out of compulsive interest, self-administering a retroactive education in electronic music. “You know when you kind of get really interested in something and you end up researching it for days?” asks Howard. “That’s what happened.” James Blake traced back to two-step titan MJ Cole, UK garage godfather Todd Edwards, Craig David accomplices Artful Dodger. Glaswegian party DJ Jackmaster led back even further, to Chicago house colossus Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, deep-house pioneer Mr. Fingers and legendary house progenitor Frankie Knuckles. “Mixes were quite important,” remembers Howard. “We’d be hearing music and you’d look at the tracklist and go, ‘This one’s good, as well. It was made in...1989. Oh.’ ” Five years before Howard’s birth. Their youth is such a curiosity that there were initially whispers among their peers that the duo couldn’t possibly be mixing their own songs; the sound quality was just too impressive. How could teenagers be making pitch-perfect garage and house tracks? The same method that allowed all of this to start in the first place: technology. “Some people Tweet us saying, ‘How do you even know about garage? Why are you trying to make it? It’s not yours to make.’ It’s like, ‘Fuck off. They pressed it onto records so it would last,’ ” says Guy, when we get back to Saint Andrew’s. “There’ll be a load of purists who will just take the piss out of us for just reading about it off the Internet. They’ll hate us. But what else was I supposed to do?” Disclosure emphasize that they’ve taken great pains to show reverence for their forebears. They’ve toured with Todd Edwards, covered Ralphi Rosario’s sassy 1987 Chicago-house hit “You Used to Hold Me” live and remixed Artful Dodger’s overlooked 2000 track “Please ST—038
Don’t Turn Me On.” There are moments on Settle that conjure the buoyant exuberance of, say, Derrick May’s Rhythim Is Rhythim crosscontinental breakthrough, “Strings of Life,” even though it’s not a Detroit techno record. Guy says these allusions, both subtle and overt, are deliberate. “We are referencing a lot of old stuff in our music—especially the production side of things—with the sounds that we choose, the drums that we choose. It’s almost like, ‘This is how house would’ve sounded if they’d had better equipment.’ ” Settle, as it happens, is a worthy homage. It is massive, a rare feat of marrying human emotional exuberance with machine-made perfectionism. Veritable opener “When a Fire Starts to Burn” uses a thrillingly enormous breakbeat to turn an ardent preacher’s sermon into a life-affirming dance-floor banger. “You & Me,” an ebullient serenade that debuted on the UK charts at No. 10, turns cheeky frivolity Eliza Doolittle from trifling pop accessory to dance-floor nightingale. The brothers’ primary achievement is applying pop structures to house music’s ethos, hip-hop’s production acuity to two-step toolkits, and Settle relies far more on the magnetism of bridges and choruses than just builds and drops. “We don’t make techno— we don’t make anything like techno—but it’s the same principle: They were making something fresh and new, and that’s what I’d like to do,” says Guy. With Settle, they have. We’re now in the dressing room after soundcheck, devouring BBQ delivery from a nearby joint the Saint Andrew’s staff recommended. Guy and Howard are regaling their tour manager, Toby Iddison, with anecdotes from this afternoon’s adventures: fearing dead bodies, seeing Dilla’s neighborhood, cruising down the urbansuburban division of 8 Mile. “The shittiest city in the world is our favorite city,” says Guy proudly. “If I had to be shot and survive, I would love to do that in Detroit,” Howard imagines deliciously. “Just so when someone asks, ‘What is that scar?’ I could say, ‘I got shot in Detroit.’ ” Then Howard finished his pork-butt sandwich and retreated to a window seat to play his Game Boy. //
Numero Group’s Top four Ambient Reissues We Wish We’d Released
TOKiMONSTA’s Favorite Koreatown Spots in LA Photography nathaniel wood
1. Maggi Payne, Ahh-Ahh — Music for Ed Tannenbaum’s Technological Feets, 19841987 (Root Strata) Much early electronic music was localized at the various institutions that could afford to acquire the equipment. Some of the coolest stuff came out of Mills [College], and this document proves there’s much more to mine. 2. Bruce Langhorne, The Hired Hand (Scissor Tail) Soundtrack to an ambient Western, perfectly realized through an opioid haze with simple acoustic arrangements. 3. Mad Music Inc., Mad Music Inc. (Yoga/Drag City) Mad Music Inc. is as mysterious as a recording gets. Mad Music might have ties to organized crime or international piracy. It doesn’t, but that’s the level of mystery. 4. Aphex Twin, Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1972) This record needs no introduction, but this masterpiece has spent big chunks of the past two decades out of print. I do think Richard D. James’ mercurial nature must be somewhat to blame.
1. Bosco Bakery
have a Korean grocery nearby. The Plaza Market is one of the institutionalized Korean grocery markets in the area. Others are Hannam Chain and Assi. It used to be a lot cooler when I was younger because I really like grocery shopping, but they have fallen off a little compared to some of the other markets in the area. I prefer Assi. Regardless, I still have an attachment to this market because growing up my family would visit this one often when we would visit K-town from Torrance. Also, it’s in the Koreatown Plaza, so you can buy groceries, stop by a K-pop music store and buy golf shoes all in one place.
Generally speaking, Koreatown is flooded with French-style Korean bakeries. However, Bosco has been around for many years and always has a great assortment of freshly baked cakes and breads. The best part is that most items are only $1 to $3. They also have cool combinations of French pastries with Korean fillings like sweet potato or chestnuts.
3. Beer Belly
2. The Plaza Market
After living in Silverlake, I forgot how awesome it is to
It’s one of the only places in K-town that isn’t “all Korean everything.” The menu is new American and is very filling. I am a regular here and stop by often to get a pint of local California craft brews and watch the game. I can’t drink soju all day. I’m pretty sure I’d melt from the inside out. ST—039
body music Producer James Blake explains why dance music doesn’t make much sense till you’re smack dab in the middle of a dance floor. Photography ysa pÉrez For Blake (who released his latest LP Overgrown this spring), that happened at 15, when he attended a Shoreditch party called Herbal. Before that, he considered most radio-endorsed electronic music “pretty much shit” and preferred the likes of Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo. In the following interview, we explore how Blake’s music has been shaped by the dance floor. self-titled: What was your first club experience like? I loved and hated it at the same time. It was a bit of a testosterone-driven experience—as in, almost everyone around me was on coke and wanted to start fights.
didn’t understand club music until I went to a club,” explains James Blake, in between bites of pesto-slathered pasta at NYC’s Bowery Hotel. “It sounds like I’m stating the obvious, but that is a concept that evades a lot of people who try to talk about electronic music without actually going to the places where it should be heard.” ST—040
Wasn’t drum ’n’ bass at its peak when you started going out? It was around 2000, so that was when drum ’n’ bass started eating itself.... In that sense, I was born at the wrong time. Then the UK garage/2-step thing started happening. I went to a couple of nights and latched on to it straight away. There was room for musicality—discernible melodies and rhythmic shifts where I can hear the logic of it. But most of all, it was body music, like soul, African drumming and dub, these types of musics that are a shit-hot drummer playing with a really good bassist. FWD>> was one of the first regular parties you went to. What were the crowds like then? The first nights I went to, people were either stoned or on Ketamine. They were standing near
the speakers, not dissimilar from going to some sound-system thing at the Notting Hill Carnival, where people are getting truly blasted and not really moving. You never misinterpret that as them not really enjoying the music. They’re having the time of their lives in a way [laughs]. It then went through this golden age where girls started arriving. It wasn’t just a gender mix, either; it was a racial mix that represented London in a microcosm. It was great. That was my favorite point, I think. Not to sound cooler than thou, but there’s a time in all musics where it’s at its best. And that was that point. And then you’d go in there and realize less and less people were into the actual music. They just wanted to be there, and go outside and smoke cigarettes. Meanwhile, all of the people making it were still so into it. People like Benga and Skream? Yeah, and they still are; they just have different audiences now. It’s not anyone’s fault. In the UK, it’s just another genre of music. But if you’re a kid from the Midwest and the first time you’ve ever seen dubstep is an insert-name-here EDM DJ and everyone’s going, “Oh, it’s dubstep!,” what are you supposed to think? You go along, and it’s loud, and you drink some Monster [Energy Drink] because you’re underage, and you have a great time, and you tell all your friends about it, and word spreads. I think it’s great. It’s a really healthy thing to happen. Do you remember when you first went to a techno club in Berlin, the kind where you danced until 6 in the morning without getting bored? Absolutely. And without taking drugs, which is amazing. It’s rare that I go somewhere and see the local dance-music thing and don’t like it. I’m not sure if that’s even happened to me. If you don’t like it, chances are you just don’t understand it. If you’re completely alien to it, it’s a bit like going to Japan, where there are no reference points. Which is why it’s awesome. Right, it’s why it’s one of my favorite places to go. It was the same way when we went to Brazil— I just wanted to go and hear local bands. And it was great because people were dancing. I was dancing, and I was drinking, and everyone was having a great time. Then I went to Berlin...
Who was playing? [Ricardo] Villalobos. Not a bad entry point to Berghain. That was, I mean... People will listen to him for 15 hours. I listened to him for at least four. And then we stayed there all night. Was that the first time you heard that kind of music for an extended period of time? Yeah, you have to break yourself in like a new pair of boots. You’re a new pair of boots every time you hear a genre you don’t necessarily understand. Give it a few hours of hearing that same beat over and over, and you will, most certainly, understand it. If you listen to something enough, it will filter into your subconscious and you’ll remember it. The repetitious nature takes you away.
JAMES BLAKE COHORT ROB MCANDREWS (AKA AIRHEAD) CYCLES ACROSS AMERICA When I saw our tour manager get the front wheel of her fold-up bicycle stuck in a tramline in San Francisco, go flying over the handlebars and land sprawling on the road, I wasn’t filled with confidence. Nevertheless, we’d taken our bikes all the way to the US and were determined to make use of them. After a few hours and a phenomenal hospital bill, we were ready to get back on the road. our top five cycling destinations 1. Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, CA) 2. Emigrant Lake Park (Ashland, OR) 3. Stanley Park (Vancouver, BC) 4. Boise River Greenbelt (Boise, ID) 5. The suburban back streets of Lawrence, KS For some reason the sight of five amateur British cyclists riding comically small folding bikes in a loose peloton was too much for the locals. We didn’t make it out on a single journey without somebody commenting, the most memorable being a group of Boise jocks in a clapped-out Pinto shouting, “Nice bikes, faggots.” ST—041
Photography kyle johnson
testing the limits Andy Stott on pursuing his passion for rally car racing.
My dad was a mechanic and used to race cars in his spare time. He never forced it on me. If I wasn’t at the circuit watching him with my mum, I was watching cars on the TV. One time he was racing in a forest. The danger with that is there are no barriers; trees don’t move, know what I mean? His car flipped on a tight bend, hit a tree roof first and bent like a banana. He was trapped upside down, and all he could hear was fuel spilling outside the car—a ticking time bomb. People eventually came, pushed the car back over and got him out. I remember him dropping me off at school when it was snowing. We were in his normal car, and I said to him, “Slide it around this corner.” So he ST—042
pulled the handbrake and passed the school in this big power slide. I think he would have done it even if I hadn’t asked him. I was laughing, but my mom was saying, “This is stupid!’’ And we were like, “No, this is wicked.” I’ve got this 1972 Ford Escort that I’m making into a rally car with my dad at the moment. He’s retired, but the car is keeping him busy. I went to this old Ford show and was just like, “I need that.” The engine was a pile of shit, but I managed to drive it home. A friend behind me had to pull over at a service station on the way home and wipe off the windscreen because it was leaking oil all the way down. I told my girlfriend, “If things get tight, I’ll sell
this and I’ll sell that, but I will never be selling this car.” When it’s done, I’ll be out competing with my dad. Actually, no—I’ll be beating him. I remember driving absolutely on the limit once. There was no need for it; I was just being young and reckless. And this officer pulled me over. He said, “If I see you driving like that again, I’m going to put you away.” Then he did the whole, “You know, it’s a nice car. I used to have one of these. Look after it.” There’s something really pure about a Ford. There’s no gimmicks; no traction control; no four-wheel drive; no brain in the car, sorting things out electronically. If you’ve made a mistake, there’s nothing to save you. My first car was a Mk2 Escort. The first time I went out with it, the car slid off the road and went into a ditch at 60 miles an hour. We had to crawl out through the back window, and then I called my dad. All I remember was him sighing like I was disturbing his rest. He looked at the car and said, “What gear were you in?” I said, “I’d just gotten out of third gear.” He was just shaking his head, disappointed I didn’t nail it. I was 19 when I rolled that car, so that shook me
up, and I gradually calmed down. This is why I’m so eager to get this Escort done. I want to be able to go out and drive like that without getting a speeding ticket. I started building my own car when I was younger, but I ran out of money, and then music took off. But it’s always been there in the background. I have an older sister. She was a co-driver with my dad for a while, and they had a scary accident. There’s this circuit with a really gradual corner; apparently they were going around it, and the fuse blew. All of his lights went out, and the car went off the road. They went backward, but thankfully it slowed down enough once it hit the grass. That scared the shit out of me. They were fine. These cars are so strong. Mine’s had a lot of work done for this purpose. They re-weld the car. It’s called seam welding. It makes it really solid. I don’t know what it is about driving. I can’t describe it. It’s like a feeling: You are literally throwing something out of control and reigning it back in. Everything is on the limit and completely wrong. There’s something about it. I don’t know. I love it.
Michael Mayer’s Top nine Most Overlooked Releases on Kompakt Records 1. Dettinger, Intershop (1999) Our first album release on Kompakt has this Dorian Gray thing going on. Let’s hope we’ll never get to see the painting.
4. Kaito, Special Love (2003) Future generations will hopefully name this ambient version of Kaito’s debut album in the same sentence with Chopin’s Nocturnes.
7. Partial Arts, Trauermusik 12-inch (2007) One of the best tracks ever, if you like your house somewhere between melancholic and dramatic.
2. Markus Guentner, In Moll (2001) I recently rediscovered this one and have been playing it while cooking ever since.
5. Leandro Fresco, Amor Internacional EP (2002) This EP is like sharing a bottle of aged smoky whiskey with a close friend.
8. Jonas Bering, Behind This Silence EP (2006) “Melanie” is pure beauty and simplicity.
3. Ehlert & Lohberger, Vito EP (2000) A one-off. They were way ahead of their time. And our worst-selling single ever. Life’s a bitch.
6. Andrew Thomas, Fearsome Jewel (2003) I’m amazed that Thomas can be both a frisbee world champion and the creator of this highly delicate music.
9. Matias Aguayo, Are You Really Lost (2005) One of Aguayo’s most underrated productions contains a such a wealth of great ideas. ST—043
The sountrack of our lives James Connolly and Alex Sushon of Night Slugs offer up the records that helped shape them. Photography Meredith jenks
he Night Slugs story is simple: Alex Sushon (aka Bok Bok) and James Connolly (aka L-Vis 1990) couldn’t believe a cut— Kingdom’s “That Mystic”—that was consistently crushing their club night wasn’t properly pressed, so the rising promoters-producers decided to do it themselves. Three years, several key signings (Jam City, Girl Unit, Egyptrixx) and two essential All Stars compilations later, Night Slugs subscribe to a mission statement that’s constantly mutating, pulling in divergent strands of pop and dance music while the rest of the world concerns itself with the wobbles of EDM. Or in the case of Night Slugs’ native London, heaps of endorphin-flooding Euro-trash tracks. “We had several requests for ‘house’ at our last Night Slugs party in London,” says Sushon, “which kinda made me chuckle since, to us, everything is house, and house is everything. It’s a lifelong obsession, not a new trend. And it has to be raw: I want to hear the grit between the drum hits and feel the soul between the synths.” Here the label heads to take us on a tour of their vast record collections. ST—044
THE RECORD PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED I OWN (AND LOVE) CAN, Tago Mago (United Artists, 1971) connolly: I first heard about it from a rambling old guy in a Brighton pub around 10 years ago. We were talking about bands that were ahead of their time, and he brought up Tago Mago. He started to freak out, trying to sing backward and recreate the drums on the bar! It was a hilarious but very special moment. I went out and bought the album the next day and was blown away; the hypnotic groove of the drums and the lack of real structure really struck a chord with me. I’m forever in debt to that old drunk for sending
THE FIRST RECORD I REMEMBER BUYING AND STILL PLAY TODAY Paul Woolford presents Bobby Peru, “Erotic Discourse” (20:20 Vision, 2006) connolly: I used to spend all my free periods at college record shopping in Brighton. There were so many good shops back then, but one really helped me become the DJ I am today: Covert Records. Each time I’d go in and ask for vinyl off the wall, and the dude there would chuck in a couple wild cards from another section I wouldn’t normally look at. “Erotic Discourse” happened to be one of these, and I went bananas! To this day, that record is one of the most futurist yet timeless club smashers. It’s from another planet and never leaves my crate. Seven years later, I was lucky enough to get the stems off Paul to remix it, a serious dream come true!
THE RECORD I WISH WE’D RELEASED ON NIGHT SLUGS
me down the wormhole that is avant-garde, Krautrock and EBM. Various artists, Bruton Music compilations sushon: I don’t know much about library music, but I started picking up Bruton Music 12-inches on sight after discovering my first one. I instantly gravitated toward the art, which—like Night Slugs—is based on a house-sleeve template that stays the same for every release. If you haven’t heard a Bruton compilation before, it’s a lot of funk toolkits and jazz-fusion type stuff— perfect for vintage TV idents and sampling. My favorite volumes have a ton of short jingles and licks mixed up with longer tracks.
Lil Silva, “Funky Flex” (self-released, 2008) connolly: When I first heard about UK funky in the spring of 2008, I was so skeptical. The first music seemed like handbag house with syncopated drums. I was like, “This is shit! This is not a London sound.” Within a few days, Alex sent me this rip of a Marcus Nasty set with MC Rankin. The whole mix was inspiring but one track stood out: “Funky Flex,” the first to truly capture the essence of grime and combine it with house in such a distinct, destructive way. “Flex” became part of the blueprint of early Night Slugs thinking and still is today. In 2010, we released Silva’s official debut EP with tracks specifically made for Slugs and a few classics that deserve wider recognition. For some reason we decided against adding “Funky Flex.” We really regret it.
THE RECORD THAT NEVER, EVER LEAVES MY CRATE Girl Unit, “IRL” (Night Slugs, 2010) sushon: As early Night Slugs releases go, this one has stood the test of time like none other. I clearly remember when I first heard it, in the background of a video chat while on my first US tour. Me and Girl Unit had been sharing a house for a while, and I knew he was producing. When ST—045
artists like Cherelle and S.O.S. Band—but what they did on “Scream” is everything I aspire to one day do with pop music myself. I love how raw and wrong the production sounds. I mean, those broken glass noises?!? They really took it there. And this is working for one of the biggest artists of all time. If Michael can sound this crazy, then Night Slugs can definitely do pop music.
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THE RECORD THAT REMINDS ME OF NIGHT SLUGS’ EARLY PARTIES L-Vis 1990, “Change the Game (Starkey Remix)” (Très Cool, 2008) Sushon: Those early Night Slugs parties were so special. For the first time, it felt like I had a true home and family in music. I actually played a live set of my own material at the very first party. I think my debut EP was about to drop; the lead track was this weird Baltimore club track “Change the Game.” It had been around for a minute, so I dropped the Starkey remix that he’d sent over the night before, and the crowd went absolutely nuts. It was such a great feeling. That was actually the last live set I did until my Neon Dreams tour. Everyone was having too much fun on the turntables, so I had to join in!
THE RECORD THAT MADE ME WANT TO BE A PRODUCER I heard “IRL,” it was everything I wanted from club music, summed up neatly in one track. Girl Unit captured the unsteady rhythmic essence of footwork at a UK-friendly 135 BPM, with lead synths that nodded to the brutalist sound design of my favorite era of grime while also possessing this uniquely disorientating bigroom dynamic.
THE RECORD I WISH I’D WRITTEN Michael Jackson (feat. Janet Jackson), “Scream” (Epic, 1995) sushon: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are totally untouchable as pop producers go. I love their more obvious R&B funk stuff from the ’80s— ST—046
Hindzy D, “Target” (Lix Corruptions/Sting Recordings, 2003) Sushon: “Target” defines a time when I was listening to so much pirate radio and barely able to keep up with the stream of new tracks emerging. These beats—grime’s anti-anthems— were not really songs at all, but these special arrangements of sounds, laid out in just the right way to draw all the energy out of your body. A DJ could snap these tracks together like Legos, while producers could easily jumble up their parts, creating an instant remix culture that is still incredibly appealing to me. “Target” stands out from that era as being one of the most original pieces of sound design; it sounds totally alien, cold and cavernous.
THE RECORD I’LL ALWAYS CONSIDER A SECRET WEAPON KW Griff, “Bring in the Katz” (Night Slugs, 2012) connolly: This was my secret weapon for almost two years before we released it; every time I’d drop it, the clubs would explode and everyone would come up to the booth asking, “What the fuck is that ‘katz’ song?” I kept it under wraps for so long. It’s so weird to see the likes of Skrillex and Bauuer drop this Baltimore club anthem; they even rewind it three times after every Boiler Room set! For the moment I’m keeping my current secret weapon close to my chest.
THE RECORD THAT REMINDS ME OF GOING TO RAVES AS A KID Shy FX + UK Apachi, “Original Nuttah” (Sour, 1994) connolly: When I first started raving, I used to go to a jungle/drum ’n’ bass night called Lunacy at this dingy club in Brighton. It was a total sweat pit, but me and my friends lived for it. We would turn up when it opened and dance solidly until the bitter end. Only one DJ ever played the main room, Chris Natural. He was just a local, but he was like a god to us. He knew exactly how to drive us fucking crazy. At the end of the night he would always stop the music, the lights would come on, and everyone in the club would chant, “One more tune! One more tune!” Sometimes for up to 10 minutes! Eventually he would cave in and drop the biggest anthem; for the first six months of my time there, “Original Nuttah” was that track. I have never seen a rave go off crazier since.
Jon Hopkins on tour dining My routine on arrival: Check into the hotel, head to the soundcheck, try and work out why nothing works, persuade everything to work, then head out to dinner. The evening meal is usually the only time we get to relax and appreciate that we are far from home. As I’ve gotten older, the call of partying
has gotten quieter, while the desire to eat well has grown exponentially greater. I fell in love with Polish food on my first visit there. When unfamiliar with a cuisine, I like to start with classic dishes, so it was pierogi and zurek. Both were so homely, satisfying and delicious; they make you feel like a better human just for eating them. I once played a street gig in Katowice in late autumn. Before the show in
the biting cold, we were served rare beef in freshly baked white rolls, with a hot, clear chicken broth and a shot of honey-infused vodka. These things filled me with an amazing internal warmth for the whole night. If nations have a defining characteristic, and I believe they do, then it is represented in their food. Not sure what this says about the English. ST—047
THE RECORD THAT’S AS PERFECT AS A DANCE ANTHEM GETS Stardust, “Music Sounds Better With You” (Virgin, 1998) connolly: That loop is perfect; its amazing how [Thomas] Bangalter and [Alan] Braxe turned a piece of music that is less than three seconds into such a timeless anthem! The first time I saw DJ Assault in 2001, he was playing booty bass I had never heard and Stardust at 150 BPM! I freaked out. It sounded so good—so much joyous energy. I still adopt his technique in my sets.
THE RECORD EVERYONE SHOULD OWN Dizzee Rascal, Boy in Da Corner (XL, 2003) sushon: Two-step garage was ubiquitous where
I went to school, but it wasn’t until I heard Rascal spit over DJ Slimzee on the decks that I was truly hooked. Boy in Da Corner dropped into this environment as a strikingly original debut, an undeniable voice direct from the streets. The narratives and scenarios in his lyrics gave vivid insight into the life of disenfranchised, impoverished London youth, already full of swagger and hungry for money and power. Rascal would go on to shine as a pop star and national treasure in his own right. But it’s the combination of his agile, hungry vocals and early production work that really made this record special. Simply put, anyone interested in UK music or the Night Slugs label needs to get into this record. // — Tap here to check out bonus tracks from the Night Slugs crates.
— tap here to download an exclusive mix by deadboy featuring Goblin, DMX Krew, Steve Moore and more
Lee Gamble’s Guide to “The Mind-Fuckery of the Sciences” Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
Although a little dated now—it’s 30 years old—this 13-part series is still a great watch, with some difficult topics made easily digestible via Sagan’s hypnotic velvet tones and some trippy computergenerated graphics. Vangelis composed some of the music. (If you like that sort of thing.)
Primarily thought of as a scientist or thinker, Fuller was more of a polymath—an inventor, architect, designer, philosopher, systems theorist, author. Fuller also worked as a meat packer and was kicked out of universities for showing a “lack of interest.” By the age of 32, his daughter had died, and he was a failed businessman, bankrupt, jobless and suicidal. Finally, he chose to embark on “an experiment, to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.”
Extremophiles are organisms that live in places previously thought inhospitable to life. In fact, they can only live in these seemingly lifeless places. In our search for extraterrestrial life, a common Hollywood conception would have us finding a similar life form to ourselves. These organisms are really as close to “alien” as we have found yet in our short history. They also show us how extremely likely life in this part of the solar system is/was, giving the material conditions with which it was created. In fact, some Extremophiles have recently been proven to withstand the simulated conditions of the surface of Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons); we are not unique.
Chaos Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness
Much of science is empirical and evidence based, which is all well and proper. I also think it is the role of science—without actually relying on astrology or other nonsense—to expand and question things. In this book, biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, psychonaut Terence McKenna and mathematician Ralph H. Abraham have a speculative and creative discussion on subjects such as the creation of the unconsciousness, the suppression of psychedelics, the apocalyptic tradition, the freezing of information in crystals, nonhuman entities, the world “soul,” the sense of being stared at, and the noosphere. Fun and fascinating to read as long as you understand it’s not a doctrine to start some neo-pagan cult based on the pineal gland or whatever.
Liam Howlett of The Prodigy on the Electronica Movement That Happened a Decade Before EDM Hype or not, we had already proved ourselves by being at it for five years before The Fat of the Land. As for how people took us, we were more of a band or gang than, say, the Chemical Brothers. We had more of a presence and image live. I’m not disrespecting the Chems, though; them, Underworld, Daft Punk and us all moved in slightly different directions. No one copied anyone else. We were all pioneers on our own track. It’s easy for me to understand why that had to happen now, but at the time, we were pretty disgusted by it. Like, “What the fuck? Just let it be, man, whatever it is. Don’t pigeonhole us.” At that time, we didn’t care if electronica broke or not. We just wanted to play America and cared about whether we broke or not. It was like, “Lollapalooza? Us? Wicked.” ST—049
Prison Break Pete Swanson on how he shook the shackles of the noise scene by embracing kick drums and distorted synths. Photography Aaron Richter
never considered myself a noise musician. I don’t make techno. I am not, nor will ever be a “producer.” “Production” carries implications that are the antithesis of my approach and goals in music; genre and contextual framing of sound are the least interesting features music can bear. Instead of considering music on such terms, I’m more invested in exploring emotional impact, immediacy and compelling errors over correctness, cleanliness, functionality, visual and lingual framing. In general, music that takes the pose of being “heavy” is simply adopting a similar costume that K Records’ pop bands don. ST—050
Cardigan or corpse-paint, it’s an entirely insincere gesture made in some awkward pro-social pose to identify work in a subcultural context. Few artistic moves can be more dull. As opposed to operating with occult symbolism, gothic themes and skulls, I find myself fixated on themes involving poor decision making, selfeffacement, loss of power and hypocrisy. The music plays out as sounds playing out violent acts on each other due to the ways I’ve designed my setup. Perhaps people see the music as being “heavy” because the sounds are constantly in some evolving state of disrepair. The corroded nature of my sound is not intended to be heavy in any traditional sense or provide any sort of functional context. I don’t care if people dance or mope or fight during my set. Any response is as reasonable as any other. Instead of being invested in filling some predetermined role, I see myself as an artist that is perpetually enacting some oedipal usurpation between myself and my work. I always want to murder my last album and produce some sort of inbred offspring born from the history of my own work, processes and interests. That often means I move through some genre signifiers that would indicate one thing or another. The reality of my “turn to techno” is mainly the result of my investing in a kick-drum module for my synthesizer. Who knows how long the kick will stick? I’m a restless experimenter, and there’s a lot of noisy techno out in the world. It might be time to start looking toward some new sounds to make. All established forms are prisons. I’m just trying to feel some tiny sense of freedom. Pete Swanson’s latest EP, Punk Authority, is available now through Software Label.
On Second thought... by Nate Young of Wolf Eyes If you go back to to early electronic music or even musique concrète, you can see techniques that are still widely used today in techno. There is no difference between techno and noise in my book; it’s all a mutant form of something else upon something else. Music is such an overly sacred thing to people. Seeing people take sides and define themselves before ever trying different forms of music is negative. The bias is not only caused by taste; we see it caused by overclassification as well. I think we all have APES for the ears—Adult Picky Eater Syndrome. Electronic music is a great umbrella for everyone to hang under, especially noise. Wolf Eyes’ latest album, No Answer: Lower Floors, is out now via De Stijl. Nate Young also has a new solo record, Blinding Confusion, on the way via NNA Tapes.
Hyetal’s Top five YouTube-Sourced Influences on His New Album, Modern Worship 1. Virtual reality
I used to be fascinated by virtual-reality machines. The games didn’t look anywhere near as impressive as I remembered when I checked out YouTube footage, but I found myself getting quite into watching early CGI animations. They’re closer to what I remembered as a kid, wanting to visit those types of landscapes.
I’ve always been obsessed with trying to make synths sound like water. If it’s not upfront, it’s buried as a layer in pretty much everything on the album. I guess most people find the sound of rain comforting. I use that and the sounds of seas and rivers a lot.
3. Imaginary Japan
[In my anime phase] I’d daydream about what the cities might be like to visit. I used these daydream memories as inspiration.
4. Dream sequences
Dream sequences in films are rarely anything even remotely like the dreams people have in real life. They’re often these long flowing sequences and seem to follow a similar set of rules to make the viewer feel closer to a dreamlike state. When they’re done well, they can be pretty hypnotic. I tried to capture that kind of feel.
5. Holiday videos
It seems quite strange to me that people upload old home movies to YouTube. I got quite into finding stuff using one descriptive word and a date. It’s a strange window into someone’s past life. There’s little blasts of some of the stuff I found interesting as audio throughout my album.
Five records John Talabot randomly pulled off his shelves while talking to us over Skype the other day 1. Tony Carey, Explorer and Yellow Power (Medical Records, 2012) 2. The Knife, Silent Shout (Mute, 2006) 3. Ravi Shankar, Sound of the Sitar (Angel, 1965) 4. Lucky Dragons, Dream Island Laughing Language (Upset! the Rhythm, 2008) 5. Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters (Columbia, 1973) ST—051
lords of long island L.I.E.S. honcho Ron Morelli on his years of surfing hurricanes and tackling waves in the dead of winter. Photography matthieu Lemaire courapied
grew up in Long Island, a gigantic suburb 40 minutes east of New York City. I was a product of what was around me at the time, directly influenced by the back pages of Thrasher magazine and the other contents within. During ST—052
the early-to-mid ’80s—when I was coming up in the ranks as a teenager—pop music was at a peak in certain ways, with hip-hop becoming a musical/cultural movement and Public Enemy and N.W.A. scaring the shit out of white-bread America while crashing head-on with what was left of punk rock. Dirtbags, guidos, metal-heads, goths, punks, burnouts, skaters and even jocks were all clued in on what was going on; you couldn’t avoid it. Suburban revolution and teen angst was at its peak, with constant boredom always looming and healthy doses of LSD, weed, Rush and
whatever else was around to kill time and keep the fire burning. I started skating at around eight or nine years old. It’s just what you did. I was never very good or serious about it, but Thrasher fueled my imagination. Looking at images of the Bones Brigade ripping on the West Coast, I often dreamed of California and the prospects of life 3,000 miles away where the sun always shined and winter was a distant thought. As I got older, I continued to suck at skating, but kept with it—never gaining speed, flatland ollying up curbs, real pathetic shit. When I looked around, I saw the same things from my peers; they all sucked. No one could land a trick, and it was hardly what I was seeing in the videos or in the magazines. At some point one cold winter I decided I was done with skating, though still picked up Thrasher when my subscription ran out, flipping directly to the back pages to check out the music reviews. One boring summer I got a call from a friend saying be bought his neighbor’s surfboard, some gigantic 12-foot boat. I wondered what the hell he wanted that for. We used to go to the beach to check out girls, smoke cigarettes and body surf; that was that. We got a small crew together, chucked the board in the back of his mom’s station wagon and got a ride to Lido Beach, which was 15 minutes away. That day we all took turns taking the board out in the water. Two weeks later I hustled up enough money to get a $200 six-footfour Rusty. It was over. The waves in Long Island suck until August, when hurricane season starts to brew in the tropics. The little knee slappers of summer were perfect to learn on and paddling around all day built up decent
arm strength. We had a small and dedicated crew of four guys hitting the beach every day no matter what the conditions. By the end of the summer I was obsessed, buying every issue of Surfer magazine I could get my hands on and even going to the library to loan out back issues. It was hardcore, even buying full suits to go out during the winter, which were hardly warm enough for the tough Northeast conditions, but it didn’t matter to us. We found out about all the best breaks talking to the older guys: Lincoln Blvd, Gilgo, Point Lookout, Ditch Plains in Montauk, the jette at Lido West, The
Hotel, Lido Beach after the lifeguards left, Atlantic Beach, Robert Moses, numerous secret spots. The list could go on. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, surfing was somewhat of a unique activity living on the East Coast, especially on Long Island. It was way more common to skate at that juncture. As young kids, we were going for it big-time, surfing hurricanes and tropical storms before and after, things I would never dream of doing now. It was the blind aggression and power of youth taking over any sense of caution. I clearly remember a sneakup set rolled in as we were paddling out after a hurricane. I was a bit closer to shore making the trek out and saw my friend Joe take a 15-footer square on the back of the neck as he failed to ditch his board or duck dive in time. He was visibly shaken up—one of the last times he ever went out in the water. Unfortunately, due to a move to upstate New York for college and unexpected shoulder surgery in 1995, my days in the water came to an abrupt end. Music ended up consuming all of my time, and my desire to surf, while still there, faded as the sport became more popular and the breaks of Long Island became more crowded with goons and seasonal enthusiasts. The freedom of being in the water is second to none; any real surfer will tell you that. While time and location has limited my days in the water over the past 17 years, it’s always in the back of my head that one day at the end of the line maybe I’ll be able to settle down by the beach and jump in the water again. //
Stellar Om source on italian art-house cinema When I need to feel grounded, I watch Italian auteur movies from the ’60s. I go back to films by Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Luchino Visconti, or those starring Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Monica Vitti, and Claudia Cardinale. Despite so many viewings, they still leave an incredible impression. I will always be fascinated by these black-and-white melodramas. Each film is so full of cinematic inventions, both in their structure, their settings, and those oh-so-real characters and stories. They deal with the new—a new kind of cinema, a new perspective on this life and beyond. They offer an impression of a limitless future through the lens of cosmopolitan and personal conflict, where everything stands vulnerable to collapse. Happiness, love and truth are traded for melancholy, eroticism and social status. The films from this era also reflect a glorious era of women in cinema. Vitti’s characters glow with self-assured glamor, reflecting a sense of power when stuck in limbo between life and love. The characters, the writing, the extended landscape shots and detail-oriented cinematography, all have a very physical effect on me. They make me feel alive in my own skin and help me feel in control during life’s crises. Most importantly, they help us all celebrate artistic imagination.
larry gus on marc maron I am in love with [comedian] Marc Maron. Sometimes in my dreams we hang out, eating heavy BBQ and shitty ice cream. I then wake up and feel weird, as if the most perfect life was in front of me, and then it just disappeared. Jonathan [Galkin] from DFA got me into [Maron’s podcast] “WTF” almost a year ago, and since then, things got out of control. I had to keep digging in the “WTF” archives, listening to all of Maron’s intros along with his older stand-ups and interviews, trying to understand his trajectory. Maron keeps reminding me of the fact that I have to be comfortable, non-judgmental and happy with the person that lives inside of me, without trying to constantly reinvent myself. On top of that, I am really a sucker for all life stories with people that have been through a lot and they are still there, still doing their thing. I think I cried so many times while listening to “WTF” and other Maron monologues. It hits a very certain emotional core; I just feel helpless. Maybe it is just the plain fact that I am getting old, and all that seems reassuring and soothing. Nothing is ever lost. I have to stop thinking about my age and just keep working, without hating myself about all my inadequacies and failures. Until reality reveals its ugly, cruel face and shatters violently our dreams and hopes. ST—055
chart positions Kai Campos and Dominic Maker of Mount Kimbie offer their quick take on nine of Radio 1’s top singles.
Disclosure, “White Noise”
Interview Colleen Nika Photography ALENA JASCANKA
Campos: It’s pretty British in how fucking weird it is; I imagine his original fans hate this. But everything but that first album was shit, anyway. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Campos: It works as dubstep on an emotional level, but it also works on a club level, kind of like Basement Jaxx. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Dizzee Rascal, “Bassline Junkie”
Wiley, “Can You Hear Me” Maker: Maybe there’s a level of irony here that is going undetected; even “Wearing My Rolex” had that. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Calvin Harris (feat. Florence Welch), “Sweet Nothing” campos: She really enjoys doing this whole forest pixie thing. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Skrillex (feat. Sirah), “Bangarang” Maker: One hundred and twenty million [people] now believe this is dubstep. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Daft Punk, “Get Lucky” Campos: It’s almost hard to separate the music from the mythology, but I guess that’s part of it. Having Pharrell on this track is really cool, really smart. It’s interesting to see who they think is cool now. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Icona Pop (feat. Charli XCX), “I Love It” campos: A song made to sell cellphones. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Rudimental, “Waiting All Night” campos: It has this cheap drum ‘n’ bass feel that’s coming back into vogue. -------------------------------------------------------------------
Baauer, “Harlem Shake” Campos: People love dance memes in the UK— ever since the Macarena. Mount Kimbie’s Cold Spring, Faultless Youth is out now via Warp. ST—056
We asked Adult. and Moon Wiring Club to “remix” one of their favorite record sleeves. Above is what they sent back.
John Kowalski of Solar Bears’ Top five Movie Moments Set to Music 1. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (moment at 1:16:40) I brought my younger brother to see this Korean film after his mother passed away. My hope was that it would comfort him. It centers on a master and a disciple during different cycles in the student’s life. The scene in question is when the master realizes he will never see the
disciple again and decides it is time to die, as his function has become obsolete. The scoring is quite basic and rudimentary. 2. The Shining (0:12) Kubrick’s opening shot is one of the most revered in movie history, but the soundtrack is overlooked too frequently. The simplicity and malevolence of those initial chords are more futuristic than anything we hear today. You can actually feel that the analog synth Wendy Carlos is playing took up most of the room it was in. 3. Il Grande Silenzio (0:00) Probably the holiest music in all creation. I don’t know how Morricone taps into that soundscape. When this piece merges with footage of a rider on horse in deepest winter, there is no real substitute for its majesty.
4. Manhunter (0:14) The soundtrack features the likes of Klaus Schulze and Michel Rubini. This is the highlight however. For some reason it defines an entire decade, the styling and the atmosphere. It was written by Kitar, who was heralded as the Japanese equivalent of Jean Michel Jarre, rightly or wrongly. 5. Naissance des Pieuvres (2:14) I didn’t know anything about this film before my first viewing. The soundtrack is done by Para One, who is better known for dance music, but it’s my understanding that his training is in classical, as well. The final scene took my head off. Strings fused with drones to epic effect. ST—057
Photography Matthieu Lemaire Courapied
Rhys chatham STâ€”058
The downtown icon on how he’s crossed paths with everyone from Glenn Gould to Glenn Branca.
When I was in the no-wave scene, that was a curse word: composer. People like Lydia Lunch and James Chance would beat me up after a concert, like, “Oh, you conservatory musicians, we don’t want to hear anything about you!” So I had to prove myself. I’m essentially a minimalist composer, though. I studied with La Monte Young and worked with people like Tony Conrad, so I’m coming from that background, though now I just don’t care. I’m a composer-performer, in the same tradition as Terry Riley, who was the model for us all. Kids today have a hard time getting their pieces played. The solution in my generation was we performed everything ourselves. Like with Peter Gordon—he just put an orchestra together, the Love of Life Orchestra. It had Philip Glass in it originally, Laurie Anderson, Arthur Russell, me. And it was just normal; we all lived in the same neighborhood, so we just traded our services. The other method was going the route of Morton Subotnick, which was collaborating with an engineer like Don Buchla. The synthesizer was so exciting in the late ’60s because you didn’t have to rely on musicians anymore. You could do the music yourself, in the same way things are now with programs like GarageBand. Morton put me on the map. I took some electronic-music courses with him at New York University, and then he let me, this 16-year-old kid, use his studio on weekends. I’d go there and meet fantastic people like Ingram Marshall, Maryanne Amacher and Serge Tcherepnin, the inventor of the Serge synthesizer. Forgive my French, but Morton’s the shit. My father was a harpsichordist, so my first involvement with music was that—tuning harpsichords for people. I even tuned Glenn Gould’s harpsichord once. That was a trip, man. He was playing a Brandenberg piece for the movie version of Slaughterhouse-Five. They had the entire philharmonic at RCA Studios, and of
course, Glenn Gould’s harpsichord was a total piece of crap because these pianists have such a heavy touch. We were these crazies who brought tonality back into contemporary music when it was a dirty word for composers. So we didn’t get much of a chance to play uptown; we had the Kitchen and, a little bit later, Phil Niblock’s place. When Garrett List started to program jazz at the Kitchen—artists like Don Cherry and Anthony Braxton—it caused quite a stir. People would say, ST—060
“Those people already have a place to play; why are you bringing them here?” But Garrett wanted to make a point that there’s no hierarchy between this music, that there shouldn’t be a pyramid where classical is on top, jazz is somewhere below that and rock doesn’t even register. In the meantime, there was this whole explosion at CBGB’s. It got to a point where half of the downtown art scene was going to CBGB’s and the other half was in the bands. So when I got back to the Kitchen, I wanted to reflect that and book groups like DNA and Lydia Lunch.
“It’s taken 30 years, but
worked up to two
chords.” I would have done the Contortions there, but James Chance had just beat up the audience [at the Artists’ Space Festival], including Robert Christgau, the chief rock critic at The Village Voice. He was taking a cue from Iggy Pop; his music was a very primal thing. I knew Patti Smith from the St. Mark’s Poetry Project. And then all of a sudden, she was at CBGB’s playing with Television. I can’t even tell you what an inspiration she was for all of us. Rock in the mid-’70s had gotten so technical, but then you had all these groups coming up after
that initial wave of Patti, Talking Heads, Richard Hell and the Ramones, of course. I had my personal epiphany seeing them. The Ramones had just put out their first album, and what I saw changed my life. At the time, Philip Glass was using a lot of jazz instrumentation, influenced by Richard Serra’s Process Art. Steve Reich had studied in Ghana, so “Drumming” was very influenced by that. And my own teacher, La Monte, had been studying with Pandit Pran Nath. So I thought, “I’ve gotta find my thing.” When I went to that Ramones concert, I found it. They might be using two more chords than I was, but I found a similarity there, and the next day I got a Fender electric guitar. It’s taken 30 years, but I’ve finally worked up to two chords. And I’m hoping that 10 years from now, I’ll be where the Ramones were—at three. Objectively, CBGB’s was a dive, but...when I first saw the Talking Heads, it seemed so much bigger than it really was, like it was an arena. That was the spirit of the times. You had groups like Mars, DNA, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks who had something to express, and they just went up there and did it. The question became: How far can you push rock before it’s not rock anymore? If you can play “Giant Steps” in any tempo, that’s your music degree right there. At Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s back then, they threw beer cans at you, with the beer in them. And that’s if they liked you. So you can imagine what would happen if they didn’t like you. The first time we played “Guitar Trio” at Max’s, I thought we were going to get lynched. At CB’s and Max’s, there was a lot of violence. It was scary. But anyway, we did “Guitar Trio” there, and people were coming up to the sound person saying, “Where are you hiding the singers?” Which meant I’d succeeded in what I wanted to do. After “Drastic Classicism”—around 1982—I was headlining CBGB’s. It took me about four years to get to that point, and by that time, I felt like I’d paid my dues. ST—061
woosh here and woosh there
I was nervous before this other “Guitar Trio” performance at Max’s. I was in a cab with one of the guitarists; I had a little Jack Daniel’s, and my friend had a pill, a Quaalude. God knows what they had in the dressing room. All I remember about the evening is jumping on these tables, going whoosh here and whoosh there with the guitar. It was so much fun. This whole rock ’n’ roll thing happened in the ’80s—“Guitar Trio,” “Drastic Classicism,” and all this wonderful music with Lydia Lunch, DNA, Sonic Youth, Swans and my good friend Glenn Branca. It was fantastic, but then I moved to France, and all of a sudden, I was hearing these teenagers pouring their hearts out on computers—groups like Atari Teenage Riot, Aphex Twin, Scanner, and that whole drum ’n’ bass thing with Ed Rush. ST—062
When I first heard rap in ’84, I was blown away. I tried to replicate rap rhythms with my trumpet, but I wasn’t skilled enough then to do it. But in ’93 I was. My Neon record was the result of that. I’m much less “flatulent” in my current compositions now. That’s not my term; it’s something critics have used when referring to my horn playing. By the year 2000, composers were falling in the trap of doing whatever software allowed them to. Programs were great when they first came out, but people weren’t being creative enough with them, and then they got boring. So that’s when I got back into writing guitar pieces. We did “A Crimson Grail” a few years ago at Lincoln Center, and my daughter played in it. She’s into good music—a lot of heavy metal. I took her to the East Village where her mother and father met, and I showed her where we used to score our heroin, on Eighth Street between Avenues C and D. And it was all sushi shops! I was so embarrassed. Brooklyn now feels the way New York did in the ’80s, minus the crack. I’d come back to St. Mark’s Place once a year and always say, “Why did I move? This is my tribe.” But then I came back in 2000 and thought, “It’s over.” I have nothing against rich kids, but in the early ’80s, you’d have poor kids like Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman mixing it up with people whose parents had a little more money. It was good to have that mixture, but the rents are so high now that it’s crowding working-class kids out. Except for in Brooklyn. I got inspired by metal about five years ago—bands like Sleep. When I heard Dopesmoker, I just screamed. I was like, “Fuck, that’s minimalism!” I got into trumpet playing because I wanted to play like [Black Sabbath guitarist] Tony Iommi. The problem with the guitar is it has all of these frets, and I’m not really a string player; I’m a wind player, so I can’t figure out where to put my fingers. The Neon record was me trying to play like Tony Iommi, only over an electronica beat.
Playing trumpet is a bitch. Context is everything. One more anecdote, and then we have to stop. If any of your readers end up playing Paris, tell them they shouldn’t expect the kids to jump and down because this is the country of Descartes. What we do here is we listen critically, but people don’t move. You just want to spit at them so they’ll do something. Anyway, I went to see Sunn O))) play here and I just couldn’t believe it—all these clubhardened kids had ear-to-ear grins on their faces, listening to what essentially sounds like early minimalism to me. It could have been Tony Conrad playing up there on violin; instead it was these guitars and Marshall stacks, this sound that is felt rather than heard. So I had an ear-to-ear grin too, like, “Oh, they’re playing my music! The music of my tribe, only they’ve made it theirs!” // ST—031
Disposable vol. 2 Once again, we gave some cameras to our favorite artists at this year’s SXSW. Here’s what we got back from the lab.
THE self-titled INTERVIEW
Interview Robert Ham Photography James pearson-howes
bobby gillespie STâ€”070
Unlike many Behind the Music casualties, Gillespie doesn’t look at that time with regrets or remorse. And why should he? Have you listen to Screamadelica or XTRMNTR lately? They’re still a fiery pair of polarized LPs, coming from two sides of a drug-addled mind. (The former feels like a loose-limbed MDMA high; the latter a twitchy, paranoid speed trip.) The band’s tenth album, More Light, isn’t exactly an apple-cheeked look at sobriety either. While Gillespie’s creative vision may be as clear as ever, that doesn’t mean he likes what he sees: the harrowing fate of the UK’s lower and middle classes, the “anti-establishment” artists who have bought right into the system, and Primal Scream’s own complacency. In many ways, More Light is a nasty comedown, withdrawals and all. There’s a sliver of hope running through this otherwise brooding psych-fuzz-electronic-boogie masterpiece, but you have to dig into the muck with the group to find it.
ore than a mere survivor, the 50-year-old version of Bobby Gillespie doesn’t look all that different from the one that helped make Screamadelica a cornerstone of acid house the same year Nirvana delivered “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The shoulder-length black hair, the prominent nose, the wiry frame that seems in serious danger of snapping in two—it’s all there still, with a couple added wrinkles, as if the Primal Scream frontman made a decade-old deal with the devil to remain forever young. Quite a feat considering what the Scottish artist has put his body through. But for the longtime advocate of intoxicated creativity, getting higher than the sun, not surprisingly, eventually lost its luster. “I thought, ‘You’re always having a bad time when you take this stuff,’ ” admits Gillespie, as he sits at the offices of his UK label. “I was really punishing myself.”
self-titled: You revisited Screamadelica on tour in 2010 and 2011. Do you think that had an influence on the sound of More Light? The success of the Screamadelica shows gave us a lot of confidence, but we never consciously thought about the music having an influence. Maybe it’s the fact that the tracks were widescreen with a lot of space in them. Live, songs like “Come Together” and “Higher Than the Sun” could go on for 16 minutes. We’d play them with three different parts, taking different bits of remixes and putting them together. When we first started writing the songs for More Light, we felt we wanted to make a freer, more expansive, cinematic, psychedelic, experimental rock record. You can hear that in a song like “River of Pain,” which starts and ends with a more traditional pop sound but has an almost free-jazz middle section. I’ve got to give [our guitarist] Andrew Innes credit there. He came up with the riff, and when he found it, immediately there was an atmosphere there. He came up with the drum break as well, what he called a “belly dance rhythm.” You got the Sun Ra Arkestra to play on that song as well. How did that come about? They played in London over two nights in ST—071
“I could relate
Johnny Rotten than I
2010 and were trapped; the volcano eruption in Iceland prevented transatlantic flights. They were running out of the money they’d made and had lost work. So a promoter friend of ours helped get them some gigs, and they took a day and came into the studio to work with us. As upbeat as some of the songs are, a track like “2013” is cynical about the nature of art and politics. Do you feel like art and music still has the potential to create change? I don’t think music and art can affect real change as far as the government changing laws and corporations being dismantled. Art can reflect the reality of the times and capture the sense of being alive at a certain point in time. A record like “Gimme Shelter” sounds like the zeitgeist of the times. The fear, dread and paranoia of 1969 is in the record. I think you can articulate stuff and put it in a piece of art, and other people can relate to it. You can sing about how you feel, and people can say, “You’ve really painted that picture.” What I dug about punk was that the songs reflected my reality in a more truthful way than, say, the Eagles. The Eagles made good pop records—don’t get me wrong— but I could relate more to Johnny Rotten than I could to Glenn Frey. It seems like we’re starting to see more of that in music, especially in the UK, what with the austerity measures being put in place over there. It’s class war. There’s no other term for it. They don’t need to be this extreme—restructuring wages, freezing wages, privatizing health care. They’re deliberately stifling the economy to make people poorer and more desperate. It’s a science-fiction scenario. Look at this way: The public sector in Britain is a huge employer, employs hundreds of millions of people. The conservative coalition government gets in, and right away they start chopping into the public sector making thousands of people unemployed. Those people had jobs; they’re paying tax, buying consumer goods. Right away they’ve fucked the economy. It doesn’t help either when, as you say on “2013,” the punks have become part of the establishment. You get artists who are taking [awards from the ST—073
government], cozying up to the conservative party. An artist like Jean Genet, the French government always wanted to give him the [National Order of Merit] and he always told them to shove it up their ass. Artists should always be on the outside. Some other big names worked with you on the new album. You had Mark Stewart of the Pop Group sing on “Culturecide” and the collaboration most people are talking about is “Elimination Blues,” which you recorded with Robert Plant. Was that daunting for you? Not so much daunting. It’s more of a production choice, trying to make a great record. We thought what would be cool for that song was a high male voice, and we thought Robert would be perfect. He nailed his vocal very quickly. And just sung beautifully. We were blown away. Most of the records that you’ve done, especially the ones since Screamadelica, have this palpable balance between light and dark. Is that something you’re aware of? Do you try to make sure your records don’t tip too heavily one way or the other? I don’t think we’re totally conscious of it. We have that inside us anyway, in our characters— some kind of duality. Maybe it comes out in the music. The album cover is like that: me doing these devil horns, trapped between beautiful flowers—these opiate-like flowers of evil—and beneath me and above me is darkness. Maybe that’s what the designer was getting at: me caught somewhere between god and the devil. The album title feels pointed, too, since you’ve been very open about how you’ve recently become sober. Do you feel like you’re letting more light in? Since I got clean, I’ve got more intensity of focus. I’m sharper. There’s more perspective. I feel more in terms of emotion. I’m generally a happier person. I face up to things. I’m not running away by taking drugs and knocking myself out. I think that fed into the work. We tried that whole Rimbaud derangement-of-the-senses thing for years. I think some good things came out of it. We made a lot of great records. We took drugs as a creative tool. I definitely did get a different kind of insight. I never had any training in art school or had no professor of literature pushing me in the right direction. ST—074
Was there a point where you hit rock bottom? For years, I was putting myself in bad situations and feeling awful and torturing myself. I wasn’t having a good time. I was hurting myself psychically, physically and spiritually—hurting the people that I loved. It wasn’t even diminishing returns. I was just always having a bad time when I took the stuff. So I thought I’d try not taking anything. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it. We made a great record. The proof is there. The art is better than it’s been in a long time. For a while, it seemed like the band was constantly in reinvention mode; you changed so much between Give Out But Don’t Give Up and Riot City Blues. It threw a lot of fans and critics for a loop. I can’t really remember what the reviews were like. I know XTRMNTR and Vanishing Point did well in Britain. I don’t think it did anything in America. I guess if you’d heard the albums before, people couldn’t understand that it was the same band. We just wanted to do something different when we decided to make something. Do you think there are people still waiting for you to hurry up and make another Screamadelica? I’m sure some people do. But you can’t do that. You can’t do two records exactly the same. It’s like having a girlfriend when you’re 20 and then revisiting the relationship when you’re 50. Why would you want to revisit that? The times of Screamadelica were all about acid house. Everything was different. Everyone was young and had no families, and you had this explosion of energy and a vibrant culture that fed into that album. You couldn’t recreate that. Even so, you did do the shows where you played Screamadelica in its entirety. The only way we knew to do it was to make it relevant to the 21st century. We had to play it with real edge. It had to be sincere, but we had to give it an edge. Otherwise, what would be the fucking point? We messed around with the arrangements to reflect what we do now. You’re closing in on your 51st birthday. Do you see an end point with this band? I’d like to keep making music. I have music in me. I need to express myself. You never know; I might run out of ideas and have to stop. I hope not. //
â€œI might run out of ideas
Photography Nick Helderman
the child of lov STâ€”076
Which makes sense given how fully realized Williams’ warped rendition of R&B is on his dizzying self-titled debut. Tracked at Damon Albarn’s London studio with such high profile guests as Thundercat, DOOM and the Blur frontman himself, it’s essentially the album we wish André 3000 would make instead of appearing in Gillette commercials. In the following exclusive, Williams shares his streamof-consciousness take on the entire record— a run-through that’s more telling than any studio report could ever be.
“Call Me Up” — Light. Morning. Waking up next to a loved one. Late-night phone conversations with the person you adore secretly. Being in love. Falling in and out of love.
“Heal” — Sunny day. Hot outside. Shorts. Pineapples. Camels with sunglasses and goatees. A little monkey playing bass. Pharrell on steroids. Destroying your Apple products. Eating fried chicken with your feet. Sitting in a chair. In the sky.
“One Day” (feat. Damon Albarn)
ere’s what we know about Cole Williams, better known as the Child of Lov: He’s a 25-year-old nomad who’s currently holed up in Amsterdam and recently canceled his first buzz-stirring shows because, as he says, “I’ve come to realize that playing gigs cannot occupy a rewarding role if it is not exactly as I envisioned it, exactly as I want it and exactly the way I know the audience deserves it.”
— The turn. A big dark grotto with two monsters playing guitar and synthesizers. A booming voice coming through. The casket. A Bible. A bed. An army. A ghost appearing with some wise words, and disappearing again leaving you wondering if it was really a ghost. White rooms and beds.
“Living the Circle” — We’re still in the grotto. There’s an intruder. It’s a Michael Jackson impersonator. And he’s bad. ST—077
He’s got a pair of surgical gloves and refuses to take them off. He wants to hear all your reasons, but you don’t know what he’s talking about. The Ying Yang Twins refuse to enter the scene.
“Give Me” — You’re at a party. It’s a huge house. There are a lot of rooms. You try to open all doors, but all of them are locked. When you reach the last one, it opens without you touching it. It’s dark inside, but there’s this bass talking to you, asking you for all the love that you have. In all four corners, there are beautiful, dark-haired angels dancing, and it’s the best thing you ever saw.
“Go With the Wind” —
“Fly” — You get thrown outside and are at the foot of a big mountain of which you can’t see the top. You realize this is the moment it needs to happen, and you start walking. On your way up you meet all kinds of animals, and you see Charles Barkley taking a jump shot. As you walk on, people start gathering behind you and urge you to move on. It feels comforting not being the only one walking up. When you reach the top, you get taken into the clouds by a big, soft hand. It’s the softest hand you have ever felt.
There are very small elephants walking toward you. Although you’re in the desert, it’s impossible to move your feet. You wanna move to not get trampled, but as the elephants come closer, they don’t become bigger. They tell you not to worry anymore. All of a sudden, a hooded guy approaches you with a huge ventilator. He turns it on, and you get blown into the sky like a rocket.
You’re in a metal room. Outside there’s someone playing an instrument with a lot of low end. Suddenly you hear the sweetest voices, but it feels like it’s all happening inside of your head. You realize that the room you’re in is part of a big steamship. When you finally find a tiny door, you open it and enter a room full of mirrors. A guy who looks like Jimi Hendrix has no guitar and looks directly at you through the mirrors.
“Owl” (feat. Doom)
“Give It to the People”
Scaramouche is dancing the Fandango. There’s a baby-like bald-headed man playing a children’s guitar. Out of the shadows come 80-year-old men who clap their hands as their singing morbid harmonies. Suddenly, you realize that they all have owls on their shoulders. Then you realize it’s not the men who are singing, but the owls. There’s a very big and scary owl wearing a mask. You think he’s the one talking in loud riddles, but you’re not sure.
There are pandas all around. Some people are riding them like horses. Everybody is so happy it kind of freaks you out. There are people standing in circles frantically laughing at each other. You wonder if this is a really bad dream and try to scream, which never works in dreams. It works this time, though, and you can sing a lot better than you thought. On your way out, you overhear two snakes in suits. One is asking the other: Is this reggae? //
“There are pandas all around.” ST—078
detritus Photography jeremy liebman
Photography caroline mort
Kirin J Callinan’s top five accessories for the retrosexual male 1. Hunting knife ($19.95) I went hunting for boar with my cousin once. He killed plenty of pigs, which was quite traumatic. We were young—about 14—but this was a thing he did often by himself. I can’t say I’m a coldblooded killer, though I’ve been eating a lot of meat lately. A lot of animals have been sacrificed in my honor, but I haven’t been doing the hunting myself. ST—080
2. Carving knife ($19.95) You’re gonna need a knife to prepare your kill for your lucky lady or tribe. Having a variety of knives—a full set—is where it goes from being “retro” to “retrosexual.” 3. Mr. Flame Indoor / Outdoor BBQ ($19.95) You’ve gotta cook the meat, and that’s a real time to shine—what
the retrosexual male might consider foreplay. The barbecue is not exactly my forte, but I have a few secret recipes. The cliche is that we throw a shrimp on a barbie, but the truth is we don’t even say “shrimp.” A shrimp is a little baby prawn that you might put in fried rice, but yeah, a retrosexual would cook some fat tiger prawns on the BBQ. The indoor/outdoor thing is because a retrosexual might not have a backyard. He might live in an apartment, so he’s going to need to express himself
Top five slamming Nine Inch Nails songs that happen to have horrible lyrics 1. “Somewhat Damaged” — “tear a hole exquisite red / fuck the rest and stab it dead.” 2. “Wish” — “i’m the one without a soul / i’m the one with this big fucking hole.” 3. “The Perfect Drug” — “you make me hard / when i’m all soft inside.” 4. “March of the Pigs” — “I want to break it up / i want to smash it up / i want to fuck it up.” 5. “Head Like a Hole” — “head
like a hole
black as your soul
than give you control.”
by cooking barbecue inside. This brand seems affordable and masculine. The retrosexual male doesn’t want to think about cost too much. 4. Kirin J Callinan crotch towel + face-shave kit ($19.95) I can actually speak with authority about these products. I use them; I designed them. The towels are great. They’re the perfect size; if you’re thin enough, they could even be worn around your waist as a little loincloth. They also make a nice wall hanging, or could be used as a cum rag right next to the bed. People tell me they’ve used them for all sorts of things. I’ve had some very provocative e-mails. 5. Vintage motorbike (needs work, $1,995) The whole idea of getting a bike like this is to work on it more than actually ride it. With any of these retrosexual items, people are running away from themselves, putting themselves in a nice little box. So maybe the motorbike is a metaphor for getting away from something and buying into an existing idea of what it means to be a man. It’s obviously a very cliched theme in films—like Steve McQueen on a motorbike, the quintessential man.
Top five out-of-context quotes from our recent interview with Tricky 1. “I can’t sing, and I
can’t dance. All I’ve got is frustration and rage.”
2. “It’s not like it’s some
massive Michael Jackson record or something.”
“It was terrible, just horrible—the worst.”
“If I hadn’t found a doctor, I would have been on antidepressants next— Valium, stuff like that.”
“I got angry with him and said, ‘Listen, the kids out there don’t give a fuck about Tricky, and they don’t give a fuck about Massive Attack.’ And that’s okay.”
Stephen Pope of Wavves on Deerhunter’s Fluorescent Grey EP (Kranky, 2007) I went on a short tour with Deerhunter in 2007, soon after their album Cryptograms came out. After watching them perform, they instantly became one of my favorite current bands. Accompanying the record was the Fluorescent Grey EP that totally blew me away. The title track is my favorite. The lyrics are all about decomposing bodies with gray flesh. On the last song singer Bradford Cox keeps repeating, “I was 16,” in a really drony way that sticks with you. Deerhunter are the best at making pop songs sound dark and dreamy. Fluorescent Grey has been in regular rotation in my life for the past five years. I feel like this reads like a middle school journal entry. I wish I could write more like Bradford. ST—081
Top five Rick Rubin–rejected Kanye lyrics from “I Am a God” 1. “I just talked to Jesus. He said, ‘Reese’s Pieces.’ ” 2. “I am Werner Herzog.” 3. “Hurry up with my damn lozenges.” 4. “The only rapper compared to a turnip.” 5. “Wooooooohooo!” Colin Newman of Wire on Beak>’s “0898” / “Welcome to the Machine” 10-inch Wire was asked to play a London street festival on Record Store Day outside renowned indie store Sister Ray. I don’t know about anywhere else, but this year RSD felt bigger and more important than ever; it’s as if people suddenly get the point of it. I bought this 10-inch at Sister Ray on the basis of the B-side. It’s a cover of the Pink Floyd song “Welcome to the Machine.” My interest in Pink Floyd tends to peter out after Meddle, so I kind of like the idea of Geoff Barrow’s “other” band doing a cover of a Floyd song I don’t like and making it into something special. I’ve grown quite partial to Beak> recently, even if, as a friend said, “they do come across as a Neu! tribute band at times.” There are considerably worse things to be! ST—082
Five albums the Bleached sisters got each other into while growing up Jennifer Clavin: we both discovered punk around the same time. we didn’t go to the same school, so that probably helped make it easier to feel like friends rather than just sisters. the first album jessie got me into was t.rex’s electric warrior (reprise, 1971). that record blew my mind because most of what i listened to was punk and girl bands. when i heard it, i didn’t even understand what genre it was. marc bolan’s voice was so cool, and his style of guitar was so different. i remember jess playing “life’s a gas” and thinking it was the best song ever. the second album she got me into was nico’s chelsea girl (verve, 1967), which took me by surprise. i thought it was so beautiful, from the lyrics to her vocals to her look. Jessie Clavin: the slits’ in the beginning (jungle, 1997) was probably one of jen’s first records. we were both getting into punk, and i was always curious about what she was listening to; this record would be playing from her room a bunch. i got into the replacements’ tim (sire, 1985) after hearing jen describe it to someone, and i remember sneaking into her room one time while she was gone and taking her cd of smashing pumpkins’ mellon collie and the infinite sadness. i was really young, and the idea of listening to my older sister’s music made me feel so much older.
Top five tell-all memoirs (not related to Sonic Youth) that should be published in time for Christmas 1. Jason Pierce 2. Alan Vega 3. Chan Marshall 4. Michael Gira 5. Zomby
Photography kyle johnson
Five great “Swedish pop” records, according to Ghost’s “nameless ghouls” 1. Gösta Berlings Saga, Detta Har Hänt (Transubstans, 2009) The second album from one of the new, really good instrumental groups. It combines classic progressive rock with jazz and strong melodies. — Ghost’s bassist 2. Meshuggah, Destroy Erase Improve (Nuclear Blast, 1995) The album that changed the way I looked at abstract music. The riffs are surprisingly simple on their own, but they gain a mind-boggling and mechanical beauty alongside the rest of the instruments. Meshuggah’s jazzier aspects
are a bit more apparent on this album than their later ones. — Ghost’s drummer 3. The Ark, We Are the Ark (Virgin, 2000) I saw this band opening for another Swedish group in 2000, and they were worldclass entertainment; I must have seen them 10 times before they released their debut album. Despite this album’s polished sound, nothing can take away their phenomenal take on ’70s pop records. This is songwriting at its finest. — Ghost’s rhythm guitarist
4. Nationalteatern, Barn Av Vår Tid (Nacksving, 1978) My parents got me into this when I was, like, 12. It’s prog but not prog as you know it. Nationalteatern was a leading band of the ’68 hippie movement. All the songs are so well-written, playful and simple! — Ghost’s lead guitarist 5. Wasa Express, Wasa Express (Love, 1977) Wasa Express is a groundbreaking instrumental record that showed Swedes could play good funk/fusion. It features outstanding drummer Åke Ericksson and Bo Hallgreen on keyboards, who plays solid Minimoog solos that inspired me to explore the Moog as a solo instrument. — Ghost’s keyboardist ST—083
Photography Aaron Richter
Lauren Mayberry of CHRVCHES’ top five role models 1. Kathleen Hanna The first time I heard Kathleen Hanna was after an impulse purchase of Bikini Kill: The Singles in Stirling, Scotland, the closest “big city” to the town I grew up in. Hanna taught the teen me that it was okay to have a voice and an opinion. And if the preexisting system wasn’t supporting you, you could try to change it. Make your own rules. 2. Robyn One minute Robyn seems completely tongue-in-cheek, romantic or nostalgic, while the next, she’ll make an obvious political point (“We need a black pope, and she better be a woman”). And Lena Dunham, ST—084
one of my favorite ladies on TV, had the good sense to write an episode of Girls that culminates in two gal pals dancing to “Dancing on My Own.” All adventurous women do. 3. Tori Amos My favorite is Little Earthquakes. I love the way she marries complex vocal lines and piano parts with lyrics that are both heartbreaking and terrifying. “Just because you can make me come / It doesn’t make you Jesus.” Just sayin’. 4. PJ Harvey I love every era of PJ Harvey, and Rid of Me is still one of my favorite albums of all time. It is
incredible when an artist lasts for more than a few years today, but PJ stands out from the crowd because she’s constantly growing as a musician. The difference between Dry, Stories From the City... and Let England Shake is incredible, but each is amazing in its own right. 5. Janet Weiss The first instrument I played was drums. As a teen, I was obsessed with Dave Grohl and Travis Barker but discovering Sleater-Kinney blew everything open. I bought Dig Me Out and was obsessed. Drummer Janet Weiss’ style is instantly recognizable and, in S-K, was the key complement to the complex vocals of Corin Tucker and Carrie Bernstein (my other two favorite ladies if this list had been allowed to go to seven).
Stephin Merritt on his Chihuahua, Irving • i had the advance from 69 love songs burning a hole through my pocket, and there was irving, getting beaten up by all the other puppies in the puppy window. they were barking, and irving was quiet, which gave me the impression that he’d remain quiet, which is laughably stupid now. • somebody walked up to the window and called irving but i thought he was adorable.
• robin [crutchfield] from the band dna had a chihuahua named earl. and earl would sit in robin’s arms, falling asleep or smiling contentedly— totally docile, beautiful and happy, unlike irving, really. •
don’t put your dog in a kennel. it’s not a good idea with a chihuahua.
• irving used to go on tour with me, but he’d start whining—howling, really—as soon as he heard my voice backstage. people had to try and calm him down. poor irving. i got irving a little late apparently; the vet said he has the personality of a dog who did not get fixed. he’s kind of macho in his way— highly territorial, and always barking at things that came near me. he has attacked a mailman, and once at a party, someone made the mistake of opening the front gate to let a guest in and the guest had a three-yearold, so irving naturally bit the three-year-old.
bad with kids, but irving is really bad with kids.
irving likes to lie on people’s heads, but he doesn’t like to be moved when he’s sleeping. so he’s good for making sure people stay put. if you have to leave to go to the bathroom, the trick is to approach the bed while walking backward when you come back. it sounds ridiculous but it’s easy to do, and it works.
i got irving a heating pad a couple years ago, and it’s really made a difference. he no longer sleeps on the pillow above me, making it his territory. now he wants to be on the heating pad, which is lower and at the end of the bed.
• chihuahuas require you to adapt in ways that would be unacceptable to some people. you can’t be too anal and have a pet of any kind, really. there will be the occasional accident. as dogs go, it’s much easier to pick up after a chihuahua, though. everyone’s worried about what i’ll do when irving shuffles off this mortal coil. i’ll probably wait two weeks; then i’ll get another chihuahua —possibly two.
Girls Names’ Cathal Cully on the top five girls names of 2013 1. emma Boring. Never really liked it. 2. olivia Newton-John, obviously. 3. sophia I’ve never known anyone called Sophia; it’s so exotic.
4. isabella Lugosi’s dead—undead. Peter Murphy.
5. ava I live in Ava Park in Belfast. It’s a pokey little house,
but the rent’s dirt cheap. If I had the choice, I wouldn’t live here anymore. Trying to phone a cab to Ava Park can be an ordeal.
Scout Niblett on Rollins Band’s The End of Silence (Imago, 1992) Henry Rollins always channeled a ton of anger into his lyrics, but this was the first album I’d heard where someone was owning their anger through introspection. Sure, there were lines that show a lack of trust and disappointment, but ultimately, this was a space where his own shadow was brought into question. He seemed to be giving himself a pep talk, trying to turn things around by being a positive force. This, to me, was revolutionary. There was a huge strength psychologically in showing this vulnerability. And my favorite line—“And at the end of the day / All you have is yourself and your mind” (from “Low Self Opinion”)—really reverberated. I got it. I didn’t need to expect anything from anyone except myself. My own thoughts are what make up my world. And that is the most empowering message: self-reliance. ST—085
Kylesa vocalist/guitarist Laura Pleasants shared this photo, “Depth of Field,” as a visual interpretation of The Knife’s new album, Shaking the Habitual. Kylesa’s latest record, Ultraviolet, is out now via Season of Mist.