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July 25, 2014

We Are Shining: Hot Love

Going Rogue on the Streets of London With Model-of-the-Moment Adwoa Aboah

Freckled beauty Adwoa Aboah loses herself to the beat-scattered, gospel blues of We Are Shining in their video for new single "Hot Love," directed by Simon Cahn. The London-based outfit made up of Morgan Zarate and Acyde, garnered attention with an early release on Young Turks (as The Shining), while their recent collaboration with breakout singer-songwriter Eliza Doolittle, “Killing,” made waves with a flinch-inducing viral video capturing a dancer seemingly unaware of throwing knives narrowly missing her head. "There's a lot of experimental Afro, Latin and European music from the late 1960s to 1980s," Zarate and Acyde say of their current playlists. "In terms of production it's about putting yourself in another world and getting the music to sound like that place." Following a cosmic mix tape, Devileyes, today's ecstatic video by the Parisian filmmaker comes ahead of the duo's debut album out later this year on Marathon Artists. Its free-spirited protagonist Aboah, who has fronted campaigns for H&M and Henry Holland and is the daughter of Camilla Lowther and Charles Aboah, makes the ultimate muse. "I wanted her to be almost like Juliette Binoche in Lovers on the Bridge, which isn’t an easy thing to pull off," says Cahn.

"Hot Love" is released on Marathon Artists on September 8.

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Party On

Ring in the New Year with a Look at Past Revelries and a Word on Throwing the Perfect Blowout from 2ManyDJs

From Truman Capote's Black and White Ball in New York to a Balearic blowout in Ibiza, see out 2013 with a NOWNESS-curated series of archival photographs, allied with some party advice from two of the world's most sought-after DJs. Fresh from presiding over their Despacio party in London with James Murphy, 2ManyDJs met us to discuss the state of partying in time for the New Year celebrations. Built at huge expense in collaboration with the McIntosh amplifier company, the three-night residency centered around a 50,000-watt, ten-ton sound system that pumped out acid house, disco, pop, electro, techno, funk and Steve Reich. Inspired by the early days of Ibiza and legendary New York nightclub The Loft, Despacio is about creating a party that's as intimate and fun as the dream party in your living room, but a world away from a YouTube party. While James Murphy attended to a broken stylus, we spoke to the sharply dressed Belgian brothers about Despacio, and what makes the perfect party.

What was the inspiration behind the Despacio parties?
Stephen Dewaele:
We wanted to have the control back. It's the idea that if you throw a party, it's your own soundsystem. We're way more involved than if it were a festival or a club, we think about serving the drinks, everything. For some reason the world that James, David and I work in it's so far removed from that—it's very corporate. So this was our way of going 'Hey, we can do it ourselves, and play the music we want, and make it sound like we want to do it.'

You've talked about the huge amount of money Despacio costs to put on. Is it important to be generous hosts?
Why not? We want to share this kind of music and experience with people as music fans. 

David Dewaele: Despacio extends further than the music. This is how we want it to sound, this is the kind of venue that we love, these are the people we want in the bar; it's this wine, this coffee.

SD: It's also this idea of Balearic, disco, minimal wave, all these things we've been loving our whole lives. It's saying, 'Hey, you can blend all these things,' it has a lot to do with the sound, how people behave to each other, serving them a good drink rather than some crap beer. This is 100th of what we think the best party would be! Logistically and financially we're not able to do these things.

What would you like to do with this that you haven't done yet?
Playing until seven in the morning, we open up the roof and the sun comes up... the sea slowly coming onto the dancefloor, and people saying 'OK, I'm going for a swim now.' That would be amazing.

What's the biggest change you've seen in the party world
Money is the main thing. DJing has transformed into something, a force, way beyond what it should be.

What was your best ever New Years party?
Mine was the Millennium. 1999 was a busy year for us, and our managers said 'You've been working hard, why don't you take New Year's Eve off.' We had a dinner, we went to a party in our home town—they played R&B, I danced all night, and I remember you had a shit time because your girlfriend tried to put ecstasy in your mouth.

SD: Oh that night, Jesus Christ, she did put ecstasy in my mouth. The first of January is always better, New Years Eve is always forced. The ones I like doing are in Spain, because people haven't been to bed, you play at six in the afternoon on the first of January and there are 5,000 people really having a good time.

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Forest Swords: The Weight of Gold

Benjamin Millepied Fills a Bright Dead Sea Landscape with the Experimental Artist’s Brooding Music

“I first saw Billy Barry perform at Juilliard four years ago,” says the acclaimed French choreographer, filmmaker and photographer Benjamin Millepied. “I thought, ‘Who is this creature?’ Billy’s quality as a dancer is so otherworldly, I immediately knew I wanted to create a portrait of him. The sense of solitude depicted in the film reflects just how different he is as an artist.” The chance to direct today’s music video for British artist Forest Swords’ haunting track “The Weight of Gold” presented an intriguing opportunity for Millepied, who was seduced after being inspired by Israel’s Dead Sea area’s landscape, including the Judean desert and Nebi Musa site that is dedicated to Moses. “We arrived at a beautiful location and I just let the music and the desert move me instead of forcing it,” says Barry, the young flaxen-haired dancer who earned a spot at Tel Aviv’s prestigious Batsheva Ensemble straight out of school. “I listened to the music a lot before the shoot and on the day we just went with what happened naturally.” Below Forest Swords, AKA Matthew Barnes, explores the musical side of this creative collaboration.

I grew up listening to a lot of mainstream pop music, and I was fascinated with the production and structure of it.
Then I gradually got into punk, hip-hop and electronic music. All that filters into the type of sounds, melodies and textures I’m attracted to now, though it’s difficult to be objective about that kind of thing when you’re making it.

The track “The Weight of Gold” came together fairly slowly. I pieced it together over a few weeks, adding and subtracting until it felt right and I mixed it outdoors like the rest of the record.

The locations Benjamin picked for this video really resonate with the track.
I’ve always associated the songs from my album Engravings with a British landscape—woodland and sandstone, because that’s the environment I live and produced the record in. Taking the music out of that context and placing it in Israel definitely shifts the track in a direction I did not expect.

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