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September 2, 2014

DJ Harvey's Wildest Dreams

The Cult British DJ Surfing an Endless Summer

DJ Harvey’s life has long been a musical mash-up. Following punk, disco and acid house in the UK, hip-hop in New York, and a residency at London’s Ministry of Sound, his latest project is—strangely for a man better associated with willing on communal bliss in clubs from Montreal to Melbourne—a rock band. Showcased here in a new George Trimm-directed video for single "Last Ride," which stars longboard surfer Joel Tudor, Harvey's group Wildest Dreams is a groove-laden psychedelic odyssey, gleaned from a lifetime of selecting vinyl cuts and a fascination with the darker edges of a hippy culture emanating from his adopted home of California, where he has lived for nearly 15 years. We spoke to the 49-year-old "DJ's DJ" as he nursed a coffee at his beloved Venice Beach, watching 'Big-Wednesday' waves glide across the horizon.

Tell us about the star of the video, Joel Tudor.
DJ Harvey:
He’s my buddy, and maybe the best longboard surfer that has ever lived. He basically re-introduced longboard style in the mid-90s when it was very unpopular: he took it back to its roots in the same sort of way that I’ve done musically with the Wildest Dreams record. He’s riding a seven-foot retro single fin board, which is the kind of thing that was being ridden in the 1970s before the short-board revolution started.

What made you start this band up?
This kind of music is roots music for me. My babysitter played me “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix when I was about eight or nine. I remember them going, “I think it will be a bit heavy for you.” Sonically, no one can escape from how powerful that record is. I was just like, “Wow! I don’t know what heavy is, but I love it.”

With Wildest Dreams, you’ve adapted to your musical surroundings as an adopted Californian in a similar way as you have in the past, with hip-hop in New York for example.
As an East-Anglian Englishman, I looked to California as a promised land when I was a kid. It had skateboarding,  surfing,  hot rods, tattoos, the Mansons, the Beach Boys, pornography, the plastic people and the movie industries. It was everything I was into, the dark side of the hippie thing. I aspired to Hollywood babylon: hippy satanism, psychedelia and Frank Zappa and The Mothers, all that wonderful stuff.

Can you trace a lineage from that time to Los Angeles today?
If you walk down the boardwalk of Venice Beach you hear nothing but Led Zeppelin and The Doors—the local gangsters, the Venice 13, sing along to LA Woman. It’s Californian folk music. But I often feel that some of the greatest of that music was actually made by Brits. It’s almost imported to LA, in many respects: Keith Moon was in a surf band, and The Turtles, Cream and 'Zeppelin were English. So much of it was actually originally made by people who could only dream about being here.

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Kylie Minogue: Sexercize

The Pop Siren's Hyper-Kitsch Collaboration with Roman Coppola Launches Her New Audio-Visual Experience

“When I was a kid there were a lot of custom cars made for bands or television shows: The Pink Panther and The Monkees had incredible vehicles,” says Roman Coppola, whose Special Projects division of the Director’s Bureau created this thrillingly lurid video for “Sexercize,” co-starring a bespoke Maserati. “I thought to myself: ‘I’ll make a custom car for Kylie.’” The homage to Kenneth Anger’s 1965 short Kustom Kar Kommandos makes up just one facet of an ambitious multimedia hub built by Chandelier Creative, who continue the pop queen’s long-held campaign of constant reinvention with an array of different digital responses to the latest single from her 12th studio album, Kiss Me Once. “We were speaking to Kylie while she was recording the album, and we knew she was inspired by a particular time and aesthetic: late 1970s/early 1980s French Vogue with a bit of an Olivia Newton-John or Jane Fonda aerobics fashion filter,” says Chandelier Creative Director Richard Christiansen. “She explained that what she wanted was ‘naughty, but with a wink,’ and I started thinking about vintage Pirelli Calendars.’” Chandelier commissioned Jean-Paul Gaultier to make an animation with Mat Maitland, asked the artist Reilly to design animated GIFs of Dolce & Gabbana looks, and put together a film with National Geographic spotlighting animal mating rituals. The question they asked each collaborator, who also include illustrator Hattie Stewart and platform VFiles, was this: “How do you sexercize?” The answers are revealed here, but before you go, let Kylie give her two cents: “It is racy but above all fun, and can 'be' whatever you want it to be,” she says. “If you're old enough to be a VHS generation kid, you will probably manifest your own workout video in your head after one listen—lycra is optional!”

Kiss Me Once is available now.

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Sunrise, Sunset: Moses Sumney

The Rising Soul Star Reflects on the Imperfect Roots of his Songwriting

“It was fascinating to watch the Downtown Los Angeles sunrise, when the natural world immerses the industrial environment in light,” says lo-fi prodigy Moses Sumney, who is perched on top of the Ace Hotel in the latest installment of our series with Yours Truly, Sunrise, Sunset. “It's such a contemporary phenomenon, it feels almost futuristic. I live in Mid-City, where things are more quintessentially California: the sun peaks up out of the palm trees and casts their shadows on the sidewalk.” The San Bernardino-born singer-songwriter’s expressive folk-soul hybrid turned music industry heads throughout 2013 despite playing only a handful of shows and being without a record label. He is fresh from playing New York Fashion Week’s closing party with Solange Knowles and her Saint Records a fortnight ago, covering Sade’s “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” in a collaboration with fellow breakout alt-RnB artist Kelela. “Solange was a sweetheart,” says Sumney. “She gave me a warm introduction and came back onstage during my set to ensure the rowdy fashion week crowd was paying attention.” Sumney starts his weekly month-long residency at Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater tonight, with alongside local rising artists Deradoorian, yOya and Kan Wakan. “I’ve seen tons of residencies at the venue and they seem to represent an LA rite of passage,” says Sumney of the city’s live music heritage. “It feels very egalitarian that someone like me, who wasn't raised in the LA scene at all, could come in so suddenly and be embraced.”

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