THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES – PART 5: MUSIC
This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our fifth category is MUSIC and with Coachella festival coming, let's start with the infamous Palm Springs festival.
This festival is the perfect place to kill numerous musical birds with one stone, so head to the Empire Polo Club in Indio and try to see as many of your favorite bands as humanly possible. Though it’s technically not in Los Angeles, we’ve made an exception for Coachella, which takes place in the Colorado Desert, due to its legendary status as literally and figuravitely the hottest music festival in Southern California. For six days (the line-up is now repeats over two separate weekends) in April, headliners and emerging talents from all over the world play for your viewing and listening pleasure. Major groups have had reunions here and others have had meltdowns; one deceased artist was even resurrected as a 3D hologram. And with consistently strong line-ups, this festival always incites sheer pandemonium. Sure, three days packed with music and parties sounds though and you might end up fighting your way through crowds, suffering from sunstroke, and not bathing, but for a Coachella experience, it’s worth it. Note: while you’re in the Indio area, be sure to try a sweet, delicious date milkshake. Dates are the star produce in the Coachella Valley, which produces 95 percent of the dates sold in the United States.
Empire Polo club, 81-800 Avenue 51 in Indio www.coachella.com
Young MC - Bust A Move
Tone-Loc - Funky Cold Medina
Carly Simon - Why
Inner City - Big Fun
808 State - Cubik Olympic
A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray
Alan Vega - Jukebox Baby
Cameo - Candy
Sly & The Family Stone - Family Affair
Hall & Oates - I Can't Go For That
Chemise - She Can't Love You
Apollonia 6 - Sex Shooter
B.V.S.M.P - I Need You
Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Love Missile F1-11
Sheila - Spacer
Cheri - Murphy's Law
Flying Lizards - Lovers And Other Strangers
Angel Olsen - Hi Five
Kendrick Lamar - Backseat Freestyle
El-P and Killer Mike - Sea Legs
Foxygen - No Destruction
St. Vincent - Bring Me Your Loves
Ike and Tina Turner - It Ain't Right (Lovin' to be Lovin')
David Bowie - Fashion
King Krule - Border Line
John Maus - Hey Moon
Fire Engines - Get Up And Use Me
Dicks - Off Duty Sailor
Dead Kennedys - California Uber Alles
Ministry - The Missing
Misfits - She
Blood Orange - You're Not Good Enough
Ornette Coleman - Theme From A Symphony
California is the inspiration of our Spring/Summer collections and Carol and Humberto’s home state. We interviewed some inspiring friends to define the essence of the golden state, and Carrie Brownstein was definitely one of them! Carrie became known as a guitarist and vocalist in band Sleater-Kinney in the early 90s and she is currently co-starring with Fred Armisen in Portlandia. Today, she shares her thoughts on the West Coast culture and music scene.
KENZINE: You were born in Seattle, according to you, what were the cultural specificities that made the West Coast the birthplace of American counter cultures?
Carrie Brownstein: I think the West Coast has always embodied an outlier status. Even from a migratory standpoint, the west is about pioneering, reaching the edge. But what's next, what do you do when you reach the ocean? You have to find new edges, break new boundaries. In the rear view mirror is the rest of America; on the West Coast you have the luxury of looking back, borrowing or being inspired from what is behind you, but also fucking up or messing with what didn't. It's about innovation. There is also a landscape to internalize out West: rugged, vast, the desert and the forest, vibrant colors and oppressive grays. If you combine all of that external variety into a person, someone sensitive like an artist or a scientist, what you get are freaks and freakiness, and I mean that in the best way possible.
K: How would you describe the differences between Northern and Southern California?
C.B.: Southern California is defined by exposure and Northern California by concealment. So, in SC you get people either basking in or aiming for exposure, you get art, music and novels that deal with the effects of over-exposure, what it feels like to live in a place that is a signifier as much as it is a geographical locale. But also, artistically and communally, there is the urge to create shelter, to carve out pockets of stillness and quiet. When I think of that I think of surfing or Summer goths, or punk rock, or underground restaurant culture, or skateboarders, people putting these figurative umbrellas up over the spotlight, shadows to live in and be inspired by. And up in NC, the mainstream grew out from the fringe. Those who were hiding out were found, were accepted: queer culture, pot-growers, radical thinkers, tech nerds. So, up north the trajectory is an outward journey, while in the southern part of the state it's a journey inward. What a weird, cool tension.
K: Another important theme for KENZO this season is overfishing and that leads us to the important causes to fight for... In the 90s, you plaid a big part in the riot grrrl movement which started in Olympia, can you tell our readers (especially the youngest) what it was about and which values you were fighting for, as women but also as musicians?
C.B.: I think women wanted to carve out a space for ourselves in the music scene. At the time, the punk and indie scenes were very male-dominated, there weren't as many women playing in bands, there was a very distinct and gendered line in music. What defined music and the notion of a "rock star" was maleness. To be a musician who happened to be female was to not just be outside the scene, but to be outside of music itself, as if music wasn't intrinsic to being female, as if it wasn't innately owned. So, a lot of women felt like they had to claim music, and to do so, they had to rewrite the rules. Bands like Bikini Kill, Heavens to Betsy and Bratmobile sang about the experiences of femaleness, which were of course the only experiences they knew. And they did it in a way that was bold and fearless, they really galvanized the narrative, inserted their own stories and perspectives into the lineage of songwriting. They cleared a space so that subsequent bands could sing about whatever they wanted, could dismantle the notion of music or sounds as belonging to a single gender. My band, Sleater-Kinney, came along at the tail end of this. And I am so grateful that the space had already been fought for. We really just wanted to be considered a band, free to define ourselves however we wanted.
K: How did you make the music scene or even the world change?
C.B.: Hard to tell. All I know is that I look around and see so much amazing art--from fashion to film to music--that seems to draw from some of those 90s and 2000s musical moments, that sort of unequivocal line-in-the-sand feel, everything at stake. Except what's wonderful now is the aim for accessibility. So much about having to fight for something is that you greet the world with a punch, with a fist. You're on the defense, having to define who you are by everything you're not. Whereas now there is a sense that the strength is representational, there is an inviting quality to art right now, a sense of participation and generosity.
K: In 2009, you worked on the soundtrack of the documentary film ‘!Women Art Revolution’ by Lynn Hershman Leeson, do you still consider yourself as a riot grrrl or a feminist?
C.B.: I consider myself a feminist. And I just read these lines in the new Lorrie Moore short story collection that really sum up how I feel about feminism: "As a feminist you mustn't blame the other woman," a neighbor told her. "As a feminist I request that you no longer speak to me," Kit replied. Basically, I'm not interested in using feminism as a way of making other women feel bad. And I like the idea that men can be feminists. They can. It's merely one lens of many through which to view the world and phenomena.
K: The fourth season of Portlandia has an impressive list of guests, could you reveal us something fun that happened to any of them when you were shooting?
C.B.: Steve Buscemi and I were filming the end of a very epic sketch called 'Celery'. We play husband and wife who are on a yacht, sailing off into the sunset (well, more like sailing off on a river under the grey Portland skies). We went about 100 yards and hit a sandbar and we both nearly went overboard. I wouldn't exactly say we make the show very safe for our guest stars, but we do make it fun. Steve had a great time, it's always an honor to work with him, he' so brilliant. We really do feel lucky that so many musicians and actors want to come up to Portland and work with us.
Carrie wears our K jacket and a blouse from the resort collection.
Tête à tête with Daniel Sannwald
Daniel Sannwald is a German photographer and director based between London and Munich. He directed a very colorful neon video for M.I.A's new single "Y.A.L.A" where she wears a KENZO Lotus Eyes dress and KENZO jewelry by Delfina Delettrez. He talks about his collaboration with the artist and the magazine...
"I really like working with M.I.A. I met her first for her album artwork shoot a while ago. A lot is based on trust and mutual appreciation for each others work. We both really enjoyed working together and thought it could be cool to do a video one day. I was very happy when the i-D x Kenzo x MIA project came up. The brief was very open and was a dialogue between i-D, M.I.A and I. She is quite a free spirit and changed the song 3 times before the actual shoot. I quite love her for that as she works very much with her instincts and so do I. It was a bit stressful to pull a video together in such little time, but I am very happy with the end result. I wanted to create a visual story rather then a narrative based piece. The idea was to create a psychadelic trip and a lot of colours! As we worked with a visual journey the track gave us the speed of the edit and how we used and applied certain effects. We also tried to pick the looks which worked best in the UV light. It's nice how the clothes start glowing in some parts of the video!
MIA has a very strong vision, something I think is very rare these days with some artists. She wants to make sure that the work resembles her artistic message. However, she has always seen this as a collaboration between the two of us and luckily both our creative visions are very close to one another".
To celebrate the inauguration of their new website at i-D.co, i-D the iconic British fashion and lifestyle publication has joined with KENZO in commissioning the official video for critically acclaimed recording artist M.I.A’s new release “Y.A.L.A” (You Always Live Again). The song is the latest offering from M.I.A’s album “Matangi.”
The video, directed by Daniel Sannwald, sees M.I.A as a golden goddess wearing garments and jewelry from KENZO’s FW 13 Collection. M.I.A can be seen wearing a custom KENZO jacquard jacket with the temple eye motif and a pair of Delfina Delettrez for KENZO eye ribbon earrings.
This is the second time KENZO has worked with M.I.A on a project. The fashion brand previously collaborated with the artist to create the music for its Fall/Winter 2013 women’s show, held at La Samaritaine in Paris in March 2013.
For more information on i-D visit i-D.co
For more information on M.I.A visit http://www.miauk.com/matangi
THE EYE SONGS MIXTAPE
This season, we're obsessed with eyes and we see them everywhere! In fashion, art, food or music. So here's our mixtape around the eye. 10 songs you probably already know...
Number 1 is "Eye In The Sky" by The Alan Parsons Project
An incredible record producer and audio engineer who collaborated with groups such as the Beatles and Pink Floyd in the early 1970s, Alan Parsons has also written a handful of pure, intergenerational tunes such as the undying "Eye In The Sky". Vintage, yet just as modern as ever.
Number 2 is "Mind & Eyes" by Nite Jewel
Far from the arty pop songs that led her to release an album under the label Italians Do It Better, California native Romana Gonzalez, aka Nite Jewel, has created soul pop with a distinct classic feel reminiscent of the silky-smooth vocals of Sade.
Number 3 is "Needles In The Camel’s Eye" by Brian Eno
As the opening song for "Here Come The Warm Jets", Brian Eno’s first solo album, this noisy, percussive piece released in 1974 could be considered to be one of the first punk records.
Number 4 is "Red Eye" by Kid Cudi feat. HAIM
The former protégé of Kanye West joined forces with the California-based all-female trio HAIM to create this downtempo, emotive duet featuring soft waves of synthetic sound. A slow jam v2.0.
Number 5 is "A Tooth For An Eye" by The Knife
This enigmatic Swedish duo put forward an electronic mantra to which they alone hold the secret. Indescribable, indefinable and unclassifiable, this song is from the album Shaking The Habitual, released in 2013.
Number 6 is "My Right Eye" by Laurie Anderson
Woman and machine coalesce in this strange lullaby by the queen of experimental music. Five minutes of sheer beauty that must be listened to with headphones in order to hear Laurie Anderson’s whispers.
Number 7 is "Tokyo Eye" by Sonic Youth
For Tokyo Eye, a song off of the album Experimental Jet Set Trash And No Star, this New York City band tinkered with a very hard rock guitar riff to create a veritable noise storm that within the middle of an immensely calm piece.
Number 8 is "Dorothy Dandridge Eyes" by Janelle Monae feat. Esperanza Spalding
As the second-to-last song on The Electric Lady, the latest album by Janelle Monae, this song (which was directly inspired by Stevie Wonder) is a tribute to Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American actress to make a name for herself in Hollywood.
Number 9 is "The Man With The Child In His Eyes" by Kate Bush
Kate Bush wrote this song from her second album when she was 13 years old. She recorded it three years later at AIR Studios in London under the guidance of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who discovered her and helped launched her career.
And last but not least, number 10 is "Eye" by The Smashing Pumpkins
This melancholy, minimal song from the Lost Highway soundtrack is one of the Chicago group’s rare pieces that was created almost exclusively using electronic instruments. It is a light and airy interlude in their extensive discography.
CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU
The eye - iconic element of our Fall/Winter women's collection - has always inspired fashion and art. Here's a little selection of albums artworks we like, playing around it.
The Pretty Things
Savage Eye, released in 1975, was the eighth album by sixties rockers The Pretty Things, and their second on Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records label. Singer and final founding member Phil May would quit the band the following year.
The cover of Michael Jackson’s "Dangerous" is a feast of detail and hidden meaning, from masonic symbols to The Wizard of Oz and Disney references. It was designed by painter Mark Ryden, a leading figure of the American Pop Surrealist movement.
Eyeball masks are the trademark prop of The Residents, a US-based art collective best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works. The prolific band has released over 60 albums since it was formed in the mid-1970s. This 1979 release was presented at the time as a concept album about the Inuit community.
Burning For You
English band Strawbs, who formed at the close of the 1960s, commissioned Patrick Woodroffe to create the sleeve art for this late-1970s release. Woodroffe also designed the album cover for metal group Judas Priest’s "Sad Wings of Destiny".
Gang Gang Dance
Brian Degraw, a member of NYC’s Gang Gang Dance, designed the cover for their 2005 release based on a photo by fellow band member Nathan Maddox, who was killed in 2002 when he was struck by lightning in a storm. Degraw imagined Maddox’s eyes roaming over the world.
French band Chateau Marmont is really into the eye as well!
Watch their brand new "Invisible Eye" video by Shinya Sato.
Tête à tête with MIKE D.
For our men Spring/Summer 2014 show, Humberto and Carol asked Mike D. to produce a track inspired by the Californian scene. The result is a track is called "Humberto vs The New Reactionaries". Christine and the Queens remix, pretty much influenced by American punk!
Mike comes back on the whole process for us...
KENZINE: What inspired you when writing the music for the Kenzo show?
MIKE D.: Talking to Humberto, I wanted to honor what he was inspired by: American hardcore like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks but then I wanted to update it, or maybe couldn't help but to update it.
K: What made you want to work with Carol, Humberto and the Kenzo label? How did this collaboration come about?
M: We were introduced by a mutual friend and collaborator, Spike Jonze. My experience has been that when good people are put together by other good people good things come of it. And voila.
K: How did this collaboration evolve?
M: I kinda just got right into it, sending music off to Humberto and Carol for feedback as I progressed.
K: Do you listen to some music when you work on a track?
M: Not directly, once I am in creation mode, it's game on. BUT, I have been listening to a fair amount of trap records and I think that found it's way into things on this for sure.
K: In which way do you think the production and the sounds you chose reflect the spirit of the collection?
M: I definitely shared Humberto's passion for American Punk and that raw energy and I think that informs the collection and the soundtrack I did.
K: In which conditions was this soundtrack recorded?
M: Mostly at Oscilloscope laboratories, NYC.
K: Was it your first time at writing a soundtrack to a fashion show? How different is it from writing an album?
M: Yes, definitely a first, which made me want to do it. It was more like scoring a soundtrack for a movie, but without an actual film.
K: Lots of your tunes are perfect to dance to, but in a fashion show, models walk. What rules do you need to respect when you want to write the perfect music to walk to?
M: I think I am more comfortable being ignorant of rules.
K: You've always had a recognizable style. How important is fashion in your everyday life? What aspects of fashion interest you the most?
M: I've always been more captivated by that kid that clearly has an individual solo sound track. That dresses, walks, moves to his or her own frequency often for years before anyone else catches on.
K: What values do you feel you're sharing with this brand?
M: Some hot beats and energy.
K: Does Paris have any particular sentimental value for you?
M: Yes, in a lot of ways actually, with both my real family and my band family.
K: What are you currently or soon going to be working on?
M: This Kenzo shit!
K: Where would you like to go if you could go anywhere in the world?
M: So many places. Morocco and a lot of North Africa. Egypt. Certain surf breaks in Indonesia and Mexico that I have never been to.