Saturday 29 January 2011

Sat 29th Jan: Profile Weekender - DELS

Last week I wrote my first feature about Dels focusing on his latest video and track "Trumpalump" via the makeup artist who worked on the shoot - Poppy France. This experimental Hip Hop act is as equally inventive with his visuals as his tunes and lyrics. Here is the fantastic first video "Shapeshift" directed by Us who are close friends and collaborators of Dels since they met at art school. I have tracked down Dels to find out more about the track depicting him shapeshifting into a myriad of surreal fascinations including action figures, dogs, rain ........ and even gobstoppers - of which the imminent debut album shares a title "GOB".

FB: Your recent 2 videos are exceptionally executed and I read that you “write a song with video in mind”. How do you choose / find the right team to work with and how you go about writing the treatment – ie. How involved are you?

DELS: I'm heavily involved. I work closely with Us Design Studio who are two designers that I studied with for three years during my
Graphic Design degree at Kingston University. They have seen me grow as an artist and designer, so the collaboration was a natural decision. I usually sit down with Luke and Christopher (Us Design Studio) and listen to the song a few times, break down what
I am trying to say, then start brainstorming visual ideas. We are always sending ideas to each other via email/text/iChat.
'Trumplaump' is the second music video that we have done together and there is plan to do more. The rest of the team usually consists of close friends that we worked with during our time at University. It's a lot of fun.

FB: The video for Trumpalump is from the lyric about dreaming in colour or black and white. Has the final film captured how you dreamt it would look………..have you actually had a dream since about the making of the video?

DELS: I don't remember exactly how the dream looked when I originally wrote that lyric. Do we ever remember random details in our dreams?
If you sit on a sofa in a dream, do you remember how the fabric felt? We just used that lyric as a basis for the video itself and pushed it further. Let our imaginations run free. No boundaries. The main aim was to capture and reflect the random nature of the song Trumpalump. The song takes on a life of it's own in terms of song structure and the varied sounds dictate the delivery of my vocals.

FB: You studied Graphic design and now produce t-shirts for your music merchandise. If you evolved the line further in the future like Pharell has created with BAPE, what would be your dream collaboration in the fashion world e.g Watch or sneaker classic?

DELS: I'd love to work with the United Visual Artists on a visual installation. I'd also really like to create a few Ceramic products
and work on a short film with David Shrigley. There's a whole list of things I really want to do, I just don't think I need to collaborate with well established artists to get my ideas out there. Good ideas have legs and will get noticed with enough determination to get them seen. I'd rather do it on my own or collaborate with friends who are up and coming designers/film-makers.

FB: Is it going to be a big summer of touring the festivals for you- which are you excited about? Do you have a stand out memory from a festival experience for you as a punter in the past?

DELS: I'm really excited about playing SXSW Festival in March! Never played a gig in America before, this is a dream for me.
If you told me I'd be playing gigs now in Texas five years ago, I would never have believed you. This is all a bit mad really.
Seeing Hot Chip play at Glastonbury two years ago was pretty amazing for me. It was my first time at a Glastonbury and I got to go back stage and meet other musicians who were playing at the festival.

FB: Much like the 90’s dance band “Corona” your name “Dels” is also a name for a fizzy pop (Italian lemonade). What was your fave soft drink when you were a kid? Were you a slush puppy head or a Mr. Frosty?

DELS: I was obsessed with Kool Aid. Myself and my Brothers & Sisters loved it! I had dreams about having showers and Baths in Kool Aid as a child. I always dreamt about bathing/swimming in things that I loved as a child. I once sailed on a sea of 90's action figurines and melted chocolate.

FB: You grew up in Ipswich which was a destination for me as a teenager because they had the best bands come to play in East Anglia! What was the best gig you saw that inspired you musically or performance wise when you were young ?

DELS: I never went to gigs in Ipswich. Not one. A lot of the acts that I loved as a child, I saw play at Notting Hill Carnival.
I went to that Carnival every year with my Brother and Godfather. I would stand there in a trance, soaking up the culture, bopping to the varied baselines. I come from a Jamaican family, so we all share a common affection for the baseline. I watched trends within UK music come and go at that Carnival. Back then, you couldn't access music as easily as you can now on the internet. You had to really search for it. Notting Hill Carnival was a good way for me to hear new interesting music that young musicians were making at that time.

DELS appeared on Huw Stephens Radio 1 show earlier this week with session tracks recorded at Maida Vale studios where he had previously visited 10 years prior for a Peel session when he was first discovered. To find out more from that story and listen again to the tracks picked from GOB - click here.

(All images from on set filming Shapeshift c/o Dels)

Friday 28 January 2011

Fri 28th Jan: Patti Smith in London

This week I was lucky enough to attend both a talk and concert with Patti Smith on 2 nights whilst she was in London. Both events centered around the brilliant book "Just Kids" which Patti penned for her beloved friend Robert Mapplethorpe. Its an emotional read - recounting the tale of how the two young souls found each other, fell in love, made art and grew up together until Robert's premature passing away aged only 45.

The conversation with Geoff Dyer took place at The Royal Geographical Society and the gig at St Giles in the fields Church which is a sentimental venue Patti has written about in her music. For this set list of tracks strung together to depict chapters of the book, Patti was joined on stage by her daughter Jessie on piano and Patrick Wolf on harp and viola. The performance was perfect with Patti on top form smiling, laughing, cracking jokes and belting out her anthems. The rapturous applause from the audience of devout fans congregated for her special appearance in the city was quite something to be part of. It was lush to hear her read passages from her own prose and ad-lib extra anecdotes either side to describe further detail.
Thanks to Patrick Wolf for getting me into the gig. So proud to see him perform with one of his heroes........... much like Patti experienced before him when she accompanied Bob Dylan on stage having admired him from afar as an aspiring musician.........and so history keeps rolling.............. awesome!

See Intelligence Squared Patti Smith site for tonnes of contents and links........

Thursday 27 January 2011

Thurs Jan 27th: Jessie J by Dan Wilton

Just before the world implodes with Jessie J fever with The Brits in February and her debut album release in March.......... Ive caught up with the photographer responsible for her portraits to date .......... including the cover for "Do It Like A Dude". The early images of legendary artists become the iconic shots that captured their purest essence .......... so lets set the scene of how Jessie's came about with Dan Wilton.......

FB: How did you first start working with Jessie?
DW: I think it was through the shoots I've done with Cocknbullkid. Jessie's PR saw the shots and got in touch

FB: Whose idea was it to shoot her on the children's ride? Is it one you know well!
DW: Haha. I actually spotted it as I was walking to my studio on the day of the shoot. It really fitted with fun, lo-fi look they wanted.

FB: You took her to a cafe - whats your favourite London greasy spoon and whats your dish of choice? (Is it a Manzees eel and pie shop you shot her in? If so, what did she think of the eel and liquor?)
DW: She's mad about the liquor! It was more her taking me to the cafe really, I didn't have an option. It was the one on Bethnal Green road.
Nico's is my favourite greasy spoon. Just round the corner from Bethnal Green tube station. Favourite dish kind of depends on the level of hangover (the only time I really eat there is with a hangover). Usually I don't have time to sit down so it'll be a take away special - bacon, beans & hashbrown sandwich. Rowdy

FB: She looks like a laugh - has she taught you any jokes?
DW: I don't remember any jokes. But she's pretty amazing at pulling faces.

FB: If you could have a dream job, what other current emerging artist would you like to shoot album artwork for?
DW: Bo Ningen

FB: If you could choose to nominate an act for The Mercury, who would you choose and why?
DW: Sex Bob-Omb because they totally rule. I just wish they were actually a real band. Damn

To see more outtakes from Dan's shoots and keep up to date with all the acts and characters he is shooting, check out his Blog
(All images c/o Dan .......... and my snap of a recent Evening Standard paper)

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Weds 26th Jan: Art Against Knives with Gilbert and George

Last night the charity ART AGAINST KNIVES hosted an event at The White Cube Gallery, inviting guests to a private view of GILBERT & GEORGE’s latest exhibition ‘THE URETHRA POSTCARD ART'. The gathering was organised to thank supporters and welcome the new year by disclosing plans for ART AGAINST KNIVES in 2011. To kick off the proceedings GILBERT & GEORGE kindly made a personal appearance as did Richard Barnes, the deputy Mayor of London.
AAK's prerogative is to tackle and diminish knife crime by providing creative opportunities for young people. Their new departure "OurSpace" is a platform to engage the local community, through youth-led arts based projects. The device has been designed to provide groups the opportunity to communicate, deliver and sustain solutions to personal issues via peaceful process.

Thanks to Katy and Oliver for the invite and thanks to Vicky Langdon for the photos.

To donate to AAK, you can buy my special t-shirt design by clicking here.

Weds 26th Jan: Backstage at Ann Demeulemeester by Rosy Nicholas

"Tim Blanks probably puts the essence of the collection better than I could here........but basically it was all about earth, fire, the night, sunsets, black sky & stars .....................and the boys looking like werewolves, but nice ones.

1) The flame orange fabric representing the sunsets.
(some of the other shots show the blue bleach spotted fabric that looks like stars in the night nice)

2) Bart and Duco looking cool. The long gloves which I always expected a hawk to come flying down and land on.

3) Tomek, Anthon and Leon in black with their horse hair head pieces.

4) Ann and Tim after the show.

5) The old convent venue, Couvent des Cordeliers."

Thanks to Rosy Nicholas for these behind the scenes shots and information from the Ann Demeulemeester show in Paris this week.
To get a glimpse of Ann's line in London, head to LN-CC

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Monday 24 January 2011

Monday 24th Jan: Patrick Wolf Video Interview Exclusive - "The City" Directed by Kinga Burza

On the eve of Patrick Wolf's new video premiering over on The Guardian site, he has generously taken time to answer an interview for us here! Signing off his email, he also kindly offered me dating tips if I should feel inclined for agony aunt advise over a cup of tea............ to which I can answer only this - WHY THE HELL DID YOU GET EXTRAS FOR THIS SEXY VIDEO, SHOT IN SUNNY SANTA MONICA WHEN YOU COULD HAVE SHIPPED US LOT OUT THERE TO GET DOWN AND DIRTY IN THE SAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!.............HUH????

As you will see for yourselves tomorrow, its a very romantic number. I love it! Punchy piano chords send a shiver straight up your spine and you know its going to be a hit!
Its so romantic, that it also makes me a bit teary 3/4 of the way thru when there is a crescendo of strings "its about the keys to my heart you hold". It has all the optimism and charm of The Magic Position but more mature and heartfelt in its slick delivery and veneer with these visuals. It still has Patrick's cheeky character intrinsically interwoven too, which is a nice nod of inclusion in the new direction of his identity. A final scene of him running along chasing and playing with a dog is especially endearingly Wolf.

FB: Was the concept your idea or her pitch?

PW: It was a very organic process, It actually stemmed from a great conversation we had on the phone.. Kinga first asked me to talk openly about who and what the song was written about and what the ultimate message of the lyrics was about.. she then gave me an amazingly honest dissection about what she knew about my past videos and imagery and what she felt she now wanted see in terms of re-invention and new direction for me and the album, what she thought in terms of developing of my visuals and character and what her initial vision was after hearing the song for the first time. I loved this feedback and kept a very open mind and so glad I did.

Then we had lots of exciting conversations backwards and forwards for weeks and pretty much everything was done verbally strictly between us, it felt so intimate and so much more personal than being delivered a pdf of a mood board or an email pitch by a director you've never spoken to before, which I guess works for some projects, but i really get excited by these personal meaningful collaboration with directors and photographers.

When It came to location, she then mentioned the chance that we could get Santa Monica City beach, it was important to us both that the location could have a strong element of two environments, cityscape and nature, and the city of Santa Monica goes right up to the pacific ocean, they kind of sit side by side, the ocean and all the buildings there together. The pier in the video was also a somewhere I visited alot to find inspiration and peace when recording in 2010 while very sick with a mad throat infection, frustrated that I couldn't sing and feeling claustrophobic in LA.

Kinga said that she imagined that the song was as though I was protesting against the city by taking my gang down to the edge of the city to the ocean and celebrating
love and optimism together. I loved the idea of playing the piano with my back turned to Los Angeles and singing to the sun and the waves. She was adamant to shoot this film all on 16mm, which is certainly a rare luxury these days with everything being so digital.

FB: How did you come to work with Kinga?

PW: I had met Kinga at a party during the recording of the album exactly one year previous to shooting the video when I had been staying in Hollywood to start work with a dance producer called Miguel De Vivres for the initial recording sessions of the album. She was a friend of my sisters, the director Jo Apps, so we just started talking, I kind of knew quickly that I wanted one day to do a video with her, I just thought we clicked somehow.

Then I followed her videos over 2010 and was really blown away by the glamour and sophistication of the Hollywood video for Marina and The Diamonds. So when It came
to writing a dream list of directors at the end of last year Kinga was right at the top and luckily she was as excited to launch the video world for the new album as I was.
I really felt it was time after being director for the last couple of videos on my last album I wanted to totally trust and be directed for this album, to take a back
seat from the production and just get lost in my performance and the emotion of the video this time. From our first little conversation right up to the final edit, I totally trusted her. It was a great feeling and a felt lot of excitement and respect going on between us.

FB: It feels a little bit like a Bruce Weber film - was that an inspiration?............. with the Chet Baker character too?

PW: Definitely yes, Both Kinga and I are huge Bruce Weber fans, it was definitely one of the first names to come up in our first conversations. "Lets get Lost" one of my favourite films ever was a great starting point for Kinga to start creating a visual world, I think it was an absolute dream come true that King was able to get the location of Santa Monica City beach, as that was one of the main locations during Lets Get Lost and I felt so close to Chet that morning while walking along the beach, he really is one of my favourite musicians of all time, It was amazing too as I had my own Santa Monica police escort all day driving us all about in his Police Van! I think visually there was definitely a tribute in there to Corrine Day to some of those inspiring images we grew up with in 90's reading the face magazine.

FB: You do look a bit like James Dean in some parts - its very sexy when it all gets wet!!!!! HOT!

PW: Credit is definitely due to Anthony Stephinson, my visual collaborator for this album, for the nod to James Dean..
He was amazing in coming up with all these outfits, his attention to detail is insane! working with Anthony is such a joy to work with its seems for me this next album is all about trusting and collaborating with people that know me and my work inside and out, who want to get lost in the creative process with me.. to use your term if I can miss Butler, creating ones own "DREAM TEAM" In terms of developing all the characters visually, Anthony and I did alot of research of classic James Dean films and images of Chet performing onstage.. But i think everyone involved in the video was very careful not to create a video of pastiche or recreation, I think this was probably the reason the video was not shot in High Contrast Black and White. In terms of getting wet.. It was the break of day and three dolphins in the ocean, that came right up to the beach and I just had to throw myself into the water. That kind of started
to become something we did quite alot that day!

Photo Stills taken by Heidi Laughton

Mon 24th Jan: NOKI à PARIS

"Ok Fred
Following on with more Paris visuals
Fashion drama happened
between 1st photo and the next
I was jumped by a Paris street gang..
Got hit on the head but hard, loud Scottish rant saved me and a Perrier bottle as a weapon.
It was like being back in Aberdeen
So I got out of it with learned behavior..
Lost my iphone charger only, over slept so made it late to my BFC MAN stand..
Noki Noir is still alive..
All good surviving stylishly x "

(Paris street sculpture - Bite the Apple, Street safety is SO important ha ha, My Hotel room number - It was a long night - Sore head but alive and kicking the one-off always, Sending you special F's from Paris)

Sunday 23 January 2011

Sunday 23rd Jan: NOKI-NOIR 2011

Whilst in communication with JJ Hudson regarding the Paris showroom.............. he's also given us a look at another recent happenig.............Mr Roy performing in NOKI couture for Juergen Teller's new photographic show at The Christine Konig Galerie in Vienna.

Sunday 23rd Jan: NOKI-NOIR at London Show Rooms in Paris

Thanks to JJ Hudson a.k.a NOKI for sending over these images of his new menswear line "NOKI-NOIR" from the London Show Rooms Men. He is one of nineteen leading menswear design talents from London taking part in in this showroom for Men’s Paris Fashion Week AW11, which was opened by Tim Blanks.

1) The stand
2) Hats collaboration with New Era caps and Piers Atkinson w/ Noki customization
3) The new mens label that NOKI is developing
4) Trouser front panel detail with NOIR satin piping
5) NOIR overcoat...........A mix of tailored wool front with Noki customized sleeves
6) Here is the NOKI NOIR model, at Man Paris opening party.
7) The press Noki NOIR silhouette - Styling by Kim Howells Photography by Morgan White

If you are in Paris for the week, go and see all the collections for yourself with an exclusive glimpse at the garms before they are shown in London next month:

NEW VENUE: JTM Gallery, Rue de Richelieu, 75001, Paris, France
Saturday 22nd – Tuesday 25th January 2011 | 10am - 7pm
LONDON show ROOMS MEN in Paris designers include:
Bernstock Speirs, Blaak, Cassette Playa, Christopher Shannon, Christopher Raeburn, Dr. Noki's - NHS, E.Tautz, Fannie Schiavoni, J.W. Anderson, James Long, Junky Styling, Katie Eary, KTZ, Lou Dalton, Matthew J Miller, Nasir Mazhar, Omar Kashoura, Tim Soar, Todd Lynn