Posts Tagged ‘Peaches’

The Shift

Now, now queens. If there’s anything we know, it’s that a party dedicated to Peaches is sure to be a lot more than your average night out. And so, for the upcoming Shake Yer Dix: Peaches Spexxxial we are pulling out all the punches. We are thrilled to welcome South East London’s queer-postmodern-gender-twisting-category-defying-glitter-encrusted drag troupe extraordinaires, The Shift! We caught up with the fabulous Josh to chat trailer parks, the Spice Girls and, of course, Peaches!

Hi! Can you introduce us to The Shift in a few sentences?

Hi Babes! Thanks for having us! Full of wit, panache and fizzy pop, The Shift creates an experimentally safe & open environment to infuse our Pop Performance Party Philosophy. We love sticky pop culture but also are keen to critique it at the same time. Simples.

There is a crazy-eclectic mix of characters in The Shift. How did you all come together?

I know a bunch of artists from all sorts of weird and wonderful places and when The Shift came together I individually singled them out, got them drunk and asked them if they would carry on doing what amazing work they do but just add a bit more sequin or a Paks wig to their proceedings and get on a stage in the back of a South East London pub.

We are very intrigued by your name! Are we talking cultural shift, gear shift, or just shifty behaviour in general?

So the name came from us wanting a night that was different from the burlesque, acoustic open mic & stand up nights that kept rotating round the local circuit. We wanted to SHIFT (pun intended) the idea of what pub performance could be and give people something different. We want, and still want to create safe spaces for people in the back of SE London pubs and elsewhere, shifting the idea of where you could go, what you can see and who you can meet on a Friday night.

This edition of Shake Yer Dix is dedicated to political punk dancefloor warrior queen, Peaches. What do you love about her?

Her aggressive glamour.

There seems to be a really exciting collision happening at the moment between club nights and performance art – where do you think this has come from?

There has always been a tight relationship between music, visual art, performance & fashion and its existence in nightlife. It seems that when people are completely dissatisfied with the powers that be, DIY art flourishes and comes together and manifests in the sweaty darkness of pubs & clubs. 

What does drag mean to you?

Expression

The Shift at Dalston Superstore

You have worked with artists from a variety of disciplines, and performed in quite a variety of spaces. What has been the highlight for you?

The highlight was filming in a trailer park in Hampstead Heath. I had got together a bunch of friends and performers for this mad idea I had to emulate a Beyonce music video. We turned up, partied, danced & had a great time, much to the dismay of the park inhabitants. It wasn’t meant to be a performance as such but those accidental spaces are definitely better than any stage.

If you had a time machine could perform in any space anywhere/anywhen, where would you perform? Would there be any special guests?

Events like the fall of the Berlin wall, or at the Stonewall Inn or even Studio 54 spring to mind but if it could only be one moment It has to be Spice Girls performing Wannabe at the ’97 Brit awards. And obviously we would be the special guests.

What does your perfect queer utopia look like?

Jack Halberstam is taught in school, Peaches is lord, pound shops reign supreme, glitter on tap, Katie Hopkins is gagged & Daily Mail becomes an ancient text of which we never speak of.

Can you give us a sneaky idea of what you have in store for us at Shake Yer Dix?

Well! Recently being on our travels just like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road, we have managed to pick up outlaws  from everywhere and anywhere – from Latitude Festival, Edinburgh Fringe & The Valleys in Wales. So I’m not even sure what you can expect! What I do know, though, is you can expect more for your sweet tooth than humanly possible & so much aggressive glamour. 

Catch The Shift at the Shake Yer Dix: Peaches Spexxxial on Friday 18 September from 9pm-3am.

Shake Yer Dix

By Michael Kelly and Johnny Kalifornia

Shake Yer Dix was born mostly from Michael Kelly primal urge to dance to electronica, specifically the likes of The Knife and Digitalism, somewhere other than his own bedroom…

The night started life on the coldest day of 2011 and minced around a few Dalston basements before upgrading itself to The Star of Bethnal Green, where superstars such as Charli XCX and Ronika guested. With a laid-back vibe and loyal crowd of electroclash junkies, it’s now in its fourth year and is reloading its weaponry with the move to Dalston Superstore with a heap of killer new trax from the likes of Cut Copy, Simian Mobile Disco and Hercules & Love Affair.

Totally gay for synth.

Michael’s Shake Yer Dix Top 5!

Michael Kelly 

Cut Copy – Meet Me In A House Of Love

I didn’t think Cut Copy could ever make something better than Lights and Music… I thought wrong.

Vitalic – Poison Lips

If Louis Vuitton made pounding, pounding French electronic music, it would probably sound like this. Genius. 

Beth Ditto – I Wrote The Book

Never fails to spark a dancefloor meltdown at Dix. Especially the extended Mark Picchiotti version… twice as much meltdown. Sticky.

Hercules & Love Affair – I Try To Talk To You

If you’ve seen the hot, beardy dancers prancing about in the video, you’ll understand. Awesome track.

Fischerspooner – Emerge

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Amen.

Johnny Kalifornia’s Shake Yer Dix Top 5!

Johnny Kalifornia

The Swiss – In The City

Featuring ‘party all night, sleep all day’ lyrics, with vocals by Lavina De Santoli, this strange hybrid of The Juan Maclean vs. 2 Unlimited actually werks! An irresistible call to the dancefloor.

The Cure – Just Like Heaven (Penelopes Remix)

I always approach a remix with caution but, thankfully, this update of The Cure classic is a triumph. The Penelopes drown the guitars and up the synths, creating a refreshingly kaleidoscopic take on this indie-pop gem! [click on the Soundcloud icon to download for free!]

Robyn & Röyksopp – Do It Again 

The return of Sweden and Norway’s ‘heads of state’ is a thrilling journey through ‘the build-the break-the build’ which can be applied to anything from dance anthems to nights out to falling in love. 

Natalia Kills & Peaches – Trouble (Cherry Cherry Boom Boom Remix)

Any track that rhymes ‘Trouble’ with ‘Barney Rubble’ is a winner in my book.

Ronika – Shell Shocked

Absolute ’80s throwback. Take the sound of early Madonna, combine with lyrics from the Robyn school of love & heartbreak, and you get Ronika. Also loving the new album Selectadisc, which has just been released. 

Join Michael and Johnny this Friday 13th June at Dalston Superstore for Shake Yer Dix from 9pm – 3am.

Larry Tee

This Easter weekend, two original legends join us at Body Talk in the shape of Larry Tee (NYC) and Lindy Layton (Beats International). The former, currently known for his weekly party Super Electric Party Machine, helped launch Rupaul’s career in the ’90s, hosted Michael Alig’s infamous Disco 2000, was basically the face of electroclash in the early ’00s, and put simply, has a knack of being in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. We spoke to geuine dance music hero Larry Tee ahead of his set this Saturday…

You famously coined the term “electroclash”. What’s the origin behind this? 

Well, when I decided to do a festival in 2000 devoted to the emerging electro artists at the time, I needed a name. So I tried to come up with a word that described the collision of music and performance in all its rebellious aspects. It came down to “electrowave” or “electroclash”… I chose “electroclash”.

And what’s the most electroclash memory you have from the genre’s heydey?

At the first festival, ADULT, Chicks On Speed, Peaches and Fischerspooner all sang me ‘happy birthday’ as the festival fell on my birthday. I didn’t realize [at the time] it was the birth of my new life, post-addiction/house music DJ star.

What drew you to Atlanta in the ’80s?

I grew up there after my parents moved me there from Washington when I was 5. What was lucky is that Rupaul, Michael Stipe of REM, and Lady Bunny, before they were famous, were all really close friends of mine at the time and that was such a creative explosion. We really made a scene down there out of boredom, and made music and home movies to keep ourselves from being too bored.

Where you surprised by the success of Supermodel (You Better Work)?

Yeah, totally. I had written the original version of Supermodel because RuPaul had been signed to hip hop label Tommy Boy and I thought it would be smart for me to do a major label project. But when I got it back from the producers I didn’t like it at all. I thought, “oh well, at least I tried,” thinking it wouldn’t be a hit. But then it stayed on the charts for the whole year, with MTV playing it on and off… it and wound up being the #1 dance record of 1992. 

Considering the breadth of artists you’ve worked with- who would you work again, who do you still want to work with and was anyone so hideous that you can’t tell us who but you can tell us what they did..!

Well, I would totally do another track with Portia Ferrari, the Versace model star of my new video Body Talk, and I would LOVE to work with Lana del Rey, Rufus Wainwright and Mykki Blanco. OMG, nightmare artists? Hmmm. Well, one of the biggest artists in music, their producer asked me to write her a song, and I did and she stole my intro idea and my song title and made a brand new song… the bitch. She could’ve afforded to pay me for my ideas. Whatevs… the karma police will pay her a visit.

What’s the best (true or untrue) thing you’ve ever read about yourself in print?

That I popularized Williamsburg and was the hipster before all hipsters according to the New York Times. Um, that was a bit of an over-reach. Haha. One year I was voted by a New York Press as the #4 most loathesome New Yorker for having launched electroclash, popularized transvestism and ruined Williamsburg. I was flattered.

You seem to have only lived in cities famous for particular scenes in a right time right place fashion… where do you/would you see yourself settling next, considering how expensive London is getting and as inaccessible it is becoming for young creatives? 

Well, London now is the Paris of the ’20s. It’s ALL about London everywhere else in the world too with the fashion and music coming from here. I wouldn’t be doing TZUJI clothing if I hadn’t moved here. But Berlin is heading for a big mainstreaming and has more reasonably priced real estate so it could be perfect for me. Or perhaps Downtown LA, which is being called the ‘new’ NEW YORK. But honestly, no city has a thing on London right now. They always used to say in NYC, “Larry Tee in the place to be”, and they were right about that…

Join Larry Tee at Body Talk at Dalston Superstore this Saturday 19th April from 9pm – 3am.

Planningtorock

Planningtorock is Janine Rostron, a Bolton-native who now lives in Berlin. Making experimental electronic music, she uses distorted vocals to create an androgynous sound. Sophie Wilkinson caught up with her to discuss music, the queer scene, what feminism looks like these days and why she probably won’t be playing Daft Punk’s Get Lucky in her set.

What do you like about the Twat parties?

When I DJed at Twat last year, it was mind-blowing and raucous. I just love the vibe, the crowd were amazing. That night Trust played and during his set a girl mounted the stage, stole the mic and started to rant. I don’t know what she was saying but it was exciting and fun.

After the critically acclaimed album ‘W’, where would you say your new material is going at the moment, what can we expect?

With two singles that have been very obviously direct and political, I thought, “Does this mean that the whole album has to be this way?” And of course no, not at all. It’ll be more political but also extremely playful. It’s going to be really direct but happier. Not that W was negative, but it was quite heavy. On a musical level, it’s definitely going to be more dancey. I want to dance on stage when I tour the next album.

How has DJing shaped the music you’re making? Is that why it’s dancier?

DJing was a product of Planningtorock and I love it. It definitely has an affect and it’s a healthy thing to do. When you’re DJing, you have the immediate reaction to the music right there in front of you. It’s a great thing to share.

What do you think of Daft Punk’s new single, as they’ve seemed to create an ode to disco with this album, but from the sleevenotes, they’ve not collaborated with a woman?

I’m astounded that everyone’s saying that Daft Punk are going in a new musical direction. For me it’s something very familiar and it just doesn’t connect with me at all. I read somewhere that someone was saying “This is a new musical direction” and I was quite flabbergasted. I had a chuckle to myself then I didn’t think more about it.

You’ve got a massive queer fanbase, what does that mean to you and your music?

It’s massive to me because of lot of the issues that I’m dealing with and the community has to deal with. We need our supportive comfort zone because you’re completely under attack for even mentioning some of these topics.

Do you think the queer scene is changing and getting more of a voice?

When I started out in 2006, feminism was the bad word and there was an animosity when you talked about some of these things. I found it scary when I just started to perform. That doesn’t happen so much now. I’m very good friends with Peaches and it was so important for me to be around female performers who were strong and had the guts to be unpopular.

Do you think feminism’s going somewhere good and it’s in an alright state? It seems as if anyone who tries to make moves somewhere with it gets taken down for not doing it right.

Feminism is and should be an ongoing transforming entity, and it’s depressing and almost frightening how capitalism and politics have changed it and uses it. I think a lot of inter-gender politics have evolved and they’ve changed and it’s our responsibility to inform ourselves. I find it exciting that people seem to be talking about it a lot more in the past five years.

It’ll be interesting to see what change is brought about through this feminism.

The gender politics in Germany are different to England. They’re not amazing but they are definitely better, because 1970s feminism had an effect on German culture, and laws. And the impact wasn’t as strong in England. It’s a goal that feminism manages to change laws and improve things on a day-to-day basis. That’s what I try to do with Patriarchy Over And Out. I just sat there and thought “Patriarchy is such a stupid, dumbass concept, I can’t believe that it still exists. It was never a good idea so let’s get rid of it. It should just go away because it makes the world suck.” And it’s the same for misogyny. It should be in everybody’s will to get rid of it. But how to actually make that translate in real terms is a goal, I guess.

Living It Out from planningtorock on Vimeo.

Images and content courtesy of the Twat Boutique website. Words by Sophie Wilkinson.
 
Join Planningtorock tonight, Thursday 2nd May at Dalston Superstore for Twat Boutique from 9pm – 4:30am.

JoJo De Freq’s Electroclash Bangers

Easter Saturday brings a double whammy from Miss JoJo De Freq at SOS, who plays not one but TWO sets! She’ll be in the top bar playing retroclash specials AND down in the laser basement for future sounds! She’ll be joined upstairs by Scottee, K-Y-M (Kim Jakobsen) and IICARUS, and by SOS residents Jim Warboy, Joe Robots and Anton Douglas downstairs.

With JoJo’s prominent electroclash past as resident and co-founder of the legendary London clubnight Nag Nag Nag, and as a former resident of Bugged Out, we got her to dust off some of her favourite records from that era and share her electroclash bangers!

What track in your opinion really kick-started electroclash?

Miss Kittin & The Hacker – Frank Sinatra 

To me this was the song that kick-started electroclash. Originally released in 1998 on their Champaign EP, it stood out from anything else around at the time. It was dark and ’80s sounding but with a deadpan storyteller that brought in a new feminine dimension to techno. I actually first heard it that year on a Danny Tenaglia mix and had to hunt it down instantly.

What tracks do you absolutely KNOW will get everyone excited about electroclash all over again?

Peaches – Fuck the Pain Away

Off her album The Teaches of Peaches released in 2000. The lo-fi, sexed-up beats were old sounds done in a new ways, by a totally new kind of irrepressible and controversial artist. When I played it the crowd’s reaction was always explosive.

…AND

Adult – Hand to Phone 

Released in 2000 out of Detroit, this husband and wife electro-duo who went on to write a string of very underground hits and found the Ersatz Audio. They innovated and influenced the sound and style of the time massively. Cold, clinical, sexy, stylish artwork combined with – slightly gothic – mechanical motor city sounds and a story to be told in the most commanding fashion. There was definitely a dominatrix theme going on and it was ever so exciting.

What track makes you instantly transported back to Nag Nag Nag whenever you hear it?

Vitalic – Poney Part 1

Off the Pony EP released on International DJ Gigolos (the most prolific and influential label of the genre) in 2001, had me discovering a hedonistic-club-conquering new sound. Again, it was analogue but it introduced a driving almost rock sound that was the predecessor to all that noisy indie-dance (i.e. Justice, Boys Noize), though this was this was moodier, more melancholic, as well as anthemic and aggressive. It’s a classic and it destroyed the floor every time.

What track sums up the fun of electroclash for you?

Green Velvet – La La Land

Off his album Whatever released in 2001. This song perfectly represents the hedonism of the day and the punk-rock, techno-funk influences that prevailed. Again, a monotone narration over a driving electroclash anthem. Just try not to sing along.

What was your favourite track to end a set with?

Felix Da Housecat – Silver Screen Shower Screen (Jacques Lu Cont remix)

There was quite the creative team involved in this production; the inside story is that the lyrics were written by Tommie Sunshine and main vocals were performed by Miss Kittin. This remix by Stuart Price, under his ’80s influenced pop guise Jacques Lu Cont, was a mega anthem. He totally transformed it with his classy vintage production style. I used to love ending my sets with this as it trailed off with some gorgeous emotive synth strings worthy of holding-your-lighters-up to (not that we did that).

What’s your favourite electroclash remix?

Felix Da Housecat – What Dose it Feel Like? (Royksopp Return to the Sun remix)

This is one of my favorite remixes of the time, released in 2002 at the height of the mayhem and I think introduced a cleaner and housier sounds that was to follow all the clash and trash. This still sounds fresh today.

What track sums up electroclash here in London?

Fischerspooner – Emerge (Dave Clark remix)

In London especially, because of their infamous live shows, this was such an overly hyped band at the time. I’ve not added the original because I think it’s more electro-pop than clash. I did however, really love playing the Dave Clarke remix in my sets because it had a tougher edge and a more DJ friendly format. I know there will be a few people unable to stop themselves dancing like machines to this again.

What track is still dear to your heart?

Tiga and Zyntherious – Sunglasses at Night 

I had to include this. This was released in 2001 and was a genuine underground electro-clash hit. It reached #25 in the UK charts. I was very proud to have another fellow Canadian flying the electro flag, even the original song was by ’80s Canadian pop singer Corey Hart. Not sure if I want to play it again though!

And finally what track can you not wait to play out at Superstore?

Headman – It Rough (Chicken Lips remix)

This was out in 2003, so after the big super-club-crash in 2001,the UK dance industry was beginning pick-up again, and the sounds were evolving into something altogether more groove based and a little bit acid. I loved this sound and I think it went down best in the UK. It was much better received here. I can’t wait to play it at DSS!

Join JoJo De Freq next Saturday 30th March for SOS at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4:30am.

John Renaud

Texan born, now Berlin based, John Renaud is a multi-media artist, fashion designer and DJ. Working closely with controversial electronic musician Peaches, he’s also designed for Cazwell, Cyndi Lauper, Amanda Lepore and Margaret Cho amongst others, meaning you’ve probably seen his work before. As a DJ, he’s known for employing a plethora of genres to get the crowd going, be it disco, electro, hip-hop, deep-house, dance-punk or indie-pop. We caught up with the young artist ahead of his set this Friday right here at Dalston Superstore for Club Lesley

Your musical tastes span pop, deep-house, electro, tech-house and more. Can we expect a thematic set from you at Club Lesley or will you just go all out “trans-genre”?

You know, I have been playing a lot of house lately, but I still am a big fan of playing a varied mix and I always will mix in some nu-disco or indie dance pop. When you go to those mega clubs where they have “house only” DJs or “electro only” DJs, that’s great, but I always see my friends and other club goers get tired after the third hour or so of the same beat (even if they are on a bunch of ecstasy). I think it’s a real skill if you can mix some disco into some deep house into an electro “punch-you-in-the-face” track, all the while keeping the crowd moving. I’ve watched some really inspiring DJs who believe in the trans-genre approach play recently and it is one of my favorite types of sets to watch.

Who is your favorite recent dance music discovery?

He’s not new by any means, but I was really late to jump on the Boy 8-Bit bandwagon, but thank god I did. Seriously, his music and his remixes are beyond. He did a Florence and the Machine remix of Drumming Song that is so sick. He is one of those rare geniuses who can serve the music geeks with his skills and technical knowledge while at the same time making the general club crowd go insane on the dance floor. I really respect him so much.

We hear your parents met in a ’70s cover band? We NEED to know more about this! What band were they a tribute to? What did they wear? Are there pictures? 

Haha, yes there are pictures. I think there is a poster in my parents’ house in Austin. My parents were semi dirty hippie flower children. They were a cover band called the Tulanians at Tulane University in New Orleans. It was a group of students that covered the hits of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, like Van Morison and Janis Joplin. That type of stuff. They did a USO tour too. They continued in a similar style band with their friends in Texas called the Pulsations, all while my brother and I were growing up. It was really embarrassing during adolescence but now that they aren’t together any more it’s kind of sad.

What influence does your Texan roots have on your work?

In my designs, I love western style yokes on shirts and making big statements. Haha. I’d say in DJing I love trying to squeeze in some country with Dolly Parton every now and then, but she can sort of kill the BPM so its only good at the end of a night or if you are playing for the gays. The gays love Dolly. Dolly loves the gays.

Why did you chose to settle in Berlin over any other major European city?

My friends were here. It’s affordable. I am actually getting to work on writing music and making art for the first time in my adult life, which was something there just was no time for in NYC. I had to work so many design jobs just to scrape by.

What ethos do you live your life by?

Try everything twice, maybe three times. I literally try and always give everyone and everything a second or third chance. There are foods I would have never liked had I just gone by the first experience, there is music I would have never learned to like, and I guess the same goes for some relationships. People are very selfish today in our generation. We forget life is about compromise with the environment, people, animals, things, etc. Facebook has made us all so narcissistic, and I am so guilty of it. I can’t believe what I write sometimes. You are not the most important thing on the planet. Give everyone and everything a second or third chance.

Cazwell in John Renaud

What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?

Reading? German Level one. Haha. Listening to a ton of missed episodes of “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” (an NPR quiz show from the states) and several episodes of Radiolab. I am watching 30 Rock and Breaking Bad if I watch anything, I don’t own a TV so it’s internet streams for me.

You have a pretty illustrious list of people who’ve worn your clothes- who was the biggest dream come true?

Well there wasn’t one in particular; they all have been dreams I’d say. Margaret Cho was probably one of the nicest and easiest clients I have ever had. She was very gracious and trusted me. Super sweet. Cyndi Lauper was a total freak out moment, and she is great. Peaches has become one of my dearest closest friends since I started working with her so any time we work together it is an ideal situation. It’s one of the only real interactions I get to have because she can be blunt and I can be blunt. It’s like a mix of Cunty and Blunty when we discuss or fit. We can get pretty heated about the way something is supposed to hang or fit, and then ten minutes later be laughing and smoking a joint together. It’s really nice because I don’t have to hold back, and she doesn’t either.

Margaret Cho in John Renaud

And who would you love to design for that you haven’t already?

Oh man. Grace Jones. You are in England, Right?  * COUGH * TOP SHOP! * COUGH * TOP SHOP * COUGH * CAPSULE COLLECTION * COUGH *

Your womenswear especially seems to have a strong futuristic, almost sci-fi element to it- what’s been your biggest inspirations?

Oh my inspirations are always so un-sexy. Emotion, but not in the pretty way. The messy 13 year old emo girl kind of snotty nosed first break up emotions. I always end up thinking about movies like Mars Attacks, Mad Max, The Birds, and Barbarella and while I don’t pull direct silhouettes from there the feelings of vintage future/elegant/form seem to shine through.

Who would you say has had the biggest impact on your career?

Peaches for sure. She has really been a big JR advocate in all my doings. She has pushed my fashion work. She encouraged me to DJ. Recently she has been a big pusher for me to start writing music just to see what happens. She is a really positive force in my life and she only seems to push me to do things that there is some potential in doing. She’s the really creative positive Jewish rebel sister I never had.

Peaches in John Renaud

And finally what is your favourite end-of-the-night track?

Too Insistent (Trentemøller Remix) by The Dø. I think it’s such a sweet song and, like my design work, I always like to make my DJ sets a little moody (but danceable).  I think it’s great when you need to let people know its time to go home and if they didn’t find the love of their life, us loners can have a good dance and cry together. Haha. And think about the one that we just can’t get out of our heads. Something like that. I am not sure what the song was written about, but that’s what I interpret it as. There is nothing wrong with ending the night on a somber note, as long as you do it with style.

 

Pity (House) Party Mix by Johnrenaud on Mixcloud

 

 John Renaud joins us us for Club Lesley on Friday 16th November from 9pm – 3am with Bisoux, Maxx DMX and MDMX.

Alùn Davies

Art director Alùn Davies brings his unique, other-worldly vision to Dalston Superstore in our latest art exhibition DALSTON SÙPERNOVÆ. Having previously contributed to Another, British, Russian, U.S and Italian VogueGQ, and worked with musicians La Roux, Lady Gaga and Peaches; it’s fair to say his work is highly sought after. Davies’ multimedia style, hyper-colour set designs, outré vision and hands-on craftsmanship approach to art direction transforms Superstore into a new world of colourful, futuristic landscapes expressed in a multi-media environment of mural paintings, luminous neon sculpture, 3D props, film, photography and sculpted portraits.

With DALSTON SÙPERNOVÆ set to go throughout August, we caught up with Alùn to ask about his current work, exciting projects and inspirations…

Can you talk us through the various inspirations behind your new exhibition Dalston Supernovae?

When Saskia Wickins (the DSS curator) asked me if I would do a show I initially thought of all the projects I do for fashion and music photo shoots and video’s and I wanted to bring those fantasy worlds to DSS, once on a shoot that Saskia worked on with stylist Kim Howells I made an apocalyptic pink sand beach and under the warm photographic lights the models were transported to another world I wanted to bring this otherworldly aspect to DSS. A lot of my work is made from Object Trouvé and sustainable, so bringing lots of different elements together to make something new. It’s a futuristic vision which Most probably comes from watching too much science fiction as a child, I’ve always loved these queer other landscapes you see in films and then fashion and music embrace the fantasy elements too .

Alun Davies headpiece

Why do you think it works so well with the Superstore environment?

I think people go to clubs for new experiences, a break away from the norm of reality, I wanted to create an installation that was all encompassing for the space a total 3D world, not just a hanging picture. I wanted people to get a feeling when they were in the space, which helped on the private view by also having live artists performing characters by wearing costumes I had made that also feature in the photographs displayed.

You work in multi-media, but what is your preferred material or style to work with?

Well the reason I work in multi-media is that I can be inspired by so many things, I love colour in all varieties and use it in many ways. However directing is my favourite style of working, that way you can have a team of skilled individuals that all help to create the vision that I can see.

There’s obviously a strong relationship between fashion and music, but how do you personally link the two in your work?

Well I’m passionate about both, and for me music and pop culture, watching MTV in the ’90s is what made me start to look at fashion and costumes. All of the musicians I work with have a strong visual drive and so require clothes that can help them transform; high fashion allows them to do this. In the same way that music helps to set the mood for a fashion photo shoot it can really change the energies when you have the right balance it can be incredible.

Who are you favourite designers to work with?

Piers Atkinson (milliner) has a brilliant vision and our styles work so well together he’s an illustrator and also trained in props before becoming a designer so he has a brilliant understanding of the fantasy that can be created with sets and art direction.

Piers Atkinson's work

Aqua by Aqua are also very driven to create a visually strong world their look books will have a theme and recently we created a David Lynch atmospheric set, I’ve also done window displays for them which again embraces sets and props and generally has a very entertaining theme or narrative.

You’ve also worked with Vogue Fabrics in the past- what’s so special about that venue for you?

Vogue, in the same way as Superstore, embraces art and creativity Vogue feels intimate and experiential. It is not only a club but also studio and home to Lyall Hakaraia and so it feels very much like being part of an extended queer family. It is another part of Dalston’s queer elite with out the elitism! 

Can you tell us a bit about the work you did with them at Glastonbury Festival?

Lyall Hakaraia asked if I would co-design a Vogue Fabrics venue at Glastonbury with set designer Anna Bruder, we were to be part of the huge NYC Downlow made by the fabulous set design team Block9. It was a hidden venue and so you either found your way in because you knew someone or stumbled there by mistake. The theme was Benidorm vs Bedlam and so we split the space up one side designed by myself was a hot pink neon suntan explosion of colour the other by Anna was cold stark white tampon wall covered land of darkness. Each side had intimate performance spaces and we were the first venue to ever have sex performers Danni Daniels friend and performer was dominating in his space and Ashley Ryder (power bottom) was entertaining in his. We were the freak show of Glastonbury…. It was amazing!

You’ve worked with musicians such as Peaches and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs- who’s been the most inspirational to work with?

Well T.E.E.D. is a new collaborator but extremely experimental for a boy which is great, he embraces head pieces very well so I’m a huge fan of Orlando. Peaches however, I’ve worked on a whole stage opera as production designer and so I’ve had a lot more contact and she took me over to Berlin to design the show I was there for two months and in that time we put on a stage show that was out of this world. It got repeated again last May and there will be documentation in a film format soon. Peaches is another musician that embraces fashion, costume props to transform her and I love a transformation! 

You’re from Neath, Port Talbot- do your Welsh roots have any influence on your work?

The landscapes in Wales are incredible and that is something of a recurring theme in my work, also the Welsh love pop culture and clubs were a big part of growing up as a teenager, I met friends, lovers, muses all in these places as a teenager and a lot of them are part of my life still. 

Are there any Welsh artists or musicians you like to work with?

Perhaps if you cross bred Shirley Basey with Bonnie Tyler (from the 80’s) we would get some some laser beamed crystal encrusted operatic robot (somewhat Grace Jones esque) that would be fabulous!

What’s the craziest project you’ve worked on recently?

At Lovebox we build a VIPenis area as part of the Downlow and Vogue Fabrics, that was a black caravan with black glitter curtains all over and a giant penis riding on top. The inside was gutted out and redecorated with illustrated Penis wallpaper by Victoria Sin. That was pretty crazy!

And finally what other projects do you have coming up over the next few months?

August is the lull before the storm of fashion week so lots of planning and preparation for September. We will shoot Piers Atkinson’s look book end of August and there are more shoots with photographer Thomas Cooksey.

For more information on Alùn Davies visit www.alun-davies.com

Dalston Supernovae

 ALUN DAVIES

&

DALSTON SUPERSTORE

PRESENTS

DALSTON SÙPERNOVÆ

 EXHIBITION – WEDNESDAY 25TH JULY – SUNDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER 2012

DALSTON SUPERSTORE 117 KINGSLAND HIGH STREET E8 2PB

 Alun Davies, art director, known for his other-worldly, off-kilter colour environments showcased in British and Italian Vogue, opens his debut art installation at uber-venue Dalston Superstore.

 Davies’ spectacular transformative installation, curated by Saskia Wickins, opens this July at Dalston Superstore – where the upper bar and gallery space become a new world of colourful, futuristic landscapes expressed in a multi-media environment of mural paintings, luminous neon sculpture, 3D props, film, photography and sculpted portraits. Davies brings together the elements of his meteoric, multi-faceted career to create a gallery of characters who ‘act out’ the age-old narratives of relationships: love, death, battle and betrayal.

 These characters’ costumes form a new collection of work, which is seen for the first time in a gallery context. Davies has drawn inspiration from his own stellar back catalogue of previous work worn by T.E.E.D, Lady Gaga’s Monsterball dance troop and his high-end editorial/advertising commissions. The exhibition fuses together and includes the fantasy elements previously created in the cosmology of Alun Davies Art Direction, as seen in fashion and pop iconography through the mediums of film, photography, installation and operatic stage shows.

 Davies combines the debris of Dalston’s elite with crystal, glitter, Swarovski, mirror and glass in an alchemical process, creating objects that attain the new energies and properties of desirability. His Muses of Metamorphosis are found in the depths (and sometimes alleyways) of Dalston, Berlin and New York: androgynous, futuristic, self-formed characters from another dimension. Friends, lovers and muses contribute their alien DNA, including performer and porn icon Danni Daniels, recording artist Peaches, designer and Vogue Fabrics club owner Lyall Hakaraia, milliner and collaborator Piers Atkinson, stylist Kim Howells, fashion photographer Thomas Cooksey, illustrator Rebecca Rice, curator Eleanor Weber, writer Michael Nottingham, poet Sitron Panopoulos and live artist Owen Parry.

 At Dalston Supernovae expect to see armored battles, paintings, a photography story by Thomas Cooksey and Stylist Kim Howells, a live events schedule and readings.

 

 Alun Davies contributes to editorials in Another, British, Russian, U.S and Italian Vogue, V Man, Fantastic Man, GQ, Metal, I.D and SHOWstudio.com

 Credits include stage opera with musician Peaches / British Feature film ‘Wreckers’ / advertising and commercial installations and costume props for Adidas, A.S.O.S, Charlie Le Mindu, Diesel, House of Organza, Lady Gaga, Net a Porter, Piers Atkinson, Universal Music and Waddler clothing. Look books for Lu Flux, Piers Atkinson, Sophie Hulme & Toujouri.

 Music Video’s and press imagery for La Roux, Paper crows, T.E.E.D and The Good Natured.

Club installation at Glastonbury for Vogue Fabrics, Site Specific installations for Charlie Le Mindu at Machine A, Store designs for Piers Atkinson. Fashion films for SHOWstudio, Glassmagazine and Vogue Italia online.

 Davies’ multimedia style, hyper-colour set designs, outré vision and hands-on craftsmanship approach to art direction has been well received by the fashion, music and moving image industries. Using a mixture of ephemera, objet trouvé and sculpture, Davies’ productions are often sustainable and ethically produced.

Throughout this unique exhibition new energies will be found each day and night by the transformation of the habitual Dalston Superstore.

 Dalston Superstore: art@dalston superstore.com