The Totally Unnecessary DJs of E3
I understand and appreciate the rise of EDM and DJ culture. I see how it brings people together, allows for personal expression, and gives you a great excuse to do tons of molly and “accidentally” rub up against women in a club. I get it. And yet, I do not accept that DJs belong everywhere. DJs should not be at mundane events like baby showers, Christmas-tree lightings, sentencing hearings, art-gallery openings, dog shows, rollerblading competitons, political rallies, traffic accidents, Chinese New Year, or the Super Bowl. Not everything needs to have dancing. Actually, most public gatherings are awkward, especially when the event is one in which the host is trying to sell you something.
I went to the E3 video-game trade show this past week, and like every other convention or industry gathering in our modern era, DJs were shoehorned into the proceedings. I don’t need the “bass to drop” while I’m waiting in line to see the new XBox or to use the bathroom, thank you very much.
I decided to take a stroll around and see if anyone was actually getting down to the music the many, many E3 DJs were playing.
In the 1990s, as grunge and rap surged, metal faced a crisis. Bands were forced to enter survival mode and, consequently, did weird things to adapt. In Volume 1 of Metal’s Lost Survivalist Endeavors of the 1990s, Chunklet examines the case of German shredders Helloween.
Tell me about the toughest shoot where you had to find a super obscure and specific kind of model.
I would have to say “Birthday Song” with Kanye and 2 Chainz was the craziest. They wanted exotic big-booty girls, but at the same time we had to have clowns and all types of different people like midgets. I had to go above and beyond for that.
Was it hard to get the right midgets? Was Yeezy really particular on what kind of midgets he wanted?
The director was the one really into the midgets. Kanye was more focused on the big-booty girls.
Was Kanye like inspecting the booties on set to get the most robust asses in the video?
Nah. Because I’ve been doing this for so long, a lot of the artists trust me and know that I’m always bringing new faces to the table. They know I have a big arsenal of females they’re able to pick and choose from.
Can you give any advice to young girls out here trying to be video girls? Like what would you say to a 16-year-old girl who says she wants to be a video girl?
I would tell them to not make it the focal point at that age. She can take it up as a hobby. If you are going to do it, try to take being a video girl to the next level and become a big model or actress, which involves making more money. Being in music videos is for when you’re young and you want have fun and get your face out there and establish a brand.
—We interviewed the casting agents responsible for finding women with big booties to star in rap videos.
David Bowie Stole My Suicide Record, So I Ripped the Hubcaps Off His Limo – Please Kill Me
Above: Legs and Joey Ramone around the time this story takes place. Photo by Tom Hearn
[Editor’s Note: Hi, millennials! We’d like to interrupt whatever Vine you’re working on and introduce you to our friend Legs. Maybe you’ve heard of him—he’s responsible for a little book called Please Kill Me, which is the best book on punk rock ever written. Noisey was filming with him a few weeks ago, and we convinced him to do a little writing for us. Enjoy!]
In my ongoing attempt to rebuild my vinyl collection, I was recently perusing a Brooklyn hipster record store and came across the new David Bowie album, The Next Day. I’ve been enjoying quite a few lesser-known Bowie cuts lately, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and really get wild. I bought the record.
This is a real feat for me, as I’ve never bought a record on faith alone. I’d been hearing good things about the record, and I was curious to hear what an artist like Bowie had to say at the end of his career or—if the rumors are true about his having cancer—at the end of his life.
While I was paying for the record, I was reminded of Mick Jagger’s famous quote about Bowie: “Never wear a new pair of shoes in front of him.” Jagger’s implication was either that Bowie was a notorious thief (of ideas, trends, or the latest fashions), or that he’d run right out and get it in order to claim ultra-hipper-than-thou-trendsetting status.” Yeah, be the first one on the block with a new, red-rooster, unisex cut and ten-inch, sparkling, platform shoes!
Photographing the Soul of UK Garage
Over the last few years, it’s become increasingly clear that we didn’t appreciate UK garage to the extent that we should have. You can’t help but think that most of the DJs, producers, filmmakers, and fashion designers referencing Todd Edwards and Ben Sherman in their work today actually grew up listening to Coal Chamber and wearing JNCO jeans.
One man who was definitely there, however, is photographer Ewen Spencer. Ewen’s done a lot of things over the years, from working with the White Stripes and documenting the halcyon days of grime (if there was ever such a thing) in his book Open Mic, to taking the liner photos for Original Pirate Material. His latest project concerns the increasingly lauded but still somewhat undocumented world of UKG, and comes in the form of a new book, Brandy & Coke.
The photos are fantastic, perfectly capturing the atmosphere of those early garage nights all my friends’ older brothers claim to have been at. The newspaper-print trousers and YSL button-downs are all there in the forefront, being splashed by open bottles of champagne and classy drinks. After a good few hours of longingly staring at the photos, wishing I was one of the satin-suited people in them, I decided to catch up with Ewen to talk garage, grime, garms and whether or not ex-Newcastle striker Andy Cole really was one of the “original 50 garage ravers.”
You can find some of these images and some words from Ewen in the latest issue of VICE Magazine.
VICE: Hi, Ewen. So, when did you first hear the term garage used in relation to dance music?
Ewen Spencer: In the early 90s, but that would have been American garage, like house music. New York vocal house music would have been called “garage.” I first heard it on the soul scene, probably. At that time, it was crossing over and me and my pals were going to soul parties, avoiding the atrocious rave scene. House music was infiltrating the soul scene and, at that time, garage was basically soulful house.
There’s this debate about who the true parents of UK garage are—what’s your opinion on that?
Yeah, I think it’s a worthwhile debate. It came from America, it didn’t come from rave culture. Rave culture was British. It came from Detroit, America, which is when we started to hear house music in the club—in Newcastle, for instance. We liked all of that stuff, but it was placed side by side with soul music: Soul II Soul, modern soul, SOS Band, all that shit. So I guess rave became overground and house music changed and became something else. And then I’d say speed garage came out of New Jersey and was popularized over here.
Rave and Hardcore YouTube Comments Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity
It’s commonly held knowledge that most YouTube comments rank up there with Houellebecq novels and Somme fatality statistics as some of the most depressing things you can read. Even if it’s a video of an elephant cuddling a pug or a Philip Glass recital, you’ll usually find yourself greeted with the same shitstorm of racism, homophobia, misogyny, accusations of n00bery, and somebody who says they’ll put a curse on you if you don’t repost a story about a girl who died in a car crash to at least ten of your friends.
Thankfully, there are a few diamonds of decency in this online hate-pit, and they usually arrive beneath music videos. Sometimes you read stories about aging couples who had their first kiss in a Wisconsin diner as “Tiny Dancer” played on the jukebox. Sometimes you see really enthusiastic Europeans thanking the uploader of a death metal track with a smiley face. And sometimes, just sometimes, YouTube commenters prove they’re capable of being funny.
However, if you want to find the most inspiring and poignant posts on YouTube, you could do far worse than loading up a rave/hardcore playlist comprised of tracks from the late 80s and early 90s.
A comment on “Sweet Sensation” by Shades Of Rhythm.
Because the comments on those videos are genuinely some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.
Both comments on “Everybody” by Shades Of Rhythm.
Nivek Ogre Is Totally Doomed – Skinny Puppy’s Front Man Is Obsessed with Weapons
In addition to logging time with parent-repellers like KMFDM and Ministry, Nivek Ogre (né Kevin Graham Ogilvie) is best known as the guttural screech that is synonymous with Skinny Puppy, who arguably invented electro-industrial in the early 80s. This pedigree, coupled with a history of serious drug use and a penchant for slitting his throat onstage, has led generations of depressed teenagers who are curious about things like Anton LaVey and animal sacrifice to embrace Ogre’s macabre worldview: one in which we are all currently coasting along on a dying sphere, counting down the hours until life on Earth is made impossible due to human stupidity, negligence, and aggression.
This month marks the release of Skinny Puppy’s 15th record, Weapon, which features a giant spider made of guns, bombs, and knives on the cover and a quote from atom-bomb developer J. Robert Oppenheimer in its liner notes. I recently spoke with Ogre about such joyful matters as the Fukushima meltdown, mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, and the giant “Machiavellian death shroud” that imprisons us all.
VICE: Here’s an almost stupidly obvious question to start with, but I’m curious: Why did you call your new record Weapon?
Nivek Ogre: I recently came to this weird gestalt in my mind that everything we do has the potential to either harm or cause good. This is a choice we all make with every action. But I view the human being primarily as a weapon, and a lot of the things that we’ve created have had disastrous effects on us as a species. Guns are a tiny element of a much larger iceberg that’s latticed throughout history.
Did the Newtown massacre spark this record?
No, this started way before: March 11, 2011, when Fukushima melted down. It was at that point that I began to view abstract things as weapons. Right now we’re being inundated with a huge amount of radiation, so much so that in April, the EPA relaxed the amounts of radioactive iodine-131 allowed in water in the event of a radiological disaster like Fukushima. It was three picocuries per liter, now it’s 81,000 picocuries per liter. Now here we’ve got a huge Machiavellian death shroud being pulled over people, all based on nuclear power, and the underlying reason for that energy system is a weapons system. My question here is this: What inhuman force could possibly allow this atrocity to take place?
The Flaming Lips’ “You Lust” Video Premiere
The Flaming Lips have been a lot of different things over the years. Their newest album, The Terror, shows the band moving even further from their Willy Wonka-on-mescaline incarnation. The Terror is dark, drone-y, and bleak. “You Lust,” the album’s 13-minute centerpiece, probably won’t get chosen as the state rock song of Oklahoma, but it perfectly soundtracks the music video’s sci-fi nudity.
We spoke with the Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd about the video, which, it turns out, he had nothing to do with.
Steven Drozd, via
VICE: What was your role in putting the video together?
Steven Drozd: I had nothing to do with it. Not one thing. Wayne sent me an early edit and asked my thoughts. That was about it. If Wayne has something he wants to try with the rest of the band members, then we’ll be thrown in. But if we’re not needed, then he doesn’t involve us. That’s fine with me.
Hm. Why do you think Wayne edited the original version of “You Lust” down for the video? I thought it was going to be a sprawling, epic short film. But the video clocks in at just over four minutes.
I think it was time constraints. That is a lame excuse. They’re talking about doing a full-length version. It’s an opportunity to do that early MTV thing where there’s a whole story and setup before the song starts. Maybe Wayne could make a minimovie like David Bowie did with “Blue Jean.” The shortened version was sort of weird, because I’ve listened to the song so many times, and I have gotten used to the version with the long, creepy choir solo.
Oh well. What do you think of the nudity?
The nudity in the video isn’t glamorous or sexy. It’s very stark and disturbing. I think that’s a bold move. There are some shots when you go, “That’s an interesting angle to shoot a flaccid penis from…” But Wayne isn’t shy about being naked.
Are all the dicks and tits and vaginas straight out of his brain? Or are you on the same nudity trip?
That’s all him. Something must have happened to him when he was eight or nine that completely zapped his brain. Wayne goes through phases of working with different types of imagery. In 1989, it was Jesus Christ and God. But the vaginas never really go away [laughs].