Hey… you know me.
I don’t play out all my cards on the table immediately.
From time to time, I look into my Polaroid vault, and see if I can dig up something interesting.
I’m releasing this ‘Purp Pola‘ in order to celebrate this pretty good track THEOPHILUS LONDON just released.
If you’ve been an early A Polaroid Story trooper you know I featured Theophilus London on here for some time now.
I shot this picture when Theophilus London was in Belgium already two years ago, when he was booked to perform at Les Nuits Botanique, a Polaroid partially part of this story. I shot this while hanging with Theophilus in a studio somewhere in Brussels. Another story I might tell one day. Who knows.
Styling-wise you’ll probably notice a Theo from a different period in time, let’s say, pre- Karl Lagerfeld & sequined wife beaters, then again, less is always more.
Really love the BIG SPENDER track, I’ve heard it in Paris for the first time live at his show in ‘La Machine Du Moulin Rouge’ during Paris Fashion Week and have been patiently waiting for the release ever since.
The track, produced by DJ CARNAGE became even more interesting with the A$AP feature.
Today the track is finally released, you can download it here.
Stay frosty for ‘Lovers Holiday II : Rose Island‘, out on may 15th.
Theophilus will be touring in Europe pretty soon. Meanwhile, check this.
Technically this post could have been picture perfect if I had an A$AP polaroid to combine it with, but hey. Working on that one!
Dear troopers, readers and lovers of sweet stories.
For every story there is a beginning and an end.
Some stories begin with a ‘Once upon a time’ feeling where other stories turn into drama.
And then we have the Sequels, the Sagas, the To Be Continueds and finally The NeverEnding Story.
Some of you like Happy End stories, other prefer the ones where possibly everything can go wrong.
8 month’s ago I stumbled over the name Theophilus London in my sofa in Ostend, 5 months ago he passed me by in a New York club, 4 month’s ago I met him in Berlin and last week the man was booked to play a gig at the Brussels Les Nuits Botanique Festival.
Funny how things go right?
If you have no clue what I am talking about then it is most definitely time to read this Stupid story and read àll about the man there is to know and how me being stupid turned out pretty great at the end.
So now you did that (I trust you on this one!) you might have noticed I did a very last-minute and roughly improvised interview with the man in Berlin. Very old-school, with pencil and paper and without recorder and I asked myself the question if I would ever have the chance to do another interview.
But then of course, nicely researched, hopefully semi-original questions and wìth recorder.
When I found out that he was doing a Belgium gig to promote the release of his new mixtape I WANT YOU, I figured… what the heck, just send an email and who knows… you might get another chance…?
And so I did, and that’s exactly how it went.
True, some things were slightly different since the first encounter, emails were now in hands of tour managers, and everything was nicely scheduled but what can you expect from a man who travels half the globe merely on the success of 3 mixtapes?
Plus if you have people like Gilles Peterson and Mark Ronson backing you up, you can’t expect things will remain the same,right?
So there we were, Jules and I, waiting for Mr London in a nice hotel lobby in Brussels for our very first scheduled appointment.
We felt very pro. Like real journalists and stuff. -NOT-
So here it is, everything I wanted to know about the I WANT YOU mixtape and I truly hope you do to…
A POLAROID STORY x THEOPHILUS LONDON
THE INTERVIEW (Pt II)
Mr London, first off all, welcome in Brussels, Belgium. Any first impressions?
Thank you! Yes, it’s a calm laid back city. I love cities like this.
4 month’s have passed since we had our first little improvised interview. You were still working on the I WANT YOU mixtape. It’s now out in the world, for everyone to hear. What is the response so far?
It’s been great! Had some personal and honest reviews. I’m pretty happy that people are so siked about it. I spend about 6 months working on it and started working on the tape back in November. I’m happy it’s out now and ready to finish my album that’s coming out in July and just keep bringing it to people.
The mixtape is highly inspired by Marvin Gaye. Looking back to the process of making this mixtape, how does this show in the mixtape?
I guess it started with his album ‘I Want You’. I named the mixtape after both the album as the song. I was in LA during the process and I went to the record store and found a special edition version of I Want You, with all these different parts and remixes that nobody ever really heard.
So I took the baseline and a snare and I decided like, you know what, I’m gonna rap on this. It had such a steady rhythm and a steady pace. I was riding on Sunset Boulevard when I was listening to the music that I just bought and that’s when I started to come up with the lyrics, you know, me picking up a girl in a blue dress by the airport. Marvin’s music is very descriptive, he kinda paints a picture for you to see, so I wanted to implicate that.
The mix tape in itself is also a growth of me, I just used Marvin as a target and influence point. I’d say that there are 4 songs on the tape that are definitely inspired by Marvin, but I kinda wanted to dedicate the whole thing to him, like an homage.
Jessy is a very soulful, playful and funny guy. Good mannerism btw. He is definitely one of the next amazing performers. He will definitely affect people. And women. (smiles)
In the video for ACCEPT THE NEW , you ride a very colourful, fluorescent bike and the video is illustrated with squids and jellyfish. What’s the idea behind the video and very important, where did you find the bike?!
There is no idea behind the video. I just wanted to do a crappy DIY video and show that you don’t need to pay 50.000 dollars for a video that’s gonna get 40 to 90.000 views in the first week. I guess I wanted to make that point first.
The whole thing about ‘Accept The New’ is about accepting new things, living in progressive times and to accept that and get over it. We are in a new age.
I wanted to edit the squids in the video because they live in the darkest pitch black levels of the sea. Those are rare creatures you normally don’t ever see in your life and I wanted to broadcast that.
And then I want to be honest…the guy in the bike is not me.
(me= whut? While cheeks are colouring slowly red. )
No, it’s not me! I was recording and writing this album in LA and I wanted to grab a late night taco , so all of a sudden I see this bright thing in the street and I’m lik wtf is that?
This guy drives past me riding a bike , so I roll down the window while my manager is driving the car, and we followed him for tree minutes. I didn’t have my camera but I had my iPhone with me so I recorded him. I thought it was genius, I wanted to buy the bike, film the bike or at least interview to guy or whatever, but we couldn’t get him to stop, he was listening to music or on drugs, i don’t know.
I heard he does that every night in hollywood. He’s famous. I hope I have the chance to meet him one day and that he likes the video.
On the mix tape you covered Tweet’s OOPS song and together with Hudson Mohawke you turned it into something really raw while you kinda changed the point of view of the song.
How were the reactions to that, you being a man and the song being controversial as it already was?
It was very risky man. Very risky. I’m not scared of taking challenges or take risks in my career. That’s something risky, a rapper from Brooklyn singing a song that was written by Missy Elliot about a girl masturbating and flip it completely around.
The way I sung it, the girl is masturbating in front of mè, but I’m still singing all her lyrics because it’s a cover. I knew there was going to be some controversy, especially since some hiphopheads or whatever you want to call those guys, are on to me, so definitely risky. I want to make music that builds controversy and people talk about even if you like it or not.
So sure, there was some controversy, girls masturbating on the song and guys simply not wanting to listen to it because it sounds ‘too sweet’ or because it’s something a man is not ‘supposed’ to do.
I’m happy I did the song, coming out of the box and surprising people. You know…I like to be in the middle of that point of view. Between making mistakes and good choices. I end with ‘They never know what’s next, see it’s better to have’m clueless’
And that’s exactly where I want to see my career moving towards.
Ok. what is there to know about Pyromilitia besides the fact that Vampire Weekends’ Ezra Koenig is singing on the track. Do all journalist need to fear you from now on…?
It’s a remix from a group called Discovery with Ezra Koenig featuring on it.
I wrote that song to like backlash on journalists. But I’m fine with journalists, actually i love journalism, I wanted to be a journalist before I became an artist.
So there is this guy, a journalist called Paul Lester from The Guardian, who wrote an amazing article about me. It was very weirdly written, maybe more for his office buddies or to make people laugh, dunno, but I didn’t really get it.
I thought it was cool to reach out to him, not through email or by phone but do a song. And then around the time of This Charming Mixtape, there was this other guy (Ich Luge Bullets) who wrote a controversial piece about me aswell, which I really loved, I have it saved as a bookmark actually, and I felt that I should talk to him too you know..
It’s a playful thing, I’m not a violent guy, I can be violent with words, which is ok. it’s good to express.
I wanted to let them know that I’m aware of what they wrote and If they think it’s cool I put them in a song then –wooptiedoo- that’s awesome.
What’s the story behind Departure (Paris 96)
Departure is an exclusive track I did with Jessy that I put on the JAM! Mixtape, the special edition about 2 years ago. It became a fan favorite and somebody putted it on YouTube. I was so surprised that people loved the song and kept asking about it. So I was like, all right, let’s do a tribute to the fans and do a remake. But we reenact it in a way, that we are bringing it live in concert! I made up this fake story about singing this song in Paris in 96, with the feeling like somebody recorded it live and added some cheesy clapping and cheesy crowd roaring to it. On the cd’s I pressed on, there are 3 more songs after Departure actually…
After making 3 mixtapes, the next step for you will be the release of your first full album. What can people expect, because looking back to the mixtapes, it’s a eclectic to say the least.
For every mixtape there is a year in between and I go influenced from Prince to Michael Jackson, from Morrissey to Elvis Costello, to Marvin Gaye, Afropop and obsure jams.
The thing about the mixtapes is that it is fun and progressive. It’s for the early grabbers and the internet kids that get things a bit faster than the rest of the world does. I’m a part of that generation aswell, so I’ll keep bringing music like that. However, I am definitely ready to put out a traditional 9 to 10 song album with artwork, 3 amazing videos and tour that same album.
Expect an electric funk , love soul record, with rap and singing. I’ve been working on my voice a lot, and it’s getting better by the f-ing minute.
There are people like Dave Sitek from TV ON RADIO, Santigold’s producer and Hudson Mohawke working on it. Dev Hynes and Solange Knowles who did ‘Flying Overseas’ are also featured…probably Jack Penate and Miike Snow will be on it aswell…so yes, definitely a tight record.
You worked with Damon Albarn on a Gorillaz song. (unreleased) any cool anecdotes you want to share?
Waw man..working with Damon was so genuine. He invited me in his 3-story studio where they also create all the gorillaz characters. I was a bit overwhelmed, thinking how this is way to early for me as artist being able to be work with him. When he came in the studio he pulled out this big pile of hash and I was like…Let’s do this! He let me listen to all the new Gorillaz songs and he actually really digged the Amadou & Mariam mix I did and we worked for about 20 minutes to recreate a beat for it. It’s a more epic, orchestral version of the Sabali song with the bass player from The Clash playing on it. I didn’t put that out, but I use the music when I perform live and the bass breaks out the system every time. So besides that he showed me a Marvin Gaye type of song he was working on called ‘Broken’ and he wanted me to rap on it. He told me some crazy stories about James Brown and Ike Turner dressing up as cops. crazy.
The list of people you have been working with till now is getting quite impressive, especially for a new artist. And now there is a collaboration with Belgian/Congo artist BALOJI. How did that work out for you?
Aah, it worked out amazing. I can’t wait to go home and mix it and put it out in the world. I’m excited. It’s definitely crossing boundaries, a lot of artists don’t get to travel to much and stay in their communities and you never get to meet artists like Baloji, or Amadou & Mariam. So it’s great to be that guy from Brooklyn that can connect with people from around the world because there is nothing more beautiful than that.
Romance and love is never far away in your music. There is no doubt that women will like this mixtape. But how about the men…? How do they respond to your music?
It’s been great! They get to -excuse my language- fuck their girlfriends to it. A lot of guys dig the rap element and it teaches them to loosen up and that it is ok to be sensitive and it’s ok to like girls. Even if I sing to women, the guys can easily put themselves in my shoes. I’ve been seeing Facebook and Twitter status updates mentioning things like: “I want to find a girl who loves Theophilus London’s music and sit in the park with her and make love”
So..basically you are being used as a hook-up?
Well, if you want to put it like that…sure.. I want to take responsibility for hooking up people.
Let’s talk fashion real quick. You have a much talked about ‘out of the ordinary’ style. You have a love for thrift store and vintage pieces but you can flaunt some very contemporary clothing aswell as seen in the Complex feature. What’s your latest fashion item you can’t live without?
Hmm. I have this Versace shirt I -might – can’t live without…
Whatever my collection is right now, I probably can’t live without it. It’s just a mix of high-class brands with simple thrift hand-me-down stuff. But, to be honest, I’m not really into the whole ‘Fashion’ thing, although people might expect I’m this ‘Fashion Guy’ because I’m tall and skinny, which is cool, but for me personally it’s just about being comfortable when I leave the house. And that’s all there is to it. A little thrift, some high-class, and comfort. If people think what I’m wearing is ‘in’ then cool, I’m all about being ahead of the curve.
Can I state that glasses are very important for you?
Definitely. I take them off when I am with friends but for the music part I like to have them on. Maybe they will come off when I’m making my 2nd or 3th album. Who knows.
Final question….Last time I asked you which tree words popped up in your head when I said Belgium you said grey skies – Marvin Gaye and waffles. You are here now. Anything you might want to add?
Et voila. Another interview for your eyes only. I hope it does something for ya.😉
Of course, with a new mixtape there should be a new fresh Polaroid, because we are àll about accepting the new.
I took Mr London for a walk in the park and did what I always do.
aim – count – flash 3.2.1. Bingo.
Moral of the story?
Me happy. He happy. Everybody happy.
And that was it.
I’m not claiming this is a never-ending story but it has some serious PART III potential since…
The night before I received a late night phone call with an offer I simply could not resist…
Who was on the phone…what was the conversation about…? (suspense melody)
TO BE CONTINUED.
(do you feel the Bold & The Beautiful unbearable close-up tension I’m trying to implicate here…? )
PS: Special shoutout to Alec: GET YOUR LAUGHING TACKLE UP!
There you have it. My first official oldskool chase and hunt story for 2010.
Oh? You probably think it was:
What? That name doesn’t ring a bell?
That’s not completely wrong, because Theophilus London is everything one can understand as Fresh (To Death)
Let me enlighten you about Mr London.
Not so long ago, only a couple of months even, while youtubing from one stream to the other I clicked this:
Like always, when I get triggered I want to know as much as possible about this individual with a cardboard camera hanging around his neck. The man knows how to accessorize.
Theophilus London, from Brooklyn, New York (where else?) popped out around 2008 with his first mix tape JAM! Mixtapes are a common thing nowadays to get your music out there for an unsigned artist but this mix tape stood out because of its diversity in music and a flow that personally was very new to me.
This mixtape is the embodiement of a new generation with an open view towards hiphop, electronic music and stone hard classics put together with an ease by producer MACHINE DRUM ready for the liking of your ears.
But it was not after I downloaded his 2nd mixtape ‘This Charming Mixtape’ that I was completely convinced that there was nobody else around doing what Theophilus London is doing.
I did the ultimate test at a girls dinner party at my place by playing this amazing Whitney Houston remix.
At first they thought I completely lost my mind blurring out Whitney Houston out of my second-hand speakers at 2 in the morning but after a couple of seconds more they practically went ballistic in my appartement. However, that might be due to the amount of lavishly flowing dark rum in the room aswell.
Turned out that Theophilus music was becoming a daily soundtrack for me with the following re-push-play songs:
With some Amadou & Mariam Sabali moods in Grey X Sage
Bongo playing ‘Crazy Cousins’
Electronically Sexy ‘TNT’
and his first and official video debut, ready for the world (and the karaoke bar close to you)
Versatile is the least you can say about the above. I never heard a sound like that before. Period.
SO. That should do for the homework part. Let’s get to business.
How? Facebook ofcourse.
It didn’t last long untill Theo (can I call him Theo to save some letters?) responded very politely that It was best to contact his management for these sort of requests. I am a good girl, I try to play by the rules, so I did. 3 times actually.
I left for New York without a reply. And I came back from New York without a reply.
However. If you have read the V for Vasthie, Violette & Va Va Voom story you probably already know that I actually saw him while I was sipping (again) on some dark rum at Santos, entering the club with Vasthie.
But like I said before. If I don’t get a personal agreement from the artist, I try to respect that. So, I told myself, to let it be, wait for another opportunity and danced the night away. And yes. The fact that I was too chickend to step up to him played a role as well.
So big was my surprise after I posted the VASHTIE story, the first comment I got on my blog ‘forum’ was from the man himself!!?
Giving me props on the story I did of Vashtie, telling me he had some busy times and asking me to contact him for a feature.
Now thàt, I didn’t see coming at all…. But. Imagine the thrills in my spine and you’ll understand I was pretty happy with this.
He informed me that he was playing 20 JAN in Berlin and FEB 6 in London.
After mailing back and forth and back and forth it turned out that the place of the first encounter would be London.
Wich made sense, London is only a breath away and less complicated ànd cheaper than Berlin travel-wise, and my P.I.C. Jules got to come along since it was on a saturday. (Yes I am a freelancer now, and there should be a more sexy word for that job description)
But…there was something about Berlin. It attracted me more than London. But, then I had to go alone, without the lovely support of Jules so I quickly let that idea go. London. period.
Call me crazy, but Berlin kept slumbering through my mind, and I made a very big effort putting these silly thoughts away but I finally let my gut feeling speak and decided to put it in a status feed on Facebook asking if there wasn’t nobody heading for Berlin the next couple of days. If it led to something? Great. If not? No harm done and I could let it go.
And so it did. Turned out I got a free ride (yes a very long 8 hours drive) ànd a free bed in Berlin from my buddy Mike.
So. Now I had to decide. I was practically broke. And going to Berlin without a last-minute confirmation of Theophilus London was simply suicide. I told myself, I was only leaving for Berlin if I had an A-OK from Theophilus.
I pushed SEND and waited it out. Not long after, I got the golden reply with: Sure! Come on over!
And off I went. To Berlin. With exactly 130 euros in my pocket. Which might explain the title a bit more although I could have named this story ‘Broke Back Berlin’ but that might have the wrong connotation to it.
The minute me and Mike arrived in Berlin I got back to my nervous self. My cellphone wasn’t working. No more words of Theophilus. I took a shower, put on my favorite TOPSHOP dress and waited for a sign.
Finally I got an email from Theophilus asking me to come ‘here’. Where’s here…? Ever been to Berlin? The Germans have the tendency to see it BIG.
He didn’t reply to my question of what exact location he was at, so me and Mike put one and two together. Since he was playing at the DIESEL party, that was probably related to the fair, where a lot of parties where going on right that minute.
THANK GOD we had a car, because when we arrived at Tempelhof, home of the international fashion fair of Bread&Butter we quickly found out that the Diesel party was NOT where we were but at a place called ARENA at Treptow.
THANK GOD, we speak both German.
So, back in the car, heading for hopefully the right location.
20minutes later we arrived at the right spot, parked our car and headed for the for this occasion very appropriate entrance:
When we finally entered, I went straight for the guest list. Theophilus confirmed me in his last mail that I would be on it. apparently we were not and we were kindly asked to go back outside. You know, the nice Berlin -6C° outside.
This was something I was avoiding for the last-minute, so I reached for the phone number Theophilus gave me where he could be contacted. Let me tell you something. I HATE calling to people who I don’t know. It makes me nervous to the point I can even pronounce my first sentences right. When both my phone aswell as Mike’s decided not to recognize the number that was given to me, I was practically ready for a nervous breakdown. What The Fuck? In despair I decided to call Jules, and ask hèr to send him a text that he better phone ùs because we can’t get through with òur phones.
Complicated enough for ya?
Jules, in bed, relaxing in her pyjamas, thrilled she still could be an important link in this story did what I asked her to do.
And indeed. Her text arrived and he got the message.
Apparantely we’ve been pushing all the time 001 for the international USA number but turned out, things work just fine if you push +1.
Is the title of this story starting to make more sense for ya?
A couple of minutes later I have somebody calling Mike’s phone carrying the name of Theophilus.
I tried to answer in the most layed back normal way; as if he would call me – everyday all day – but my heart was pounding in my throat.
He told me to wait a couple of minutes more, just untill the runway show was over and then “dkskdjfdjfdmqjdfldjfdjfdjfdm.”
Yes. That’s my cryptic interpretation of a phone call I could not understand a word off, because of surrounding noises.
But hold on. Runway show?
Man! I’m stupid! Of course there was a runway show! It was Fashion Week! We were at a DIESEL event!
How come I couldn’t put one and two together?
So at our second attempt for the guest list, it appeared I was on it, but only me and not Mike. I could not bear the thought of leaving Mike alone in the Berlin -6C°, so I told Mike to hold tight and I entered the enormous venue that was ready to entertain a couple of 1000 people, having no idea where to go and what to look for.
While running I bumped into this:
Looks like somebody at the DIESEL ad-campaign department and I have a lot in common…
I quickly figured out that there where 2 venues with a stage each, so when I saw nothing interesting in the small first one, I entered the second big one, looked at the stage and there he was…
I think I arrived out of breath, soaking wet from the stress, giving him the ‘Yup, hellowww, it’s me, the Polaroid chick’ wave and shaking his hand. Immediately I asked him for another bracelet for my friend Mike and before I even got to finish my sentence he gave me another one. Waw…that is. Quick. And nice.
I thanked him, ran to the exit and got Mike in. By the time we both arrived at the stage ,Theophilus London was starting his set.
I was amazed… This person sticked to his promise of getting us in untill the very last minutes before he was going to perform…I mean, certainly there are other things you would like to give your attention to being an artist right before you perform, right?
I was so curious to see him play. It was his first time performance in Berlin and besides him there was nothing but an empty stage.
No Dj. No Band. Nothing.
Just Theo and a Mac Pro.
It was very interesting to see the crowd react to him. I already knew a couple of songs, but most of the audience was not familiar with his music. I really looked around and people where really lòòking at him. Like looking to something you have never seen before.
As a performer he is unique in a way, especially his moves, and although you can not judge him from that specific performance in Berlin, he definitely got the attention of the audience.
When he started to pull some girls on stage Mike asked me very concerned: “Why is he pulling all the weird ones out.’
He had a point, but I told him: “I see what you mean…maybe we should come back next year and see the girls front row. For some reason I think we will see a complete different picture. frenzy front row shit. I’m telling you.”
Theophilus finished his set and I decided that Mike had suffered long enough, since we didn’t have a decent drink or meal since we arrived in Berlin, it was all about the hustle untill then.
So, I suggest to go to the free bar and get us some rum. (yes. again) Mike looked at me and said: “Uhm, is this not the time for you to ask what you have travelled 8 hours for….? I mean…Seriously.”
He was right. I felt naked without my Jules and therefore I was stalling. I took a deep breath, and went for the curtain I just saw him disappear in.
I stuck my head behind the curtain and asked him: “‘Hello….please do not forget lil’ old me….”
Theophilus looked up: “No, that’s right. Hold on. I’ll just grab my stuff and we make sure you have your picture.”
While he was putting everything together I looked around and noticed 3 other girls to whom Theophilus gave each of them a pin and a mixtape cd. I noticed the girls putting the badge on as we speak. Great promo. I have to give him props for that.
“Where would you like to take the picture, there are some white walls upstairs if you like?”
Is this a dream? Since when start artists suggesting white walls themselves? Aren’t they supposed to react difficult towards changing space in according to satisfy ‘Mademoiselle Ouni’ with a nice perfect white wall?
The only thing I could bring out of my troath was a sore “Ok…”
So together with the girls we went upstairs. When we entered the room it looked like we were in the H&MU rooms for the models, that might have explained the high amount of very tall drop dead gorgeous women and skinny looking boys hanging around, surrounded with mirrors and lightbulbs and stuff.
I immediately went to work. Took of that blazer, because the heatflashes were doing their thing as usual and asked a girl if she could be my instant-assistant, explaining the ‘picture of me taking a picture of subject’ thingy. (if you are reading this, THANK YOU)
Meanwhile Theophilus was asking questions about who the coolest artist was that I snapped on Polaroid and giving me props on the Pharrell Williams one. I admit it was very hard for me to both focus on my job and answer his questons at the same time.
I put Mr Theophilus against the wall, explained my demands and asked if there was a possibility to take off his glasses.
Which he declined, since, so he explained, then it was a personal picture and that was not what this was about.
I framed. 3.2.1. Flashing.Lights….Bingo.
Exhibit I :
Exhibit II :
After that was done, I put them together and waited for the results, hoping he would be satisfied. (and I framed right)
“So”, Theophilus asked me with full enthousiasm, “are we going to do an interview?!”
Uhm. Hold On…Wait a minute. Since when do artists ask themselves for an interview? After their performance?
Ok. This man was making me more and more nervous.
“Uhm….I don’t know, I mean…”(I did not prepare SHIT) was the only thing that came out.
Theophilus continued: “Well, I’m just saying, I feel like doing one now, so this is your chance, do you have your recorder with you?”
“Uhm. Nope. I’m more of a oldskool pen and paper type of girl I presume.” I asked him to give me 5 minutes, and that I would be back asap.
I think I was going to FAINT while I ran out of that room. Interview??? Recorder??? WHERE IS MY ASSISTENT WHEN I NEED HER!?
I was feverishly looking for something to write on in the rooms upstairs and ended up finding the complete productionsheet of the DIESEL fashion show (like written out, right untill the moment Renzo Rosso is sitting down and the show can begin.) grabbed a pencil from the floor (how oldskool can you go) focused and searched in my inner hard disk for every little detail that was back-upped in my personal memory disk about Theophilus London.
I wrote a couple of questions down, checked if I didn’t have the sloppy journalist look and went back to the room where he was waiting. When I entered the room he looked at my miserable piece of paper and said:
“Wow. Did you do that just now?”
“Uhu” was the only thing I could get out.
So here it is. My mini Q&A with Theophilus London. If this story wasn’t already long enough as it is.
IMPRO I’VIEW WITH THEOPHILUS LONDON
How is Europe treathing Theophilus London?
Europe is great! My greatest response is coming from Europe. You guys are the early grabbers! Putting my music on blogs and stuff, and picking me up like that. It comes with some pressure aswell, I have to deliver, there are so many expectations, and the pressure is on me to live it up.
How does your hometown Brooklyn respond to you?
(big smile) Brooklyn is my fam. Brooklyn love is simply amazing.
Biggest influences for you at the moment?
Marvin Gaye. I’m working on a song as we speak, I’m covering Marvin Gaye covering Nat King Cole. Kraftwork. Gill Scot Heron. So great to see that somebody like him is still out there.
The summer and festivals are coming up. Looking forward?
Uhm. Yeah, definitely, but, I will only do a couple of them. I think it is more important to finish my album. You can only make a good impression once. I don’t want to mess that up with an overexposure on festivals.
Personally I am a big fan of the Solange remix for Sand Castles, tell me how did this happen?
Thanks! Me and Solange we just have a great vibe together. It’s hard to find a (girl)friend that understands the industry, the game and the situations you get in, being an artist. She is from Houston, and we just connect in a pure way. We actually performed that song for the first time, unprepared at SXSW FADER FORT festival. We just did it and it turned out great. She’s just grounded and a great friend.
Any cultural ‘Euro’ shocks?
Haha. Portugal and them starting so damn late to begin a party. Shit starts at 3AM. I performed at 4AM over there. Crazy, how Europe parties so late.
And. The girls behind the windows in Amsterdam… I mean. That’s just insane.
(surprised) Really? Don’t you have that in the states?
Are you crazy! Hell no. We have to call a secret number or something.
I’ve noticed that you are well supported by BBC I’s godfather Gilles Peterson. You are playing at his World Wide Festival in London february 6. How did you become his ‘The One To Watch’?
Man. Gilles Peterson was there from the early beginning, he is just one of the early adapters. He played Cold Pillow in his show, Enjoy The Sun. Which is pretty huge, Gilles show is on global time. Meaning. When his show plays, London club kids that are coming home are listening to it, Japan is listening, Australia. It’s a big deal to get that kind of airplay. Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw played my songs aswell. Basically radio BBC I is giving me a lot of love.
All of the sudden, Theophilus interrupts me in my next question, excused himself, walked away from his chair and I hear him say:”
“Come on guys, you can’t do that, that’s her Polaroid, put that back.”
To my complete SHOCK some model dude ( shaved hair, Ash/Josh Beech look-a-like, arm sleeved tattoo and a hat) was holding MY polaroidcamera in his hand that was laying on my purse, taking Polaroid pictures from his famous model friends. Apparantely Theophilus heard the Polaroidcam going off and went to rescue for the few pictures that were left in my cam. The Model Dude was very apologetic so I forgive his mistake and we got back to business. See what I have to go through!!??
ANYHOW. What can we expect from your first official album?
An inspiring album. couple of collaborations. Mark Ronson is on it. So stay tuned. It’s coming and I am very excited about it.
You have a very specific style and dresscode, out of the ordinary. What’s up with the cardboard camera?
I found that camera in a secondhand store, bought it for practically nothing and it has a kaleidscope in it. Turned out people really responded to my necklace, so I contacted the company that made them and now I wear them all the time.
Last question. If I say Belgium, which 3 words pop up?
That’s Easy.. Marvin Gaye. Waffles. And… Grey skies.
That’s all folks, the conditions in that dressing room where to bad to get any more content plus I should travel with a recorder taped to my body because I could not read my own handwriting for at least 1 question. (The Jamie -XX one)
Who knows maybe one day I’ll get a more profounder interview with better questions. (on a recorder) You never know…
I thanked Theophilus for enduring my stalkermails and his patience and his coöperation for this little blog. Because at the end of the day, he did all this for a total nobody.
He gave me that american hug type of thing, on which I still don’t know how to respond. You know the hug/tap on the back kind of greeting.
I left the backstage going straight to one place and one place only -THE BAR- heading for this:
It took me 10 emails, 2 days, an 16 hour drive, 5 phone calls, 5 texts, 3642 words and blood sweat and tears to finish this story.
Smart has the brains, but Stupid has the balls.
PS: A big thank you for my personal driver and friend MIKE for helping me out with this hunt by driving me around in Berlin, enduring my nervous breakdowns and listening for hours about my hiphop addiction. Mikie. You rock. ❤