Le Baron’s Baron Andre Saraiva Hangs Ten with Quiksilver

André Saraiva probably has an absurdly high number of frequent flight miles racked up on Air France due to his Transatlantic flights back and forth from Charles de Gaulle to JFK. After all, he is the man responsible for creating the crème de la crème of Paris nightlife and for being a co-owner of Beatrice Inn on this side of the pond. In Paris, Le Baron is one of Saraiva’s most famous lairs — complete with saucy red velvet walls — for coolest of the cool set. In addition, he also owns a spot in Tokyo, several outposts scattered about the City of Light and hosts “Le Baron Party” down at Art Basel Miami. And let’s not forget his respected skills as graffiti artist.

Monsieur A, Saraiva’s stick-figure character in hot neon pink, made a grand appearance in the United States for a Belvedere Vodka campaign. Recently however, he also linked up with Quiksilver — one of the biggest surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding apparel companies. Quiksilver turned 40 years old and in honor of the iconic brand’s birthday, it held an all-out blockbuster bash at the Grand Palais. Yep, that Grand Palais in Paris built circa 1900, complete with a gothic-like glass dome. Saraiva was commissioned to paint all around the venue and created a handful of limited edition surfboards. We caught up with the impresario amidst the chaos of rampant skateboarders inside the historic local — also found out a bit more about why he and Quiksilver came together and his opinion of what’s currently happening in the wee evening hours.

How did the collaboration with you and Quiksilver happen? I had met one of the guys from Quiksilver and had also been wanting for a long time to paint some surfboards and work with [surfboard] shapers. We had some friends in common and the guys from Quiksilver invited me to Biarritz, France — it’s one of the best surf spots of all of Europe — they have their shapers and their workshop there. So one day, I worked with a few of their shapers there, stayed for a week working on the base of the boards…painting on the glass on the boards. So that’s how it began, with me painting only a few unique pieces and boards for them. I spent time with them…we’d work in the morning and the afternoon and at the end of the day we’d go and surf together. It was really an amazing time.

What are you doing for Quik’s 40th Anniversary in Paris? Quiksilver is doing this big event here at the Grand Palais. It’s this really old school, amazing place, where normally big Chanel shows take place. It’s really interesting and an amazing thing to have something that’s more street culture being part of the Grand Palais. They asked me to paint a bit all over the walls, in the skatepark and on the ramps. It’s fun to be part of this project.

Do you have any plans to do additional collaborations with Quiksilver on its clothing collections? No, it’s more the unique pieces…that’s the project that I really loved, working with the old school shapers where every board is unique. That’s the beauty of the surfboards, they are all handmade. They are all special down to the size, the balance, everything is unique for each person. That’s what I really like to do.

When did you first start to get involved in nightlife? Since I escaped from home when I was 12 years-old! I used to go out at night and go to clubs. I couldn’t go home when I was kid, because when I used to go out, I would lie and say I was staying at some kid’s place. So, I used to sleep in the clubs until the first subway was open and then go home and then say I was sleeping over at my friend’s place. So yeah, since I was a kid! Nightlife was really a part of graffiti, so I would paint at night too….

It’s synonymous…. Yeah, it goes together. The night is more than a time and place; it’s where I always felt free. It’s where and when people are more open minded.

When did you open your first club? I was organizing rave clubs in Paris at the end of the eighties and early nineties and was always organizing concerts and was always just into music. I had to organize them because I had to have a place to listen to the music I loved! Because, there weren’t places in Paris where could I hear it. Then one day, with one of my best friends, we decided to build a place where we could go…where we could have our music, our club. My crew, my music and the people in bands that I love. So, we made our place for our people and that’s how we started Le Baron.

What’s the biggest difference with Parisian and New York nightlife? There is a simple difference between New York nightlife and Paris nightlife. In New York everything ends at 4am and in Paris everything just begins at 4am. We’ll go until 7am.

When do things close down in Paris? We can go after hours…there are lots of places to go. Still tough, still dealing with noise and with neighbors, but there are still places to go.

You have a vested interest in Beatrice Inn. As we all know it’s been closed now for quite some time. What’s happening? Yeah, but Beatrice is coming back soon. We all want Beatrice back…it’s going to happen.

In New York, it seems that places just get closed down left and right. Everything is controlled. Let’s go back to the roots of New York. A place where artists can create and be in the city…where they can go and show their ideas.

Right now, how many spots do you have? Le Montana, Le Baron, Moon…a lesbian bar. Soon, Beatrice is coming back. I’ve been working on the Boom Boom Room with Andre Balazas — doing consulting on art direction. We have a club in Tokyo called, Le Baron Tokyo, a little bar with dirty French karaoke that I made with my friend Marc Newsome. A few restaurants, a few hotels…different little things.


Ronnie Spector And The All-Stars

Ronnie Spector has a voice. And not just any voice. She’s got the voice that delivered us “Be My Baby” and “Baby I Love You,” songs we all still sing along to (and that provided the soundtrack for Patrick Swayze’s sexy dance moves in Dirty Dancing). Spector, who we first heard some 40 years ago with The Ronnettes, is still at it. The Last of the Rock Stars, Spector’s latest full-length album, was released earlier this month and was recorded over 12 long years with the help of some of rock’s biggest names. Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Ravonettes, The Greenhornes and Joey Ramone all collaborated on various tracks. Spector was kind enough to chat with us about how much everyone loves her and to share a few intimate stories about how the album took shape.

You must be so happy to finally have your album out stateside. I got goose pimples when you just said that, because I’ve been waiting so long to have it finally come out!

On the first and second tracks of the album, you have some of music’s most sought after songwriters and artists performing alongside you. With Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on “Hey Sah Lo Ney” and Sharin and Sune of The Ravonettes playing on “Ode to L.A.” How was working with them? Sune and Sharin were so good in the studio. The Ravonettes are really tall and I would have to look up at them when we were recording and they’d ask, ‘Is that ok Ronnie?’ And I’d say, ‘You tell me if it’s ok!’ They were fabulous to work with.

And Nick? I love Nick! You know what happened? Three years ago, Nick came to my Christmas BB King show and after the show he came backstage and said, ‘Oh my, you’re fantastic, I love your voice!’ So, when he heard about me doing this album, he called my management to come work on the album. And you know what? I would have called him anyway to come work on my album! Keith Richards also called me up and said, ‘Ronnie, if you’re doing an album, I’m going to be there.’ And he was. And when we decided to record, he was at the studio. Early. And Keith is never on time! So it blew my mind that Keith was there so early! Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, all those guys, they were the opening act back when I was performing with The Ronnettes.

Is it true that you and Joey Ramone did most of the recordings in an apartment and not in a recording studio? Joey wasn’t feeling good at that time. He was no longer able to go to the studio. So he would come to Daniel Ray’s apartment – Daniel helped produce the album and he lived right across the street from Joey and had all the equipment. Joey said, ‘I don’t care, I’d walk a mile for you girl!’ And I’ll never forget that. I told Joey, ‘You don’t feel good! You shouldn’t say you’ll walk a mile.’ But he did. He was so sweet. So sweet.

Patti Smith, another incredible and prolific artist, recorded a track with you. Patti has such an incredible voice. She knocked it out of the park. I said, ‘Patti, this is too much!’

Along with Patti, Jack Lawrence from The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs and The Greenhornes, and Patrick Keeler also from The Raconateurs and The Greenhornes recorded “There is an End.” And the guys worked on “Won’t Stop Saying Goodbye”. How’d you hook up with them? My guitar player who’s been performing with me for 20 years said, “you gotta meet them.” So they came to my show. That’s where I met Nick from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs too. They said, ‘Ronnie, you’re so good, you’re not like anyone else!’ And that’s how I met them and it made me feel like a million bucks. They came backstage after my show at BB Kings.

You were born and raised in New York. What are some of the newer spots you like to check out? Well, I really like the Mercer Kitchen. It used to be where Bottom Line was located. And Carnie Deli I love! And White Castle! Who doesn’t like White Castle?!

What venues to do you like? Well of course I love to play BB King’s every year. The reason why is because you get treated like a queen there. They bring your food backstage. Everything is so nice. They have great acoustics and I love the way it’s seated.

Do you have plans to perform in New York on tour for the album? Of course we’re touring! You know why, I have ants in my pants! I have to get up and show people what this is all about. I co-produced practically everything on the album so I’m excited for everyone to hear it.

Do you have plans to tour with any of the artists that contributed on the album? I hope they will be touring or doing something with me and if not touring at least coming back to the studio and doing something with me.

Industry Insiders: Annie Mac, UK DJ du Jour

As a BBC Radio 1 presenter and DJ, Annie Mac is definitely a household name within the UK. After all, across the pond she’s considered the new voice of dance music due to her show Annie Mac’s Mash Up. Annie recently took over the legendary reins of Pete Tong’s famous Friday night slot on Radio 1 — traditionally kicking off the weekend for those Brits to let loose. This past month, she came over to North America for a small club tour, stopping through New York City, of course. We caught up with Annie at the Tribeca Grand before her 2am DJ gig downstairs in the hotel’s subterranean dance den.

How does it feel to be the new voice of dance music for the UK? The grand plan wasn’t to be the new voice of dance music. It just happened organically. Originally, I was given a late night Thursday show in 2004, and luckily, people liked the music I liked. Radio 1 has been really good and embraced me as a presenter and pushed me forward, and I guess I’m happy to be pushed! And now I’ve ended up in this new role. I haven’t really thought about it until when there’s been a lot of press around and during the change. For me it’s not a change, because we just switched the show times around. I’m trying not to feel any pressure and to keep doing what I’ve always done. Trying not to compromise the show and keep playing the music we’ve played and stay true to what we’re about. It’s a bit silly and a bit fun-loving, a bit chaotic in a good way. Obviously the music is the important thing.

Your new Friday night slot from 7-9pm opens you up to a whole new group of fans that have been listening to Pete Tong for years. How have you shifted gears? We had a cult following on Thursday night and when we moved to Friday, we wanted to keep our Thursday-night fans happy, yet know that we’re also broadcasting to people who don’t necessarily buy music or care about labels or producers. It’s to entertain as well as educate. It’s about programming the show and working with the team to make sure that when we play two records that are quite challenging and then after, we play something that everyone knows. It’s all about the flow of the music. Our guests as well — the presentation of being inclusive and trying not to be intimidating — talking about the lifestyle around the music more than the actual music itself. The clubbing, texting your mates, and all the fun bits around the music.

It sounds like you’re carving out a nice balance of both worlds within your programming. Mainstream and more underground music … We, the team, have to keep ourselves interested as well. We could play all the big tunes, but then you want to also something that you’re really excited about. Play it and explain why you’re excited about it. That’s why I love my job.

As a club DJ, you’re an artist, but you’re also a journalist. How do you wear both hats? When I started to be a club DJ, I found it very hard because I felt that I wasn’t really prepared for that transition from being a journalist to being an artist. When I’m doing my radio show, it’s been mostly girls, and fun and a bit silly, so you don’t really think about the fact that thousands of people are listening. You’re just having fun playing records. When I started playing records in a club professionally, all of the sudden I had 500 people staring at me … I found that really difficult. I wasn’t ready to be physically on display while performing. It took me a full year to become confident and comfortable onstage. That transition took awhile, yet I think both complement each other. When you play a track in a club, it’s really interesting to see the reaction you get on the dance floor — because you know when you play it on the radio, it’ll also be really good.

People here in the US definitely seek out your programming. Did you have any expectations when coming across the pond? There’s nothing like BBC Radio in the US, so it’s made me re-evaluate and appreciate what the BBC lets us do as a service. Not only does it give us complete freedom with what we do, but it also really nurtures its DJs and lets us be personalities. The most overriding thing about my recent club tour in America is that I genuinely didn’t know what to expect when coming here. Because I didn’t know if anyone would be at the clubs. You get emails every week when you broadcast, and seeing those emails from Canada and here in the US saying they’re coming, and then seeing that manifest into a crowd of people physically there at the club was amazing. What they’ve also said is how much they love Radio 1 and the show because they don’t have anything like that here. The internet is amazing.

Who are some interesting artists that have come into Radio 1’s studio for an interview? There’s been a few that have stuck out. We had a mini-mix from a guy named Cajmere of Green Velvet. We did a phone interview with him and he was incredibly gracious and charismatic. He was everything and everyone you want them to be in an interviewee. Someone who came in to do an in person were the two guys from Chromeo. P-Thugg does a voice-box for Chromeo and does this funky 80s thing. He did the whole interview that way. It was just hilarious and really good fun. There’s a guy called Rex the Dog who is a producer from back home. He did the whole interview as a dog with a bark sound effect. One bark for yes, two barks for no. There has been some really really funny ones. Dizzee Rascal … I did a whole interview with him that was great. Radiohead as well with Thom Yorke — that was the most nervous I’d ever been, but also the most rewarding. Thom Yorke was just wigging out! He was playing techno behind the board, and I kept saying, “Calm down, Annie, calm down!”

While in New York City, you broadcast your Friday night show remotely. How’d that go? It was wicked! It was on the 36th floor of Sirius. Seeing radio in a different country like here and how it’s done and how the studio works is interesting. Seeing pictures of Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey, all these proper iconic people. It was a bit weird doing it in the afternoon, but I think we were really happy with the show and how it went. I think we brought back a nice flavor of New York back home in the UK. I’m really happy with it.

You DJed with Mark Ronson too? Yes, It was brilliant. I did his East Village Radio with him. It’s incredible … such an amazing way to do a radio show right on the street in the East Village, seeing everyone outside through the glass. He had all sorts of people drop in.

Omar Doom: Basterd Out of Catalina

Omar Doom is a real basterd. As Pfc. Omar Ulmer in this summer’s highly anticipated World War II bloodbath Inglourious Basterds, he’s one of eight American men sent to terrorize Hitler’s army in Nazi-occupied France — specifically to hunt and kill German soldiers, not capture them. So yeah, Doom gets a little bloody; it is, after all, a Quentin Tarantino film. Doom is two for two with Tarantino now down the red carpet at Cannes. He also acted in Grindhouse — which premiered at Cannes two years ago — the Robert Rodriguez-Tarantino double feature, with Doom in Tarantino’s half of Death Proof. Doom’s now part of that special actor club alongside Uma Thurman, Samuel Jackson, and another basterd, Hostel director Eli Roth. We chatted with Doom about writing his own music, scalping Nazis, drinking beer with the biggest movie star in the world, and playing with fire to the point where it put him in the hospital. Rather than stay exclusively dark, we also enjoyed a day o’ Doom on Catalina Island in Southern California (see full gallery) before he popped away to the London premiere of Inglourious Basterds. See the clip above for a demo of Doom’s slick golf-cart-racing skills, peruse the full gallery of his sartorially chic island time, and check out the full interview after the jump.

Did you know much about your role in Inglourious Basterds while Tarantino was writing the script? No, I got a call from Quentin about three weeks before shooting started. Eli Roth and I both kind of auditioned while filming Death Proof. Quentin basically broke it down for me over the phone for a while, and then finished up by saying, I want you to come to Berlin and be a Basterd! I was just like, Quentin, I’ve been preparing for that role my whole life!

You’ve been on two Tarantino film sets now. What’s the vibe like? Death Proof was a little more laid back than Inglourious Basterds. Basterds was more focused due to it being a bigger production and on such a tight deadline. Quentin definitely knows how to have a good time though.

What kind of good time? He always has cool music playing between takes and creates this very intimate environment for the entire cast and crew. It just really feels like a party where everyone is having a great time, and it doesn’t really feel like work. It’s a bit surreal as well because when you’re working on a Tarantino film, you’re working on film history. So yeah, it feels surreal to go down in history.

Kind of like “Quentin’s World” … Yeah, basically you’re in “Quentin’s World” during his shoots, and his world is a lot of fun. And within that world he has his actors he uses time and time again. I am very lucky enough to say I am now one of those actors.

What’s up with the Omar Doom vs. Pfc. Omar Ulmer? In every little detail in his films there’s some sort of reference point — it occurs in all his films and film buffs go nuts over it. He definitely had something in mind when he named my character Omar Ulmer, but it’s up to the audience to figure all that stuff out.

So who is Pfc. Ulmer? He is a Basterd! There are eight Basterds lead by Lt. Aldo Raine (played by Brad Pitt) to wreak havoc upon the Nazis, and Omar is one of them.

How was it working with the biggest movie star in the business? Brad Pitt is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. There are actors that roll up to a movie set flanked by an entourage of men in suits, and they offer up only a handshake and a fake smile to their fellow actors. Brad walks onto the set, solo, without an entourage of friends, publicists, or whatever around him, with just a six-pack of beer in his hands, like “Hey guys! Want a beer?” He’s just a straight-up cool dude.

In the trailer, Brad Pitt’s character says to each of the Basterds, “You each owe me 100 scalps and I want my scalps!” Did Pfc. Ulmer fulfill the request? I like to think so. Scalping those Nazis was the most fun I had on set. We even had to go through “scalping training.”

No way. Yeah, we were taken and shown how to properly scalp a human head by special effects guru Greg Nicotero. Quentin made sure to have us filmed during the scalp-training process to see who was, indeed, the best scalper. It turned out that person was me. Who would’ve of thought?

How does one scalp a human head? You basically get started by getting a good grip on the victim’s hair and make a small incision along the top of the forehead. Then as you’re slicing through, the rest of the scalp pretty much peels off of the head like a banana. Finally give the skin a good yank and rip it off. Once you’re done, you either put it your bag or on your belt, and move on to the next victim.

Given that you were both in Death Proof, did you have any memorable moments on-set with Eli Roth? There’s a scene where Eli and I are surrounded by flames in a burning building. Quentin insisted on not using CGI. All of the fire you see in the trailer is real. It’s all real! During the shoot, Quentin was up on a crane draped in a fire blanket, and there Eli and I were slathered in fire gel, blasting our machine guns in front of a gigantic wall of flames. There was a bunch of rehearsals, which were basically fire drills, because as soon as Quentin blew the horn, everyone had to leave the building. They did everything they could to make sure nothing would go wrong. Something did go wrong. The fire ended up being 1000 degrees where Eli and I were standing. We saw what was going down and just knew we had to soldier through until Quentin got the shot. I ended up being rushed to the emergency room and treated for burns on my head, hands, and the right side of my face. I heard that the fire marshal said if Eli and I were in there for only seconds more, we’d be in far worse condition.

I’d say Quentin definitely owes you one. I did only what was expected from a Basterd!

Aside from your acting duties, you’re also a musician. What’s in the works right now? I’m working on a solo album at the moment. It should be done in a couple of months and released in the fall. I actually wrote half of the songs in my off time while shooting Inglourious Basterds in Berlin, which lasted six months.

Since you’re part of the Tarantino actor family, anything in the works toward the future? There’s talk of a possible Inglourious Basterds prequel right now. Quentin has a lot of material to work with, and if all goes well we’ll be shooting again.

Keeping Up with Paul Oakenfold

Paul Oakenfold could make anyone shake their booty. The world-class DJ and producer has been at it for almost 20 years, and he isn’t stopping anytime soon. In fact, he’s busier and busier. This month, he released Perfecto Vegas — which includes a double CD of 21 exclusive tracks — to commemorate the success of his residency at The Palms casino in Las Vegas. Perfecto Vegas is just one aspect of his recent body of work. Over the past year, he scored British film The Heavy, worked in the studio on Jerry Bruckheimer’s new film G-Force, and he’s on this “little” ride with that woman they call “M.” Take a guess who? That would be Madonna — Oakenfold is currently DJing on her “Sticky & Sweet” global tour. Madonna also asked him to produce her latest single, “Celebration,” slated to come out August 3. Fortunately, I was able to catch up with Oakenfold in Oslo, Norway — one of his tour stops with Madge — and have a quick chat.

Tell me about Perfecto Vegas. The Perfecto CD represents my residency at The Palms in Las Vegas, which I’m really proud of. We’ve worked extremely hard as a venue, as a club, especially in this time which is tough for everyone. It’s been a big team effort. We have a lot of performance art in the club — we certainly gave Vegas something they’ve never experienced. We have around 3,000 people on a Saturday night, and we’re going to step it up and go into the second year through 2010. I’m very very happy and wanted to put out this CD that represented what we do — more the underground side of what we do — to give people a taste and an idea. Even down to looking at the artwork on the CD, they can see pictures of the club. They can go online to my website or to the club’s website and see photos there as well.

What’s going on with your upcoming original studio album, Pop Killer? That’s kind of a working title — there’s nothing official for the record right now. I’ve done a bunch of recordings with some new artists and some artists that you’re familiar with in terms of their names. That release will probably be toward next year. I’ve been road-testing some of the tracks: I did a track with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, one with Ryan Tedder (who’s the lead singer of One Republic) and one with an underground band called Infected Mushrooms. It’s been going well. Hopefully, once it’s finished people will dig it.

You have so much going on — how do you balance everything? Realistically, it’s what you choose and what you do which are the most important things. Sometimes it just all comes out all at once. Like right now, I’m on Madonna’s tour DJing, I produced her new single, I worked in the studio on Jerry Bruckheimer’s G-Force — and well, they’re all out and going on at the same time. So it seems like it’s a lot, but if you look into it, I did the Madonna record in May, I’ve been doing the Bruckheimer thing for awhile, so everything is clear and done. And then the Madonna tour — that’s the only thing I’m focusing on right now — I’m only DJing. There’s only one thing. It just seems like there’s a lot more at once. For instance, I scored The Heavy back in December, and it’s going to come out this September. If your time is organized well, you can do everything, and I have a great team who helps me.

How’s Madonna’s global tour been treating you? The show as you can imagine have been going really really well. My sets are a lot different. Obviously I’m warming up for “M” — it’s a lot more commercial and focused. I’m getting the crowd going and ready for the big act. We did a show yesterday for Madonna. Tonight I’m going to play my own underground show to 1,000 people — last night, at Madonna’s show, was 55,000 people.

55,000 people!? Yes, 55,000 people. I’m very lucky because I get to play both kinds of music — the commercial and the underground tracks. It’s quite daunting when you walk in front of that amount of people. Back in December while in Brazil, it was like 95,000 people. You just channel your energy and focus on what you’re doing, and it can be great.

Tell me about Madonna’s new single you produced. The new single I produced is called “Celebration” — it’s cutting edge in terms of instrumentation and also brings back some of the old flavor in terms of Madonna with “Lucky Star” and “Holiday,” with melody and song. It’s that kind of vibe. The whole idea is for people to go out, have a good time, and enjoy themselves in a time that’s difficult for all of us. Try to put a smile on people’s faces in a time when they need it. Hopefully, you’ll dance around your room, sing in the mirror, and smile at the end of it.

Didn’t you recently debut the single? I was very lucky because Madonna and Warner Bros. allowed me to play and debut it in Ibiza as the last record of the night at Pacha, which was the perfect setting to hear the new Madonna song. It’s uplifting, clubby, and very strong in terms of a melodic feel. It’s a “Celebration” — come enjoy yourself. It was a perfect place to have the world premier last Friday night.

Kemado Records’ New Digs

Kemado Records and its sister label, Mexican Summer, are quite busy to say the least. Over the past six months, both labels moved offices from Manhattan out to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, while simultaneously building a commercial recording studio within the vast new space. They’re also opening up a destination brick-and-mortar record store, organizing a music festival out in Big Sur, California, and of course producing a constant stream of new releases from their roster of artists. I sat down with label owner Andres Santo Domingo and label head Keith Abrahamsson to get the latest and check out their new pad.

When did you decide to make the move to Greenpoint? We just needed more space. We looked all over Manhattan and found a couple of spaces — we looked everywhere. But when we came out to Brooklyn and saw the spaces out here in Greenpoint, we knew we could do a commercial recording studio. We’re going to rent it out a great deal. We’ll keep it busy a lot by ourselves as well, but we want to have it as full as possible.

What’s the square footage of your building? Andres Santo Domingo: It’s about 4,000 square feet on each floor, and the recording studio is 2,000 square feet with 30-foot ceilings in the live recording room. We made the space very functional for everyone to hang out and make it accommodating for anyone that’s recording.

Are you going to have a retail space on the first floor? ASD: Yes. It’s a platform for Mexican Summer and for our belief in limited-edition vinyl — a resurgence that is going on right now. About three other record labels are going to be involved in the beginning, and we’ll sell all of their product there too. One of them is Captured Tracks; another is Sacred Bones, which does limited-edition vinyl releases; and Minimal Wave. We’re also going to have Woodsist’s limited-edition vinyl too. It’s a vinyl co-op store essentially. We’re not going to carry a bunch different labels, nor is the store going to be open every day. It’s a destination where you can go and pick up new releases on vinyl. A lot of things we’d like to do and are thinking of doing with the store: our bands and the other labels will have live shows in the recording studio, record the session, and then press out on a seven-inch. We’re also going to have “store releases” where you can only purchase that release at the store.

Similar to what Jack White’s Third Man Records is doing in Nashville, and the recent pop up store in New York? ASD: Yes, it’s similar, but one thing that Jack White has that we don’t have — and what we’d love to have — is a vinyl pressing plant. You need a big space for that! We have a couple places in Brooklyn though that press vinyl for us though.

Tell me about the festival you’re putting on — Party in the Pines. ASD: It’s going to be at Henry Miller Library out in Big Sur on August 29. There are a lot of awesome bands — a lot we work with, but also bands in the same family as us. Dungen, Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance … Vietnam is doing a reunion show. Saviours, Farmer Dave Scher. It’s going to be awesome.

Where did the concept come from? Keith Abrahamsson: This is really the brainchild of Jeff Kaye, who also works at Kemado. He knew the guys of Folk Yeah, who are promoters that put on these shows out at the Henry Miller Library. We’re hoping this will end up being a yearly event. ASD: It’s a one-day festival. It’s only $30, and people can camp there. It’s sort of a reaction to these big three-day festivals. This festival is on a much smaller scale. We can only sell 500 tickets due to the capacity of the venue.

What releases do you have coming up? ASD: Farmer Dave, which we’re really excited about. That comes out in August. A new Langhorne Slim record — we’re getting that project rolling right now. A new Saviours record due out in the fall. Also, we signed a new band on Kemado: The Soft Pack from San Diego. They’re recording their album right now. That will come out in the new year, as will the The Sword’s new record. Between all that, we have a slew of new Mexican Summer releases too. So we’re going to be busy!

Kings of Leon: Possible ‘Today Show’ Stampede?

It’s a mad dash for Rockefeller Plaza! Run! Run! Come this Friday, one of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll, Kings of Leon, will be performing live on NBC’s Today summer concert series. Those Southern boys from Nashville certainly put on a good show, and I know Friday’s gig will not disappoint. They are telling fans to show up at the wee hour of 6am to guarantee a good view. I’m predicting sleepovers within the confines of Rock Plaza. Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and Al Roker should be prepared for legions screaming girls. Of course, they’re probably used to that kind of chaos by now.

One of the main reasons why I think it’s going to be a tad more crazy than usual is a recent Rolling Stone story about KOL’s upcoming Lollapalooza performance at Grant Park on August 7 in Chicago. I mean, I know KOL is big-time, but Lollapalooza’s new online fest-attendance feature (which tracks “how many people have added an artist on the lineup to their personal schedule, giving festival-goers an early indicator of how packed the fest’s most popular shows might be”) says 15,000 fans have added KOL. Hopefully Roker won’t be steamrolled.

Q-Tip & Mark Ronson Pay Tribute to Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s funerary festival isn’t stopping anytime soon. It just keeps going on … and on … and on … Don’t get me wrong, I love MJ; Thriller was my very first album for god’s sake. Yet the media spectacle since his recent death has just been too much sensationalism for my taste. (This is probably the reason why I haven’t written one story or commented about his death until now.) I believe however there are those who genuinely want to honor the King of Pop and do so without ulterior motives. Case in point: come August 29 — what would have been the Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday — Q-Tip will present a tribute, “Long Live the King! A Birthday Celebration for Michael Jackson” at the NOKIA Theatre Times Square in New York.

Q-Tip is bringing in Grammy-man buddy Mark Ronson and DJ Spinna to assist inside the DJ both. They’ll be playing a slew of never before-heard remixes of Michael Jackson’s hits, as well as rare video footage from the Motown and Sony vaults. Q-Tip says, “Michael Jackson was a huge influence on my music and was an inspiration to me and so many others. I want to bring people together to celebrate the man, his music, and his legacy that will undoubtedly live on forever!” Tickets go on sale this Friday, July 31, for the 2,100-person venue.

Amy Winehouse & Blake Fielder-Civil: Divorce Stories

Over the weekend, I kept hearing radio DJs comment on Amy Winehouse’s very recent and public divorce from Blake Fielder-Civil while playing the former’s tunes on heavy rotation. So I decided to search around and see what’s been said across the pond about the hot-off-the press split. Lo and behold, I found a headlining story from British tabloid The Sun. Apparently, Blakeie-poo decided to have an official chat and “tell-all” about Amy. I can’t help but think how much The Sun paid Fielder-Civil for his words? The guy probably needed a few extra pounds due to the divorce, or perhaps he just wanted to take a stab at his ex. Regardless, it’s in bad taste. But what would one expect from the addict who admitted to introducing Winehouse to crack and heroin?

Among lots of other salaciously degrading detail, Fielder-Civil shared an incident about Winehouse passing out after a three-day party binge. Blake had to resuscitate her and worried if she was about to die in his arms. All of this is quite sad and disturbing to hear about Winehouse; she’s such a talent with an incredible career ahead of her. Let’s hope that with Fielder-Civil no longer in the picture, she’ll stay off the drugs and get on the straight and narrow path, with music as her catalyst. Mark Ronson, please come to the rescue.