6 Surreal Things That Happened at Cannes (via Instagram)

Another Cannes Film Festival has come and gone, proving that over-the-top glamour is still very much prevalent in the land of ridiculously rich people, aka the French Riviera. And it’s not just movie stars; models, musicians, beauty brands and even bloggers got in on the decadent action this year, too. From amfAR’s annual gala to P. Diddy’s yacht party on steroids, here are some of my favorite FOMO-inducing moments captured by everyone’s favorite photo sharing mobile app, Instagram.

1. Theophilus London chilled with footwear god Giuseppe Zanotti at dinner one night and got him to do what you’re seeing above.

2. amFAR held their annual Cinema Against AIDS gala, where supermodels and superbloggers mingled, like Doutzen Kroes and Rumi Neely:


3. P. Diddy hosted a crazy party on a monster yacht:


4. L’Oreal Paris set up a fancy beauty suite to help pretty people get even more pretty, like athlete/actress/model Aimee Mullins


5. Supermodel Anja Rubik threw a party for erotic fashion rag 25 Magazine, which her fellow supermodel friends flocked to:


6. Just for good measure, here’s a lasting FML shot of a gold freakin’ Mercedes that someone drove to the amFAR gala:


A First Glimpse At What’s Opening and What Never Should Have Closed

A very fat – or is it phat – quiet cat is out of the bag. I am sworn to secrecy about Toy, the new Tony Theodore/Koch brothers-driven spot in the Ganesvoort Meatpacking. I was graciously and quietly given a tour the other day while workman readied the Jeffrey Beers-designed space. I promised to keep it all on the low but once a PR firm sends out invites… it’s time to talk. Toy looks like it will be fun to play with. My goodness that was corny but expected I guess. Daniel, Derek, and Tony gave me the $2-tour and I was impressed. There is a wonderful outdoor space, an oyster bar and multi-levels and faceted mirrors all over the ceiling, fabulous blue booths and ebonized tables, and the whole place is better suited than previous incarnations to embrace those seeking the good life down in the Meatpacking District.

The event the PR peeps are hawking is this Monster Diesel party Thursday night. No, that’s not a truck and an energy drink soiree rather it is the clothing company announcing the launch of its "Noise Division" and a headphone company. Noise at the event is offered up by Theophilus London, Solange Knowles, and Brendan Fallis. I promised everyone I would attend and will do so.

On Saturday night I was hobnobbing at Snap and Stash where bon vivants gathered to watch that wonderful fight where Tim Bradley whipped Manny Pacquiao. After the fight, the models, promoters, and owners poured into the street and then over to Darby Downstairs. I heard Ryan Gosling and a slew of others like that attended. I didn’t see them in the crowd. I did get to chat up a bearded Leonardo DiCaprio who I hadn’t seen in a minute. He used to hang with us at Life and other joints we ran. He’s as cool and down- to-earth as ever and it was great to small-talk with the big star. I don’t much like to talk about celebs in clubs, but when they’re on the sidewalk talking to me I figure it’s OK.

After all the hoopla, I joined my party downstairs at Snap for a bottle of Beau Joie Champagne. My group included Jenny Oz Leroy of Tavern on the Green and Russian Tea Room fame. It’s amazing to me that this city pushed her out of Tavern, the joint her dad created from nothing and now, years later, the building is rotting. It’s a testament to bureaucracy gone bad and it’s complete and utter bullshit from the pencil-pushers involved.

Tavern was part of the fabric of this town. It was weddings and galas and lights and magic. It was visited and revisited by generations. It was memories. It was jobs and tax revenues from one of the highest grossing restaurants in the country, until Vegas exploded the undisputed truth in restaurant revenues. It lays empty, and every warm summer day underscores the huge mistake made by this administration. Admit it fellows…admit that you royally fucked up, dropped the ball, blew it, and beg Jenny to take it back.

If you want this and more in your inbox first-thing, sign up for my twice-a-week email blast. It’s gonna be good.

Personal Faves: The Man Behind the Music, Dev Hynes

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Natalie Alcala writes of the big year for multi-hyphenate wunderkind, Dev Hynes.

One rainy September night during London Fashion Week, a who’s who of style influencers swarmed the Liberty of London boutique for a Kenzo fête hosted by the Parisian label’s new creative directors, Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. Just as open bar debauchery began to form, gravitating guitar sounds beckoned partygoers to the stage, where an exceedingly stylish fella in a red suit and a black leather baseball cap held their eardrums captive for the rest of the night. Meet Devonté "Dev" Hynes.

Although the Texas born, British bred multi-hyphenate musician performed as Blood Orange that night—and most nights these days—he’s also been known as Lightspeed Champion. "It’s all the same shit really," says Hynes of his various guises. "I just use different names to help aid people’s minds." Mind aiding is necessary for those not accustomed to the 26-year-old’s mad scientist-style skills, which include wizardry on the bass, guitar, cello, drums and violin, writing and producing songs for the likes of The Chemical Brothers, Diana Vickers, and Theophilus London, and working with celebrities like former Saturday Night Live funny lady Kristen Wiig (who could forget that "Rock My Body" duet from the MacGruber soundtrack?).

But even virgin ears at the LFW party that were unfamiliar with the wunderkind and his impressive body of work, were instantly hooked to Hynes’ retro-infused rock, funk, folk and soul vibe—a sound that’s impossible to pigeonhole. "I only care about melodies and chords, which is why my music is all over the place," Hynes explains. "But if you listen carefully, nothing is really changing too much, aside from aesthetic." His delightfully scattered sounds led to a host of opportunities this year, including a tour with Florence + The Machine and a hot-ticket gig composing the soundtrack to Kenzo’s Paris Fashion Week show.

The Blood Orange takeover didn’t stop there. Hynes is also the mastermind behind Sky Ferreira’s single "Everything is Embarassing," which was recently named "Song Of The Year" in the culture issue of New York Magazine. "I wrote it at my piano only thinking about Sky singing it," Hynes reveals. "The song is about what I was imagining my girlfriend, who I was going through a break up with at the time, was thinking of me. I love Sky’s voice so I was definitely writing imagining her and only her singing it." The result? An infectiously melancholy ’80s-inspired pop ballad that’s the new anthem for the brokenhearted: "Maybe if you let me be your lover/Maybe if you tried then I would not bother." (Bonus: Watch Hynes performing the song himself at the Grimes show a few weeks ago here.)

Of all of the artist’s personal, professional, and recreational highlights this year, which also include attending a screening of Spike Lee’s Bad 25 documentary ("I didn’t think in 2012 it was possible for Michael Jackson to change my life again") and the Knicks’ knock-out opening run ("It’s crazy!"), Hynes considers his work on Solange Knowles’ new 7-track EP, True, his finest accomplishment. "Finishing the Solange record felt great," says Hynes of Beyoncé’s little sister’s hypnotic third record. "We’re both people that have a hard time knowing when something is finished because we could tweak it away forever. But realizing that it was done, and how happy we felt about it, was a great feeling." Since its release on November 27, True has received tons of buzz for its funky first single, "Losing You," which Knowles and Hynes recently performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, complete with badass choreographed dance moves. (Yes, Hynes can dance, too.)

While Dev Hynes, Blood Orange, Lightspeed Champion, and whatever clever name he dreams up next will certainly continue to slay the music game through 2013 and beyond, I can’t help but wonder what the multi-talented dude would have done if he didn’t have this gift. "I always wanted to be a biographer when I was younger," he says. "But in reality, I’d either be playing football [Ed note: or "soccer" for the Americans folks] still, or tennis." Yes, tennis. And although he’s worked with just about every established and emerging artist under the sun—who might he be interested in collaborating with next, either in real life or fantasy form? "It would have to be the late avant-garde dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham." Of course. And if all this—the music, the fame, the fun, the recognition, the world—suddenly ends today, what does Hynes want to be remembered for? "A grand ol’ laugh!"

Listen to “She Said OK,” A New Track From Big Boi and Theophilus London

Earlier this week, Atlanta rapper and former half of OutKast Big Boi announced the title of his upcoming album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, the follow-up to his acclaimed 2010 effort, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. Today, he dropped a new single, "She Said OK," with a little help from everyone’s favorite collaborator (and BlackBook performing favorite), Theophilus London, along with producer and artist Tre Luce.

From the over-the-top speakerbox(xx) with legs that forms the album’s art to Tre Luce’s chorus amid porn-groove guitars ("Let me see your titties / she said OK") to some spittake-inducing references ("My legs feel like Joe from Family Guy because she got insane head"), there’s a little bit of silliness amid the sexiness, but mostly it’s a slow jam to be enjoyed in the manner slow jams are. This song is decidedly NSFW, but perfectly safe to enjoy in the privacy of your home / car / while doing whatever it is you like to do. 

Whether or not this song will appear on the new album has yet to be confirmed, but in the meantime, "She Said OK": 

Santigold Saves the Day, Masters Our Make-Believe

“Do you like my dance moves?” Santi White, aka Santigold, asked the crowd at Bowery Ballroom on Monday night on the eve of her second album release. “I try really hard. It’s not easy.”

The soulful singer, in a gold-checkered tracksuit with white satin blouse collar, dove into the new tune Keeper, crooning the chorus, "while we sleep in America, our house is burning down, our house is burning down, down, down, down, down."

The business savvy songstress, returned to her fans after four years of silence, came at her audience with a powerful message and they were ready to listen. On the eve of May Day, also the release of her second album Master of My Make-Believe (Downtown/Atlantic), her songs ring true as dark pop with a worldly punk twist, burrowing deep into our souls and forcing modicums of truth into the ether that sorely need recognition.

As the lights went up on the chorus, the light exposed the sobered faces of all walks of life that stood as though they had been called to witness this event firsthand. The mash up of colors and cultures mimicked the styles, audible and otherwise, on stage.

Master is a generational record. It marks the time when we decided that crowd surfing at a show with turntables was okay; that one could care just as much about the NOTORIOUS B.I.G. as Nirvana (in fact both have martyr status in their own way). I confirmed this reality at South by Southwest in March, when walking down 6th Street in Austin, I was handed a promotional t-shirt silk screened with the cover of Nevermind, naked baby and all, not swimming towards the iconic dollar on a fish line, but towards a sick pair of BEATS by Dre headphones.

As she has been known to do Santi drew on stage a number of fans, in a rainbow of personalities and styles, to dance and sing along with her, warning to steer clear of her two dancers, as they’ve been “known to kick.” Also, punch, snarl and swagger with a touch of booty shaking – in the feminist, reclaiming-this-booty sense that defies exploitation. A throwback anti-2 Live Crew, if you will.

"My record comes out tomorrow,” she said softly with a big smile between songs. “It sure does take long; I’m so happy it’s over.”

Really, though, it’s just beginning. Santigold stands at the frontlines of a future sound that is hard to label. Call it soul, call it punk, and call it hip-hop, it is everything and nothing at all. Metaphors for her eclectic genre bending are laid bare in performances; Santi and her dancers are so multi-faceted their costumes even serve many purposes and styles. 

In a way, everyone wants to claim Santi for himself or herself. The difficult part comes when people start talking about genre according to race. The 36-year-old African American singer has a diverse band of collaborators on stage with her who reflect the audience in an intellectual-hipster-Benetton-ad kind of way. Supporting Santigold on this night the creative up and coming crossover hit, the singing, rapping DJ and renaissance man Theophilus London, whose fans endured crowd surfing (at a non punk show! Or was it?) shortly before Santigold hit the stage.

Santi’s second act denotes incredible strength in her slightness. That an idea could be more powerful than a fist is her implication – even one pumped slowly and assuredly into the air inducing the crowd to cheer at full force – and that even pop music can foster a rebellious avant garde attitude about the world. And that’s okay.

The gyrating bodies of her synchronized dancers Desireé Godsell and Monica Hatter-Mayes flanked the singer, denoting a stature and sexiness that inoculates from the sexual subservience of a typical female pop performance.

And yet, a young woman wearing a headscarf hugged the left corner of the stage, clapping giddily after each song. When Santigold forgot a few lyrics to You’ll Find A Way, the young woman pulled out her phone, searched it and handed the phone to the singer, whose performance then kicked back into full throttle, with Santi proclaiming at the end of the song, "She saved the day!"

And that’s just what we’ve come to expect from Santigold.

Photos by Dusdin Condren

Watch Theophilus London Live at Le Baron

Back in February, the French nightclub kingpin André Saraiva opened an outpost of his Parisian hotspot Le Baron in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Predictably, celebrity revelers showed up in droves to populate the club and no less than New York’s own after-dark impresario Serge Becker told the New York Times that Le Baron had his stamp of approval, saying, “You just can’t buy your way into the place. It’s about if you’re cool or not.”

As of today, it’s more about whether or not you’re friends with Le Baron on Facebook.

The nightclub, in conjunction with Absolut vodka, has launched the Encore! Live Series, which brings live music to the club and then broadcasts the performances via the series’ YouTube Channel and Facebook page

The first performance in the series was released today and features the song stylings of New York’s own hip-hop hunk du jour, Theophilus London, who just so happened to have performed last night at a sold-out album release party for Santigold

Check out the video below and stay tuned for upcoming performances—it’s a hell of a lot easier than making it past the club’s velvet ropes.

Theophilus London’s Tour de Roses In Bloom at Tomorrow Never Knows Chicago

When Theophilus London and I meet before his show at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall, the third night of his Tour de Roses, he has his laptop open. He’s in the zone, thumbing through open tabs in his browser. His shows are much the same way — he’ll ask the DJ to cut a song before it’s over to move on to something else and occasionally rap about thirty seconds of a track and then start over so he feels it more. It can be a bit jarring, but the crowd didn’t seem too fazed by the transitions, and they’re a marker of what makes London so fascinating to watch. He’s thinking out loud, in front of everyone. He invites fans into the process. It’s almost like he has a fear of monotony.

London’s Tour de Roses is all about renewal and reinvention. The bulk of his set at Lincoln Hall as one of the top acts of the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival is focused on new material, both collaborative efforts and previews from two albums out later this year. His crew dons LVRS jackets, new additions to his clothing and accessory line, and hanging above the stage is a giant, glittering banner announcing the Tour de Roses that looks like a lost backdrop from a high school drama club production.

"A rose, to me, represents brand new," London says. "It represents being pure. I guess I’m in this whole brand new stage of my life, reinventing my sound, reinventing my music, reinventing my style."

It’s been a busy week for London, even without the tour. He’s dropped two new tracks — "Last Night (LVRS Anthem)" and "Shrimp," a collaboration with part-human meme, part-rapper Kreayshawn. The crowd already knows "Last Night" when it drops fairly early in the set, and a furious current of bobbing arms begins to surface. But barely 48 hours after the track drops, London is already on to making it bigger; the day of the show, London tweeted at Merlin Bronques, the photographer behind lastnightsparty.com (a fitting choice), about collaborating on some videos.

"Yeah, me and Bronques have been friends for a long time," London says. "We always hang out together. That was always going to happen. He’s a good friend of mine. We’re going to Paris together. Sometimes I sit in on his shoots while he’s shooting girls."

Two of the songs that get the best reception on the night are collaborative efforts. “Big Spender,” a Sweet Charity-sampling track with fellow New Yorker A$AP Rocky, is performed with London’s entire crew on stage wearing balaclavas and LVRS merch, frenetically leaping and rocking out on top of the amplifiers. The other is “Why Even Try,” one of the most popular cuts from his debut full-length album, Timez Are Weird These Days, a slower jam with hints of Prince and Tom Tom Club and featuring Sara Quin of Tegan & Sara, a vocalist London says he enjoyed providing with a bit of challenge.

"I wanted to take her from her element, from what she usually does, and put her on a funk beat, on some Ike and Tina Turner shit and me and her just singing back and forth,” he says. “That shit was raw."

In addition to collaborations, the tour is something of a live test kitchen for new material from two upcoming releases: studio cut Lovers’ Holiday II and Timez Are Weird These Nights, a “a screaming, bangin’ remix album” crafted in partnership with Bing. This effort will involve audience participation: fans are invited to remix one of London’s tracks, and the best beat alchemist of the bunch will fly out to New York and master the songs with him. "I want to take kids and highlight their skills and give them an opportunity to just be heard,” he says. “This is my way to give back to the community.”

Branding has become a huge part of the narrative surrounding London and the buzz he generates, in his own ability to create meaningful symbols and emblems (the roses from the tour and the “LVRS” line) and in his collaborations with the likes of Cole Haan (who he name-checks on “Last Name London”), Bushmills, and Bing. London says he does a lot of research on the brands he chooses to work with to see if they have similar philosophies, or brands that have something to do with his lifestyle. His first branding partnership was with Mountain Dew, for which he released two songs, put out videos, worked with MTV and included fan contests to get the fans to relate and become involved.

"I think that music in general — not only hip-hop, but music in general — has been teaming up with brands. There’s brands that can really be a mechanism for putting content out,” he says. “Music in general is very important to brands because people have been brainwashed or confused by these brands 24/7, whether it’s TV or a billboard on the highway and you see a McDonald’s sign and you want to stop in because you remembered a McDonald’s commercial that just popped in your head. I choose to work with the people that I like the message behind their brand, like Bushmills, Pepsi, Cole Haan, Nike, and now Bing."

It’s not just about branding other people, though: he’s also branding himself as a musician and a style icon. Tonight’s ensemble features the LVRS cap, a phenomenal studded motorcycle jacket and a galaxy of chains. His bassist is decked out, too, coming on stage in an ornate vest that would have been home in Prince’s backing band.

"I don’t like to say what’s next,” he says of his sartorial choices. “I wear what’s next."

The Tour de Roses show itself is driven by raw energy — there is something chaotic about it with the stopping and starting and starting over, and that kind of unpredictability is hard to sell sometimes. The fans take to the new tracks with enthusiasm, but it’s the pumping stadium anthems — ”Last Name London,” “I Stand Alone” — that get mini-cyclones going on the dance floor and arms whipping through the air.

Like many performers, London constantly checks in with the crowd to make sure everyone is still with him. “How you all doing, Chicago?” Cheering. He’s doing his work as an entertainer, but the crowd doesn’t need the reinforcement: they are into it, whether he has to ask or not, like lab assistants loving the mad scientist at work (fittingly enough, a new cut that went over extremely well with the crowd was one that sampled the theme music to Pinky and the Brain). "It’s just crazy coming up with an idea, executing an idea to its fullest extent,” he says. “It’s gotta work for me.”

Wrap Basel: Best Performance Is a Tie Between Theophilus London & Shaggy

Like we just said, the best performance at Art Basel was a tie between Theophilus London and Shaggy. Theophilus London was in the middle of a rocking set at the Bing-sponsored Art of Night party at the Shelborne Hotel, when the Brooklyn-based London jumped into the deep end of the pool (the stage was built on a plexiglass island in the pool) and immediately began frantically flapping his long arms and thrashing in the water, apparently unable to swim. The lanky crooner was eventually rescued by quick thinking members of his BK entourage. Meanwhile, blasé Baselers surrounding the poolside concert and casually observed the event with a free drink in hand, while a ripple of "well, you know the stereotype" murmured through the crowd. Was it a deliberate and provocative performance piece playing off racial stereotypes? Or was it the reckless rock antics of a brother who can’t swim? Either way: great material, which we’ll post of a video of soon. 

If this tenth edition of Miami Art Basel left one overriding conclusion, it was that this has completely become about the Art of the Party (to paraphrase the Bing-sponsored Shelborne shenanigans). I was sitting poolside at the National, having drinks with one of the most powerful people in the art world under the age of 40 (a noted dealer) who between gulps of ice-cold rose, told me how he sometimes "attends" Art Basel virtually, by simply texting people, and that this year he was holed up in his hotel bunker (ordering rose) and making deals without having to see any actual art. “Art basel is for the art world that actually doesn’t like art. I make it a point to see absolutely no art." That seemed to be the gist of most Basel goers: the convention center was the least cool place to be seen. With this in mind, Shaggy, the kook who has made a career of crashing parties and who was in full effect at most of the big parties down in Miami, may very well have been the most representative and culturally attuned performer of this tenth, party-obsessed Basel. Shaggy’s my pick as the most relevant performer at Art Basel this year, while Theo London the most omnipresent and provocative mainstream performer. 

Photo by Eric Ervin

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Theophilus London Unveils His Label Debut, ‘Timez Are Weird These Days’

Theophilus London has seen very little of his Brooklyn apartment since the release of 2009’s This Charming Mixtape. Between solo recording, posing for fashion spreads, jetting to Cannes to perform, and collaborating with producers such as Mark Ronson and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, it’s not difficult to see why. For his official label debut Timez Are Weird These Days, the 24-year-old, Trinidad-born musician pairs his signature blend of rapping and singing over the kind of eclectic, off-the-wall production that first branded his as a cultural chameleon.

Where did you settle down to record the album, since you’re on the road so often? Since I’ve been in demand and I’ve been traveling to promote mixtapes, I would write lyrics in different cities and record instruments and real vocals in LA. I also went to Stockholm for two months to record because I felt like all the music was getting too much of the summer vibe from LA. I went to make some good, cold, straightforward records–I made “Girls, Girls, $” and “I Stand Alone” in Stockholm.

Los Angeles vs. Stockholm is pretty good contrast. In LA I was living in Venice, going to the beach every day and changing my routine from the city, which is so fast-paced. I slowed my life down; I would wake up, shower, sing melodies in my head, record on my iPhone and then head to the studio from 9-to-5 everyday. When I wanted to turn things around, I worked with producer John Hill from 10pm to 3am, and some nights we’d end up going to a club, or we’d buy a ton of Patron and end up drinking in the studio, recording, talking about girlfriends and the meaning of the records. Stockholm was a fun time too, because I went with no entourage. I went alone and it was the dead of winter; the snow was up to your knees. And I was in a cowboy phase too, so I was wearing a Stetson hat and pendleton jacket and people in Stockholm were laughing at me.

Are your travel adventures a key part of the narrative on Timez are Weird These Days? This record is from my point of view, so I’m bound to write from some of my memories, my pastimes, and relationships that I’ve had. Some are just one-liners, and some influence an entire song but you’ll definitely find stories of my travels on this. My friends will be able to listen to this album and say, “Oh shit, I actually know what you’re talking about” and there are hidden messages that capture the moment for me. I’ll be able to listen to the album nine years from now and get back to the same place we were in our lives. Hopefully people that buy it will be able to turn it on, listen, and go back to that place in their lives when they first heard the song and find something to connect to.

The tracks range from disco-inspired to guitar and rock-heavy beats. How involved were you in production? I totally rolled up my sleeves and worked on the sound from the ground up. It was very new for us. A lot of the producers I worked with are very popped-out; I knew I wanted to make a pop record. I knew that was the first thing I wanted to release on Warner Brothers, following the legacy of Prince, Madonna, Seal, and Talking Heads etc. The producers took us outside of the elements that we usually work with and we just had fun. A lot of the stuff we made, we’d never attempted before, so we were discovering new things in the process. There were about 30 songs that didn’t make the album, and are so good and I’m like, “They’re going to end up on a mixtape, or they’re going to end up on EPs.”

What’s the story behind the girl on “One Last Time?” “One Last Time” was written about this girl, one of my favorite rappers–her name is Mapei. She’s an indie legend. She lived in Stockholm, but all of a sudden she just jumped off the radar. She started to work with Downtown Records, started getting produced by Justice but now no one can find her. I called her ex-boyfriend, called her booking agent, just called everyone to try to get a hold of her and then finally I heard that she’s not doing well. She’s living on the street or something like that, so I just wanted to make a song to reach out to her.

Was that one of the most challenging songs to record? “I Stand Alone” and “Lighthouse” are the songs I put the most effort into. I took four singing lesson courses to just finish those songs alone. I sat down with this lady and worked on my voice; she helped me understand the power of it. I couldn’t have finished those songs without those lessons. Also, the lyrics have a lot of meaning to me. “Lighthouse”…that’s one of my favorites.

You’ve been performing some of the songs for a while now. The crowd in Cannes was particularly fond of “Why Even Try.” It’s been so cool man. I ended up at Diddy’s house one night, just hanging out with him, listening to the track, and dancing to it. I hung out with Kanye in Cannes and performed it for the French, who were loving it and I’ve seen the YouTube videos of people singing and dancing to it. Now we’ve got a new remix with RAC. That’s one of my favorite songs on the album and Sara Quin did a great job on it. I’m happy about the success of that song and I’ve got some more stuff coming, including the alternative video for “Why Even Try.”

You recently dropped a non-album single “No Particular One.” Do you still plan to release a new album next spring, under a different alias? Yeah, it’s not like I’m changing my name—I’ll still make music under Theophilus London—but this will be a side project where I team up with these guys that I met through Mark Ronson. A lot of people know them from Budos Band but now they’ve branched out. I always wanted to hit up my Caribbean roots and I got the chance to do a little live instrumentation. They don’t record with pro tools, there are no phones on in the studio, we have to do everything in one take and everything has to be perfect. If it’s not, we’re going to have to do everything again. That’s when artists can get credit for performing a record, because they’re really performing. We were going to release a whole EP but only released 5 songs. There’s another song called “Rio” that we’re going to put out after the record.

Your upcoming album release show at Bowery is already sold out. Do you have any outfit ideas for the night? We’re actually designing the outfits. For every show I design something specific, it’s been one of my latest hobbies. I just performed at Bread and Butter in Berlin and I made this sequin tank top, with all sequins and silver, and the back was silk with zippers on the side. It was kind of couture and costume-like; you had to zip it open to put it on. You could probably buy it for $500 but I left it there by accident and maybe one of the sound members ran away with it. I’m going to do something on Kimmel soon, which should be pretty fun. I’m already working on the outfit.

Are you going to be putting out a clothing line any time soon? Nah, I’m not interested in that actually. I started talking to Kanye about doing consulting and being part of the creative process, more than just having your own clothing line. Like if Louis Vuitton asked me to be their Creative Director or something like that–but I don’t want to have my own shirts in stores. I’m always about limited pieces, like having only five pieces in one store in Paris. I never want to have my own line, but I talked to Kanye about possibly collaborating on something.

Do you usually that reaction from people often when they see your outfits? No, that was just dudes. Chicks dig me. But dudes were just like, “Look at that hat!’” I was like, “Yup, I’ll bet you’ll be rocking this next year.’”

Are you going to take a break from touring after your summer shows? I feel like I’ve been on tour for the last three years of my life. I never stop. This music is so inspiring to keep making and I get to perform in the most exotic places. I’ve been to Cannes three times this year–that’s insane for me, to go to the South of France three times to place shows. I’ve been to Venice–which is just straight water and taking a boat to shows–and also to Africa and Australia recently.

So you’ve spent more time on the road than you’ve spent in New York in the past three years? Definitely. So whenever I’m in my apartment I really try to stay in because I never see it. It’s just like, “We’re going to Berlin, now we’re going to Miami, now we’re going to L.A., now we’re going to Chicago, now we’re going back to New York, now we’re going to Paris.” It’s been weird, you can’t take a tour bus on these tours, you’ve got to have sky miles.