So PC Music was by far my favourite label of 2014, and Hannah Diamond’s Attachment was my favourite ballad. Turns out Wade loved it all just as much as I did, so for our final remix of 2014, before we drop the mixtape on your asses next week, we gave it the peakwave treatment, and I even did a bit of singing, dragging in some bars from Pet Shop Boy’s immortal RENT, a track I’ve covered previously and considered a sort of spiritual twin slash boyfriend to Hannah Diamond’s song.
I hope you dig it! Get your free download in the format of your choice over here.
Meanwhile! I am finishing my backlog of Don Doodles today, and will be getting them in the post this afternoon. Get yours here while you still can!
It rained again in L.A. last night. I wasn’t expecting it, so I slept with the window open and woke up soaked. It was pretty amazing. And rare. The multifaceted reality of L.A. is slowly revealing itself to me. After happily walking 170 miles last month, have finally found that “you need a car in LA” thing to be factual. Left my phone in an Uber, and the guy who has it is an hour drive away… but its gonna take 5 hours on Public Transport. I am afraid to leave the house in case a piano hits me or I get shot by someone aiming at Suge Knight, these things always come in threes.
Ho ho. I jest. I am not superstitious, apart from when it comes to walking over drains, and things are going amazingly. 2015 is approaching bearing down on me like a runaway train, and I am ready, oh brother, oh sister, I am ready.
Its raining outside. Like, wrath of Yaweh old testament fucking it down with great vengeance and furious anger raining. Its incredible. I’ve been in LA for a month and I’ve worn shorts and a vest every single fucking day. “What the fuck, you’re wearing trousers,” gasped Wade just now, emerging from the bathroom. “I swear I haven’t seen you in trousers in the daytime since you got here.”
Which is true. Why would I? I don’t know how closely you follow world events, but its rained here I think four times since February, and LA is close to having to get water bused in from fucking Kentucky or somewhere. The sun beams down from heaven all day every day and when it sets great neon gradients cover the city like old Tron posters. Homeless people lie down in the middle of the road on mattresses and sleep in nothing but their boxer shorts, waking up the next day ever more tanned and covered in a thin layer of dust. This morning they all awoke to free showers. Halle-fucking-lujah.
I’ve never seen people so ecstatic to see rain, but then I did grow up in North Wales where it only paused raining for a fortnight every year so we could have a few egg and spoon races and suffer a hosepipe ban. Here it is the other way round, and then some. “Today is the first time I’ve had a shower and not felt guilty,” beamed my barrista joyously, as LA residents floated past the windows twirling ecstatically like a hundred Mary Popinses. A dozen umbrella salesmen had appeared alongside Hollywood Boulvard, like this magical shops that appear out of nowhere in Terry Pratchet books. “Umbrella! Eight dollars!” I wondered where in the name of sweet fuck they’d been hiding with their massive stashes of umbrellas all fucking year, waiting for this precise moment, this perfect chance to shine.
Back in the UK they’ve had the coldest morning on record, or something like that, and Hercules sat up all night and all morning vomiting like something out of the Exorcist. I saw him do it twice on Skype, it was insane. Vast fucking jets of liquid, bleuuurgh, and no crying about it after, because he is a little gangster who saves his tears for bedtime when he misses his father and enquires as to whether he’s still “in sky”. I miss that little bugger more than I can express with letters or emoticons, a month into our separation, another month and change until we are reunited, he a completely different human already from the one I took on bike rides along the Welsh coast what feels like a lifetime ago. He talks now, a constant stream of communication, peppering his eager sentences with excellently stressed words like “mess” and “cold”, expressing joy and pain and loss and sadness and hope and all sorts of crazed human emotions I can’t save him from.
Oh Hercules. I’m so glad we gave you that name, now I’m all the way over here in LA and can’t protect you. A few weeks back I’m told a bigger boy, maybe a year or two older pushed him over in the park. He fell, picked himself up, dusted himself off, and watched the boy for a while, following him at a distance, like a lion stalking a gazelle. Then, when the boy was least expecting it, he picked up a stick and without any hesitation marched over and belted the kid with it. POW! The bigger boy reeled, stunned, and Hercules wandered off and got on with his more important business of Playing. I was so, so fucking proud you cannot imagine. I lie awake at night sometimes on Wade’s sofa, thinking of Hercules and his stick, and all the things I need to teach him, so that he can have as full and rewarding a life experience as possible, free from fear and doubt.
That’s why I’m here, a million miles away from my family, sleeping on a sofa, hustling my lil ass off, getting it all together. To create the life we dreamed of, while we’re still living. So that Hercules can never say his Daddy didn’t follow his dreams, or live up to his potential. So that he knows he can do whatever he wants with his life. That its his choice.
Wade and I started our third DJ residency this week, at the newly refurbished and rebranded Henry’s. It was the realisation of a dream, because last year I was here visiting Wade, and hanging out with him at Henry’s every Wednesday, having an amazing time, playing our songs, watching people dancing to our music for the first time. It was my dream to return and play there myself, well, confidently and competently, and this week that happened, and it felt magical. The toilet guy complimented me on our musical choices. The bouncers admired my newfangled scratching techniques. Girls danced. Guys bought me shots. Afterwards I lay under the stars on a sun lounger and thought of The Journey, of being homeless when I was a teenager, looking up at the same stars, dreaming my dreams.
We played our Bowling Party on Friday, which I held down for the most part while Wade was on hosting duties with a crowd of folk in the lanes, popping back occasionally to make some typically inspired musical choices before leaving me to mix Toto into Pig Pun like a G. Then on Saturday night we played our fourth residency at Bootsy Bellows’ backroom, and everything came together, perfectly, like in a dream. From 12 till 2 we played back to back with ease, synergy, and a beautiful, unconscious precision, and it was over in what felt like half an hour or something crazy. We eschewed after parties and returned to the Studio Of Dreams and I DJed PC Music and Kpop and Motown until the wee hours. In the morning I walked up Laurel Canyon, like I do every day, and listened to a Joey Diaz podcast. I think I still had eyeliner on one of my contacts, because I couldn’t see a thing, and walked into a tree, and some humans.
It was Thanksgiving this week. It seems crazy to me that Americans have so major a holiday so close to Christmas, but then again why starve yourself of jollity? Why NOT have family feasting and merriment two months on the trot? (Three if you count Super Bowl, which you probably should.)
Wade and I stayed in and worked, resting ourselves to a steak and a few episodes of Justified whilst video rendered. I was thankful for that steak, and for the Justified, and for the video we were making, and for Wade, so great and generous a friend, and for the work we’d got, and for the sunshine, and for my wife, who sends me pictures every day and packed gentle cleansing wipes in my bathroom bag so I can remove my eyeliner before I go to bed and not wake up with inky pillowcases like a savage.
I was thankful for my friends. To spend time in the company of such inspirational, alive people. To be invited to Kristan Morrison’s annual birthday party, a fine and beloved Los Angeles tradition, where I hung out with her and Grant and their ridiculous minibar (not very mini at all), and Adam Egypt and Amanda, with whom I made the Lately video at the start of this year, the former of whom made that amazing Ballistic comic I wrote the song for, and who more recently invented a drink called The Rainbow Brite, which involves melting down mini Starbursts in vodka. I saw Gerard Way too, for the first time since Morrisoncon, who is a lovely fellow and gave me a lift to my gig at Bootsy’s, along with some pearls of wisdom regarding parenting whilst being a non-regular creative-ass motherfucker.
I sit here and think of him and his lady, and my buddy Mocky, who moved out to LA with his lady and their infant son a few years back, forging a whole new life, making music and family work. About Grant and Kristan, making incredible, culture-shifting things happen, helping each other be Great. These things are inspirational, because while sometimes all you hear of are broken homes, broken families, broken dreams, there are people out there making it happen, putting in the work, and making the lives they wanted for themselves and their loved ones. Never does it not take sacrifice, never is it not fucking hard, but never do you hear any of these rare and magical people saying, you know what, I wish I’d just given it up, stayed where I was, and got a Real Job.
If you asked me if I regretted anything in my life, I can’t say any of the bad things I did, because they all helped me to grow, and learn, and become a better human. I only ever regret things I didn’t do. I regret not making peace with people before it was too late. I regret my Grandfather never seeing me turn my life around and become a an upstanding member of society, as opposed to a vicuous little criminal savage. I regret not being there for Patrick when he reached out to me that Christmas I was looking after my Nan in Wales. He killed himself three months later. Maybe I could have helped him. Maybe not. Who knows.
The thing I regret most is not jumping off that big ass rock on the beach in Greece that time on Honeymoon. I climbed up this thing, six stories tall or something, stood on top of it for far too long, saw myself smashing into the rocks and pussied out like a scared child. I climbed down the other side and jumped into the sea off the lowest rock I could get to, and regretted it ever since. I brooded in the car on the way back to the apartment that evening, grimly sucking down a can of Mythos. Never again will I not jump off the rocks, I swore to myself. Never again will I hesitate.
Outside its still raining, and a vast white cloud envelops my panoramic 7th story view of Los Angeles. The air is clear now, like it hasn’t been the whole time I’ve been here. The club opens next month. We’re starting our live residency, we’re building it into something amazing, something we’ve been envisioning since I first got that record deal a decade ago. Then we’re taking it to Vegas.
Christmas is coming, the goose is going ham on Ben & Jerry’s and edibles, and the Don Shop is in a state of mostly digital transience, as we move from the UK-based Little Shop of Awesome in Don Studios V to a California based future and Don Studios VI. Physical merch, CDs, shirts, etc, will be unavailable to purchase until next year. You CAN get some lovely hand-drawn Don goodness, but other than that, your options for making the Don-Fan in your life the happiest creature on Terra are limited.
You read correctly. You did not imagine that. This month only, I will make you an original song, about whatever/whoever you like, based around whatever sample/beat you like. For $250. For an additional $50 I will make you a sleeve. And for $500 I will shoot a video for the thing too. Nothing fancy. Might run around Hollywood boulevard with an iPhone or something. But it will be me. The Don. Singing you or your loved one their very own song, just in time for Christmas.
Imagine! You want a Don Song about how great your nan is? Done. You want a Don Song about 80s Saturday Morning cartoon sensation Ulysses sampling the theme from 80s Saturday Morning Cartoon Sensation Ulysses? Done! You want a Don Song about you crushing all your enemies over the beat from The Fresh Princes’ Summertime? You got it! You are limited only by your imagination and my control of the English language!
INSTRUCTIONS: Make your order, then send us a message (atd at akirathedon dot com) stating your subject matter, any keywords you want included, and the beat or sample you want used for the music. If you’re getting art as well, include any images you’d like used.
SMALLPRINT: The music will be sent to you as an MP3 and lossless digital file for futureproofed glory. The video will be sent as a .Mov, unless otherwsie requested. Please allow 2 weeks for delivery, if there’s some kind of super urgency get in touch and we’ll see what we can do about expediting the process.
While this is your very own song made for you or your loved one, that doesn’t mean you can sell it to Zack Snyder to use in a Superman movie or put it on iTunes or use it in your advert or whatever. That sort of thing costs many many many grands. This is so that you the real-life Don fan can have a super special present to enjoy for all times and cry over with your grandchitlins. Don retains copyright and the right to put it on one of his records or sell it to Zack Snyder to use in a Superman movie although obviously he’d never do that as Zack Snyder is evil. Amen.
So after smashing it at the Spare Rooms last Friday night we’ve been asked to return on a regular basis, so add that to our regular Saturday night at Bootsy Bellows that’s two residencies now. And we start our third, at the relaunching Hooray henry’s next Wednesday. MIDNITEMEN are on track, on point, and primed for a hostile takeover of LA nitelife. SPLASH.
This week has been very very wavy. We played a private airport on Monday…
…Wade hired staff for his new club on Wednesday, and we ran into Swae Lee from Rae Sremmurd, whose No Flex Zone we remixed way back in May before anyone had heard of them(apart from those soothsaying Southern Hospitality geniuses)…
…I later hung out with Grant and Kristan Morrison at Meltdown, whose owner it transpired ran the comic shop from True Romance. Also Kristan hipped me to the crazy phenomenon that is Demi Moore’s Bush, which was kind of emotional…
…I walked 5 miles from Hollywood to Echo Park to see Gruff Rhys’ movie and watch him play a perfect, beautiful, emotional and highly edumacational set on Thursday…
…started work on a huge record with a Swedish Pop Star this afternoon…
…and tonight we will play our second night at The Spare Rooms upstars at The Roosevelt.
None of this has left much time for blogging, but I endeavour to write something substantial for you soon.
So we’re doing this tonight, which will be fun. BOWLING ALLEY PARTY SHIT. Gonna go old school and play swinging shit to sip milkshakes and spin your partner round to in some fuckin flourecent pop socks. Then tomorrow we’re doing the back room at Bootsys, where we’ll be playing a MIDNITE PARTY SET which will involve classic rap shit from the 90s to now, and general peak party shit to dance on tables to. If you’re in town holla, it would be swell to see you.
One of 2014′s defining musical moments gets the PEAKWAVE treatment. That RICH GANG ft Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. WOO! WOO! Couldn’t see we if you had a genie. SPLASH.
RIP OLE DIRTY, LOVE YOU ALWAYS
LA HOMELESS IN BED OF THE YEAR AWARD SHOCKER
I’ve already mentioned how the LA homeless are the most disproportionately tanned, cut, and good looking I have ever witnessed. Well, today I jogged past this mattress on the side of the road on my way up to Runyon Canyon. CLEAN SHEETS. PILLOWS. And flipping CIDDLY TOYS. That is some next level homeless swag. I am stunned. I wonder how long it’ll stay in that condition for. I shall monitor the situation. Check back for updates.
I told you how on Halloween we stayed in making this Theophilus London joint and then stepped out on to the Boulevard to check the scene, which was like a World War Z montage populated by a kaleidoscope of every cartoon, myth and monster of human imagining, after which a series of weird events lead to us hanging out at Theophilus London’s house till 6am right?
LA is super nuts like that. We were parting with the Swedish Hollywood Mafia the other night. In one room there were like 8 blonde people responsible for 320 million records sold or something. They had about 50 bottles of hundred dollar vodka and no mixers so we drank it straight like telegraph poles and nobody fell in the swimming pool.
Anyway. here is that remix. We played it on Saturday at our Bootsy Bellows residency and it went off. As did I Like To Cha Cha. Have you heard that? it’s my favourite. We might have to remix it.
If we have time. Much to do this week. We’re prepping to shoot a mini space movie on Saturday, after which we’ll be DJing at the aforementioned Bootsys. One of the shots requires us to be in weird techno organic space thrones with tubes piping audio sound into our heads, so if anyone knows an LA based proppy person that could help us realise that particular dream, please get in touch…
So I swapped the beach for the boulevard, but I am still getting my sacred podcast time in. Last night I ran all the way to Laurel Canyon, crossed the road, and ran back again and didn’t encounter a SINGLE RED LIGHT. It was insane. I literally ran through dozens of traffic lights, and all were either green, or counting down to red. It was fucking surreal. I thought I was in a dream by the end of it. I couldn’t feel my feet anymore and seemed to be bouncing on air in slow motion like Jon Carter on Mars. I guess these illy shoes my babygirl got me help. Here they are hanging out with Chuck Norris:
Now here’s a photo of Kiera Knightely’s boobs. Not sure I approve to be honest.