DJ Q&A: Star Eyes a.k.a. Vivian Host talks 'haunted house music', fashion, NYC
Star Eyes: I came up with the term "haunted house" to describe the music I'm writing--it's a sort of mix of house and heavy bass music with dark themes, minor key synths, and creepy overtones, but its also got something tongue-in-cheek or funny about it. I guess that also applies to the music I play when I DJ. Some inspirations: soundtracks to old Mac and Nintendo games about dark castles, skeleton dances, Muppets, Guyanese voodoo gatherings of moon-gazers and jumbies, tropical thunderstorms, and weird weed trips at old hardcore and jungle raves. I would like to play the Halloween party at Scooby-Doo's mansion. If you want a more "sensible" explanation, I'm playing a lot of heavy-bass and bleepy house, dubstep and grime, UK funky, and other wobbly bits, and I sometimes sing over the top.
What spawned this life-change and do you miss California?
SE: I moved to NYC a little over five years ago but I still worked at XLR8R up until July of this year. I left XLR8R because I was getting really busy with DJing and as part of Trouble & Bass. I was getting exhausted trying to do so many things at once so I had to make a choice, and music was calling me. I left San Francisco in 2004 because I was feeling antsy. I had a good opportunity to move to New York--I could do my editorial work from there and I had a lot of friends there. At the time, I was involved in Syrup Girls (with DJ Siren) and we were playing a lot in New York so I thought, why not move? Leaving San Francisco was a bit like breaking up with a boyfriend that you're still in love with, but it was the right decision. It took me a long time, but now I love New York and my Trouble & Bass crew and all my friends here and all the great music. I still miss California, all the wild afterparties, foggy SF air, the tacos, and the Sunset boat parties.
GN: You've got cute style. How would you describe it and where do you get
SE: Thank you for saying so! I suppose it's a mix of goth (lots of black, coats with high collars, capes, high boots) and ex-raver (not baggy pants, but I still like costume-y things like animal hats, skeleton gloves, and wild hoodies). Sometimes there's some 80s punk and/or dancehall elements thrown in--often it can be really referential. I guess it all makes sense to me together--urban armor + bad girl clothes with a sarcastic sense of humor. There are so many things I would like to wear, but we walk a lot in New York and on tour and I always have to stand up all night and dance, so things generally have to be comfortable. I'm sponsored by Mishka streetwear --if I'm wearing a hoodie or a crazy New Era hat chances are it's one of theirs--but other than that I get clothes anywhere. My favorite stores are Topshop in London, Pixie Market and Patricia Field in NYC, flea markets and Forever21!
GN: You can only listen to one song for an entire month. Which do you choose?
SE: X-Mal Deutschland "Qual"
GN: How did your collaboration with DNB superhero John B. come about on that durrrrty track from his In Transit album, "Take Me Home"?
John B and I have been friends for years, ever since we played the world's worst rave together in Atlanta when we were 19 years old. He had been wanting to do a tune with some dirty rapping on it and asked me if I thought I could do it, since I have kind of an L.A. Valley Girl accent. When I was in London in 2003, I was at his house, we drank a few Pimm's Cups, and I wrote and recorded the lyrics to "Take Me Home" in about two hours. I was really happy and surprised at how many people ended up playing it, and afterwards all the drum & bass fan dudes thought I was a dirty varmint, which was funny.
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