Hearty's Summer in Training: Week One - Le1fBy Noisey Staff
Summer in NYC means that everyone is trying to find a pool for a party, everyone wants you to come to their BYOEverything BBQ, and everyone wants to tell their friends that they spent Saturday night at a "rooftop soirée." Luckily, our friends over at hearty magazine have created one-stop party for great summer vibes—in air conditioning, no less.
Curated by the hearty ladies, Summer in Training takes over the Tribeca Grand Hotel every Friday in June with disgustingly attractive people and deliciously infectious tunes. Last Friday marked the launch of the series, featuring sets by the HRTY Crew, DJ Nelleke, Cybergiga, Mess Kid, and emerging gay rap prodigy Le1f.
Our go-to rap aficionado Drew Millard chatted with much buzzed-about (and rightly so) headliner Le1f, whose Dark York is one of the most confoundingly brilliant mixtapes of the year. We've got interview, loads of photos from the event, and the exclusive scoop on this week's lineup below.
What have you been doing today?
I’ve been in bed all day. Smoking weed, hanging out with a dude—a guy that I’m seeing.
How’d you get into rapping?
I was writing poetry in high school and trying to put it to music, sort of abstractly, and then started doing juke music that had really repetitive lyrics and some loosely arranged rap stuff, and then, when I met Black Cracker and Bunny Rabbit and Himanshu from Das Racist, and Lakutis, I started writing proper rap songs. That was, like, 2006.
You opened for Boys Noize, right?
As a DJ, I have. I’m going to Berlin in July, and I’ve been working with him on some stuff with Boody, an artist from his label. We’re working on an EP. It’s called Liquid.
Tell me about that.
It’s us playing “water music,” like an experience of coming from an underwater world to an overwater world. It’s like thirty minutes, and it features some remixes. One of those is from Cedaa. It comes out in July on Boys Noize records.
Is this #seapunk?
No, no it’s not #seapunk-related at all actually. It’s dark and sparse. Sometimes it’s got beach vibes, but it’s not Tumblr music.
You produced Das Racist’s “Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell,” which has a distinct Ballroom influence.
Yeah. I sampled Masters at Work’s “Ha Dance,” which is something that was brought into the Ballroom and voguing scene in Midtown and Jersey balls that had been going on in the nineties. When I made that beat, I wanted to make my own rap, like a really aggressive take on gay rap—this wailing hip-hop in a ballroom track—but then I gave it to Das Racist. There’s a song with DR called “Kick Your Ass,” which is us going in on the actual “Ha Dance” beat. It’s not even subtle.
Who are your favorite rappers?
Of ever, or right now?
They’re mostly female, across the board. Of ever, I’d say Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, and Legend Lady J. Right now, I’d have to say House of Ladosha, Danny Brown, Mykki Blanco. Those are the only people I feel strong enough to say anything about.
What’s your favorite cereal?
Lucky Charms. Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles…Oreo O’s are really good too.
Where’d you grow up?
Hell’s Kitchen for a decade, and Upper West Side for a decade. I stay there now with my family.
Do you like it up there?
Nah, I want to move to Chinatown or Long Island City, some place like that.
You went to Weslyan. What was your favorite class there?
Dance and Technology. It’s a class about interactive performance using video. We learned how to use Max/MSP and this program called Isadora that allows you to basically DJ with live video as well as recorded video and 3D shapes. It allows you a lot of control with the parameters using the other parameters, like movement triggers, to affect other aspects of the performance. A couple of my friends know how to use it, and they helped me organize a performance using that at the New Museum. I’m gonna keep doing that.
How long has your hair been dyed green?
That was actually an accident. It was turquoise last summer, and that faded to green. Then I dyed it to blonde, then I dyed it strawberry blonde, but it came out faded, so I dyed it to purple, and that faded to green.
I’m into it. I like having accessories; I like matching my clothes to it. I’m probably going to pick a new color really soon.
Probably something in the pink/red/magenta/purple range. I know some new clothes I want to wear this summer, but they haven’t matched.
All photos by Hillary Eaton