santogold1 Santogold
Photography by Zach Gold

santogold title1 Santogold

For those in the know, Santogold is already here, already it. This summer, with her first full-length album on the way, she’s poised to take over America with her genre-smashing sound. Santi White is a bridge. She mediates the space between commercial pop and underground art. She partakes in the party scene but critiques it as well. She’s a practitioner of musical alchemy, spinning punk, dancehall, rap, and electroclash into sonic gold. Santi White is culture-clash, a walking, breathing, singing, and dancing mash-up of personalities and musical preferences. Even her stage name crosses the bizarre boundaries of late-night TV, bombastic jewelry, and wrestlers from a planet called Zoran.
     The first time we tried to interview the artist formally known as Santogold, on a Saturday morning in Miami, she forgot. And so, we waited a few hours. We hold no grudge, for this seems to be her nature. Santogold is no morning lark. But she’s no night owl either. “I was supposed to do a show at two in the morning,” she sleepily says, referring to a party thrown the previous night by DJ-cum-friend Diplo at Miami’s Winter Music Conference. “But instead I was asleep. I tried to but I couldn’t do it. I’m not really a late-night person. I don’t even know if my voice works at two in the morning.” Maybe there is some noontime avian option, for it is in such midway, transitional spaces that Santogold shines.

Music March 23, 2008 By Timothy Gunatilaka
image vampire Vampire Weekend
Photography by Alexander Wagner

vampire title Vampire Weekend

In February 2006, four seniors from Columbia University, in New York, got together to compete in the Columbia Engineering School’s Battle of the Bands. They finished in third place, out of only four contestants. And so, Vampire Weekend was born.
     With jovial bluegrass-loving Chris Tomson on drums, cool and self-assured Ezra Koenig on guitar and vocals, mad musical genius Rostam Batmanglij on keys and string arrangements, and buttoned-up, “Team Dad” Chris Baio on bass, Vampire Weekend have excavated a new brand of musical anthropology. J. Crew, meet the kente cloth. Earth-tone cardigans have been tied tightly around Polo collars flipped upright, as the Kanda Bongo Man is blasted to eleven. Call it “post-hipster”. Call it “post-colonial”. Call it “post-baccalaureate prep-rock”, Vampire Weekend just hope you call it good.
     Two years after that fateful Battle of the Bands, these bygone bronze medalists have struck gold with ubiquitous praise from the likes of The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and even some primetime loving from MTV’s TRL for their self-titled debut. But the specter of third place remains. “It’s hard to take [the attention] too seriously when there are multiple shows where there are still only thirty people [in the audience],” says Tomson, who cites the band’s addiction to Arby’s roast beef as further evidence of their modest ways.

Music September 13, 2007 By Timothy Gunatilaka
image kyp Kyp Malone
Photography By Alexander Berg

title kyp Kyp Malone

In 2006, TV on the Radio’s Return to Cookie Mountain topped countless critics’ year-end lists with its rock ‘n’ soul meditations on the ecological and political disasters of the day. Anchoring the NYC quintet’s mishmash of frenzied drones, fractured rhythms, artful noise, sinister yet beautiful a cappella, and just plain punk is the ghostly falsetto of singer-guitarist Kyp Malone (usually in harmony with co-vocalist Tunde Adebimpe’s smoldering tenor). Dark ditties notwithstanding, the 33-year-old Malone seems less a rabble-rousing radical and more a concerned Brooklyn daddy. Hanging at home a month before hitting the summer European festival circuit, the bushy bearded musician (and former Jehovah’s Witness) spoke to PLANET° about murky modern times, the candidacy of Barack Obama, and finding the ideal ingredients for fish tacos for his six-year-old daughter Isabelle.

Do you consider yourself a family man? I’m a family man because I have a family. It’s not something that I spent my life expecting to be. But having Isabelle is the best thing that ever happened. What’s a normal day for Isabelle and you? Today, we went grocery shopping. Lots of fresh vegetables, cabbage, onions, salsa. Tilapia for fish tacos. I don’t know. Whatever my daughter wants. [Talking to his daughter] Isabelle, what do you like to do? [A child’s voice answers, “Ask questions.”] She likes to ask questions. She’s really into ancient Egypt now.