The sun sets at Le Bain and the party’s just getting started
This Sunday, Le Bain opens the Eté d’Amour 2012 with Tommie Sunshine and Populette for a new season of balearic dreams and New York coup-de-foudres. Ready for the storm? We sat down with Tommie and the Populette boys for a Standard Q&A dedicated to the Summer of Love.
The Standard: ‘The First Summer of Love’ - the hippie one - took place in the neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in the summer of 1967. What associations of that time come to mind?
Tommie Sunshine: Since no one in mainstream America knew what was really going on there, those kids tasted a freedom few people ever have. I’d say it was the wildest time in this country since the Jazz Age and Prohibition, so there was a lot of fuel in the fire so to speak. Notice these moments in culture revolve around music.
Andrew of Populette: Tweekin’ Records and Amoeba Records on Haight Street. 67’ was my parents’ generation, but I can connect to that street through the record stores and rave culture in the Bay Area in the 90’s.
Max of Populette: I was born 11 years after 10,000 kilometers away, so besides the classic images of barefoot hippies tripping in the park, my only relation to it is some of the bands from that era I like to listen to.
‘The Second Summer of Love’ happened in the UK and Ibiza in 1988 and 1989 and is associated with Acid House and Rave Culture. Same question: What spontaneous mental associations does it bring to mind?
Tommie: I believe it was similar in that there were no real expectations so when you walk into a party without any idea what’s going to happen the results are usually magical. Ibiza is a special place and even as watered down as it is now, that freedom still lives and breaths there. Again, this was a huge musical moment which shaped all we now know about clubbing, DJing and Electronic Dance Music in general.
Max: once again, I’m too young to have experienced it first hand, so my relation to it is via the music of the era. The first time I was introduced to it was via Voodoo Ray by A Guy called Gerald, but we were well into the 90’s when that happened!
Max and Andrew of Populette
What metaphor would you use to describe the idea of ‘Summer of Love’?
Tommie: The very moment at 2am when the the kick, the snare and the hi-hat all converge in your head as a crystal clear vision of perfection. That is the ‘Summer Of Love’ in a nutshell and the ones lucky enough to know this intimately get to whisk off to that place anytime they want to. They don’t need to wait for the next cultural shift, they just close their eyes. We are a lucky bunch.
Andrew: It’s a slippery slope.
Max: (Laughing) True! It’s like an acid trip. It starts amazing. Everything’s the best, then it comes to an end and it feels a bit weird.
You might have childhood memories of your first love stories and first summer vacations, because those are precious moments in life. Do you have one specific early memory which combines both ‘Summer’ and ‘Love’ that you could share with us?
Andrew: I got in trouble for sneaking out of the dance at summer camp to have my first kiss.
Tommie: My first kiss was in the summertime on a blanket in my backyard to Broken Wings by Mister Mister. It came on the radio and I fumbled my way through being romantic as a teenager. So painfully awkward. My family always vacationed on the beach where my parents met in New Jersey and I always sat in the sun and wished for true love listening to all the New York radio stations in the 80’s. I never dreamt that I would ever live one day in NYC and my feeble suburban mind wouldn’t have been able to comprehend that the love of my life would come from here. Daniela (my love) and I thrive in the glory of the summer sun. Every summer for us is a celebration of life and love and happiness.
Max: Jumping off old graffiti covered WWII bunkers scattered on the dunes on the French Atlantic coast. Fun.
The streets of San Francisco, 1967.
What three songs would define your own ‘Summer of Love’?
Do you think New York in the Summer is a romantic place?
Tommie: New York in the Summer is the best place in its best phase. There is no place in NYC where you could go wrong during the summer. I was always told that you shouldn’t look for love in a nightclub but that was terrible advice considering I first crossed paths with my one and only on a dance floor. That being said, if I was looking for romance in New York I would be dancing my ass off in any club that would let me in the door.
Max: I don’t know about romantic, but it’s certainly electric. I always thought rooftop parties were a great thing about summer in New York. Sadly there are much less of them nowadays.
Populette’s exclusive Eté d’Amour Mix
The Second Summer of Love might have been less political, but still had a huge impact on its generation. In a way, the rise of Electronic Dance Music in the USA nowadays have a lot in common with the rave culture of the late 80s. Do you agree?
Tommie: The music has elevated at the cost of the culture being left behind. This happens in all music scenes. Most of the core that EDM (Electronic Dance Music Ed.) was born out of has vanished. This is necessary for it to go mainstream. Name one movement that gathered a mass audience without being severely watered down. To spite all that I believe it necessary for people to experience Dance Music in any way shape or form so if this is where it is now, so be it. It will always remain what it was to the people who were into it before the big boom.
Andrew: It’s a tough comparison. I don’t think the explosion of mainstream electronic dance music today bears much of a resemblance to the scene in the late 80s. There are still special, smaller things happening though.
How would you get ready for the next Summer of Love?
Tommie: I live my every day like it is the Summer of Love. I will continue to until the day I go underground for real. I don’t look back to anything & I do not look forward to anything either. I am an all now kind of guy. I make the best of what surrounds me in real time to the best of my ability. This formula has turned out to be glorious. I suggest you try it. I also suggest you meditate & never forget that everything is love & love is everything.
Max: Well, this Sunday, I’m gonna stop by David Mancuso’s Loft for a bit and then go to Le Bain for the été d’amour opening night. That’ll be a good start.
This Sunday at Le Bain, Nouveau York presents the opening party fo Ete d’Amour featuring Neil Aline for the Sunset, Tommie Sunshine in balearic mode and Populette for the late hours. Doors 4pm. The Standard, New York.