Jim-E Stack Is The Master Of Combining Sounds

Photographed by Charlotte Rutherford. Jacket by Body High, top and jeans by Acne Studios. Styled by Krissie Torgerson. Grooming: Sami Knight at Starworks Artists. Extras: Niko Karamyan, Indiana.

Diplo talks to the DJ and producer about his work and living in L.A.

The following feature appears in the June/July issue of NYLON. Every year we scour the music scene to round up the best rising acts for our annual music issue. This time around, Charli XCX guest-edited the feature, hand-picking a crop of new musicians to be interviewed by veterans in the game who have been there and done that. To meet more up-and-coming artists on Charli’s radar, click here.

Producer-DJ Jim-E Stack has a knack for creating medleys from unexpected sounds, with his arsenal of house, jazz, techno, R&B, and more. 2016’s “Deadstream,” which became the soundtrack to a number of Vine videos, expanded his profile even further. At a time when the deluge of songs on the internet makes the electronic scene appear impenetrable, he’s making the impossible seem possible.

Diplo: “Deadstream” is weird, but not in a bad way. No one else could do it. [Former Major Lazer producer] Switch was like that. He’d just walk off and leave a song on loop while DJing, or go on tour and fall asleep at the airport, but when you listened to his music, you were like, “Woah. Nothing sounds like this.”
Jim-E Stack: Exactly. Honestly, dude, some of the most empowering, impactful shit for how I make my music is definitely from you and him. I try to mix my records to sound like how he would mix them.

I think that song is great because the chords and bellies are so dope, even though it sounds like something in the background of an emotional scene in Night Court 
That’s a shitty description.

I know, but I love it. 
The world needs songs like that, though. They’re so indulgent with the snares. They could be the cheesiest songs, but they just go for it. I wanted to channel that.

How often do you listen to music? I’ll just put on YouTube and let it autoplay videos—that’s how I hear new stuff, because there’s just too much music to listen to.
There’s way too much. Sometimes I just can’t even listen to music, and I’ll just listen to podcasts.

Things are different now. I have to try to find all kinds of ways to reach people, because people gravitate toward branding and images before they listen to the sound, which sucks. If you can nail that, it’ll get people into your music. The problem is getting people to you. Are you trying to find a bigger audience?
Yeah, I know that I’m able to make a living doing music so I’m grateful, but sometimes I’m like, “Man, do I like bad music? I know my music’s good, so why am I not more popular?” So I want to find more of an audience, but not in some obnoxious way that’s just like, “Get your Snapchat and all your fucking socials popping.” Things aren’t even about music anymore.

It’s already too much work. I’m sad when I have to upload to my Instagram story. I just want it to go away. But what’s your musical process like? Do you just go to the room, stare at the computer for a couple hours, start to do something and hate it, then tear it apart, then hate it again?
Kinda. I just listen to my music so much. But I usually just have a day where I’m like, “I’m finishing this shit today.”

Has that ever actually happened, though?
Like, twice.

At this point I can’t put out a song that isn’t massive, otherwise I feel like I’ll take a hit by flopping. Do you ever feel that, like, you have to continue to be greater than the last song?
Dude, I feel the exact same thing, but on my level. That’s why I have been taking forever on my recent shit. I know “Deadstream” is special and people like it, but, man, how do I make something better? “Deadstream” changed that for me, though. I was making a lot more stuff geared toward DJing, but then I started going in another direction that’s more house-meets-pop. It’s been like learning a new language, putting guitar and bass in my music.

But no one’s teaching us. Like, who taught you to use Logic?

Doesn’t that suck, though? You’re only great at a program when you practice it for thousands of hours. 
But there’s something to figuring something out yourself. I feel like that’s how I found a voice. There’s a stock synth in Logic, the EFM1, and that shit is basically on everything I make because when I first opened my crack Logic, it only had the EFM1.

Where do you live in Los Angeles? I feel like you’ve been coming out here for a long time.
I live by the Silver-Lake, Echo Park border. I’ve been coming here because no one in New York is doing stuff together. I hit my lowest low with music when I was just alone making music every day in my bedroom.

What’s cool about L.A. is that you don’t really have to be in a posse. I have had sessions in the same night with Ariel Pink, Sam Hunt, and FKi, and then, like, Mac Miller comes over and just gets high and leaves. 
That was something that was so tight about [the Mad Decent studio in] Burbank—R.I.P. Burbank. You would be doing some shit in your room and then, like, whatever would be going on in Ariel’s room. But I think a dope space like that—where you have just a lot of different people in the same building working on different stuff and they’re all friends—couldn’t exist anywhere but L.A.

Photo courtesy of TNT.

The gang takes on a casino this season

For its third act, the TNT series Claws is here to prove that it's still the gaudiest show on television.

Claws follows a criminal underworld in Florida that lurks just beneath the surface of a local pain clinic, a strip club, and, most prominently, a nail salon. Despite wanting to make a legit business out of her nail salon, HBIC Desna (Niecy Nash) has spent the past two seasons getting deep into a life of crime. She has had the help of her autistic brother Dean (Harold Perrineau) and the four women she loves the most—Southern belle and con artist Polly (Carrie Preston), silent possessor of Big Strap Energy Ann (Judy Reyes), restlessly sober Jenn (Jenn Lyon), and former stripper Virginia (Karrueche Tran)—who are all back together in the new trailer.

Spoiler alert: Virginia was shot trying to protect Desna at the end of last season. But she survived, and now she's rocking a bedazzled eye patch as the gang takes on their next venture: a casino. "We own a casino," says Desna in the trailer, as we see shots of people gambling and money thrown in the air. "If we play this right, we can all level up." As always, trouble follows, the manicures are over-the-top, and, as an extra treat, Dean is still pursuing his dream of being an adult dancer.

Claws returns for Season 3 on June 9. Check out the trailer, below.

Claws: New Season Sunday, June 9 [TRAILER] | TNT

Photos by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for WE Day, Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

He also thought Lana Del Rey telling him he would be guillotined was a compliment, so we don't think he understands women

In a new memoir called Then It Fell Apart, singer Moby alleged he had a relationship with actress Natalie Portman when he was 33 and she was 20. But, in a new interview with Harper's Bazaar, Portman set the record straight, saying that his description of their relationship is false and contains other factual errors, that makes his behavior seem even grosser than it already did.

Not only did Portman say that the two didn't date, but that he also misrepresented her age. "I was surprised to hear that he characterized the very short time that I knew him as dating because my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me when I just had graduated high school," she said. "He said I was 20; I definitely wasn't. I was a teenager. I had just turned 18."

She says that they met when she went to one of his shows: "He said, 'let's be friends'. He was on tour and I was working, shooting a film, so we only hung out a handful of times before I realized that this was an older man who was interested in me in a way that felt inappropriate."

Portman also stated that she was not contacted to fact check this information, noting that "it almost feels deliberate." "That he used this story to sell his book was very disturbing to me. It wasn't the case," she said. "There are many factual errors and inventions. I would have liked him or his publisher to reach out to fact check."

Another part of his memoir describes a conversation with Lana Del Rey, in which she joked about how wealthy he was. "You're a rich WASP from Connecticut and you live in a five-level penthouse. You're 'The Man.' As in, 'stick it to The Man.' As in the person they guillotine in the revolution." His response: "I didn't know if she was insulting me but I decided to take it as a compliment." This only further proves that Moby doesn't understand women at all, which may explain how he took a couple of hangouts with Portman to mean that they were dating.

Moby has since responded to Portman's statement in an equally creepy Instagram post with a photo of him shirtless with the actress, calling the interview a "gossip piece." "We did, in fact, date. And after briefly dating in 1999 we remained friends for years," he said. "I like Natalie, and I respect her intelligence and activism. But, to be honest, I can't figure out why she would actively misrepresent the truth about our (albeit brief) involvement. He also said that he backs up the story in his book with "lots of corroborating photo evidence, etc." He then ends with this: "I completely respect Natalie's possible regret in dating me(to be fair, I would probably regret dating me, too), but it doesn't alter the actual facts of our brief romantic history."

Among many other things that are questionable about his claims, if you have to have "corroborating evidence" to prove a relationship that one person claims didn't happen, you're doing the whole "dating" thing wrong.

Photo by Jerritt Clark / Stringer / Getty Images.

She's been wonderfully honest about the ups and downs of her procedures

There is a good chance that, right now, Cardi B is wearing really something really tight. I'm not talking about one of the pieces from her Fashion Nova collection, either. Instead, she's probably cooing at baby Kulture while swaddled in a compression garment, a necessary part of the healing process after certain cosmetic surgery procedures.

As reported by E! News, Cardi B has had to cancel several performances after her doctor ordered her to rest and allow her body to recover following cosmetic surgery. A rep for Cardi explained to E! that "Cardi was overzealous in getting back to work" and that "her strenuous schedule has taken a toll on her body and she has been given strict doctor's orders to pull out of the rest of her performances in May." This followed an admission by Cardi herself, at the Beale Street Music Festival earlier this month, that she should have canceled her performance because moving too much would mess up her lipo.

Cardi's transparency about plastic surgery is nothing new for her. She has opened up in the past about her underground butt injections, including the financial pressure she felt and the risks she took to get them. She's been open about both of her breast augmentation procedures as well, most recently getting them redone after giving birth to her daughter. But Cardi's transparency about the ups and downs of plastic surgery is still rare amongst celebrities and is therefore refreshing.

And it's not just celebrities who keep quiet about these procedures. The first person I knew to get a butt augmentation was a friend from high school. We reconnected as adults, and I remember going to her apartment after her surgery, and seeing her pace the floor in her compression garment, since it was still too soon to sit and put pressure on her backside. But even in the comfort of her own home, she seemed to speak in a hushed tone about having had the surgery. Before I'd arrived, she just told me she'd had a "medical procedure," and didn't say anything more. This has been the case for other women I've met who have gotten "work" done, including my aesthetician, a colleague who got a nose job, a darling YouTuber with whom I had the pleasure of having dinner; all of them would only acknowledge their enhancements in secret—the shame was palpable, and unfortunate. It's clear that women who get plastic surgery might be celebrated for the results, but there's an expectation that they should keep quiet about it, and feel bad for having made a choice about their own bodies.

So it's no surprise that, in the pop culture realm, people like Cardi are exceptions to the rule. Thanks to the internet, we can easily track the fullness of a celebrity's lips or backside over the course of time without them ever explicitly acknowledging the medical intervention that took place. And while people, of course, have the right to privacy, and should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies without offering explanations, it would still be nice if they opened up, if only to take away the attached stigma that affects so many people. Which is why I hope Cardi's willingness to lay it all out there becomes a trend. No one should have to harbor shame for investing in having a body that looks the way they want it to.

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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"In my head I thought, This is how it ends"

Kit Harington almost lost a lot more than the Iron Throne while filming the final season of Game of Thrones. According to an interview with NowThis News, the actor almost lost one of his balls while riding a mechanical dragon.

Harington revealed that the incident took place when he was filming the scene where his character, Jon Snow, takes a ride on Rhaegal for the first time in the Season 8 premiere. Since dragons aren't real (sorry), Harington was filming the scene, where Jon almost falls off the dragon and then swings around to pick himself back up, on a mechanical contraption.

"My right ball got trapped, and I didn't have time to say, 'Stop,'" Harington said in an interview. "And I was being swung around. In my head I thought, This is how it ends. On this buck, swinging me around by my testicles, literally." We see shots of the fake dragon he's riding in front of a green screen, and it does look pretty terrifying.

Luckily, his testicles remained intact through the near-disastrous event, and he's survived with quite the story to tell to unsuspecting journalists.

Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for goop

"I had to create a harder shell about being a woman"

In a panel discussion during Gwyneth Paltrow's In Goop Health summit, actress Jessica Alba revealed that she "stopped eating" to avoid unwanted attention from men when she was first starting her career in Hollywood.

According to People, Alba said that she "had a curvy figure as a young girl" and, as such, was made to feel as though her body was the reason that men may be inappropriate toward her. "I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," Alba said during the panel discussion. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention. I went through a big tomboy phase."

She continued, "In Hollywood, you're really preyed upon. They see a young girl, and they just want to touch you inappropriately or talk to you inappropriately or think that they're allowed to be aggressive with you in a way."

Alba also noted that she was raised in a conservative household. "My mom would say, 'You have a body, and it's very womanly, and people don't understand that you're 12,'" she said. "I wasn't allowed to have my nalgas out, which is butt cheeks [in Spanish], but I was born with a giant booty, and they come out of everything. So, I didn't get to wear normal things that all my friends wore."

She said that these reactions to her body really affected her attitude. "I created this pretty insane 'don't fuck with me' [attitude]," she said. "I had to create a harder shell about being a woman."

According to her, her relationship to her body only changed when her first child, Honor, was born in 2008. "[After she was born,] I was like, Oh this is what these boobies are meant to do! Feed a kid!" she said. "And that was the dopest shit I'd ever done. So, I came into my body as a woman finally and I stopped being ashamed of myself."