Written as a seriously personal project, London-based producer, DJ and Night Slugs co-head, L-Vis 1990 aka James Connolly's new album was an ode to his girlfriend, and inspired his new video about a young couple running off to Vegas. Collaborating with the now defunct TeenagersinTokyo's Samantha Lim on vocals, the new track, 'Tonight' runs as the second audio-visual counterpart to his first video venture, 'Lost in Love', both shot in Vegas with a real-life couple. Here we speak to the working duo about the project and premiere the video first...
I'm totally obsessed with road movies like True Romance, Wild at Heart, Paris Texas and it was my vision that my record would have a film like that to accompany it
Dazed Digital, James, how did you get working with Samantha on vocals?
James Connolly: Neon Dreams was a really personal project for me, I wanted to tell the story of the how I got together with my girl. I already had Javeon McCarthy (Forever You, Lost in Love & One More Day) to tell my side of the story but I wanted a female vocalist on the record to get my girlfriend's perspective across. I then actually met Sam through my girlfriend! I wasn't aware of Teenagers in Tokyo but after checking some of their videos I was really into her vibe! Sam's closeness to my girl was perfect because she knew the story first hand!
DD: Tell us about the video?
James Connolly: The Video for "Tonight" is the second part to the story we began with "Lost in Love" about a young couple that run away from home for a weekend together in Vegas. I'm totally obsessed with road movies like True Romance, Wild at Heart, Paris Texas and it was my vision that my record would have a film like that to accompany it. However my mind does not have a budget so I condensed it down to two tracks and two videos.
It was such a shot gun video shot! We had a crew of friends, no locations and we didn't even even a cast until we got out to Vegas! Eventually found the amazing real life couple, Chachi (19) and Cindy (18) in American Apparel in Vegas the day before we were supposed to shoot. They had never acted before but they did so well it could not have happened without them! Shooting the video was such an incredible experience because I basically got to go out to Vegas with all my best friends, hire a Mustang and shoot my dream video!
DD: What has the creative process been like between you?
Samantha Lim: When James first contacted me I was in Sydney on holidays, so it was interesting to send references and ideas via email, but it worked. The lyrics and melodies came quite quickly as I was instantly inspired by the songs and the story that James wanted to tell. It all came together once we got into the studio to finalise and record the songs. The studio is always a fun vibe because you can really bounce ideas around and see what works and what doesn't. There are never many rules in the studio.
James Connolly: It was really smooth process and we had a lot of fun! The best music comes when you're having fun with it!
DD: What was your favourite moment working together?
James Connolly: I'm not sure if it's right to say my favourite, but we had a really crazy and emotional experience playing live in Paris at Social Club. My friend DJ Mehdi had passed away the week before and the show had fallen on the day of his funeral. I was in two minds whether to play or not but I know Mehdi would have wanted the party to go on. The atmosphere in the packed club was absolutely electric and we had an incredible show but it was all topped off by the finale, Mehdi's "Signatune", the crowd went nuts and started chanting his name. I've never felt a club so emotionally charged, after such a hard day it was a crazy release for everybody.
Samantha Lim: When we went to Vegas to film the videos for the album, we had the best cast and crew assembled, so therefore we had the best time. Your adrenaline is so high you have no fear, I was running around the desert in the middle of the night in super high Marni platforms trying not to fall over in the dark or get smoke in my eyes from the flare I was wielding. Good thing no one told me about the snakes till after we'd finished filming that scene.
DD: What are you working on at the moment?
James Connolly: Since the beginning of the year, I've locked myself up in the studio working on a new EP for Night Slugs. I think it's gonna be another shock for people as it's quiet a departure from my album stuff, I don't like people to get to comfortable with my sound! I'm taking the club sound back to its real basics, simple raw tools for the dancefloor.
Samantha Lim: I have a few collaborations in the pipeline and I'm writing material for a solo project.
DD: How do you feel your quite different musical backgrounds benefitted the collaboration?
James Connolly: It was great to get a perspective on the "house music vocal" from another angle. The collaboration worked in a very similar way to when I introduced Javeon McCarthy to house music when he first wrote and sung on my track "Forever You". I would send over a bunch of my favourite Chicago vocals and get them to put there own spin on it. Really keeps things fresh.
DD: What are you most excited about next?
James Connolly: There's so much to be excited about right now. The release of Jam City's album on Night Slugs in May, a collaboration with one of my hero's from the French house scene, Night Slugs' 4th birthday, playing with the Chemical Brothers in March and the Olympics because it gives me an excuse to get the hell out of London and go live in Berlin for a few weeks in the summer!
Samantha Lim: Summer. Night Slugs parties. Studio jams. Having a reunion with our real-life video couple, Cindy & Chachi. I'm generally an excitable person.