Last September, I flew out to LA to meet up with Natasha Khan, better known as Bat For Lashes, and talk to her about her splendid new album, which was inspired by time she had spent in the desert – the Joshua Tree national park, to be precise, about four hours drive east of the city. So, it was there I headed on a quest to get to the roots of her mystical vibrations, with a large sword in the back of my ludicrously impractical Mustang GT (cheers, Parlophone), which I had agreed to source from a prop shop and take along for the shoot – I hoped that I wouldn’t end up having to explain the presence of a lethal, four-foot, bladed weapon in the back of my car if I got nabbed for speeding.
We ended up spending a couple of days in Joshua Tree, a beautifully frazzled hippie hangout, staying at the Joshua Tree Inn, the ‘cosmic American motel’ infamous as where Gram Parsons checked out after a tequila and morphine binge at the age of 26. There’s a little shrine to him in the dusty courtyard, where people leave tributes and offerings (booze, mainly), which you can see a picture of here. One of Natasha’s friends told me that on a previous visit she had dreamed that Gram appeared at her cabin and dropped a spinning gold coin through the doorway. It’s a pretty far out kind of place, and you can read more about the trip in the new issue of Dazed. Our photographer for the trip was Jason Nocito, who battled the dust, cactus needles and extreme heat, and heroically captured the cosmic mood of the place in his great set of pictures. You can also read an unpublished extract from the desert interviews with Natasha on the next page.
Here, you can see some of his portraits that we couldn’t fit into the issue, as well as some of my behind-the-scenes snaps.
To view this video you need Flash 8. This isavailable free from http://www.adobe.com/ This is some video footage from our studio shoot back in the UK, where Rankin shot the cover image for the issue.