In this week’s NME, Steven Ellison, better known as revered electronic futurist Flying Lotus, tells our writer Jazz Monroe about how he recently left the “madness” of central LA for Studio City, a glitzy enclave to the South East of Los Angeles where he now resides alongside the likes of George Clooney, Zooey Deschanel, Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus. Given the Warp producer’s obsession with lofty topics like holographic universes, metaphysical science, new age philosophy and astro-dynamics, all spoken about in Jazz’s interview and intricately threaded through tracks on the producer’s horizon-busting new album ‘You’re Dead’, it’s pretty hilarious imagining the neighbourly small talk as Ellison sides up to Hannah Montana while putting the bins out. But if Ellison’s a fish out of water among the hollow Hollywood personalities of Studio City, it’s a feeling he’s used to: as he puts it in our interview with the man, from behind a pair of shades, “I’m a loner,” unlike anyone else currently operating in music. What I’ve heard from ‘You’re Dead’ so far only hammers home his reputation as a genius outsider, fusing scattershot avant-jazz, thumping post-Dilla hip-hop beats and cosmic electronics like no other producer has dared before.
To accompany the feature, NME photographer Ed Miles took the below portraits of Ellison, capturing perfectly the brooding darkness and haunting majesty of the record. Inspired by the iconic cover to Miles Davis’ ‘Tutu’, it also pays tribute to FlyLo’s jazz lineage – he’s the great nephew of John and Alice Coltrane, if you didn’t know. Anyway, feast your eyes on these images, complete with choice quotes from Ellison’s interview in this week’s mag, which you can pick up in store and online now.
Discussing the one collaborator he wanted for ‘You’re Dead’ that didn’t pan out: “Pharrell wanted to contribute too. But he had issues with the kind of songs to write.” Photo: Ed Miles
FlyLo on spirituality: “Have you ever seen a dead body? Something about the spirit illuminates the life.” Photo: Ed Miles
Ellison on his hotly anticipated Captain Murphy rap album: “When are gonna get some more Captain Murphy? First I’m gonna have to start drinking more…” Photo: Ed Miles
Revealing how cynicism inspired his new LP: “I was questioning who my real friends are, seeing how fickle the industry is.” Photo: Ed Miles
The Warp producer on coming out of his shell: “When I got into this shit man, it forced me to become an extrovert.”Photo: Ed Miles
Discussing fame: “It’s always in flux, always fleeting.” Photo: Ed Miles