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Herb Sundays 35: Vivian Host
The rave instigator/raconteur takes us from the pre-dawn into Sunday with a Herb Odyssey set on sunrise.
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Herb Sundays 35: Vivian Host
I saw a tweet recently that said that the last 20 minutes of a DJ set is who the DJ actually is. A very Herb Sundays statement which I tend to agree with. Like the sunrise/rainbow/horizon line of Cina’s art this week, this take on Sunday starts in the pre-dawn at the party and follows you home into the day, still full of awe and possibility. Before I received Vivian’s notes below, I felt like it was her playing these first songs to close out a night.
This loose idea of this mix is "we came home from the party and we're still partying and this carries us into the next day." This is me trying to keep it "chill" but pretty quickly it gets kind of dark and dramatic. *shrug emoji* My work requires a lot of words and editing, and when I'm not doing that I'm busy going through banging club music for my DJ sets, so I really don't get to listen to much music with lyrics during the week. On Sunday if I'm home alone I am probably karaoke singing along to something like a little kid in their room with the hairbrush. There are some huge herb jams in this playlist but do "guilty" pleasures even exist anymore? We take pleasure wherever we can find it.
Vivian Host is a journalist (Red Bull Music Academy, Native Instruments, NPR, MTV, etc.), DJ/Producer (Star Eyes), radio host, and perhaps most importantly, lifelong raver, who has been playing music and writing about it for as long as she’s been able. Lifer status is rare these days, especially as a journalist AND an instigator. She’s a founding member of DJ crews including Trouble & Bass, Eklektic SF, and B.A.S.S. Kru and after 16 years in NYC, she recently moved back to her native Los Angeles where she is currently involved in the Warp Mode parties and her own Chaos Clan imprint. In short, Vivian has never lost the muse. There’s always another sound and sunrise worth hunting down.
I met Vivian early in Ghostly’s development when she was based in San Francisco as editor of the essential XLR8R magazine when it was in print mode. The Bay Area was a very different place musically in the 90’s and early 00’s. It was a major capital for electronic music in the US and globally. The beloved house sound and party culture of the 90’s also helped pave the way for a new generation of labels like Tigerbeat6 and artists like Blectum From Blechdom helped give experimental music (IDM, glitch, etc.) more of an art/punk character which helped it gain precedence in early 00’s indie circles. Under Vivian’s leadership, XLR8R became a global document of this and other global scenes and helped usher in new fans who may have thought electronic music was mainly a European game at the time.
Similar to Simon Reynolds (Herb 32), Vivian is a long-term chronicler of the hardcore and bass music continuum and like Liz Warner (Herb 28), she has an encyclopedic knowledge of electronic music and a voice to deliver it (plus a monthly show on Dublab). Vivian also produces and hosts the podcast Rave to the Grave which captures all angles of global party culture. If someone asked for a definitive document of Ghostly, I’d first point to the podcast series she hosted and produced to accompany our (Grammy-nominated, shoutout Cina and Molly Smith) Vinyl Me, Please box set, which shows her uncanny abilities:
Vivian’s Herb entry is 86 cuts deep, a complete arc (I’d guess 2AM-9AM), from the party to the sleepy sign-off that Huerco S. concludes. It also acts as a complete document of Vivian’s various musical interests. Like a good DJ set, nothing is off-limits: Only bravery wins. We get warehouse sunrise rollers (Happy Mondays, Primal Scream), mournful Indie (Sharon Van Etten), weaponized Pop (RHCP, Crazy Town), San Francisco bangers (Kamaiyah, RBL Posse, Digital Underground), Drill, Dubstep, and beyond. All of this and more, at the end of the rainbow.