DJ dabbles in glam during tour of AsiaUrsula 1000, a mad-hat creator of kitschy, sexy music, may have crossed the ocean many times for Europe, but this month, Alex Gimeno ― the man behind Ursula 1000 and the 2002 album “Kinda’ Kinky” ― left New York City for his first tour of Asia.
Stops include Kee Club in Hong Kong, COEX Oakwood Lounge in Seoul, Amaranth Lounge in Tokyo and Club Metro in Kyoto, with more gigs pending in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. His Asian Diary Tour will soon be posted on his Web site, www.ursula1000.com.
The lounge music master, who was brought to Korea by Lollipop Entertainment, is growing as an artist and experimenting with glam rock. That sort of eclecticism can be found in his fashion, as he lounged in Levis, bought in Europe, a Cheap Trick T-shirt, H&M jacket and Miu Miu shoes while he was in Seoul on Saturday. The IHT-JoongAng Daily spoke with Gimeno during his brief stop here.
Q:How’d you snag pop artist Shag for the cover of “Kinda’ Kinky”?
A:I was very lucky to get Shag. I was thinking, Shag would be so perfect. We had mutual friends. I contacted him thinking, This is never going to happen. He’s so busy. I lucked out because he had one of my records. To get him to do artwork now would probably be impossible. He is so booked. He’s redesigning Pink Panther for MGM and doing some work for Disneyland.
When’s the new album coming out?
I’m hoping late fall. This new record, also with the Eighteenth Street Lounge Music label, is a lot more involved and fully realized. There’s full-on vocals with guest singers. It’s not as ’60s-intensive as my other records.
I’m exploring. There’s only so much funky mambo stuff I can do after a while, and there’s more to me than just that. There’s a track that’s my tribute to Prince, a track that’s very ska, and another that’s glam rock, all this mixed with bossa nova, hip-hop. It’s going to be fun and upbeat and funky. But not so stuck in the ’60s.
These days, its ’70s glam rock ― T-Rex, David Bowie, Roxy Music. I’m digging deeper and finding all these weird bands that came out with maybe two singles. Some bands are English, others are from the Netherlands and Sweden.
Describe your music.
I like to throw in very eclectic music so when you step back, you’re like, “Oh my God. What is all that crazy stuff?” Which is kind of cool.
I do a party in New York at APT, and it’s very much a speakeasy. There’s no sign and you have to know where it is to get there. On Friday nights, I’m there from 10 to 4, a six-hour set. It’s tiring, but it’s a fun exercise. You try to read the crowd and on a technical level, do a seamless mix, change tempos. What I do, compared to Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, Digweed or Carl Cox, is a different vibe. They keep that whole energy that whole night. But for the venues I do, it’s kind of fun to bring it up, bring it down, bring it up, bring it down.
Has living in Florida affected your music?
I was born in New York, and I lived in south Florida before returning to New York. My family is from Spain, and I’m the only American-born.
Maybe it’s the Spanish or Cuban Miami influence that comes across in my music. There’s a heavy Latin element with percussion, which comes from me being a drummer. I like a lot of these rhythms playing off of each other.
But the great thing about southern Florida is a lot of people go there to retire. People unload all these crazy record collections, and you would find them for really cheap ― jazz from Cal Tjader to exotica like Martin Denny and a lot of weird mambo and cha-cha records. Then you listen to it and you’re like, this is really great, this is really fun. It’s like a guilty pleasure.
I mix that with a lot of club elements, house and hip-hop to create a fusion.
How did you get the name Ursula 1000?
I was thinking about Ursula Andress, a really pretty name. There were really few women DJs at the time, so I thought I’d have this crazy name. I get the wildest response in Germany. People ask, “Where’d you get this old-fashioned name that my grandmother has?” So much of what I do with music, it has a cheeky kind of fun element to it and a lot of humor.
by Joe Yong-hee