Burlesque performer Dita von Teese exposes her raver roots, picks the perfect striptease song and gives us a new appreciation for Brigitte Bardot in her Guest DJ set. Her glamorous retro pin up look is heavily influenced by the 1940’s, but her song picks reflect her love for both the past and the present, as well as her new home in Paris.
For more: http://www.dita.net
1 – Stormy Blues (Single) - Billie Holiday
2 – Une histoire de plage - Brigitte Bardot
3 – In for the Kill - (Skream's Let's Get Ravey remix) La Roux
4 – Girl And The Sea - The Presets
5 – Strip Tease - Juliette Greco
Liza Richardson: I’m Liza Richardson from KCRW and I’m here with burlesque artist Dita Von Teese. Today, we’re going to be talking about songs that have inspired her over the years, as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Welcome, Dita!
Dita Von Teese: Hi!
LR: Thanks for coming. Tell me what you brought.
DVT: I am a huge Billie Holiday fan. I can play hours of her music and never get tired of it and I love all the outtakes of her. There are a lot of albums with really interesting outtakes where you hear her speaking and swearing (laughs) and it’s really fun to listen to. I’m a big admirer of her, so I tried to bring you my sexiest song -- what I think is her at her most sexy. And it’s a great song to striptease to (laughter.) I wanted to choose some songs because people always ask me, “what’s a good song that’s sexy that I can do a striptease to for my boyfriend of girlfriend or whatever”. I wanted to pick a couple of songs like that and this is the first one.
LR: So, this is “The Stormy Blues.” It’s by Billie Holiday and is the choice of our Guest DJ, Dita Von Teese.
Song: Billie Holiday – The Stormy Blues
LR: So, Dita, what’s next?
DVT: Brigitte Bardot. It’s called “Une Histoire de Plage” and it means “a story of the beach.” And, not only was she beautiful and a free spirit and, really, a great actress, but she made lots of music and great music.
Song: Brigitte Bardot - “Une Histoire de Plage”
I live between L.A and Paris and I’ve been learning - trying to learn - how to speak French and one great way to learn to speak French is to sing along with songs in French. You might not understand all the words, but once you start studying, you recognize the words and how they’re used and, it’s just a good way to learn another language.
LR: How do you like living in Paris?
DVT: For a little while, before I moved to Paris, I had this idea…I was really kind of hateful about being single and living in Los Angeles. It was really hard and I found that there wasn’t much I wanted to do at night in L.A because the nightclub scene is not -- it leaves a lot to be desired, it doesn’t feel very sophisticated or elegant. So, I used to be really down on L.A and then I got the apartment in Paris, thinking, oh well I’m going to move to Paris forever, but, once I started living there, I realized that there are great things about both places and I love the opportunity to live in Paris, but, at the same time, it made me appreciate life here.
LR: So, that’s “Une Histoire de Plage” and it’s the choice of our guest DJ, Dita Von Teese. It’s by Brigitte Bardot. And, tell me your next choice.
DVT: Well, shift gears a little bit from the retro to some modern electronic music and this is a song called “In For the Kill” by La Roux. I was good friends with DJ AM who passed away almost two years ago. And, we used to hang around the same rave scene in L.A in 1990-91 and he was not a famous DJ back then at all. He was just a rave kid like me. But, he used to send me a lot of mixes and songs and we used to share old songs that we used to like back in the old days in L.A and he made me a mix with this song on it and I loved this version.
I love La Roux in general. I love how she looks. I love how she dresses. I think she’s really intriguing and really sexy, but I particularly like this Skream’s “Let’s Get Ravey” remix, it’s called.
Song: La Roux – “In For the Kill” (Skream’s Let’s Get Ravey” remix
DVT: There’s one part that I love about this song that reminds me of going out to dance at the underground clubs and it’s just that moment where the DJ puts it on silence and everyone’s taking a breath, waiting for the moment for the song to kick in and that’s always the best part of the song. You can just feel the waiting, the tension and the excitement about waiting for that bass to kick in. So, I love that part of the song. It’s my favorite part.
LR: That’s “In for the Kill,” Skream’s “Let’s Get Ravey” remix by La Roux and it’s the choice of our guest dj- the incredibly gorgeous burlesque artist, Dita Von Teese. What did you bring next?
DVT: I think my favorite modern day electronic band is The Real Presets. They’re from Australia. I’m a huge fan of them. I’m such a fan of them that when I went to Australia recently and I was performing a show, I stalked The Presets because I’m such a big fan. I was like, please come to my party, come to my show, and they did. I was so excited to meet them and really was so star struck. I meet a lot of famous people, but I really get star struck over the people whose talent I admire.
LR: So, how did you get turned on to The Presets?
DVT: I discovered The Presets three years ago when they played Coachella and I was completely bowled over by their sound and their look and I love when you can find a record that you can listen to all the way through because, I have to say, most music on the radio makes my ears bleed and a lot of records…you can listen to one or two songs, but I love when a band comes along where you can listen to every single track and enjoy it and you don’t have to fast forward over anything.
Song: The Presets – The Girl and the Sea
LR: That’s “The Girl and the Sea” by the Presets. It’s the choice of our Guest DJ, Dita Von Teese. So, you’ve got one more!
DVT: The last song I chose is called “Striptease” by Juliette Greco and I’ve known Juliette Greco for awhile, but last year, when I walked in Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion show for the haute couture in Paris, he brought me this song, and said, I’d like you to perform to this song and, I fell in love with this song.
And, of course, the first thing I did was I sat down and I translated every word of it. It was part of my French lesson because I thought it was really important for me to know what she was saying. It’s just a really sexy song and her voice is amazing and I didn’t mind at all listening to this song on repeat to rehearse my show and it has become one of my favorite songs to listen to.
LR: So do you think you’ll continue your love affair with France?
DVT: I do love it there because it’s a different feel and I have a different network of friends and people that are artists that are working on these amazing, fabulous projects that are more to do with what’s in their heart than trying to be famous. And I feel like it’s a little bit, in L.A, everyone wants to be famous, but they don’t want to work that hard at it. They want to go out every night to see what’s going on and it’s a different thing, I think. The people that I mostly hang out with…it’s a different vibe there.
LR: That’s “Striptease” by Juliette Greco. It’s the choice of our guest dj, Dita Von Teese. Dita, thank you so much for joining us on kcrw.com. I really, really appreciate you coming by and putting so much thought into your choices today. It’s great!
DVT: Thank you, pleasure. Thank you.
LR: For a complete track listing and to find these songs online, go to kcrw.com/guestdjproject.