the compound studio
Harry Styles: Singer Opens Up About Famous Flings, Honest New LP
One Direction's Harry Styles goes deep on love, family and his heartfelt new solo debut in our revealing feature.

January 2016. There’s a bench at the top of Primrose Hill, in London, that looks out over the skyline of the city. If you’d passed by it one winter night, you might have seen him sitting there. A lanky guy in a wool hat, overcoat and jogging pants, hands thrust deep into his pockets. Harry Styles had a lot on his mind. He had spent five years as the buoyant fan favorite in One Direction; now, an uncertain future stretched out in front of him. The band had announced an indefinite hiatus. The white noise of adulation was gone, replaced by the hushed sound of the city below.

The fame visited upon Harry Styles in his years with One D was a special kind of mania. With a self-effacing smile, a hint of darkness and the hair invariably described as “tousled,” he became a canvas onto which millions of fans pitched their hopes and dreams. Hell, when he pulled over to the side of the 101 freeway in L.A. and discreetly threw up, the spot became a fan shrine. It’s said the puke was even sold on eBay like pieces of the Berlin Wall. Paul McCartney has interviewed him. Then there was the unauthorized fan-fiction series featuring a punky, sexed-up version of “Harry Styles.” A billion readers followed his virtual exploits. (“Didn’t read it,” comments the nonfiction Styles, “but I hope he gets more than me.”)

But at the height of One D–mania, Styles took a step back. For many, 2016 was a year of lost musical heroes and a toxic new world order. For Styles, it was a search for a new identity that began on that bench overlooking London. What would a solo Harry Styles sound like? A plan came into focus. A song cycle about women and relationships. Ten songs. More of a rock sound. A bold single-color cover to match the working title: Pink. (He quotes the Clash’s Paul Simonon: “Pink is the only true rock & roll colour.”) Many of the details would change over the coming year – including the title, which would end up as Harry Styles – but one word stuck in his head.

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When Styles returned to L.A., an idea landed. The idea was: Get out of Dodge. Styles called his manager, Jeffrey Azoff, and explained he wanted to finish the album outside London or L.A., a place where the band could focus and coalesce. Four days after returning from the movie, they were on their way to Port Antonio on Jamaica’s remote north coast. At Geejam, Styles and his entire band were able to live together, turning the studio compound into something like a Caribbean version of Big Pink. They occupied a two-story villa filled with instruments, hung out at the tree-house-like Bush Bar, and had access to the gorgeous studio on-site. Many mornings began with a swim in the deserted cove just down the hill. Life in Jamaica was 10 percent beach party and 90 percent musical expedition. It was the perfect rite of passage for a musician looking to explode the past and launch a future. The anxiety of what’s next slipped away. Layers of feeling emerged that had never made it past One Direction’s group songwriting sessions, often with pop craftsmen who polished the songs after Styles had left.

Almost thirty years ago, all of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ failures compounded and sparked what is known as The Disney Renaissance, a ten-year stretch of creative genius that resulted in The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty And The Beast, the first animated film to be nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Picture.

So how is 1989 like now, aside from a rise of neo-conservatives to power, a wealth of politically conscious hip-hop, and a weird amount of denim jackets in circulation? Well, for example, Disney has been prioritizing everything else they own over their own movies for years.

While their subsidiary studios are hitting home runs, their proprietary studio is lucky to get a Zootopia once in a while. Disney has been making their junior studios a priority, simply because they know they can’t compete. At this point, Disney is treating its most legendary arm like an afterthought. 

Compared to the output of Marvel and Pixar, their release of animated films has been at a crawl. Even the success of Frozen, the closest they’ve come in decades to reaching cultural saturation with their trademark animated fairy-tale music formula, has yet to be followed up on. 

What Happened Last Time Disney Was This Creatively Bankrupt

A concept:

Harry Styles. In a private tropical paradise compound complete with recording studio on the beach in Jamaica. Going on runs in the morning on the sand. Going around barefoot everywhere. Curling his toes and feet underneath him while he works through a line giving him some trouble. Wearing his favorite sunglasses as sunglasses and his other favorite pair as a headband for the gentle breeze. And working working working in the studio. And taking the short walk back to the main house and eating some fresh caught fish and fruit. And picking up a guitar. And even after all that work still working to figure out that one line that’s been giving him trouble. Until he falls asleep with the doors open. And in his deepened sleep the trouble will work itself out.

David Lynch: The Art Life explores the life and the mind of the filmmaker behind such visionary works as Eraserhead, Twin Peaks, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive. Check out the poster above and the trailer below.

Co-directed by Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm, the documentary offers an in-depth conversation Lynch, infused with his artwork, music, and early films.

David Lynch: The Art Life will open at New York’s IFC Center on March 31 via Janus Films. Read on for the trailer and synopsis below.

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Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui: Max Martin Helping with 'More Soulful' Second Album

Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui has a message for the girl group’s fans who panicked earlier this week when a quote from a Latina cover story signaled the quintet’s eventual breakup. “Don’t worry!” exclaims Jauregui during a phone call with Billboard. “5H2 is coming! You’ll have music to soothe your soul soon, everything will be fine, we love you to death and we’re not going anywhere. I promise.”
 Of course, “5H2” refers to Fifth Harmony’s sophomore album, which follows their debut LP Reflection released in January. Earlier this week, the ladies posted some shots from a recording studio on Instagram, and Jauregui checked in on Friday to confirm that sessions for the Reflection sequel have kicked off — with pop super-producer Max Martin, no less — and are going swimmingly.
 Jauregui says that the girls are in Los Angeles working with Martin’s camp, as well as producers and songwriters like Mitch Allan and Jason Evigan, at Martin’s studio/compound. “It’s a really good vibe for recording — [Max] is in a great spirit the whole time,” she notes. “We’ve been wanting to work with Max for a while, and his camp as well. They’ve produced some of the best records of all time, year after year, consistently. They’re so talented and creative, and there’s real camaraderie and positivity.”
The singer also adds that she, Camila Cabello, Normani Hamilton, Ally Brooke Hernandez and Dinah Jane Hansen already have an idea of the sound and lyrical focus of the follow-up to Reflection, which produced the recent Top 20 hit “Worth It” (featuring Kid Ink). “For starters, we definitely want to mature in terms of our lyrics and content,” says Jauregui. “Although [on the first album] we touched upon a bunch of subjects that we definitely agreed with and our very relevant to us, like girl power and self-love, hopefully this time around we can have some more vulnerability, some more ballads and mid-tempo type [songs], to balance out this album. We want you to sit through it and feel a roller coaster of emotions.”
 Jauregui continues, “We’re also trying to make it a bit more soulful. The whole R&B, urban, Destiny’s Child vibe? We’re definitely going to try and hone in on that this time around. We’ve recorded some dope songs already, some really sick tracks with crazy horns all over the place.”
The Latina cover story — in which Cabello was quoted saying “Honestly, I think we all do” when asked if she expects the girl group to eventually break up — was quickly responded to by Fifth Harmony’s label, who wrote that they were “not going anywhere.” Jauregui concurs that the quote was taken “completely out of context,” although the group has never been shy about being composed of five solo singers.
“When we auditioned for The X Factor, we were five individuals going into the show,” Jauregui points out. “That obviously means we are five solo artists in our beings, so we have our own creative ideas, of what sounds the best music-wise, because we are all artists. One day, we all have the idea of being a solo artist, but that’s not our focus right now. We all allow each other to explore our individual things that make us happy, and so we’re just being supportive of each other, and making sure we focus on Fifth Harmony and what’s important to the group is important to all five of us.”
With Fifth Harmony’s summer tour of North America wrapped, Jauregui is looking forward to performing a few overseas shows beginning on Oct. 26 in Madrid, and playing more international shows in 2016. “I just hoping that we get to start touring the world soon — that’s what I’m excited about,” she says. “I can’t wait until we can get to do that with the new music. I also hope that we have some songs on this album that can get us nominated for some shit. That’d be dope! That’s what we’re working on.”[x]