Q&A: Dust La Rock on “B.K. Scum,” His Psychic TV-Inspired Art Show


Dust La Rock (a/k/a Joshua Prince) may be best known for creating the visual identity of local hip-hop/r&b label Fools’ Gold, but his independent design and illustration portfolio is just as impressive: his first solo show, held two years ago at Christopher Henry Gallery, even got a Puff Daddy Twitter nod. Tomorrow, La Rock’s name tops another exhibition, “B.K. Scum,” a personal project inspired by experimental mixed-media collective Psychic TV, and more specifically, industrial deviant Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (who we recently visited at h/er Manhattan apartment).

This may seem like an unlikely collaboration, but as these things go, it’s not exactly. “I’ve known about Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV for a bunch of years and I still collect vinyl, and I have a pretty massive collection of their discography,” explains La Rock, who suggested the project after he learned that Mishka was collaborating with Genesis on a run of shirts. “While this may be over certain peoples’ heads–the guidos and whoever, not that that’s who I speak to anyway–I think it’s good that it’s getting out there,” referring to TOPI, Psychic TV’s origins as Thee Temple of Psychic Youth. “I’m happy to be a part of helping spread the message.” More on the show below.

So how much interaction have you had with Genesis?

In the process of recording the B.K. Scum mix, Vivian [Host, a/k/a Star Eyes from Trouble & Bass] and I went over to Genesis’s apartment and got some drops from her and I spoke to Genesis about the show briefly. Aside from seeing the official print for the show that I’ve done and the cover art for the mix, she’s fairly unaware of what I’ve done for it. It’ll be interesting. She’s gonna walk in there and see a wall full of things bearing her logo. I think it will be good, though.

It’s not your everyday kind of project. Or subject matter. You’re straddling magic–with a “k” on the end–and body modifications and esoteric and transcendental music and all sorts of stuff.

That’s why this is so interesting to me: Dust La Rock and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge? That seems like an unusual juxtaposition.

How do I put this? Yes, I have a record label that puts out hip-hop and electronic music. And we’ve had some obvious successes. But I’ve been raving since I was kid, and going out for years, and I used to work in the clothing industry, and help sponsor DMCs–which is how I learned about A-Trak and ended up meeting him, and working with him later. I have a wide range of musical knowledge. At the end of the day, my heart’s in my label, but at the same time, I’m interested in a wide spectrum of shit. You could spend months listening to Psychic TV and never listen to the same thing twice.

What works for Fool’s Gold works for Fool’s Gold. But then projects like this are really close to my heart–what works for myself as a freelance artist or whatever, aside from the label is separate.

It does seem like you audience is really different. People who know your stuff wouldn’t necessarily know who Genesis P-Orridge is.

There’s Fool’s Gold Dust la Rock. And there’s “other” Dust La Rock, quote-unquote. I’m here to spread the TOPI message. I have this massive collection of stuff, aside from music, all the TOPI blackbook, the original Temple of Psychic Youth ephemera. When Vivian and I went over there to meet with her, she gave us TOPI patches, she’s like, ‘You’re in the gang.’ In that respect, it’s cool, but on the other hand, she’s walking into a world that I’ve created based on her.

The thing is Gen could walk into the show and be like, “Blech!” Or she could be psyched. I feel like I’m going to school next Friday.

There’s some weird level of trust there, then? You’ve been given something very personal to interpret.

It’s not like I know Genesis like that. We’ve had a couple of interactions, a couple e-mails back and forth, but this should be interesting all the same.

I think a lot of the people that were involved in the counterculture in the past, a lot of those people are getting older and passing away or getting sick or stepping out of the limelight. So you have your Timothy Leary and your Ken Keseys and people that were–they were available and you could reach out to them, to a various extent. But they’re gone. So for Genesis to be making herself available to a somewhat younger generation, it’s an opportunity I couldn’t refuse–well, I kind of made it for myself; I kind of willed it–but at the same time it’s all coming together perfectly.

What will be in the show, exactly, anyway?

Genesis will be doing a reading. I’ve done a number of pieces that are ink on paper, I’ve done some silkscreen on newsprint. The main silkscreen print for the show is the T-shirt. Some of this stuff I’ve created, like, a handmade fully functional electric guitar in the shape of the Psychic cross: it will plugged into an amp, mounted on a wall, if somebody wants to strum it they can. I’ve done two vests, full leather biker vests–one for Genesis and another–all based on Psychic TV and the name of the show BK Scum. What else? A psychic skull that’s a human skull with a psychic cross on the forehead based off of the old graphic from their earlier stuff. I’m attempting to make some candles this week. If I can figure it out, there will be dream machine there.

You’ve put a lot of time into this, then? It’s not like you just made a print or two and are calling it a show.

No. I have another show opening in LA at HVW8 Gallery in April, so I’m working on two shows at once. I’m fully coming out of the pocket for this. It’s a labor of love. It’s not a real gallery quote unquote, but I’m still showing and getting a show based on somebody I respect. And who the fuck else is going to do this right now?

Download: Мishkа Presents B.K. Scum: A Psychic TV Mix by Star Eyes & Dust La Rock (MP3)

B.K. Scum opens tomorrow, Friday March 4th from 7 to 10pm at Мишка HQ, 350 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY.