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XO EDIT No. 2

neon jungle

April 2014

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XO EDIT NO.2 APRIL 2014

Contents THE USUALS EDITOR’S LETTER 3 EDITOR’S PICKS 3

MUSIC SOUNDCHECK 4 XO LISTEN 5 #STUCKONREPEAT: APRIL PLAYLIST 7 TRACK BY TRACK: YOUNG THE GIANT 8

FASHION X O E D I T N O .2

LABEL OF LOVE: FRANZISKA MICHAEL 9 SK8R BOI 18 WANDERER 24

ART NICOLAS BRUNO 28

RADAR WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE: NEON JUNGLE 20 MEG MYERS 14

FOUNDER | EDITOR IN CHIEF

COPY EDITOR

Le’Keisha Sims

Jessica Schink

DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Moeima Dukuly WEST COAST MARKET & MULTIMEDIA EDITOR

Jesse Ashton

EMMA JOYCE CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS LE’KEISHA SIMS DARREN BLACK LAUREN DUKOFF VALENTINA MELZI SHANNA FISHER

CONTACT: infoxomag@gmail.com FOR ALL ADVERTISING AND SPONSORSHIP INQUIRIES moeima@xomagazineonline.com WEB/SOCIAL MEDIA xomagazineonline.com TWITTER: @we_are_xo INSTAGRAM: @we_are_xo FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/XOMAGAZINE

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editor’s letter

EDITOR’S LETTER Welcome to the April 2014 issue of the edit! This month we feature four chicas from the UK who are taking the pop world by storm, Neon Jungle. We sit down with them to learn all about their new found fame, their delicious new album and their thoughts on why pop music will never die! Alongside Neon Jungle, we get the inside scoop from Young the Giant about their new album in this month’s Track by Track, photography inspired by sleep paralysis from Nicolas Bruno and a playlist to get you hyped for festival season!

April marks a time of change - Spring has arrived (even though it doesn’t feel like it in some parts of the world), and as we put away our heavy coats and bring out our windbreakers and shorts, we are also in tune with the growth around us: flowers returning to our gardens, the leaves blooming on the trees, or even a store opening in our neighbourhood. We embrace this time of change! This Spring, go out and try something you’ve never done before! Be adventurous! Tag us on instagram and twitter (@we_are_xo) with the hashtag #xoadventure and we’ll share your endeavours! Happy Spring and I hope you enjoy the issue! Le’Keisha Sims Editor-In-Chief, XO Magazine

EDITOR’S PICK 1. An African City - http://www.anafricancity.tv/ 2. Future Souls - Uh Huh Her - www.uhhuhher.com/future-souls-2014/‎ 3. Shop Dixi Vintage Collection - http://www.shopdixi.com/collections/vintage 4. Girl Boss - Sophia Amoruso - www.nastygal.com/girlboss‎ 5. Dust and Grooves - http://www.dustandgrooves.com/book/

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SOUNDCHECK : LONDON GRAMMAR & HIGHASAKITE. GRANADA THEATRE, MARCH 18TH 2014 PHOTOGRAPHY BY LE’KEISHA SIMS

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SOUNDCHECK

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XO LISTEN Voices - Phantogram

Kelis - Food

TEEN - They Way and Color

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Days of Abandon

SZA - Z

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Iggy Azalea - The New Classic

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#STUCKONREPEAT APRIL PLAYLIST 1. I Blame Myself - Sky Ferriera 2. West Coast - Lana del Rey

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Around Time - The Kooks

4. Rather By (featuring Jess Glynne) - Clean Bandit 5.

Tennis Court (Flume Remix) - Lorde

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Boom Clap - Charli XCX

I’m Leaving - Low Roar

8. Little Boys - The Furrs

9. Seize the End - Baby In Vain

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Sour Patch Kids - Bryce Vine

#stuckonrepeat

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track by track //

mind over matter young the giant Photography: lauren dukoff Young the Giant front man Sameer Gadhia invites us inside the studio and breaks down Young the Giant’s latest album Mind Over Matter for this issue’s Track By Track.

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Slow Dive Arranged out of the instrumental chorus of ‘Anagram,’ ‘Slow Dive’ is the complementing track to ‘Anagram,’ which we consider to be the actual first song of the record. We want ‘Slow Dive’ to exist most poignantly at first listen of the record, and we often suggest one should listen to both conjoined. It is just the weird, mechanical moon of ‘Anagram’, floating in orbit.

Anagram

The song started as a lot of our previous album’s material did: as a live jam. We were living in a house together in Palos Verdes at the time (our third and last house we wrote the record in), and through a strange game of guitar lick telephone, we soon became enamored with the main verse line, which existed in 7/8 time signature. We wanted the song to exist as a simple flow for the listener, while still attempting to make rapid changes in time signature. A majority of the song is in 7/8, but the bridge is in 4/4, and the outro is in ¾. At the time, I was obsessed with the idea of a doppelganger existing in alternate universes. A person who walks, talks, looks like you, who overlaps you so closely, but is so far away, never to be realized. What if it wasn’t someone like you, but the person you are meant to be with? Someone you can feel in with the breeze, but out at the next breath -- always ghostly, ephemeral. Maybe our obsession with mystery is what makes love so…romantic?

Anagrams are words made of the same grammatical stardust, but that exist in entirely different contexts. I thought the metaphor was cheeky.

It’s About Time

This song existed initially as a strangely angular, modern, and oddly restrained take on a classic rock tune. A large portion of the tune was played to an electronic drum beat (which only exists as an appendage in the prechorus) As soon as we took it to the studio, however, it felt emotionally natural to take it balls to the wall. The song is sort of tongue-incheek and we wanted to prance it about. Lyrically, ‘It’s About Time’ obsesses over the idea [of] the symbol of power that is often manifested in man-made objects. It is not necessarily always the object that is inherently powerful, but the way we attribute this meaning and power to it that makes it such--Money, a ring, an unloaded pistol. It is what we do with these symbols that show what type of people we actually are. What happens when the power is in your hands, and no one else’s?

Crystallized

‘Crystallized’ was the last tune written for this record. After its creation, we were all relieved; I think at that point we knew the record was done. It was one of those songs, unlike a great many on the record, that came quickly and all in one sitting. Sometimes we feel like things exist as they always have when we are not watching -- but what becomes of things in the dark? How do they grow in the absence of perception? How has the world changed under our eyes, our homes when we are far away, our friends and loved ones when we have passed on?

Mind Over Matter

Firelight

Unlike typical Young the Giant song craft, this tune was created in a purely separate track environment. Without much pretext, each of us went in, establishing a layer onto what someone else had already put down. The result was an emotive, dynamic piece that existed in a completely different arrangement style for us. This tune broke the floodgates for us and allowed us to not only think out of our comfort zones but also thrive at it, and enjoy the risk of the enterprise.

‘Firelight’ was lyrically inspired by Hemingway’s “Snows of Kilimanjaro,” [in which] a man is lying gangrenous near death in the Saharan plane, leaning against a tree. His life flashes before his eyes, and although he first dwells on his past, his regrets, his fleeting love for himself and others, he is soon transcendent, imagining the white, sinewy snows of the heavenly Kilimanjaro. It is a song about letting go, about reconnecting with the things that birthed you, and finding peace in the midst of destruction.

Daydreamer

Initially in a different key, tempo, and time-signature, Daydreamer existed in our collective consciousness a great deal of time before realizing its final form as this tune. By this point, the lyrical theme and arc of the record had been well-established; the struggle between emotion and intellect throughout life’s challenges, set. Daydreamer fell right into place, right in the middle—within that dream space where all benighted ideas exist before being consciously realized. In this area, intellect and emotion exist quite well together. It extended the conversation, making the opposition not as much a duality as a complex, utterly human, relationship.

Camera

‘Camera’ was one of the first songs written specifically for this record, and continued to evolve until we pinned it down on the record, still squirming. Each song is a living organism for us. Some die and end up in the dirt, others, like Camera, have long arching lives that continue to birth new interpretation. It is a song we never tire of playing, and has several different versions. It was the first tune that started to lead me where I wanted to go with the lyrics. It’s the story of a man, myself, the every man, disenfranchised, utterly normal and severed from the hyper-reality of the internet, who finds himself looking back on his boyhood wishes for himself,

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wondering if he will ever get there. We were living in Mount Washington [a neighborhood adjacent to downtown Los Angeles] in a creepy, perhaps haunted house on top of the hill during the creation of this song. There was a rickety family organ that lived in [Young The Giant bass player] Payam’s room. It used to flip on by itself, shrieking out cacophonous, jumbled chords. Either way, maybe I was used as the instrument in this song.

In My Home

Originally written for our eponymous first record, ‘In My Home’ became a token of nostalgia for us as we forged along with the writing process. We discussed revisiting the tune, which was left unfinished, wounded, and with a whole new revamp of the instrumentation and the lyrics, the song came to speak with us with a great emotional clarity. It reminded us of the days touring in a van across the country, and still does every time we play it.

Eros Initially titled, “Sea of Japan,” ‘Eros’ was written in the second house we stayed in in Malibu. Filled with exuberance and fresh off the road, we wrote a tight set of songs that signified this excitement for experimentation and renewal. Like a few other tunes, ‘Sea of Japan’ was discarded because it was too squirmy; every time we tried to put it in one direction, it ended up coming back the other way. We thought for the longest time this track would exist as just a jam, but with the help of [album producer] Justin Meldel Johnsen in the studio, and the pairing of our most recent 80s aesthetics, the tune was completed in high fashion.

Teachers

‘Teachers’ was written completely on the road through a culmination of many different sound checks during our 2012 national headlining run. In effect, ‘Teachers’ is best heard live. The tune was thought

track by track: young the giant

to be a B-side until a last minute change of heart right before the record was to be released. Subsequently, the release of the vinyl was pushed back a week (sorry!) but we felt it had an important place in our live show, which for us is an extension of the physical album itself.

Waves

Written in conjunction with ‘Eros,’ ‘Waves’ is the other’s brother. They are both playful, tongue in cheek, and written in Malibu. For us, the song signifies the struggle of being present. A man experiences the rush of psychedelics, and then the utter wasteland of misguided thoughts. As the man rolls through waves of emotion and psyche, so too does the song’s ambling arrangement. The second movement of the song was written much later, during pre-production of the record itself over a year later. A third movement of this song was also recorded, but has not yet been released.

Paralysis The last tune of the record, the last chorus of the record sums it all up, “Lately, I’ve been feeling; I’m not thinking anything at all,” which is a reversal of the words “feeling” and “thinking” from the first two choruses. Heavily inspired by Bowie’s “Berlin” and the smattering of jagged synthesizer, Paralysis exists as a strange, anachronous timepiece that has a unique character all its own. We have learned much from the making of this record, and in some ways, the record is about its own creation. Where does our concept of control and understanding end and begin, and does it have any effect on anything around us? Perhaps, it is best to take solace in the unknown, in paralysis, [to] find peace in darkness and absence. At other moments, it feels most fitting to understand and analyze, [to] find meaning in between the lines. Regardless, what we all want is to find love for one another -- a connection to navigate us through the obstacles we find ourselves stuck in together.

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LABEL OF LOVE

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FRANZISKA MICHAEL SS 14 We are in love with Berlin designer Franziska Michael’s SS 14 collection. Inspired by the 70s Michael’s collection is a full on print explosion, full of psychedelic designs in contrasting colours (yellows, red, okra and lime are the primary palate) displayed on trousers, shirts, jackets, shorts and more! Check out the whole collection over at http:// franziskamichael.com/

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Label of Love: franziska michael

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Label of Love: franziska michael

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meg myers 14

Photography: shanna fisher styling: franzy staedter makeup/hair: bethany Johnson words | moeima dukuly

Wide eyes, dark hair and made of fire. What you quickly realize after listening to Tennessee-born Meg Myers is that she is an undeniable force. She gives you plenty: attitude, humor, chords and hooks that take your mind hostage. She makes you wanna dance, and makes you wanna scream. Her voice, guttural and teeming with emotion, reminds us of Fiona, Alanis, Sheryl and other 90s queens, prone to passion and unforgettable presence. In that respect, we kept is cas - styling her in tees, jeans, Docs and it was as easy as it seems - the girl is a knockout in every way that matters. Shot by Shanna Fisher in Los Angeles.

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MM is currently touring North America with Broods and playing Governor’s Ball Festival in New York City, Bunbury Festival in Ohio and Lollapalooza in Chicago. www.megmyers.com

TANK: HANES JEANS: NEUW SHOES: CONVERSE

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ROMPER: MODELS OWN SHIRT: MODELS OWN

meg myers

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SHIRT: OLOAK SHORTS: OLOAK SHOES: DOC MARTEN

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SHIRT: MODELS OWN JEANS: VINTAGE LEVIS SHOES: CONVERSE

meg myers

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sk8r boi PHOTOGRAPHER: VALENTINA MELZI STYLING: ELENA MONTI HAIR & MAKEUP: FRANCESCA GALANTINO MODELS: GUS DRAKE + VITAN @ INDEPENDENT MAN

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RIGHT SWEATSHIRT: U.S. POLO ASSN. T-SHIRT: U.S. POLO ASSN. SHOES: ALDO PANTS: RICO LEFT JACKET & PANTS: ANGELOS FRENTZOS SHIRT: CLOSED SHOES: PLAYHAT

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SHIRT: VINTAGE55, PAPILLON COR SINE LABE DOLI PARKA: LEITMOTIV PANTS: ANGELOC FRENTZOS

SWEATSHIRT: LEITMOTIV

sk8r boi

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JESS TOP: AQAQ SKIRT: AQAQ EARRINGS: GOGO PHILLIP ASAMI TOP: AQAQ TROUSERS: ASOS JACKET: JAMIE WEI HUANG EARRINGS: GOGO PHILLIP AMIRA FUR: MILUSHA LONDON TOP: HALSTON HERITAGE SKIRT: JOE HORTON LEGGINGS: JOE HORTON EARRINGS: STYLISTS OWN SHEREEN SHIRT: ALL JEWELLERY: MAWI

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welcome to the jungle

Meet Jess, Amira, Asami and Shereen aka Neon Jungle, the most exciting girl group to come from Britain in recent years. These girls are set to take the world by storm. Having only started their careers last summer, their debut single ‘Trouble’ reached the Top 15 in the UK and charted well on not one, but two dance charts in the UK, making them perfect for their debut US performance at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Their second single “Braveheart” debuted even higher on the charts at number four in the UK! After a whirlwind of 2013 the girls hit the studio to work on their debut album. XO catches up with the girls hot off their release of their new single “Welcome to the Jungle”, to find out about their beginnings, their new album and their collaboration process.

welcome to the jungle PHOTOGRAPHER: DARREN BLACK STYLIST: A+C:STUDIO ASSISTANT: CHARLIE POPE HAIR: LISA FARALL WITH BEAUTY WORKS, WIGBYL AND FUDGE HAIR PRODUCTS NAILS: EMMA WELSH @ LOVELY MANAGEMENT RETOUCHER: JAMES WILLIAMS SHOT AT: CHERRYBOMB STUDIO WORDS | LE’KEISHA SIMS

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jess //

THINGS HAVE BEEN CRAZY

THIS PAST YEAR FOR NEON JUNGLE, FROM FORMING TO CREATING NEW MATERIAL AND THEN PERFORMING AT THE VICTORIA’S SECRET FASHION SHOW! - CAN

jess

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YOU TELL US HOW THAT’S BEEN?

It’s been amazing! Literally from the second we found out we had made the group, we were all called in to Sony to speak about all the things we’d want to make happen. So far so good!! I think considering that when we first came out, NO ONE had a clue who we were, we’ve been really lucky that the general public have taken to us so quickly. Our album that we’ve been recording for the past 14 months is finally finished and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Definitely people are going to be in for a shock. WHEN YOU GUYS FIRST FORMED, DID YOU BRAINSTORM ON HOW YOU WANTED YOUR MUSIC TO SOUND? IT’S EASY TO MAKE COMPARISONS BETWEEN A LOT OF THE POPULAR GIRL GROUPS OF TODAY, BUT I THINK YOU GUYS HAVE FOUND A NICE NICHE THAT MAKES YOUR SOUND STAND OUT. WAS THIS SOMETHING YOU AIMED TO

JESS TOP: AQAQ SKIRT: AQAQ EARRINGS: STYLISTS OWN AMIRA DRESS: AQAQ LEGGINGS: JOE HORTON SUNGLASSES: GIORGIO ARMANI BRACELETS: GO GO PHILLIP

DO ON PURPOSE?

Thank you. It wasn’t discussed between us, no, but I’m sure it was in the master plan of forming us to begin with. Looking at us as a four, stereotypically I don’t think anyone would have put us together. I do think that is the reason why we stand out and work so well. To describe our sound, it is more like 4 solo artists that continuously collaborate with each other than a 4-piece girl group, haha, but we definitely do purposefully steer away from the girl group cliché.

amira

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welcome to the jungle

amira // WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR MAIN

INSPIRATIONS WHEN IT COMES TO STYLE AND MUSIC?

Beyoncé is my music and style idol! I also admire Kanye West, Rihanna, Bob Marley, Brandy and Michael Jackson.

WHERE DID THE NAME NEON JUNGLE COME FROM?

The “Jungle” part originally came from the name of our third single, “Welcome To The Jungle…” we added the word “Neon” NOT because we are neon coloured but because our personalities are so vibrant.

asami // WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING

asami ASAMI SHIRT: BILL AND MAR VEST: AMERICAN APPAREL EARRINGS: GOGO PHILLIP NOSE CHAIN: STYLISTS OWN SHEREEN TOP: AQAQ SKIRT: SUPERTRASH RING: MAWI

ABOUT POP MUSIC?

It makes you happy and it can be cheesy at times, but that’s what’s so great!

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING ALBUM?

It is pretty eclectic; some songs you wouldn’t think were the “Trouble” girls!!

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESSES? WHAT IS IT LIKE RECORDING IN THE STUDIO?

When we record, it is very chilled and we have a lot of fun! We go in separately and usually record the whole track and then if some bits need a fuller, more live sound, we will go into the vocal booth and just sing

shereen //

WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE REST OF 2014?

The rest of 2014 holds a lot for us! We have loads of festivals and gigs you can catch us at, we have the fourth single, the album and a lot more! It’s going to be an exciting year. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE GIRL GROUP OF ALL TIME?

DEFINITELY the Spice Girls. I admire the way they just took over the whole music scene. together in there. WELL ZIGGA ZIGGA AHH…

shereen

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WANDERER XO Magazine explores the Crimean mountains on the grounds of the old Massandra Palace of the tzar Alexander III, all while decked out in the delicious new collection from Zakary le StĂŠle.

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Photography: tsasha olivier, alex calme styling: alyona koltcova makeup/hair: alexandra bychova model: alex calme

ABOVE DRESS: ZAKARY LE STELE FAR RIGHT DRESS: MODELS OWN

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wanderer

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ABOVE DRESS: ZAKARY LE STELE FAR RIGHT SHIRT: ZAKARY LE STELE

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wanderer

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Nicolas Bruno 19 year old Nicolas Bruno has suffered from sleep paralysis since he was 15. While that might overwhelm a person with feelings of fear, helplessness and loneliness, Nicolas taps into the emotions and visions that accompany his paralysis by taking notes in his sleep paralysis journal and using them to create the inspiration for his photo shoots. Not only is the work a therapeutic outlet, but his images are captivating, the viewer gets a sense of being awake in a dream world. We will sleep no more. You can check out more of Nicolas’ work at http://www.nicolasbrunophotography.com/

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artist feature; nicolas bruno

APRIL 2014 xo edit issue No. 2

MAY 2014 issue out may 15th! subscribe to XO Edit online for free at xomagazineonline.com!


XO EDIT #2 | APRIL 2014 | NEON JUNGLE