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orking girl, they say or perhaps ‘welcome to the real world’ is no joke. I must admit that I’m still trying to figure out the balance of working a full-time job, working out (yes, I finally got the gym membership, woo!) and try to have a social life as well? Yeah, I consider the past few months I was in a slump, with negative moods and just not being myself. I think often times, we must grow to be comfortable in our own skin. I’m still a work in progress. I know that I can be healthier and yes, there is only 24 hours in a day but there is no excuses when it comes to finding time to do what YOU want to do. Yes, I’ve been slacking, procastinating and I honestly don’t feel like myself because that’s not who I am especially as a self-proclaimed Leo (all in good fun). This issue is jam packed with content that I believe is valuable and to celebrate six years as a publication. Six years going strong and cheers to more. There is no way of stopping now. I’m too invested, obsessed, in love, passionate about Local Wolves so buckle up, and thank you for being a part of this journey so far. Bloom. Grow. Discover. Acceptance. Until then, folks.
founder & editor-in-chief twitter / instagram: @cathrinekhom
ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA FILAS
the orange peel
within six years
hairrari barber shop
august eve hayden byerly
98 - 113
south by southwest
the new visuals of nashville
beauty in antiquity
ISSUE 54 / CUCO local wolves is an online and print publication delving into the most creative minds from the world of arts, entertainment and culture. the publication is driven by the passion for the best coverage and photography to create an adaptive aesthetic. as always, features focus on the diverse talent among the many creative industries of everyday people. SAY HELLO / LETâ€™S CHAT general email@example.com press firstname.lastname@example.org advertising email@example.com get involved firstname.lastname@example.org
founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom copy editor sophia khom community coordinator erin mcdowell marketing coordinator elizabeth eidanizadeh music curator sena cheung social media nicole tillotson web design jesus acosta logo fiona yeung cover photo danielle ernst
cuco @cocopuffs hawthorne, ca
lights @lights toronto / vancouver
cub sport @cubsport brisbane, aus
jackson penn @jacksonpenn los angeles, ca
gabrielle current @gabcurrent los angeles, ca
the marias @themarias.mp3 los angeles, ca
august eve @augusteverios los angeles, ca
hairrari barber shop @hairraribarber new york, ny
jasper bones @jasperbones pasadena, ca
design / illustration kelsey cordutsky, laura filas, lisa lok, leah lu, megan kate potter, bethany roesler contributing writers sadie bell, kendall bolam, olivia clark, meghan duncan, morgan eckel, madisen kuhn, natasa kvesic, hanna la salvia, michelle ledesma, tayllor lemphers, leah lu, tâ€™keya marquez, mackenzie rafferty, jasmine rodriguez, celeste scott, lauren speight contributing photographers pamela ayala, emily dubin, danielle ernst, penelope martinez, dillon matthew, naohmi monroe, bran santos, myrah sarwar, starr smith, sarah ratner, lhoycel marie teope, ashley yu
hayden beverly @byerly11 los angeles, ca mahogany lox @mahoganylox los angeles, ca
website / localwolves.com twitter + instagram / @localwolves fb / facebook.com/localwolves read online issuu.com/localwolves print shop magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag
DESIGN BY LISA LOK
playlist + APRIL / MAY 2018 +
PLAYLIST BY SENA CHEUNG ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU
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pinpoint + TAIPEI, TAIWAN + COVERAGE BY SAMMI HSU
If there’s anything I’ve been looking for, it’s a city that feels like home. A city that makes you warm and comfortable, but entices you all at once. That’s what Taipei is to me. From the moment the plane jets off, I find myself back in a familiar daydream. Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan, an island located off the coast of the Asian continent that’s much, much smaller than my home state of California. In fact, the golden state inhabits close to 40 million people, whereas Taiwan’s population is just over 23 million. From the dinners with friends, to the vibrant local art, to the sleepless nights spent staring into the sea of skyscrapers, the small city has always made me feel a sense of belonging. There’s something in the people, the sights, and the food that make the lights from the buildings seem to shine a bit brighter than they did back home. It’s a city with a feeling that lingers in the back of your brain like a distant dream even when you’re finally home in your own bed. But the best part is, when you come back, it’s like you’ve never left. The daydream picks up right where you left off.
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+ BY H A N N A L A S A LV I A +
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+ BY MADISEN KUHN + BANNER BY LAURA SUPNIK ILLUSTRATIONS BY LAURA SUPNIK
What I’ve Learned from Going to Therapy For most of my adolescence and early adulthood, I’ve viewed growth as going from point a to point b. One day, I’d reach point b, and life would finally feel a certain way, and it’d stick, and I’d be existing in this ideal version of life until I grew old and grey. But then I began to look around me—at the thirtysomethings, forty-somethings, fifty-somethings—and realized that there is no real point where someone achieves ultimate maturity, wisdom, and health. The whole point of growth is that it is constant. It’s not just a stage of life. It’s everything.
What I’ve learned from going to therapy every week for three months
2. it’s important to talk about your pain. Talking about your growth with others—your emotions, your revelations, your thoughts you feel afraid or ashamed to share—instead of internalizing it all, is amazing for your growth. You learn to recognize certain thought patterns and analyze them instead of just pushing them below the surface. You start to ask more questions—why do I feel like this? What can I do to help myself when I feel this way? Which reactions are effective and which are not? Every time I get out of therapy, I feel so much lighter. I get to let out everything that’s weighing on me with an outside perspective to ask questions and give advice that help lead to really special self-discoveries. I feel understood and heard and a sense of pride for making an effort to work on my mental health.
1. growth is not linear. I used to think my mental health over the years would look like a straight line going up from left to right. Instead, it’s looked more like a mountain range with definite
3. the desire to grow must come from within. Your willingness to heal, develop, and succeed must come from within. This is so important. I’ve had loved ones try to push me into growth
When I moved back home to Virginia after living in Los Angeles for about eight months, I knew I needed to dedicate some time and effort to better my mental health, or else I was bound to end up silently drowning in a pool of anxiety and lethargy. I’ve seen several different therapists over the years and have only connected with two of them, one of them being the therapist I see today. Every therapist is not one-fits-all. It’s so vital to both find a therapist that you feel works for you, and to not give up if finding them takes a little bit of time.
highs and lows. And that is okay. It’s okay. It. Is. Okay. It can be hard to accept that you’re not where you want to be yet, but accepting yourself at every stage is important. When you realize that there will be ups and downs and constant learning and breaking and rebuilding, some pressure is relieved. You don’t have to figure it all out right now. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to hold on to the hope that things will keep getting better if you want them to, and know that who you are right now is enough.
which sometimes helped, but mostly just made me feel even more anxious and insufficient when I had a negative outcome. Plus, what was I to do when they weren’t around to push me? Letting the responsibility of your growth fall on someone else makes you feel dependent and puts a lot of pressure on them. It’s a lose-lose situation. You must want to better yourself apart from external pressures. To harness the most power inside yourself, it must be something you chase after instead of being dragged towards. 4. the more you do something, the easier it gets. In general, this statement is true. There was a time when I was driving from school to my boyfriend’s house almost every weekend, which is six hours roundtrip. Nearly every single drive included a panic attack. I didn’t change anything each time, just let myself fall back into the same pattern of anxiousness, so I didn’t learn how to healthily execute the trip. Learning how to talk yourself down before your anxiety hits its peak and what calms you in the moment is so useful. At the end of 2017, just driving to the coffee shop a few minutes away in my small hometown caused me to panic. Instead of letting this deter me from driving, I kept doing it repeatedly, gradually inching further outside of my comfort zone until it grew. Now, going to the same coffee shop is comfortable, and it’s because I racked up successful outcomes. I realized after several trips of panicking on the drive over, and then calming down once I got settled in with a mocha and a pumpkin square, that my anxiety would eventually subside and I’d be able to enjoy myself in the moment. 5. structure is good. When you take steps to actively care for your own well-being, it puts it on the forefront of your consciousness and makes self-care become a priority instead of something that is neglected or forgotten. Put in place real effort in your life that supports your growth, such as regular therapy appointments, a consistent exercise routine, an accountability partner, journaling daily, a meal plan if you have a history of disordered eating, and scheduling quality time to spend with family, friends, and/or your partner. That way, you have these things already in place that will hold onto you when you feel like you’re drifting. These safety nets will help you from hitting the super low-lows. 6. be honest with yourself, and you will see a transformation. If you’re anything like me, you’re all about people being their most genuine selves and are adamant about making others feel accepted, but struggle with treating yourself the same way. Sometimes it feels like there are parts of us that we can never share with anyone because they’re too shameful, too selfish, too ugly. But you should remember that almost everyone has these dark parts. It’s human. You have permission to be human. And when you allow yourself to be open about it, you can begin to understand it better. And you realize that you’re not unique in these feelings. They’re almost all universal. Or maybe they’re
not, but they make sense for your specific scenario. It won’t be easy. It’s hard to talk about the things that you don’t want to talk about, even just with yourself in the pages of your journal. But accepting yourself and every feeling you encounter will allow you to go through life with wider eyes and more warmth. Letting go of the need for perfection will set you free. Therapy is well decorated with misconceptions and connotations. A lot of people think that it’s for people who need fixing, or that if you “have to” go to therapy, then it means you are weak or broken in some way. I challenge those who feel this way to shift their perspective. Instead, view therapy as a tool to help you continuously grow through each stage of life. I started going to therapy because I wanted help with coping with my debilitating anxiety, but I plan to continue to go even when I feel my best. Because even when I feel good, mental illness will still be a part of my life. I value that extra support from an impartial third party who is trained to help me live healthily. It doesn’t mean I’m weak, it means I’m self-aware enough to know what helps me live my best life.
I used to see growth as going from point a to point b, point b being a place where I no longer was afflicted with mental illness. I used to be so angry at and unaccepting of the way my brain works. I still feel that way sometimes. Like punching a wall and screaming and escaping my mind, if only for a moment. But I’ve uncovered the life-altering idea of accepting myself as I am, and instead of wishing I didn’t get screwed over by having two parents with family histories of shitty genes, facing my circumstances, and doing everything I can to make the most of it. I try to find gratitude in the good things I have going for me; use tools such as therapy, intimate relationships, exercise, music, books, breathing, dogs, essential oils, medicine, sleep; and continually discover the excitement of being capable of growth, of being able to expand into areas that once felt scary or impenetrable. Take care,
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+ BY CELESTE SCOTT +
When I was in 11th grade I got my heart broken for the first time. The story is quite long and frankly uninteresting, but to sum it up: I liked him, he didn’t like me back. No one ever tells you when you get your heartbroken just how bad it really feels. How your chest seems to cave in on itself, and pain seems to collect on your shoulders like dust on an old piano. It was after the whole “he didn’t like me back” bit that I began to experience a crippling sensation in my body associated with fear and loneliness—A sensation I now know to be anxiety. But when you’ve never been told what anxiety feels like, it’s almost impossible to name it. Instead, you carry it with you into adulthood and inevitably into your relationships, so that when the guy you met on Tinder doesn’t text you back you’re suddenly whiplashed back to your insecure 16-year-old self.
It feels silly, carrying seemingly-expired hurt around like a backpack—or rather, wearing it around your neck like a collar. Yet some pain can’t simply be shaken off with empty claims of self-love or expletives shouted into the void. Sometimes you become your pain. It’s the hair you keep cutting off, that only grows back a month later. It’s the acne scars you can’t seem to get rid of despite the creams and ointments building up in your
medicine cabinet. Pain is the dirt under your fingernails, that patch of hair on the back of your ankle you always forget to shave. Pain permeates life until there is no distinction between it and the self. People will say you’re bigger than your scars but that feels like an insult when they’re etched into every part of you. Therapy helps. Mostly it is a trash can for word vomiting. I started seeing a therapist in college, despite the widely spread stereotype that Black people don’t do therapy because we have “real” problems. I remember feeling uneasy at the idea of divulging details of my existence that even my closest friends did not know to a complete stranger. At first, I was puzzled at how my therapist could be so sympathetic. How the telling of my trauma, which to me seemed simple matter of facts, caused her to hmmm so sadly, or furrow her brow so as to create a canyon on her forehead. There were many times I was sure she went back into her office and cried after our sessions were over. I never cried, though. Not because I was too embarrassed or didn’t want to. But simply because the sensation never came to me. The thoughts I shared weren’t new or unfamiliar. Quite the opposite, actually. They were my companions during late nights and long drives. Speaking them out loud didn’t make them more sad. Just more real. I felt quite embarrassed about the things I shared in therapy. Week after week I’d talk about the same issues, anxieties and insecurities, again and again. Mostly I was embarrassed that every insecurity I had in one way or another could be traced back to that stupid boy in high school who didn’t like me back. Oh, how I carried (and still carry) that boy around on my shoulders, dare I say it, like a cross. But boiling it down just to that boy would be inaccurate.
It’s only evident when you happen to run across an old journal entry or a late night tweet, that you begin to realize what a vastly different state of mind you’re in. You can’t trace exactly where the change occurred, because it happened when you weren’t looking. While you were just living. Somewhere between all the digging up and dusting off.
There were many boys after him who also “didn’t like me back.” And then there were all the attacks on my skin, deliberate and unassuming, that only seemed to build on top of each other, compressing me into an imprint of everything anyone has ever said about me, like a fossil. Therapy is like digging up that fossil. Pulling it out of the sand and gently dusting it off with a tiny brush. For me, therapy was less about simply trying to make everything better, but rather about unearthing the things that caused the pain in the first place. It’s been about about a year since I first sat down on the couch in my therapist’s office. Each week feels like rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty. Progress is subtle, invisible almost. It makes me question every cheesy metaphor I’ve ever heard about growth. The inevitable imagery of water and sunlight as metaphors for self-care—To me it seems the true essence of growth is far too grotesque for any pretty parable we might conjure up.
Sometimes I wish I could be like SZA, singing confidently that by this time next year I won’t remember the pain. But I don’t know if that’s a realistic hope. Maybe it will be next year, after I’ve settled into post-grad life, juggling bills and taxes for the first time. Maybe it’ll be when I’m well into my twenties, and the pettiness of high school is but a subject of small-talk at brunches and bars. Maybe I’ll be much older when I’ve finally forgotten the pain. Maybe I’ll dig up this article someday, while sitting in some cluttered apartment, with many more heartaches and therapy sessions under my belt. Maybe I won’t be so hardened then. Maybe the scars will have faded. Maybe I’ll write a book about it. Maybe I’ll call my old therapist and tell her I’m doing just fine. BANNER & ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU
Growth is just as ugly as the pain it involves. It hopscotches ten squares forward only to be sent back to square one. Most of the time growth isn’t upward reaching. It’s more like a fern on the side of a freeway than a flower in a field. Of course it’s slow, but the very word “slow” isn’t quite tangible enough to describe the sentiment. It’s not something you can see with the naked eye or measure with your hands.
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If it were up to me, Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be named the be-all and end-all of the guide to life as a teenage/budding-adult girl. Without overstating the obvious, Buffy kicks ass and puts the people she loves at the center of the universe—all while wearing the hottest patent leather pants you’ve ever seen. Besides the 1997 through early 2000s lifespan of the show, I think Sarah Michelle Gellar’s versatility in her style is what grips me the most. You’ll see her in killer platform boots and a slinky dress at the Bronze with Zander and Willow any given weeknight, and the next in her favorite super low rise flares and a zip-up hoodie for her rounds at the graveyard. Dig up some inspiration from Buffy’s world, and you just might find something worth sinking your teeth into. COVERAGE BY MEGHAN DUNCAN / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE ERNST / BANNER BY LAURA FILAS / WARDROBE FROM THRIFTED + SECOND HAND ITEMS
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growth + WOLFIE SUBMISSIONS +
We grow with every passing moment, every experience, and every person we meet. Who we were then may not be who we are now, but that is oftentimes for the better. CURATED BY ERIN MCDOWELL / ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA FILAS Growth happens every day, week, month and year. I think that is absolutely beautiful because despite your mistakes and flaws, there is always room to learn and grow from them. The constant struggle I have with myself is remaining confident with who I am but I am most definitely growing to love myself even more. I am not the woman I was years ago and I have noticed that in myself. I have grown the strength to remain strong and have faith in myself even if I feel like I will fail. I have grown out of wanting to be who others want me to be and have grown to be who I want to become. I am proud of who I used to be, who I am and who I am becoming. I wouldn’t be the strong person I am today if I wouldn’t have realized years ago that it’s okay to take time to heal and be with myself for a bit. Growth, such a powerful manifestation we all have inside ourselves. CLARISSA GONZALEZ / CORPUS CHRISTI, USA When we think of growth, we think of plants. Of the tiny, half dead plant standing on our windowsill – the plant that we forget to water. Of the cactus in the small yellow pot we bought because we liked the color. Of the steady tree in our grandmothers’ garden and the swing we used to love as kids. Maybe we grow and we realize that we can’t take care of the tiny plant on our windowsill because we can´t even take care of ourselves. Maybe we grow and we realize that we don’t even like the color yellow anymore because it was his favorite color. Maybe we grow up and we realize that we have not sat on
a swing for the last — oh I can’t even remember how many — years. Growing is realizing and growth is a process. Be the seed and develop your roots to be strong because you can take care of yourself. Be the branches and reach for the sun and her brightest rays of sunshine — be the most yellow you can ever be. Be the leaves and let the wind carry you to the garden you spent your childhood in and swing higher than ever before. Growing is caring — About others but mostly about yourself. Growth is a process of learning to love yourself. Encourage your inner seed to start growing. Be the roots, be the branches, be the leaves. Be alive, be bright, be steady. And grow. - KATHARINA MÜLLER / VIENNA, AUSTRIA Although it can flower in many different ways, it can only be cultivated by the person who wishes to possess it. Growth can only occur when we face the obstacles put before us. Nothing in life comes easy but it’s natural to be scared when facing ones obstacles. We must realize that failure, when achieved through the pursuit of what we truly want, creates the greatest opportunity for us to learn. Through the last few months, I have grown in my independence. I am learning how to stand on my own two feet, create my own happiness, move out of my comfort zone, and go for what I want. No matter how successful I become, I will never stop growing. I have learned that whenever I encounter a failure, I must use it as a learning stone and grow from this point forward. I don’t want to live in a world of what-ifs. I want to be able to look back and say “Yes, I have worked hard to grow into the person I am today.” Every morning ask yourself this question: Who do I want to become, and what obstacles must I conquer to get there? - EMILIA BONILLA / HAMILTON, CANADA
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For a long time, I thought when it rained it meant that God was crying. Though I’ve come to realize that rain serves a different purpose and holds a different meaning. Rain washes away all of the dirt and grime left on the surface leaving us with a clean, fresh start. Rain rids us of our problems. Rain waters our garden, nourishing our roots giving us a push to grow and face the world. Rain is forgiveness and acceptance. Rain is the first step to a brighter tomorrow. With each drop of rain, I no longer think of sad tears being wept instead I think tears of joy watering us, giving us a new beginning. - ASANTEWAAH OFOSUHENE / IRVINGTON, NJ In the past few years I’ve experienced what felt like a neverending, incredibly beautiful, yet unbelievably overwhelming, and at times even unbearable amount of personal growth. The type of growth that has you all kinds of excited, hopeful, in awe, stressed, confused, crying, and all too often feeling entirely alone. It’s been like a combination of bumper cars; a roller coaster; a rough ride of high highs and low lows. Sometimes I wondered if it was just a part of being in my early 20’s, a part of moving to a new city by myself and starting fresh, or just trying to find one’s place in the world. But the most amazing thing I’ve come to find is that the more I change, the more I feel like myself. It is so very nice to feel like oneself; my world is always becoming more peaceful because of it. - MANON CHANEY / HOLLYWOOD, CA (ARTWORK BELOW)
- SELINA YE / VANCOUVER, CANADA Photosynthesis. Root yourself in stable soil Substrate of substance When sprouting, It’s okay to be hesitant at first But when the time comes, Branch out, Claim your space. Indulge in the sunlight Without shame nor fear Drink up whatever you can, And don’t stop growing. Churn sweetness from what life offers Photosynthesize. and when winter comes, don’t forget, So will spring. — a guide for children of mother earth
Growth is a necessary factor in each of our lives. We must learn to grow with each passing experience that life hands us. Whether it be good or bad learning from each experience is so vital to bettering ourselves. I hope to notice my growth
me. I thought too much about what others thought of me. I was attempting to fit into the box my environment had built me, and it was starting to become a tedious task. My over-thinking and non-stop anxiety were stopping me from discovering my true
and notice how far I’ve come. - YASMIN GABRIELLE MURPHY / NASHVILLE, TN (PHOTO ABOVE)
ambitions, my passions, and my unfiltered desires. In the midst of these realizations, I discovered something huge. When you learn to disconnect from the mini catastrophic illusions you create for yourself and reconnect with your desired realities, life seems to flow smoother. If there’s one thing I want to leave you with, it’s this: comparison is a killer. Don’t live life in reaction to the people around you, comparing yourself to another stops you from focusing on your own growth and you lose in this process. Accept both the struggles and joys of living as your own person, I promise you will see yourself grow in all ways possible. In this, I found myself and I believe I am a better person for this. I now live happily foolish and hungry for more. - THANIA GARCIA / BURBANK, CA
On my 19th birthday, I got a tattoo. Inscribed under my chest are the words: “I AM MINE”. It’s unimaginable to think before those words sat in red ink on my skin, I never believed them. Last year was a time of growth for me. I graduated high school, started college, got my first job, my license and spent a summer lying about my whereabouts. Despite all this, I still felt 12 years old. I felt I had not done enough, learned enough, or experienced enough. I had completed all the milestones I had been looking forward to my entire life and yet, there was a void. For the longest time, it felt like I had two people living inside of
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Catch on fire if you must, sometimes everything needs to burn to the ground so that we may grow. - SASKIA ROBERTSON / LONDON, UK (ARTWORK ABOVE)
Fireweed grew through the ashes of ancient forests that succumbed to havoc and were obliterated by flames Fireweed blooms in purple and pink from strong green stems into intricate forms of flowers that litter the mass expanse of scorched earth destruction reared Fireweed resurrects every summer after months under mounds of ice, of darkness of compression and of isolation Fireweed reminds me there is always beauty in what is shrouded in bleakness Fireweed proves to me there is life after death -no flames nor ice will erase ethereal strength - MIA VOS / VANCOUVER, CANADA
When I was in first grade I was the tallest kid in my class. My shins ached as they pulled and tugged and stretched until my plum-colored velvet track pants no longer fit—a growth for which I am deeply grateful. Before long, I found myself remaining at the comfortable height which I will most likely inhabit for the rest of my life. The growing pains, however, did not go away. The pull and tug continued on as I looked for colleges, craning my neck to look past the city and towards the mountains up north. They kept a tight hold as I donned my bright red cap and gown, hanging on as I packed up my mom’s RAV4, and sitting beside me in a dorm room 300 miles away from home. The growing pains ebb and flow, as most things do. They cling harder in winter, when Vermont gets buried under slush and bitter lake winds; they loosen when the last frost breaks. But growing isn’t all stretched-out shins and aching minds. I wear my hiking boots on days where I want to feel taller, when I want to stand as an equal among the trees at the top of the hill. I push my shoulders back and hold myself straighter when I need to take up a little more space in the universe. I watch as my friends rise and stretch and reach on their own paths as we all sprout side-by- side. When I was in first grade, I was the tallest kid in my class. Or at least that’s how I remember it. - MARGOT NELSON / NARBERTH, USA You and I are stretched and wrung like salt-water taffy, the tears that fall from our eyes came from the ocean’s waves which toss and turn like we do when we dream. Neither of us learned how to swim, we only know how not to drown amidst the electric eels that threaten to pull us under with
the threatening buzz of a mechanical machine scanning the bubbles on a sheet of parchment that seem to define our very survival. Our tongues have learned to navigate the winding and uneven streets of communication where truth seems to cause fatal accidents and that sometimes, it is the lie that yields safety behind glass windows that look upon the open road. Hearts worn on sleeves are tucked away behind layers, as if protecting a newborn from a cruel winter that licks its lips in anticipation of gobbling it whole with numbness and pain. Our blood, shed upon the snow, falls with the stolen grace of scarlet rose petals abandoning support to leave behind skeletons locked in towers surrounded by thorns. Hearts are pricked and prodded by means of examining what we are made of, as if we are our own doctors trying our best not to kill the patient. With the scrutiny of a gardener, we are able to point out every seed of a flaw that carries the annoyance of weeds. But years have passed now, so we should have learned that weeds will grow through any boundary, that weakness will thrive despite flamethrowers that burn our lungs or liquids that promise to rid us of the vile aftertaste of insecurity. To know one’s roots, we must be pulled out and exposed naked, covered in dirty truths. To recognize the growth in the pain we find value in failure. JESSICA ZHANG / RED DEER, CANADA I’ve grown to love the process of growing, and the change that comes with it. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was stay young. Growing older seemed frightening and it seemed impossible to handle. The world was perfect as is. Why should I have to take on such a huge task if I didn’t need to? I felt comfortable in where the world stood, and where I stood with the world. The older I got, the more I realized that no matter what, the world would keep changing, and it was my job to embrace that change, to become a part of it as much as possible. I learned more about the world’s problems, which meant the world wasn’t as beautiful as I thought. I suddenly felt an inclination, a strong obligation to become a part of this change. Now I can’t bear thinking of a world that stays the same. We NEED change in the world, and I would tell young me that the world isn’t as perfect as she thinks it is. No, it’s far from perfect. I know that I can’t single handedly fix the world and all its problems, but it makes me happy knowing that with this growth comes incentive and empowerment, a feeling that I can’t shake off anymore. I’ve learnt to not only accept growth, but to love and encourage it. Growing up still seems scary to me, but I don’t care if I’m scared, because more important than this daunting feeling is the feeling that you have done, in some way, even if it’s little, done everything you could’ve to transform this world. This growth I am experiencing, it is for the sake of the growth of the world, and I wouldn’t want to have it be any other way. - ANUSHKA DAKSHIT / TAMPA, FL
I am not the girl I was six years ago, No longer am I four foot ten in contrasting tall socks, Accompanied by a ribbon tied ponytail drooping along the nape of my neck, Sly smiles and suggestive stares disguised as an effortless attempt to be cool have transcended into a desire for tomorrow, My very cherry lip balm no longer adorns the careless melancholy leaving my lips as I wished to do so with the world, My voice no longer remains meek and nonexistent in a time of need, The girl with a constant burden of bubblegum scented secrets has disappeared, The girl with a loathing for the world in which she had not explored yet, The world she had deemed cruel and unkind, The world had seemingly ceased to exist. I am not the girl I was six years ago, No longer am I limited by the abilities of my body, My soul has grown much more than five foot three, Accompanied by the sheer knowledge that I am more than enough, Selfacceptance and flashes of good fortune have transformed into peace within a body that was once a cage, Gleaming grins embellish the certainty of my existence, My voice provides a helping hand to lead those to the light, The girl possesses a soul which radiates like the sun, The girl with a lust for life in a world unexplored, The world which is vibrant and solicitous, The world had seeming been brought to life. - TYLER GRACE STEWART / JACKSON, TN
- JACOB ROMERO / CHICAGO, IL
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“A Wise Tale” Change and realignment so you must Readjust Mimic symmetry to balance Mimic symmetry for direction and so you must Explore you mentality Mature your mind Release burdens Become intentional Understanding Blame yourself for everything Now you have control use your power use your power Darling, Change is the myth we have mistaken growth for. - GENEVA DIAMOND / ATLANTA, GA
- CHARISSE CELESTIAL / SAN FRANCISCO, CA
- ALLISON BARR / PORTLAND, OR
A younger version of my mother got an early start on preparing a younger version of me for all that was to come if I stuck with the grandiose goals I had created. It was our little ritual — every week on the long drive home from my violin lesson, I would speak fluently with my bright-eyed mother on topics that came to include such words and phrases as “ivy league,” “standardized test scores,” and “extracurriculars”. This began at age seven. I lived for these conversations. My mother, wellread, told me in advance about the harsh reality: academia is not relaxing, and would not be for me, despite my enthusiasm for learning and my ambition as a student. Entering high school, I later learned, is like being thrown to the beasts. Academia is competition. It’s been said time and time again, shoved in our faces and yelled in our ears as the self-love movements pick up speed within our generation: “comparison is the thief of joy”. And yes, it’s true; I’m sure we’ve all experienced feeling a little worse after sizing ourselves up against someone we see as “superior”. Academia is competition, and competition is an open invitation for comparison. We line ourselves up in track lanes and on judging stages to be placed in order relative to our fellow competitors — first to last, best to worst, most deserving to least deserving. Our generation is hard-
working. We are reachers, doers, getters. It may seem natural to resent those who could potentially be honored instead of you, making your hard work for naught. We resent those in our immediate academic environment that pose any type of a threat. Maybe this is why a friend’s better homework grade (which, in my mind, could potentially lead to a better test score, a better letter grade, a better GPA, a better chance of his or her being accepted and my being rejected) used to have the power to make my stomach churn with dramatic force. I had never been very competitive before high school, yet I found myself becoming reluctant to help even my close friends in academic matters. Selfish, isn’t it? This isn’t just me, though — this applies to the better part of our generation. After we notice the initial feeling of unease, we start to push. Staying after school, staying in from social activities, staying up late and raising our caffeine intake accordingly. The independent endeavors that we previously took pride in, whether creative work or otherwise, begin to fade as we lose time for them. After a while, we become completely self-driven in our academic performance. And driving yourself to work hard is great, until you accidentally start simultaneously driving your
- CHAPIN PATEL / AUSTIN, TX
own well-being into the ground. Children yearn for knowledge. At some point I realized that my own love for learning, though temporarily hidden by academia, couldn’t have been completely erased. I have found a way to work within the system. I now mind myself and only myself, because I know that all I need to do is work hard and success will find me. I read more of what I want, and I study consciously and healthily for intellectual gain as well as a letter grade. I have aligned my extracurricular activities and service projects with what I’m passionate about, what makes my heart pound, what I love — and they love me back. And I love myself, now, for what I’ve done for my world, my community, and myself. I understand now that this was the original intention. I don’t think academia ever wanted to kill anyone. I was supposed to be learning and “getting involved” with vivacious passion this whole time, beginning as a seven-year-old in my mother’s Prius to now, as a senior at my high school gates. The darker side of academic pressures distracted me and my generation for a little while. But, after stepping back and taking a few deep breaths and a long look at things, we couldn’t be distracted from what really matters. - HANNAH FAULWELL
- ISABELLA RUTH GRISOLI / NEW ORLEANS, LA local wolves — 35
- ELISA VANDERGRIFF / KNOXVILLE, TN
- AMANDA HOPE / COLUMBIA, SC
- YUNA CATRIONA ISOBEL / LONDON, UK
- GENEVA DIAMOND / ATLANTA, GA
- CHELSEA BARCENAS / WACO, TX
- AVERY LUCAS / HOUSTON, TX
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Thank you for the past six years. Itâ€™s been pure bliss and the best is yet to come. Here are six stories from six issues throughout the years. Look out for more upcoming projects, collaborations and ways to get involved. Cheers!
WRITTEN BY CATHRINE KHOM ILLUSTRATIONS BY MEGAN KATE POTTER
HALSEY ISSUE 19 - GIRL POWER PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEXIE ALLEY Remember the infamous blue hair? Halsey. I remember when I received an email from her management who reached out about featuring her in our magazine. Let’s just say that wow, this Girl Power issue has a special place in my heart. She was one of our very first cover talents who wrote an entry as their main feature piece. It was raw, personal and mind you, the photo session was taken backstage in Ohio and it’s still so iconic!
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LANY ISSUE 29 - ON THE RISE PHOTOGRAPHY BY SKIP HOPKINS Before I share anything about this particular feature, a huge thank you to my sister, Sophia for introducing me to this band. She mentioned countless times about how she discovered this band from 8tracks and their genuine connection with their fans. LANY was the first band we ever featured in Local Wolves and it was also their first cover of a magazine! From wardrobe to onset locations, you can sense a bit of mid-2000s vibes. Fun fact: this photo shoot was inspired from the album booklet photos for Lines, Vines and Trying Times by the Jonas Brothers. They were a blast to work with for this issue and weâ€™re so happy to see them thriving.
ESTÉE LALONDE ISSUE 33 - NEW BEGINNINGS PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT SHORE I look for inspiration everywhere and whenever I go on YouTube—Estée is always my go-to gal for everything from fashion, lifestyle and beauty. She is the stylish friend that is super down to earth and funny. This cover feature was quite special because we got to collaborate with photographer, Matt Shore who took beautiful photographs at her home and her neck of the woods. If you’re an avid subscriber of her vlogs, you’ll see snippets of her gorgeous home and of course, Reggie!
ANTHONY QUINTAL ISSUE 45 - EXPRESSION PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE ERNST I met Anthony with my copy editor, Sophia (coolest sister ever, tbh) at Kitchen Mouse in Highland Park—one of my favorite vegan brunch spots ever. We discussed several mood boards and one of them was all red, Anthony’s favorite color. The Expression issue was one of my favorites because we pushed the limits of what we’re creating as a publication. Our photographer, Danielle is such a visionary and a dream to work with—she brought red light bulbs, a container of spaghetti and she really brought the mood board to life.
BRANDON WOELFEL ISSUE 46 - SIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALY KULA One of the coolest parts of creating a new issue is figuring out the theme and choosing who would best fit for the cover. For our first ever photography based issue, without a doubt it was the ultimate goal to feature Brandon Woelfel in Local Wolves. Besides me fangirling, it was such a pleasure to work with Brandon and his continuous support of Local Wolves means the world to us. Iâ€™m very excited to continue to share more stories of fellow photographers across the globe in our future issues.
CONAY GRAY ISSUE 51 - SELF-LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAIGE SARA First off, Conan is the sweetest human ever and this Self-Love issue was so much fun to work on. Our photographer, Paige Sara just nailed it with the photos and it was fun to collaborate together on the mood board with Paige and Conan that best fit with his overall vibe. The primary colors and just being there in the studio—it’s the life! After the shoot, Sophia and I showed Conan around Huntington Beach. We snacked on acai bowls from Banzai Bowls and reminisced about our favorite childhood TV shows.
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jasper bones WRITTEN BY JASMINE RODRIGUEZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY BETHANY PANGILINAN
JASPER BONES exudes the funk and soul that will have listeners wanting to roller skate around a disco ball. The skeletal framework of his songs radiate the simultaneous shine of love and the reality of loneliness. Meanwhile most kids his age are dealing with the thick of finals week, nineteen-year-old Bones has mastered a sophisticated versatility and originality in his songs that display his maturity and helped him achieve a performance spot at SXSW this year. His Chicano identity and Pasadena roots shape the themes echoed throughout the instrumentals and lyrics of his songs. The DNA composition of Bone’s songs are groovy-enticed melodies with romantic guitar licks that swoon any listener. He simultaneously credits his father’s admiration oldies and Los Angeles culture for planting an influence within his own sound. “My dad was always into classic LA culture—with like the classic cars and oldies and stuff, so growing up listening to that stuff definitely influenced my sound because I wanted to make music similar to that, but with a modern touch. So the LA culture definitely influenced me, I love it,” he says. Growing up in a Hispanic household, Jasper Bones discussed that his parents always supported his unconventional artleaning talents. Rather, his parents were worried if his passion for music would result to being a temporary hobby, much like the brief time he spent on the sports he took up as a kid. “My parents definitely supported me, but I think their only worry or concern was because everything else I picked up before music, like sports, I usually ended up giving up. Or more so, I would try them and I wouldn’t really like them long term so I
would just stop playing. So they were worried that music might be another thing I would just pick up for a short amount of time and then just not want to do it ever again. But now that they’ve seen how much work I’ve put in and how serious I am about it, yeah, they love it, they’re super supportive,” he explains. Bones’ played in a few different bands during high school and would occasionally post covers of songs onto his Twitter, where Bones is seated in his room with his guitar strap hanging around his shoulder. Jasper Bones puts his own soulful twist on Tyler the Creator’s “See You Again,” which has entranced over 73 thousand viewers on YouTube. In the video, he is only accompanied by his Gibson SG guitar, a killer falsetto, a mic, and a red denim jacket. Despite the minimalistic style of the video, Jasper captures attention with his combined charisma and ending guitar solo that extends the original song’s wavy rhythm. Jasper Bones’s bilingual hit, “Oscuridad,” which translates to “Darkness” acts as an ode to loneliness and the unraveling rapture it can have on someone. This plea for Bones’s loneliness manifest into a song where listeners can easily relate to the blind feeling of isolation. Bones thought that weaving Spanish into the lyrics of “Oscuridad” was spurred upon by a natural process. “It’s cool. I mean, I do it, because it feels natural. I really like changing it up and challenging myself so that I don’t just stick to one thing. I definitely love having that influence of my culture and being able to pack it into my own music,” he says.
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Bones cites the soul-driven songstress, Amy Winehouse, as one of the artists that played a pivotal role in creating his own material. “I probably wouldn’t be singing if I didn’t get into Valerie by Amy Winehouse. I really used that song as, sort of, a building block to find my own voice. I really loved the way she, I don’t know...something about her tone and her voice in general is so nice because it’s so raw. Definitely, that song really had an impact on my voice now,” he responds. The sentiment from “What’s Your Secret” is similar to the simultaneous reckless sensation and everlasting beauty of falling in love. Jasper Bones states that songs that are full of emotion often organically come from moments in which, “I’m alone in my room. No distractions. When I’m just locked up in my room...simpin.” He recounts what ran through his head when brainstorming the making of the silky, euphoric “What’s Your Secret.” “It was more about the feelings that someone can cause on you. Sometimes you can become so entranced by somebody that it feels like there’s nothing else your mind pays attention to, like all your focus is on them. On the hook I sing about time stopping because sometimes people have that effect on you, where just like everything pauses for a moment and you just focus on them,” he says. The feeling of lovestruck infatuation has also embedded itself with how Jasper Bones has crafted his passion for music. When creating songs, he doesn’t have an organized plan of dealing with instrumentation before lyrics or vice versa, he simply makes a song that parallels how he feels. “I usually change it up. Depends on what I’m feeling. Sometimes when I’m stuck in a car for a while, I just start writing, what are I guess poems at first because there’s not music attached to them. So sometimes I write the lyrics first. Sometimes I’ll just be playing with chord progressions in my room, but yeah, I like to change it up,” he explains.
Among his recent accolades, Jasper Bones recently rocked the outdoor stage at Mohawk Friday for SXSW, toured alongside Cuco, and had a slot in the bill next to Tyler, the Creator and BROCKHAMPTON at the Observatory this December. Bones is wonderstruck by amazement at the fact that the crowd is bellowing the lyrics to his songs with him and that he got to perform at a mini festival right alongside some of his idols. “It’s crazy when you put it that way. It’s like, ‘Damn! That actually happened!’ It’s unreal still! To me, and I’ll always think this, it’s crazy that people actually pay to watch me. That’s such a weird concept to me, but it’s like the best feeling in the world to know that people really fuck with the sound and, I don’t know, my art and that people appreciate it. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily predicted that this was exactly what was going to happen, but I definitely feel like I’ve put in the work and it’s not just out of nowhere and it’s not spontaneous.” Jasper Bones is an artistic amalgamation, who masterfully blends soul and jazz-induced progressions into love-yearning ballads. His massive potential sparkles through his two tracks that have both exceeded over 100,000 Spotify plays and numerous spots on people’s Valentine’s Day playlists. The two tracks he has released and the countless covers he has posted have acted as an appetizer for those who cannot wait to hear a full Jasper Bones project. Jasper recounts his goal of releasing an EP and producing more content for his eager listeners as some of his short-term goals. “Right now, I want to finish everything for my EP and then get that out. My biggest concern right now is just focusing on getting more content out there. More songs, everything, in general. I’m definitely still in the developing phase. I can still play around with my sound. I just want to keep playing shows and eventually want to be at the point where I can headline my own tours and be able to travel and keep doing what I love, but with more content out there.”
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jackson penn WRITTEN BY LAUREN SPEIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY BY DILLON MATTHEW
The production of a hit song requires more hands than one might assume, and award-winning producer, songwriter, and musician Freddy Wexler is a face behind countless chart-toppers. The LA based storyteller’s discography is nothing short of impressive; his work has been recorded by artists like Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Martin Garrix, to name a few. Like many artists, he found solace in performing and writing music at a young age, but quickly became a prominent figure behind the scenes of the industry. “I started writing songs at 15. I taught myself piano and fell in love with it. While my friends played sports, I played piano. It was my outlet. I was an artist, I signed a deal, and played a bunch of shows,” he says. “But somewhere along the way, I became a behind-the-scenes guy, developing talent and co-writing songs for major artists. I woke up one day and realized I’d lost my own voice in the process.” He decided it was about time he explored what he had to say for himself. Under the alias JACKSON PENN, he is writing and performing songs himself again. His recent debut single “Streetlights on Mars” is a heartfelt, dreamlike tune that was wildly successful on Spotify upon its release, surpassed 3 million streams and hit #17 on Global Viral charts. Poignant storytelling is Penn’s goal, and his songwriting process varies depending on the intended performer. “Sometimes I start with a lyric or concept, but usually the music comes to me first,” he says. “When I write with other artists, I try to understand their perspectives, making choices that I hope will resonate with them. But no one understands my perspective more than I do. Writing for oneself is easier and more cathartic; there’s no guessing or walking on eggshells. It’s about self expression, and it’s the ultimate freedom.” When asked which musicians have inspired him most, Penn lists a slew of icons: “Ray Charles, Billy Joel, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, and Kanye West.” Literary works like that of J.D. Salinger have also influenced him artistically: “I love distinct voices, and I don’t really want to grow up either. Peter Pan is cool, but to me, Holden Caulfield is the real OG.”
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Though Penn is based in LA, his roots stem from the pulsing, vibrant streets of New York City; an atmosphere that has undeniably influenced his character and artistry. His words are full of admiration for the concrete jungle: “New York has been home to many of my heroes, from Billy Joel and Carol King to Joan Didion. To me, it’s a feeling—it’s rowdy and alive. It’ll strangle you if you let it, but if you can keep up, it’ll bring you back to life. New York has changed a lot over the years, and even the New York I knew and loved was vastly different than the one I saw in films and read about in great literature. Still, the mere thought of New York itself inspires me. I think I’ll always consider myself a New Yorker.” After years of working diligently behind the scenes, he has picked up a few tips for embarking upon his own singing career from the major artists he’s penned music for. Working with successful artists like Kanye West has taught him one thing in particular: “Bet on yourself. That’s what all these people did. If you’re talented and you can imagine it, it can happen.” As of late, Penn is keeping himself busy; both crafting his own work and continuing to write for other artists. “Making my own material has been the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I feel like I’m 12. Aside from that, I’ve been working on an album for The Spencer Lee Band; Spencer’s insanely talented so that’s been a lot of fun.” There is a lot in store for Penn this year, as he reveals he has a few more singles, an album, and visuals in the works. Jackson Penn is a name we hope continues to grace the charts, and with his expertise and knack for storytelling, there is no doubt that success will follow.
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hairrari barber shop MANETAMED IN WILLIAMSBURG, NEW YORK WRITTEN BY NATASA KVESIC PHOTOGRAPHY BY EMILY DUBIN
While others try to sustain and encourage the chaos and disorder that has plagued our country for centuries—which has created environments of rejection and danger for those who do not fit the idealism that was put in place with the creation of the Constitution—there are people in this very nation who are combating this predisposed toxicity with acceptance, love and by providing a space for freedom of self expression. Magdalena Ryczko—a queer, female Polish immigrant—is one of the people standing defiant in the face of opposing powers by creating these safe spaces in New York with her gender neutral, and inclusive barber shops HAIRRARI and MANETAMED. With two Hairrari shops located in Bushwick and East Village and her Manetamed shop in Williamsburg, Ryczko has tapped into an attractive business strategy: representation and acceptance. The birth of Hairrari is one that is equally as empowering and unique as it’s current mission. Ryczko—who worked for a female barber shop owner before opening her own place—credits her previous job as inspiration for open-
ing her own business and making sure it was accessible and accepting to everyone. This idea led to the shop being a gender neutral zone, one where nobody felt pressured by the traditional toxic masculinity that barber shops tend to foster. “When I started I wanted to create a welcoming space for anyone and that is what attracted a lot of LGBTQ people and me being a lesbian and part of the community made people feel comfortable and safe coming in,” Ryczko explained. “The LGBTQ community who was visiting and sharing their experiences of other shops made me realize that there was a gap between barber shops and salons and that we helped to fill that gap somehow by being a safe space and becoming a known safe space in turn and that made us feel good to define ourselves in that way.” The environment and inclusivity of the shop has obviously drawn many people and acts as a sort of safe haven. Since the creation of the first Hairrari, three other locations have been opened, each one offering a different layout, a different vibe and most importantly: a different team.
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The way in which Ryczko selects her hair stylists is another layer of the distinctive foundation of Hairrari. “Reliable, positive, honest, creative, motivated, awesome all around are some of the qualities I look for. Being a team player is huge,” Ryczko said. “I believe in the growth of my people so I’m willing to put in the time and money in their education in order to build a successful team so dedication, loyalty and respect is what I ask for in return.” And she stays true to her word. Ryczko has developed a training program where her future goal is that a person who is inexperienced in cutting hair can be on the floor of the shop within 3 months. Further dedicating her time to her team and the shop, Ryczko has even made YouTube videos to help train any new hires. One of the stylists who was trained by Ryczko, Garrick, began working at Hairrari two years ago and had no previous experience cutting hair: “My training was challenging. I would say that the training itself had reinforced my impression of Magda and team to be hardworking and passionate.” Even some stylists who had gone to barber school or had some knowledge on hair styling before arriving at Hairrari, learned new tricks and grew through the guidance they received from Ryczko. A stylist at the East Village location, Sydney, recalls their time spent practicing with Ryczko: “My experience training with Magda was really helpful and important to me. I went to cosmetology school in high school and also barber school a few years ago and both of those experiences didn’t teach me in the informative and hands on way that Magda did,” Sydney said. “She made sure I understood everything and was always comfortable with what she was teaching.”
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“hairrari’s mission is to bring people together and spread acceptance, unity, openness and life without judgement and help people to stay true to themselves and live without fear.”
By opening her doors and arms to the LGBTQ+ community within New York, Ryczko has positively impacted her clients, her employees and the surrounding community. Her passion and dedication to making sure Hairrari and Manetamed offer an accepting environment, while still delivering great haircuts, is not lost on whoever steps into one of the shops. Maia, who came to America just three years ago, works at all three locations of Hairrari and Manetamed. Having never before cut hair, Maia’s been training as a barber at the Bushwick location but also works at the Williamsburg and East Village shops as a receptionist. She credits working in the accepting environment of the shop as a source of pride: “It’s very nice and comforting being in a complete judgement-free zone such as Hairrari. Im proud to work for a company that is respectful and kind to everyone no matter their sexual orientation, race, nationality, etc,” said Maia.
receive—you can’t help but feel like you’ve been adopted by a caring and loving family that genuinely cares about your freedom of expression.
“We get positive comments from satisfied clientele everyday! Some of them tell us directly how glad they are they found us after struggling with other barber shops and others show how comfortable they are with us by opening up about their private life, relationship drama, stress at work or simply their plans for weekend. Many of us become good friends with our clients, as well.” WIth just one look at the Hairrari social media account, you can see how much of a family the team is. From videos of the hairstylists encouraging each other, sharing updates on new hires and snapping pics of the latest hairstyles that clients
There is no doubt that Hairrari has made a difference within it’s seven years of opening—with many more businesses and stores surfacing around the nation that have adopted the same gender-neutral approach. Ryczko tapped into the need for representation early on in the game and continues to do everything she can in her power to make her clients comfortable: “Hairrari’s mission is to bring people together and spread acceptance, unity, openness and life without judgement and help people to stay true to themselves and live without fear.”
As Ryczko’s business grows and becomes more popular, there are hopes that more businesses will adopt the same gender-neutral and inclusive environment that Hairrari and Manetamed do. “Before working at Hairrari I allowed myself to tolerate spaces that weren’t as inclusive but now I am extremely aware of how unacceptable it is for a shop or business to not make everyone feel safe and accepted,” Sydney explained. “I have had clients compare our shop to other barbershops and how hyper masculine and judgmental they are. I feel that just by creating and enforcing a safe space for clients and telling people around me how great our shop is I am helping other people want to create similar environments.”
august eve WRITTEN BY MADDI COLE PHOTOGRAPHY BY BETHANY PANGILINAN
If you’ve ever wanted a combination of emotional filled lyrics and dreamy pop beats, look no further than AUGUST EVE. The twenty-year-old singer from Los Angeles is transforming her SoundCloud recorded songs into a fully developed music career by incorporating her fine arts background, her identity, and her booming voice into her music. August is still establishing herself within the music industry—she started off in choir and taught herself to play piano by ear. However, she never really dreamed of being a musician for the rest of her life. “I literally thought I would be an archeologist. I really loved digging! However, I later realized that music was something I enjoyed and I just kept going.” August grew up surrounded by the fine arts. In addition to playing piano and singing, August also loves opera and ballet, and she tries to incorporate that love into her music today. “I also realize that fine arts are really unaccessible for a lot of people so something that excites me is being able to reference these things but in a way that is new, modern, or simply more relatable.” The incorporation of fine arts with pop music is a feat usually not attempted by artists, but August does so elegantly. While her music may not always sound like an opera, August says that the style of the fine arts will always emanate through her aesthetic.
Many artists struggle with where to begin writing music, and for some, the writing never comes naturally. But for August, writing music was something that she grew up with, and writing her first song did not so much challenge her as it encouraged her to keep pushing forward. “I wrote my first real song when I was a freshman in high school and I don’t remember struggling with it too hard. I grew up playing music with my friends but the moment I started writing by myself, It became really clear that I wanted to be a solo artist as opposed to a front person in a band.” And with that, she began creating a sound of her own that had the freedom to grow and flourish outside of a label. “I do feel like when I was younger, writing and self producing was a newer thing to me and SoundCloud was a great tool because I could upload new tracks every day If I wanted to and get feedback almost instantly. Obviously, I take my time when releasing music these days but I learned so much then and I wouldn’t be the same artist if not for those times.” Her premiere EP, Ghost, was self-released, leading to a smooth transition between releasing music on SoundCloud and releasing an EP. Aside from writing hauntingly beautiful music, August also has directed two of her own music videos.
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“i take my time when releasing music these days but i learned so much then and i wouldn’t be the same artist if not for those times.”
In September of 2015, August released the video for “Ghost”, a video portraying a well-dressed group of girls that encounter love, loss, and heartbreak through the course of the song. The video is stylistically just as dreamy as the song itself, with hazy shots of the girls spending their days together in the sunshine of California. One shot, however, poses a lingering darkness through the video, a sort of omen as to what is to come. This shot is view through a windshield of a car on a dark and foggy day that acts as a common theme throughout the video, repeating itself every couple of scenes. The video ends sadly, with two of the friends developing feelings for each other that surpass the threshold of friendship, and being pushed to their demise. The music video for “Ghost,” will break your heart but leave you in awe of the art that August Eve has created all on her own. “I used to make little movies when I was a kid and always fantasized about being a director so I was ecstatic making that video. I’m generally never happy with anything I make but I remember being really pleased with how it came out.”
Her second music video, “Historia de un Amor,” is a cover of a Mexican classic in which August pays tribute to her Mexican background. The song is entirely in Spanish, and sounds like a modern day Ranchera ballad. The music video tells a story of a nun who is conflicted between her devotion to the church and her falling in love with a man. It is passionate, sad, and full of drama, and the song represents an even further showing of August’s identity in her music. The video for “Historia de un Amor” was also directed by August herself, and she takes on an entirely different style than “Ghost” by incorporating Mexican style into the production of the video. There is a lot in store for the career of August Eve, and what she has released so far is only a taste of what is to come. She just went to SXSW in March where she headlined a set. August has been playing shows with Cuco, an LA based Latino artist who is selling out shows regularly. While August has not officially announced a release date for new music, keep an eye out for it coming soon! August Eve will be enchanting us to follow her every move until then.
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hayden byerly WRITTEN BY TAYLLOR LEMPHERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK BHATIA
What makes a good story? Is it perhaps a likeable character? Witty dialogue, or epic adventure and mind-bending plot twists? True, many of your favorite stories portrayed on the silver screen or captured in the black ink of book pages have those things, and more. But whether we’re aware of it or not, what really drives us onward in a story is the protagonist’s inner and outer transformation. We celebrate with their triumphs, feel our eyes wet with their loses, and yell at them when they do something stupid. And as they grow, we find that we have the capacity to grow, too. No matter how far along they’ve come in the journey, there’s this sense that there’s still more. More transformation, more reinvention, more soaring highs and devastating lows to come. Our lives are like little novels, speaking of this constant evolution of the self, and promising that when one adventure ends, a new one is about to start. That’s certainly the case for actor HAYDEN BYERLY. You may know him as Jude Foster on Freeform’s celebrated family drama series, The Fosters. And at the moment, he’s found himself in the midst of a transition in his story, and that of the character he grew up representing. This year marks the fifth and final season of The Fosters. This means Hayden moving on from a show, cast, and character he’s been immersed in during his high school years. By the sounds of it, he’s readily embracing this new chapter of his story, taking with him all that he’s learned from the past few years.
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“Having your childhood televised for thousands of people to watch is pretty crazy,” Hayden shares on growing up while being in the spotlight, “but it’s also very cool to have those years of my life documented forever.” He also keenly points out that, yes, we saw him grow up on screen, but that was Jude, not him. The beautiful and complicated aspect of growing up taking on both the roles of himself and Jude in their own distinct stories is that he was able to live two lives at once. He had to face his own problems growing up, as did Jude, so he had to navigate the emotions and anguish of two people at once. As overwhelming as that was, Hayden’s thankful “to come out of the experience as the person that I am, and to have learned from two different people, two different minds.” How does he feel about moving on? While the thought of not being Jude anymore is a strange one, Hayden says that he’s spent so much time as that character that he’s ready for the next character that he gets to “learn and grow with.” Naturally, this is a time of feeling torn between past and future. But what’s been on Hayden’s mind as he lives in the now? What kinds of things has he learned on his journey that he’s applying, and wants to share with others? Hayden makes the great point that we’re all our own worst critic, but that we can also be our own biggest fan. “No one is harder on yourself than you and it's always going to be like that,” he says, “but powering through and persevering against those fears is what it's all about.” Facing a life transition is a perfect time for that inner critic to raise its ugly head, but Hayden refuses to back down. “I have too much determination and want something like this so much that I'm not going to let anything stop me,” he declares. “I'm going to try my hardest and do my best and put every piece of me into this, because I love it.”
Facing imminent change, Hayden is striving not only to be his own biggest fan, but equipping others to grow in positivity. He acknowledges the power that social media has in our culture, and being someone in the spotlight, he wants to make sure that what kids see online is influencing for the better. "We need positive uplifting leaders in this world and I hope that all of the future projects that I get to be a part of help people in some way,” he insists. “Jude was really empowering for the LGBTQ community and helped make a difference in the lives of many young kids and adults out there. I hope that I continue to have the honor of being someone like that.” With fierce hope and optimism, Hayden is turning the page to the newest stage of his career. Though determined, he’s holding an open mind for whatever comes his way. “I’m excited for whatever happens next,” shares Hayden, “There’s so many things that I want to do and I want to seize every opportunity that presents itself to me. I never want to turn anything down or say no to anyone because I'm so excited to do as much as I can.” The unknown of the journey excites Hayden. With the next scenes of his life’s story still unwritten, there’s so many things that could happen and he doesn’t know what’s coming next. “Finding out where I go from here is nerve-wracking,” he admits, “but I can’t wait to see where I end up. That's just life, we're just waiting for what happens next and we always hope it's the best.” So as Hayden Byerly bids farewell to Jude and faces the unknown that a new chapter brings, he does so with hope. And we the audience are hooked by his transformation, eager to see who he becomes next.
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cub sport WRITTEN BY OLIVIA CLARK PHOTOGRAPHY BY LUCY BLUMENFIELD
It’s been a whirlwind year for CUB SPORT, the Australian alt/pop band, who are currently on their first headlining tour in North America. This past September, the quartet made up of Tim Nelson, Zoe Davis, Sam Netterfield, Dan Puusaari, released their highly anticipated sophomore album BATS. The raw and honest album chronicles the journey of lead singer Tim Nelson coming out as gay and his admittance of his love for fellow band member, Sam. Local Wolves spoke with Nelson about the process of making BATS, LGBTQ+ icons, and what it’s like on tour in America. BATS is the second full length album from Cub Sport. Their debut album, This is Our Vice, was released in 2016. Nelson began writing songs in high school and called on his friends Dan, Zoe and Sam to play a show with him; they’ve been a band ever since. “We released our first EP under the name Cub Scouts in 2012. Cub Scouts was kind of a play on the fact that we all looked like babies, which worked for us at the time, but in 2013 we received a legal letter from Scouts Australia saying we weren’t allowed to use the word ‘scout’ in our name anymore,” explains Nelson. “We ran through hundreds of options and landed on Sport because it felt like it had a similar energy.” Nelson loves the music scene in Australia and how it’s impacted the band. “We’re quite spread out geographically, but it still feels like there’s a sense of community,” he says. “We’ve worked a lot with local producers, artists and photographers so I feel like our sound and aesthetic has definitely been influenced by being in Australia, even if Cub Sport isn’t the first thing that might spring to mind when people think of an Australian look or sound.” That sound that Cub Sport has developed has grown and changed over time. On the differences between This is Our Vice and BATS, Nelson explains, “There’s a new confidence and freedom in what we’re doing and I feel like I can be myself and follow my creative vision without worrying about what people will think.”
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That newfound musical courage stems from Nelson’s new relationship with bandmate Sam, which has given the band a queer voice in the music industry. “It feels really good to be able to use our voice to encourage the LGBTQ+ community,” Nelson relishes. “We’ve had the privilege of meeting a bunch of people at our shows who have said that we’ve helped them learn to be proud of their queer identity, which is unreal.” Nelson is inspired by Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste and Jonny Pierce of The Drums, two gay figures in indie music. Artists like Troye Sivan, Frank Ocean and BROCKHAMPTON have also been influential on the band. Before getting together as a couple, Sam and Tim had been best friends for years, so beginning a romantic relationship “didn’t really feel like that much of a change.” Shortly after the two got together, Tim wrote “O Lord”, one of the singles from BATS, which is accompanied by a colorful and emotional music video. “[The song] was the result of me processing a huge mix of emotions — being truly happy, openly gay and openly in-love but still experiencing this residual anxiety of a homophobic upbringing — feeling, by default, like for some reason I could lose it all or I wasn’t deserving or something.” The two are now happily engaged and planning to marry in August in between their headlining tour and fall support tour with Vance Joy. Cub Sport have been touring since February. Their North American tour concludes in May before the band heads to the UK and Europe. They recently announced that they’ll be supporting Vance Joy on his Australian arena tour. “My favorite part [about touring] is playing the songs with the band! It brings this new life and energy to the album, which feels amazing,” gushes Nelson. “The sing-alongs have been huge and we’ve had people crying in the audience at every show so far — it’s been a really special vibe.”
“there’s a new confidence and freedom in what we’re doing and i feel like i can be myself and follow my creative vision without worrying about what people will think.”
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WRITTEN BY NATAŠA KVESIĆ
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE ERNST
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Let’s go back in time. To 1959, when sibling rock ‘n roll duo Santo & Johnny released their first—and most noteworthy—single “Sleepwalk.” Having decided to pursue a career in music at the age of 16, Johnny Farina dropped out of school in 1957 and formed a band with his brother Santo Farina, who was 20 years old at the time. Two years later, after a late-night jam session, the brothers birthed one of the most iconic songs in music history and soared to the top of the charts in America. Now, fast forward to June 2016 to a video posted by the Twitter account @icryduringsex, it showed nothing but their sweatshirt and guitar, strumming the chords of the very same song that rocketed Santo & Johnny to fame. Picking at the strings of the guitar in the video was artist—and this issue’s cover star—CUCO, who soon experienced the true star power magic of that dreamy, shoegaze classic with an almost parallel rise to fame.
Hailing from Hawthorne, California, Cuco— whose real name is Omar Banos—is adored for his heartfelt, smooth records that act as odes to the trials and tribulations of love, recited in both English and Spanish. Reminiscent of the love ballads of the 50’s and 60’s, Cuco says he doesn’t necessarily have a distinct source of inspiration when it comes to the sound of his music, but his lyrics and writing process certainly do. “I’ve always liked the feeling of nostalgia... I don’t know, I like when music makes me feel that type of way. Tackling that form of feeling there’s something beyond the music that’s present, it gives you more [of ] a visual perspective of stuff,” explained Cuco. “‘Oh man, this song just totally reminds me of something!’...even if it reminds you of nothing, it’s the song that is very present in your emotions and what you imagine, so I like it when music makes me do that.”
It’s the same ingredients of longing, yearning and reminiscence present in his music that is communicated in boleros, which is what Cuco acknowledges as music from his youth, that later inspired his desire to tell stories of romance set to a daydream inducing melody. Growing up as a child of Mexican immigrants, Cuco recalls always being deeply immersed in his culture and heritage and felt there wasn’t really ever a moment where he was a part of something ‘different.’ That was until he realized the impact he had as a Chicano making strides in the music industry: “...it’s cool in the aspect of representation that I can show people that ‘Yo, this isn’t impossible’ whether you’re from this background or whatever, this is totally attainable, that’s cool that like I’m doing it because I never would’ve expected myself to be anywhere where I’m at right now, like ever,” said Cuco.
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Even though Cuco doesn’t consider himself as a dedicated activist, he recognizes the platform he has as an artist of color and last year partnered with his manager—also the founder of mija mgmt—Doris Munoz, to host a collection of shows entitled “Solidarity for Sanctuary” that are geared to benefit undocumented families that are at high risk for deportation. Cuco, as mentioned before is managed by Doris Munoz. Munoz, also a child of Mexican immigrants and a Chicana activist, founded the music management mija mgmt herself and represents a wide range of artists from varying backgrounds, some of which are also co-managed by her partner Jaz. Cuco and Munoz connected almost a year after he posted his cover of “Sleepwalk” on Twitter and since then it’s been a true family affair. The artists represented by mija mgmt often appear together at the Solidarity for Sanctuary shows and most recently two of the artists, August Eve and Jasper Bones, joined Cuco on his spring tour that just ended in March. With such a large team behind him, one would think Cuco is signed to a label, but it’s quite the opposite: “I still haven’t signed to a label, it’s just been me and my manager and my team.” Not only does Cuco keep his team closeknit, the place he produces his music is about a stone’s-throw away from his front door: his bedroom. “It was all in my bedroom. All my music was produced in my bedroom, yeah,” Cuco said of his produc-
tion process of past songs. As for his most recent music? “Yeah I still do everything in my bedroom.” It’s this homegrown desire and curiosity for finding modes of expression that has driven Cuco’s musical abilities and his career to new heights. Not only does he write, produce and compose his songs—he also plays a myriad of instruments like the guitar, the trumpet, bass, drums and the French horn. His dedication to his craft can be felt sometimes in earnest through his lyrics, or through the steady hum of the melody wrapping your heart or breaking it apart. Cuco’s music is a challenge to the traditional masculine narrative within a love story, here he is the timid, lovelorn boy pining over the girl. At times feeling foolish or lost in it all. With that being said, there truly is no set moment to listen to Cuco’s music, for it applies to life’s random moments, the “meet-cutes” and the instantaneous combustion of the heart when you glance at a person you adore. When asked if there indeed was an ideal setting where one can get an optimal listening experience, Cuco responded: “...honestly anywhere in the city, in the forest, in their houses...at school or anything...just to make whatever the song is supposed to make you feel, so however your life’s supposed to be. Anywhere, you know? Actually anywhere, literally.” When it comes to his future endeavors, there are no limits to what Cuco wants to do. Within the past year, he began his own fashion line entitled Fantasy’s Easy
Living. “I like clothes a lot...I took a fashion class too a while back and it made me realize that I do like making clothes,” Cuco explained. “So, I’m super stoked about this project and I hope it goes somewhere, I really like clothes and streetwear and all that, so I hope it does help me get somewhere.” Similar to his music, his clothing line emulates what his approach to style is and showcases what modes of expression he utilizes within a different medium. For someone who is now recognized for sharing and expressing themselves through creating art, Cuco carries himself with an overwhelming sense of normalcy and humbleness—something you don’t necessarily expect from a 19-year-old who’s fresh on the music scene—he exudes an air of blissful nonchalance that belongs to an old soul who has seen the world. Nonetheless, he strives to test himself: “I hope I can embark on more artistic things than just being Cuco,” he explained. “I want to do a bunch of things in life now that I don’t really have like a limit to where I can go, I’m going to play around with that and see what I can get.” In the end, Cuco is like any young, up-and-coming artist, hoping to harness their creative years while they have them, in hopes of them not slipping away. His “Chiquito EP” is out now with his up-and-coming fashion line on the way, by the looks of it, Cuco won’t be going anywhere for many years to come.
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TAKING INTO ACCOUNT BEING A CHILD OF IMMIGRANTS AND THE PATH OF SUCCESS YOU’RE CURRENTLY ON, WHAT OR WHO HAS HELPED YOU PROSPER AND ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS? WHEN YOU REFLECT ON THE PAST TWO YEARS HOW HAVE YOU SEEN YOURSELF GROW PERSONALLY, PROFESSIONALLY AND MUSICALLY? AND DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO PURSUE A CAREER IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, MAYBE EVEN SOMEBODY WHO MIGHT COME FROM THE SAME BACKGROUND AS YOU? “My mom. She’s always been pushing me to do better, even if she didn’t really want me to do music from the jump, she was always there supporting me and telling me ‘oh you’re going to do great in life and you’re going to go somewhere.’ And I just want to thank my mom for that, you know? I’ve just been able to let myself be more free, open to like a lot of change, bettering myself as a person and as a worker, just like never being satisfied with where I’m at, so I figure I can go further than I already am. Honestly, just make sure you like what you do. You’ll have fun doing it, you know when it becomes work and you start making money, as long as you have fun doing it and you like it then just... just do it. Like it’s what you love and it’s the art that you do it for, so just focus on it and just work hard.”
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the marias WRITTEN BY KENDALL BOLAM PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY SERYN STYLING BY VANESSA ORDAZ
Escapism. It is the act of distracting oneself from the problems, inconveniences, and issues of day-to-day life. It can be experienced through entertainment, daydreams, music, etc., and it allows a person to have a mental diversion for a brief period of time. Escapism is exactly what THE MARÍAS want people to experience when listening to their music. A psychedelic-soul group formed in Los Angeles, The Marías have perfected the art of escapism in their first EP Superclean Vol. I. Full of dreamy, mellow tracks, the EP transports you to a whole other world. With their second EP already underway and a spot in this year’s Coachella lineup, The Marías are quickly becoming a household name within the music community. Formed by drummer/vocalist Josh Conway and lead singer Maria, the band includes musicians Carter Lee (bass/vocals), Jesse Perlman (lead guitar/vocals), and Edward James (keys/ vocals). When describing the band’s formation, Josh Conway said, “Maria and I met in Los Angeles when I was working at a venue running sound and she was performing solo at the Kibitz Room. I heard her voice and immediately knew that I wanted to write with her. Jesse, Edward and Carter were all friends of ours that were down to play with us. The chemistry was there from the very beginning.” The Marías’ seamless formation led to a unique blend of musical and artistic influences brought together by each member. This then led to an even more unique sound of their own. “We all love the same music but we’ve grown up inspired by different artists,” says Josh, who credits his musical influences to artists like The Beatles, Tame Impala, Marvin Gaye, Radiohead, and D’Angelo. “When we write together, there is a consistent vibe but elements from our own personal inspirations make their way through as well.” Maria, the lead singer with a voice that is both sultry and ethereal, takes inspiration from female artists like Erykah Badu, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Norah Jones. Pulling from such a great myriad of influences, The Marías have created a sound that is distinct and true to who they are as a band.
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Superclean Vol. I was released in 2017 and includes a collection of beautifully-crafted songs by Maria and Josh. “It’s really just a collection of some songs Maria and I had written together,” says Josh, who explains that the tunes had been written long before a band was even imagined. “When we started writing together, there was no ‘The Marías’ and no idea of any ‘band’ at all. Simply just two songwriters getting together to make music.” Maria goes on to explain that their songwriting process included a lot of experimentation. “A lot of our songs pulled inspiration from our relationship. We love writing together, and we make a solid creative team. The songs in Vol. I were some of the first that we wrote together as simply experimentation. We’re always inspiring each other and learning from each other.” Every musical group is presented with their own set of challenges and triumphs, and The Marías are no exception. When asked their greatest achievement so far, Maria replied, “We’re currently on our very first tour, and if we get through this sane and still like each other, that’ll be the greatest achievement in my opinion.” Josh goes on to explain that seeing the band’s name in the 2018 Coachella lineup was a very surreal moment. “Growing up in LA, I’ve seen that Coachella flyer every January, so seeing our name on it this year felt like a massive achievement. Another achievement was seeing ‘Superclean Vol. I’ on Spotify for the first time. It had been a very long time in the making and felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The greatest challenge was finishing it.”
A band made up of seasoned musicians, The Marías share some of their best advice to those looking to get into the music industry. “It’s OK to pull inspiration from other artists, but be true to yourself,” says Maria. “What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you—sonically and visually. As cliche as it is, it’s important to embrace your differences and love the aspects of yourself that make you unique.” Josh’s advice? Simple. “Don’t stop writing, and follow your gut.” With Superclean Vol. II set to release this year, fans are promised more emotion and even more dancing! As the band continues to evolve, we asked what they hope fans receive from their music. “Escapism,” says Maria. “With so much happening in the world today, we just want people to feel good or simply feel something when they listen to us. We want them to feel transported. We’re all really involved in what’s happening politically, but we don’t want to include any of that in our music. We’ll express it elsewhere as it’s our duty as artists, but when it comes to the music, we want listeners to forget all of that when they experience the songs.” With plans for more shows outside of Los Angeles, The Marías are just getting started! All we have to do is wait for where their music will let us escape to next.
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"as cliche as it is, itâ€™s important to embrace your differences and love the aspects of yourself that make you unique."
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gabrielle current WRITTEN BY MICHELLE LEDESMA PHOTOGRAPHY BY COCO BIRO
Life is all about taking chances and risks. Maybe it’s doing the things you never thought of doing, or being more serious about your craft, or even juggling multiple passions at a time. For model-singer-fashion enthusiast GABRIELLE CURRENT, there’s more to her life than being a triple-threat. Modeling on and off since age 5, Gabrielle has been able to travel the world only recently and collaborate with photographers and represent brands she’s come to know and love. “It’s surreal seeing my photos come out after a shoot. For example, I’d be shopping online and see my picture, or walk into a store and bump into a photo of myself on the wall.” Modeling can be a tough job, especially since the industry is bombarding with people of all ages trying to make their break. An industry such as modeling that is so vast yet so distinct about outer beauty can take a toll on a person’s well-being. When asked about any high expectations in the modeling world, Gabrielle replied stating “I feel like there will always be expectations and standards when it comes to looks and representing brands. Thankfully, the industry is changing every day and is becoming more accepting of heights, weights, skin colors, and features. I like to remind myself that there’s always going to be someone taller, prettier, smarter, etc. So for me personally, I try to always give more than what is expected at any job.”
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In the music industry, Gabrielle has written and put together songs that have had the pleasure of appearing on the show, Pretty Little Liars, on multiple occasions, which she states is a show she grew up watching. Her sultry music paired with her cosmic voice is a blend of eccentricity that can move a whole crowd to an emotional state unheard of. “I started singing when I was young. I always wanted to perform, so growing up I went to a performing arts school on the weekends where I learned vocal techniques, basics of performing on stage and took dance classes. I started writing my own songs about a year and a half ago with my friend and insanely talented collaborator, Finneas.” Singing, writing her own music, and performing those very songs has opened up a new world full of possibilities for Gabrielle. It’s easy to differentiate singing from modeling, but both talents do have a similarity despite the obvious: it is something you can learn, but also something you can be born with. For Gabrielle, it seems to me she was born with it. Her songs, “B&W,” “Glow,” and “Come to Think,” are three of the songs that appeared in the show Pretty Little Liars and have given her the start-up recognition to further her musical career. She has also been featured in many songs with other musical artists. Gabrielle will be releasing new music early this summer. You can find and listen to Gabrielle’s music on Spotify, SoundCloud, and other music downloading sites.
As a fashion-enthusiast, she likes to use fashion as a tool to express herself. Her style is a mixture of opposites; she likes to pair menswear with girly pieces, sneakers with glitter, and a simple t-shirt with bold patterns. On her Instagram page (@ gabcurrent), you will understand just what fashion means to Gabrielle. Every photo encapsulates a different vibration through various outfits, abundant from color to simplicity — her spring lookbook is my favorite. Not only does she grab our attention via YouTube, but with the fashion also comes her love of makeup. She has countless videos of makeup tutorials to die for and also vlogs that show her traveling across the world for modeling jobs. Gabrielle Current is one of many women killing the game with her effortless beauty and talent, but of course, regardless of person and occupation, we go through many difficulties or days when we don’t feel driven or inspired. When I asked Gabrielle what advice she lives by, her answer clarified the only question still boggling in my mind. She’s a triple-threat, yes. What really makes her different from the others? Besides the fact that she’s dedicated and independent, her answer is as clear as day: “Nothing is by my own achievement or earning, it is a gift.”
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“nothing is by my own achievement or earning, it is a gift.”
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mahogany lox WRITTEN BY KENDALL BOLAM PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA MARIA LOPEZ STYLING BY KATIE QIAN
YouTube sensation and rising musical artist MAHOGANY LOX was born to perform. With a musical style labeled as “sassy pop,” Mahogany LOX’s songs are vibrant, fun, and incredibly catchy! With over five million followers across social media, Mahogany LOX has succeeded in making a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Born into a highly-successful, musical family, Mahogany was able to learn from the best. Her brother Sky Blu and uncle Redfoo make up the duo LMFAO, and her grandfather, Berry Gordy, is the founder of Motown Records. “Growing up in a musical family was so amazing,” says Mahogany. “I got to see a lot of talented artists live out their dreams and see what it took for them to succeed.” An extremely versatile artist, Mahogany has proved herself a singer, actress, model, and DJ. When asked to describe her most fulfilling moment as an entertainer, Mahogany replied, “as a singer, it’s my connection with the audience. I love it when they sing my lyrics with me. It’s intimate, emotional and always fun! On the other hand, as a DJ it’s all about the energy! The hype and flow of the crowd and seeing everybody dancing and partying together is amazing!” As a songwriter and content producer, inspiration can manifest itself in many different ways. “Everything inspires me to create!” says Mahogany. “Sometimes it could just be the mood I’m in. If I’m happy, if I’m sad...or just the feeling of being loved could inspire a video, melody or song.” Mahogany’s artistic versatility has given her the opportunity to DJ for events like Magcon
and Live Nation’s Show of the Summer. She has also acted in various music videos, collaborated with brands like Coca-Cola, Old Navy, and MTV, and recorded several outstanding covers! When you thought she couldn’t do more, Mahogany hosts and creates original content for her YouTube channel! Mahogany makes weekly content that ranges from music videos to YouTube challenges. Her videos give her fanbase a glimpse into her everyday life and a chance to connect with her in a whole new way. For Mahogany, YouTube is a platform where she can keep her original content forever and share her love for creating videos with her fans. In 2015, Mahogany released her first single, “Boom.” It was received extremely well (the song now has over a million views on YouTube!) and her second single, “It Is What It Is” was released this past December. Mahogany describes “It Is What It Is” as, “a friends with benefit situation that gets a little tricky! One person wants to take the relationship to the next level and the other person likes it the way it is!” Her singles are to precede a debut album, which she is writing and co-producing. She promises that her new album will included plenty of sassy pop jams and a few new surprises! As she pursues her dreams, Mahogany lives by her brother Sky Blu’s words: “This could be someone’s first show or their last… so give it all you got.” Whether she is DJing a concert, creating YouTube content, or singing her heart out, we can be sure she’ll put her heart and soul into everything she does.
WARDROBE - I.AM.GIA
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WARDROBE - I.AM.GIA SUNGLASSES - GIANT VINTAGE
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TOP - JOYRICH
“this could be someone’s first show or their last… so give it all you got.”
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porches WRITTEN BY OLIVIA CLARK PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA MARIA LOPEZ
Aaron Maine, the mastermind behind the musical act PORCHES, sat on his latest album The House for over a year. In the months since its release in January, Maine embarked on a US tour and played at SXSW. Porches is now currently on the European leg of the tour. I spoke with Maine about the process of making The House, growing up in a town called Pleasantville and his everchanging sonic experimentation. The House is Porches’ third studio album and begins where his sophomore record 2016’s Pool left off. While the electronic disco beats might grab your attention at first, The House is full of themes of isolation, anxiety and love, as this record coincided with the end of a long-term relationship. But it “isn’t a breakup album,” Maine clarifies. “It was written over the last year of that relationship and I didn’t know if it was going to end. In hindsight, it’s interesting to have this moment in time documented on a record.”
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One of Maine’s favorite parts of The House are the interludes that appear throughout the album. For example, there’s “Åkeren” which is sung in Norwegian by musician Okay Kaya, or “Understanding” and “Swimmer”, which are heavy on the auto tune. Maine wanted to experiment with traditional song structure. “Short form is exciting to me. It seems more conversational than verse-chorus-verse-chorus,” he says. “I had never done anything like that. I feel like they break up the album in a nice way. When you’re listening all the way through, it’s like a breath of fresh air or a cigarette break.”
The House was completed by January 2017, but wasn’t released until a year later, so Maine was desperately itching to share his new music. And touring in 2018 is giving him the chance to do just that. “The US tour was really amazing, show-wise and turnout-wise,” he explains. “It felt really good to get out of my head and see people respond to [The House] in real life.” It was during this tour that Maine and his band travelled to Austin, TX for their second appearance at the SXSW festival this past March. The band played six shows in three days, a scenario Maine was admittedly not looking forward to. However, “this time I was a lot more prepared going into it,” he reveals. “I’m glad we did it. It ended up being fun.”
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If you were previously unfamiliar with Porches, you would likely be surprised by his older music. Maine began releasing music on Bandcamp in 2011 and he amassed a following with releases like Summer of Ten and Scrap and Love Songs Revisited. At this time, Maine was in his early 20s, living with his mom in Pleasantville, a “pretty liberal town” about an hour north of New York City. Surrounded by musical parents and peers, Maine started playing trumpet at age nine and bought an electric bass guitar in sixth grade. “I just got super into it. It became one of those things that I just wanted to do all the time,” he describes, regarding his experience with music in high school. After achieving some success through his online releases, Maine decided it was time to leave the “bubble” of Pleasantville. He moved to New York City at the age of twenty-three and it was there that his sound began to change. This sonic metamorphosis is most noticeable with Pool, which reflected Maine’s life in the city. He went from making guitar heavy tracks with live instruments to relying on his first analog synthesizer, a Juno 106, and a new laptop. “Living in an apartment, you can only make so much noise. With the keyboard and drum instruments, you just plug it in and put your headphones on,” he explains. “Whereas when I was in Westchester, my mom would be gone all day and I could play really loud in the basement.” Looking back on his musical journey so far, Maine is proud of his body of work. “I feel like I’ve set myself up to experiment,” he says. “I’m really excited to keep making music. I’m finally experiencing clarity in what I want to do next and I think it will be really good,” he laughs.
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the jacks INTERVIEW BY MICHELLE LEDESMA PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA MARIA LOPEZ
HOW LONG HAVE YOU ALL KNOWN EACH OTHER? HOW DID YOU MEET? JOSH ROOSSIN: Scott (bass) and Tom (lead guitar) have been best friends since grade school and met Jonny (vocals, rhythm guitar) towards the end of their college career. They were writing and making music in college but when they saw Jonny performing at an open mic night they knew they needed to make music with him. I was at college in Boulder, Colorado a month before graduation when I got a phone call from the band asking if I was willing to try the band out. A mutual friend of ours gave the band my number when their first drummer was leaving, and I was willing to try it out. Growing up playing drums I’ve performed in a couple bands here and there that never fully resonated with me or disbanded quickly so I wasn’t completely sure what I was getting myself into. However, now we are a family and the music and the experiences we have shared have been life changing.
WHAT MADE YOU ALL GET INTO MUSIC? WHAT LED TO THE MOMENT OF AWARENESS WHEN YOU FELT THAT BEING A MUSICIAN WAS THE DIRECTION BEST MET? JR: I think music has always been something in all of our lives it just took us longer to realize what we had as a band was something worth pursuing to its fullest. We all grew up playing music at very early ages and have played in bands and performed here and there but when we all went to college we didn’t get music degrees. Our singer, Jonny showed us some songs he had been chipping away at in his dorm room that we felt needed to be heard. After graduation, we all had different opportunities to pursue careers in finance, law, psychology, and geology, but nothing came close to the feeling we got from music. Luckily our music has resonated with many people and they have wanted to hear more. Although this direction is not always the easiest and can be a gamble, we love it and we wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. In today’s
society, it’s hard to find bands that make music solely in the interest of helping someone feel something, let alone feel nostalgic. Your music is powerfully evocative because it’s gritty, real, and prominently different. Your music is heavily influenced by the rock ‘n roll sound of the 60s/70s. WHAT 60S/70S ROCK ‘N ROLL BANDS INSPIRE THE MUSIC AND SOUND OF THE JACKS? JR: Because each of us draw inspiration from so many different bands in general, finding the sound of The Jacks has been a long process that were still tuning here and there. I think the two bands from that era that has resonated the strongest for us as a whole (I’m sure we’re not the only ones) are The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. However, we love bands that bring a bluesy or brit rock sound such as The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, Arctic Monkeys, Portugal. The Man, and Oasis to name a few. WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE SONG “SHE’S A MYSTERY”? JR: “She’s a Mystery” was the first song we wrote together after I joined the band. It’s a blend of all of our musical influences and the moody and gritty Brit Rock direction we are trying to embody. It was a great first single to show what we are trying to build upon. We wanted to create a song that showed our classic Brit Rock side in the verse and chorus and our melodic modern side in the pre-chorus. We like our lyrics to be up to the interpretation of our fans because lyrics may resonate differently depending on the listener. During the writing stages of this song we didn’t know how the public would respond to this new sound we were creating. We feel like the music scene is saturated with hip-hop, electronic, and indie music, we thought it was kind of a mystery on the response we would get. I guess this song is kind of about how we enjoy this dual relationship of uncertainty and trying something different. BEING NEW TO THE SCENE, PERFORMING AT SXSW MUST’VE BEEN A MAJOR STEP TOWARDS THE RECOGNITION YOU DESERVE! HOW DID IT FEEL WHEN YOU WERE TOLD YOU’D PERFORM AT SXSW? HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE? JR: We were thrilled to hear we would be performing at SXSW. Being a very new band it can be difficult to gain momentum, but this past year has been more than gracious to us. We wanted to make an impact on our potential fans at SXSW so we really grinded rehearsing and playing as many shows as possible leading up to our showcase. The experience was
incredible. We always love traveling and being on the road together and SXSW and the city of Austin was so culturally rich and accommodating, the trip was a great success for us. The trip consisted of us staying out late with our friends in the Vista Kicks and Spendtime Palace, playing shows on patios and Irish bars, seeing some of our favorite bands melt the stage, late night food trucks, lugging equipment, and a couple interviews and photoshoots here and there. We definitely want to go back next year. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE THE JACKS THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR MUSICALITY? JR: We all love being around music in general when were not rehearsing, performing, or recording. We love going to shows together, going out with some of our other friends in bands, and just having a good time together. No matter what we’re doing together outside of music it somehow inspires a new song, or new idea for the band. Whether it be the arrangement on a song we heard live, a line one of us said, or a memory from the night, somehow it makes its way into our music. We pretty much are together 24/7 and we haven’t killed each other yet, so were off to a strong start. WHEN SONGWRITING, DO MOST OF THE LYRICS CORRELATE WITH REALITY OF YOUR OWN SITUATIONS? JR: A lot of the lyrics correlate with the reality of at least one or all members of the band. Sometimes we dress up the way we portray our reality so it’s a little less specific and easier for someone to draw their own meaning from the song. Currently, we have been writing songs about themes in our lives instead of specific encounters so the lyrics have more freedom to jump around. ARE THERE ANY MUSICIANS OR BANDS YOU WOULD LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH IN THE FUTURE? JR: We love our friends the Vista Kicks and admire them as musicians and people, we always like playing shows with them and would like to record some time with them. We are about to record a single with artist, songwriter, and producer Chris Seefried, so we are very excited about that. He has worked with Fitz and the Tantrums and The Kooks along with many others, and were thrilled to see how he will bring out the best elements of The Jacks. Since the formation of the band we have admired producer Joe Chicarelli and would love to one day work with him as well. There are just too many artists we admire so we essentially would love to collaborate with anyone whose sound has caught our ear.
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kitten INTERVIEW BY OLIVIA CLARK PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA MARIA LOPEZ
IT’S BEEN FOUR YEARS SINCE YOU PUT OUT A NEW FULL LENGTH LP. WHAT CAN FANS/LISTENERS EXPECT FROM THE UPCOMING PROJECT? CHLOE CHAIDEZ: Oh, wow that makes me feel so old! But yes, it has been that long. I think fans can expect a more lyrically personal record than any of my previous work. A direct look into the past few years of my life and all that’s happened. Fun stuff! WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF RECORDING YOUR NEW PROJECT? WHEN DID YOU BEGIN WORKING ON IT? CC: You never really stop working towards a new record — as soon as you release music you are thinking about the next statement you want to make. That said, I did not hit my stride until I met the most current members of the group Max and Parker in New York. We got together on January 1st of 2017 (I only remember this date because it was the first day of the year) and it was over from then on. I have never made a record so collaboratively. I always admired them as musicians from afar, but getting in the studio with them was even better than I could have ever imagined. Finding three people (Dave Stagno, Parker Silzer and Max Tsiring) that you can really relate to creatively and equally is very difficult, so I feel blessed to have met them. YOUR SOUND IS CLEARLY 80S INFLUENCED. WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR IDOLS THAT HELPED TO SHAPE YOUR OWN MUSIC? CC: As a vocalist, I would say my biggest inspirations are Annie Lennox and Bryan Ferry. The character in their voices, the way they almost croon is so powerful and sensual at the same time. I love them. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE BAND’S RETRO VIBE WHILE STAYING FRESH AND CURRENT? CC: It’s so funny, people call us “retro” because this is completely unintentional. To answer your question, we are constantly trying to incorporate modern elements into the music; chopping up vocals, sampling etc. I do love a very specific guitar tone that is thin, with chorus and a bit of verb. The kind of guitars I like in general I think lend themselves so a certain decade, maybe the 80’s. But we ingest so much music from the past — Prefab Sprout, Talk Talk, Pulp etc. — I guess our influences naturally come out in the music!
“I DID IT!,” THE LEAD SINGLE OFF OF THE UPCOMING PROJECT, IS A PERFECTLY NOSTALGIC BOP. WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG? CC: The song is about a triumphant mistake— the kind you are glad you made in retrospect because of how much you learned from it. YOUR FATHER IS A MUSICIAN HIMSELF. HOW DID HE IMPACT YOUR CAREER? DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE GOTTEN INTO MUSIC WITHOUT HIM? CC: My Dad fed me wonderful records as a kid. I am so grateful for this. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for him. YOU’RE FROM LOS ANGELES, BUT HAVE SPENT TIME LIVING IN NYC. HOW HAVE THESE TWO DIFFERENT CITIES IMPACTED YOUR ARTISTRY, AND LIFE IN GENERAL? CC: I grew up in Los Angeles, and there are so many things about the city that I love, but I think as an artist I much prefer living in New York. New York has a grit and grime, a lack of shine that I think keeps the people very real. I love the authenticity and work ethic. It’s a tough city to make life work in, and I think there is a common bond amongst the people due to this fact. As an artist, it keeps me focused on what I need to do. I also, like I said, met the entire band there. Blu (bass) and Rex (drums) are some of the two greatest musicians and artists I’ve met and our chemistry is awesome. They are born and bred New Yorkers, gotta thank the city a bit. YOU PLAYED SIX SHOWS IN THREE DAYS AT SXSW LAST MONTH! WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE? CC: Ah, it was amazing! I think it was my favorite SXSW yet. SXSW never fails to be a beautiful and chaotic adventure. I feel grateful that we were able to play so many awesome stages this year at night!! This was a first for me. It was so great. The entire band had a wonderful time as well. Playing so many shows in such a short period of time cause an awful lot of bonding! ANY HINTS ABOUT THE UPCOMING PROJECT OR TOUR DATES IN THE NEAR FUTURE? CC: You’re gonna love it! And you can come party with us on tour with Blue October in June.
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arms akimbo INTERVIEW BY MICHELLE LEDESMA PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA MARIA LOPEZ
COULD YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE SONGWRITING PROCESS? ARE ALL THE LYRICS TO YOUR SONGS INSPIRED BY REAL LIFE EVENTS? PETER SCHRUPP: We have a fun writing process. We have two primary songwriters, Chris and myself. We usually write acoustic songs on our own and bring them to the rest of the boys the flesh out the song. On my end the lyrics tend to be personal or about the examination of things around me and I think it’s pretty similar for Chris. There are occasional third person stories, and there are also times when I write something and the meaning doesn’t really reveal itself until down the line. Those tend to be some of my favorites. HOW HAS OPENING SHOWS FOR WALK THE MOON AND THE ANIMALS BEEN LIKE? PS: Amazing! It’s unbelievable playing for an attentive, fun outdoor crowd with those festival-type settings. Our music seems to flourish with an outdoor crowd — it gets a little dancier and groovier so it’s fun to lean into that energy. We have had several run-ins with the band members, saying they were impressed with our set and whatnot. That really instills our excitement in playing shows like that. DO YOU HAVE ANY MUSICAL INSPIRATION(S) WHEN WRITING OR COMING UP WITH SONGS? PS: All the time. I’m almost always inspired by the last thing I listened to. Little acoustic songs mean I was probably just listening to Tallest Man on Earth, or high-pitched falsetto tracks mean it was James Vincent McMorrow, etc. It really does switch from song to song like that. But we usually come up
short when emulating our influences. That’s the beauty of it — when you miss, you find your own sound. I hear it from all of us too, with Chris’s writings, or Colin’s harmonies or Matt’s drum arrangements. WHERE DID YOU GUYS MEET? HOW WAS YOUR FIRST MUSICAL ENCOUNTER LIKE AFTER GETTING TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER? PS: We all met in different ways at Loyola Marymount University. Ironically, Chris wasn’t a big fan of me at first but we came around. We all kind of circled the music scene at that school before coming together. Chris was writing music with Matt and I was writing with Colin before we all collaborated. Once we got in a room together, it was pretty synergistic. We ended up practicing at Matt’s house the first time for like 5 hours because it was so fun. We had to pay off his roommates with about 60 beers so they wouldn’t kick us out. Simpler times. WHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE ENTIRE EP THE WRONG KID OF DANCE PARTY? HOW DID THE IDEA OF THIS EP COME ABOUT? PS: We kind of had an “out of the ashes, Phoenix” moment last year. It was a weird moment where we analyzed the songs we were writing and basically threw away the tracks that didn’t mean a lot to us. Of what was left was a cohesive feeling of nostalgia in the songs we kept. That paired with recently writing songs like “Parachute” and “Velleity” led us in a really strong direction. It’s a little folkier and honest than some of the fun but vapid song we discarded. We’ve always loved that feeling of finding family in your friends, so Chris came up with
the idea to throw a party, invite all our friends and record it. So we set up mics around the house and developed the sound design throughout the album out of that party with buds. The feeling evoked led us to the title “The Wrong Kind of Dance Party,” which is the name of an old playlist Colin and I used to kick people out of our house after parties we threw in college (you can still find the playlist on our Spotify). I know it’s pretty concept-y for an EP... we like that though. THERE ARE SO MANY PARTS OF A SONG; THE MELODY, THE LYRICS, THE MOLDING. WHAT MAKES THE PROCESS GO A LITTLE SMOOTHER WHEN THINGS START TO GET REPETITIVE? PS: I think the most important thing to do is to shut out any of those mental blocks. If something gets repetitive that’s honestly fine. I think it’s more important to finish and discard a mediocre song than to stop mid-song because it feels formulaic. We’ve definitely been prone to both pitfalls though, so I’d say one of the best things for us is involving other band members or friends into the writing process. We’re blessed to have each other so there is no reason not to sit down together or with one of our other musical friends and just ask what they think or where the song should go to switch things up. If all that fails, just bail on the song and go outside for a little. WHERE HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO PERFORM AND WHERE ARE YOU HOPING TO PERFORM IN THE NEAR FUTURE? PS: Hands down The Troubadour was our most exciting show so far! It was completely packed out, with everyone singing
along to our brand new music. There were hundreds of faces we hadn’t seen before (along with about 100 of our friends who’ve been with us since the beginning). We played with bands we’ve known for a long time, which was a nice friendly reunion. That said, we played a show at SXSW in Austin about a week later that gave that show a run for its money. Right now we are hoping to play in as many new cities for as many new faces as humanly possible. Whether that’s a club or a festival or a living room. We don’t really care, we just want to play for whoever wants to listen. I’M SURE THE PAYOFF OF HARD WORK MUST FEEL SATISFYING ESPECIALLY AFTER BEING ACKNOWLEDGED FOR ALL OF THE HITS YOU’RE GIFTING THE WORLD. HOW HAS THE JOURNEY BEEN FROM RELEASING YOUR MUSIC ON BANDCAMP TO BEING #48 ON SPOTIFY GLOBAL VIRAL 50 AND #7 ON SPOTIFY CANADA VIRAL 50? WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE BAND IN THE FUTURE? PS: Well, gee thanks! We definitely have a guardian angel looking out for our music, and we’ve gotten a surreal amount of positivity back from the world. I can’t describe how meaningful it is when we get a message from a fan we don’t know. We just want to feed that and keep providing music people can connect to. That’s why we’re grateful for the online success we’ve seen. It’s let us connect to people we never would otherwise. Our future hope is to tap into that sensation even more — keep meeting people who’ve felt that connection and play live for them — keep putting out songs for our existing fanbase.
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lovelytheband INTERVIEW BY MICHELLE LEDESMA PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA MARIA LOPEZ
WHAT GAVE YOU THE INSPIRATION TO WRITE “BROKEN?” MITCHY COLLINS: “broken” is a special song. It’s about finding that other person whose issues line up with yours and making a go at life together. Someone that understands it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. AFTER I LISTENED TO “EVERYTHING I COULD EVER SAY…,” INSTANTLY, I KNEW IT WAS A VERY PERSONAL EP IN TERMS OF SONGWRITING, WHICH I THINK SERVES A PERFECT BALANCE BECAUSE THE MUSIC IS MORE UPBEAT AND RETRO. HOW DOES THE MUSIC-MAKING PROCESS DIFFER FROM THE SONGWRITING? AND HOW ARE THEY SIMILAR? MC: Every song is a different beast — there’s no exact process. Some of these songs have taken years to make, others have taken 30 minutes. It sounds cheesy, but I’m just a vessel, the songs come when they want to come and I don’t try and force it. WHERE HAS BEING A BAND TAKEN YOU TO? WHAT LOCATION HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO PERFORM SO FAR? MC: Being in a band is wonderful because it allows you to be in a new place every day, some of which we’ve never been before. It’s always exciting. Our favorite so far has definitely been Seattle because there’s so much music history in that town— it’s really inspiring. Oh, and NYC of course because of the pizza.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN IN A BAND AND BEING ABLE TO PERFORM FOR YOUR FANS? MC: The best thing about playing in a band and playing live is really the connection between us and the fans. Being able to see our songs having a real time impact on people’s live is the absolute best. Taking the tracks from the studio and putting together a live show is so much fun for us, and seeing it pay off live is amazing. THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES WHEN MUSICIANS HAVE NOTED THE FACT THAT AS EASY AS WRITING SONGS CAN BE, IT CAN ALSO DIFFICULT FOR MANY REASONS. ARE THERE MOMENTS WHEN YOU’RE UNABLE TO WRITE SONGS BECAUSE OF WRITER’S BLOCK? IF SO, HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT? MC: Oh definitely. Writer’s block is a big problem at times, I try and take myself out of my comfort zone or take a trip to try and get new perspective. You can’t force songs to be written if they don’t want to be. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEWCOMERS IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WANTING TO START A BAND? MC: This one is simple, songs are everything. Be honest and true to yourself when making them. Focus on that and everything else falls into place.
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varsity INTERVIEW BY MICHELLE LEDESMA PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA MARIA LOPEZ
WHAT MAKES VARSITY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER INDIE ROCK BANDS? VARSITY (STEF): I think we’re genuine and unpretentious in both our song writing and our personalities. What you hear and see is basically what you get. I PERSONALLY RESONATE WITH THE SONG “SO SAD, SO SAD” BECAUSE IT’S THE EMBODIMENT OF A FEELING CLOSE TO HOME THAT I’M SURE MANY CAN RELATE TO, BUT CAN’T PUT THEIR FINGER ON. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE A SONG LIKE THIS? STEF: I wrote these lyrics under pressure while the rest of the band was recording the track downstairs. I don’t know why this particular song was so difficult for me to write before that point but with the time crunch the lyrics just poured out. Something about that process, which is very different from my typically strained writing process, created a song that speaks to a lot of people. Maybe it was a lack of filter or deliberation that created simple but true content. LISTENING TO YOUR MUSIC, I IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZED THE SIMILAR 90’S GRUNGE SOUND. WHAT NOSTALGIC BANDS INSPIRE YOUR MUSIC? STEF: While I don’t think any of us have a specific affinity towards 90’s grunge, we did all grow up during that time and definitely enjoy a lot of that music. We’re more influenced by a lot of early-mid 2000s guitar rock bands and indie pop type stuff. Bands like Spoon, Belle & Sebastian, Land of Talk, and The Strokes inspire us.
ARE THERE ANY SONGWRITING MUSICIANS YOU LOOK UP TO? STEF: Cate LeBon, Dan Bejar (Destroyer), Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), Stuart Murdoch (Belle and Sebastian), Brit Daniels (Spoon), Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk), Arthur Russel and many more! HOW ACCOMPLISHED DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FINISH WRITING A SONG? STEF: Super accomplished, for like 3 seconds! That’s something we need to work on. I think we don’t let ourselves celebrate successes long enough because there’s always something else to do, write, or accomplish. HOW IMPORTANT IS SONGWRITING FOR VARSITY? HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH WRITER’S BLOCK WHEN TRYING TO WRITE SONGS? STEF: Songwriting is very important. We’ll work on a song until it feels right, and doesn’t feel like something we’ve done before. We’re constantly striving to write better songs, so sometimes writing and working on the arrangements can take a quite a long time. We’re all pretty heavy music listeners as well, and there’s always new stuff coming out that helps kick start new ideas or inspire a different sound or approach. Sharing new artists with each other is a way we kick ourselves into gear. Writer’s block does happen, and tends to affect each of us differently. However we all bring stuff to practice, so there’s never really a complete lack of ideas. When in doubt we just jam.
WHAT SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES DO AN EP AND AN ALBUM HAVE? HOW HAS GOING THROUGH EACH PROCESS BENEFITED YOU IN THE LONG RUN? STEF: Usually an album or EP is determined by when we recorded the batch of songs. The EP was recorded over a weekend in Stef’s parents basement, the self-titled record was recorded over 4 days at Public House in Logan Square, Chicago, and for Parallel Person we did it in 8 days at Minbal Studios in Chicago. The songs tend to have a similar vibe or feeling when they’re recorded in a batch like this, so it just makes sense to release them all together. We even did the same thing with our single series but only did two songs at a time. Each release is built on the one before it. The more we record the better we get at the process, whether it’s finding specific sounds, tweaking arrangements, or getting the best takes. As we continue to write songs, we consider whether we think they can benefit from being grouped together in an EP, album, or single.
HOW WAS PERFORMING AT SXSW LIKE? WHAT EMOTIONS WERE YOU ALL FEELING WHEN ON STAGE? AND HOW WAS THE AFTERMATH? STEF: SXSW was fun and exhausting. I really love Austin and it was very beautiful when we were down there. There were definite highs and lows throughout the whole experience, trying to get an audience in a city saturated with amazing bands it’s it’s own struggle, but that’s not all what SXSW was about for us. We got to see bands we love, reconnect with other musicians we met throughout the years, and talk to some of our musical inspirations. Stef and Jake also met Nardwuar, so that made the whole thing worth it!
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lights WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY BY VIOLET FOULK
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“You can’t let yourself be the only thing holding you back from doing what you’ve always wanted,” LIGHTS declared to me. The Canadian artist is no stranger to following her dreams, as she just released her first concept comic and record, Skin&Earth. I had the chance to catch up with her the afternoon of her sold out New York show in February, where we talked about growth, being a role model, and what’s to come for the Skin&Earth world. Lights first hit the ground running ten years ago with the release of her self-titled EP. “My first record was like, nerdy, lo-fi emo girl. Then it evolved into experimenting electronically with gritty sounds, and stepping away from the nerdiness thinking I had to become a woman,” she explained. Fast forward to her fourth full-length record, Skin&Earth; it takes all of these concepts from her previous albums and combines them. “I realized that you can be a woman, you can be a mother, you can be sexually empowered, but you can also be a nerd, and it all plays in and it makes this amazing version of you.” By fusing her love of comics and art with her anthemic music and songwriting, Lights is now unapologetically and completely herself, and it shows in her work. “You have to challenge yourself to make something more amazing than the last, and more and more true to who you are than the last. That’s my understanding of growth, and that’s what I ultimately tried to accomplish with Skin&Earth. That’s the most authentic and empowering art that you can create, and I hope people resonate with that.”
Just over four years ago, Lights and her husband, Beau Bokan (of metalcore band Blessthefall) had a daughter, Rocket Wild Bokan, who they’re raising in a rich culture of music by frequently bringing her out on tour with them. “It’s funny how having a kid on the road changes the vibe. It brings a good, innocent spirit to the tour, and I think that’s so necessary,” Lights reflected on the experience they’ve had so far on the We Were Here Tour, her headlining tour in support of Skin&Earth, aptly named after one of the standout tracks from the record. Becoming a mother has changed Lights as a musician, influencing her songwriting and inspiring her to start working on the comic. “I’ve learned to live out my dreams because that’s the best example you can give to your kid, is to show them love and live out your dreams,” she said. Although she always wanted to do a concept record, she never believed she could, which seems trivial now that Skin&Earth is out. “I spent a lot of time daydreaming about different artists doing it and how jealous I would be, and then finally one day I was like, ‘I’ve just gotta do it!’” she said with a laugh. And from there, Skin&Earth was born. After two years of planning the storyline, writing twelve accompanying songs, fleshing them out in tandem, and then finally drawing it, Lights’ masterpiece was completed. And the response has been staggering; she’s received numerous notes from comic shop owners saying that Skin&Earth has brought first time comic readers into shops all around the country, and she’s met fans in cosplay at almost every show.
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“you have to challenge yourself t
“Getting to see people dressed up as the characters and resonating with the story is really cool. It’s been awesome getting to cross over music fans into this amazing world of comics that has always opened my mind and my heart up to new worlds, and new ideas.” While being a mother, a touring musician and an artist keeps her days packed, she makes sure to save time for the fun stuff. I asked her if she still plays video games and reads comics, and she replied with a laugh. “Of course! That’s definitely what we do when we’re home, you know, like spend a night playing Diablo III and eating a pint of ice cream. That’s how I unwind. You have to make time to do what you enjoy. You can’t take steps toward a dream without enjoying yourself along the way, or you’re not going to get there.” Lights is there, but she’s not finished yet. “This is the beginning of the story, as far as I’m concerned. Skin&Earth is this never ending thing that’s always going to grow and I’m always going to have ideas for it. It just takes time, since it is a one woman show,” she said with a laugh. But the fact that she wrote and designed it completely on her own made the process that much more worthwhile. “It’s a dream come true, a complete dream come true.”
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to make something more amazing
true to who you are than the last.â€? local wolves â€” 119
the new visuals of nashville PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON RENAUD CREATIVE DIRECTION & ASSISTANCE BY RUTH CHAPA
A sunny and unseasonably warm day of Nashville winter. If you were to walk into Jasmine Archie’s open, airy apartment on the day of this shoot, it would have looked like a gathering of old friends or some sort of instameet up — these was neither. Assembled together was a group of Nashville’s growing palette of fantastic female photographers — Jasmine Archie, Claire Foth, and Aubrey Vorderberg. Each have come from different backgrounds, shoot with unique styles, and have independent creative visions for their work — and yet they all are proving influential with their work in one of America’s fastest growing creative hubs . Through strong work, and positive action through diversity and community, they’re paving the way for NEW VISUALS IN NASHVILLE. Here they share a little bit about their stories—
JASMINE ARCHIE WHAT DOES ART MEAN TO YOU? JASMINE ARCHIE: Art to me is being able to express my imagination through photos. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU? JA: Tim Walker is one of the biggest influences in my career. Petra Collins is a huge influence for me right now— I like how she pushes boundaries in the fashion industry. Music is probably the biggest inspiration. Fashion inspires me. Children inspire me. Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to pay attention.
WHAT DOES COMMUNITY MEAN TO YOU? JA: Community to me is a group of individuals who look out for one another. Our community, being creatives, is inspiring each other, working together and seeing each other grow. HOW DO YOU WANT THE NASHVILLE PHOTO SCENE TO GROW? JA: I’d like to see more individualistic ideas more so than just copycat work. I’d also like to see the Nashville scene grow in the fashion industry, which it is for sure!
CLAIRE FOTH HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME? JA: I love to spend time with the people I love. I love hangin with my dogs. I buy a lot of fashion books and magazines and get inspired by the images. I pull images and create mood boards for shoots. I love to watch films and TV shows, I always take away something from each. WHERE DID YOU START PHOTOGRAPHY, AND HOW DID YOU END UP HERE TODAY? JA: I started taking a photography class my senior year of high school cause I knew it would be an easy A, but ended up loving taking pictures. Right out of high school I started interning and 2nd shooting weddings. I then started my own photography business and have been doing so ever since. My love for fashion photography transpired after a trip to Europe when I was 20. I fell in love with the culture and the fashion and when I returned home I vowed to push myself in every way possible. I began to push the boundaries with my photography and have been doing so ever since. I’m constantly evolving and I just go with it. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WORK? ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS? JA: My work is just a reflection of my imagination. I love to be bazar with it. I create a concept, plan it out and execute it. The final result never comes out exactly as planned (which is never a bad thing).
WHAT DOES ART MEAN TO YOU? CLAIRE FOTH: To me, art is a subjective way that everyone can express themselves. As cheesy as it sounds it’s true! WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU? CF: I find many of the artists in Nashville super inspiring, also my other main source of inspiration is instagram. It blows my mind how many talented people are out there in the world and instagram is a great way to be connected with so many artists around the world. HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME? CF: I like to spend my free time working on projects whether it’s taking photos/videos, thrifting, reading, drinking coffee, being with friends and family. WHERE DID YOU START PHOTOGRAPHY, AND HOW DID YOU END UP HERE TODAY? CF: I started photography in high school with concert photography and ended up picking it back up late last year.
“our community, being creatives, is inspiring each other, working together and seeing each other grow.”
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WORK? ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS? CF: I’m working on a short film right now that I’m super excited about. My friend wrote it and i about it, we created amazing costumes for it! WHAT DOES COMMUNITY MEAN TO YOU? CF: I think the Nashville photo community is so wonderful simply because of how welcoming and supportive everyone is. There are so many crazy talented artists here, but everyone is willing to help you out. I truly feel like everyone in this community wants each other to succeed and do great things! HOW DO YOU WANT THE NASHVILLE PHOTO SCENE TO GROW? CF: I think the Nashville photo scene is in a really interesting place right now because of the new styles and collaborations that have been happening. I’m excited to see how all of the different photographers’ styles will interact with each other.
AUBREY VORDERBERG WHAT DOES ART MEAN TO YOU? AUBREY VORDERBERG: Art is a form of expressing oneself. When I take a photograph, whether it be a portrait or the chaotic downtown street, I am capturing what is beautiful in my own two eyes. I’m not trying to alter your opinion on beauty, but rather to express mine and share it with the world. Art is my escape. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU? AV: Growing up, I was surrounded by artistic beings. I constantly had a camera either in my face or in my hand. My family has been a huge inspiration in my passion for photography!
Without them forcing me to take pictures growing up and to test around with cameras, I don’t think I’d be where I am today! HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME? AV: Honestly, I am not huge on going out and about. In my free time, I’d much rather be taking photographs or spending time with my fiancé and pup! The older I get, the more of a homebody I become. WHERE DID YOU START PHOTOGRAPHY, AND HOW DID YOU END UP HERE TODAY? AV: Two years ago, my grandparents proposed the idea of buying me a camera...an offer I couldn’t pass up and ever since that day, my camera hasn’t left my side. After years of shooting with other photographers, I have learned and am still learning! TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WORK? ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS? AV: I am much of a portrait photographer... HANDS DOWN. Aside from portrait photography I love me some fashion photography! WHAT DOES COMMUNITY MEAN TO YOU? AV: My “community” growing up played a huge part in the person I am today. I grew up in a lower income part of the city, in a place where you helped and supported your neighbors. Community to me is important because in times of need or even just mental support, you’ve got someone. HOW DO YOU WANT THE NASHVILLE PHOTO SCENE TO GROW? AV: The Nashville photo scene over the last two years has grown an exceptional amount! I’d love for it to grow even more so that there are more “photographer” to “photographer” connections, rather than feeling it’s all a competition.
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MODEL & STYLING
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PHOTOGRAPHY KAMILLE DORR MODEL ADDISON HOWELL WARDROBE THRIFTED BY KAMILLE DORR
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OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE OLD. I WANDER THROUGH THRIFT STORES WHEN LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION. THERE’S NEARLY 100 YEARS OF STORIES HIDDEN WITHIN THE RACKS. WHEN I FIND AN INTERESTING PIECE OF CLOTHING, MY MIND RUNS WILD WITH IDEAS OF HOW IT COULD BE STYLED, LAYERED, AND PHOTOGRAPHED IN A WAY THAT GIVES NEW LIFE TO A FORGOTTEN TREASURE.
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PHOTOGRAPHY & ART DIRECTION LOUIS F. COTA MODEL KENIA ALVAREZ
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WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILY P. MCLAUGHLIN
This was the year I decided to dedicate myself to growth. All forms of it. Artistically, personally and most importantly mentally. Flowers have always been a symbolic factor within my artwork. I decided to cover the faces and bodies of my models with flowers. This represents that we are still growing and changing. We are constantly working towards becoming our own masterpiece everyday. Self-care and self-love creates the ability for us to blossom into our best selves. We must remember that when it feels like we are starting to wilt.
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BEHIND THE WORK GRAPHIC DESIGNER TWEETS / INSTAGRAM @KCORD0912 ILLUSTRATIONS BY MEGAN KATE POTTER
ON REPEAT 911/Mr. Lonely by Tyler the Creator, but also the Joanne album in it’s entirety (still).
CELEB CRUSH Michael B. Jordan. A fine man right there. He’s goofy yet suave, a lovely actor, and have you seen his recent Wall Street Journal photoshoot?
DREAM DESTINATION Ever since the Cheetah Girls 2 I have wanted to go to Spain. Barcelona to Valencia and everything in between. Strut around, hit up some Spanish wineries, eat my weight in croquetas — that’s the plan. ON YOUR FOLLOW RADAR Fave instagram accounts: @jooleeloren for silly illustrations, @thatdoodbirch for golden doodle love, @alyssainthecity for lifestyle/fashion.
HOROSCOPE SIGN Virgo. I def am a worry wart so that characteristic aligns. I don’t have any formal complaints about my sign, I think it fits me well.
LOCAL GEM Reveille Coffee on Columbus St. is a fave of mine. Beautiful SF views from all angles.
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iâ€™ve just been able to let myself be more free,
open to like a lot of change + bettering myself as a person