local wolves â€” 1
n The Rise issue is back for the second year! The team and I have so blessed to work with such creative talents on this music packed issue. Honestly, who doesn’t love fall? New tours, new music and PSL all day, every day. The topic of music has been such a crucial part of my life and I’m sure you all know that you can discover new music from the most random places. Like a few days ago, I was at Daiso (best store ever!) and I was jamming along to this bop that I totally had to type in the lyrics on Google. It was “Deep End” by Coucheron featuring East Side and Mayer Hawthorne—this track, it’s so catchy and making me reminisce my summer memories. Music impact others in a unique way, and having friends tell you about new music (thank you, Jolene!) and why not, do a playlist exchange? Let’s bring back CDs back! I truly hope you enjoy the stories and imagery captured for this month. Keep on pushing through, do what makes you happy and smile tons! Illustration by Leah Lu (Above) // Illustration by Laura Filas (Right).
Cathrine Khom founder / editor-in-chief insta / tweets / snap: @cathrinekhom
f e at u r e s 24
30 34 38
victoria reed bonne chĂŠre mothxr
claudia sulewski 48
a midsummer dream
ISSUE 41 // BASTILLE local wolves is an monthly online and print based publication delving into the most creative minds from the world of entertainment, arts and culture. the magazine is driven by a passion for the best coverage and photography to create an adaptive aesthetic. SAY HELLO // LETâ€™S CHAT general: firstname.lastname@example.org press: email@example.com get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom copy editor sophia khom music curator sena cheung head stylist katie qian h/mua/grooming jessie yarborough publicity ashley bulayo social media caroline edwards, nicole tillotson front cover logo fiona yeung back cover logo isabel ramos cover photo jordan randall
alexandra savior @alexandrasavior los angeles, ca
design / illustration kelsey cordutsky, christine ennis, laura filas, lisa lok, leah lu, megan kate potter, lauren wright contributing writers sadie bell, kendall bolam, ashley bulayo, karina diez, meghan duncan, morgan eckel, chloe luthringshausen, hudson luthringshausen, emma matthews contributing photographers mila austin, pamela ayala, megan cencula, riley donahue, amanda harle, lindsey harris, katy johnson, rachel kober, chris lampkins, sam landreth, lhoycel marie, penelope martinez, jenson metcalf, naohmi monroe, roxana moure, melissa tilley, ashley yu
annabel jones @okannabel london / california bastille @bastilledan london, uk beach tiger @beachtigermusic charleston, sc
mothxr @mothxr new york, ny
bonne chĂŠre @bonnechereband norfolk, va
victoria reed brooklyn, ny @victralia
coleman hell @colemanhell toronto, on
T.O.L.D. @itstold los angeles, ca
drowners @drownersband new york, ny
emily vaughn @emilyvaughnx nashville, tn liss @liss.music aarhus, dk
localwolves.com twitter | instagram | snapchat @localwolves read online issuu.com/localwolves print shop magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag
playlist + SE P TE M B ER 2 0 1 6 +
coverage BY sena cheung
local wolves â€” 7
munchies + RIALT O C AFE +
coverage BY Ashley Yu
For the perfect weekend morning, make sure to stop by Rialto Cafe, located in historic Downtown Fullerton, for its delectable, all-day breakfast options. In the early 1920s, The Rialto was a silent movie theater but has since been renovated into a block of eateries and office spaces – one of those being Rialto Cafe. Although the brunch line may seem daunting, the retro vibes and classic brunch options are well worth the wait. Not only are the meal portions sufficiently large, but they also make for the perfect Instagram post – some major pluses when choosing a brunch place. From Stumptown coffee served in mason jars to its unique take on French toast, Rialto is definitely a can’t-miss spot in Downtown Fullerton. location: 108 W Wilshire Ave, Fullerton, CA
local wolves â€” 9
back to school + W O LFIE SU B M ISSI O NS +
Back to school fever? Let's chat about how you handle your school schedule or daily life on campus! Our wolfies share advice on how to survive this school year. ILLUSTRATIONS (RIGHT) / LAURA FILAS (TOP) // LEAH LU (BOTTOM) Back-to-School season always reminds me of autumn. Perhaps it is because going back to school includes the transition into the actual season. However just like fall, it seems to have the same bittersweet feeling attached to its hip. For some, sadness comes hand in hand with autumn due to summer gradually fading away. For others, happiness is the picturesque scenery of leaves changing color and descending to the ground. For many, it is both. Every time the new school year comes around, I dread letting go of my horrible sleeping habits (though we all know they’ll probably still stay,) yet look forward to learning new things and making new memories. If I were to give one piece of “back-to-school” themed advice to any lovely person who comes across this message, I’d say to experience this school year as though it is a sunny, summer day. To most of us, summer is the pinnacle of our fondest memories and loudest laughs— that doesn’t mean we can’t treat school the same. If we leave room for one glass of lemonade, and hang out with one lovely friend, maybe even take the time for one long (all the while justified) nap; the year may not be as dreary as presumed. Taking care of your well-being is equally as important as working hard towards success. If we as students, future leaders, and inspirations for those who follow behind us can do both at the same time, this year will be more than just another school year to finish and forget. – ALEXA AREVALO / ONTARIO, CAN With all the school stuff and the never ending demands from professors, I always make sure to have time for myself and just enjoy college. As an introvert, I enjoy being alone and sometimes be with few of my really close friends. I try to manage my time and just chill without compromising my studies. – AJ NUEVAS / PH (+ ARTWORK BELOW)
Back-to-School means grumpy professors, lengthy assignments, early morning classes and all-nighters to the average college kid. The best way to deal with all this is to balance your social and academic life. Your social life is extremely important during school, it’s that escape from dealing with assignments for a bit. GET INVOLVED, GET INVOLVED, GET INVOLVED! This is how you make lasting friendships and get to surround yourself around others that challenge and inspire you to do something awesome. Also an occasional party every now and then doesn’t hurt the soul either. Good luck and always aim higher! – NATAISIAH DAVIS / NEW JERSEY TIP #1: It's always a good idea to bring a charger for your phone and headphones, especially if you have a school laptop! That way your phone can be plugged in and charging throughout the whole day and it won't die in case you need to contact someone after school for a ride, or use your phone for a project in class! With headphones, you can listen to music on your phone or computer while doing coursework in class! It's a good way to keep yourself from getting distracted and it'll help you finish your work! It's such a nice feeling to come home and already have your work done for the next day! TIP #2: The upperclassmen aren't as scary as everyone says they are, but make sure you know your place. Don't walk around acting like you own the school or like you're smarter than the them. That will most likely annoy them and cause them to be annoyed by your class. If you're comfortable, you could talk to new people in other grades and make new friends! Don't push yourself too far, I'm sure other kids are just as nervous about school as you are! It's normal! TIP #3: Don't be afraid to meet with your teachers for help before or after school. If you need help on a section or topic in class, you could ask your teacher if they'd be available to help you one on one. Some people learn better when the teacher is focused on them. Most teachers are available and extremely willing to help you succeed in their class! TIP #4: Join as many clubs and/or sports as you're comfortable with! it's good to branch out a bit and join a club that you maybe never thought of joining! there are clubs like student council, art club, theatre, and many more options available for you! These groups help you create new friendships with people who have similar interests to yours and *also* it could spark new interests! TIP #5: Don't stress yourself out too much! High school can feel really overwhelming at first, but you'll slowly get into the swing of things. Don't be embarrassed if you have to ask where your classes are or if you need help on anything during class! – KATARINA WICKMAN / MIDWISCONSIN
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It is my first year of college. I have no friends, no acquaintances, and no names that I know of. I am a new little seedling in a field of towering, and glowing sunflowers. I felt small and awkward and I had no idea on how I should go about making new friends; after all, I never had this issue in 6 years. Everything is different from the campus I am on to the school supplies I hold. I went from familiar faces and color pencils to strangers and pens. My first class was a bore and everyone was either asleep or chatting with friends. My professor dragged on about student’s loans and having a bad credit score (whatever that means). My next two professors were strict as a vegan not being able to eat meat and they held some pretty tight demands. It looks like no doodling for me. My head hurt, my back ached, and all I wanted was a chai latte with cinnamon dust. Little did I know that the student barista in the cafe would become my first college friend. He gave me a heart latte art on my chai and it made my day and it was what urged me to talk to him. Everyday so far, we would chat during his break over a chai latte and flat white. It's the little and unexpected things that make the best memories. I feel that this is the best way to survive school. Don't think that class is the only place you will find a friend and never use "I don't have time", as an excuse. Try your hardest to find balance for all the things that make you happy. Skype with long distance friends, send them packages on their birthday, don't be so shy and try to step out of your zone. Peers are the ones who will help you most with your school experience. Just keep that reminder in your pocket". – KELCI BROOK ARELLANO / BELLFLOWER, CA (+ ARTWORK ABOVE)
Every time I get a piece of homework or an assignment, I will start it when I get back home the same day. Of course I have an hour or so to relax and recharge my brain which is very important to do but I always start it the day I get it because it puts my mind at ease and I think that would help so many students who struggle with handing in homework on time. Get the first bit out of the way and everything will be fine. The first paragraph of an assignment is the hardest part for me because it's the introduction to the whole piece. Once you pass that, I guarantee you will have a better and clearer idea of where you are heading with the assignment. Other things I do to help me survive the school year are making lists of what you need to do and crossing them off is a very simple thing but also an amazing thing. Crossing things off will definitely give you a feeling of satisfaction. Using a calendar and marking the days down of when an assignment is due in as well as the fun days out/break days so you won't be seeing the word assignment everywhere you turn. Waking up early also helps tremendously! Stretching, meditating, drinking a cold glass of water or a cup of tea will all help you start the day off in a good way. Another thing I do that helps me within the school year is to be kind to everyone. Be kind to your teachers, the teacher’s assistants, your school peers, the school cleaners, everyone. I strongly believe that the kindness and respect you put out, you will receive it back. This will also help you meet good people. Lastly, on your days off, do actually have a day off. Enjoy your day, go running, watch your favorite film, meet up with your friends, do something fun! Having a day off will most certainly help you recharge and feel positive. – ZAHRA EL-KHAZRAGI / WALES, UK The phrase "Back-to-School" for me is not always as welcoming as it seems. Personally, I am involved with so many school extracurricular activities such as, plays, clubs, and sports. Unfortunately, homework builds up and since I'm always busy, it sits there waiting to be completed each night. I tend to feel as if there's not enough hours in the day to finish everything. Since both school clubs and getting good grades are equally important to me, I was having trouble balancing everything out. I was trying so hard to make it a fun year, but with being stressed out all the time, it didn't quite work out. I'd always feel guilty for refusing to go certain places with my classmates or simply asking for help. I was stuck. Eventually, I realized that if I bring my school work along with me and maybe complete a couple of questions, or finish reading that one chapter, it can help you out in the long run. It may sound weird and confusing, but I promise, it's not. I started bringing my homework everywhere with me because it can help you have less problems to do at night. Overtime, my days got easier. I was able to take time out of my day to relax and focus on myself more. The reason I'm giving you this piece of advice is for whenever you were just as stressed out as I was. It helps and leaves things completed and stress free. With that being said, have a happy and safe school year! Good luck! *P.S. during stressful times, just breathe. I promise you'll get through it all! Never forget that it is ALWAYS okay to ask for help when needed. – ALEXANDREA KURISH / SHELBY TWP, MI
Having a well-thought routine is the best way to survive anything. If you create good habits at the very beginning of the school year, you will stick to it and you won't have to waste time on it later on. Find your priorities, make time for free time, and get to know yourself. I spent my whole childhood surrounded by kids who hated to get up in the morning to go to school, while I knew deep down that I preferred to wake up early and go to sleep early— imagine how ridiculous I sounded in high school when it was so cool to go to sleep at 3 a.m. every night. So I shut my tiny inside voice and tried to act like everyone else. Guess what? I couldn't. I spent the last year at university, waking up at 5 in the morning, feeling fresh and energized— because that's what works for me. My routine consists in doing everything important in the morning, so I am ready for my day and I can relax once I'm back home in the evening. Now build things inside this schedule that works for you— if you know people who share your feelings, make time to enjoy a few things with them, like a workout or a study session. If you find the right balance between your own rhythm, hard work and happy time, your body and your mental health will be thankful. – CHARLOTTE / FR Ah, the time has come! The summer has ended and school has started. The motivation for school will be at its high until it hits about a month into school. Keep in mind, you’re not the only one. I have some tips for dealing with the stress, lack of motivation, and piled up work. #1: Time management. The most important skill to master while in school. If your time management is off, you will never be able to finish everything in time. Take a day to plan out your following week. You won’t only feel productive, but you’ll also have a schedule to follow. #2: Always be prepared. As a college student, I always have my school supplies in my backpack ready to go. You never want to show up to a class unprepared. It is not only unprofessional, but also affects your own studies. #3: Library and coffee shops. These are your best friends while in school. Get out of your room and go to your college’s library or a coffee shop. It helps with motivating you to get your work done because of the atmosphere around you. Plus, you can get a nice latte at the coffee shop! #4: Take breaks. Taking breaks between studying and doing homework can help tremendously with your concentration and motivation to do your work. Every 20-30 minutes take a 5-minute break to give your mind a break. It also motivates you to get through your studies because you’ll know you have a break coming up. #5: Mental health is first priority. I cannot stress this enough, your mental health is the most important thing and always will be. If you feel like you need a day off… Take that day off. If you need to sit and clear your mind… Do it. This should be your first priority. Do not let yourself slip into bad habits and into a state that can affect you for the rest of your life. Take care of yourself this year. Drink a cup of tea or coffee. Go sit outside or go for a walk. Make this year a great one academically, but not in sacrifice of your mental health. Lots of love and good luck xx. – MEGDALYN LEILANI / BRENTWOOD, CA
I’ve always had a hard time managing my time effectively in since middle school. I still wasn’t as good as I could be in high school thanks to lack of interest in the things I had to do work for. But since arriving at college things have changed. I find that the easiest way to go about handling all the things you have to do is to prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. There’s no going around it because like it or not (and as your professors will surely remind you 10 times a day) in the “real world” you have to get your work done. There is no excuse that you could tell your boss about why you didn’t finish your project. You really have to pick what is going to take you the longest and start early on that so even when it comes to crunch time, you still have a bulk of the work done because you spread it out over the course of a few days/weeks. It’s not always going to be fun, but a phrase that has stuck with me for years and help me get through those long nights is “this too shall pass.” I say that to myself over and over to remind me that although at that time whatever I am doing may be dreadful, in the morning it will all be over. So instead of re-watching that episode of The Office for the 10th time, stop putting your homework and projects off and finish them already. That way you can spend the next night going out and having fun with friends because college is also about being carefree and making lasting memories. – ALLISON COPPEDGE / CHICAGO, IL School is something that gives me mind numbing, nail biting, stomach churning anxiety every year that summer nears its end. I worry about absolutely every aspect of it; from my brand new teacher's methods of instruction, to the (some familiar, some not) faces that will be scattered about the seats in each of my classrooms. I realize that this anxiety is a little bit extreme, but it never fails to pay me a visit each year anyway. Something I've learned over the years is that no matter how much I loathe going back each year, there are so many days that make it all worth it. The nights spent reading over procrastinated words that should have been read weeks ago and staying up till the sun rises are exhausting, but all worth it for all of the good days. Going to the school football games with friends in the chilly months of fall or the holiday parties the week leading up to winter break. Grabbing a bagel and coffee with new friends after a long day, or getting ready for that party (or party of one) over the weekend. Waking up early for field trip days or feeling the days get easier as the summertime nears. Each year, the anxiety I feel before school starts seems to overtake the excitement I feel anticipating these good days. I never realized it, but the amount of school days I enjoy top the amount that I want to erase from memory. And that's what keeps me going each year— those days that make it worth it. As for daily advice? I know It's hard, but going to bed early makes the mornings at least a little bit easier. My hedgehog pencil sharpener also makes school a little more bearable— I highly suggest investing in one. – MAIA PATERNOSTRO / MORGANTOWN, WV
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How do I handle school and daily life on campus? I express my creativity in every way possible. I have to set aside time for those creative outlets in my life. Yeah college life gets busy, but if you incorporate your passions and creativity into everyday life it’s a whole lot more enjoyable and fruitful for yourself. And who knows, maybe something you create or post will speak to someone else in a way. You don’t always see the fruit of your efforts, but ya know, that’s alright. Do what makes you happy and what you’ve been blessed with and it will speak to someone. – MADELINE MULLENBACH / LEXINGTON, KY
We’ve spent our summer days with our feet in the sand, and blasting music in the car on nights that seemed never ending; but once again the dreaded time has come: Back to School. I know. It’s about time, right? While going backto-school probably isn’t what you want to be spending your final days of summer thinking about— I’m here to give you a few tips and tricks to make this upcoming school year a little more bearable (and maybe even fun!) Stay organized and keep yourself scheduled. After spending your summer carefree and ignoring the very idea of responsibilities, getting back into the routine of school can be one of the most challenging parts of Back to School season. It’s time to start going to sleep earlier than 3 a.m. and preparing for early mornings. Sleep is a huge key in keeping up with school work and feeling ready for the day. You’ll also want to plan things out in advance, one of the best ways that I’ve found to stay scheduled and organized is investing in a quality planner. You can keep track of your tests, homework and other school responsibilities along with your social life. Set goals. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it and create a plan. By setting goals you give yourself the power to envision where you want to be in the near and distant future. You want to get better grades in math this year? Set a goal to do that and plan how you will get there; Maybe make more time for studying and less for watching Netflix. The possibilities are endless! Start off your school year by writing out all of your dreams, turn them into goals, and spend your school year making them a reality. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. I cannot stress this one enough. Never be afraid to let your true self shine. Make it a goal this school year to embrace your personality and show everyone the beautiful person that you are on the inside and out. Even though stepping out of your comfort zone can be a bit scary, try not to fear putting yourself out there. There may be an amazing friendship waiting to begin with a simple “hello”, so remember not to fear rejection and be confident- A little confidence goes a long way. *If you’re struggling with self-confidence, here’s a little tip: At the beginning of each day, look in the mirror and find three things that you love about yourself; It can be the tiniest of details and does not have to just be based on your outer appearance. Repeat this every day. This ritual of self-love will become integrated into your daily life and you will be one step closer to self-love and confidence. – TAYLOR BELLE / NEW YORK CITY, NY
– CHARISSE CELESTIAL / BERKELEY, CA
– MARINA SUNG MARQUES / SAO PAULO, BR If you’re wondering if this first year is going to be difficult, I can assure you it will. I can’t confirm that this higher academic level will exceed your learning capacity, because difficulty varies from student to student. I can however promise that you will be scared. Terrified, actually. It may not hit you the first day of classes… and maybe you’ll only notice after your first semester ends. Or perhaps it will be May, and you’ve just finished your last final exam of freshman year and then you’ll realize. One fourth of your college career is over. Now, I bet you’re scared. Parents, teachers, and random adults alike have always warned us that life goes by fast. It was always so cliché, you’d just nod and smile, because you’ve heard it all before. It didn’t hit me that they were right until I was done with my first year of college. It has now been over a year since I graduated from high school. I can remember feeling so lost and frightened of the future, while it seemed like my peers around me were filled with excitement and certainty. Over a year ago, I stood on a stage in an auditorium full of people, clutching a bouquet of red roses, beside one hundred girls— whom of which I’ll probably never see again apart from your casual run in at the local grocery store— How weird is that? For four years of high school you see the same faces every day, and hear the same voices. If you went to a high school as small as mine, there was a time when you could recall at least one fact about every single person you graduated with. And now, those same faces have flattened into mere photos on social media. It’s sad, I know. But it’s the truth. High school is just one very small chapter of your life that you never thought you’d miss, but you will. Dear Senior, you don’t need to have everything figured out. You don’t have to decide your major before you’ve taken your first class. It’s okay to ask yourself what you want to be when you get older, and to not know the answer. My mom likes to tell me that even now, she still doesn’t know what she wants to do for the rest of her life. If you know exactly what field you plan to enter post-graduation, that’s great! But if you don’t, never feel as if there’s something wrong with you just because you’re unsure. You can choose a major, then change it the very next week, then again and again and again— Alright maybe not that many times, but you catch my drift. – BETHANIE ROBYN / BUFFALO, NY
local wolves — 15
pinpoint + Y O SE M ITE V ALLE Y + COVERAGE BY VALERIE NOELL / BRITTANY POWELL / KEET WARRIN
Let us fall hard and deep into the greens and blues of YOSEMITE VALLEY. This is what I learned you must do, on my first excursion there. You must let go, let go of whatever it is you believe you are searching for and just be. For the beauty and the vastness of this valley is beyond any expectation. As a little lady, my daydreams took place in the woods. Deep within the pine covered rooftops and bark filled walls. I dreamed of a land far away from where I stood— warm, in the tropics, with swaying palms and coconuts at my feet. I dreamed of a land with running rivers that fell over mountainsides. A land where the forest was your neighbor and the smell of burning wood was your perfume. I dreamed of the wild. So I went to Yosemite. I had always dreamed of going and when my friend Brittany asked me along, I knew it was time. She like myself, craves adventure. We wanted to see its tall stonewalls and billowing waterfalls. We wanted to stand next to its rocks and sleep under its treetops— the same ones our early explorers slept under. We wanted to be wild and free from society. We only had a few days to spare, but we were eager to see as much as we could. From the valleys winding roads to the hike to the highest point— every moment was pure magic. We sought out every waterfall and was in awe as we stood beneath each. We became friends with every tree we passed and took photos next to moss covered rocks— so not to forget. We hiked the John Muir Trail and as we climbed those steep stone steps— let the mist of Vernal Falls cleanse our soul. It was true freedom. A feeling I will soon not forget.
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local wolves â€” 21
Subcultures so often control the tides of fashion, whether they receive credit for their influence or not. Skateboarding is the heart of the underground— hopping fences, backwards glances of self-preservation, and defiant repurposing of spaces to serve their own skill and art. Fashion has and always will feed off of individuals like skaters who live by their inventiveness and can visualize an entire world to suit an individual purpose. Bits of the skate world float into trends in a consistent and continual pulse, like straight leg pants, low top sneakers and coaches jackets to name a few. These trends weren’t started by skate culture with any motivation of fashion success, proving that you don’t necessarily have to care about fashion to find your personal style. Watch a few skate videos like Girl and Chocolate’s Pretty Sweet or even a classic like Plan B’s Questionable, and it doesn’t take much effort to catch the nuances in each skater’s personality without any words— just their presence on a board. Style is just as much an attitude as it is a physical collection of clothes. WRITTEN BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY RILEY DONAHUE BANNER BY LAURA FILAS
LOOK 1 mens thrifted corduroy hat vintage dickies button up vintage coach’s jacket dickies mens work pants vans old skool sneakers womens thrifted mechanic button up thrifted skort vans old skool sneakers
LOOK 2 mens vans heartacher sunglasses thrifted tee dickies mens work pants vans old skool sneakers womens unif leland crop top thrifted diy hem jeans vintage world industries belt vans old skool sneakers
local wolves â€” 23
written by sadie bell photography by kyle blatchford
Annabel Jones recorded an entire EP— only to throw it all away; it was a work that failed to feel like a true reflection of herself. “I had to turn around to my team and say, ‘I’m really sorry, but I don’t want to release this EP,’” said Jones. “I said, ‘Just give me a chance to write some new material. I know I’ve got it in me and I’ve got other things that I want to say.’” And she certainly did have it in her, as shortly thereafter, she wrote her wonderfully elaborate, willful pop single “Magnetic”, discovering the strong voice inside of her that she had kept quiet for so long. “That was the moment I was like, ‘Whoa, actually, you can do this. You do have something to say. You do have this in you.’” With her pristine, vibrant voice, keen perspective, and cunning lyrics, budding pop singer Annabel Jones is bound to flourish in the solo spotlight, a position she has always dreamt of for herself, but feared actually embracing. But after past projects of the indie rock variety that did not feel fit and a harrowing point in her life following the death of her father, Davy Jones of The Monkees, Jones discovered a glimmer of empowerment within herself— and held onto that spark to let her light shine.
After leaving her previous band to pursue a solo career, she said, “It was scary to step out and reveal myself and be alone— the only one that’s responsible for anything, the only that’s driving anything, the only one whose thoughts are on the page— but essentially, I think that when we put ourselves in these situations, it’s because we feel we’re ready to do so.” And ready, she was. In this transition, Jones signed to the major label, Atlantic Records and began writing her own solo work, scrapping songs until she found what felt truly right when she wrote “Magnetic”. Since then, Jones has released her debut EP, Libelle, an innovative collection of alternative power pop tunes that highlight her vocal capabilities over celestial production that is worth dancing to.“The biggest surprise to me was that I could do it,” she said. “I think any time you have to step out, hold your hands up, raise your voice, and say here I am, [it] is scary for most people. It was like stepping into my own power, knowing and finding out how much was there,” she said, realizing that there was another side of herself that she did not know existed— a side that she discovered through the empowerment of songwriting and accepting herself for the independent, strong artist that she is.
“I feel most empowered when I am in the [studio] writing,” she said. To Jones, song writing is an experience that generates a wave of clarity and collectivity that washes over her and engulfs her in a fit of inspiration and selfliberation. She said writing is the medium in which she explores the depth of her emotion and reveals feelings to herself that she may not have known about otherwise, like the power that she never fully embraced. Jones holds onto this empowerment dearly, as it is what motivated her to find the confidence to pursue her solo career. “It’s important for me to feel empowered [because] I believe everybody should feel empowered,” she said. “I think that when you feel like you are empowered, nothing can stop you because it gives you the wind beneath your wings.”
Her music expresses this very feeling through its bombastic beats, ethereal sounds, and lyrics that tout independence and revel in positivity, while still exploring the elusiveness of emotion. She said, “If I can give somebody that feeling through my music and my EP, that would be the greatest thing. If somebody would say to me, ‘I listen to your music and I feel empowered,’— amazing. That is such a gift for me to hear that.” By realizing her worth, Jones was able to commit to her longtime dream and turn it into her reality. Now, by trusting herself and finding the value of self-empowerment, Jones is determined to spread this message through her music, because to her, it is so important that everyone engages with this feeling, too.
Violet is a color that rarely exists in nature, and when it
“ I t h i n k a n y t i m e yo udoes in the form of a soft lavender flower or a glistening crystal, it’s striking, as if someone personally dusted the world with an extra touch of vibrancy. Like this uncommon hue, the band Transviolet are a rare, fiery powerhouse of a pop band to recently emerge on the music scene. As their name suggests, though, Transviolet is a rarity that crosses boundaries and runs anywhere and everywhere— and they are here to create music that sorts out all of the frivolity, noise, and frustration that exists in our world in abundance. “Life is just a collection of fleeting moments: blips of happiness, excitement, anxiety, and loss. We decide what meaning or connection we give to these events. Music is our catalyst to finding that meaning,” said lead vocalist, Sarah McTaggart.
h av e to s t e p o u t, ho l d yo u r h a n d s u p, r a i s e yo u r vo i c e , a n d s ay
h e r e I a m , [ i t] i s s c a ry f o r mo s t p e op l e .”
The Los Angeles-based, four piece band made up of McTaggart, Judah McCarthy, Michael Panek and Jon Garcia creates music that evokes emotion through dramatic, swooping chords and synthesizers beneath lyrics that are so luscious and intuitive that they could exist within the pages of a poetry book by one of the beats. McTaggart, who writes all of the band’s lyrics said, “Some people say ‘everything happens for a reason.’ I’m not one of those people. I think the universe is a strange, chaotic place, and we are beings who specialize in recognizing patterns, even when they aren’t there. However, I don’t think life is meaningless. I believe that we create our own meaning. For me, songwriting is how I create that meaning.”
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beach tiger WRITTEN BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDSEY HARRIS
BEACH TIGER are an anachronism, geographically speaking. They originate from Charleston, South Carolina– not necessarily a place that jumps to mind when flipping through a mental roster of indie rock. With three released tracks under their belt, the band is staking a claim in the music scene of their hometown and developing the trajectory for their newly created project. We asked lead singer, Taylor, how it felt to fall into rank with the locale of South Carolina music– “The music scene, especially in Charleston, is very Americana and jam band-ish and I still think that it is; but I moved down here four years ago, and just in that time, I’ve seen a huge surge in indie bands.” But to classify Beach Tiger’s tunes under the nondescript genre of indie would be unfair to the band’s layers of funk that come across in their relaxed sound. The band’s subgenre of choice is listed as ‘psych pop’ on their social media pages, and seems to draw the perfect illustration of what the guys are all about. Although they gravitate toward this label when forced to choose, Taylor says, “I think we change our genre once a week. We’ll use this crazy effect and be like, ‘Dude, we’re totally psych pop.’ But I have always thought genre was kind of irrelevant because it’s so hard to peg down.” Rather than using this subgenre as means of distinction, the band seems to use the label to express an affinity for the kind of feelings bands of psych pop past have been linked to. Taylor elaborates, “I wouldn’t say we’re as psychedelic as Pink Floyd or we sound exactly like the Beach Boys, but I like how people describe our music with words like ‘hazy’ and ‘woozy.’”
The dudes of Beach Tiger are homogeneous in vision partly due to their solid friendship that eventually grew to form a band, instead of making music first and growing close out of necessity. Taylor told us how they initially got the idea for their project: “We all went to Clemson University. Our drummer lived above us and we heard through the grapevine what he was doing and met that way. But we had all played in previous bands together, so we’ve known each other for a couple of years and even though we just recently started the Beach Tiger project, we’ve been friends for a long time.” This history contributes an uniquely laidback attitude to the creative process of Beach Tiger and Taylor so aptly explains why this is–“I would be hanging out with the guys on a Friday night drinking a beer anyways, so we might as well be doing it while playing some music together.” Though they ooze an authentic mellowness whether in free time or work, there is a constant undercurrent of shamefree candor that comes from the group’s closeness. In pitching ideas to the band, Taylor tell us, “It’s a comfortable environment when we’re creating. There’s a lot of blunt honesty because we’ve known each other for so many years. At this point, if I write something someone will be like, ‘Dude, that sucks.’ And we’ll move on to the next thing. It’s a good vibe, but an honest vibe.”
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Delving more specifically into their style of creating lead to conversation about one of Beach Tiger’s influences who have a similar process to their own. When asked whom they thought was forging the most determinative trends in music for the rest of the industry currently, the answer was Tame Impala: “I’ve loved that dude [Kevin Parker] for a long time. I caught wind of Lonerism and I connected with it, but at times, it definitely still seemed out there. I loved it, but it wasn’t my favorite album. I was drawn to the elements and the effects and the creativity. He works very much like Beach Tiger in the sense that he locks himself away, writes the songs, and then they’re brought to a full band and made even bigger and mastered. And that’s the Beach Tiger process currently. A few songs start in my bedroom with me writing and then I take it to the guys, and then they play their parts ten times better than I do, and we can bring it together and really make something special. I fell in love with Tame Impala even more after they put out Currents, because it still has the crazy cool creativity of the previous albums but it felt more pop, more cohesive. I was so into it, I listened to it cover to cover and it was one of those moments like, ‘One day, I want to write my own Currents.’” The honesty of Beach Tiger’s ambition is apparent in this answer, and it shows they are in tune with one of the most important truths of making good art: the ability to sit in deep appreciation of another artist’s work and funnel that inspiration into the formation of something totally new and uncontrived and uniquely your own, yet still reverently influenced by what came before.
" O UR M USI C IS U P B EAT AN D FUN AN D T H E NA M E IS FUN TO O, AN D K IN D O F RI D I C ULO US . W E D O N ’ T WANT TO TA K E O UR M USI C TO O SERI O USLY. W E J UST WANT TO H AV E FUN AN D M A K E S O M E K ILLER M USI C ." Their perspective as a band is chilled out and forward moving, but lacking any pompous need to prove themselves or their music. The essence of Beach Tiger can be nicely summarized in the story Taylor relayed to us of how they came to decide on a title: “I remember sitting with the band at this Mexican restaurant and I just looked at them and said, ‘Guys, I don’t know why but I think our band should be called Beach Tiger.’ And our bassist, Eric, stood up, slapped the table, gave me some knucks and said, ‘Done.’ I like the name because our music is upbeat and fun and the name is fun too, and kind of ridiculous. We don’t want to take our music too seriously. We just want to have fun and make some killer music.” True to intentions, Beach Tiger is making the kind of music that will play as a soundtrack to good memories and carefree times. Find their newest single, “Companion,” on Spotify, stay tuned for the accompanying music video and plenty more rad things to come.
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victoria reed written by Emma Matthews PhotographY by Rachel Kober
When Brooklyn-based singer-songwiter, Victoria Reed was studying philosophy at DePaul University, she found herself in the midst of an existential crisis. Doubting her abilities and on the verge of giving up on the thing she loved most, it was those feelings that helped form her debut album. “[Chariot] came out of a period of confusion and spiritual questioning for me. So, the songs themselves ultimately became a big part of my path out of it and back into a sense of faith and direction in everything,” she explains. “The songs on the record are really just a reflection of that whole process mixed in with a good dose of love songs, because as it turns out, dating is a pretty good distraction from an existential crisis!” Released back in February, the offering is packed full to the brim of Americana pop tracks that document the ups and downs of life. Case in point: “Make It Easy”. The whimsical number, looks the notion of giving advice to one’s younger-self, and was one of the last songs Victoria wrote for the record. “My songwriting is almost entirely autobiographical and really serves as a way for me to process things emotionally. I find it deeply therapeutic to write about what’s happening for me internally, so the writing process is pretty much a necessity for me,” smiles the musician. “A deeply satisfying and helpful necessity.”
Born in Detroit to a musician and Playboy bunny, in many ways it seems inevitable that Victoria would peruse a career in music. She first recorded demos with a producer when she was 14, but it’s only now that she’s had the experience of working collectively with a group of musicians. “I dabbled with recording here and there growing up. But, it was my first time recording with a full band. It was brand new for me and extremely exciting,” she says,
“J e f f H i l l , who p r od u c e d t h e a l b u m wa s r e a l ly a m a z i n g to wo r k w i t h a n d a l l o f t h e m u s i c i a n s t h at p l ay e d o n t h e r e co r d m a d e i t s u ch a wo n d e r f u l a n d n at u r a l e x p e r i e n c e .” With more shows in the pipeline and the promise of posting upcoming ‘exclusive tracks’ on her Spotify account (keep your eyes peeled) there really is no stopping Victoria. “I love being able to connect with people through my music. It means so much to me when people come up to me after shows citing certain lines from my songs or even just something that I said when I explained the story behind one of them and how they related to it,” she says. “It makes everything so worth it. Not even just the music, but everything!
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bonne chére WRITTEN by Anna Hall Photography by Spencer Hall
Bonne Chére could be described as that high school band that’s actually cool. Connor and Cameron, both members of their high school’s band, hadn’t connected much before a serendipitous snow day barred them and a few other close friends into a room where they played for two days straight. It is in this crucible that Cameron and Connor realized their chemistry and Bonne Chére began. Something of the chance encounter seems to ground Bonne Chére’s sound. Their songwriting process, a freeflowing trial-and-error, recalls what it was like on that fateful snowy day, “It starts with us just playing off of one another and then carrying the song off that initial idea. I usually make up lyrics then off of what the song made me think about, based off of memories or what’s going on around me or in my life at the time.” This improvisational thrust is also supported by the band’s main genre interest: jazz. Connor values the ‘freedom’ jazz allows its practitioners in both composition and performance, “We don’t write music that follows rules, we try to write music that people enjoy.” Notwithstanding many modern pop, indie and soul influences, ranging from Stevie Wonder to the Strokes, Bonne Chére make their offerings mostly to the gods of jazz. Cameron, whose main instrument is the saxophone and studies the genre at college, attests, “I’ve always loved the old crooners like Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr. and been obsessed with the composing skills of Glenn Miller and Henry Mancini.” They also try to emulate the bigband style of the past, transposing it to incorporate their more modernized melodies. Connor and Cameron bring mostly wind players but also a plethora instrumentalists on stage when they play, many of whom they know from their high school days. “We love the idea of music and our band acting more as a collective than an exclusive group so we really love getting the chance to have such amazing people play with us.”
“Our image as a band is very simplistic so as to allow our audience to relate to us more easily and take us in whatever way they choose, formulate their own opinions without persuasion.” Bonne Chére synthesizes myriad genres and influences, hoping to leave their music open to interpretation. “We really see that different people take different things from each of our songs, sometimes completely the opposite of what we meant and that’s okay. Even our image as a band is very simplistic so as to allow our audience to relate to us more easily and take us in whatever way they choose, formulate their own opinions without persuasion.” Just as the crowd at shows is expected to engage in a interpretive or experiential DIY, so Bonne Chére remain grounded by, for instance, taking any musical downtime as an opportunity to make their own merchandise. Although who’s to say how long they’ll be able to do this for; Bonne Chére are a band on the rise, playing bigger venues and gaining notoriety. “We were in a restaurant”, Connor remembers, “at a little shop about an hour from where we live and a girl who worked at the restaurant approached us and asked us if we were in Bonne Chère.” They’re certainly no longer high school bandmates jamming on a snow day. Still, they aren’t getting ahead of themselves. They remain true to their roots and the improvisational spirit that forms the core of Bonne Chére extends beyond the music and into their mindset, guiding their own goals as a band. While they hope to become more refined, work out a definite identity, and perfect their music, Connor and Cameron also just want to see where their music takes them. “We don’t really have any definite goals, really to just keep doing what we’re doing and hoping people enjoy it as we do.”
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mothxr coverage by Cory Ingram
There is one band I haven’t missed a single set by in New York since two years ago when I first met them in the poorly lit cavern on the lower east side that is the Mercury Lounge. They go by the name MOTHXR. Although at the time it was simply ‘Mother’ (shortly after my introduction to the quartet they changed the ‘e’ to an ‘x’ for various reasons). The band is comprised of producer, bassist, and director Jimmy Giannopolous; New Zealand’s platinum record recipient, and guitarist Simon Oscroft; keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist, Darren Will; and lead singer/guitarist Penn Badgley, who is most popularly known for his role in the televison show series, Gossip Girl. The four friends came together in Los Angeles after Jimmy and Darren finished a tour with another artist to write and record songs, just for the fun of it. Simon was initially invited by Jimmy just to come down and put guitar on a few tracks for a day or so, with less than any intention of playing any shows, doing any tours, or going overseas to Europe with The Neighbourhood and following that up by playing a sold out show with them at Terminal 5 in New York City at the tail end of the U.S. run they did together. The electrifying set began with “Stranger” the crowd all simultaneously being lifted up by the ghoulish synth-heavy disco drip that’s juxtaposed by this cutting guitar driven backbone that cuts through the night like a freight train barreling down the tracks and shaking the earth to its core, along with everything else in its way. As the electric set progressed throughout the evening, the room only got smaller, or so it seemed. There was suddenly this feeling that everyone and their mothers who lived between Tribeca and the George Washington Bridge had somehow found a back door and slipped into the room. Wall to wall. Tier to tier. It was practically impossible to move. As guitar headstocks continued to be lifted into the air and transformed into sonic divebombs when-
ever the group decided to rip open their songs’ structure for an unparalleled, unprecedented, electro-funk jam, hair continued to drape over the ivory gleam of the synth and Badgley’s voice continued to give the crowd more than something to gossip about, it seemed as if the night could never end. As the electro-funk foursome continued to serve their ethereal, 808 infused cocktails the crowd swayed, stammered, and sang along the whole way. The set was the perfect arrangement of highlights to their debut album, Centerfold, which was released this past February shortly after the group signed to Washington Square Music, an imprint of the independent record label, Razor and Tie. At a certain point in the set, somewhere after performing the heavy hitting title track of the most recent release but before the synth-pop, mid-summer night romance that is “Wild Ride” Badgley and his fellow crooners, along with the few thousand people in attendance who, at this point, could’ve passed for an eclectic group of Pokémon Go players with all of their phones high above their heads trying to catch some rare digital creature, floated down into the uncharted waters of the group’s single, “She Can’t Tell”. The “sweet little pop formula twisted into a dark haze” as Badgley described to The Fader when the song dropped, sits atop one of the most infectious bass grooves since “Smooth Criminal”. Sway, stammer, sway, stammer, the crowd carries on to the syncopation and ambiance. Straight through the night into the climactic finale of their first single, “Easy”. It’s been several months since that night, and MOTHXR is gearing up for their first UK headlining tour for the better of September which runs directly into a string of U.S. headlining shows hitting almost every major city you could think of along the way. So catch a show, grab the record, and be ready to see these guys coming to a whole lot of centerfolds in the near future.
field advice + W IT H E M IL Y V AUG H N +
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When I was seven, I would hit “record” on my mom’s old tape player. I’d sing into it endlessly about whatever popped into my head. I’ve quite literally have been writing music since I learned to speak. It’s always been my favorite way of expressing myself. As I got older, it helped me come to terms with life’s obstacles and hardships. Somehow, simply putting a thought to a melody has gotten me through some of the best (and worst) seasons of my life. I wrote my last single, “What Do You Want” based off a situation in the music industry, that left me feeling as though nothing I could ever give would ever be enough. When I tried to leave, it became nearly impossible to escape. As we all know, personal relationships can be extremely hard to keep functional. Professional ones can be even harder (especially when you’re dealing with something as personal as songwriting). This has been a both a difficult and draining situation to overcome. I wrote this song specifically for the voices in the music industry NEED to be heard. Not all of us are writing just to make a hit single. When you are an artist of any kind, you quickly learn of the many different people that will constantly make false promises with the intention of taking advantage of you. There will always be people who will use pretty words to create unrealistic expectations of what your talent can be turned into-and that doesn’t just go for artists. When someone believes in you and wants to work with you, you think, “Wow! A person genuinely believes in me and wants to further my career with zero intentions of using me!” But please— don’t ever blindly trust them. If anyone approaches you with promises to help you, be as brave and assertive as you can be to let them know what you deserve, and what your vision is. Do your research. Know your rights. Make sure the person who approached you is capable and credible, BEFORE you enter into a work relationship with them. If they can’t, keep pushing forward. Don’t settle. The right people will eventually present themselves. I’m convinced that the people who make something of themselves or the world, are the ones who do not give up. So if you ever take anything from me, take this: just don’t give up.
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It’s really excites me to think of how many emerging artists, musicians, writers, photographers, bloggers, or creatives that are that are still undiscovered. If this is you, please know that I believe in what you’re doing... what we’re all doing. I want to see what you’re passionate about. I want the WORLD to see what you’re passionate about. Step up let your voice be heard. I genuinely believe this generation is going to leave a lasting impression on the generations to come. We, as artists, have the ability to create something that will outlast us. And if that doesn’t push you to make something you’re incredibly proud of, and that your children’s children are going to be proud of— I don’t know what will. Social media is such a useful tool in our generation, and is truly such a prevalent outlet to share our art. So if you’re starting your new blog, sharing a photo set from your favorite photo-shoot, making a helpful tutorial on YouTube, posting a video clip of your new song on Instagram, or just a poem or short story on Twitter, you have the ability to touch and inspire someone else. Don’t let anyone take what you love away from you. Don’t let anyone turn your passion into a job— (even if you are getting a pay check.) I want to use this experience to encourage other artists to be confident enough in their craft to share it, brave enough to wait for the right relationships, and strong enough to only accept what they deserve.
WRITTEN BY EMILY VAUGHN PHOTOGRAPHy BY Sara Kiesling
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bastille WRITTEN BY Hudson Luthringshausen Photography by jordan randall Styling by Joshua Liebman Grooming by Deborah Altizio
“It’s always pretty humbling to think that some songs I made in my bedroom have allowed us to do all these amazing things and travel to so many countries that I don’t think we’d have otherwise been able to visit.”
Difficult as it may be to imagine, Bastille’s Dan Smith was once writing the very songs we chant aloud in his bedroom. And as he points out when I ask him what the craziest thing about the bands sudden, massive success has been, the best parts have come outside of music. He mentions not the obvious fame, but rather the visit to NASA where he chatted with astronauts and had a behind the scenes tour. It is this mindset, which sets aside the grand in favor of the meaningful, that becomes apparent throughout our interview. In many ways, Bastille is more than the typical band. Whether it’s the depth they’re willing to explore one idea or the creative lengths they push themselves, Bastille is constantly going the distance. For example, in promotion of Wild World , the band has actually created an entirely fictional organization — WWCOMMS — to run through their album campaign. Not only that, but the band had an AI-bot created to communicate with fans via Facebook in conjunction with WWCOMMS. “We’re doing a series of WWCOMMS pop-up experience things in NY, LA and London, where people can come and visit WWCOMMS HQ.” This project is a perfect example of the fun in artistry Bastille allows themselves — and for anyone interested, that AI-bot is definitely only going to get more interesting as the album campaign continues… The bands attention to detail and passion for their work seems to only be growing — and they haven’t skipped a beat since 2013; their friend Tom (who directed the “Fake It” video) has spent time on the road with Bastille for the last four years putting together a film about the making of Wild World. When, where, and if it will be released we do not know, but this can only be a sign to fans that there is plenty more to come from Bastille in addition to the nineteen tracks on the album. “[Tom]’s our friend so has had access to pretty much everything. I think that’ll be a nice document to remind us of all the things that have happened over the last few years.”
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Wild World has been in the works since 2014 under much the same process as Bad Blood . “Only a small handful of people work on our albums. I write the songs, me and the 3 other guys play on them and then Mark and I produce them.” The pressure to follow up is hardly there for Bastille, who “feel quite relaxed about the whole thing.” Worth noting, too, is the band’s lack of collaboration. Both their freshman and sophomore albums are produced by Mark Crew and aside from a few friends playing strings and brass on their tracks they are completely themselves. “I think the last few years have made us quite comfortable in the skin of this band. We feel like we can kind of do whatever we feel like and just try and have fun with it.” At one point, I ask Dan about a certain song that has come up in previous interviews and has a particularly pertinent message. The song is “The Currents.” It’s a standout track on the album and one that’s meaning begs to be questioned. Dan tells me, “The song is meant to be a human reaction to hearing stuff you can’t comprehend. It’s not about a particular political agenda, it’s just trying to capture that feeling of exasperation. Across the album some of the songs look at how difficult it is to know how to react to some of the things that are happening in the world at the moment. Again, not because we have some big point to make— we are just four guys in a band— but on a human level of figuring out how to react and how to respond.” Wild World picks up right where Bad Blood left off, bringing back those synth-y melodies and what is now those classic, commanding vocals by Dan Smith. Although, Dan himself claims his voice has changed slightly from years of constant touring, this new batch of Bastille shows only progress and growth in what began as a strong performance. Just as promised, the album delivers moody tracks that captivate as well as the sanguine-banger a la “Pompeii.” Perhaps the greatest success of Wild World are the many twists and turns that offer not only a song for everyone, but a song for every moment. “I wanted it to be unexpected, and on first listen for you to not really be able to tell where it’s heading. That’s why there are moments that are harsh and soft, intimate and then epic.”
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â€œI think the last few years have made us quite comfortable in the skin of this band. We feel like we can kind of do whatever we feel like and just try and have fun with it.â€?
T.O.L.D. WRITTEN by Chloe Luthringshausen PhotographY by Ashley Yu
Describing his music as a type of “reset button”, Dan Smith, the mastermind behind music project T.O.L.D., hopes his songs will take listeners on a spiritual journey, bringing them back to a natural, refreshed state of mind. Inspired by a diverse group of artists— from Beethoven to Young Thug— Smith is redefining the music landscape with his reflective, electro-pop debut album, It’s Not About the Witches. Born in Birmingham, England, Smith’s passion to pursue music started when he was eleven years old. After reading the book titled, Illusions, Smith realized that life was like a story everyone created in their minds, making it up as they go along. Smith decided to share this same message through his music, inspiring listeners to create their own life stories. Smith came up with the name for his project from a visionary experience. Leaving London after five years of being in a musical group that eventually ended, Smith needed creative inspiration, so he decided to see Gustav Klimt’s painting, Death & Life.
“It all made sense and gave me perspective that life too will end— so be free and enjoy it now,” explains Smith. “It’s all repeating cycles.” And so, T.O.L.D. was born— The Order of Life and Death. Smith combines his intrigue with the cycle of life and death and his unique artistic expression to produce music that transcends worldly feelings and reaches a spiritual sensation. Releasing his first EP, Heaven, back in 2014, Smith debuted his first full length album, It’s Not About the Witches this summer. When asked how he has grown as a musician since his first EP, Smith says, “I would describe It’s Not About the Witches as my first fully formed musical statement. I’ve just gained more and more patience as the years go by. Patience allows me to go way deeper.” And by deeper, Smith means more inward. With dreamy vocals, synth-pop beats, and emotional lyrics, It’s Not About the Witches takes listeners on an inner journey of self discovery and reflection. “A large part of my process is going inward,” says Smith.
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Defining his music as ‘post modern pop,’ Smith explains that his unique blend of electro pop beats and soothing vocals has no specific genre, but is just “noises coming together.” This natural conception of his musical style reflects in his album, for each song feels organic and honest. This honesty is expressed in the album’s title, for Smith intended It’s Not About the Witches to express a double meaning to listeners. “For a long time witches were burned not because they were witches, but because the people burning them were scared. It’s important to remember that the crimes were committed by the society in fear and not because of the witches,” explains Smith.
“ W e a s a s oc i e t y n e e d to u n d e r s ta n d t h at w e s t i l l do t h i s o n a da i ly b a s i s . W e b l a m e s c a p e g oat s f o r o u r f e a r s .” “The double meaning of ‘witches’ means the separation between things. It’s all one divided by words.” This double meaning is found in the album’s sound, for T.O.L.D.’s music finds a unique balance between an inner positivity for life and a mellow sadness for death. Smith’s deeper, philosophical concept of his debut album is also found in the construction of his songs. Smith says the song that stands out the most to him is “The Fool”— the opening track on the album. “The idea behind the opening track was to be born into the album the way you are born into the world,” explains Smith. “It begins with muted heartbeats and a piano, bringing you down into the birth canal until you finally arrive into the world yelling ‘Hey, look at me!’ Life is a form of music.” Listening to the album from start to finish will take you on a life journey, from feeling the excitement of youth to the inevitable fear of death. On his latest single “Master of the Species”, Smith took one of his personal life experiences and transformed it into a song. “The song was inspired by Kubrick movies. The isolated feeling of being alone in the world builds up throughout the song,” says Smith. He chose “Master of the Species” to be the finale of the album and created it in a way to express a deeper life message. At the end of the song, lyrics are replaced with only music, consisting of a gospel choir and brass section. “The words have all culminated at the end of the song to signify words don’t bring freedom; music does. If you can make it past the ‘grey blue’ of the pain, you’ll have nothing to worry about,” says Smith.
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coleman hell written by Meghan Duncan PHOTOGRAPHy by MARY VALLARTA
Coleman Hell is a name you should know by now— whether from his smash folk inspired alt-rock hit “2 Heads” or seeing him on tour opening for the likes of Twenty One Pilots and Robert DeLong, he is on his way to becoming a staple artist for the library of any indie music lover. With “2 Heads,” reaching over 63 million global streams on Spotify, Coleman has certainly shed the rookie title and taken his spot as a serious contender in the music community. He did not necessarily expect his first single to be received with as high praise as it did: “You always want a song to be like that every time you make it. It wasn’t like I was trying to do anything in particular. When I finished it, I did feel like it was one of the best thing I’ve done to date and to an extent I knew people would like it, but I didn’t expect it to get as big as it did.”
“ Th e fac t t h at I h av e t h e oppo r t u n i t y to co n v e r s e w i t h p e op l e a n d s h a r e l i t t l e b i t s o f mys e l f w i t h t h e m c a n d i d ly i s r e a l ly i mpo r ta n t to m e .”
A small portion of the song’s wild success can be attributed to the nature of streaming services and the accessibility it creates between artists and fans. Coleman shared his thoughts with us on the sometimes controversial streaming culture— “You see artists like Kanye and Beyoncé banding together through Tidal, and I feel like it’s coming from a good place and I respect that, but at the same time the apathetic reaction to stuff like that is because most of the world doesn’t have the luxury of pulling out of major streaming services. Spotify gave me so much exposure and got me to where I am in a sense. It’s hard for me to bite the hand that feeds. The compensation may not be perfect, but you’re kind of trading one for the other and I feel like for an artist like me who is still starting out and trying to build a following, it’s a great platform. You would kind of be contradicting yourself if you didn’t want to be apart of it.” It’s clear that Coleman Hell is the kind of musician that allows himself to be grateful for the little achievements along the way, the summation of which generates a fulfilling career, instead of choosing to be absorbed by an end goal and missing the meaningful moments as they happen.
Coleman’s social media presence only adds to his downto-earth credibility, and it’s because he has no agenda to push or sewn-up exterior to project. He admitted, “I don’t have a specific ‘brand’ that I’m trying to keep up. I’m a very uncalculated, heart-on-my-sleeve kind of person. The fact that I have the opportunity to converse with people and share little bits of myself with them candidly is really important to me. If someone is connecting with my music, or it’s helping them through something, or they’re feeling down, or whatever else they want to say... if I can engage with them in that way, that’s so exciting. And it’s one of the reasons I love making music— to connect with people.” And the fans are just as receptive of Coleman, especially so of his newly released music.
We asked Coleman about what kind of sounds we can expect from his first full-length record and he told us, “Growing up where I did there was a lot of classic rock, that was all that was ever on the radio when I was younger. My parents loved 70’s rock and 70’s folk, so this is the first time I’m taking all the music I love and trying to blend it with the music I make. The whole new record I’m putting out is in that world of electronic beats, classic folk, and classic rock.” He adds, “Fireproof, along with a lot of the other songs on the new album, elaborate on the sounds of 2 Heads.” His music is often classified within the crossover genre of folk-tronica, but he doesn’t see his new music being boxed in by the labels people adhere to it— “I don’t necessarily try to think about it when I’m writing the music. Especially with new artists, I feel like people attach things to your music to try to understand it better. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music so in my mind when I’m writing something maybe the way I’ll identify it is like, ‘Oh, this part sounds like Prince. Or this part sounds like David Bowie. Or this part feels like Sting.’” Multi-genre music like Coleman Hell’s has to be more selfaware than its non-crossover counterparts in that the new and delicious blends of sound can only come from having a solid understanding of the components being produced. This carefully constructed art is the perfect medium for high-energy, intimate shows, which happen to be Coleman’s favorite: “I love the shows where I’m playing for 400 or 500 people where they literally know every word of your songs. I could stop singing and they keep going. That’s so surreal to me because it makes me feel like something is happening, and it’s a moment where I realize I just need to keep working harder.”
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liss written by Sadie Bell PhotographY by Naohmi Monroe
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Aarhus, Denmark is known for its fervent, unabashed punk scene, but now the sound of soul is reverberating from its Danish streets. LISS, an up and coming band made up of inspired Aarhus youths Tobias Hansen (drums), SĂ¸ren Holm (vocals) Vilhelm Strange (guitar), and Villads Tyrrestrip (bass), is transforming pop music with their visionary soulful sounds and inventive instrumentation. With their luscious synthesizers, imaginative rock influence, and ranged, yearning vocals, they sound like the developed product of children whose parents played them Prince, Bowie, and BjĂśrk; and with their emotive lyricism, they encapsulate the voice of disillusioned but earnest romantics in a modern age. Though the band is not yet two years past their inception and just coming off the recent release of their debut EP, First, it is clear that Liss has already made strides in terms of soundâ€” and it is about time that the world gives them a listen.
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alexandra savior written by Kendall Bolam Photography by Danielle Ernst
With an aesthetic reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino film and an Audrey Hepburn-like style, Alexandra Savior is delivering to us a new rendition of the genre, ‘spaghetti western music’. A promising new artist, Alexandra released her first single “Shades” this summer with the support of musicians/producers Alex Turner and James Ford. She is redefining retro and creating a name for herself by creating something thrilling and new out of something old and forgotten. Alexandra Savior is making her debut and it is exciting to see where her art takes her. Having spent her childhood jumping from Oregon to Louisiana, Alexandra recalls how her artistry was affected. “I grew up outside Portland, Oregon for most of my life, splitting the time between the Northwest and New Orleans, Louisiana where my father lived. Each of my hometowns hold pretty obvious musical identities, Portland being that sad dad Rock, and New Orleans holding jazz and blues in its hands. The landscape of those two cities hold a lot of eeriness, New Orleans in particular, and I think that lead me into this sort of obsession with the morbid and murderess.” Perhaps the mixture of each eclectic city influenced Alexandra’s predisposition to spaghetti western’, a genre that isn’t readily recognized by today’s generation. When asked to describe her musical style, Alexandra says, “I spent a lot of time trying to find my sound “genre” over the years. I had always been attracted to the sound of a swampy guitar, and heavy bass. Before I met Alex, I had
been diving heavily into the waters of likes such as Lee Hazelwood, Johnny Cash, Karen Dalton, and Jackson C. Frank, so the songs I was writing in my room held the essence of a folk artist who studies jazz vocals.” Alexandra’s obsession with cinema completes her style. Her fascination with old, Western films made her music sound faded and aged, but fresh and modernized at the same time. To achieve that vintage sound, Alexandra describes how she found her voice. “As a teen I studied under a few jazz vocalists around Portland and tried to attain that Amy Winehouse magic. When that failed hard, I started smoking as many cigarettes as I could and listening to Karen Dalton and Judy Henske.” However, old films weren’t Alexandra’s only musical influence. Alex Turner, front man of Arctic Monkeys, and fellow band member, James Ford assisted her in the production and completion of her first single. According to Alexandra, working with such esteemed artists was extremely intimidating. “At first, when we went into the studio to record the final tracks, I was pretty terrified because it made me realize how little I knew about the production of a record. Songwriting can come much easier for me, but when it comes to details and technical terms I implode. It was a bit of a challenge but James made me feel as though my opinion was the most important one there which helped me out.” With Alex’s rock & roll instrumentality and Alexandra’s unique approach to songwriting, “Shades” was created.
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“ Th e g r e at e s t ch a l l e n g e I’ve experienced as a musician has a lways b e e n t h e m a n y at t e mp t s by ot h e r s to r e mo l d m e i n to ‘ s ta r m at e r i a l .’ ” An artist’s challenge to remain original is always, well, challenging. Alexandra expresses her frustration with this problem. “The greatest challenge I’ve experienced as a musician has always been the many attempts by others to remold me into “star material”. I get men and women from all over the place trying to pour their opinions over me like resin, and it can sometimes make me feel as if what I have isn’t good enough.” Despite other’s efforts, she remains unapologetically herself. She encourages newfound artists to never apologize for their art. “’Hey man, keep it real man. Don’t get caught up in that Hollywood bullsh*t. Seriously... keep it real.’— every 20 year old boy in Washington state who has taken an ethics course,” she says, leaving us with that final piece of advice. While everyone is searching for the next style, Alexandra is reaching back and finding hers in the past. She succeeds because she refuses to conform to any pattern or formation. She incorporates her passion into her music and it is sweetly inescapable. Alexandra doesn’t need anyone’s assistance to succeed, she is her own savior.
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drowners WRITTEN BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY YU
The New York band DROWNERS have all the edge and ambition of the city, but with an unexpectedly chilled-out chemistry that can be so easily tossed off in the frantic music industry. They released their second full-length album titled, On Desire, which they feel is representative of their flow as a band— something they feel they may not have fully achieved with previous releases. This, of course, is a natural creative progression of any band and Drowners explain the maturation of their own sound coming through a focus on writing and producing collectively. The band explains that On Desire’s sound “basically came from touring together and being able to understand each other as musicians. When we did the first record we’d only been playing together for about 8 months. We also had time to bounce ideas and figure out what worked and what didn’t, which was a luxury we weren’t previously afforded.” These guys understand a need for growth as artists, but at the same time they aren’t rushing about trying to force progression where it hasn’t germinated. Drowners had previously been on a bit of a break since they toured with their self-titled album, but the break was actually an intentional creative hiatus, contrary to what people may have thought. The band shared that they were slightly worried how it would be perceived— “We were sort of worried that it seemed like we’d been doing f*ck all for a year whereas the reality was we were constantly in a basement together writing new stuff, far away from prying eyes.” Between writing sessions they even had time to play sets at Beach Goth 4, Lollapalooza, and SXSW which the band described as “a chance to take a step back from all of the ideas and pedantic stuff we’d been doing in the studio; a nice occasion to just bash things out.” Intermittent traveling, touring, and writing is every musician’s dream, but it does not come without the toll of exhaustion. Knowing this, we asked the boys what kept them sane during the bleary-eyed or uninspired phases of the year and with admirable solidity they replied, “Listening to Abba’s Greatest Hits normally sorts things out for us.” Undoubtedly, 2015 for Drowners was a nose to the grindstone year— the concentrated effort of artists on a single project to ensure the proper translation of vision to manifested product.
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Not only is it sometimes necessary for the musician to retreat to a place of creative solitude, but it is also imperative that they allow the art to develop in any way it needs. For Drowners, they wanted to avoid forcing a certain sound. They explained, “Our only intent was to develop musically in whatever way we could. What came out was us, as a group, pooling our collective thoughts and seeing what came out with no prejudice. It wasn't a case of attempting to sound a certain way; it's just what came out at the time. And we went with it.” This chilled-out, yet tastefully selective attitude also played a part in the album art for On Desire. Lead singer Matt Hitt told us, “Erik took the photo and the concept is sort of desiring someone or something from afar. I guess that's why her back is turned. To me, it illustrates the frustration of desire that is sort of a lyrical theme on the record.” Even before knowing this back-story, the album’s aesthetic is undeniably organic and that can certainly be attributed to the band’s understanding of their own dynamic so that they have the ability to present their music in a way that reads deeply believable.
“ O u r o n ly i n t e n t wa s to d e v e lop m u s i c a l ly i n wh at e v e r way w e co u l d.” Living in New York is an evident influence on the band’s philosophy. They know full well the reality for bands that slow down or stop moving is a quick and thankless fade. The boys elaborated, “Being in a band in New York is very difficult. It's expensive, it's cramped and there's a shitload of competition. That means that if you want to succeed you really have to go for it. Or else you'll be lost in the swamp of all the other bands that form there.” This balanced view of recognizing the absolute necessity of putting in the hard work while simultaneously holding to an uncontrived and free-flow method of production may be the band’s foundation of success. Drowners understand their place as musicians amidst a frantic scene; they keep the pace of the best hardworking artists without worrying how they will be received, because they know their art is fully who they are.
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a midsummer dream Photo JOURNAL by jordan randall
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unfiltered wires + W IT H M ATT W ELTER +
FULL NAME: Matt Welter AGE: 18 CITY, STATE: Sacramento, CA OCCUPATION: Student / Fashion Lifestyle Photographer WOLFIE GOODS: + Camera + Phone + Music + Water + Light Source
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FIND YOURSELF FACED WITH AS A CONTENT CREATOR? HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT THESE CHALLENGES DON’T CONSTRAIN YOUR CREATIVITY? I definitely have challenges with connecting with other people. I’m really self conscious about my work and myself to the point where I’ll think too much and end up not doing what I really want. I have so many ideas floating around in my head, I just get too nervous to ask people to shoot with me. I usually end up just not asking anyone so they just stay in my head. I’ll usually just tag along with friends to shoot models or I’ll just shoot with my friends. BESIDES SUCCESS OR FULFILLMENT, WHAT OTHER EMOTIONS CAN YOU IDENTIFY FEELING AFTER HAVING FINISHED A PROJECT? When I accomplish something, I’m usually proud of myself for doing so. My emotions from finishing a project and receiving feedback on my work are different. I feel great when I finish but when I receive feedback, I feel satisfied. I always want to make myself better and learn how to do new things. ARE THERE ANY TOOLS IN YOUR CREATIVE ARSENAL THAT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT? I don’t have many tools in my ‘creative arsenal’. I only always use my camera, computer, and phone. If I didn’t have any of these, I don’t know what I would do. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUTHFUL, ASPIRING NEWCOMERS TO YOUR INDUSTRY?
TELL US ABOUT THE STORY OR RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE BEHIND ONE OF YOUR ARTWORK There is no real story about this photo, but I chose this one because I was surprised by the outcome. This shoot was really experimental for me. My friend Zach hit me up at school, asking if I wanted to shoot with him and a few other people after school; and of course I said yes. We all got together and decided to stop near this empty field before we got to our main location. I’ve always really wanted to shoot harsh light and this was my first time, so I was really excited about the outcome. IS THERE A ROUTINE YOU FOLLOW IN ATTEMPTING TO CONVERT YOUR IDEAS INTO CREATED CONTENT?
Don’t be intimidated, be inspired. I used to shy away from joining other photographers and videographers on shoots because I felt like I wasn’t at their level. However, being with them actually motivated me to become a better artist. Go out and create! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE APP/WEBSITE/OUTLET THAT MAKES YOU FEEL THE MOST OF YOUR “UNFILTERED WIRES” POTENTIAL? I’m always on Instagram. Connecting with people along with being inspired is beyond amazing, and Instagram allows for you to do that.
QUESTIONS BY MEGHAN DUNCAN ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA FILAS
I don’t have a set routine, but when I have an idea, I’ll write it down on my phone and try to implement it into one of my shoots. There are a few ideas I've had for a while, but I haven’t had the time to try them out.
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On the cover, Bastille // Featuring: Alexandra Savior, Drowners, Liss, Mothxr and loads more.