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SPRING/SUMMER 2019

mad sounds

keep a place for me ISSUE NO. 30


mad sounds a publication for the young and daring

Giselle Melendres Editor-in-Chief, Creative Director, & Designer info@madsoundsmagazine.com Contributing Writers Giselle Melendres, Christine Wilson, Chalisa Singh, Rosemarie Alejandrino A Special Thanks... Alexa Losey, Ashley Seryn, Chalisa Singh, Cloe Wilder, Bianca Ocampo, Ryan Leader, & Ellie Andrews

ON THE COVER Photography by Ashley Seryn @ashleyseryn Featuring Alexa Losey @alexalosey


the young & daring

@madsoundsmag www.madsoundsmagazine.com @madsoundsmag


contents introduction

features

006 keep a place for me a letter from the editor

046 ALEXA LOSEY youtube creator, actress, & influencer

editorials 008 i don’t exist by OCEAN 018 love drought by SAMIHA HARUN 026 dear by MELISSA CEBALLOS 034 no vacancy by ANDRE ARVIZU writing 042 twenty something CHRISTINE WILSON 044 the place you love ROSEMARIE ALEJANDRINO

062 RYAN LEADER youtube creator 072 BIANCA OCAMPO music artist 082 CLOE WILDER music artist music 094 THE DIG the moroccan lounge


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring ALEXA LOSEY @alexalosey


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring ALEXA LOSEY @alexalosey


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keep a place f o r me ALEXA LOSEY

ASHLEY SERYN There are so many things I want to say in this editor’s letter, but as many of our readers already know, this is the last editor’s letter I’ll be doing — at least for Mad Sounds. And it’s been a crazy past five years working on this magazine. I started this magazine as a junior in high school and never could have imagined the ways that a passion project like Mad Sounds would end up changing my life. As I write this editor’s letter I am only one day away from my college graduation, where I’ll be graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in English. It’s an incredibly bittersweet feeling to think about the many chapters of my life that are now coming to a close this week: both the end of this magazine and the beginning of my life as a “real adult”, in a postgrad world. However, this issue was created to capture these last fuzzy, nostaglic feelings that I hope Mad Sounds will leave you with.

Issue 30 - Keep a Place for Me is an issue created out of a desire to say goodbye: dedicated to persisting loves, new beginnings, and final farewells to all the places we keep and leave behind. This issue was created by a handful of wonderful people, both old and new contributors, who were kind enough to allow me to commemorate their beautiful work in our last issue. In short: this issue is full of inspiring humans who truly encompass what Mad Sounds is and means to be. And I hope that you’ll keep a place for this magazine - at least, just for a little while. I’ll never be able to thank our readers enough for the many years of love and support you have given to both myself and this magazine. Thank you for supporting every crazy vision and every impossible idea. Thank you for being part of this journey. I love you, and I’ll see you soon. Giselle Melendres Founder + Editor-in-Chief Mad Sounds

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idon‘t exist photography by OCEAN @smallerocean featuring GABRIELLE SCHORR @glimmerpixie styling by MADDY HAVICAN @maddyhavicanstyle


photography by OCEAN @smallerocean featuring GABRIELLE SCHORR @glimmerpixie styling by MADDY HAVICAN @maddyhavicanstyle


mad sounds editorials

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photography by OCEAN @smallerocean featuring GABRIELLE SCHORR @glimmerpixie styling by MADDY HAVICAN @maddyhavicanstyle


love drought photography by SAMIHA HARUN @samiharn featuring MARILOU RICHER @louuricher makeup by MARIE-MICHELLE VEILLETTE @marie_michelle.mua styling by MICHELLE LEBLANC @mikelitaaaz


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photography by SAMIHA HARUN @samiharn featuring MARILOU RICHER @louuricher makeup by MARIE-MICHELLE VEILLETTE @marie_michelle.mua styling by MICHELLE LEBLANC @mikelitaaaz


dear photography by MELISSA CEBALLOS @merrysky_ featuring ABIGAIL GONZALEZ @cocopeachee & ERICKA ALFARO @erickaalfaro15


photography by MELISSA CEBALLOS @merrysky_ featuring ABIGAIL GONZALEZ @cocopeachee (left) & ADRIANA ROMAN @deuxbeau (right)


photography by MELISSA CEBALLOS @merrysky_ featuring ERICKA ALFARO @erickaalfaro15


photography by ANDRE ARVIZU @andrervizu stylist + model: SAMANTHA WIMMER

no vacancy


photography by ANDRE ARVIZU @andrervizu stylist + model: SAMANTHA WIMMER


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mad sounds editorials

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photography by ANDRE ARVIZU @andrervizu stylist + model: SAMANTHA WIMMER


writing by CHRISTINE WILSON @stinewilson photography by OCEAN @smallerocean featuring GABRIELLE SCHORR @glimmerpixie styling by MADDY HAVICAN @maddyhavicanstyle

twenty something


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we blame the moon for darkness, i hide beyond the lakes the waters sit so silent here, we find insatiable ways to take their place so we spill out on the streets with visions of bodies swaying we ask a lot, but never this- what’s the harm in staying. we find pious solutions, manmade and free line them up slowly and count to fifteen anywhere we go we offer our inlets, draped with muddy hands, we beg to trade them for the traits of any foreign land. so like the winds that form off the santa ana basin far from where we stay, i keep on growing wild for you, it’s what will teach these kids to pray. remember me tonight, or even just today the place we found, not heaven nor hell lay it to rest down one hundred east bay.

christine wilson

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writing by ROSEMARIE ALEJANDRINO @yesrosemarie photography by OCEAN @smallerocean featuring GABRIELLE SCHORR @glimmerpixie styling by MADDY HAVICAN @maddyhavicanstyle

the place you love


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a reflection on home--the physical space and the feeling

Houses are supposed to feel permanent. There’s foundation, concrete poured, wood structures built up to be sturdy and true. The materials are made to withstand storms and cruel winters, with strong winds occasionally rattling the windows. But even the most intense gusts should not and will not break the glass. We put our trust in these structures and call them home. We let our guards down because its walls around us are meant to guard us. We live in places, and they become our own. Many people—myself included—would romanticize the whole “free spirit” lifestyle. As a kid, I dreamed of flitting place to place on a tour bus, following my favorite bands around the country, waking up in a new city every day, always willing to run towards danger and the unknown. All of that seems so great as a montage—eating strange local delicacies, making friends with waiters you’ll never see again, collecting kitschy magnets from roadside stores. All my belongings would fit a modest leather satchel, and I’d somehow still look earthy and flawless without a drop of eye cream or a spritz of dry shampoo. There would be adventures to write home about, pages and pages on my escapades, like dancing by the ocean with a group of foreign exchange students, or getting stranded in the countryside and being rescued by a bread truck. But in this “#wanderlust Pinterest board come to life” scenario, who would there be to write home to? [break] I’ve lived in seven different homes in the last seven years. When our family house was foreclosed in the years-long aftermath of the 2008 recession, I found myself scrambling to pack up my preteen bedroom just weeks before my senior year of high school. Within two weeks, my family moved into a rented home, and that rush of nomadic ecstasy that I had daydreamed of instead felt like the heavy burden of lugging all of your belongings in boxes across town. Then college came, and dorms and apartments and parents wanting to move again and again, for their own sake and sanity. Because of this, nothing I own seems to have a rightful place, and all of my necessities have become expendable. There is very little interior decorating or nesting, because furniture just needs to fit “for now” or “until we’re settled.” But I never really feel settled.

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When you’re a little kid growing up, your house is the most familiar place in the world. It’s where you come home to— it’s where all your toys are, and where most of the people you know are. Having that sense of stability stripped away makes it hard to believe that any place could be permanent. You start to realize that a structure is just wood and glass and concrete, and all of those things wither away with time. And sometimes forces other than time take them from you. Suddenly being a wandering traveler sounds less and less appealing. It goes without saying that we change as we get older, but the way movies and TV make it seem, places are supposed to stay the same. Even as the friends in Friends morphed into the most extreme, caricaturesque versions of themselves by season 10, they always had Central Perk. The show literally ended when they had to give up that purple apartment, as if to say that these spaces mark chapters of our lives in a linear way, that we grow within the walls of these homes until it’s naturally time to leave. I used to believe that, but I don’t anymore. I thought home was the big house on the corner where my family once lived until there was a knock on the door and we were told the home wasn’t ours anymore. I thought a college apartment was the place you slept between laundry runs back home until I found myself feeling at home while sitting on the floor with a stack of grease-stained pizza boxes, a bunch of loose brussel sprouts, and robot vacuum. I thought homes were sacred sanctuaries until I lived next to frat row and they played terrible EDM remixes of “Mr. Brightside” every weekend that were so loud it almost broke my apartment windows. I thought moving so often meant more chances at fresh starts until I realized I was just dragging around the same boxes from place to place, from structure to structure, and still haven’t found one where I feel totally comfortable unpacking my bags. We grow through the places we go through, but those historical monuments that mark phases of our lives are less permanent than one may think. I used to think that people would be the ones to come and go in my lifetime, but I look around between every move and see the same people around, with some welcome additions over time. I’ve come to learn that having someone you trust keep a place for you in their life is far more fulfilling than having a place to set down your boxes. I will probably be unpacking boxes for the rest of my life, and while I don’t know where they’ll be shipped off to, I have a pretty good idea of who will be helping me unload.


alexa losey photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring ALEXA LOSEY @alexalosey interview by GISELLE MELENDRES @gisellelisabeth


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring ALEXA LOSEY @alexalosey


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ALEXA LOSEY interview by GISELLE MELENDRES @gisellelisabeth words by ALEXA LOSEY @alexalosey

You might recognize her on screen from projects like My Dead Ex and Mr. Student Body President, or seen one of her many videos on YouTube. As an internet creator since 2009, Alexa Losey is known for many things — but being ordinary was never one. Based in Los Angeles, Alexa has made a name for herself in entertainment and new media: creating digital content in lifestyle, fashion, and beauty, and speaking openly to her audience about issues surrounding self-love and mental health. Most notably, Alexa’s talents extend out of simply being ‘talent’, where she’s taken on new roles in entrepreneurship, screenwriting, directing, acting, and social media. A millennial multi-hyphenate — we were honored to be able to feature Alexa on the cover of our very last issue and chat with her about mental health, her journey on the internet, and the importance of giving yourself unconditional love.

Hi Alexa, thanks so much for chatting with us today! To start off, tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you: I don’t think I really have a typical day. The only true structure around my life is book club every other Sunday and therapy. Some days, like today, I’m filming a new series for my YouTube channel with my production team after an early morning workout. Others, like tomorrow, I have back to back meetings then I finally get to spend an afternoon with my mom. Some days I’m halfway across the world seeing where ingredients for future products are being sourced and the next I’m in a pitch meeting for a TV show I’ve been working on. I’m pretty organized but I hardly live the same day twice.

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As an LA native for many years, what are some of your favorite spots in Los Angeles? I have so many that are very special to me. I almost don’t want to share but I do want other people to get to experience them. I am a massive foodie. Some of my favorites are Croft Alley, Jon & Vinny’s, All Time, Mz Hz, Trois Familia, Sugarfish & Din Tai Fung just to name a few. As far as everyday meals I usually gravitate to the hot bar at Erewhon market & Sweetgreen for healthy salads on the go. I’m also a huge fan of Alfred Coffee like other 90% of Los Angeles. As far as overall places, Chateau Marmont always has a special place in my heart. It almost feels like home. It’s been full of endless memories for what feels like everyone for over a century. I really love


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the Getty museum. I love SoHo House in Malibu for an escape from the madness. I have to say the Griffith Observatory takes the cake.

tion. I was an International Baccalaureate student with a 4.5 GPA and I was a full time YouTuber. I stopped when I entered the hospital. I thought I’d never be a content creator after that experience. Little did I know, this was just going to be my first break.

As far as workout and retail, I’m a sucker for Reformation, Barney’s & Wasteland. I love SoulCycle, Hot Pilates, Prevail (the true OG boxing gym in LA), Barry’s Bootcamp is also pretty fire. Rumble doesn’t suck either ;)

A year later I got connected with a girl named Rebecca Black on Tumblr. We became fast friends and the two found a family within a group of YouTubers that all moved to LA around the same time. They reminded me why I started YouTube in the first place, to share and create. I then had a mental breakdown when I realized I had created an image online that made me feel dead inside. I suppressed these feels for years until I hit a breaking point. About a year and a half ago I took the longest break I’ve ever taken.

You first started YouTube back in 2010. What originally made you want to start a YouTube channel? Human connection. I had no friends and felt the only way to find like minded people was to make videos talking about things I cared about. Makeup, fashion, what was going on with school, anything that felt important. When I started only three people had hit 1M subscribers on YouTube. There wasn’t money or fame in the game. I went to the first Vidcon with only 500 people in attendance. I did it purely for the love.

I decided on focusing on taking care of my mind, pouring myself into the acting role I had just booked and graduating university.

You’ve been on YouTube for almost 10 years now and have seen the platform shift and evolve in such a drastic way. What motivates you to stay on the platform?

I’ve taken breaks when I truly needed to for my mental health. I finally feel like I’m in the right headspace to make content that’s really important to me while expression my creativity. Going back to the mentality I started with as a 16 year old with a 24 year olds perspective.

I started 8 years ago. Before people were making millions of dollars on YouTube. Before the word “influencer” was created. It was a small community. Telling someone you were a YouTuber was either looked down on or was completely misunderstood. Now if you tell someone you’re a YouTuber or Influencer for a living they usually think it’s cool. When I started I told my guidance counselor I wanted to make my YouTube channel a job and she laughed at me and told me to go to nursing school. Now being a “YouTuber” is a career aspiration for many young people.

Who are some of your favorite creators? Right now I am fucking obsessed with Best Dressed. She’s blunt, candid and talented. I am in love with her mind. Jenn Im is not only an amazing friend but an innovator in our space. I respect her hard work, outlook on life and candor. I really admire David Dobrik’s content and how he was build his career. I will also always love Shannon Beveridge, Chris Kelemens, Lauren Elizabeth, Olivia Sui, Alisha Marie, Remi Cruz, Violet Benson, Sam Elkins, Larson Thompson, Devon Carlson, Ellie Thumann, Tatiana Ringsby, Meredith Foster, MyLifeAsEva, Adrian Bliss, The Merrel Twins, Joanna Simon, Amy Serrano, Casual Allure, Amy Lee, Madison Chertow, Maia Mitchell (when she posts content), and of course my best pals Caspar Lee, Nick Hissom, Julia Kelly, Riley Taylor & Cierra Ramirez. That’s a long list, I know, sorry for dropping so many damn names. Trust me, you need to go follow all of them

There was a time where you left YouTube temporarily. Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to take time off? If you are familiar with my channel you know I talk openly about mental health and my battle with it as a young person. After a year and a half on YouTube, I checked myself into an adolescent psychiatric hospital. It wasn’t YouTube’s fault. It was my unhealthy relationship with the idea of perfec-

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mad sounds features

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photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring ALEXA LOSEY @alexalosey


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What is the most challenging part about being a social media influencer? What are your favorite parts about the job? I have a hard time feeling the pressure of being “on”. For so long I felt the only way to success was to put myself on strict diets and workout plans to feel good enough. I convinced myself brands wouldn’t want work with me and casting directors would hate me because I wasn’t their perfect image. The best part is having the freedom to be able to do whatever the fuck you want whenever the fuck you want. You can share anything that means something to you without needed a network to approve what you say. Also getting to go on brand trips and try out endless product is a pretty cool perk. You’ve been pretty open about discussing mental health on your platform, sharing your own experiences in dealing with mental health issues. What inspired you to start creating content surrounding mental health? To be honest, I feel like I’ve said what I want to say. I am now trying to focus only sharing my mental health as a journey rather than a report. I don’t want to dwell on it or continue to share the past because I feel like it holds me back. I want to check in and let my audience know how I’m doing because I know it means something to them and to me but I want to grow mentally at my own pace and not feel pressure to share it. Was it difficult to initially start sharing such personal information or experiences with your audience? Yes, but it was weird why I felt this. I was so worried the guy I was secretly in love with was going to see it and never be able to love me back. The only thing holding me back from feeling candid and finally free with sharing myself was one persons opinion. Thank god I just let it go. It felt so worth it when I got amazing feedback on the video and also got messages that people that watched it

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took charge in seeking the help they needed. What is one of the most important lessons about mental health or self-love that you’d hope your audience can take from your content? Seeking health is brave and needed. Medication isn’t evil and understanding it’s a lifelong battle that is possible to conquer is essential in living a healthier life. Your mental illness does not define you. It does not make you any less worthy of your dreams, goals and love. What is your best advice for learning to love yourself? Let go and give yourself permission. Allow yourself to grow from mistakes. Put yourself in good situations. Take care of your body. Give back whenever you can. Say yes more. Say no more. Ask for help when you need it without the fear of being shamed. But overall build foundation you need to give and accept true, unconditional love. Outside of YouTube you’ve acted in a handful of roles in series like My Dead Ex, Mr. Student Body President, Relationship Status and more. What made you want to pursue acting? What is your favorite part about acting? I felt the need to express myself as another part of myself. It’s a craft I truly love and enjoy. So many people around me get into acting for the money or the fame. I never had a goal to book a show. My only goal ever going into an audition room was to have fun and put on a mini one person production to whoever in the casting office would watch. It makes me feel like a lively human. My least favorite part is waiting countless hours on set. You’ve told me a bit about wanting to step away from the talent side of the industry and get into some of the more ‘behind-the-scenes’ roles of entertainment such as screenwriting, producing, etc. Can you tell us a little about that? I’ve written a couple scripts that sold but I know will never see the light of day. It sucks but it taught


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring ALEXA LOSEY @alexalosey


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me how brutal this town is and how to get better at my craft. I would love to ultimately direct, write and produce films and tv shows. I like to see a story told from start to finish. That’s where I feel held back as an actor. You have such an incredible personal style. Where do you get your inspiration from? What are some of your favorite stores or brands to shop at? That’s the nicest compliment. I mostly go off French and Italian girls on Instagram that are way to cool for their own good. Los Angeles and Aussie street style in general had really influenced what I wear. I love following 80’s and 90’s accounts. I like mixing trendy pieces with classic styles I was raised on. Nothing is better than a classic Chanel pump with a trendy Reformation dress. I’ve just become one of “those” girls and I’m not mad at it. You’ve also recently discussed an interest in adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. What are some of your best tips for shopping more sustainably? I have been trying to become more aware of staying away from fast fashion. If I do go to a trendy store I make sure I focus on buying pieces that will last. I’m learning that being an outfit repeater is better for your wallet and our earth. I like supporting local brands that focus on sustainability, even if they are more expensive. Some of my favorites are Reformation, Realisation Par, Rowie and Christy Dawn. I’m also a huge fan of shopping second hand and at vintage stores. I love Wasteland, Crossroads, the Melrose Trading post on Sunday’s and Jetrag. Describe yourself in three words: Kind, tenacious and endlessly curious KEEP UP WITH ALEXA: Instagram/Twitter: @alexalosey YouTube.com/Alexa


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring ALEXA LOSEY @alexalosey


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photography by ELLIE ANDREWS @ellieportt featuring RYAN LEADER @ryantheleader interview by GISELLE MELENDRES @gisellelisabeth

ryan leader


photography by ELLIE ANDREWS @ellieportt featuring RYAN LEADER @ryantheleader


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RYAN LEADER interview by GISELLE MELENDRES @gisellelisabeth words by RYAN LEADER @ryantheleader

Ryan Leader always planned to do a lot with his future. In fact, he already has. At the age of nineteen, Ryan made the move from Utah to Los Angeles to be closer to the entertainment world. Finding his footing in Hollywood as an editor, YouTube creator, and aspiring filmmaker, Ryan’s knack for comedy and creativity has made him a new media creator to watch. Today we had the opportunity to chat with Ryan about finding his niche in entertainment and social media — where he tells us about his journey on YouTube, moving to Los Angeles, and his biggest advice for aspiring creators. Read our interview to learn more about Ryan Leader: a creator on the rise.

Hi Ryan, thanks for taking the time to chat with Mad Sounds today. To start off, tell us about what a typical day is like for you: I firstly wake up (obviously) and then determine what my day will look like after that. I either do 1 of 3 things typically everyday, I either will film and edit a video for myself, film and edit for Chad (Cherdleys), or head down to Santa Monica to edit for the app I work at Joyride. You’re originally from Utah and are now based in Hollywood. What made you want to make the move to Los Angeles? How is Los Angeles different from your life in Utah? I moved from Utah to Los Angeles to be closer to the entertainment world, I knew I wanted to be in

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entertainment. So the year after I graduated from high school I decided to move down to LA to live with my father. 6 months later I moved to Hollywood and am now living with Chad. I told myself when I left Utah, “I will not get a job in LA unless it is in entertainment.” The biggest difference from living here rather than Utah, is that Utah has a huge religious influence from the Mormon religion—there isn’t that here. There is much more of the melting pot that the United States is supposed to be. I miss certain parts of Utah such as the mountains, my family, and my friends. Living in LA these last 9 months has completely 180’d everything in my life, I believe, for the better.


photography by ELLIE ANDREWS @ellieportt featuring RYAN LEADER @ryantheleader


photography by ELLIE ANDREWS @ellieportt featuring RYAN LEADER @ryantheleader


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What are some of your favorite places in LA?

Do you prefer working on vlogs or sketches more?

The Getty, for some reason I love that museum. It’s free, you ride a tram to get to it, and the view from up there is astounding. I love Manhattan Beach because it’s not as busy as say Venice or Santa Monica. I also really enjoy the private beaches up in Malibu to have a fire with friends. I also really enjoy walking around DTLA, the downtown compared to SLC is insane, so much bigger here, a specific spot downtown would have to be Birdies - Chicken, Coffee, and Donuts.

Sketches—vlogs are disgusting, no one should ever be invested in someone’s life like that. I make them to either say a thought I had or show how funny my friends may be, never to brag about my life. Who are some of your biggest inspirations for both comedy and otherwise?

You’re currently working as a comedy video creator, creating sketch videos, vlogs, and more on both YouTube and Instagram. What made you want to start making YouTube videos and getting into comedy? I’ve been making videos since I was in 6th grade, they’ve usually always been comedy because as cliche as it sounds, I love making people laugh, but more importantly I like making people think. I guess creating videos in my eyes in the 21st Century will eventually open the door to filmmaking more easily than school would, and filmmaking is what I’m passionate about. You’ve also worked with a handful of popular YouTube creators such as Casey Frey, Cherdleys, Trevor Wallace, and more. How did you first meet them? What type of collaborations are your favorite to make? I wouldn’t say I’ve personally collaborated with them, I work for Chad as his cameraman, I film them collaborate, I may pitch a joke or two, but I wouldn’t say I’ve collaborated with them. I like making something that will either get a reaction out of someone or make them think differently. I do a lot of things in my personal life to get a reaction. Soooo, I would want to collaborate people who actually 1. Care about comedy. 2. Are authentic and 3. Are actually good.

I have a shitload of inspirations that range from dead guys who thought about stuff too much, musicians, comedians, filmmakers, actors, world leaders, etc… So I’ll just list 5 ‘famous’ inspirations and 5 personal ones such as family and friends… Famous: Socrates (edgy), Christopher Nolan, Louis C.K., Felix Kjellberg, and Martin Scorsese. Personal: Brayden Stevenson, Nathan Wilkins, Chad LeBaron, Denise Wilkins-Leader, and David Leader. Do you like being ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘talent’ more? Talent is always more enjoyable for me, unless I am the director, then I like to be behind the scenes. I don’t really enjoy cinematography as much as either acting or directing. What are some of your personal goals for your YouTube channel and social media in the future? Do you hope to eventually pursue video creation and comedy full time? I want to pursue filmmaking full time, but yes start with videos and comedy full time. My goals for social media is to get further from it, social media is toxic for your brain I believe, too much distraction and comparison. YouTube, I would like to be able to make a living off of first.

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photography by ELLIE ANDREWS @ellieportt featuring RYAN LEADER @ryantheleader


Have you ever received hate or negative comments surrounding your social media and YouTube presence? If so, how do you deal with negativity? Someone once told me that you have to “not give a fuck” and that doesn’t mean just towards the negative, that also means towards the positive. Neither should ever affect you and your work. My niece when she was 7 told me that: “People are just mean because they are jealous.” It’s cliche, again, but it’s very much so true. What is your biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to pursue YouTube or another creative outlet? Be fucking authentic. There’s a lot of people who call themselves comedians on the internet, and

they aren’t. It’s so oversaid, but seriously be yourself. Also don’t be a bitch. If your goals from doing something creative is women, money, cars, etc… go fuck yourself. What’s next for Ryan Leader? Not trying to ‘toot my own horn’, but, a lot is in store for my future. I plan to do a lot and I’ve already started.

KEEP UP WTIH RYAN: Instagram: @ryantheleader YouTube: youtube.com/ryantheleader


bianca ocampo photography by TAYLOR ORYALL @it.me.lil.t featuring BIANCA OCAMPO @bianca.jpeg interview by GISELLE MELENDRES @gisellelisabeth


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BIANCA OCAMPO interview by GISELLE MELENDRES @gisellelisabeth words by BIANCA OCAMPO @bianca.jpeg

Bianca Ocampo is not your typical college student. Often recognized under the artist name of “Urbanation”, Bianca is a self-produced indie singer, songwriter, and musician whose dreamy bedroom pop music has reached thousands of listeners on Spotify, iTunes, and Soundcloud. With a natural affinity for music and songwriting, Bianca never imagined one of her first original songs “Bitter Pill” would become what an overnight sensation. Today we chatted with Bianca about how she got her start: the challenge of balancing both school and music, getting over heartbreak, and the inspiration behind her upcoming album. Take a look at our interview to learn more about the creative mind behind Urbanation:

Hey Bianca! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us here at Mad Sounds. To start, tell us a little about what a day in the life looks like for Bianca Ocampo? Thank you so much for having me! I’m so happy to be a part of the last issue of Mad Sounds. Typically, my day starts with work at my on-campus job. I’ve become more of a morning person for that reason and I also constantly feel like there’s never enough hours in the day so waking up early makes all the difference. I am a full-time student so usually after work everyday I go to my classes, and in my gaps between class I’m usually doing homework, doing emails for intern or music stuff, editing a song, writing ideas, or if I’m lucky and feeling up to it... at the gym. I save weekends for spending time with family back home, hanging out with friends, and catching up on studying.

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You currently make music under the name of Urbanation, can you tell us about how that name came to be? It’s honestly kind of an underwhelming origin story. I came up with it when Instagram first came out when I was in middle school. I used to be really into photography then so i kept that username for my photography Instagram (you can still see my old pictures on there) and it just kind of stuck. I ended up using “urbanation” for everything including my Soundcloud username and that became the name of my music project. I’m hoping to change it though eventually; I don’t know how I feel about it anymore, which is why my album is going to be called “don’t ask me what it means…” The title could be referring to a lot of things but mainly it’s about “urbanation.”


What initially made you want to start making music? Did singing and composing music always come naturally to you? I started piano lessons when I was four years old and I think that’s where my general know-how stems from. My family is pretty musical as well—my mom can sing really well and I’d like to think I took after her. I also played violin in my middle school and high school orchestras and I actually really enjoyed that part of my K-12 experience. I started posting covers on Soundcloud in 2013 and I very gradually became interested in the process of composing music. I’ve always been someone who enjoys making things, like photography and film, mostly because of how satisfying it is to piece together something nice from little parts. Once I started noticing feedback on my original music, I thought, “Oh, people like this stuff,” and it inspired me to continue making my own sounds. If you asked me about music theory, though, that’s another story. I’m definitely a play-by-ear type of girl. You released your first official single “Bitter Pill” back in 2017 and have been releasing music since. What inspired “Bitter Pill”? Bitter Pill was written about my first major heartbreak. The song’s about realizing that you might have made a mistake, and how you can liken the feeling to when you bite down on a pill and it ends up being really bitter; you can’t really do anything about it but wait for the taste to go away. It’s about being so desperate that you’re willing to let someone else in your life just to distract you from the pain of being heartbroken. Having moved on, I can think about that time now without feeling bad about it, but I remember that song doing so much for me and my healing process at the time. Bitter Pill was one of the first songs that helped me to realize that writing was like a superpower; being able to encapsulate something terrible into something beautiful that you want to repeat over and over again is really profound to me.


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How do you come up with lyrics to a song? What is your creative process for making songs?

Who are some of your biggest inspirations for music? Who are your some of your all time favorite bands or artists?

It depends, my iCloud notes are filled with ideas. I have a lot of little one liners and poetry that don’t always make sense but I can always remember what I was writing about when I look back at them. I’m also fascinated by the idea that people are made up of stories; I like to people watch and make up little life stories for them, and sometimes I write about those.

Karen O, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, Soccer Mommy, Beach House. I’m definitely missing people from this list and will probably remember who after this interview is published. In addition to making music you also are a full time college student at UC Davis. How do you balance performing, making music, and still being a student?

It’s important for me to write about things that are personal to me because I feel like that’s the whole point of writing. I feel like I’m having everyone read my diary which is kind of strange but that’s where subtlety, wordplay and subliminal messages are key. Sometimes I’ll expand a lot more on a small experience, but regardless, my music is always genuine to me, how I’m feeling, and my current influences.

Easy, I don’t! I try my best, though. I am the type of person that loves being busy all the time because I feel like I’m living life to the fullest. It can be exhausting, but what motivates me is that everything I’m doing… It’s what I want to do. I call it “good stress.” A lot of people ask me how I balance everything and I assure those people that it’s really not bad. I still have time to spend quality time with family, friends, and pursue my non-music career opportunities as well -- At least I make the time. I’m a big believer in the idea that you can make time for things that are important to you, no matter how busy you are.

You’re also hoping to release an album soon. What can we expect from the music in that album? It’s definitely been a challenge trying to make a big project that feels cohesive and representative of me. I have a ton of ideas that I have collected over time, and my fear is that they become too outdated that I don’t feel that excitement or connection with them anymore. I have a graveyard folder in my hard drive of “stale songs” that I initially loved that won’t ever reach anyone else’s ears. For that reason, long term projects can be daunting.

It can be difficult to find your niche in a creative scene when you live in a small town. What advice would you give to those hoping to make a name for themselves or get into the music scene while not living in a big city? In a big city, I feel like you’re surrounded by so many people that are accomplished or at least portray that image, and being overwhelmed by that can stifle creativity. I grew up in quiet suburbia, and now that I’m in an even smaller town, I find that I feel even more compelled to pursue my craft. It’s only natural that being in a quiet place makes you want to fill it with sound, literally and figuratively.

You can expect the album to be a genre-bending record. I see myself as an “inconsistently inconsistent” chameleon person and I’d like that variability to translate through (in?) my music. I like variety and I’m always experimenting with different sounds; I love bedroom pop but I’m hoping to transcend the genre that I tend to be labeled as. I want a song to sound like 80’s New Wave and another to be like super poppy or just plain weird. We’ll see what happens. Walking through a fun house and trying out different distorted mirrors... that’s kind of what I want the album to be like.

My advice to folks that don’t live in big cities is to be extremely open to meeting new people! Networking is important in all that you do. I’m not recommending to meet people just for the sake

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of self-promotion or to purely milk opportunities for your own self-benefit. What I mean is to seek genuine and personal connections. As a previous introvert, music has led me to meet so many friends and acquaintances, and I’ve made so many cherished memories out of those relationships. If I had continued to be the hermit I naturally am, I probably wouldn’t have discovered the local music scene here. For one, meeting cool people like the folks at the local radio station KDVS 90.3 FM has connected me to gigs and opportunities I’m very grateful for. Being in a college town is great for meeting people so college students: make the most of it while you can. Personal branding is such a large part about creating an identity for yourself as a music artist. How would you describe your personal brand? Internet culture tends to be very superficial and terrible for mental health so with that in mind, I try to be as real as possible on social media. I think it’s important to tailor your socials to make them true to who you are, although to be honest I still catch myself being part of the problem sometimes. (That’s what Face Wants is about) I’m working on being more transparent and just using it less. On Instagram, I think the whole perfect feed-perfect life look has died and it’s just cooler to be weird and real with your audience. Since I’ve been doing a lot more performances recently, I use social media more to promote those things. Being your own marketing team can be really tiresome and sometimes you can feel like you’re in people’s faces, but that’s really something you can’t be shy about if you want people to hear your music and come to your shows. One day I hope to have Frank Ocean @blonded clout-- to be so iconic of a musician that I wouldn’t even have to try. Where do you see yourself in the next few years? urbanation has grown so much more than I ever anticipated and I’m really proud of what it’s become. I have so many ideas and I would like to see where this project goes from here but I’m also really focusing on my non-music career. I’ve met a people who do both and I can see myself enjoying that lifestyle very much. Maybe I’m naive, but I personally don’t like the mentality that you have to do one or the oth-

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er; to me it’s not practical, and not everyone is privileged enough to pursue their creative endeavors without worrying about the unpredictability of the industry and staying relevant. I like that music is my creative outlet and I would hate for it to become all work. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to doing music full-time if things worked out really well, knowing I’d have my degree to fall back on. So to answer your question...I’m not sure yet, and that’s ok! I’m just hoping it’s somewhere good. Time for the real questions: what is your go-to coffee order? My favorite question! I am such a caffeine fiend, it’s really bad. My go-to order -- I’m drinking it right now actually -- is an iced almond milk mocha from Peet’s. What are some of your favorite brands at the moment? Lately, I get most of my clothes from thrifting, but Uniqlo is a retail staple for me because I thrive off basics. I also really like Unif, Urban Outfitters, Opening Ceremony, and Dover Street Market. For online thrifts I frequent Grailed and Depop. Describe yourself in three words: Empathetic, hopeful, driven. ​ KEEP UP WITH BIANCA: Instagram: @bianca.jpeg Urbanation on Soundcloud, Spotify, & iTunes


cloe wilder photography by CHALISA SINGH @chalisasinghh featuring CLOE WILDER @cloewilder interview by CHALISA SINGH @chaslisasinghh


photography by CHALISA SINGH @chalisasinghh featuring CLOE WILDER @cloewilder


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CLOE WILDER interview by CHALISA SINGH @chalisasinghh words by CLOE WILDER @cloewilder

Emerging in 2019 as a true artist to watch in the dark/sad music space, Cloe Wilder is a force to be reckoned with. Armed with incredibly powerful songwriting skills, in addition to a voice beyond her years, Cloe crafts melancholic, yet fiercely relatable songs that touch the deepest parts of the human psyche. In this interview, Cloe tells us about her passion for music, her dream collaborations, and what her creative process looks like in the studio. Read on to learn more about Cloe Wilder and her upcoming projects.

To get things started, can you tell us what a day in the life of Cloe Wilder is like? My daily routine has sort of faded from my life … so much changes every day, it’s insane. I wake up, overthink way too much for about an hour, then I start school, and after that, I write a song. I do interviews, I respond to people on social media. It’s just how I like it. Obviously, it does change when I have studio days or work days, but those are my favorites. At what moment did you realize you wanted to pursue singing? There wasn’t really anything specific that caused me to start pursuing singing. I’ve been an artist for forever. Music has always been my escape, and when I started creating it myself, I just kept on going.

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How would you describe your music/sound? Dark/Pop. Who are your musical influences? The Smiths and The Cure have been digging into my soul lately. The way that The Smiths put dark and deadly subjects into music amazes me, and I love the romance from The Cure. The 1975 has also been major for me lately, because of how they put their dark concepts on top of bright melodies. Their lyrics haunt me in the best way. What is one of your dream collaborations? When I was six years old, I had Lana’s “Born to Die” album on repeat. Constantly. That album is still on


photography by CHALISA SINGH @chalisasinghh featuring CLOE WILDER @cloewilder


my mind every day. From the moment I first heard it, I wanted to make music with her. That would be a dream. Something about her music has always kept me drawn to it. Every artist has their own way of getting creative in the studio. If you were to breakdown the creative process behind writing or recording music, what would your process look like? I get into a pretty dark place in the studio. I like the lights dim, and I just get in my head. It’s probably pretty odd to watch me do, but it helps. It’s really just me and my own mind. I think of a concept or a hook, and it all just pours out. Writing for me is really weird, because it feels so natural once I get into the right state of mind. How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music? I want people to get lost. I want it all to be a place where people can lose themselves, and then come back when they’re ready to. It’s a place of deep and dark emotions, where you don’t have to hide you from yourself - I want it to be an escape, almost.


Besides music, do you have any other passions/hobbies? Almost everything I do outside of music has some sort of connection to art. I write ... a lot. It’s not always lyrics, sometimes it’s just all of my thoughts poured out onto a page (with slightly terrifying creatures drawn next to it, normally). Do you have any advice for other young aspiring artists? Don’t hide anything. It’s your music, it’s your art, it’s you. Pour all of your emotions out, because it’s all yours. I think that’s really important to remember as you get deeper into songwriting. Are there any exciting projects coming up that you can share with us? We’d love to be on the lookout! Yes! I’ll be releasing some more covers, as well as my debut single in April!

KEEP UP WITH CLOE: Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter: @cloewilder YouTube: Cloe WIlder


photography by CHALISA SINGH @chalisasinghh featuring CLOE WILDER @cloewilder


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the dig photography by GISELLE MELENDRES @gisellelisabeth featuring THE DIG @thedig The Moroccan Lounge, Los Angeles, CA


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photography by GISELLE MELENDRES @gisellelisabeth featuring THE DIG @thedig The Moroccan Lounge, Los Angeles, CA


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keep a place for me & keep this close. Thank you for the many years of love, support, and art. I love you. madsoundsmagazine.com

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