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THE LUNA COLLECTIVE

FEATURING

SAMO

AUG/SEPT 2018

ISSUE V


a note...

Welcome to Issue V. This issue was really fun to make and we got to feature some really cool people so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. This one goes out to all the creatives out there that don’t know where to start. You have the ideas but you don’t know how to execute them - it sucks right? That’s always been my biggest challenge but it’s something I’m definitely working on. The transition that matters most in life is from the dreamer to the doer. It’s a tough one but it’s so worth it. The feeling of seeing your ideas come to life is like no other and it’s exhilerating to say the least. Thanks for following us on this journey. The kind words and support we get is really encouraging. I sometimes forget that people care about what I’m doing and it’s a really reassuring feeling to know that there are people out there that actually like our content. I’m really excited for the route that The Luna Collective is headed in. We’re moving one step at a time but I can promise you we’re gonna do it all. I’ve stopped making excuses as for why I can’t do this or that and it’s going really well - you should try it.

xox, Sophie


SOME TUNES FOR YOU

Sports & KeithCharles - Shiggy Mazie - oh my god Video Age - Hold On (I Was Wrong) The 1975 - Love It If We Made It BROCKHAMPTON - 1998 TRUMAN Ginger Root - Call It Home The Internet - Come Over Kvsper & Lukieb - Tinted LANY - Thru These Tears Sara King - Dreamz Rex Orange County - A Song About Being Sad Kullers - Tongue Kissing Peach Tree Rascals - Glide SG Lewis & Clairo - Better Aquifer & Saaaz - High N Low boy pablo - Sick Feeling Slow Hollows - Selling Flowers The Clash - Rock The Casbah Thumpasaurus - You Are So Pretty HUNNY - Seventh Sister Tommi Waring - Money (feat. Mike Sb) Night Moves - Only To Live In Your Memories BE GOOD - Nightbus Pink Skies - Start. End Limbo - Alright JOBA - Sad Saturdays Daniel Caesar - Hold Me Down Blood Orange - EVP Natalie Green - Orange One South Lark - Japanese Soda Scan to listen to the playlist on Spotify The Ready Set - Taking Pictures


Mazie / 25

Natalie Souza / 31

Ginger Root / 37

Kullers / 9

Limbo / 43

Curiosity / 15

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Adolescence / 7

R E E L

The Munch Club / 5

C O N T E N T


Outside Lands / 51

Thumpasourus / 65

Theresa Baxter / 73

Samo / 53

Double Vision / 79

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The Munch Club x Restauration

By Tessa Southwell / @dramatic.f oodie Background By Katrina Rin

Long Beach is easily becoming a hub for all things cultural, from music to food. Restauration is one the popular restaurants in the area that prides themselves in serving a menu that is locally sourced and responsibly grown, as they use seasonal ingredients. A lot of the menu options cater to different dietary restrictions and lifestyles like vegan or gluten free, so it’s ideal for all types of eaters. Located on 4th street in the area known as Retro Row, Restauration certainly doesn’t fail to blend in with the trendy and evolving area. Like many restaurants in the area, the downside to being in such a popular area in Long Beach is the limited street parking so plan accordingly. 5

The restaurant claims their vision as “to create an environment that encourages an audience to stay a while and brings them together in a hospitable space” and that’s exactly what they do. With a style that encompasses vintage and upcycled materials, Restauration features a laid back exterior and charming interior, ideal for relaxing and enjoying a solid meal. The architecture and decor create a tranquil ambiance perfect for just about any crowd, from families to couples. The combination of the setting and the innovative menu makes it hard to not want to frequent Restauration and make your way through the menu.


Tessa’s Picks Grilled Street Corn A simple yet delicious dish perfect to share amongst your group or get as a side. Yellow corn paired with fresh cheese, chili adobo mayo, Espellette seasoning and topped with cilantro all blend together to bring the corn dish to another level. You have the option to order this dish vegan and it is still just as divine.

The Burger It’s hard to go wrong with a classic burger perfect for all the meat lovers or those hesitant to try some of the more unique items from the menu. The burger is served with grilled red onion, tomato, little gem lettuce, a house pickle, Tillamook cheddar and Russian dressing. The dish is served with garlic fries, salad or slaw so if you’re feeling like treating yourself - go with the garlic fries because they are so worth it.

Traditional Breakfast There are few things better than restaurants that serve breakfast all day - so thank you Restauration. The traditional breakfast is truly as traditional as it gets with two eggs, house made bacon, grilled bread and breakfast potatoes. However, the locally sourced and fresh ingredients definitely make this a stand out dish in comparison to other restaurants.

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ADOLESCENCE Words & Illustration By Samar Saif

I fell hard and deep for everything I would never at runs through my own veins. Unfortunately, be. whiteness isn’t something that can be achieved. I learned the hard way that no matter how much I All my idols were ivory, pale faced haloed covered try to throw away parts of myself, that maybe if I let visions of hell. go for long enough I could lose myself and become what everyone around me desired and was. I envied the calm they navigated the world with. I think what helped me realize how brainwashed While I felt stuck in chaos, I was is the experience of re-watching Palo Alto. This is a movie that informed my High School Never good enough. experience. Me and my old best friend memorized every line of the movie, recreated the scenes, based I think for so long I just let my internalized whiteness our lives off the carefree stillness and dreamlike sit that it became a part of me, a part of the reason nature of the lives of teenagers enveloped in white I slouch lower, I don’t raise my voice when I have suburbia. This movie spoke to me because it was something to say, reason I still hurt, can’t always everything I wanted and could never have. The look in the mirror and feel whole. recklessness of their lives, the ways they just could exist and take up space. I wanted so badly to be I had always been the ugly weird girl but in high able to just be in the ways that the characters in school, I turned more to art and music thinking I that movie could. would find my solace. I got super involved in the DIY scene spending a lot of time going to shows My first crush reminded me of Teddy. The boy of and especially at The Smell and other shitty my dreams. He seemed so sensitive and beautiful, venues based out of garages and alleys. I thought the angel I always wanted. Now I see that Teddy I had found a place where I belonged with all the was just a white boy who didn’t care about anyone other weirdos and rejects, people who didn’t dress around him or the consequences of his actions. like the people who had isolated and alienated me. As I get involved in prison abolition work and learn I thought I had found a place where I fit in. more about how the prison system works against Black and Brown bodies, I have seen firsthand I wish I had told myself I was beautiful more the pain that mass incarceration causes to the people and their loved ones. I have witnessed I think about all the boys I cared for who used me and supported the families and loved ones of and threw me away for the closest white girl. I those who are imprisoned, I have seen the unfair was indispensable. I fell for my high school crush brutality and murder that happens to bodies inside hard, he was the first boy that expressed interest in through participating in a vigil for someone who me and found me attractive. I never felt beautiful, was unjustly imprisoned and later beaten to death I didn’t look like what was considered beautiful at Twin Towers. When Teddy is caught by the police around me. I wasn’t thin, blonde, or had any of the after a drunk driving accident, not only does he characteristics deemed pretty. I couldn’t stay out disrespect the police officer but also resists arrest. late, I didn’t know how to express myself freely. This scene reminds me of how little the problems I carried the weight of my own trauma and the of the world affect comfortable white teenagers. intergenerational trauma of my family and history Instead of being killed on the spot for screaming 7


fuck you at the police officer he is taken into custody and ends up with community service. I think about this offense in relation to what people are killed for by the police and sentenced to jail for their lives. I feel disgusted by the Teddy’s character now, his inability to understand the ease he navigates the world with and his need to revel in despair and destruction. I think also of how much I worshipped boys who treated me like garbage, who used me for what they needed and left me when they found the white girl they were looking for. I think of my first crush and how much I romanticized his darkness and I think now of how much of a protective bubble all those kids had. The alternative white kids who wore thrifted jackets and big doc martens. Who called me the brown and made fun of the food I ate, the clothes I wore. Who so immune to suffering, had to create their own. White suburbia offered them protection, to wallow in their misery and make sin

shitty punk and lo-fi music. To drive around in the cars their parents bought them, and smoke weed in public spaces, and steal beer without worrying about any consequences. These kids are the worst because even now, I see they are still so naïve to their own privilege and the trauma that they caused me. Now, as I grow into myself. I grow into my identity and my strength. I’ve learned my calling, my ability to help and heal others. I have started to unlearn whiteness, try and find my grounded and start the process of learning to love myself. I am trying not to be bitter from the people who have brought me down. I no longer exist in the bubble, I destroyed it. I never again want to venerate white idols. It’s a process, one that even at 20 I feel like I have a long way to go but I am learning to unlearn.

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KULLERS Story by Sophie Gragg P hotos by Nikoli Partiyeli Design by Olivia Boryczewski

ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC IN 2018 - a concept that Kullers wants to bring to life. The LA based band and project of artist Jordan Benker is ready to let everyone hear their new sound and listeners should be prepared for pure rock and roll music. In a time where most artists are creating music that is often difficult to put into a genre and draws from many aspects of the music industry, Kullers wants to bring it back to classic rock.

Growing up in Chicago, Benker was immersed in a world of classic rock which formed the foundation for the artist he is today. “I knew that I wanted to do music at a young age - it was just always around me. As a child, like 5 or 6 years old, my dad was giving me Van Halen and Aerosmith CDs - and it was an instant click.” Benker already found himself singing all the time at a young age, so it only felt right for him to start picking up instruments, starting with guitar. As the artist got older and more invested in music, he began writing music and playing in banin ds. After a brief time at Berklee College of Music Boston, Benker realized he was ready to pursue music without an extensive college background. While Benker is honest that Berklee was not for him, he’s glad he spent some time there as the things he took away were crucial to his career. “The big thing I took away from Berklee was more of a mental thing. It was ya know ‘I don’t need to be taught how to write good music. I don’t need

a degree for a record label to be like ‘Wow you write great songs can you make me a million dollars tomorrow?’ That’s what they care about. But I will say, as strange as it sounds, before I got to college I was recording all my music on this old 8-track recording device and once I learned that computers record music I was like ‘Wow!’ It was very eye opening and I love learning about it and the first time I really worked with it I basically just watched my teacher do what he did and then like translated it into what I wanna do and it took years. I’m still learning, but it took years and years of trial and error before really getting a sound that I was happy with.” Now 27-years-old and LA based, Benker is relieved he finally made his way to the city of angels. While Chicago has a prominent music scene, Benker felt like he had reached a plateau in his career and could further his career in Los Angeles. Since moving to LA last summer, Benker has fallen in love with the buzz in the air and finds himself writing just about all the time now. The artist also feels his rock and roll music can flourish in the city that is filled with music from just about every scene in comparison to Chicago where mainly EDM and hip-hop thrive. Benker’s band, Kullers, has definitely been through a journey to become the project it is today, but Benker could not be more excited for Kullers moving forward. Though originally a three

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piece band with two of Benker’s close friends, overtime Benker realized logistically and creatively the band needed to become a solo project. “I love working with others, it’s so great and even just being in a practice room and just creating. [together] is great. But as a human, and just in the vain of what I do, I have all control and I need all control. It’s very important for me to have that because I’ve always been the brain behind the operation anyway. Back when Kullers was a band everything you heard was done by me anyway and the guys were cool with that - they’re my friends and they knew they were more of a backing thing…I just kinda knew it was just gonna be my thing anyway. I tried it with just Kullers alone and it just didn’t go the way I wanted to. Coming to LA was almost kinda like disappearing for a second. It was refreshing coming out here. I was fortunate enough to know a few people here already but one of the reasons I came was to meet people and introduce myself, get myself known and be present. It was something I did in Chicago but there wasn’t as much to take advantage of.” Moving forward, Kullers is definitely ready to take on a full rock and roll identity. Though the band already released a self titled album, the sound of Kullers is definitely evolving and listeners can expect something different. “If you listen to the record we released in May, it’s very indie pop/ indie rock, and it’s got a little bit of areas that are more gnarly and bit more rock based and it’s got areas that are more chill and more synth based. In terms of the new stuff that I’m working on it’s very different than the recent record. It’s 100% rock and roll. It’s crazy, it’s very different and it’s very exciting. It’s very organic to me, I grew up listening to just classic rock and everything from the early 60s to when I was born in the early 90s. It all just kinda came back to me and that’s what I know best and that’s what I love doing so I might as well do that.” It’s of no surprise to find that Benker often references truly classic rock artists like The Rolling Stones, The Doors,

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The Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. Though Benker is inspired by a handful of modern artists, he finds himeself consistently going back to the classic rock artists to truly help him hone his sound. It’s clear that the music has the rock and roll vibe to it and Benker’s aesthetic is just as fitting as well. His edgy rocker vibe may seem like a show at first glance, but Benker explains how his style is just as authentic as anyone else’s, “I’m just

trying to be myself. I dress the way I do because I like it. Often times people ask me ‘Oh is that what you actually dress like?’ and it’s like ‘Yea? This is what I wear everyday.’ I buy the things I buy because I like that. You have to be able to laugh at yourself. That’s one thing I’ve always told myself and laughter has been a big part of my music and my life. A lot of my lyrics tend to be a little tongue & cheek. You have to be able to laugh at yourself, you can’t take criticism without that. It is all about having fun - people can tell when you’re forcing it.” Now that Kullers has found their spot in LA, they’re ready to launch into something more. With a new album underway, fans can expect to fall in love with a classic rock and roll album. “I don’t know when it’s gonna be out but I’ve just been writing like crazy - creating all the time. In terms of the sound it’s going to sound like it came out of 1971. That’s the goal. It’s going to be straight forward as if I was recording it on an 8-track tape. I’ve even looked into getting some tape desks.” Benker hopes his music can not only be something people can connect to, but also something that can remind people that true rock and roll exists in this day and age.


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CURIOSITY CURIOSITY - the strong desire to know or learn something. We’ve all got it in us, though some more than others. It’s a blessing and a curse in many ways - being curious. Curiosity fuels the motive for many of us to find out something new or simply draw us into something. But curiosity can drive you insane. It can keep you up at a night and keep your mind elsewhere in the day. Always wondering and always searching for answers can be tough on your mental health and sometimes you wish you could just shut your brain off - or at least the curious part. But you can’t. It’s part of who we are and it can be a beautiful thing when controlled. Curiosity can create art. Curiosity can create solutions. Curiosity can create relationships. Curiosity makes us who we are. Here’s what you had to say. Ilustration By Megan Potter


“What if?” Are the two words that keep me up at night. Thousands of questions starting with these words haunt all of us to a certain degree. Some of us let it fizz inside like a shaken, unopened can of soda, and some of us let it explode like a bomb. This intense curiosity is dangerous to think about for too long. There are millions of choices we make every day without even thinking about it, so why do we constantly go back and wonder what could’ve been? The philosophical notion that all of us are striving for perfection and coming short every time is nonsense. None of us want perfection. We just want to be able to be playfully curious about the days ahead without slumping in our seats due to the choices we could’ve made in the days behind us. But there’s a time when those “What if?”’s come to be changeable. What if we can take that burning fizz inside of us and turn it into fuel?

Emma Schoors / Los Angeles

I often wonder why you never said anything. We both knew it - yet you let me go crazy and let my mind wonder. I don’t like it when my mind wonders nor wanders. Why did you chose her? And why did I chose him? Why didn’t we just chose each other? It seems almost silly. I often wonder how different would things been if you had just said something? Or if I had? Would we even be here together - all these months later? Would it all be peachy or would our downfall already have happened? Would it had ended in chaos or could we have a happily ever after? It seems almost like a daydream. I often wonder why I don’t say anything. What if I just said it tomorrow? Or the day after that? Would things change? Would we continue on like how we already are or would things finally change? It seems almost tempting.

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Stefanie Murza / West Virginia

Jacob Romero / Chicago

Rachel Klark / Richmond


Will I ever stop asking questions?

Melina White / New York

A letter that I wrote for myself A woman is holding a baby while walking with a dog right next to her at a mall. Why a mall? Why not park or a beach? Why not somewhere fun? A man soon approaches her, he kisses the woman then the baby, which is attached to the woman’s body, then pets the dog. He looks very happy in their presence. A guy in the suit is very angry, to the point where he might blow up. He is a Caucasian that looks like a volcano about to erupt because of how red he is. The man keeps on walking and walking, to notice the nation maybe? I don’t think he’s with his girl for a breakup, or maybe. But who really knows.

I am just sitting here wanting more, watching people fall asleep, trying to get to their destinations in a place that is only good for a consumer for clothes and smelly things. I may be awake but I can’t seem to think straight (maybe not at all). People start running - shooter on the loose? Doesn’t surprise me anymore. Kids are running from security - they stole a shirt that’s for women. They are all boys. Getting up from my spot is what I did, staying in staring is what I do, imagining Is what I wish I can still do. Policeman already arrived. Time to leave to catch the bus.

-From an autistic person that stares / Redondo Beach

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Stefanie Murza / West Virginia


Follow your Curiosity Curiosity never killed the cat. It simply made her eyes open to a world bursting at the seams, like my waistline in a pair of new skinny jeans. Don’t offer me the possibility of death as a deterrent for exploring the world surrounding me. As if the end should stop me from starting at all. Is that anyway to spend my time here? To go through everyday like a machine, never questioning the industry I slave away to. I think not. I’m intrigued by the locked door at the end of the hallway. I have a restless desire to pull back the curtain, and reveal the man behind the controls. And I feel an urgency to question anything that needs to be tampered with. I am here to make a mess and cause a little chaos. Beautiful chaos. When curiosity comes gnawing at my heels, I will follow it. Because curiosity never killed the cat. That’s a lie we’ve been feed to keep us from prying open the gate and shattering the ceiling. Go on now, cause a little trouble.

Lauren Harrison / San Francisco

Stefanie Murza / West Virginia

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Stefanie Murza / West Virginia


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Henry Gonzalez / Los Angeles


Taylor Mckie / Miami 24


MAZIE MAZIE MAZIE MAZIE MAZIE MAZIE MAZIE MAZIE

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just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost me& u just a friend afterglow anybody else oh my god ghost 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MAZIE Story By Lauren Sarazen P hotos By Meli Ulkumen Design By Sophie Gragg

FROM CLASSICAL TO JAZZ TO ELECTROPOP - Artist Mazie has ventured

through it all to craft the sound she has today. Drawing on a depth of knowledge from her Music Industry Studies degree at Drexel University, Mazie creates deep and distinctive tracks. Mazie, born Grace Christian, enjoyed classical training singing opera from the time she was nine years old. At 12, she expanded her repertoire to include jazz. Inspired by free-form scatting, Christian began composing her own songs. “I love it. I love jazz so so much. Classical is pretty rigid and jazz is the exact opposite of that,” she said. “Then I starting writing my own music and I recorded my first album when I was 15 and finished it when I was 17…[which] got me into school.” From there, the 18-year-old musician confidently embraced electropop, bringing her extensive vocal training along with her. Though she arrived at Drexel determined to focus on the business side of the industry, she was quickly scouted and signed by the university’s student label MAD Dragon. Instantly, it clicked—this was exactly what she wanted to do. However, recording a full-length EP in six weeks mid-semester is no picnic. Inspired but stressed, she relied on her strong work ethic to balance songwriting and recording on the weekend and acing her classes during the week.

“I went to school and then I would take a train home, write a full song, record it, go back to school for the week. When you have finals and midterms it’s just like ‘This is hard,’” she said. “I was the first pop act signed to the label so the student body was kinda drawn to it because they hadn’t heard very similar things coming out of Drexel.” The result is her EP “omw,” providing a fearless soundtrack to the Millennial experience. Though electropop has roots in 80s synth bands like New Order, Depeche Mode and Devo, there’s nothing dated about her sound. Blending the best of electronic beats and pop’s catchy hooks, electropop is incredibly marketable and on the rise. Noting its popularity among friends, Christian imagines these electro-heavy songs are the future of Pop. “When I was like 12 or 13, I was like ‘No, I won’t make music out of a computer,’ and now it’s like ‘Oh my gosh why are we using an instrument?!’” she said. “It’s like an electronic track with a little bit of a drop in the chorus. It’s not like a true electronic house track.” With “omw,” Christian focuses on navigating modern dating—a landscape fraught with landmines like handling ghosting in “ghost” and the nebulous space between a hook-up and defining the relationship in “me & u.” She even dips her toe into the #metoo movement with her

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haunting and catchy single “oh my god.” The acoustic “just a friend,” which captures the catty frustrations of a manipulative relationship, makes clever use of her playful jazz background. Writing lyrics intended to overflow from one line to the next, Christian echoes the cyclical nature of a toxic relationship.

“I really want a reason to not come back to school junior and senior year. My parents are a little scared cause I talk to them about that a lot,” Christian said. “[But] they’re so supportive. My dad is like my biggest fan — I follow him on Spotify and I see him just playing my stuff all the time.”

Available on Spotify since June, her EP omw is just the beginning. A firm advocate of Spotify, she loves their pro-artist stance. With radio play remaining elusive for up and coming artists, turning to streaming services like Spotify can give previously unknown acts monthly listeners and grow their reach.

This strong support system serves as a healthy foundation as she navigates the music industry. As a woman, she finds that people don’t always take her seriously and assume she’s less prepared because of her gender. These oversights are doubly frustrating considering she’s studied copyright law, picked apart the logistics of streaming platforms, and broken down the legal language of contracts in class. Yet the incredibly ambitious artist isn’t even close to giving up. “I would really like to put

Planning to release a three-four song EP by the end of the summer, Christian is making the most of her break from school. While in high school, she worked collaboratively with her best friend, sitting at the piano and scatting until a tune and an idea clicked, her process now often starts with writing prose poems or free writing to zero in on an idea before shaping the overall song. Spending the summer interning in LA and reaching out to new collaborators, Mazie hopes to get picked up by a professional label. Like any creative, the decision between sticking with school and dropping out to pursue professional opportunities is on her mind.

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a project out through an electronic indie label and use that as a good foot hole to pitch myself to other labels. I reach out to people that I’m in love with to ask if they need an opener,” It’s of no surprise Christian’s entrance to the music scene hasn’t been quiet and her presence is only going to get louder. WIth her music industry experience, from both inside and outside the classroom, she’s ready to move to the front and navigate the scene.


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E Z I D G E O L Z O I P L A A E O T ” R E D I R E “I US TIME. NOW TO BE HE D E E H S T O P ALL P U S M A NO - I

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NATALIE SOUZA

P hotos By Myai Anthony


“I LOVE VINTAGE CLOTHES AND I GET MOST OF MY CLOTHES FROM THRIFT STORES. I LIKE TO DRESS PRETTY ANDRONGYNOUS AS I FEEL LIKE ICAN ROCK ANY STYLE.”


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Story By Malika Mohan P hotos By Nikoli Partiyeli Design By Khrstine Le 37


AGGRESSIVE ELEVATOR SOUL - it’s a real thing and Ginger Root is making the best of it. Turn on the radio or drive past a bumping party and there’s almost a hundred percent chance that the same predictable pop, rap or hip-hop sounds will be dominating the speakers. Now enter Cameron Lew a.k.a Ginger Root, 22-yearold singer-songwriter and Huntington Beach native, who has been shattering music genre barriers with his unique sound with elements that draws a variety of listeners in. All of his projects, such as Spotlight People and recently released Mahjong Room, demonstrate a clear breakaway from the same stagnant sounds of much of the music scene, to a place where should it be—one which evokes emotions and resonates in the minds and hearts of listeners. Lew has been immersed in the world of music from the young age of ten, when his parents gifted him his very first guitar. A few years later in high school he enrolled in an after-school arts program where he learned bass, drums and keys, and began to write and record his own music. After graduating, he studied and received a Film Degree from Chapman University, located in Orange County, while continuing to pursue music projects. Between growing up and going to school in the O.C., Lew has realized that the

music scene there is significantly lack but has definitely “shaped “shaped [him] to wanting to get out more.” While Lew has been learning music and playing in bands for over a decade, the birth of Ginger Root only came about two years ago. The name was inspired by a clip of Jack Stratton of Vulfpeck (one of Lew’s biggest musical influences alongside Toro y Moi, Japanese Breakfast, Jay Som, Feist, Mocky and more) chanting “uh, uh, ginger root” in a live performance of “It Gets Funkier”. “I’m the type of person where I just need to make something and make it fast and get it out there. So that’s what Ginger Root was, it started as an EP then I made a full album then I dropped it and was like ‘whatever’…As far as the creative process goes, it’s mostly the same. Definitely it comes when it comes—it’s never like ‘alright it’s Friday, I’m going to sit down and write a song’, it’s always like 2 AM and I’m just playing and I’m like ‘woah that’s something!’ and then I’ll make it into something,” Lew explains. “Usually, depending on the song, the way I write it will influence the type of lyrics I’ll put and I’m just playing and I’m like ‘woah that’s something!’ and then I’ll make it into something,” Lew explains. “Usually, depending on the song, the way I write it will influence the type of lyrics I’ll put in there. 38


more cohesive sound wise.” He describes the album in a Facebook post as being “all about not forgetting who you are, in the midst of figuring out your future.” The “Mahjong Room” video serves as a visual depiction of that theme and was entirely shot on Super 8 film by his friend Seannie Bryan. It features him, five dancers including his sister as a featured dancer—and his band members all grooving on a rooftop. The film used dances they put together—all of which only required one take—which beautifully highlighted the mood and pulled out the rhythms of the track. All the songs definitely come from a real place…it’s a combination of how the music makes me feel, what I am currently going through etc. and it all gels together.” Similar to Lew’s organic creative process, is his process for developing his aesthetic. He describes his style as “70s with a little bit of mod in it.” While there are some influences that go into it, he mostly puts together his look by just seeing what looks cool to him and will associate well with the music he’s creating. Lew comments, “Especially in this day and age, it’s definitely not just about the music anymore.” In terms of projects he’s been working on, Lew has been keeping busy this past year. For instance, he recently released an album this past June and created a music video for the song the album is named after: “Mahjong Room”. Lew compared this album to his previous music saying, “Definitely I’m getting more comfortable in this zone that I used to not be comfortable in and I think the record is 39

“Everything just kinda clicked. We found the roof, got the film, she [Kaylee Richards, a friend from high school and Chapman] put together the dance and it was really funny because my little sister is a dancer and so I’m very much in the dance mom world and I know what’s up…I will say that this shoot, even though it was super hot and early in the morning, everyone was like ‘I’m having a good time’ and to me, that’s all that matters. I was stressed out of my mind but everyone was happy,” Lew says about the video. All of Ginger Root’s projects, such as this video, are extremely accessible online via platforms like YouTube. Artists in the past have never been able to give the public so much access to their music as they can today, with the Internet revolutionizing the music industry with things like streaming and individual artist’s rights. While Lew is signed with his friend’s label in Nashville called Acrophase Records, they differ from traditional artist


and label relationships and are working together on fully diving into the streaming of his music. Lew believes the Internet and the modernization of the music industry has definitely benefited him and his career. One of his songs made it on the Spotify Fresh Finds page and a music video trended on Reddit twice, which helped boost the audience and popularity of their projects immensely. “I know people think Spotify is unfair because of the money thing,” Lew says about the controversy surrounding alleged unfair artist compensation, “but I think the exposure that you get from being on a Spotify playlist or a curated playlist is technically payment in itself. I think what’s cool about Spotify too is how they’re very transparent in their data like where it’s all coming from and where the listeners are and that’s what’s helping me where I should go next. The age group, or the location or whatever and the amount of listeners and where the songs are appearing in people’s playlists I think, you know, is great exposure and payment in itself.” Looking forward, Lew hopes to flesh out a couple ideas and songs he has for an upcoming record, keep the music video thing going and do right by his latest album. His dream goals as an artist are to be an opener for someone who enjoys their music as well as take his live set on the road. “I think I’m trying to plant the seed for doing a solo set, and if something happens I’d love to bring the full band and do a thing out there. That’s what you’re supposed to do after a record comes out—kinda play around.” Lew has certainly come a long way from when he first picked up that guitar so many years ago, and his unique soulful sound and dedication to the craft are going to continue to take him even further.

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YOU KNOW LIMBO? - The artist creating sounds for your ears and heart, Limbo is on the prowl and she isn’t

stopping anytime soon. There is something so very real about an artist who has raw musical talent but has decided to try other things in life before coming back to music. For many musicians, a natural ability doesn’t compel them to instantly become working artists. Many who have created music since they were young feel the need to explore other paths in life before coming back to their one true passion. Not only does this make a musician come to their work as part of their authentic experience, it also colors and ages the artist in a way that is easily heard in their music. Trying out different mediums and life paths makes their art more informed and more organically diverse. Music is a direct representation of the soul, and hearing the music of a soul that has had many experiences and a well-rounded life is sound like no other. This quality cannot be artificially produced and it is a clearly understood sound to discerning music lovers. Artist Limbo is a good example of this. You can hear within her sound that she has experience in many different areas of art. Limbo started off as many other musicians, taking piano at a young age. She quickly grew so tired of the structure that her traditional piano teacher was forcing down her throat that she almost gave up music altogether. And for a while, she did just that. It wasn’t until her early 20s that she naturally fell back into music but from a completely different medium. “At first I

went to school to be a therapist because I love people and I’ve always been interested in helping them... but along the way someone told me that it takes a lot of math to become one so I decided to switch paths. I had just graduated high school and moved out to California; I had no friends or connections so I decided to try community college. I started studying graphic arts and was working part time jobs until a marketing agency hired me on as a social media manager and graphic artist. I immediately stopped going to school. I didn’t see a need to study books when I could study the real world. It all worked out to my advantage, I moved to San Francisco, worked in Oakland, and kinda cruised around as a 21-year-old living in a big city.”


Limbo has a natural aptitude towards music and producing of all kinds. The way that she fell into her career was a spur of the moment opportunity. While in San Francisco, she decided that she wanted to learn how to DJ, feeling that DJ-ing could be a cool skill to learn while she was working her marketing job. It was a creative release from corporate life. One week after deciding she wanted to learn, she was faced with an opportunity to DJ her first event. “I met this dude at an Unplugged party and we talked about DJs and artists coming up in the city. He said ‘You should DJ this event I’m throwing this weekend!’ I agreed even though I had no idea what I was doing. I busted my ass while I was working my day job [googling] like, ‘how to DJ’ and watching all of these weird tutorials and somehow I pulled it off! I DJ’d the event and more people handed me their cards than I was expecting. After DJing about four or five more events in SF I came to realize ‘this is cool but it’s kinda lame playing other people’s music - I wanna play my own.’” And that was that the start of Limbo. “Airplane Mode” was her first big hit and turned her attention away from just instrumental music and inspired her to sing on more of her tracks. “I had just started producing and I didn’t really want to sing on this project - I wanted it to be completely instrumental.” The obvious appeal of “Airplane Mode” (currently at 2.6 million plays) opened her eyes to the prospect of singing on more tracks. This eventually led to the creation of her new EP ‘lonely but never alone’ out on all platforms - a project that sticks out in a way that defies a specific genre but latches onto your heart in the most specific way possible.

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Hidden beneath her iconic plastic cat mask, Limbo’s project is anonymous. “When I was 13 I was working for my

dad and had some money saved up; the cat mask was literally the first thing I bought on the internet. I think I was just surfing the net and found it - it was like, 4 bucks! I got it in the mail and said ‘I hope I get to DJ in this one day’ - as 13-year-old me!! So when I got my first gig I called my mom and asked her if she knew where the mask was. I always kept my identity hidden as Limbo when I first started out, but the mask really solidified who and how I felt as an artist.” When speaking about the changes the music industry is going through currently, Limbo can see both sides of the debate. She agrees that it’s incredible to have a huge net of artists to listen to and discover, but it’s hard to pay the bills when streaming is so aplenty and non monetized. Her intention is to focus a lot of her efforts on Spotify because she sees Spotify as being a company that helps artists with getting paid for their work. “I’m so grateful for Spotify - I would definitely not be able to do this full-time if it weren’t for that beautiful app.” Limbo is an absolute visionary with a heart of gold. She and some friends recently opened up a multidisciplinary arts collective called Chewing Foil. They even have plans to bring social work into Chewing Foil to make a difference through the art in LA. “CF just did a show for the deaf community where we basically bass boosted everything so we could really feel it - we also had really amazing visuals to pair so it was a fully immersive experience.”

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She has set a multitude of goals for herself in 2018 which shows how committed she is to her art. “I started this online collective called Jumping Castle at the beginning of this year, and at first I invited everyone to be part of it - about 100+ people joined at first and I was like, ‘oh my god, this is fucking crazy’” laughs Limbo, “So I shut it down and gathered a group of 5 people to be the pioneers of the project. We’re all based from around the country and have meetings every week on Discord to talk about what we’re doing and where we plan to go. We just released our first EP online and on cassette recently! I’m really just trying to stay on the grind! There’s a photo book coming out soon; My friend and I took a trip from Southern California to Northern California for a car show and we took photos all along the way. We’re going to try and get it into some local book stores and comic shops so keep your eyes peeled! Also have some clothing plans, new tune plans, documentary plans, and tour plans for next year.” It’s clear that Limbo has lots in store for the future, and is never limited to one thing. The artist will continue to venture into projects all while stealing our hearts beneath that plastic mask.

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THUMPASAURUS

Story By Megan Smith P hotos By Nikoli Partiyeli Design By Aja Villacres 65


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FUNK JUST GOT A LOT MORE FUNKIER all thanks to Thumpasaurus. Just last month,

funk-punk band Thumpasaurus began a quest to resurface the “primordial groove of the universe.” Their debut album, The Book of Thump, takes fans diving straight into chapter one of their own mythological world. The LA-based quintet has put jazz, punk, dance and pop together on a spaceship and propelled it into the cosmos. “It’s like if you’re 3,000 miles away from Charlie Parker but he’s a glimmer in the distance,” they say. Their eclectic aesthetic, a patchwork of mythology, powerpoints and new worlds, matched with their unique sound, which calls on their sweeping musical background and convinces bodies to dance, constitutes Thumpasaurus. Each member has musical ties all the way back to when they were young. Thumpasaurus is made up of Lucas Tamaren on vocals and guitar, Henry Was on drums, Logan Kane on bass, Paul Cornish on keys, and Henry Solomon on saxophone. They pretty much all have their fair share of violin performances, jazz band concerts, or choir recitals dotting their childhood memories. Some knew they wanted to pursue music as a career; others didn’t even discover that as an option until they reached college. Was even joked that his parents talked him out of a science degree through their advocacy for his pursuit of musical passion. Regardless, Thump’s sound thrives on each member’s exposure to a rich range of music genres, though much of their creative process owes itself to their collective jazz background. Most of their songs have been written in bursts of improvisation and loads of trust in each other. Their love for creating music, from the songs themselves to story creation to filming music videos, came together in November 2015. The first iteration of Thumpasaurus manifested in an acoustic guitar and banjo folk duo performing at

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sorority meetings while attending University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Drums entered the scene soon after the initial duo thought to record a demo. Several jam sessions later, and they took their more downbeat folk music to the “drunken, sweaty, debaucherous house parties” that litter USC’s campus. The contrast between the excitement of the parties and their sullen sound pushed them to continue expanding until they became what Thump is today. A singular “super session” of 40 songs in one day, which they filmed and titled “Thumpasauraus Session,” marked the first time that all five members played together. In the words of Was, “that was the first group of musicians that was ever called Thumpasaurus.”

Since this dawn of Thump, the five musicians have grown close; their friendship sparks much of what they have. Though serious about their work, joking around together has created “whatever it is we have aesthetic wise.” In the pursuit of inspiring happiness for their listeners, if something makes them laugh, that bit will stay in the song. Tamaren pointed to their first show when they began feeling out how Thumpasaurus was to present itself. With an audience of about 20 to 30 people in their backyard, they performed their upbeat grooves in front of a projector showcasing a powerpoint of simple images. After the show, they knew this would be an important foundation for them. Plenty of elements, both songs and projections, used in the first backyard

performance still render shows today similar to then.

virus infiltrating an incognito window. Going into creating their videos, sometimes they will have a general idea, but mostly, “it’s almost like not knowing where you’re going with it… start throwing darts at a board and follow leads.” Clearly, it all comes back to their trust in each other and their talent, both collective and individual.

Their live shows, absolutely packed with energy and pure fun, consistently get people dancing and singing along with them. The past year has seen them opening for KNOWER (one of Tamaren’s favorite bands), selling out both The Troubadour in LA and Underbelly during last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Fest in Scotland, and continuing to perform at venues around their Los Angeles base. Their music videos, too, are filled with as much personality as their stage presence holds. They range from “You Are so Pretty’s” quirky homage to Jennifer Lawrence to “Evil’s” mad scientists in an advertisement-like computer

This trust allowed for The Book of Thump to be actualized. Harkening back the intensive work during their initial Thumpasaurus Session, the band essentially wrote, recorded, and produced the entire album in two weeks. A retreat to the basement studio that Was has been building in his parent’s home for the past five years, made

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the progress organically.

to

happen

quickly

and

Any moment of inspiration could be realized. With all of them there together, their work flow served as one of the “biggest learning curve of [their] lives,” with hours of selfteaching, and also as some of the most fun they have ever had. As they created their music and developed the mythology behind Thumpasaurus, the 12 track album released less than a month ago was born. Come October, Thumpasaurus will be taking up residency at The Echo, located in Los Angeles’s Echo Park. The band hopes to have each member curate a night. The world of Thumpasaurus will continue to grow. After their first chapter in The Book of Thump, Luna is excited to see what the universe has in store for them next. As they continue to reveal ancient secrets of harmony and funk, the first track’s direction to “find and restore Thump to this cruel and unforgiving modern world” will hopefully prove groovy following the lead of the self-proclaimed “harbingers of the age of reawakening,” the mythological heroes that comprise Thumpasaurus.

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THERESA BAXTER

Story By Mary Retta P hotos By Anna Marie Lopez Design By Sophie Gragg AN ARTIST AND A LOVER OF ROSÉ -

is the simplest way to put business women Theresa Baxter. In a world where skinny reigns supreme, many artists have been terrified to question the societal beauty standards we have all been subjected to. Despite this, however, one artist has triumphantly championed the ideals of body diversity and representation. At the intersection between art and body positivity lies artist, dreamer and world traveler: Theresa Baxter. ​ heresa Baxter is an illustrator and graphic T designer based out of LA. She is also the creative director and program manager at ALL(MOST), a diverse creative space in MidCity which works with a large creative community to plan art shows and provide affordable studio space. Baxter is a selfproclaimed world traveler, having lived in several towns across the United States as well as a brief stint in Vienna, Austria. Her travels and experiences influenced her greatly and inspired her to create art and a company that reflect her inclusive and global mission. Baxter speaks at length to her job as creative director at ALLMOST as well as what it’s like to be a woman in the business industry. She notes that ALLMOST was started because “my group of friends at the time always wanted to do events and put on shows and it just felt like the main thing we were missing was space, which is obviously expensive. 73

The mission is for there to be a space for aspiring creatives and for there to be a community in that space. It should be about skill sharing. As an underground artist or someone who is trying to figure it out you don’t want to get caught up in a ghost ship situation. And you want to be around people who elevate you.” ​ axter furthers that while at first it was B intimidating to be a female entrepreneur, she now truly enjoys her role as a woman executive. “I have met so many amazing business women and other creative business women,” she says. “People who are in the same boat - that is so amazing to have that kind of support.” As a woman in the business sector, diversity is something that is very important to Baxter, although she admits that she is still working to make ALLMOST as diverse as it ultimately can be. “Ultimately my larger circle is white women and that is often times who fills the space but that’s not representative of our area, so we try to actively portray different types of people on our social media and on our website. When I’m hiring people, first of all I’m looking at women, I’m trying to find a person of color to fill the role but it doesn’t always work out.” Diversity is also something Baxter strives to implement in her art, as seen in the diverse


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and eclectic range of women she portrays in her illustrations on Instagram. “I didn’t expect just representation to mean so much,” she notes. “When I first started drawing in the way that I draw it was only super skinny women and I think that’s what I was used to and that’s where I was at mentally. I dealt with an eating disorder for most of my adult life until a couple of years ago and that’s what I aspire to and that’s what I thought the standard of beauty was and so that’s what I drew and that’s what I wanted to portray. But when I started to see other things and address my own shit, mostly because of people I met through the internet and through Instagram and stuff, well it really happened because I started on Instagram because I was in some female Facebook groups and I’d be like ‘hey if anyone wants to be drawn send me pictures’ and I got all these women sending me nudes - an inbox full of nudes. Which is great and that’s how I started drawing on Instagram and I got all of these really amazing submissions from bigger women or bodies that didn’t look like the standard of beauty and in the beginning I was uncomfortable with it - not with their bodies but just drawing them the way they looked. I felt like they were going to think the same way I thought about myself. But that’s not the case and having that experience was healing for me and leaning into it and realizing that whatever

your platform is, no matter how small it is, you need to represent the people around you and it’s really important, just the small things you can do to change things.”

Baxter also notes that not only does her Instagram function as a way for her to display her art to a

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larger audience and connect with her fans, it also greatly increased her self confidence. “I don’t

have a huge following or anything like that but I’ve just met so many people that are important in my life and it’s become my platform where I’m very honest and transparent about what I’m going through - whether it’s good or bad. Because of the internet I do know that what I’m doing is valid I guess? It’s dumb but it’s hard before you have success to know if you’re on the right path. The internet has given me that confidence. Now I did quit my design job a little over a year ago and now I’m full freelance which I would not have had the courage to do and I get a lot of job because of social media.” ​ hile she has already accomplished a lot, Baxter W speaks to goals she has made for the rest of 2018 and beyond. “We have plans to expand the space in some way soon,” she notes. “We’re looking at what the next steps are going to be because we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. We’ve learned we don’t want to do events really but we want to do more studio space. For me art wise I’m excited to keep working on what I’ve been doing. I’m excited to expand my personal body of work. But I’ve also been getting more and more jobs that are just illustration which is honestly been the dream. Even up to a couple of months ago I was mostly doing design work to pay my bills and it’s recently shifted to illustration which is what I want to do. I just want to get better and see where things go.”


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/ / R E D L O E M N L N I F A I S T R O A O C H S ” Y n o G i G s i v PE e l b u “do


MUCH LOVE TO...

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Morgan Alexander / @stunnasamo Myai Anthony / @myyughh Theresa Baxter / @reesabobeesa Jordan Benker / @kullersmusic Olivia Boryczewski / @oliviaboryczewski Grace Christian / @mazie_music Limbo / @youknowlimbo Khristine Le / @khristinejoys Cameron Lew / @gingerrootmusic Anna Marie Lopez / @annamarielopez1 Carianne Older / @peggyshootsfilm Nikoli Partiyeli / @nikoliparty Megan Potter / @megankatepotter Thumpasaurus / @thumpasaurusmusic Samar Saif / @sword_femme Tessa Southwell / @dramatic.foodie Natalie Souza / @muppetsonfilm Aja Villacres / @ajavillacres 84


The Luna Collective ISSUE V X SAMO The Luna Collective is a cultural online and print magazine featuring music, poetry, fashion & more. We want to shine a light on all of the cool people and places we come across. All of the feature photos in the magazine are film and creating print versions of our magazine is essential to our identity. The magazine is only step one of The Luna Collective - stick around to see what we do next & join us in building a creative & passionate community of creatives.

HIT US UP!

Email: lunacollectivemag@gmail.com Twitter: @thelunacollective Instagram: @lunacollectivemag www.thelunacollectivemag.com Check out our website for more exclusive photos from the features as well as exclusive web content like concert galleries, spotlights, reviews & more. We are always looking for more content to feature on our socials & in our magazine as well as people to collab with - never hesitate to reach out or just say hello! Tag us in your photos on Instagram using #LunaCollective

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THE SQUAD THAT MADE THIS ALL POSSIBLE Founder & Editor In Chief Sophie Gragg Graphic Designers Liz Ablashi, Olivia Boryczewski, Khristine Le, Nikoli Partiyeli, Megan Potter & Aja Villacres Photographers Myai Anthony, Anna Marie Lopez, Nikoli Partiyeli & Meli Ulkumen Writers Malika Mohan, Mary Retta, Lauren Sarazen, Meg Smith, Grace Tarandek & Tessa Southwell


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THE LUNA COLLECTIVE â„¢ 2018

THE LUNA COLLECTIVE ISSUE V X SAMO  

Our fifth issue featuring Samo, Theresa Baxter, Thumpasaurus, Limbo, Ginger Root, Mazie, Natalie Souza, Kullers & more! Make sure to check...

THE LUNA COLLECTIVE ISSUE V X SAMO  

Our fifth issue featuring Samo, Theresa Baxter, Thumpasaurus, Limbo, Ginger Root, Mazie, Natalie Souza, Kullers & more! Make sure to check...