THE LUNA COLLECTIVE
CASTLEBEAT MAY 2018
1 ISSUE III
Spring has always made me feel some type of way. It’s that feeling of renewal in the air that continuously inspires me in many ways - especially creatively. It’s a transitional and bittersweet season that makes you feel like anything is possible. Thank you for supporting The Luna Collective in our journey so far. Every email and Instagram DM you all send makes my day and lets me know I’m doing something right. Issue IV will be released late June rather than next month - I promise it’s gonna be so worth it. We plan to continue to grow into something more & give you the best magazine possible. If you’re not always evolving, what’s the point?
Illustration By Leah Lu
TUNES FOR MAY
CASTLEBEAT - Wasting Time Wallows - These Days Her’s - Love on the Line (Call Now) Juto - HML Tangerine - Fever Dream Tyler, The Creator - OKRA girl in red - summer depression
Easy Socks - I Know What Your Mama Thinks Of Me
boy pablo - Ready / Problems Michael Seyer - Lucky Love Craft Spells - Our Park By Night Alvvays - Dreams Tonite King Krule - Dum Surfer Japanese Breakfast - Road Head Cuco - CR-V Vezache - Needs Cailin Russo - Pink Sand NEIL FRANCES - Show Me The Right Black Pool - Baby Please U.S. Girls - Rosebud
Kali Uchis - Your Teeth In My Neck Omar Apollo - Ugotme Daniel Caesar - Take Me Away (feat. Syd) SALES - Off and On Cavetown - Fool MorMor - Heaven’s Only Wishful Billy Uomo - Let’s Drive Monsune - Nothing in Return Bear Hands - Back Seat Driver (Spirit Guide) Soccer Mommy - Your Dog Kid Bloom - Parents House
Photo by Melisa Ulkumen Scan to listen to the playlist
GIRL IN RED
EASY SOCKS The Elements / 7 Peach / 9 The Munch Club / 11 Balance / 19 Life On Film / 63 6
THE ELEMENTS Poems By Mhari Grace Illustrations By Megan Potter
I’m a Liar when I look into her eyes. Their atmospheric tide pulling me in, Their hopeless sea-blue glass... But what’s hiding inside? I can’t help it, My tongue trips, My eyes fall and my toes dance Anxiously. Never give anything away, Never let them see you cry. Never ask questions twice, Always leave them high and dry. The tears will be washed away By the current, her smile slurred by the sea, The overreaching reeds wrapping themselves around The idea of calamity. Her calmness, and her joy, and Her overbearing laugh was once you, a mirrored side But now she’s an eco A reminder of your childhood cries.
Light as air and As heavy as my heart on these youthFilled days. Sweet, serendipitous consumption Of what we know to be the simplest form Of art: Your mind. The wind chimes whirl with the thought Of you creating again. The wind comforts you, Chilling to the bone, It’s Wispiness whipping your originality Back and forth like a pendulum. Light as air and As harsh as your mind on these stormy Evenings. It’s rattle whistling about your mind Trying to settle down for the night. 7
At one point, we have to accept that The fire between us is burning far to bright. The flames are touching the willow leaves And setting them alight, Gleefully. What we have is catastrophic, it’s heat Spread far to wide to control. Sharing our minds, our kicking hearts apart Is burning what memories we have left. But I know you wont leave without A fight. A commotion that shows who’s who, And more importantly, who wins. The orange glow sheds light on your True nature which is exactly why I cannot allow it to burn more treacherous Through the November night.
Watch me absorb what poison you spew, Hateful and discarded, mind traveling in unguarded Thoughts and spaces, ones that are now empty and cold. Watch me form from a single idea, Planted and rooting in the brain of who you fear, Someone who you could have been If things were different. Except we are different for I am ‘life’ and you are insincere With your parodied laugh, your stolen values, Your broken heart, now ruined and thrown here. Watch me grow with my newfound bark, It’s strength and power unhinged. All pollution, clouded belief, Stands no match in the end. I can make you think, I can make you feel I can make you love, but I cant make you heal. My branches only reach out so far. 8
PEACH By Caz Watson
Peach collects two years of poetry through thirty one original spokenword poems. The book charts my process to recovery after sexual assault at the age of twenty, exploring how human beings cope with, and overcome, trauma. Assault makes you feel worthless, helpless and voiceless. It strips you of identity and tries to fragment how you visualize your sense of self. It took endless amounts of time, energy and joy to reclaim my body: to understand that it belonged to no-one but me. As I started to rediscover and relearn about myself, the traces my experience had left on my body and mind began to disappear. I began to redraw a map of myself, and slowly reclaimed each portion as my own. Peach grew out of a place of fear, sadness and self-doubt. But it now exists as a book that celebrates the voice that every individual has to fight back, speak out and rise up.
don’t reach for the bruised peach go pluck a ripe one from the tree you’ll find it fresh you’ll find it sweet there’s nothing good to find in me
i bore my soul in a bathtub rounding ripples nipped my bitter body as i washed off pale purple patches littering my home twenty two years of solitude in selfhood and only this year i learned to be alive
i bit your lip and you bit my tongue but i will not stay silent any longer
i never met someone who watched me grow and held my soul like you who gracefully departed and yet left me feeling full
The Munch Club x Verve Coffee Roasters
Story By Shonali Bose
The Los Angeles coffee scene is one to marvel at: from coffee snobs to overworked college students, L.A. coffee shops flood with all types of people. While it may be overwhelming, there are several places I find to be like a sanctuary on crazy, exam-filled weeks. One of them is Verve Coffee Roasters in the Los Angeles Downtown area. The Arts District serves as a hub for many famous eateries, and Verve offers a calm within the chaos. Verve is a popular L.A. chain which has cafes all over the city. My favorite Verve store sits on the corner of Spring street in the midst of trendy brunch places. The gray exteriors of the store may not stand out as you walk in. However, the luscious display of leaves and vines surrounding the outside area will have you awe-struck.
The inside of the store has an industrial charm to it: the simple, wooden decor, mirrors and brick walls charm visitors and direct them to their laptops. Usually the tables are full and the line takes longer than expected, but the counter is easy to navigate and the Baristas are often helpful. The drink menu is small but high quality making it well worth the wait. Verve offers a selection of teas, coffees, and pastries. If you’re feeling something a bit heavier, they offer a selection of salads from the well known LA eatery Cafe Gratitude. I’m in love with their chai, which is quite simple but very refreshing. The cakes (especially the Banana Peanut Butter) and the jam pop tart are delicious if you feel like treating yourself!
You can’t go wrong with the downtown LA coffee shops, but Verve is a special experience that every LA coffee lover should try. The simplicity, the vibe, and the coffee are all well worth the trip. If you ever need a place to escape the crazy atmosphere of Los Angeles, Verve is the coffee shop to go to.
GIRL IN RED Story by Sophie Gragg Photos provided by Marie Ulven
LOS ANGELES BEDROOM POP BUT FROM NORWAY is here and it’s really good. At only 19 years old, Marie Ulven is putting out irresistible self-produced tracks under the name girl in red. It comes as a surprise that the Clairo-whispery vocals with sweet upbeat instrumentals music of girl in red isn’t based in Los Angeles like much of the other artists in the Bedroom Pop scene, though she does have the largest amount of listeners in the city of angels. After being put on Spotify’s booming “Bedroom Pop” playlist, girl in red has entered a new path of her career and is taking it all step by step. Though in her last year of high school, Ulven has been pursuing music since 2015, two years after getting her first guitar. Her career started by simply making Norwegian songs for about two years before making the transition to writing english music as girl in red. “I just kinda grew away from the Norwegian music because it was a little childish. If you understood Norwegian you’d understand it was really bad.” Ulven continues, “I was just really in love with this girl and then I just wrote some sad songs about her in my room and recorded it with a Blue Yeti microphone and in GarageBand and I just loved producing things myself and making it all on my own because it became much more raw and much more me than the Norwegian music.” Since Ulven is only in the beginning of her career, her set up consists of a Blue Yeti microphone with the classic dynamic duo of a Macbook Pro
and Logic for producing. girl in red has gained a seat in the spotlight the past few months, causing Ulven to feel more obligated to put out music more steadily. Her creative process often consists of her coming up with a little phrase that then inspires the entirety of the song. “With ‘Summer Depression’, for example, I just had ‘pretty face with pretty bad dreams’ in my head for like 3 weeks. I tried a bunch of different melodies and then suddenly I just found the thing I wanted and it was really easy from there. It’s something usually like that where I have a little idea and it goes from there.” The artists finds herself drawn to writing about the typical themes revolving around being a teenager like love and sadness in particular. Ulven cultivates her sound and aesthetic all by herself but definitely draws inspirations from artists like Gus Dapperton and Billie Eilish for their genuine creativity. With a love for the vintage 1980s and 1990s style, Ulven puts her own twist on more classic styles to keep it authentic and true. “I don’t try to have an aesthetic, it needs to be genuine because trying to have something that’s not really what you are doesn’t work. I don’t want to copy anyone else. I literally just make a cover photo of what I think looks cool and I’m just wearing what I think looks cool and what I like. I think that’s important because I just want to stay true to myself. I do think it’s cool if someone likes my aesthetic though even if I don’t even know that I have one.”
Norway is often not thought of as a cultural hub for the indie music scene, with Ulven going as far to say it’s “nonexistent”, so the artist was at first discouraged to promote her music in her own country. girl in red has gained a steady following in the United Kingdom and the United States, so she still feels like hanging around in Norway might not do her a lot of good in the big picture. With labels and booking agents reaching out to her often, Ulven is not keen to sign to a label or expand the team behind girl in red as she likes doing everything herself. “I feel like if I sign with someone I feel like I have to make the same kind of music and I then feel like I’m limiting myself.” Ulven laughs, “If you listen through my Soundcloud it’s pretty random. I’m not one genre. I want to stay away from people that are going to ruin my creativity. I don’t want to sell out. I don’t want to make a big mistake and ruin my ‘image’.” Ulven is mainly focusing on continuing to put her music out there and grow the amount of listeners she has, both in Norway and worldwide. Ulven looks to streaming services like Soundcloud and Spotify in particular to promote her music since she understands people aren’t as likely to purchase her music if they’ve never heard of her. “For me, I don’t feel like ‘you know what I’m not gonna post my album on Soundcloud, I’m only gonna post it on Bandcamp so people can buy it instead’. I feel like right now, it will benefit me more if I just give it and get my name out there. I don’t feel like people are gonna buy my album when they don’t even know my music.”
“ I’m 19 years old, there’s no rush in anything. I just want to keep making music and learn about producing because I just literally love producing and making songs.”
The artist is a big proponent of staying independent and using streaming and social media to market yourself. Ulven is optimistic due to the popularity of not signing to a label lately and believes that has impacted the variety of music out there these days. “Without streaming that little indie artist would have to get signed to some bigger label. Maybe if that music was a little bit more alternative and wasn’t usually what’s in the top 100 billboard list or whatever they’d have to change. It’s so much cooler that people stay independent and can release their music on their own. Those are the artists that really just stick out and are really gonna be able to live off of it one day because they’re most likely a little more genuine and real than some random ass Pop artist that just sounds like everyone else. I think the way that pop music sounds like right now, I feel like that kinda of music is peaking and it’s going a little bit down. It all sounds the same.” girl in red recently released her latest song “4am” on Soundcloud and doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon. Ulven will continue to find a balance between making music for the sake of loving it and doing it for herself with putting out music for her growing fan base to enjoy. The artist hopes to keep girl in red a personal and more DIY project to ensure her music is the best it can be and plans to not let that hold her back. “I want to put out merch as I love designing things and I want to make a new EP and get red vinyls and just send it all out straight out of my room; just keep this project the way it’s always kinda been. I feel like this is a project that will grow slowly but in the right way. Instead of just getting signed or getting some random ass hype and falling down eventually, I just want to take things slow and grow eventually and see what happens.
19 Illustration by Jacob Romero
BALANCE Balance is a weird thing. How do you even know you’re balanced? What does it mean to be balanced? Is there some ratio of work and fun set in stone that we must all adhere to? Finding balance within yourself and within life is not an easy process and it’s something that’s always changing. Different times in your life may need you to need balance different aspects of your life in a different way than before. We are always taking on different responsibilities and giving ourselves to others in a way that forces us to balance our time to others with time to ourselves. We asked you to weigh in of the topic of balance and this is what you had to say.
By Olivia Boryczewski / New York
Emma Schoors / Los Angeles 20
Before anything else, let’s first honor balance as what it truly is — essential to our being. Balance embodies this essence at its core, as it is something found and needed in everything. From a human physical level to a cosmic level. From our outer experience to our inner world. From our giving to our receiving. And all in between.
In knowing what you can and cannot control. In responding and not reacting. In moving towards a goal whilst detaching from its end result. In accepting and letting go, so that you are neither resisting nor holding on.
Balance exists in the form of Self-love and all that it entails. It will never really cease to exist in the form of what your Soul is craving most, for its light to surface and overflow. Our Souls call us. Sometimes in whispers, sometimes in roars. It is in these callings, that we are gifted the opportunity to find balance within ourselves. We must tune in and dive within. Our most natural way of doing so is meditatively.
Under the light of our Soul, each side is water and soil for our seeds of balance to grow and bloom. Be in tune with your mind, body and Soul. Shift to perceive and align your energy. So that your foundation and core are healthy and strong, allowing your balance to meet stillness through ease and flow.
Deep in our beloved silence, as we immerse in meditation, we give breath to our witnessing selves as our thoughts travel through. We are aware that a balanced and centered Self need not rid of all thoughts, but merely observe them instead. In this space and moment in time, which we refer to as the ever-existing ‘now,’ is where our molding for balance is revealed to us. As our Souls call for awareness, our intuition (that gut feeling we mustn’t ignore) will be our guidance of clarity. Through it all, keep in mind, that to attain true balance, we must start with pure intentions and thoughts, which therefore will lead to nothing but pure actions; all in the form of love.
In a world of an endless momentum of external stimuli and occurrences, our authenticity and genuine way of being — our Spirit — is only truly free to shine when we are living in balance. Shedding light to unveil the ego-driven blinds of suppression and preconceived notions. True inner peace and happiness welcome you here, where synchronization in all aspects of life begins to take form Whatever you are doing, keep doing you. Your Highest You. Through you, balance will sprout from awareness and bloom from love. This will carry you… as you it. D’FerGó / Miami
While there is no rule book nor right vs. wrong… you can ask yourself, what should I be doing right now? What would my Highest Self do? Pause and breathe. Listen and center. Embrace and reflect. And finally… trust. Do so meditatively and of course, with patience. Balance, as with much in life, is a practice. One called to be nurtured, day to day, moment to moment. Therefore, may we also recognize and remember that this too means it is okay to not be balanced all the time. In unbalanced moments, stagnancy is gifted opportunity of growth. Synchronously, our focus is drawn to how present we are rather than how productive.
In having an open heart, but a strong spine. In staying grounded, while flowing freely. In being alone with ourselves, as well as connecting with others.
Audrey Gretz / Charlotte
In these moments, you will find that no extreme is ever called for. Offer your energy in moderation and fruitful intention, whilst finding the loveliness in each side of life’s dualities. Such exist in endless layers.
Audrey Gretz / Charlotte
Balance is hard to define because it’s hard to contain into one, solid experience. Everybody feels it differently, and therefore it can’t quite be comprehended two dimensionally. One persons’ balance could be another’s breaking point. This makes it often difficult to let ourselves do the things we need to do, because we’re always comparing the place we’re at to the place someone else is at. It’s a vicious cycle of caring about everyone else’s views on us and their probability of liking us, when in reality, no one notices the little things you do wrong except you. This is why it’s crucial to let yourself go sometimes. It’s the only way to truly unclench your fists and let everything happen the way it’s supposed to. Emma Schoors / Los Angeles
Emma Schoors / Los Angeles 22
I’ve noticed (very recently) that a lot of my ideas and inspiration come from the combination of two impossibly opposite things. It comes up in my thinking so much almost to a point of obsession—I see dilapidated, dreary infrastructures with pink clothed tea parties inside. I see flowers peeking out from a man’s briefcase. I see soft femme formal environments where women shove spaghetti in their faces. I think art, in one facet at least, is just anything that throws you out of the day to day monotonous relationship that most people have with life. It makes you question the value of normalcy and crave the differences that tear apart the seams of convention. It’s the never-ending feeling of dissatisfaction.
On a more global scale I think juxtaposition is one of the most effective forms of visual communication, in a world-wide culture of disillusioning binaries. Issues of race, gender, morality, all of today’s prominent ideas can be provoked visually by confronting one extreme with the other, without any need for language. And balance, is exactly why we strive to communicate, to spread the idea that two opposites are more than just separates, but together are a necessary whole. Imagination is activated by dissonance, and my work strives to combine starkly different objects as a way of expressing the importance of differences--a world where there is balance. Audrey Gretz / Charlotte
BLACK POOL Story By Sophie Gragg Photos By Nikoli Partiyeli
SIMPLE, SWEET AND TASTY — Black Pool is coming for you so get ready to indulge in some good music. The Long Beach based project of Max Lindberg is putting out charming laid back tunes with a just as cool visual side. After moving to Playa Gigante, Nicaragua in 2017, Black Pool’s roots began to develop as a result of a lot of open mic nights. Lindberg played at the local open mic night every week for about six months and received an abundance of positive feedback, which encouraged him to pursue music more seriously. In early 2018, Lindberg decided to put Black Pool at the forefront and put his 100% into it. Though the start of Black Pool was inspired by Lindberg’s time in Nicaragua, his hometown of Long Beach has played an ample role in his artistic career. The Long Beach music scene has found its spot in the limelight in recent years with artists like Tijuana Panther’s and Bane’s World gaining a substantial following. Lindberg has been fortunate enough to meet many of the local Long Beach artists and finds inspiration in their array of success. The evolving music of Black Pool entices listeners with beachy and alluring tunes perfect for a mental escape. A typical singer-songwriter style with elements of stony indie rock, Lindberg says, “I tell people it’s kinda like Rodriguez if he was a 22-year-old kid in California.” Since this is only the beginning of Black Pool, Lindberg is still figuring out the optimal set up for making his tunes and recently found a whole new way to write songs for his upcoming release. “It connects to who I am as a person, so they’re actually being sung with feeling and passion and that’s what can be heard.” Lindberg continues,
“I’m looking forward to people seeing it. I’m really proud of these next couple of songs that are gonna be coming out. They’re gonna be good.” With the beauty of easy access to music this day and age, Lindberg finds himself discovering and listening to more and more artists everyday from just about every era. The artist consistently finds himself drawn back to Rodriguez and The Growlers, two artists that he has looked to for a long time. In his high school years, Lindberg got into The Growlers and found an interest in the “whole Goodwill-Thrift Store-thrown in a blenderhomeless kid flavor” for his personal style.
“I’m trying to look like a time capsule that walked out of a thrift store. I think I just kinda look like a modern day pirate; baggy dickies and some holes in my converse. I’m not really going for anything because I kinda think of everyday as dress up. I get to go into my closet and take out a costume; I can be a cowboy one day and something else another day, whatever I can find. I don’t have my favorite pair of Mac Demarco jeans.” Besides fashion, Lindberg is keen on the film and found footage visual aesthetic and even clipped together archive footage to create videos for “Cashmere Baby” and “Sundress”. Lindberg hopes to expand on his visual aspect of Black Pool and work with those that have the right ideas in mind.
“I really feed off my friends, when I get inspired by someone, say one of my friends makes music videos, I wanna work with them and co-create.” Lindberg expands, “So it’s not all DIY in a sense, I will be using everyone I know. That’s why I’m just patient. When the right person comes around, I just jump on the opportunity to work with them.” When not working on music for Black Pool, Lindberg spends time on making merch as well as building Black Pool’s social media presence. Black Pool has benefited by the easy ability to market your own music and recognizes how important these tools are for success in the ever changing music industry. “It has to do with the social platforms we’re given at this stage. Just to put a song on Soundcloud and within a couple of years be playing Coachella, that would have never happened back in the day.”
Lindberg continues, “I think Spotify and all the social platforms are unbelievable for music and people are into it because it gives chances to people that have never been heard to be heard. It’s great, I love it. They’re doing good things.” Though a fan of the various social media platforms and streaming services that have made music more accessible, Lindberg recognizes that the music scene still has a long way to go, “The state that music itself is in right now; the lime light is on the wrong people. The hits that are mainstream right now, people are gonna get tired of what it’s doing right now and when they’re really thirsty for that good new music they need, there’s gonna be kids like Bane’s World and Michael Seyer bringing back good music. Long Beach is kinda cooking it up right now, they’re just waiting for the world to be ready.”
As for what’s next for Black Pool, fans can expect to hear the new EP Here for Now in the coming months. Lindberg will be recording the EP over his birthday in early May and is already confident with the potential of his upcoming music. The artist recognizes the growth he has experienced as a musician when reflecting on previous music, “The songs are more full and composed, not just loops with different verses on them. They have a start to finish with a build.” Lindberg explains, “I’m kinda just figuring out how to write songs. I think my voice will just be the staple, like ‘oh yea that’s definitely Black Pool’s voice!’, but then that will give freedom to the songs to have diversity and to change. But you’ll always hear it as Black Pool.”
“If you see Black Pool around, don’t be afraid to say hi because we’re a good crew. We’re going everywhere. You’ll probably see us in the darkest alleys and the highest rooftops. We’ll just be having fun and I’ll make sure that everyone that wants to join in on the fun can join in on it. We’re gonna be going everywhere.”
Story by Sophie Gragg Photos by Nikoli Partiyeli
NIGHTMARE POP MUSIC PAIRED WITH A BRIGHT AESTHETIC, Tangerine finds the way to use contrast to set them apart. Consisting of guitarist Toby Kuhn, drummer and backup vocalist Miro Justad and guitarist and lead vocalist Marika Justad, the Seattle natives make music that’s nostalgic yet new, tender yet powerful and poppy yet dark - all at once. The trio grew up playing music together before taking a break to pursue college. After they all moved back to Seattle in 2012 after their time at university, they collectively missed playing music together and decided to have another shot at making music together, thus Tangerine was born. The group made the move from Seattle to Los Angeles last summer and found themselves hit the ground running. As soon as the band landed in LA they began working on new music before heading out on a US tour with Bleachers. Only recently getting a chance to settle into their new city, the members of Tangerine live in a house together in the Atwater area with all of their equipment and a practice space, making their creative process a bit more accessible, Marika Justad explains, “It’s important to be able to wake up and be like, ‘oh I have this idea’ and to be able to immediately record it and we didn’t have that before.” Kuhn furthers, “Before it was just frustrating because all my musical equipment was in their basement, all the way across town. If I wanted to write down an idea or record something I’d have to go all the way out there.”
The group collectively works together in cultivating their music, with Marika Justad focusing on the vocals and lyrics so the band can expand from there. Instead of finding a common source of inspiration for writing lyrics, Marika Justad consciously tries to write about a variety of themes, “I like stepping back and making sure every song isn’t about the same thing; that every song isn’t a love song or a break up song. I like coming at it from different angles. I like to play around with the music reflecting one thing and the lyrics reflect another. It might be a really pretty stretch of music and a really pretty melody but maybe the lyrics are a little darker. I like that contrast between the lyrics and the music.” Though Tangerine is working on new music that has a bit of a different vibe than their previous music, the band has aspects of bedroom pop, alternative pop and their use of instruments like the synth blend elements from a variety of decades. “I think what makes it a little harder to define is we are a band and we approach it in our practice space, ya know, Miro’s at the drums and Toby’s at the guitar and I’m singing and a lot of pop music is only made in the studio.” Marika Justad continues, “So we’re a live band that’s also working with synth and making pop music, so I feel like maybe that isn’t as common so it’s harder for us to describe that.” Given the variety of components to their music, it’s no surprise to find that the members have a large array of music taste from 90s hip-hop to Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen to Lorde, so the group definitely doesn’t limit their taste to any genre.
Fortunately for the band’s visual aspect, sisters Miro and Marika find themselves “freakishly connected” and both super into fashion, making their clean and trendy aesthetic come pretty simply, Marika Justad explains, “I feel that we don’t have to sit down and discuss fashion and stuff. In terms of our voice, I feel like that came pretty naturally, but we’re really into fashion so I’ll DM Miro pictures I see from the runway. A lot of zines, like The Luna Collective, really inspire us actually.” The band approaches new projects as more than a simple music expedition, but rather as a multimedia scheme, focusing just as much on the other aspects of what makes up Tangerine. Whether it be living in a new city full of culture or feeling it was time for a change, Tangerine expects their new music to take them in a different direction. “Musically I think we’re definitely trying to take a step forward and explore a little bit more rather than following in the footsteps of the music we’ve done in the past, we’re expanding on it in a much bigger sense.”
Kuhn notes, “I don’t know if that has much to do with LA or if it’s just the next logical move for us to do.” Though Seattle has a notorious music scene and the band felt nurtured artistically growing up in the city, the band found that their popesque music wasn’t as supported there given the prominent DIY punk scene in Seattle. “Seattle is a really nurturing music environment, but it has very much a traditional scene, kinda like a DIY, kinda punk surf influenced, maybe a little bit of post grunge situation.” Marika Justad furthers, “Coming down here it’s been refreshing to meet people that don’t even know about that scene and making stuff that’s completely different. It’s very eye opening and definitely inspiring.” Being in a band as Asian American females, the Justad sisters have had to deal with their fair share of bigotry along the way. Whether it be sound guys disregarding Marika and looking to
the males of their crew to speak to or Miro dealing with comments when she sets up her drum kit, the women find “you’re gonna deal with some toxic masculinity coming at you really strong”. Marika Justad sighs, “It’s just a shitty way to start a show, but if you’re used to it you just get over it or just let that anger fuel your performance. But it’s not something you ask for creatively. That’s universal to women musicians I think, regardless of race.” However, the women emphasize the empowerment they get from representing such an underrepresented demographic and are thankful for the support they get from fans, Miro Justad says, “It always seems worth it when
you meet fans who are out there who are girls, or just not white males, who are like ‘this is awesome thank you’ or are just really inspired by seeing us on stage, so that makes it all worth the annoyance.”
Marika Justad adds, “I think Asian American people are really underrepresented in the media, like super underrepresented, and when we are it’s often offensive. So it is nice when we go on tour and we’ve had Asian girls come up to us and be like ‘it was crazy to see you up there’.” Compared to when they got their start in high school, Tangerine recognizes how much the music industry has changed when it comes to being a women in the music scene. Amongst dealing with typical adolescent securities, the Justads also struggled with finding a balance between expressing their femininity while also being taken seriously as musicians. “I was so confused because it was like should I be more masculine because all my role models are dudes?” Marika Justad tells, “There was no sense that a feminine side could be powerful. Whereas now there are people like Grimes who are like, ‘I’m gonna be really powerful in a really dainty way but also make that badass.’ I feel like that has changed dramatically.”
The band also recognizes the power the Internet and social media has enabled underrepresented communities in the music world to have. It is becoming more common for artists to represent themselves and build a following without the help of a manager or record label, thus also allowing them to have total creative and personal freedom, Marika Justad shares, “I feel like it’s not a coincidence that the rise of a more diverse kind of artist and people who speak out about different identity issues is coinciding with the Internet and music being more accessible because in the past it was like, I guess this major record label isn’t gonna sign the band
that is female fronted or minorities or identify as LGBTQ.” As for what 2018 will bring for Tangerine, the band expects to keep moving forward and to continue to grow as artists. Fans can expect a different sound than previous music from the band. Marika Justad smiles, “I think we’re creating something new for us. We’re creating something new and different and we’re leaving our comfort zone and we’re in the process of doing that right now.” Miro Justad chimes in, “The next stuff we put out is definitely gonna be the biggest leap of change from stuff we’ve put out in the past.”
Story By Sophie Gragg Photos By Kolby Giddings
DREAM POP 2.0 IS HERE and the nostalgic vibe that comes along with it is strong. 24-yearold Josh Hwang’s bedroom pop project, CASTLEBEAT, infuses only the best elements of garage and surf rock to the typical hazy genre, making for tunes that make you want to cruise down Pacific Coast Highway with your sunroof open and no care in the world. CASTLEBEAT’s breezy music radiates a nostalgic yet authentic aura that’s hard to not dive into. In high school, the Irvine native found himself drawn to a lot of the psychedelic music of the 1960s and 1970s like Pink Floyd and The Doors. He began to learn the guitar in high school and after a few years, Hwang decided to try writing and recording music. The artist was drawn in by the production aspect of music and continues to enjoy that process the most. “I was fascinated by the idea of the perfect pop song.” Hwang explains, “The writing and recording process is definitely what I enjoy most about music because all you need is one good take and it’s there forever.”
Though having a passion for music, Hwang decided to study economics at the University of Southern California as he knew he wanted to start online businesses. While Hwang doesn’t think his time in college impacted him as an artist so much, he recognizes the fact that living in Los Angeles gave him an opportunity to be more independent and explore the diverse city. During his time at USC, Hwang started the DIY record label Spirit Goth as a way for him to release his music as well the music of some friends. “It was and still is pretty DIY. I used to hand-make every cassette & CD.” Hwang explains, “The first tape release was ‘Girlfight’ by Jaded Juice Riders, which is a lo-fi surf pop project I started in late high school. Jaded Juice Riders used to be my main project until I started recording and posting dream pop songs on Soundcloud as CASTLEBEAT.” Fortunately, Spirit Goth has been able to evolve and is starting to release vinyl records, though Hwang emphasizes how he never really planned out the future of the label
at first, “Starting the label was very natural to me and wasn’t something I really planned out financially. I just wanted to make a splash in the indie music community.” CASTLEBEAT has found success in the hub of the lo-fi and bedroom pop genre given the accessibility of his music through Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Though a newer genre, music in this scene uses their DIY nature to their advantage by getting creative with their music and playing by no rules. The music of CASTLEBEAT can best be described as “goth pop” with aspects of dream pop and lo-fi. With more jaunty tunes like “Dreamgaze” and “Wasting Time”, listeners are ascended into another dimension, much like that of carefree summer spent at the beach in Southern California. Since the DIY music scene seems to be booming, Hwang is pretty satisfied with his set up for now but would eventually be open to recording in a studio. However, Hwang understands how it could be difficult finding the balance between the bedroom pop and DIY vibe with a more formal and professional vibe, “I’m just scared of sounding overproduced but I’m definitely open to trying new things in the future. I just wanna have a little more fun doing things on my own before taking that step.”
and there, the musician eventually refines the notions into a more complete project. “I try to give myself time in the week to create new ideas, but I don’t like to spend too much time on an idea. I like to limit myself to like 30 minutes when making something new.” Hwang shares, “What I like to do is create a bunch of quick ideas and hooks and save them on my iPhone. Then after a few weeks, I’ll develop the ideas that I like most.” While Hwang doesn’t listen to any artist in particular for inspiration, he finds himself instead inspired by a just about anything “whether it’s an old 80’s tune, TV show theme song, or a random pop song playing in a store.” Given the nostalgic vibe of CASTLEBEAT’s music, it’s of no surprise to see a fitting retro visual aspect to CASTLEBEAT. With a vintage and sentimental aesthetic, whether it be the music video for “Falling Forward” featuring the first episode of Twin Peaks, or having 90s vibed album artwork for CASTLEBEAT’s self-titled album, Hwang has managed to match his bittersweet music to visuals precisely. “I guess I’m obsessed with everything vintage and that definitely comes through in my choice of video/cover art.” Hwang furthers, “Aesthetic is a big
part of music nowadays especially as a way to stand out with all the new music that is being pumped out, but Hwang keeps up a pretty consistent creative I still think that the song & melody process but definitely does not try to force come first before anything.” anything nor over-focus on one idea. Building from small pieces Hwang comes up with here
Hwang has definitely found inspiration in his new home of Brooklyn, New York upon moving last September, “It’s been an eye-opening change of pace. The energy in the city is very inspiring and it pushes me to write and record more. I probably see about 500 new faces every day just commuting to and from work, so it’s kind of trippy and definitely has impacted me in some way.” Despite the sunny So-Cal vibe CASTLEBEAT’s older music radiates, the latest album VHS gives off a much more garage-rock feeling. Released this spring, Hwang recorded the 10 songs in his bedroom and was able to experiment much more now that he has gotten more comfortable with making music.
“I don’t really know what I’m doing technically recording and producing wise, but I like the honest lo-fi sound that I created.” Hwang adds, “I feel like a lot of music is getting very synthy and jazzy so I wanted to stay away from that and keep it guitar based. I think eventually I’ll start getting into more of a synthy sound though.” Hwang hopes to continue running and expanding Spirit Goth Records, as well as work towards the live aspect of CASTLEBEAT, like playing shows in New York this summer. Remember, if you’re ever in need of a wistful escape, turn on some CASTLEBEAT to take you away.
EASY SOCKS Story By Malika Mohan Photos By Stefan Trotman
A LOVE CHILD BETWEEN jazz icon Norah Jones and late R&B phenomenon Aaliyah, something you did not even know you wanted, nor needed, until the mythical image blossomed in your mind. Lucky for you, while no such child ever happened, young musician Easy Socks comes pretty darn close. Hale Sheffield, known as Easy Socks, is an 18-year-old New York based musician who has built up a strong following of her platform surrounding music and skincare. Music has been a part of her life from a young age as she started to play the guitar at about age five or six, quickly realizing that she did not want to spend any time not doing it.
“I just love constantly having a source of making music and moving on to more production based things, kind of having that good space to just make music at my fingertips. It was just a beautiful thing I could do and I’ve just kept with it.” She got her start in Brooklyn, a place she says she can “always go and find sources of inspiration” and has now made her way upstate for college.
On top of pursuing her expanding musical career, she is also busy being a freshman college student studying Gender & Sexuality with an interest in exploring Arabic Studies. However, managing these two separate but demanding lives hasn’t always proven to be easy, “I’m also at this weird discussion of ‘Do I leave college after one year? Do I become a part time student?’ My priority kind of has to be school.” Sheffield continues, “I just had this issue where I got asked to do a shoot in L.A. for 2 days and it’s this very weird situation where I wanna go and do it but I also have a dedication to school. I’m focusing a lot on music and it’s like music is going to be something for me professionally, but I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to study whatever I want.” Striking a balance between school and pursuing a music career is one of the toughest challenges out there, yet Sheffield is managing to kick ass at both and is certainly on the rise for her unique sound and mellow aesthetic. Her tracks manage to successfully blend some of the best parts of Jazz, R&B, Pop and Indie Rock amongst other things to construct catchy soulful music that both enchants the listener’s ears and captivates their hearts to say the least.
While Easy Socks draws inspiration from artists like Angela Jones, Mitski, Norah Jones and Aaliyah, much of her sound and presence is actually rooted in herself. “I think it would have been smart for me to look to someone,” she laughs, “but I actually kinda just went for it.” Similarly, rather than mimicking other’s creative processes, she has been learning about it and growing from her previous experiences. “I used to have this very interesting—but didn’t always benefit me—process where I would put on a track and just kinda press record and kinda make it work and go with it, and I think that’s really amazing but it also prevents me from being able to fit in and think about my lyrics. So now what I’ve started to do is I’ll press play and write something and then the lyrics will come from that so I’ll kind of stem off of those and grow off those instead of just settling in something that I’ve decided to do. I’m giving time to let things marinate,” Sheffield describes of her process.
Artists such as Easy Socks are important to take note of, not only for their impressive aesthetic or distinctive tracks, but for the role female icons such as herself are playing in today’s society. It is no secret that we live in a patriarchy but in recent years have seen people take action to make a change. Fortunately industries—especially the entertainment and music industry—are immensely transforming when it comes to the roles and treatment of women. With powerful women in the industry, such as Sheffield, putting their music out there along with their powerful attitude, the scene is without a doubt going to keep changing. Easy Socks is a prime example of someone who is a talented artist that harnesses that to also share with the world her woke positions on politics and issues. 59 Sheffield shared how while she still feels pressure from the music industry to be a sexualized woman
and compete with all the other young women trying to make it, she also believes it’s a powerful thing to be a woman in the industry and needs to use her voice and find a good platform to do so. While still searching for the best platform to use her voice on issues, you can luckily hear her literal singing voice across a plethora of places. Easy Socks has three songs up on Spotify and a lot more on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. She also hopes to release an EP by June, as well as play shows in New York, Chicago, L.A. and more.
“If getting there is important to me and being able to spend time working on music that I love as long as I can during the day, then it’s my biggest thing for 2018: spending as much time as I can working on my craft.”
Life on Film
P hotos By Sophie Gragg, Nikoli Partiyeli & Melisa Ulkumen
MUCH LOVE TO:
Olivia Boryczweski / @oliviaboryczweski Kolby Giddings / @k_o__l__b_y Mhari Grace / @fangsnohp_ Josh Hwang / @joshzboy Marika Justad / @tangerinetheband Miro Justad / @tangerinetheband Toby Kuhn / @tangerinetheband Max Lindberg / @_blackpool Nikoli Partiyeli / @nikoliparty Megan Potter / @megankatepotter Jacob Romero / @validate.png Hale Sheffield / @easy.socks Shannon Sinwell / @shannonsinwell Stefan Trotman / @mrcheyl Marie Ulvin / @girlin.red Carrie Watson / @cazwatso
The Luna Collective ISSUE III X CASTLEBEAT
The Luna Collective is a cultural online and print magazine featuring music, poetry, fashion and more. We want to shine a light on all of the cool people and places we come across. Creativity should always be rewarded.
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THE SQUAD THAT MADE THIS ALL POSSIBLE Founder & Editor in Chief Sophie Gragg
Graphic Designers Olivia Boryczewski, Jacob Romero, Leah Lu & Megan Potter Photographers Kolby Giddings, Nikoli Partiyeli & Stefan Trotman Writers Shonali Bose, Mhari Grace, Malika Mohan & Caz Watson 67
The Luna Collectiveâ„¢ 2018
Our May Issue featuring CASTLEBEAT, Easy Socks, Tangerine, Black Pool & girl in red.