About a Face: Anna Gray
Our latest UO Live session (and our third one ever) featuring White Lung took place at Space 15 Twenty out in LA a few weeks ago. White Lung, originally from Vancouver but now spread out around LA and Canada, recently released their third album Deep Fantasy to positive reviews. An upbeat, surprisingly thought-provoking album with songs that generally fall around the two minute mark, Deep Fantasy is a punk-inspired LP to throw on when you need a jolt of energy. It's an album that makes you need to see the band live... which is why we were so thrilled to have the band perform in Space 15 Twenty, an intimate space for a band with such a cult following, and in front of a smaller group than what they're normally used to. Taking place on a specially designed stage that our display artists hand-built from scratch for the performance, White Lung jammed out in front of a packed room while a custom-made "White Lung" light-up sign glowed behind them.
White Lung prior to hitting the stage
White Lung performing at Space 15 Twenty
Mish Way, singer for White Lung and writer in different corners of the internet, including VICE, is opinionated and exciting to talk to. Prior to the event, we chatted with Mish on the phone to find out what makes the band's performances so special. She said "I've never been one that looks people straight in the eye while we're performing. I like to touch people and get involved there, but I don't necessarily look at people. I like to lose myself and forget what I'm doing. That's what makes a good performance for me." The band's energy is palpable in their performances, and most shows don't end without a handful of people crowd-surfing.
White Lung performing at Space 15 Twenty
Some of the crowd at Space 15 Twenty
When asked about the general "anything mainstream sucks" vibe of the punk culture, Mish had this to say: "Even when you're watching a punk show, that energy is exhilarating and exciting and I think in a world where we're all so concerned with feeling and doing things on the sly, it's so complicated, and such a mindfuck, to have a form of straightforward, direct, and confident true expression. That directness is maybe what's so appealing. It makes me happy. The more the merrier. We've never been one of those bands that's been like, 'Keep us secret.' There's nothing wrong with that. A lot of people in the punk scene don't feel that way."
White Lung performing at Space 15 Twenty
White Lung performing at Space 15 Twenty
We're completely on board with the "more the merrier" mindset, and were happy we got a chance to film this unique performance from the band. Check out the video above to see a performance of their song "I Believe You."
Photography by Dana Boulos
When we enter the NYC studio of artist Shantell Martin, we cannot stop effusively gushing about how incredible it is. A tiny, stark white room with light streaming in from a skylight, Martin's space is packed with examples of her trademark black line drawings that cover nearly every object in the room.
With a career that started as a VJ in Japan, Martin moved to New York in 2008, where she has grown into her self-described style that is "a meditation of black and white lines...a language of characters, creatures and messages." Her process is also an interactive experience, with most her work happening in live settings that range from music festivals to tech conferences; it's a multidisciplinary approach that Martin's art philosophy to transcend above the typical art world boundaries and translate to a range of audiences and experiences.
We talked with Shantell about how she got started, Tokyo vs. NYC, and art-as-performance. Photography by Marisa Chafetz
Tell us more about your background.
Where do I start? I'm from London and was an odd kid who liked drawing and doodling and doing stuff against the grain. That's what brought me to art school. It was a pathway where you could just be yourself and no one was trying to change that.
In school I did my degree in graphic design. [When I was there, it] was the first time I was around people with different backgrounds and interests, kids with pink hair who listened to crazy music. There are also a lot of Japanese students where I went [St. Martin's in London] so I got really into the culture — animation, movies, toys, and had the chance to go to Japan and visit. I loved it and felt pulled to be there.
So like most people I graduated from art school and was like, "What the hell do I do now?" So I decided to go to Japan and travel and teach for a year. I did that for seven months and then went to Tokyo and found myself there.
How did your work change once you got to Japan?
When I was in London I was doing a mix of performance, tagging, and making little sculptures. When I got to Japan I didn't feel like I could just go write on walls or do things that were kind of illegal. You might get kicked out or put in prison! So my work completely changed…I used a 0.05mm pen and would draw very fine and in detail. In a new country, new place, my focus became this introverted view of quasi-human landscapes.
And then eventually a friend saw that and she asked if I could do live drawings, done with a projection and camcorder. So we did that and it was one of my first performances — I was drawing to music as a band played. And it helped me realize, "Oh I'm a performer."
And so that's how I started my career, just doing visuals to Japanese avant garde noise music. And then eventually that evolved into the club scene, where I moved into using [a digital] tablet and computer. I'd open my computer, drawing software, and just draw to the beat — zoom in, zoom out. It was black and white for the first year, and then went very colorful. I would also draw on my fans, that became something I did.
And this was something that not many other people were doing, right?
Right. It helped pioneer a way of doing illustration and music in clubs and it was received really well. I was sponsored by Wacom and was really successful as a VJ in Japan because I had a very recognizable style.
But then, I was ready to leave Japan and came to NY for a holiday in 2008. Of course I loved it. I had never been to the US before then. So I got an artist's visa and moved here and then was like, "Oh crap. What did I just do?"
Was that transition difficult, work-wise?
NY has everything, but not if you move from Tokyo. The visual/club scene doesn't exist here like it did there.
People weren't into projections ("It's a fire hazard"). I thought I'd be big here, but then I very quickly realized that no one knows who you are or cares who you are. So that first year and a half was a huge struggle. I was sleeping on couches just spending my savings. It wasn't until I decided to leave that things worked out.
I realized that I was waiting for someone to give me the life I had in Japan. And then when I realized that, I knew I had to go out and create my own opportunity. So I asked friends about getting a space and started doing projections and then started getting calls. And things slowly started to take off.
When do you feel like you really started doing things in the style you're doing now — black and white, more stark, and text-heavy?
Eventually I devolved. I went from the digital high-tech world of Japan to just picking up pens. I was doing what had been doing in Japan except analog, and as a performance. It would be a drawing in a performative space. And that's what I've been doing — drawing...really fast...on whatever is around me.
Can you talk more about the different areas you work within besides just the traditional art scene?
I work in a few worlds. I'm in the fine art world, in the technology world, in the fashion world, and in education — I teach at ITP, NYU, and am starting a fellowship at the MIT Media Lab.
Is performance still a big part of it?
Yes, I rarely draw without people watching.
Your work incorporates a lot of language and the repetition of words. How did that start?
The words have always been there. It's always been words and lines, even when I was a child. Sometimes I look back on my work and realize I'm creating a language.
Words I repeat are mixtures of: You-Me, Someday, One Day, Why Me, Today, Why Now, Why Here.
Do people call you out on the streets about your daily uniform — black pants and a drawn-on white shirt?
I'll be on the subway and people will just be staring at me. Sometimes they ask. Sometimes they want to buy it. Mostly just stares, though!
Happy Friday! Here are some of our favorite internet tidbits from the past week. They're all David Lynch themed in honor of his retrospective opening at PAFA this weekend, so enjoy!
1. This month, the first major retrospective of David Lynch's work opens at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In homage, Philly donut hub Federal Donuts has created an assortment of Lynchian-inspired pastries: varieties include Blue Velvet, Good Coffee, and others. They're $2 each and available at Federal Donuts starting September 13. Get there early because these will go fast!
2. The third issue of KENZINE is out, and the entire issue is inspired by — yep— DL. For those new to KENZINE, it's a sporadically-released magazine put out by zany fashion brand KENZO. This issue was edited by the amazing crew behind TOILETPAPER magazine, Maurizio Cattelan, Pierpaolo Ferrari, and Micol Talso. This preview on It's Nice That has some sneak peeks.
3. For some lighthearted David Lynch goodness, the Twin Peaks intro was redone in 8-bit a couple of weeks ago by Portland based artists Filthy Frackers. Their Casio keyboard take on the theme song is pretty soothing.
4. The Lady in the Radiator from Lynch's Eraserhead is an underrated pop star of the 20th century so we're just gonna let everyone know that with this deluxe CD reissue of the Eraserhead soundtrack, you'll be able to jam out to "In Heaven" in stunning clarity.
At the end of August each year, the Rock County Folk Symposium takes place in Janesville, Wisconsin - it's a way for locals to celebrate their heritage, experience nature and convene with talented artists and musicians. As each summer wanes the members of the Wisconsin Heritage Foundation gather on the banks of the Rock River to bring their vision of an all-inclusive festival to life. The festival celebrates much more than music - Wisconsin traditions such as butter sculpting, innovative brewing, agricultural prowess and water sports are also at the forefront. Located at the historic Camp Rotamer, artists travel from across the country to transform the camp into an immersive 24-hour experience. Read on to see some pics we snapped at the event to show off the artists, innovators and musicians that gathered there.
Photography by Spencer Wells
Adelyn Rose jamming out during their set.
Artist Gerri Witthuhn returned to Wisconsin from California to create the stage and two other central art pieces as part of Team Forest Freaq.
Tyler Hart of Softly, Dear having a moment with his girlfriend during a break between sets.
Festival organizer Jackie Kursel relaxing on the dock of Spaulding Pond.
Artist Kenny Monroe constructing his instagram diorama installation.
Jackie enjoying a beer in the Parker Lodge.
A big rain cloud came during Sayth’s set but his good vibes cleared up the sky.
Whilden Hughes VI of Double Ewes pounding in stakes to help Dan Ryan of Sperry Tents set up.
Grace, a Minnesota native but longtime Wisconsin resident, proudly displaying her level two antidote.
Captain James Frederick flees angry hornets after a failed extermination attempt.
Surveying the grounds of Camp Rotamer.
Wisconsin Heritage Foundation Board Member Kyle Pfister deep in thought while preparing the Antidote.
Sayth and Wealthy Relative bringing art rap to the stage.
Jerrie and fellow artist Matt Riley (AKA The Butter Devil) circled up in the Lavender Tent late at night.
Festival organizer Wyndham Manning IV helping Thax Douglas board a canoe.
Festival organizer Amanda Kievet basking in the glow of another successful year.
One of our favorite sources for daily inspiration is Sight Unseen, a digital design magazine created by New York-based editors Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer. From unearthing under-the-radar ceramicists to sharing exclusive studio visits with some of our favorite artists, Monica and Jill are tuned in to just about everything that's interesting in the world of design. And it's not limited to web content — Sight Unseen also curates a number of events and their own online shop, which we're excited to be part of this month with their pop-up at Space Ninety 8. Running September 11-October 5, the pop-up will house a selection of exclusive items created by a wide range of international artists just for Sight Unseen.
Looking forward to the opening, we spoke with the duo about design trends, digital storytelling, and what goes into starting your own publication.
Above: A studio visit with Katy Krantz, photographed by Michael A. Muller
Jill: We were editors at ID for about four years, and the idea slowly came together. While we were there we were always talking about, 'What's next for us.' And in the context of ID, we were really interested in how big the web was becoming. And so the conversation turned into one about having a web project together, and it solidified in a project that was too good to resist.
There was room online for a digital publication that was more focused on ideas we had become interested in: storytelling, the inspiration behind finished objects, helping people see how and where things were made, and the personalities behind them. At the time, design publications were mostly just sharing the finished product, kind of just, 'this is it.' Press pictures of beautiful objects are great but there is another step in the process that wasn't being documented.
Above: At Home With Greg Buntain of Fort Standard, photographed by Mike Vorassi
Above: Hilda Hellstrom Sedimentation Coasters in the Sight Unseen shop, photographed by Cathy Carver
You were right at the forefront of a huge trend of blogs and design publications shifting to share more behind-the-scenes looks at what goes into the creation of objects and art. What have you historically seen readers responding to the most?
Jill: There was a shift right around when we launched [to feature more] studio visits and house tours. People who weren't doing those things at first sensed it was in the air. On a lot of the websites we visit often, the home and studio stories are the most popular. And it makes sense: Readers can see pictures of pretty objects anywhere, but with the idea of voyeurism and seeing behind-the-scenes and how people live is just a point of connection. Maybe people have always been into that and now there are just more opportunities.
Another thing we think about is that people who read media online don't necessarily have time to read long stories. You can almost tell a whole story with images alone, which is a really interesting thing for the format of journalism.
Above: Ashley Helvey's Seattle studio, photographed by Michael A. Muller
What are some other sources of design inspiration for you? Where do you scout new talent?
Monica: We scout talent primarily through four sources: blogs, Instagram, design shows, and through recommendations. We often get told about new studios or young designers from other designers we know, or we see them collaborating or showing together and investigate. Design shows include London Design Festival, graduate shows at schools like the RCA, the Satellite show at the Milan Furniture fair, offsite shows at the Milan fair, and even ICFF sometimes.
What are some design trends you see happening right now?
Monica: Design isn't as trend-driven as fashion is — it moves slowly and has more to do with individual interests than trends. But there has been a lot of geometry, copper, brass, and marble lately. And a general interest among designers in inventing their own processes, materials, and ways of working with materials.
Above: kelly behun | STUDIO at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, 2014, photographed by Mike Vorrasi
How do each of your own design styles differ?
Jill: The very simplified version of this that comes to the floor is that Monica loves monochrome, geometric. My style is more colorful and graphic.
Monica: Really, both of us constantly overlap. And that's what gives the site cohesion.
Above: mobile by Recreation Center
You both still do other things in addition to this. How do you balance making a side project work?
Monica: We are both people who like to have our hands in a lot of places at once, so it's exciting to wear a lot of hats. It widens the scope of your network and you meet more people and create more opportunities. It all comes back.
Above: Jill and Monica, photographed by Elizabeth Weinberg
How has the site evolved since it started?
Jill: In the beginning we were much more focused on long-form stories, coming from the magazine world. That has definitely changed. We've become more comfortable with presenting the site as a place where people come to it for our point of view. It's become more about talent-scouting than a source of biographical backgrounds.
Even from the beginning SU was not just a website: we were curating exhibitions and we had the shop and we were just throwing things at the wall and see what stuck. It's all been edited down into this thing that it is now. It's been really amazing.
Monica: It all fans out from just having a curatorial viewpoint.
Above: Assembly 00 Clock in the Sight Unseen shop, photographed by Mike Garten
Jill: Going into the pop-up, we knew that we needed a shop refresh and wanted to bring in new things, so we basically blanketed everyone we knew asking for submissions.
In the pop-up, we have an amazing range of housewares and jewelry both from designers we've worked with in the past like Ladies & Gentlemen Studio and Pat Kim and then some new ones as well like these cool marbled vessels from this company called Concrete Cat and we have these asymmetrical vessels from Ian Anderson [editor's note: see our studio visit with Ian — who is also a UO men's buyer — here!]. We also had Syrette Lew from Moving Mountains do the buildout. She is amazing and had such good ideas.
Visit the Sight Unseen pop-up at Space Ninety 8 from Sept. 11 - Oct. 5, 2014
Dreamers + Doers highlights emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and up-and-coming ones to watch. Whether it’s starting a new business, creating something beautiful, or just daring to do things differently, we stand behind those taking steps toward something new. Our D + D DIY series brings us a unique craft from one of these talented individuals.
First up in our D + D DIY series is Gracie Chai. Textile artist, illustrator and all-around excellent crafter Gracie is always at work. Whether she's painting scarves by hand for her Etsy store or working on custom embroidery for customers and friends alike, she's always got something to keep her busy. Because we're always so blown away by her projects, we asked Gracie to show us how to make grown up looking candles with minimal supplies.
Photography c/o Gracie Chai
Emily Spivack is a UO alum, writer, and editor of a new collection of stories about individuals and their relationship with clothing. In Worn Stories, Spivack opens up the closets of people from Greta Gerwig to Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman to learn about their most-loved pieces of clothing and the story behind it.
Inspired by her concept, we turned the lens on Spivack to learn more about the story behind her own favorite piece of clothing, as well as learn about some of the favorite vintage garments of our Urban Renewal vendors.
Above: Photos by Michael A. Muller
Emily Spivack's Most-Loved Piece of Clothing:
What is this piece — when and where did you buy it?
This is a vinyl bustier that is completely disintegrated. I bought it in high school on South Street at Trash and Vaudeville in Philadelphia.
Tell us more about why this piece is so special.
I would describe myself in high school going into college as "nerdy goth." I would wear this to school like it was no big deal!
One time I got home from a college class and was wearing this. I had to write a paper that afternoon — and to give a little background, when I started college I felt pretty academically ill-prepared. The paper was actually for an existentialism class and for whatever reason that day I was able to just knock it out. And for some reason I was like, "Oh my god. It's got to be the bustier." So for the next few months, every time I had to write a paper I wore it. It didn't matter if it was wintertime — I would wear a sweater over it. My roommate was probably like, "Who is this person!?" It was a thing.
I think that at one point I must have forgotten to put it on and it was okay. I could still write. What was actually happening is that I was getting used to being in college but for a time this was the lucky bustier that was helping me get through my first semester.
Magic powers aside, it's kind of amazing that you would just unabashedly wear a leather bustier.
Ha! I tend to be relatively covered up, and this is pretty daring. It's very flashy. A friend of mine has a photo of me from college when I'm wearing it at a party. I had really long straight hair, youthful cheeks, this super innocent face...and then I'm just wearing a bustier! But at the same time, I really love that. I was just like, 'This is me.'
Most-Loved Clothing: Urban Renewal Buyers
Curious to hear more stories that connect memory and clothing, we asked some of our favorite Urban Renewal vendors to share the stories behind their best vintage discoveries.
Above: Photography by Farhad Samari
Jaime Wong, Raggedy Threads
Los Angeles, CA
Can you tell us about what you're wearing?
I'm wearing my favorite pair of French workwear overalls that have been hand-darned and patched all over. I've worn them so much and had to do a lot of repairs on them myself.
The hat I'm wearing is a 40s Stetson, totally beat up with holes and stains everywhere. It was gifted to me from a vintage dealer friend up in Oregon who wore this hat almost everyday since he got it in 1946. He traveled all over the US hunting for antiques and treasures to sell and is one of the sweetest and most humble men I know. [It's my dream] that one day that will be me and I can pass down my hat to the next.
You've amassed an amazing hat collection?
Yes! Another prized hat in my collection is this hand-drawn and painted felt cowboy hat from the 1930s. I found this in a barn near the border of Montana about eight years ago. It was surprisingly in good shape! On the bottom of the cowgirl drawing you can faintly make out the year and the name…"1934 Babe Moberly." I almost fainted when I read that!
Photography by Bethany Toews
Rhianna Tycholis, Mixed Business
Los Angeles, CA
Hi Rhianna! What are you wearing?
This is a dress from the 40s I purchased at the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts in 2012.
When I found it the fabric was in great condition, but the garment was completely falling apart. I was in awe of the print: It's so modern and interesting. I was eight months pregnant at the time and made it a post-pregnancy project dress! I fixed it up (literally re-sewed every single seam) and couldn't wait to wear it.
Why is it your favorite piece?
I think this piece is so special to me because it combines two things that are normally not part of my wardrobe: prints and fitted dresses. I love it and at some point will recreate this print!
Photography by Ben Masters
Ty, tell us more about what you're wearing and why it's special to you.
Most these pieces are French work garments dating from the 1890s-1940s.
I never really truly get attached to any one piece...but my favorite right now is a very unusual, long, faded, cotton/linen trench with a tie around the waist and a rusty buckle. I wear it all the time: it's disintegrating in the most perfect way! I also can't take off these beautiful oatmeal color 1930s buckle back linen trousers.
Can you tell us more about what you love about vintage clothes in general?
What I love most about the old European workwear is that most of the time it was passed down through the generations and repaired over and over. You can really feel something when you slip into a jacket that has been disregarded for generations but for the generations prior had been treated with such respect. I wonder about the people who wore these garments to threads, then about the people who repaired them with such care. It's inspiring!
Photography by Cecilia Alejandra Blair / Briana Purser. Special thanks to Rima Hyena for guest studio space.
Stephanie Villalobos, Laced with Romance
Can you share more about the pieces you're wearing in these images? What's the story behind them?
The black skull T-shirt has been part of my collection for nearly 20 years. The shirt was given to me by a old friend who also gave me my first mix tape with bands like the Velvet Underground, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Patti Smith, Joy Division, and many others that changed the course of how I listened to music.
The Harley Davidson boots were thrifted in my home town of Pasadena, Texas a few years back.
The silver ram and vertebrae rings were gifted to my one of my favorite people ever, jewelry designer, Rima Hyena. The moss agate bracelet was bought two years back from, Adelina Mictlan at her pop up shop during Austin Psych Fest. The Dust&Drag acid brown duster is my design.
This week, we're excited to debut a leather jacket UO made in collaboration with Schott, sold online exclusively at Urban Outfitters. Combining the classic Schott look with an updated UO flair, the result is a timeless jacket that'll look good for years to come. (And we mean years - these bad boys are built to last.) After falling in love with the Schott x UO jacket immediately after getting our hands on it, we wanted to dig more into the history of Schott to find out exactly where our favorite leather jackets got their start.
Joey Ramone, wearing Schott
Founder Irving Schott
Various styles of Schott jackets
After reading about Schott for no more than five minutes, we discovered that, chances are, even if you’re not too deeply versed on the brand's backstory, you’ve seen one of your favorite musicians wearing a Schott Perfecto jacket at one point or another (including on an album cover – hi, Bruce). They're the quintessential American leather jacket, made popular by movie stars and musicians. People overseas know the brand Schott the way Americans know Kleenex - it's become the standard for leather jackets. The company has been around for the last 100 years (since 1913, to be exact), so they've had a long time to build their brand. That's over a century of jackets! Their most popular design, the Perfecto, named for founder Irving Schott’s favorite cigar, was one of the company’s first designs and continues to be produced to this day. An innovative company from the beginning, Schott’s legacy doesn't lie solely with their leather designs - they were also the first company ever to put a zipper on a jacket. Talk about trailblazers.
MCA of The Beastie Boys, wearing Schott
The Schott factory
While the company and their jackets are something of a commodity (and cool-guy status) in 2014, that wasn't always the case. When Schott was just starting out, the coats were positively received but were mainly used by bikers and the military in a utilitarian way up through the '40s. In 1954, though, all of that changed. Marlon Brando donned the Perfecto for The Wild One and, unsurprisingly, having a handsome, young actor wear the coat in a (soon-to-be) cult classic movie made the general public want to get their hands on one, too - even if they weren't bikers. What was surprising, though, was that even after the jacket became the coat to have, the company found that sales decreased – schools were banning the coats for their “bad boy” connotation. (Which is so badass.) As time went on, this image ideally worked in the company’s favor; in the ‘70s and ‘80s, punk rockers embraced the jacket’s outsider status and Schott soon became an important component of the punk rock movement. Look up any picture of The Ramones and you’ll likely see them decked out in Schott.
To this day, Schott is still run by the same Schott family out of the US, and each leather jacket remains tailored by hand – something of a rarity for such a widely produced company in this day and age.
Dee Dee Ramone, wearing Schott
SCHOTT IN MUSIC AND POPULAR CULTURE
After Marlon Brando wore the Schott Perfecto in The Wild One, the jacket became significantly more prominent in popular culture. Around the same time, James Dean was also rarely seen without his Perfecto; when he died an untimely death in 1955 due to a car accident, the coat became even more of a symbol for rebelliousness.
Fast-forward to 1974 - at The Ramones first live show, the entire band showed up wearing Schott leather jackets. This was the brand's first foray into the punk music scene and The Ramones ensured that Schott would be well-respected within that community for years to come; Blondie, The Beastie Boys, Joan Jett, Johnny Rotten and Lou Reed have all been photographed wearing their Schott leather jackets. There's even a rumor that good ol' Fonzie wore a Perfecto in the first season of Happy Days, so it's pretty much guaranteed that you become the coolest person in the world as soon as you throw on a Schott.
Recently, Schott has partnered with artists like Jeremy Scott to produce custom jackets and they show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Schott and their coats are here to stay and we'll be here to wear 'em.
The Ramones, all wearing Schott
Marlon Brando, wearing Schott
Book images originally published with permission and © Schott NYC: 100 Years of an American Original by Rin Tanaka, 2013. Image of storefront, factory and Irving Schott all provided courtesy of Schott.
In the six years since Lykke Li emerged on the scene, the Swedish musician has built a huge following of fans drawn to both her critically-acclaimed music and reputation for being an equally mesmerizing and mysterious ingénue.
Her newest album, I Never Learn, came out in May, and breaks away from the hand claps, broken rhythm, and intense drum beats of her earlier work and moves into very different territory. I Never Learn is stripped-back, refined, and sad — the songs are largely the byproduct of a major breakup that happened on the heels of her last tour. Nine songs long, it's both Li's shortest and most ambitious work to date.
We partnered with Lykke to have her shoot some Polaroids exclusively for Urban Outfitters that share a behind-the-scenes look at life on the road. Afterward, we talked to her from LA about drinking wine, David Lynch, and never settling down.
This month Lykke Li will do three exclusive UO Live performances + signings in UO stores in Portland, Or, Minneapolis, and Washington DC — read on for show details and to learn how you can win tickets to see Lykke Li live in your city!
You're in LA right now — is this where you're living?
Yes, but only on this break between shows. I don't try to figure out where I should live anymore.
Your childhood was spent traveling around a lot, right?
I went to 11 different schools! Born in Sweden, in the south, moved to Stockholm, lived in Portugal, winters in India, Nepal, Morocco. Then I moved to New York when I was 18 or 19. That's been my life.
But for now do you like being in LA?
I love it. The light, the ocean...
What do you do on your time off?
I love being outside. Also, I like to cook a big dinner with friends and drink a lot of wine.
This album came out of a tumultuous break-up, which you've been really candid about. Did any of this play into moving or wanting to find a new place to live? It obviously affected what you wrote about but did it affect how you wrote?
Yeah, I ended my last tour and was really thinking about not having a place to return to. I have been traveling my whole life. It's fight or flight, you know? I thought that I needed to step back and heal for awhile, but I was writing all the time. I was completely obsessed with it. It always takes me a long time do a record but I love writing.
Are there any places you go to write or be inspired in that way?
Just being solitary. I go into my own bubble and don't need the outside world.
Were you surprised by anything that came out during the writing process?
It wasn't easy. I think I knew the emotions were there, I have always felt that way. But it was about finding the way to express them. I have to be honest...It's the only way I know how to do it.
This album is the third in a trilogy of records that have seen you really change as a musician. In retrospect, what's it about?
This album is about me as a woman. But I think people can relate when you are 27 or 28 you can break free from your past. I guess it was that. I was trying to heal and let go of my past but also break into something new. I feel like we all have that. It's basically the return of Saturn.
There's a lot of talk about it being "dark," but those ideas seem less about sadness and more about identifying points of transition.
I think so too. It's an interesting thing to think about…being lost.
The cover of your album is an incredibly stark portrait of you…can you talk more about this as an aesthetic choice?
I think it reflects the music. With this [record] I felt like I could step out into the light. This is who I am and what I look like.
Does this play into what you wear on-stage?
Yeah, I like the idea of wearing the same thing for a tour. I wear all black. I have been taking the time between shows right now to figure out what I will wear on the next part of the tour. I work with a designer who helps me.
Another collaborative project recently was with David Lynch last year on a song for his record, which is so amazing. Can you share more about working with him?
It was magical. He is very intuitive and was just an amazing person to work with…[he has a] really instinctual way of treating and making art. He also introduced me to TM [Transcendental Meditation, which both Lynch and Li are practicers of]. He is very easy to talk to and confide your worries — that's how he told me I needed to meditate.
You also did a film project last year, the Swedish film Tommy, and you're set to be in a future feature from Terrence Malick. Are there things that come out in film — when acting, or just exposed to a different medium — that you can't express in music?
Acting is completely different. It is very difficult. I'd love to do more of it though, [and] have been humbled by being a beginner at it…You just make a fool out of yourself.
You also do your own photography — can you talk about this?
I really want to make a book of my photographs sometime — I think that would be a project I want to do when I have the time.
Right?! When are you going to find the time to do this?
I don't know! I still have a million shows left to play!
Lykke Li UO #FortheRecord Performances:
September 18th at 5:30pm
Urban Outfitters, 2320 N.W. Westover Rd.
September 28th at 1:30pm
Urban Outfitters 3006 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN
October 6th at 2pm
Urban Outfitters, 3111 M St. N.W, Washington, DC
Want to see Lykke Li live in your city?
UO is giving away tickets to shows on her upcoming tour — download the UO App to learn how to win!
If you're always on the hunt for new music, head here every Monday for five freshly picked tunes to start your work week off right!
Tinashe - 2 On (Yung Gud Remix)
Happy Friday! Here are some of our favorite internet tidbits from the past week. Check 'em out and then go out and have a great weekend.
1. Some solid grammar jokes over in this McSweeney's list "Grammar Gossip," so you can be sure to start your weekend off very intellectually.
2. Vogue sent photographer Daniel Arnold to document the crowd at this year's U.S. Open. The result is, as Vogue put it, "chockablock." His images are unglamorized observations of candid behavior that are equal parts smart, funny, and kind of sad — Arnold is absolutely one to watch.
3. For all the UK-based people out there, musician King Krule is doing an art exhibit with his brother at Display Gallery in London. The show opens this Friday and is said to be a mix of poetry, music, painting, illustration, silk-screen, and linocut surrounding the themes of "memory, time, and role of the artist in an evolving cityscape."
4. Sam Smith covered Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge and it's exactly as sad and heart-wrenchingly emotional as you're imagining.
5. Cayetana, an awesome Philadelphia-based band that we've mentioned before, now has their album streaming a few days ahead of its release. They're performing a few shows around the release as well, so check them out if you can.
6. Last but not least, Tennis released a very aesthetically pleasing video for an acoustic version of their song "Bad Girls," which is on their upcoming album Ritual in Repeat (out Sept. 9).
Last weekend at FYF Festival I met up with another of my favorite bands, Twin Peaks, from Chicago, IL. Nobody in the band is over the age of 20, and already, they've released two albums, most recently being Wild Onion, which have both been received with very high praise. Cadien, Clay, Jack, and Connor have been on tour with The Orwells, Arctic Monkeys and Criminal Hygiene, and have been making their way up the ranks all summer. Read on to see what music the guys have been influenced by along the way and how they're feeling about it all. These guys are here to stay.
Interview and photography by Maddie Sensibile
You just released your new record, Wild Onion, a few weeks ago. How are you feeling about it?
Clay: We feel good about it, we feel great about it.
Cadien: We made a mix tape with a lot of our favorite kinda songs.
Name a few bands for me that have influenced you when it comes to making music.
Clay: I probably wanted to start making music from The Velvet Underground. Big influence for me.
Jack: I like Black Lips. That was really one of the first concerts I went to that like, made me really want to play rock and roll seriously. I like R. Kelly a lot, and The Beatles.
Cadien: Those are all great. I’m gonna throw out Jay Reatard too - he was pivotal for me.
Connor: Watching Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin videos, ‘cause like, playing live what made me want to play music more than anything.
What were the first records you bought?
Clay: The first time I bought music was when I bought Dark Side of the Moon. It started playing and I thought it wasn’t working or something. It was the first CD I ever had, so I turned it all the way up. It just starts with that woman screaming, and it keeps getting louder and louder, it really freaked me out. I didn’t listen to it again for another three years probably.
Cadien: I copped Beatles’ 1 when I was a little dude, from my mom, and I blasted that for a long time.
Connor: A Blink 182 CD, and I don’t remember which one it was, but I remember buying it and being super stoked about it.
Jack: To be honest, I was a big Britney Spears fan, and had mad love for N*SYNC as well, it was probably one of them. It’s pop perfection, who can blame me.
Clay, tell me about those dance moves you do with your guitar on stage.
Clay: For most of us, I think we would just feel uncomfortable standing there. I don’t know, it just seems natural to me. I know it looks pretty weird.
I did see you guys perform last year in LA for the first time. How do you feel about playing larger festivals and moving up the bill at such a young age?
Clay: We’re so about it.
Jack: We’re starting to play more festivals like these, and the more it happens, kinda the more surreal it seems that we’re here now.
Clay: In places like this, the artist area, you get to meet people, even just for a little bit, and everyone’s pretty nice most of the time so it’s cool.
Who are you listening to right now?
Clay: I’m listening to a lot of Kinks. I just got Kinda Kinks, and it’s a really good record.
Jack: I’ve been recently really getting into Blood Orange’s most recent album, and I got to meet him for a little bit, and he’s fucking cool.
Cadien: Naomi Punk’s new album is super great, like their first album, and more people should check them out.
Connor: We played with this band on our first tour called Teenage Moods, and a week ago I just kinda stumbled back on their stuff, and Mood Ring is so cool.
We've been extremely into unique jewelry pieces and have had so many amazing artists featured on the site lately that we wanted to bring a few of those artists to the forefront to showcase their incredible, handmade jewelry. Below, learn more about the jewelry lines Filili, Metalepsis, Cast and Combed and DIGDOGDIG - who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to get out there and start creating your own!
Photography for Filili by Mónica Félix
What you need:
• 26-28g unground coffee + grinder
• 400g water (both for the coffee and for pre-submerging the filter)
• Digital scale
1. Grind your coffee.
"The grind should be a bit finer than that for a drip coffee machine. I strongly recommend grinding the coffee as close to the brew time as possible."
2. Water temp + Filter Prep.
"Water temperature should be between 200-208 F, just below a rolling boil. With your water to temperature and your coffee ground, place the filter in the craft, ensuring the layered portion of the filter is facing the spout side of the vessel. Use the prepared hot water to completely submerge the paper filter. Let the water drip through and discard. This process removes any papery particulate/flavors."
3. "Gently add your coffee grounds to the filter, then clear the scale to zero."
4. The bloom.
"Slowly pour approximately 50g water onto the grounds. Let the coffee rest for 20-ish seconds. This phase is referred to as the bloom: The coffee will begin to expand, bubble, and form a 'crust.'"
5. Circular pour.
"After the 20 second rest, pour in a slow circular motion, breaking the crust from the center of the filter out. Do not direct the stream of the pour directly onto the filter. This is a gentle procedure! Bring the water weight to 400g… then stop."
"When the liquid has passed through the filter and is no longer dripping steadily, lift the filter out of the vessel and dispose (a great addition to compost!) This process from start to cup should take about four minutes."
7. Pour and enjoy!