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Interview: Abbey Watkins for Morning Warrior


Tobacco & Leather's Abbey Watkins is an London-based illustrator and print designer with a penchant for skulls, women and a bit of warping. When Los Angeles clothing company Morning Warrior asked Abbey to work on a few summer tank tops for them, she conjured up the energetic warrior spirit of the brand and brought her earth-inspired designs to a whole new world. Here we talk to the 25-year-old beauty to get a glimpse inside her life, workspace and a sneak peek at the look book for the collection.
Interview by Ally Mullen


Introduce yourself!
I'm Abbey Watkins of Tobacco & Leather. I'm 25, living in London and working as an illustrator and print designer.

Where did you go to school?
I went to Manchester Metroplitan Universirty and studied textile design for fashion. I chose Manchester because it's a vibrant city, but it's not too overwhelming. At the time I struggled a lot with my confidence so this played a big part in my decision. 

I always wanted to study fashion in London, but this was the best I could do with the tools and finances I had. It worked out well in the end as I ended up with the best tutor, Alex Russell, and I got a career out of it which I'm very grateful for. I'm from a very small town in the middle of nowhere so university was my way out and my first experience of a real city.




How did you get involved with Morning Warrior and when and how did this collaboration come together?
I was already aware of Morning Warrior when they got in touch about working together; it was obvious we shared some interests and creative visions so we got together and created these three designs.

Tell us about the influences behind your art! 
There are many, many influences but it's really hard to name them! I'm influenced by mythology and ancient gods, strange creatures—especially the mixture of animal and human. I'm interested in things like the occult and witchcraft, shamanism, and hallucingenic visions. I have this deep-rooted love for tribes and people that live closely to the earth, treating nature like a language that can be interpreted and returned. I guess all of that mixed with some '60s pychedelia and old metal album covers is somehwere near my vision. I've still got a lot of work to do to bring it all together though.



What was the driving inspiration behind your collaboration?
There was a loose brief for the collaboration, but with themes like "Mystical", "Animal" and "Bad Girl Biker", Morning Warrior and I were already pretty much on the same page, so it flowed nicely.

How would you describe your style of art to someone who hasn't seen it yet?
I still can't find an answer that satisfies, but the basis of my work is set in pencil realism, with subjects of naked women, skulls, animals, mythic elements and hints of surrealism.

What is your favorite medium to use when creating your illustrations?
Pencil. It's the only one that comforts. If there's color, it's done digitally.


Of the shirts you designed, which is your personal favorite?


I haven't seen them in the flesh yet! But my favorite is the grey Eagles Tank Top. That was my favorite one because I remember learning from it. You are always learning every time you draw but sometimes you can feel it, and I enjoyed that time.

What are your favorite things to draw?
Naked women, skulls, anything where I can play with its form and mold it into something else. That's my new favorite thing to do!



Are you going to wear your own designs?
I never wear my own designs. I hope nobody takes that personally! I just feel weird wearing something that I drew. Like it's somehow saying, "Look what I did!” And that makes me uncomfortable.

What was the… 
Last song or album you listened to: "Desert Ceremony" by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats 
Last movie you watched: Iron Monkey
Last purchase you made: A black, leather, bondage thigh-harness from Etsy that clips onto your belt loops and wraps around your thigh.
Best part about doing this collaboration: That I got to draw and create and was given artistic freedom. Morning Warrior were an absolute pleasure to work for. It's not always that way with commissions.




Look Book Information: 
Photography by Emman Montalvan
Hair and Makeup by Brittany Sullivan
Model: Courtney Money at PhotoGenics L.A.
Styling by Julie Swinford & Renee Garcia
Clothing by Morning Warrior: Twitter | Instagram

Obsessions: The Death of Pop

English band Death of Pop have cultivated a perfectly shoegaze sound with their swirling guitars and ethereal vocals that call to mind veterans of the genre like Chapterhouse and Ride. Though the group has yet to release a full album, their Bandcamp page is littered with jangly pop earworms like "Sun In My Eyes" and "What A Day." Be sure to keep your eye on these indie Brits, as their underrated singles keep getting dreamier. Hazel

Spooky Lit: The Turn of the Screw

At some point in your scholastic career you may have been assigned Henry James and thought, "Why are there so many words? Boring! I'm just gonna play my Tamagotchi in class." But James is a master stylist, and reading a scary story is a rare pleasure in the modern world of teen slasher flicks. Plus, this isn't even real book. It's a novella. That's a short novel. Also, it's available as a free ebook, so you have no excuses. Reading is good for you. 
The story takes place in England back in the day when "cars" were attached to horses, and has all the elements of a classically spooky story: a creepy old mansion, creepy kids, mysterious happenings, etc. I can't tell you what happens because that would ruin it for you, but I swear I read it and liked it. It's kind of like The Others, okay. That's all you get. Angelo

Rookie: Silhouettes and Shadows


One of my favorite photographers over at Rookie Mag, Eleanor Hardwick, recently shot the days prior to Meadham Kirchoff S/S '14 and backstage at London Fashion Week. Each season, Eleanor shoots the magical creations of Meadham Kirchoff, and this season her shots were some of my favorites I've ever seen. The collection's inspiration came from the Elizabethan era as well as David Bowie, and the final result was a lovely, feminine collection that was lighthearted yet mysterious and dark at the same time. Perfect inspiration for a Halloween costume too, right? Check out these stunning photos and maybe you'll transform into a ghostly Elizabethan beauty meets Lydia Deetz (see: giant wide brimmed black hats) decked out in pearls and lace for Hallow's Eve! Maddie





















See the full photo set here.

Haim Covers "Wrecking Ball"

URGENT, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Haim covered "Wrecking Ball" at BBC Radio's Live Lounge. It is delightful. Check it, yo. (And then go read the Rolling Stone cover story on Miley because it is somethin'.) —Katie
(via Pitchfork)

Vinyl 101: 'London Calling'


One album I often find at the top of my stack of records in my room is The Clash's London Calling. Released in 1979, the record is the band's third album, and one of its most remarkable. From the iconic cover photograph, shot by Pennie Smith, of bassist Paul Simonon smashing his guitar at a gig, to the pink and green font referencing a self-titled Elvis Presley album cover, London Calling is a record that sticks in plenty of peoples' minds when it comes to classic rock and roll, and punk rock, to be specific.

London Calling
is a double album that may still fall into the punk rock category because of The Clash's roots, but in my eyes, it's actually a notable record because of all of the different styles it mixes. The album begins with the band's best known song ever, the title track of the record, "London Calling." Joe Strummer sets the mood with his dark lyrics about politics of the time, like "phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust," amongst other excellent rhymes. Next, the songs move into a more upbeat mood, with tracks like "Hateful," and "Rudie Can't Fail," that has a serious ska vibe to it. This is where you can really see the other influences the band had other than strictly hard, punk rock, which can be heard on their earlier material at that point.



Right in the middle of the record are another two of this album's most famous songs, "Lost in the Supermarket" and "Clampdown." "Lost in the Supermarket" is sung by fellow Clash member Mick Jones, lead guitarist and often vocalist as well. Similar to the title track, "Clampdown" contains lyrics that refer to things like conforming and one of the best lines, "Let fury have the hour, anger can be power/D'you know that you can use it?" It's an empowering song with a memorable main guitar riff, and that's why it's constantly stuck in my head!



On the second LP of the album, more styles are played with, like the serious reggae influence on "The Guns of Brixton." It's enlightening to see how a band like The Clash - who is pinned with having such a specific style - do things with other genres but still keep true to themselves as musicians. The second half of the album also includes lesser-known songs like "The Card Cheat,"where Joe Strummer sings his heart out to a catchy piano tune. "Revolution Rock," drifts into reggae territory like some of the other songs, and I personally think it's aptly named, because of what The Clash always strove to do with their music. They wanted to change what was going on in the world.

"Train in Vain" is London Calling's closer, and originally wasn't supposed to even be on the record. I'm happy the band included it because it has turned out to be my favorite Clash track. It always makes me feel like dancing because it's so energetic. The song is a far cry from punk rock, and features Mick Jones on vocals again, along with a blaring, harmonica and post-disco sound. I think it could be my favorite song ever, to be honest. London Calling is a magnificent record that lends more than just its famous title track. Grab this album on vinyl and discover another side of this band! - Maddie

Shop The Clash's London Calling.

LFW Street Style by Phil Oh


It's currently London Fashion Week, so everyone is dressing to impress. Over on Vogue, photographer Phil Oh snapped some street style shots of people heading to and from various shows. There are some killer looks, and a great shot of Alexa Chung in the mix. Check out our faves below, and to see the rest of the shots, head on over to Vogue. —Katie


















Music We Love: Palma Violets '180'


Although it only came out in January, the debut album, 180, from Palma Violets instantly resonated as an essential classic album for me. After hearing the first track off the album, "Best of Friends," late last year, I knew I wanted more from this band. Palma Violets are four young boys from the London neighborhood of Lambeth, whose main aim is to make people feel good when listening to music. 180 contains eleven of the most entertaining and powerful tracks I've ever heard, and its an album I seriously never get tired of.

Palma Violets have really made themselves known by having extremely exciting live shows, with members of the band, mainly singer and bassist, Chilli Jesson, flinging himself all over the stage and crowd surfing between yelling his own inspirational lines to the crowd to get them going. You can hear that same energy on the album, because each song sounds like it was recorded on a live take, which I love. It's always nice when a band sounds the same at live shows and on recording. The album starts off with "Best of Friends," sung by Chilli, that has an opening riff you'll never get of your head. (But seriously, you'll never want it to leave.) "Step Up for the Cool Cats" is next, which has a synth groove by keyboardist Pete Mayhew that may remind you of a '60s group like the Monkees.





Tempo often changes throughout the album, but the slow songs are just as alive as the fast ones. "Last of the Summer Wine" is kind of the halfway point of the album, and is best accompanied by a beautiful sunset and some pals. The opening riff by guitarist Sam Fryer builds oh-so-beautifully, and erupts into a sort of anthem we can all relate to ("Love isn't easy/That's just the way it goes"), which most of their songs do. After that point in the album, things get turned up with "Tom the Drum" and "Johnny Bagga' Donuts," and "We Found Love," which is totally my favorite track on the album. It makes my heart sing! Cheesy but true.



Palma Violets bring it home with the longest track on the album, "14," that turns into a sort of secret track, "Brand New Song," that the band always plays quite lively at the end of their shows. It's a great closer to the album, and a great live closer, with all of its brash cymbals and whistling. It's another sort of anthem that makes you feel like you're just messing around with your friends. That's what 180 sounds like, you just hanging out with your best pals and having an excellent time, which I believe was the band's aim. The cover of the album shows the band in front of their studio, 180, that the record was named after, and on the door it says, "In times of turmoil, find a home to attack from." Looking at it, I realize that I take this phrase to heart when I listen to the album, because it really lifts you up and gives you super positive vibes. 180 makes you feel like you can do anything. I suggest you go get this record ASAP and turn those negative vibes into good ones! Maddie



Shop Palma Violets 180

LFW: Erdem S/S '14


London fashion week is always my favorite week out of fashion month, because it's when designers like Erdem come out to play. Always mixing classic feminine elegance with sleek and updated silhouettes, Erdem Moralioglu created a modern black and white dream with a few hints of color for his spring 2014 collection. This time around, the designer seriously played with texture and dimension. The collection had killer leather biker jackets with feathers on the sleeves, lots of looks with mesh and 3D detailing that included the designer's own monogram, plus some lucite heeled sandals that I'm dying for. Erdem makes clothes for the girl who wants to grow up and look classy, but also look cool as hell while doing it! —Maddie
(Photos via Vogue)
















Dazed & Confused: "School Daze"


If you're in need of some inspiration on how to spruce up your yearbook photo this fall at school, you should definitely take a look at this editorial from the October issue of Dazed & Confused magazine. Shot by Blommers & Schumm and styled by Cathy Edwards, "School Daze" features various models in a classic school portrait setting, while wearing some of the best looks from the fall season. Plus, check out all of those rad hairstyles. I wish I looked that cool my senior year. (images via Streeters) Maddie






The 1975 "What Makes You Beautiful"

If anyone were to follow me on Twitter, you'd find out that I went from 0-60 over this band, The 1975, once their full-length, self-titled album came out September 2. The entire album is worth a listen, for sure, and if you're into covers, especially pop covers, then you definitely need to check out their version of "What Makes You Beautiful." Yes, the original is the poppiest song in the entire world, but The 1975 do a great job of slowing it down and groovin' it out. It turns into like, a romantic and heartbreaking ballad when they do it. Once you're done with that, check out their song "You" from their EP IV and don't be surprised if you start gently weeping. Help, I'm obsessed. —Katie

Temples: "Keep In The Dark"


Temples are a new band from England that I've just heard about, and that I think you should hear about, too. For all you '60s and early '70s music fans like myself, "Keep In The Dark," the band's new single, is something you'll love right away. When I played the video, I was instantly transported back to that era (in a totally good way). The video is filled with literal smoke and mirrors, and extremely well dressed British dudes. What isn't there to love about that, plus their clearly inspired chill, psych-rock? Exactly. Temples definitely did their research on that time period in music, and the product is wonderful. Hoping to hear a debut record from them soon. Maddie

King Krule: "Easy Easy"

In today's edition of "Singers Who Sound Nothing The Way They Look," we present the video for King Krule's "Easy Easy." 18-year-old Archy Marshall (aka King Krule) has a voice that sounds more seasoned than most 30-somethings. Impressive. If you like what you hear, you can look forward to his debut release, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, dropping August 24. —Katie
(via Pitchfork)

Intern Magazine

If you're a wannabe magazine writer like me, the question of whether or not to intern for free is one you'll have to answer at some point in your life. Lately, unpaid internships have been questioned for their ethics (intern life can be a little Devil Wears Prada, depending where you are) and whether or not they actually lead to jobs (aka, the Hannah Horvath situation). A cool new magazine called Intern is hoping to stylishly answer that question and showcase the work of unpaid interns across the globe. It looks very cool and props to them for taking a relevant debate and turning it into an awesome magazine. You can pledge to the Kickstarter here! Hazel

100% Unofficial Simpsons Comix

100% Unofficial Simpsons Comix is a new compilation from Jack Teagle, an illustrator and one of my favorite frequent contributors to the Simpsons Drawing Club we told you about awhile back. Teagle's comics take the iconic characters on dystopian adventures, playing on both classic Simpsons themes and modern commentaries. Pick up a copy for only like $4.50 US, and maybe Fox will sue Teagle, which is the best way for an artist to gain notoriety anyway. —Angelo




Josephine Mairead King Edwards

In addition to her awesome Tumblr presence, Josie Mairead King Edwards' comics are so good. Written with a heavy dose of teen angst, JMKE's comics often feature witches, vamps, and ghouls of all kinds. Oh, and they're hilarious. Hazel



Sophie "Bipp"


My latest musical obsession is this song "Bipp," a sugary electro-pop song that I hereby deem "bubblegum house," a new music genre I just made up because why not? The song, released on Soundcloud, is the work of mysterious English music producer Sophie, who I'm dying to know more about. Sophie, if you're reading this, let me know what else you're putting out and gimme the backstory on that neon bacon album art. Hazel


Interview: Still Corners


London-based band Still Corners will be playing our NXNE showcase later today, and vocalist Tessa Murray took some time out of the band's busy schedule to let us know about the band's musical influences and what we can expect to see at the show!
Interview by Katie Gregory

How did you meet and what made you decide to form Still Corners?

Greg started Still Corners and was looking for a singer. In early 2009, we both got on a train that was meant to stop at London Bridge station but the train went straight past and stopped about 20 minutes away. It was a while before the next train and I thought I'd speak to the other person who looked a bit annoyed on the platform. That was Greg, and we got chatting, I told him I was missing choir and after meeting up a few times, we started working on demos together.

If you had to describe your sound to someone who never heard you before, how would you describe it?
It is epic, atmospheric pop.

Who are some of your musical influences?
Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins, Giorgio Moroder, Simon and Garfunkel, New Order, and Yo La Tengo.

How was making your most recent album? Did everything go smoothly or did you guys have any setbacks?
We started working on the record pretty much straight after we turned in Creatures of an Hour. It was smooth sailing, really. We had lots of ideas and tried to get as many of them down as possible. Greg worked a bit more on the production this time and we tried to play around with the vocals a bit more, too. Eventually the songs chose themselves really and Strange Pleasures was born.

What are you most excited to see during your time in Toronto?
I'm looking forward to having a Caesar, I know it's something to drink, rather than something to see but you'll give me that, right?

Drinks totally count. Any other bands you're going to check out during NXNE?
Braids and The Soft Moon, we've played with both of them before and they're awesome live.

We saw The Soft Moon last night and they were great! What are you most excited about for your performance at our show?
We've decided to do something a bit different for our show with you guys. The set will be stripped back from our regular set. We're playing some different songs and bringing it up close and personal so it should be fun!

If you could only listen to one musician for the rest of your life, who would it be?
The Velvet Underground/Lou Reed.

Skins: Series 7

Skins is rebooting some of its most beloved characters for another season—so yep, that means beautiful, angel Effy is coming back to us! As you can see from this newly released promo, there aren't many details about each character's life being leaked yet, but it's safe to say that things definitely seem... different for Effy, as well as the other rebooted characters, Cassie and Cook. Guess we'll all have to wait until this airs in July to see what's really going to go down. —Katie

Resist by Beccy McCray

I'm obsessed with this project titled "Resist" by artist Beccy McCray. The art installation consists of a giant, bubblegum-pink cake situated in an inaccessible, gated space. So, you can only look at it from afar. Cruel! McCray used the cake to represent temptation and greed. I'm not going to lie and say I don't want a slice. Hazel