Shop UO UO Blog

Afterfest LA with Kindness and Ramona Lisa


If you’re in Los Angeles this weekend, you’ll definitely want to make sure you stop by Los Globos in Silverlake today, August 22, to catch Kindness and Ramona Lisa at Afterfest. The name Kindness may be familiar to you as he often tours and works with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, but now he’s on track to release his second studio album, Otherness, this October. Adam Bainbridge, aka Kindness, mixes dance, electronica, and a little disco to create his unique sound. Perfect for any Friday night dance party.



Ramona Lisa, the new solo project by Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, will join Kindness that evening in providing the grooves. Polachek calls Ramona Lisa’s genre “pastoral electronic,” which is realized through rich vocals and calming beats on her debut record Arcadia. Make sure to RSVP for Afterfest here. You know you don’t want to miss this one!

Learn more about AFTERFEST

UO Live: White Lung

If there’s one name to know in punk music today, it's that of Mish Way, frontwoman of White Lung. White Lung originally got their start in Vancouver, and just released their third record, Deep Fantasy, on Domino Records. We recently had a chat with Mish, discussing the resurgence of punk music, her style icons, and everything that contributed to the recording of their new record. Make sure you’re sitting down for this one - it’s a heck of a good read.
Interview by Maddie Sensibile



Hey Mish! How have you been lately?

Fuckin' great. We just played this festival called Fuji Rock, which is held out in the mountains in Mount Fuji. Huge festival, it was great. I was only there for like 36 hours, so we went out, they took us into the festival, we played, we did some press, we went back to Tokyo, we partied with our friends, and then we went home. It was crazy. Japanese crowds are amazing. Everyone who worked at that festival was so polite and respectful and on point. Every piece of gear was perfect, everything you wanted was perfect; it was just very, very lovely. I'm all about the professionalism and they just blew me away.

You recently released Deep Fantasy on Domino Records. Tell me a little bit about the recording process for the record and where you drew inspiration from.

Well, we recorded the record in Vancouver with Jessie Gander, he's our guy. We started writing this record, and recorded half of it in December before I moved down to LA for a bit. Half of the record was written in isolation, which was really beneficial for us. We never heard any of the songs live until Heather and I went up and tracked it. Our guitar player Kenny played both bass and guitar on the record because we kicked out our old bass player. He did both, because he's a genius. The record was done a lot in the studio because we were playing more with tone and trying to piece together a rock record with a missing member. But it actually worked in our benefit because everyone was only bringing their best material forward. When we did work as a group, we couldn't just jam things out live, it had to be a little more calculated, a lot more thought out, and it worked for us. And the inspiration for the record, I just didn't want as much sugar on this record as the last one. I'm not sure if I achieved that, but I personally really wanted to write really strong, accessible vocal melodies that were aggressive and strong but still really catchy.

Deep Fantasy is full of slick and fast punk tunes that sound like they are totally timeless. How do you feel about punk music coming back and being more popular again? What was your goal when creating this record?

To me, punk music never went anywhere because that's the scene that I grew up in. Maybe it's having a resurgence in a more mainstream fashion now, but for us, those are my peers and that's who I toured with. We always put ourselves out into the atmosphere, and that's the great thing about punk - you can do things on your own and you don't need anyone else. That's the whole point of it, you know? I think it's great that loud music is coming back in a more popular way. I think people need it. Our world right now, we're doing everything in subtweets, you know? Punk music brings out true excitement and anger and expression. 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's shows are extremely energetic and clearly elicit a physical response. For you personally, what do you feel is the key to putting on a meaningful live show and connecting with the people in the audience?

As we play venues or bigger stages, like festivals where there's this complete disconnect, I really had to learn how to convey what I'm doing in a bigger way. Put a little more musical theatre into it, you know what I mean? 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. I'm aware that there's people watching me, but if I'm hyper-aware, and I see someone's eyes or something, it takes me away from what I'm doing. In the past I would always have my hair in my face. For me to put on a really good show I need to be completely lost in what I'm doing. It's this completely unaware trance that's happening, and that's when I perform the best. That's when I act the craziest, and that's when I don't care. People like to see you lose control and like to see power. That's how I feel when I'm on stage. I feel really powerful, I feel really excited, I feel really nuts. That's just what the music my bandmates are playing evokes for me, and I think we build from each other. Everyone has their role, but I like my front people to be front people. If you're paying money, I want to put on a show for you. It's exhausting but it's the best thing in the world.

Who have you been listening to on your own lately, while on tour or just in general?

I actually just deleted everything that was on my iPhone and I'm getting all this new stuff. I'm listening to a lot of, and this is probably because of my boyfriend, David Allan Coe's first record called Penitentiary Blues. Pink Mountaintop's new record I'm really into. I'm also listening to this compilation of all these Turkish garage bands from the '70s that I listened to years ago rediscovered again. Also a lot of weird old soul stuff, like Helane Smith and Joanne Garrett; all these old Miami soul artists I'm really enjoying right now. As for new bands' records, Mormon Crosses are coming on tour with us in September, and there's this band Love from the UK that I'm really into. I'm so eclectic with my tastes, I'm always searching for new old music. That's what I was doing yesterday for hours, just scouring old blogspots. People still have all this great shit up they uploaded from super old albums; it's so good.

I know White Lung was originally based out of Vancouver, but I've noticed you've been spending a lot of time in LA lately! How has this city played a part in your music and writing?

Well, now we're even further spread; our guitarist just moved to Montreal. When I was in Vancouver writing that first half of the record, I was very unhappy and I knew I was making this big change and was gonna try and move. I'm back and forth between the two still. I just really needed a step away from what I was doing in Vancouver. I was extremely unhappy and coming here gave me kind of a breath of fresh air. The second half of the record is a lot more positive than the first, and of course all of the songs are mixed up, but LA just put me in a better headspace. Everyone's gotta escape from the place they grew up in. I grew up in Vancouver, and I've been fortunate enough to travel so much that it was okay for a home base for a while, but it finally got to that point where I was sitting here bored out of my mind. I was done. I didn't have any work anymore and I was being paid in all U.S. dollars so what was the point? I really am a lot happier here, I just needed a change of scene. You can't not be happy in LA. It's a city where if you're already established, it's a really good place to come, I love it. I'm a West Coast person.



Now let's take a minute to talk about style. You do a lot of writing on the subject and how it relates to music. Some say there wouldn't be one without the other. How do you feel about the two and how they constantly work together or can they be separate?

They can be separate things, for sure but I feel like at least for me, the way that I use style in my performing helps me get into my character. Being on stage, you're exposing one very specific extension of yourself. Style and fashion is a great way to embody that and amp that up and really give yourself that extra boost to feel good. People are staring at you on stage, so you want to look and feel good to bring out even more confidence and put on a better performance. I used to have a really big issue with fashion, because I never had any money and I had to be creative with it. I would just feel so frustrated with it. When you follow the rules you feel frustrated but then you realize no one who's got great style follows rules. And, as I got older and got more comfortable with myself, I embraced fashion in a different way. I love it now. Being a female, too, gave me this total leg up with style. It can be frustrating when we're all having those days where you wake up and you hate everything in your closet and you hate your body, whatever, but those are the best days because you've gotta figure out a way to get around that. That's like a weird female thing, but it's an interesting part of it. Style is really important to me and has become more and more important as I've gotten older and I think it has a lot to do with confidence. All the people that I know who I think have the best style, they're just wearing whatever the hell they want, and it looks good because they feel so confident. I think the person with the best style in rock and roll, hands down forever, and will be Jennifer Herrema. She dresses insane. It's because she's made this self and this character and no one can pull off what she does. She looks incredible.

Who would you call your #1 musical style icon?

Probably Jennifer Herrema. And Judy Cole of Dead Moon. She picks one outfit that she wears for an entire tour. It's so cool, she'll just wear that every night and it's like her uniform. It's so badass. I've always loved Courtney Love and '90s style. The whole babydoll Kinderwhore thing, that was great. I think Jennifer Herrema is probably the most inspiring to me because she found this really great stride of hitting the mark between sexy and kind of butch. She's got this real fear in her style, I don't know. Little funny things, you know. If you can pull butch and sexy together, those are my two favorite things I'm always drawn to.

***

Join us for the filming of our UO Live video series with White Lung on 8/21 in LA at Space 15 Twenty! Want in? Pick up your wristband at Space 15 Twenty anytime. Doors open at 7pm. Get there early for music, dancing, and free beer!

About A Girl: Maddie Sensibile


For the past two years, our music blogger Maddie Sensibile has been our go-to gal out on the West Coast. With an eye for casually cool fashion and a knack for blending high-end and low-end pieces, Maddie's been a never-ending source of inspiration for us all. Since she's always on top of the latest music releases (she's like the Energizer Bunny when it comes to attending shows), we gave her her own column, "I'm With The Band," to give her the chance to chat to and photograph all the most talked about musicians. For this About A Girl, since we've been so inspired by Maddie for so long, it only made sense to feature her and let the whole world know a little bit more about our favorite girl.
Photography by Emmanuel Olunkwa. Styling by Rachel Ritter.



Hi Maddie! Can you talk to us a little bit about yourself and your background?


Hey! Yes. I’m 20 years old and grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, CA. I’m currently in my final year of college, studying Photojournalism and Anthropology. I’m a bonafide music lover and spend most of my time thinking about that!

Tell us a little bit about what you do for Urban Outfitters. How did you get involved with the Urban Outfitters blog?

I’ve been a freelance writer for the UO blog for about two years now. During the Rookie Road Trip in 2012, I met some incredible people that got me involved with the blog team, and it has been an incredible partnership ever since! I’m currently writing mostly music-related things for the UO blog and have my own column, “I’m With the Band.”



What other things are you working on in your spare time?

Right now in my spare time I am mostly working on my post-college plans which will probably include graduate school, and I also am hoping to start some sort of new lifestyle website or magazine in the next year or so. I really want to evolve my fashion blog, Obsessee into something new.

How do you spend a day off? Can you walk us through a daily routine?

Usually, when I’m not in school or busy doing something else, I like to go around LA to art museums or find new places to eat with my best friend Maggie. She always finds the best places! I’m a total foodie. I also have been really into comedy lately and enjoy going to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Franklin Village. The Cinefamily is also great, over on Fairfax. I just saw The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night there. The theatre itself is an old silent movie theatre, but now it draws interesting crowds for the quirky movies they show. As far as a daily routine goes when I’m not going out, I usually wake up, play with my dogs for a good while, and spend a lot of time on the web blogging or watching Kyle Mooney’s YouTube videos, then I’ll usually go to dinner with a friend or something later in the day. I’m guilty of enjoying being a couch potato from time to time.



You live in California. How has that shaped your tastes?


In the last two or three years I’ve become really close with people who like going to gigs and being surrounded by music. This has really helped me immerse myself in the scene here. There’s always something to do and see, whether it be in Silverlake at Lolipop Records or in Orange County with Burger Records. I think the huge wave of DIY record labels, like Burger and Lolipop, has helped people realize they can play music and be serious about it. These DIY record labels are run by extremely genuine people, which I think allows these young people new ways to produce music and put themselves out there. I think living in Los Angeles has given me a sense of freedom because there are so many creative people here. Someone is always up to something new, which is very exciting. There is a sense of purpose here, which has definitely driven me to be cultured and curious when it comes to music, fashion, art, etc.

Were there any bands your parents turned you onto that made you fall in love with music at an early age?

Funnily enough, I learned about music and everything I currently love through my own research. My parents always talk about Fleetwood Mac, though. I’d say they’re my parents’ favorite band, and one of mine too. My dad actually saw The Rolling Stones with me last year, and he’s been talking to me a lot more about rock and roll since then. We both really love Led Zeppelin, as well.



Who are some of your current/new favorites?

Lately I’ve been listening to a ton of Fleetwood Mac, specifically their Rumours record, and Stevie Nicks’ The Wild Heart. I’m also into the Talking Heads, Television, Led Zeppelin, and The Gun Club. Other, “newer” favorites for me are Arcade Fire. I’ve been listening to their new record Reflektor ever since it was released in October. That record was such a new direction for them and it is so great to dance to. I've also been listening to The White Stripes a lot, since I’m sad I never got to see them live! Seeing Jack White live, though, has filled the void. I can’t complain. The “newest” band I’ve been heavily listening to is SKATERS from New York City. I actually spoke to them last October for UO when they opened for Palma Violets in LA, and I just love their attitude and everything about them. My other go-to bands of the moment are The Babies, Twin Peaks, Mac Demarco, Real Estate, Drowners, Blood Orange, and Angel Olsen.

Your blog Obsessee focuses more on fashion than music. When did you first find yourself becoming interested in fashion?

I really became interested in fashion my freshman year of high school and then it really expanded from there. Initially I paid attention to the runways, and then it grew into a love of couture and all things ornate. I used to be into being really trendy and always wearing the newest thing, but now my love of fashion is more so a love of fashion as art. I don’t post on my fashion blog as much as I used to, but I still love to share my inspirations on the main blog, and I post more often on my Tumblr, which is more of a stream-of-consciousness for me.



How would you describe your personal style? Where do you draw your own fashion inspiration from?

My personal style mostly draws from musical icons and street style photos. British people specifically inspire me; they are so carefree with how they dress and have such a “whatever” attitude when it comes to their style. They’ll look so put together, but really they just threw on some cool leather piece that they’ve had in their closet for years. There is a book by author Sam Knee called A Scene In Between that has really become a style bible for me. The book is essentially a book made up of photos from the mid ‘80s to early ‘90s of the British music scene of the time. Knee shared photos of everyone from Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Orange Juice, and The Smiths, who all felt inspired by the ‘60s, but the look they created was grungier and all their own. A Scene In Between really explains how I see my style. It is always evolving, and always pulls from different eras, and you want to look like one person from, say, the ‘60s, but you’ll never nail it, so you just add your own touch. Music will always inspire my style because there is also a certain look that goes with a type of music. Bands like The Beatles and Nirvana really solidify that thought, in my opinion. I really love Bobby Gillespie’s style and Mick Jagger’s, from the earlier days of The Rolling Stones. My style is minimal, androgynous, and includes lots of stripes.

You’re also a talented photographer. When did you first become interested in photography? What cameras do you like to work with?

I started learning about photography in middle school when a few other friends of mine became interested in it. I took a liking to fashion photography early on, then moved onto art photography. I mostly like to work with film cameras, usually just little cameras I can take with me anywhere. I specifically like this one Canon AF35M camera I bought for $20 a few years ago. It has never let me down! It was Canon’s first point and shoot camera, which is super cool to me. When shooting film, it is really fun to play with older cameras, and toy cameras, as well. I do shoot digital more often when it comes to my work at school, and I admit, I may be a convert! But right now, shooting film and working in a darkroom is my “happy place”!



Are there artists, photographers, etc that you admire?

My favorite artists and photographers are Andy Warhol, Stephen Shore, Alia Penner, John Altoon, and Nan Goldin. I met Stephen Shore a few months ago and I was so starstruck. I think his work is my favorite because it incorporates aspects of both art and photojournalism and is very open-ended. Shore’s work really focuses on the open-road which I really love. His early color photography is so vibrant and always excites me when I see it.

Do you have any advice for other young girls who are looking to become journalists/photographers?

My best advice for girls who want to be successful in the future is to always let people know that you are willing to work and put out the best work that you can. That will always be noticed and that is what has helped me the most in the last few years. Making yourself and your career goals known will always help you achieve your goals.

What are your plans for the future? How would you like to be remembered?

I’m hoping after college and graduate school I can work as a journalist who focuses on mostly music and art. Right now I’m also very interested in museum studies and becoming a museum curator. I’d love to work somewhere like the EMP Museum in Seattle working specifically on music history exhibits. I’m hoping I can use my studies in anthropology to help me with that. I’d like to be remembered as someone genuine and as a creative professional!

Shop Maddie's vinyl picks

Happenings: Afterfest LA

L.A., listen up! Next Friday, August 22, we'll be throwing another one of our fun-filled AFTERFEST parties! This time we'll be setting up shop at Los Globos (3040 Sunset Blvd.) from 9pm-3am, and we will be hosting performances by Ramona Lisa and Kindness. As always, Dave P. and Sammy Slice of Making Time will be there to DJ throughout the night to keep the masses dancing. Attending the event is free but you must RSVP beforehand as space is limited. Make sure to arrive early to guarantee admission and we'll see you out there, L.A.!



RSVP here

First Look: Westwood Store

Exciting news: our store in Westwood Los Angeles just doubled! And here's a first look.






To celebrate ten years of UO Westwood, we relocated the original store on Westwood Boulevard just down the street into two new stores — it's a first for us, and we're excited to share what's in store! 

Now open for business is our first-ever UO Men’s and Music Store, featuring majorly-expanded denim and shoe shops and an 800+ title vinyl section. It's also our first location to have an in-store snack shop, and we're partnering with up-and-coming companies like Cool Haus (fancy ice cream sandwiches!) to keep an arsenal of treats in stock.  

Directly next door will be the women's shop, with women's clothes, beauty, housewares, and shoes. 



Stay tuned to be the first to know more about LA exclusives, our opening party, and all the in-store events we have in-the-works!


UO Westwood
1038 Westwood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

About a Girl: Best Friends on the Road

With the long days of summer comes the itch to get up from our desks, get out, and explore—whether that means finally putting our dusty passports to use or just making a point to find newness in the familiar. 

To learn more about the latter, we called on the expertise of Los Angeles-based best friends Melanie Ayer and Kristine Claghorn. The girls initially met through each of their boyfriends (and Melanie's now-husband), both members of the band the Local Natives. Frequently making trips back and forth to see their guys on tour, Mel and Kristine's friendship has been largely built on the road...time spent on long plane rides, car trips, and nights in tour bus bunk beds. 

We caught up with the duo on a rare weekend at home, following them around on their perfect LA day. We asked them to share travel stories, packing lists, and their curated itinerary of what to see and do in their own stomping grounds. It's a timely reminder: sometimes you don't need to go far to find an escape. Photography by Chantal Anderson | styling by Katrina Thomson 

Hello K + M! Can you each introduce yourself, please? 

Kristine: I’m an Indiana native, but I’ve now lived in LA for three years. After graduating from Indiana University, I interviewed at a custom apparel company in LA, got the job, and packed up and moved two weeks later! It was a whirlwind. I’m now doing social media for them, so I spend most of my day on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

Mel: I’m a California girl, born and raised. I grew up in the Bay Area, about an hour outside of San Francisco, and I always dreamt of living in LA. It had a sparkle to it. I made the move after college to pursue a career in television. I love living in such a creative city that fuels so many of my passions: writing, photography, and collaborative brainstorms.

 

Set the scene for us about how you two initially met.  

Kristine: Mel and I met for the first time in 2011 at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. The next time we hung out was on a trip to New York about four months later. It was Halloween weekend and we ended up at a random loft party in Manhattan. Mel and I took over the music and had our own dance party in the living room. It was hilarious because it was just us (and a random guy dressed as a ghost) dancing the entire night.

Mel: That New York trip is definitely what sparked the goofy, carefree side of our friendship. We have so many inside jokes and silly nicknames that stemmed from a series of awkward events throughout that day. We always get into the strangest situations when we’re together.

You obviously have a connection through the band, but how has your friendship evolved through this?  

Kristine: When I met Mel, I was still living in Indiana. We chatted online about our relationships and interests...and that really helped us get close. I moved to LA the next year, and Mel was the head of my welcoming party. She helped me find my first studio apartment and drove me around after my car was stolen...oh, LA. 

When our guys are away on tour, we spend a lot of time together both at home and planning trips to visit them together. When they’re busy with the band, Mel and I have our own little adventures. Once we stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and got massages & facials. It ended up being a couples massage, which was hilarious.

Tell us some stories about traveling together. What trips stand out, both good and bad? 

Kristine: One of my favorite trips was a day we had in Columbus, Ohio last summer. Mel is the master at finding good spots and she had bookmarked a bunch of cute stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, you name it. We had so much fun exploring, dancing around, and taking pictures.   

Mel: Most of our recent travel has been on the road in a tour bus. This means we’ve had nights with little sleep thanks to bumpy roads, strange food in the middle of nowhere, crazy cab rides, and so many airport drop off and pick ups. We’re almost always on the go. I think my favorite thing about traveling with Kristine is that she always shows up with her favorite pillow, which is a green, squishy cylinder shape that she calls “Pickle”...and also a pack of Lysol wipes to clean off the arm rests and tray tables on airplanes.

 

What are some tips for traveling with friends and not going crazy?

Kristine: My biggest advice is to make sure you like your friends! Mel and I are both good at going with the flow and taking moments as they come, but also like to have a little list of things we’d like to do. There have been times that we’ve had to wait in long lines at the airport, which can be infuriating. Instead of getting annoyed and impatient, we just laugh it off. If you remind yourself that you’re with someone you love, you can make any situation fun. Don’t take anything too seriously!

Mel: I have to say that I love a good bike tour. It’s a great way to take in a city without worrying about maps and directions. Everyone can just follow the guide and have fun together. And I agree with Kristine. It’s really important to go with the flow and remember that sometimes the plan isn’t going to work out exactly how you thought it would. And the cool thing about travel is that it’s always reminding you that the spontaneous, unexpected moments usually end up being the most memorable.

What items are always in your travel bag?

Kristine: a chunky sweater, a fully-charged laptop, face elixir by Caudalie, and vitamin E oil as a moisturizer.

Mel: Batiste dry shampoo, Yes to Cucumbers facial towelettes, and a swim suit — just in case!

 

What destinations are on your travel wish list?

Kristine: I’m dying to go to Spain. I majored in Spanish in college and didn’t study abroad, so I would love to be able to go use what I’ve learned. I also want to go to Tokyo, Paris, and South America. It’s pretty hard to narrow down because I’d be happy to go just about anywhere. I’ve been able to see a lot of the U.S. in the past few years and I want to eventually visit all 50 states.

Mel: Bali, Morocco, Melbourne, and I’d love to spend more time in London and Paris.

Walk us through the recipe for an ideal LA “staycation”

Kristine: I’d begin the day with yoga at Yogala in Echo Park or a hike up to the Griffith Observatory. There’s a great little café at bottom of Griffith, Trails Cafe, where you can grab coffee or tea before making the walk up to the top. After, I’d go grab brunch at Local on Sunset. On Saturdays, you can walk down the street to the Silverlake Farmers' Market, which is the place to go for vintage finds on a budget. Painted Bird is another vintage store favorite of mine. For dinner, I’d make the trek downtown to Bäco Mercat and to The Pie Hole for dessert. Make sure to get slices of the Mexican chocolate and the Earl Grey pie. They’re to die for.

Mel: I would start with a massage at The Raven Spa in Silver Lake. It’s so peaceful there, and it’s the perfect place to de-stress and get inspired. From there I’d visit Atwater and grab a burrito at Tacos Villa Corona, and stop at Individual Medley, one of our favorite local shops. For a dinner date, I’d go to Canele. On day two, I’d drive to the West side. The Getty is a great spot for checking out art and amazing views of the city. For dinner I’d want to try one of the many restaurants still my list to check out, like Superba Snack Bar or Son of a Gun. Lastly, I love going to the movies at the Arclight in Hollywood. The chairs are super comfy and the screen in the Dome is massive!

What is it about LA that keeps you there?

Kristine: Since moving to LA, I’ve met so many inspiring people that have helped pave my way into the creative world here. I have collaborated with Kate Miss and Katrina Thomson on lookbooks for their handmade jewelry. I also worked with Wade Koch on a music video for Mister Goodnite.  I do freelance graphic design and styling, and I just started my own blog. Being surrounded by such a supportive community of creatives has really helped me grow into my own. It’s nice to connect with friends that give you the push you need to get started. 

Mel: What I love about LA is connecting with creatives on projects, big or small. I’ve written articles for a friend’s magazine, modeled for a friend’s knitting bookand danced in a friend’s music video. There are so many inspiring people to talk to and it’s really fun to see what a conversation with a new person will lead to. I also love connecting my friends with other friends when they’re looking for a certain skilled person to work with on any particular type of project. It’s exciting to find that perfect match—the missing link—that fits right into the puzzle, and see them all create something awesome together.


Near and Far: Victory Press x UO


Victory Press is designer Jessica Humphrey and artist Jonathan Cammisa, collaborating to create a collection of men’s clothing inspired by post modern art, prints and silhouettes of ‘80s skate and surf culture, and the functionality, integrity and ideology of ‘90s outdoors wear.

En route to launch a Victory Press pop-up event at our Los Angeles-based concept store Space 15 Twenty, Jess and Jonathan drove across the country, visiting American factories and getting up close and personal with the country’s great outdoors. Here, the design duo lets us in on every adventure of their nationwide trek.







How did you two come together and launch Victory Press?
Jess: Jonathan grew up in South Philadelphia skating. He was heavy into grafitti and hip hop, and he spent his summers at the Jersey Shore. I grew up in Virginia Beach surrounded by surfing and skateboarding, and as a teenager photographed every punk and hardcore band that came through my town. We met about five years ago in Vinegar Hill, a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. We both were obsessed with 1980s and ‘90s vintage clothing and we had the same taste in art and music, so we became best friends. We decided to start a clothing line out of a shared realization that outdoors wear just wasn't cool. We wanted to make outdoors wear that like-minded people want to wear.

Tell us about the Victory Press pop-up that brought you across the country!
Our friend Kyle came to our studio one day and proposed we set up shop at Space 15 Twenty for the summer of 2014. As a new brand, we were stoked on the opportunity to build out a space with our creative vision and spread our ideas to the West Coast. So, we though it was only appropriate to see the country on our way here so we can tell our story to you.







What was your favorite city or pit-stop along the way?
Mystic Hot Springs, Utah was by far the most interesting destination. We spent a few hours soaking in old claw foot tubs filed in with mineral rich hot springs with epic views of the Utah Mountains. Mystic Mike, who hosts the property, has an extensive collection of posters and stickers he's illustrated for touring bands, including the Grateful Dead. He also has a YouTube channel where he hosts live music and does an awesome job recording. There is also a collection of buses previously owned by Deadheads, for which you can rent and sleep over, if you want. It was truly a mystical moment. And then there was Yellowstone National Park—there are no words for how beautiful it is there.

Any travel mishaps?
Not really. We had good vibes on our side!

What was your day-to-day life like on the road?
We woke up. I'd heat us up some Grady's Coffee we cold brewed the night before. I might have some time to make breakfast while the boys break down the camp. If not, it was Early Bird Granola and yogurt and then we were on the road. Some days were long drives—almost 14 hours. We literally drove until it was time to sleep. Our meals that day would be "Jon's Back Seat Turkey Sandwiches" and the good old gas station special. The other days we'd drive for six hours or so and set up camp. We'd cook chili or hamburgers, relax, shoot our BB gun, then go to sleep extra early, wake up, maybe do a hike and then hit the road again. We were lucky enough to spend a good stint in Yellowstone and Utah where we could meander a little more and soak up the environment. We drove through 15 states in seven days, so there wasn't a whole lot of time to stay idle.







What were some of the best and worst meals you had while traveling?
The best meal was the chili we cooked over campfire the first night in Yellowstone. We brought our cast iron dutch oven and made a slow cooked chili and cornbread. We set up camp with the Grand Teton mountains as our backdrop, with no other human in site. It was magical. We actually ruled on the food tip. Even the sixth time we had turkey sandwiches, they were delicious!

What are your top five travel essentials?
Our trusty Birkenstocks, Oberto Beef Jerky, Snowpeak Titanium Stove, our dog, Jasper, and Santa Maria Novella Potpourri (for the stinky truck).

What advice would you give to someone about to embark on a cross-country trip?
Give yourself a good month because there is too much awesomeness to see.





The Victory Press x Ours Gallery summer pop-up shop at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahunega Blvd) is open now and runs through July 27, 2014.


UPDATE: Now you can watch the video Victory Press made with the help of Nathan Caswell about their cross country trip!

UO Video Series: Spoon


Playtime for one group of beings can be angst-riddled Armageddon for another. If that sounds way too close to some kind of intense Bruce Willis film, just think about the difference in perspective between ants and humans at a picnic, and you’ll get the gist of music video director Hiro Murai’s not-that-serious thought process when creating the video for “Do You” by Spoon, off their forthcoming They Want My Soul on Loma Vista.







We’re hanging out beneath a windswept tent in the abandoned parking lot of a shop long out of business that, in its heyday, was amazingly named “Travel Around the World with Bertrand Smith’s Acres of Books.” (Yes, that was the whole name of one single business.) A pyro crew’s on deck, prepping a trashed-out Mercedes and some rubber tires with industry secret sauce to sustain some serious flames. The art department is littering all kinds of detritus on the grounds, right in front of the police. Hey, it wouldn’t be the end of existence without at least a little rubble.

“Not to get super heady about a music video concept,” Hiro says, “but I’m really interested in a pocket moment that takes place in a doomsday world.” In the case of this video, that means Britt Daniel, the lead singer of Spoon, is cruising in a vintage Plymouth wagon through a very lackadaisical Sunset Drive kind of vibe, and it just so happens that the buildings are on fire behind him. Which is actually kind of what Los Angeles feels like sometimes anyway, metaphorically, Hiro concedes. “Hey, once you own the chaos of the apocalypse,” he says, “there’s a certain kind of calmness to it.”

Just then Britt walks up, head to toe in black, before he hits makeup for some bandages and bruises. “We’ve never really made a video where I totally understood the concept,” he says. “But this one, I get it.”







Though they’d had several conversations over the phone about the video, Hiro and Britt are meeting for the first time on set. (The rest of the band was back home in Austin, enjoying the day off.) “This is one of those videos we have to rehearse 800 times and then do it once correctly,” says Hiro, explaining why we’ve been watching them do laps around the parking lot for hours. The video is to be shot almost entirely in one take.

“I like really deliberate filmmaking,” Hiro says. “I like things that are very in control—the pace of the storytelling, what you show the audience, and when. Although I don’t know why I haven’t learned my lesson from the one-shot thing, because every time I do it, it’s such a pain in the ass.”







Britt isn’t worried in the slightest. “I looked at Hiro’s videos and it seemed like he really knew what he was doing. Like he had a flair for the bizarre and the unique.” It’s part of an aesthetic his band’s been mining for two decades and eight full-length albums.

Sometimes music videos “can be one of those things that you ‘have’ to do for a record,” says Britt, “but I’m enjoying this one because I have a good feeling about it.” The way he sees it, he explains, “is that we’re seeing the last scene of a movie, right? And you as the viewer is dropped into this last scene without understanding the full context. I’ve been battered around, and I’m driving down the street and you don’t really understand what’s going on. You see a few reveals of who I’ve got in the car, you see there’s all this destruction going on. The car’s on fire, people are running, you don’t really understand why. And the last bit of video…”

Well, if we continued with the explanation, what would be the point in watching? No spoiler alerts here: check it out and find out how it ends yourself. Photography by Mike Selsky

Pre-order They Want My Soul on vinyl

Studio Visit: Level Naturals, BYRD, and Poppy And Someday

For this installment of Local Beauty, we're heading to sunny Southern California to visit three favorite apothecary lines from the golden coast. Below, three behind-the-scenes glimpses inside the studios of Level Naturals, BYRD, and Poppy and Someday



Level Naturals is a natural soap line founded in 2009 by Jonathan Dubuque and Sabrina Robertson from their organic farm in Hawaii. Now housed in the old PBR brewery in downtown Los Angeles, we talked with Jonathan and Sabrina about loving Los Angeles, drawing inspiration from Thai spice markets, and fueling a business on "elbow grease and coffee." Photos by Chantal Anderson


Why L.A.? What was it that drew you to the city and why have you stayed? 
Jonathan: Why? Because Los Angeles is awesome. Yeah the traffic sucks, and there are no seasons, and every waiter is an actor trying desperately to get a walk-on role on some NBC show and we have the whole boulevard of broken dreams, etc. But, even with all of that going against us, L.A. has an incredible art scene that’s becoming more and more supportive of younger artists, we have the Dodgers and the Kings, you can ride your bike anywhere, and the city is pretty much a giant canvas. Dream it, print it, wheat paste it—you have a city-wide gallery show of your very own. Also, even with all the downside perspective of how many people move here with high hopes of becoming the next big thing and never making it, it’s still a city that has hope and is full of people dreaming. There is something pretty amazing about being in a place with so many people doing everything they can to get what they want. For all of these reasons, I stay here. 

Above: Level's Coffee Almond Salt Soak, made from coffee, four varieties kinds of salt, coffee extract, coffee butter, and almond essential oil.

Can you catch me up to speed on the history of Level Naturals?  
Jonathan: After a ton of wine in a hammock in Hawaii, waiting out what everyone was saying was going to be the storm of the century, we decided soap was how we would make our mark. A couple months later, I left my farm and moved to L.A. to start working with my bestie Sabrina in her garage and started studying plant chemistry. We had a blast doing it; it's a lot like being pastry chef and getting to play alchemy. Within a year we had our first store and six months after that we got to open a manufacturing plant in DTLA at the old Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery. What started out with just the two of us then quickly grew to the 12 people we have on staff now. 

Above: The process of making a Level Naturals bath bomb. The brand scoops 10,000 a week! 

How do you describe the brand?
Sabrina: Delicious. No, really: We want everything to be a sensual experience where you can have luxury without compromising your values, the environment, or your health. Everything we make is made with food-grade products because we discovered that you absorb more of what you put on your skin that what you put in your mouth. So we made everything food-safe (though the only really tasty thing is our body polish… mmmm sugar). 

What’s your production process like? 
Jonathan: Elbow grease and coffee. How it's evolved is definitely more hands, more elbow grease, and a ton more coffee. We still make everything by hand. We used to buy essential oils by the ounce and we would get these orders of 16 ounces of essential oils. We would just stare at these “GIANT” bottles and have no clue how we could ever possibly use that much. Now we are ordering 100 pounds of each essential oil and 55 gallon drums of all of our plant oils. We definitely still have our 'WTF' moments when we receive four pallets of ingredients and can’t believe how we are ever gonna get through all of that material. A week later we are laughing when we are doubling our order. 

Above: stacks of soap ready for packaging. 

It seems like you're well-traveled! Tell us more about travel as an inspiration source. 
Jonathan: Travel has definitely been a huge part of it. We spent a ton of time in Costa Rica just taking deep breaths and smelling all these different rich aromas. Or the spice markets in Thailand and the farmers' markets in Germany selling fresh herbs. In Costa Rica the first thing you do is find a Ylang Ylang tree and pick some blossoms and throw them on your dashboard. The sun cooks them there and fills your car with the greatest scent.  

What three products are in your Level Naturals starter kit? 
The starter kit would definitely be the Shower Bombs, Active Charcoal Soap, and the Room and Body Mist—the essential set for any day!


Above: production scenes at Level Naturals HQ

Give us your quick-hits city guide: what are some of your favorite local spots?  
Jonathan: The L.A. food scene is blowing up right now, always some new incredible place opening up. Amazing sushi like Sugarfish. Some of my favorite spots are The Gorbals in DTLA, Bacaro LA, and Bestia. [Editor's Note: check out The Gorbals' new NYC outpost at UO's Brooklyn concept store Space Ninety 8

Sabrina: The complex we work in, The Brewery, is the the world's largest artist-in-residence community, [including] over 300 lofts and lots of creative and interesting people. We have our own bar and restaurant and now a climbing gym. I live on campus and love it. The whole downtown area is really becoming a great place to be. I've been here off and on since 2000 and have watched it develop into a really fun and vital neighborhood.






How did a professional surfer become the founder of a haircare company? Ask Quiksilver surfer Chase Wilson, the 23-year-old owner of BYRD, a line offering top-of-the line pomades and styling products with a surfer's lifestyle in mind. Chase talked to us about his style icons, "looking slick," and his five-year plan to abolish bad hair days. Photos provided by BYRD. 



Hi Chase! So how did this all begin? 
Being from Newport, the hub of surf culture, I grew up surfing as an amateur and then professionally. You could presume that a surfer starting a men’s hair care line with nothing to do in the cosmetics industry is obscure, [but] having your own look and style and paying attention to your appearance were traits bred in me. I look up to style icon Steve McQueen a lot; even surf legends Robert August and Mike Hynson of The Endless Summer era. There was a greater appreciation for grooming back then that I feel is coming around full circle. Guys are starting to give a shit about how they look and making a first impression. 

In the early stages of high school my friend introduced me to my first "fade" and I was hooked ever since. I feel like things just fell into place after that. There was never a styling pomade I loved that catered to my everyday surfing lifestyle being in and out of the ocean—I wanted a great all-around pomade that I could throw in, go surf, and come out with the same salty slick. I started making home batches of pomade with melted-down beeswax and essential oils in crock pot. After all those failed, I researched a team of chemists to work with on the first BYRD pomade samples. After some months of testing, the idea realized and BYRD Products was born.  

Are you still surfing professionally? How do you find balance there between these two responsibilities? 
Yes, I'm still surfing professionally with Quicksilver. I travel around the world doing the World Qualifying Series (WQS), which is a series of professional surf competitions. Between my surfing career and business, I keep myself busy. It’s a pretty rad thing when work doesn’t really feel like work. 


Tell us something we do not know about surfing.  
All it takes is one session and you're hooked for life. 

Tell us something we do not know about haircare.  
We've commissioned "scientific studies" that showed looking slick = getting babes. 


Tell us more about the BYRD headquarters. 
Our space, The Byrd's Nest is in Culver City. I don't know how to articulate it other than being our office, home, barbershop and event venue all in one creative space. It's one of those things you just have to see for yourself. Within the property's existing building, we installed recycled shipping containers that make up the living quarters and Byrd's Barber Shop.  


Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in L.A. right now? 
One of my favorite happenings going on in the L.A. social scene is this bar, The Bungalow. It's right on Ocean in Santa Monica and it has the setting of a '60s beach house party. If you haven't already, I would suggest checking it out.  

What's next? 
Right now the focus is launching our new collection of styling pomades that we've done an exclusive run of with Urban Outfitters. These will be released within the next month and we're really excited about how the final product has manifested. Talking long term, you can bet to see the brand conquering hair care then expanding into other markets and categories while always tying back to our roots. It's all a huge learning curve for me so I'm just doing my best to steer it in the right direction. Say in five years, I want people to know me as the kid who abolished bad hair days! 






Poppy And Someday is a natural apothecary line started by Kari Jansen, an Ayurvedic practitioner and herbalist with a background in nutrition. The brand combines, as she explains, "a passion for plants with a love of gardening, wildcrafting, and herbal medicine." We spoke with Kari about the process of creating products by hand, natural stress remedies, and what L.A. musicians she's into right now.  Photos by Magda Wosinska 


Hi Kari! How would you describe Poppy and Someday? 
Poppy and Someday was inspired by plants and their remarkable ability to heal and teach. This product line features an evolving collection of organic body care products, each of which is comprised of a unique blend of constitutional ingredients. The product design process is rooted in the study of Ayurveda and Western Herbalism and focuses on native plant ingredients. 

Tell me about the ingredients you use. 
The ingredients that are used in all of my products are organic and plant-based with no fillers or synthetic additives. Any ingredient not homegrown is sourced from a highly reputable farm in Eugene, Oregon called Mountain Rose Herbs


Tell us something we do not know about Ayurveda as it relates to apothecary products.  
With an extensive study of Ayurvedic medicine, I can rely on my dosha knowledge to help bring balance to everyone who tries my products—the doshas are Vata (air and ether), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (earth and water). 

You can bring balance within yourself by healing with the opposite qualities or attributes. For example: If you are dry and ungrounded, the salves would be beneficial to your everyday routine. Dry is a characteristic of Vata and the salve represents the earth element of Kapha. So, if you are feeling anxiety or insomnia then try a self massage with salve and oils on your body to help calm your mind and soothe your nerves.   


Why LA?  
On my first visit, I was drawn and captivated by the overall magic of Laurel Canyon. This canyon is well-renowned as a bohemian neighborhood noted for its music and artisan history and culture. Laurel Canyon provides me with creative inspiration within its breathtaking canyons and serene surroundings.  


Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in L.A. right now?
Some of my favorite Los Angeles pastimes are hiking in Topanga Canyon, where I can enjoy amazing ocean views. On my way to the hike I love to stop at Heyoka Hideout, where some amazing women who hand make beautiful leather bags manage one of my favorite vintage shops. The Filth Mart in West Hollywood is also a regular stopover of mine. 

For dining, Pace serves up delicious pizza and outstanding wine in the heart of Laurel Canyon. However, nothing beats a great margarita at El Condor in Silverlake then on to the Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd for some live music. I love to see Allah-Las, Tift Merritt, Jonathan Wilson, and Dawes there. 


SHOP POPPY & SOMEDAY ON UO BEAUTY

Shop Local Beauty in Los Angeles

For more UO Studio Visits posts:
Portland, OR  /  Brooklyn, NY

Studio Visit: Alia Penner


Alia Penner is a modern-day pop artist based in Los Angeles. Penner lives in a quiet, colorful home atop a hill in the Mount Washington area of Los Angeles that overlooks Downtown. Inside her home you'll also find her studio, where she works her magic. Penner's home is a place of absolute wonder; the rooms are filled with her own work, found objects, and of course, her furry grey cat, Edie. Aside from traditional mediums, Alia also works with fashion and film. Currently she works largely with Cinespia, and recently worked with Anna Sui. I had a quick chat with Alia to learn a bit more about her work, and how much she loves balloons and Miss Piggy.
Interview by Maddie Sensibile

Alia Penner wearing Romance Was Born's 'Dream On' collection.



Hi Alia! Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to be an artist.
I grew up in Topanga Canyon, which is a really special place to grow up in. I’m actually third generation; my grandfather lived there and then my dad grew up there too, right next door to where I grew up. Now I live in Mount Washington which is kind of like Topanga-ish, close to Downtown L.A. I always wanted to be an artist. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a cartoonist, I wanted to be a fashion designer, and I wanted to be anything that had to do with art. I just drew all the time, since before I can remember. I went to art school at Otis, and I’ve just been a freelance artist since I graduated.

Your work is definitely reminiscent of the 1960s and '70s. What about that time period stands out to you?
I guess just the color and freedom. I feel like the '60s and '70s were also pretty inspired by other time periods as well. So it’s kind of like when people say that my art is inspired by '60s and '70s, I feel like there’s so many different places that I’m taking inspiration from, like art nouveau, or deco. There’s just so many points are jumping off points. I love psychedelic artwork.



Other than those decades, what primarily inspires your work?
I’m a big collector of books. I think books are really important, and I think you should have as many as you can fit in your house. I love having things in my hands. I love searching for things, I love treasure hunting, I love going to flea markets and finding crazy things. I just found this insane wheel of fortune from this old carnival. I’m super into movies and I watch them all the time. My boyfriend started the movies at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, so I help program movies there, which is so inspiring. It's fun to curate and create a whole experience. I’m really excited about Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on June 21. But just being able to pick something like that…Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!  The photobooth is going to be amazing!


"DVF Pop Wrap Animation for the Warhol Foundation made by me"

You do a lot of collaborative work as well. What do you enjoy most about pairing fashion with art?
I love working in fashion. I think you should dress as silly and crazy as you want every day. I love dressing up and playing a role which goes back to movies, and being inspired by fashion and movies. Making clothes on my own was really exciting and hopefully I get to do more of that in the future, selling my dresses at Colette. I only made like ten of them or something. I really love working with Anna Sui, and I think we will be working together again soon. I did her backdrop for her fashion show a couple seasons ago, and she’s such a hero and so cool. I got to visit her in her studio and she had books everywhere stacked high as the ceiling.

What are your go to films that have impeccable fashion and art direction?
My favorite, favorite ones…I love Smile with Bruce Dern. That movie is one of my favorites. I love pageants and over the top fashions for that, the ‘70s rad teenage girls in that are really funny. I love musicals, all kinds of musicals. I could watch Esther Williams and all those amazing Ziegfeld Follies all day long. I just watched Witches of Eastwick again, and there’s this one scene in it that blew my mind. I’m obsessed with balloons and re-watching the scene where they’re holding thousands of pink balloons in the ballroom and then they dance through them... I mean, what beats that?


Alia Penner's Balloon Girl Performance starring Labanna Babalon.



Who would you call your style icon?
Miss Piggy, definitely, is a style icon for me. I love Miss Piggy, I love the Muppets. I have a book called Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life and there are some really important lessons.
Zandra Rhodes, another designer that I’ve met and interviewed before, she is just insanely cool. Pink hair. Like, I love how rad you can be when you’re old. You don’t have to be an insane plastic surgery lady. You can be a badass with pink hair and tons of black eyeliner and wear whatever you want. I almost can’t wait to be that.

What has been your favorite project to date?
I directed my first music video for Jena Malone this year, which was a really special experience to work with her. We covered her in flowers and glitter and nothing else. Another favorite project I did last year was painting Katy Perry’s piano. That’s probably the best. It's so special because it’s this object that you know is gonna be around forever. It's covered in red roses and ice cream colors. It was great to work on it over the course of a couple months. I feel like everything has to happen so fast nowadays, so to be able to even spend time painting something is just a pleasure. I wouldn’t mind doing that all the time.


"Katy Perry's piano in my studio"



Who is your dream artistic collaboration?
My dream artistic collaboration would be to create a DREAM Theme Park with Niki de Saint Phalle & Yayoi Kusama.

Alia Penner is represented by Weiss Artists. Check out Alia Penner's website and Instagram.

Off The Grid: California Dreaming

We took a California road trip with young artists, entrepreneurs and DIY guys Blake Washington and Morgan Gales. Here's a few shots from their favorite stops and their recommended playlists for cruisin' around out in the desert.







Morgan's Top Five Road Trip Songs
America — Simon & Garfunkel
Clay Pigeons — Blaze Foley
Going to California — Led Zeppelin
Stranger in a Strange Land — Leon Russell
Tuesday's Gone — Lynyrd Skynyrd







Blake's Cali Roadtrip Playlist
Scholarship — Juicy J Ft. ASAP ROCKY
Heaven — DJ Sammy & Yanou Ft. DO
Russian Privjet — Basshunter
Midnight Sprite — Riff Raff
Enjoy the Silence — Depeche Mode





Read Off The Grid: California Dreaming Feature

About a Band: Summer Twins


All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up today: Summer Twins.

Summer Twins are my ideal girl group. Their music is perfect for swaying in the wind with your gal pals during the summer (or any time of year, really). This Burger Records band is made up of two sisters, Chelsea and Justine Brown, who have been playing music together for at least ten years now. These Southern California natives love good old rock 'n roll, warm summer evenings, and are dying to go to Hawaii. I caught up with Chelsea Brown to learn a little bit more about the band.
Maddie
Photograph by Joy Newell

Hi Chelsea! Tell me a little bit about Summer Twins and how you started the band. Have you always wanted to be in a band together since you're sisters?
We started our first all-girl band when we were 13 and 14. We didn't know how to play our instruments yet, but we just liked the idea of being in a band! We learned by playing covers of bands like The Ramones and The Donnas, then started writing our own songs. Years later, around 2008, we started Summer Twins. Now that we've been playing together for over 10 years, we can't image not being in a band together!

Who or what inspires your music most?
Our music is inspired by lots of old rock 'n roll: everything from '50s doo-wop to '60s garage/girl group to '70s punk.

Do you have plans to release a follow-up to your self-titled album soon?
We released an EP last year titled Forget Me. We're now working on new songs and hoping to record another full-length later this year.

Your band's name is pretty much the epitome of summertime. What is your favorite part about being in California in the summer that you can't get anywhere else?
Well, it gets really hot, especially in Riverside since we're farther from the coast, but summer nights are always great. When the sun goes down it starts to cool down, yet it's warm enough for shorts; it's perfect weather for hanging out on the porch or skating around downtown.

What songs are on your summer playlist?
"Sit Down I Think I Love You" by Buffalo Springfield has always been part of our summer soundtrack for years. Right now we're also into "Hawaii" by Naive Thieves, "Holiday" by Albert Hammond Jr., "How Long Do I Have to Wait for You" by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (our favorite song to listen to on tour), and "Tropical Birds" by Miniature Tigers.

What's your ideal vacation location?
As typical as it sounds, Hawaii! We've never been there before!

About a Band: Vision


All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up today: VISION.

Christopher Valer, Benjamin Nastase, and Phillip Dominick make up Burger Records outfit Vision. The LA-based band have been influenced by everything from Brit Pop to Nirvana's classic Nevermind, yet they have a sound all their own. Vision are a band that are truly loyal to the craft, working and sweating until the best product is done. Get to know Christopher Valer and the guys of Vision below.
Maddie

Hi guys! Tell me a little bit about how you guys formed.
All:
Christopher has always been in and out of bands in the LA music scene and he was just tired of playing other peoples' songs and he wanted to create his sound and form his own band.
Christopher: I couldn't find anybody who fit the band so I looked to my brother Phillip and our childhood friend Ben to fill in the slots and that's how it's been since.

As a band, who do you feel your ultimate influences are that carry through all of your material?
Christopher:
We all grew up together listening to The Doors and a lot of Nirvana. We feel we take the dark and serious part of The Doors with the aggressiveness and heaviness of Nirvana. Those two are our main influences but we take a lot of inspirations from a lot of Brit Pop bands like The Stone Roses, Blur, and Oasis.

What's the best part about performing live?
Christopher:
The fact that we're able to block out the world and our problems and be only in that moment.



Best summer memory ever?
Christopher:
Being in the garage, sweating, practicing drenched in sweat while everyone we know is at a pool party or a beach.

Who is your end all, be all favorite band or album to listen to in the summer?
Christopher:
Nirvana Nevermind. ALWAYS.

What's next for the band?
Christopher:
We just spent two years working on our first full-length album Inertia due to be released by Burger Records in January 2015. Aside from our new album, we're planning an east coast tour and traveling more up north and just wherever they'll have us. We just want to keep playing and sharing our music as long as we can.

About a Band: The Aquadolls

All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up today: The Aquadolls.

Just last year, The Aquadolls released Stoked On You with Burger Records. Lead singer Melissa Brooks, Ryan Frailich, and Josh Crawford make up the band, providing us with excellent Beach-Boys-esque riffs and vocals worthy of some of the best girl groups from the '60s. Below, get to know a little bit more about one of our favorite bands you should be listening to this summer.
Maddie

Hi Melissa! Tell me a little bit about yourself and your band, The Aquadolls.
I started this band in the summer of 2012. We released our debut album "Stoked On You" in November of last year, and now I'm working on my solo album!

As a musician, who would you say your biggest role model is and why?
My ultimate musical crush is Gwen Stefani. Her voice is so pure and she's a great lyricist. I can't tell you how many times I've screamed along to No Doubt's song "Don't Speak" at the top of my lungs while sobbing as a kid. Gwen is a powerhouse.

You have excellent on-stage style. What is your favorite thing to wear while performing?
My lucky leather jacket and a mini skirt.

Since summertime is near, what are three of your summer essentials?
Jelly sandals, sunglasses, and my tattoo chokers.

What song or album would you say is the epitome of summer?
“Summertime” by GIRLS.

What do you guys like doing when you're not playing music?
Ride skateboards by the beach!

Read our Summer Party with Burger Records feature

About a Band: together PANGEA


All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up today: together PANGEA.

Together PANGEA just released their latest album Badillac this year.  Along with their friends at Burger Records, together PANGEA are currently on a mission to bring the era of garage rock back. William Keegan, Danny Bengston and Erik Jimenez are the guys behind the band.  I talked to bassist Danny about the band, how they started, why they love working with Burger Records and the bands they say we should be keeping our ears open for.
Maddie
Photograph by Alice Baxley

Hey Danny! So tell me a little bit about together PANGEA and how you guys came to be.
Well, me and William started playing music together probably like ten years ago, then we met our drummer Eric when I was going to Cal Arts, and yeah, it just took shape from there.

You just released your full-length, Badillac, which has a definite California feel. What about the state influenced the record?
Maybe nothing directly; I think just sort of living here in general and having this sort of artistic community and Burger Records and bands like that. Your friends influence you a lot, I think, sort of by default.

What do you like most about being able to work with a label like Burger Records?
They’ve always been really supportive of us and they hit us up pretty early within the first year of Burger starting. We didn’t have a label or anything, but we had friends who were with Burger and we were figuring out how to become part of the thing. They reached out to us and they’ve always been super supportive and they’re down to help us out any way they can, whether it was like in the early days getting us on bigger shows and things like that, whatever we needed. We signed with a major label and they were nothing but supportive, and we’ve made it work so we can continue to release things with them. We even have some new plans to release some cool new things in the future together.

What's your idea of an ideal show? I know your shows get pretty rowdy..
Yeah, I don’t know. Any all ages show, I’d say. Usually a lot of our fans tend to be younger, a lot of them tend to not be 21, or a lot of times not even be 18. I think that’s the biggest thing - an affordable all ages show, that’s the ideal thing for us. They definitely do get rowdy.

What's your favorite thing to do in LA during the summer?
Just swimming! Usually my favorite thing to do is go swimming in rivers, swimming holes and stuff. There are a couple that are within like an hour of here that me and my friends frequently hit up. You can’t drive around every day to go swimming, so we end up going to a friend’s pool if someone’s around. If all else fails we end up swimming on the roof of The Standard in Downtown. It’s close to our house and there’s good drinks.

What's your go-to summer album?
Various, we’re on tour pretty consistently, like most of the summer we’re going to be in Europe, and when you’re on tour you kind of end up listening to whatever the person who’s driving plays. I don’t know, Beach Boys are always good. I’m a huge Beach Boys fan. The album Surf’s Up is really amazing, Pet Sounds is great, the really early Beach Boys.

Speaking of what music you listen to, what are some bands you've had your eye on lately?
Meat Market is incredible. We did a tour with them about a year ago, and that was one of the most fun tours ever. I don’t think they have released on Burger yet, but they definitely have played a lot of Burger shows, like at South By they played and stuff. I know everyone in the band totally loves those guys. We just had The Garden open up for us a couple times, like at our Troubadour show, and those guys are really rad. I really like the hip-hop stuff they’ve been doing. Those are the big ones for me lately. Audacity, those guys are like our best buddies from way back, everything they do is awesome. They just released a new 10”. It’s not new, it’s like their lost album which they did when they were teenagers before their first album, which was Burger Records’ first proper LP release. So that just came out, and that’s really cool.

About a Band: Tomorrow's Tulips


All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up first: Tomorrow's Tulips.

If you could dream of the ultimate band to describe summer in California, who would it be? In my opinion, it would be Tomorrow's Tulips. Alex Knost and Ford Archbold, the duo that makes up the band, created some of the most perfectly "lo-fi"jams on their latest record Experimental Jelly that was just released on Burger Records last year. Knost and Archbold are just as sun-soaked as their music, both with bleach blonde hair and tan skin. Below, Alex tells me about why he started the band, his favorite spots to surf, and his top summer tunes.
Maddie
Photographs by Dominic Santos

Hi Alex! Tell me a little bit about how Tomorrow's Tulips formed.
I started Tomorrow's Tulips as a sort of refuge from the band I was currently in at the time. I needed a release from the frustration that was trying to make a "group work" and to play without over-analyzation or any premonition of what was needed to succeed. It was a fresh start to accept failure from a listener or onlooker, and simply create. I originally started the group with an ex-girlfriend playing drums.

You released Experimental Jelly just last year. Who or what were your main influences when recording the record?
Being in the open, having an exposed fragility; that is what binds humanity and emotion. Our world is masked by media, fashions, trends, and technology. The end result has been isolation, and that isolation stems insecurity and jealousy amongst a community. I wanted to write songs, or at least take a step towards being naked.



Do you feel living in California has a large influence on your music?
A person's environment is always a role in what they are producing. I think there's a mix of embracing that and also an effort to alienate it. It's the uncomfortable situation of staying where you know what's going on, much like living at your parents' house.

Aside from music, I know you are an avid surfer as well. What's your favorite place in California to surf?
I enjoy the beach breaks in between the track homes and parking meters.

What tunes are at the top of your summer playlist?
Television Personalities "Do You Know What They're Saying About Me Now" and Conspiracy of Owls "A Silver Song."

What's your favorite thing to do during the summer besides surfing and playing music?
Visit OCMA, ride a bicycle, and go to openings.

About a Girl: Langley Fox

Langley Fox is a seasoned model and sought after illustrator, and she also happens to be one of our favorite girls to draw inspiration from when it comes to style. She's currently the star of our Bare Minimal lookbook, so we sat down to chat with Langley about her artwork, the influences she's drawn from her home state of Idaho, and her favorite L.A. haunts.

Click here to read our full feature with Langley Fox!






UO Music: Nguzunguzu


NGUZUNGUZU is Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda, DJ duo, producers and M.I.A. collaborators who live in Los Angeles. The music they mix and make is eclectic, esoteric and energetic or "the fusion of contemporary top 40 R&B and the direct-source international sounds of Latin America, the West Indies and Africa—which, in turn, had been both refracted in and inspired by that top 40 R&B in the first place," to quote Pitchfork's description of their latest mix, "The Perfect Lullaby." Think R. Kelly crossed with traditional African Zouk music and you'll get the idea. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's pronounced EN-GOO-ZOO EN-GOO-ZOO.

Check out the "2014 Spring Mix" they made exclusively for UO and make sure to read their full interview here.

Photo Diary: California Dreamin'

This month we're all about the easy, laid-back vibes of California. The carefree attitude, artsy atmosphere, desert landscape and bright blue waters: we'll take it all, please. Here's some of our favorite Cali inspiration to give us all that west coast feeling, no matter where we may actually be.

Movies to watch: Clueless (1995), Gidget (1959), Chinatown (1974), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), American Graffiti (1973), Valley Girl (1983), Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

Books to read: Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, Cannery Row, Big Sur, Sweet Valley High series, Less Than Zero, Weetzie Bat, The White Album, Valley of the Dolls.

Music to listen to: The Beach Boys, Dum Dum Girls, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Eels, Local Natives, Rilo Kiley, The Germs, Weezer, Love, The Bangles, Best Coast, Haim, The Byrds, Phantom Planet "California" (because of course).





















Fine Print: Stephen Shore


Stephen Shore has been a known name in photography since the 1960s. Since the age of six, he's been working and experimenting with photography, specifically color, and has become an inspiration for photographers around the world. His early work depicts America at more than just face value, full of rich colors and culture. His latest project took him to Israel for a collaborative project which came to be his new book, From Galilee to the Negev, out in early May from Phaidon. We met up with Stephen before his book signing at Space 15 Twenty to talk about the book, his early days, and the Mickey Mouse-shaped camera and darkroom kit that really kicked things off for him. Interview by Maddie Sensibile

Tell us about your new book, From Galilee to the Negev, and what you wanted to accomplish with it.

It grew out of a project. 12 photographers were commissioned to go to Israel and the West Bank and we were given pretty much free reign to do whatever we wanted. Because it was a large group of photographers, I didn’t feel like I had to do something definitive. In fact, I’m not sure anyone can do something definitive in a country as complex as Israel and the West Bank, so that freed me up to explore what I was interested in. I wanted to explore a lot of the rest of life in Israel, of what daily life is like; it doesn’t avoid the conflict because that’s part of daily life, but life is much more than that.



Your book almost has the feel of multiple series put together; there are landscape shots, portraits, and lots of detail shots. Is this how you wanted the book to feel?

Exactly. There are conflicts in Israel that exist outside of the Arab/Israeli conflict. There’s a lot of contention in the country. There’s contention between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox, there’s contention between ultra Orthodox Jews and reform Jews. There are all kinds of tensions. I wanted to not express the conflict but the idea that there are multiple voices that often talk past each other. In a way, I used multiple voices in the book which I think is what you’re picking up on.

What made you want to travel to this region of the world and make this collection of photographs over several years?
Well, I didn’t seek it out. The project was offered to me. Starting in the '90s, I began to photographically explore cultures other than North American culture. It was something that interested me, to bring what I’ve learned about getting a sense of a place and see if I can do that in a foreign place. So, I jumped at the chance when it was offered.



The book combines both digital and film photography. Do you feel that people will continue to use film even when digital photography has become so advanced?

I teach at Bard College and we still use film for the first two years. Students don’t use digital until they’ve spent two years working in a dark room; they spend at least a semester doing color processing and printing, and a semester with a 4x5 view camera. I love digital. All the prints I make are digital, all the photography I do now... I haven’t shot film since the Israel and West Bank book. I have absolutely nothing against digital. I think it’s allowing photographers to make a kind of picture that simply couldn’t have been made ten years ago. However, I think there is a tremendous amount that can only be learned through film.

You shot many photos of the Factory in black and white in the '60s. What made you want to shoot in color, as we see in American Surfaces and Uncommon Places?
There were a couple of events, one was in 1971. I started on two projects that both involved vernacular uses of photography. One was a series of postcards of Amarillo, TX, where I photographed the ten highlights of Amarillo and had the largest postcard printer in America make real postcards of them. Of course they were in color, because all postcards were in color then.

And the second?
The other series was a series of snapshots. Again, I wanted to bring a cultural reference of the style of the photograph to the meaning of it, so the image gained some meaning by being seen as a snapshot or as a postcard. This was a series called the Mick-A-Matics. They were taken with a camera, the Mick-A-Matic, which is a big plastic-headed Mickey Mouse with a lens in its nose. I had the pictures printed by Kodak, and they were also in color, and the Mick-A-Matic work led to American Surfaces. I wanted to continue something like the Mick-A-Matic, but with a camera that had finer optics than the plastic lens in Mickey’s nose. The one advantage of it, though, was every time I took a photo of a person, there was a genuine smile on their face. The other thing I really learned from doing the Mick-A-Matics was that part of the information that a picture can convey about a particular age in which it was taken is the palette of that age, which is out of the range of black and white.

What was your experience with color photography like prior to that point?
There was just one of these dumb events that could lead someone to think deep thoughts. I met a young composer at a party and he expressed an interest in seeing my photographs although he didn’t know much about photography. We went back to my apartment and I opened up a box, and his first reaction was “Oh, they’re black and white!” He had only seen snapshots, not art photographs, and he didn’t understand why they weren’t in color. He expected in that box would be color photographs. That led me to think about the snapshot and the postcard and why did this guy expect…I mean, I knew the art photography tradition. I knew color was light years from it; we didn’t see color in it. When I handed him the box, he thought it was going to be color. That, I found fascinating. I wanted to explore why he thought that. That’s when I started doing the postcards and the snapshots.

When you began taking photographs, who or what inspired you to do so?
I started because a relative of mine gave me a darkroom set for my sixth birthday. At first I wasn’t interested in taking pictures, I was only interested in taking my family’s snapshots and developing them and printing them. I did that for a couple of years. It wasn’t until I was eight and got a 35mm camera that I started photographing seriously. Before that, my real interest was darkroom work.



When you were 14, MOMA acquired your work, specifically Edward Steichen. Do you remember how you felt when that happened?
I don’t.

Would you say that was a pivotal moment in your career?
No. It wasn’t a pivotal event because I didn’t know enough for it be a pivotal event. On the other hand, if I knew more, I would’ve thought it was inappropriate to call up Steichen and ask to show him my work. So, my childish and naiveté led me to do that, but on the other hand it led me not to see it as a pivotal moment.

If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to get into photography and make it a career, what would it be?
Read my book published by Phaidon called The Nature of Photographs.