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Happenings: The Impossible Project Tour


The Impossible Project made a stop this week at Urban Outfitters Costa Mesa to set up their unbelievably cool portable pop-up shop in the form of a silver Airstream trailer. Impossible USA is traveling around the country until October 2014 to share the power of the Polaroid. I met up with two of the guys from The Impossible Project, Kyle and Mitch, to learn a little bit more about what's going on inside the trailer, nicknamed "Silver Shade."

Inside Silver Shade you'll find tons of film, cameras, and an even cooler photo booth. Mitch and Kyle also lead workshops in the little nook on the left side of the trailer (which looks like it came straight out of the 1960s). Curious individuals can step inside and try out the various films and cameras as well as learn all about what The Impossible Project is doing. While there, Mitch taught me how to use the brand's new iLab, which allows you to take a photo on your iPhone, attach it to a Polaroid camera and then print a true Polaroid. It's totally cool, so definitely give it a try if you find the tour stopping in your town.

Silver Shade just got back from SXSW and Coachella and will be stopping at various UO locations throughout the year. Visit Silver Shade when it comes to your town and give analog film life again! Maddie




I'm With the Band: Drowners

Drowners are currently making their way around the West Coast in support of their debut self-titled record. In their downtime between Coachella weekends, they made a stop in Los Angeles to bring their melodic, jumpy jams to The Roxy. Drowners are made up of Matt Hitt, Jack Ridley, Erik Lee Snyder, and Joe Brodie. I had a chat with Matt and Jack to talk about where the band is at right now, their favorite songs to play while DJing, and more. Maddie

Since we last talked you had your debut record come out. How was the recording process and putting it out?
Matt: We finished it about nine months before we actually released it, like a human pregnancy, so when it came out, we were ready for it to come out. It was kinda sitting on the shelf a bit. We did it over three weeks last May in a basement under a bar and Gus Oberg and Johnny T produced it. My 25th birthday passed as we were recording it, and that’s pretty much all I remember about it.

Matt, you've been part of other projects in the past. What's different about Drowners as opposed to your previous projects?
Matt: Literally only that I sing in this one. I do Threats with Jack. I kinda stopped doing all the other shit before Drowners started, so it's really just Threats and Drowners. The only differences are that I sing in one and Jack sings in the other, and he writes all Threats and I write all Drowners. Basically the only thing that switches between the two is who stands in the middle of the stage.

Tell us a little bit about the influences that went into your self-titled.
Matt:
The things we were influenced by to record were like, The Vapors, Gun Club, and we were inspired vocally by like, when you listen to '50s and '60s shit, like when they scream and the mic blanks out. That was kind of a main point of it. Slickness of Vapors, energy of Buzzcocks, yeah.
Jack:
I would say for me, since he obviously wrote the thing in his bedroom, I think it was done with a lot of pain and fun and late nights and such. You play in a different way when all that is going on around. Depending on how you feel you play a bit different. I feel like a lot of long nights and mild suffering in different ways led itself to a nice product.
Matt:
There’s like twenty different versions of the same song, depending on how we feel. Particularly live, it completely changes. Like how hard you want to play or how much you want to scream or how much you want to move, that’s just night to night. When we were doing the record, it was like Jack said, fun and pain; basically two sides of the same coin, where you’re like one or the other.

How would you describe Drowners in three words to someone who has never heard you before?

Matt: “I’d hit it.”
Jack: “Totally fucking awesome.”
Matt: Yeah, do that one.

What is your dream venue or city to play in?
Matt:
I’m gonna sound biased in L.A., but this is only the second time in L.A. and I’ve fucking had a right laugh both times I’ve come here. There’s not like ideal size or whatever. I like playing in front of people who give a shit, because that’s not always the case. That’s my favorite thing. When people give a shit it makes us get hyped on it.



If you could have a tour with anyone, who would it be? Dead or alive.
Matt:
On the top of my head, we did four gigs with Cage the Elephant and I’d want to do another tour with them that was longer. I only had four days of ultimate bliss and I’d like to have like, a month with it.

When you're not playing music, what are you usually up to?
Matt: Sleeping.
Jack: Drawing or skating and walking around. Cuddling with puppies. Cuddling with puppies and watching Law and Order SVU.

What are your go-to tracks when DJing?
Matt: I want to preface this with like, we DJ a lot because we’re absolutely broke and we all need to make money. It’s a job and shit. I started DJing after I moved to New York because I'd sit and listen to Jack and some other people DJ. My favorite three to play I stole completely off Jack. Gun Club "Sex Beat," "Red Hot" by Billy Lee Riley, and "Train Kept A Rollin'" by the Johnny Burnette Trio.
Jack: I would agree with that as well.
Matt: ‘Cause I stole it off you!
Jack: “Love and Desperation" is creeping up on me. That’s a sexy song.
Matt: That is my new absolute favorite song! It’s the singer of Gun Club.
Jack: Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
Matt: It’s the best shit I’ve heard since “Stoned and Starving” by Parquet Courts.

I'm With the Band: The Orwells feat. Criminal Hygiene


For the latest installment of this column, I interviewed The Orwells and Criminal Hygiene when they made a stop in Los Angeles at the Troubadour this past weekend. The Orwells are a relatively young band based out of Chicago, Illinois, while Criminal Hygiene are based out of L.A. Both bands have deep roots in punk and garage, and have a clear goal to make rock and roll stand on its own again. See what the boys had to say below.
Interview and photos by Maddie Sensibile


The Orwells featuring their pal Jack from Twin Peaks.

Introduce yourselves!

Henry: I’m Henry Brinner.
Mario: I’m Mario Cuomo.
Grant: I’m Grant Brinner.
Matt: I’m Matt O'Keefe.
Mario: We are the Orwells!

You released Remember When in 2012, then Other Voices and Who Needs You. What can we expect from the new record?

Mario: It’s more soulful. There’s some soul on it, there’s some swingin’ beats. You’ll like it.

What record or records have influenced you guys most as a band? I know you mention Is This It a lot on your Twitter.
Mario: Yeah, we talk about it. I love soul. I love like, Sam Cooke and really soulful stuff.
Grant: It’s all different for everybody. Everybody has different taste in music.
Mario: Lyrically, I love like, “Ooooh!” when you feel it in your heart. Pretty much just Kendrick.

If your music was made up of three ingredients, what would they be?
Entire band: Sugar, spice and everything nice.

Favorite festival you've ever played?

Mario: FYF!

If you could put on your own music festival, who would your dream headliners be?
Mario: Day one would be Waka Flocka for me.
Henry: Everybody’s dead, it sucks.
UO: They can be dead.
Mario: Oh, what the hell. Well, let me reiterate: Waka Flocka.
Henry: I think T. Rex, though.
Mario: Okay, T. Rex, Waka Flocka, and Har Mar Super Star.

If you could bring three things on tour and nothing else, what would they be?
Henry: Headphones.
Mario: Condoms, money and beef jerky.
Henry: My drums.

Now choose:
Taco Bell or Del Taco?
Henry & Mario: Taco Bell.

Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper?
Henry & Mario: Mountain Dew

Boxers or Briefs?
Henry & Mario: Boxers
Mario: We’re so similar.

High or low?
Henry & Mario: High.

Saturday or Sunday?

Henry & Mario: Saturday.


Criminal Hygiene.

Hi guys! Introduce yourselves.
Michael F: I’m Michael Fiore.
Michael H: Michael Hiller.
Sean E: Hello, I’m Sean Erickson! We met Fiore at an Italian restaurant; turns out he was pretty good at guitar.

You just released the "Withdrawn" 7". Can you tell me a little more about who has influenced your sound?
Michael F: Actually, I wrote that song the day... well, I stayed up all night because one of my best friends went to jail for a DUI. It’s about that general mindset and feeling. So, that was influential. I was trying to be Rod Stewart when I was singing; it’s true, that’s what I was going for.

What's your favorite record to listen to while on the road?
Sean: Unfortunately, we have one of those stupid radio hookups. We’ve just been around the L.A. area so far, so we can’t really listen to it. It’s all static.
Michael F: When I’m driving places I like to listen to The Faces, and I’ve been playing the Mac DeMarco album a lot.

If you could put on your own music festival, who would your dream headliners be?
Michael H: I can answer for Sean and say it’s probably gonna be Jimmy Buffett.
Sean: ZZ Top would be one of them. KISS.
Michael F: The Shins, Replacements, Fugazi, and The Cigarette Bums.

Now choose:
Pepsi or coke?
Sean: Pepsi
Michel H: Coke
Michael F: Coke. Cherry Coke.

Scrambled or fried?
Michael F: Fried over medium.
Sean: Scramble it, cheese it, sauce it.

Stones or the Beatles?
Michael F: Beatles, for the most part.
Michael H: Can you pick both?
Michael F: What era? That’s where it gets fishy.
Michael H: There’s more shitty Stones albums than Beatles albums.
Sean: They’ve been around longer. They’ve had their chance.
Michael F: I like Exile more than I like Let It Be. But I like Sgt. Pepper’s more than I like Satanic - whatever that shit is.

Since it's festival season, real shower or fake a shower?
Sean: Oh yeah, bum shower. Baby wipes and McDonald’s sink.
Michael H: Real shower.
Sean: Real showers are beautiful, but they’re not always available. You gotta make do with the hand driers.
Michael H: Both.
Sean: I’d prefer to be on tour where you have to take showers in weird places.

Our World: Urban Renewal at Space 15 Twenty


Last week, Urban Outfitters opened a permanent Urban Renewal shop inside of Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles. Bringing to life the Urban Renewal concept (a line of one-of-a-kind pieces crafted from vintage, deadstock and surplus materials from around the world), here you'll find anything and everything vintage-lovers could possibly want. Unique pieces made from denim, leather, and beautiful printed fabrics mingle with antique treasures and the perfect selection of pre-worn denim. From the candles and crystals by Spellbound Sky to the succulents hanging from the ceiling, this is a shop you'll want to take a few hours to explore. Maddie














Happenings: Urban Renewal at Space 15 Twenty

Opening this Sunday at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd) in Los Angeles is Urban Outfitters' Urban Renewal shop. The shop, called "Crystals, Candles, & Champagne," will be having an opening party from 12PM-3PM. There will be tunes by DJ Lord Prince, crystal talk with Spellbound Sky, and nail art by KLEUR. You won't want to miss this, because you're definitely going to find some incredible vintage treasures inside. RSVP here. Maddie

I'm With the Band: Johnny Jewel


Over the weekend Chromatics and Glass Candy played the Converse Rubber Tracks Live x UO event at the Tower Theater in Los Angeles. Before the gig, I interviewed Johnny Jewel, a man who wears many different hats. The L.A.-based musician is a member of both Glass Candy and Chromatics, and is currently scoring a television show and an upcoming Ryan Gosling-directed film. Needless to say, Johnny is one busy guy. Interview by Maddie Sensibile

Hey Johnny! What have you been up to lately?

I just had my first vacation ever for Christmas, and it was really cool. I went to Mexico. I never end up taking vacations during Christmas or New Year's, and if I'm traveling or try to take an extra day off, some work always comes up. This time of year everyone is on vacation, so nothing happened, and I didn't take a computer or a phone. I didn't listen to music for two weeks. It was pretty crazy. I was a little scared at first. I view myself as being okay with that, but I was worried I was going to have withdrawals and be embarrassed by myself. So, I did that, and since then I've been scoring a TV show that I've been working on for 20 hours a day. With film and TV, the music is important, and it's always the last thing. They don't think about the fact that music has to be made in real time. It's crazy cross-training for making pop music! 

You performed twice at the Urban Outfitters Rialto launch party, with Glass Candy and Chromatics. What do you enjoy most about being part of two groups?


The bands are really similar in certain ways. We sound more like each other than Bon Jovi and Garth Brooks or something. Live, Chromatics is...there's more people, so it's more choreographed. Glass Candy is kind of a loose cannon. I never know what Ida is going to do. For me, it's fun to have the improvisational aspect of Glass Candy, which is always after Chromatics. Chromatics builds up this thick mood, and Glass Candy is like this huge explosion. Chromatics is more suspenseful and disciplined in a way, and Glass Candy is really punk. It's just me and Ida, so anything goes. Emotionally they are really different, too. I enjoy playing with Glass Candy more after I've played a Chromatics set, and I enjoy Chromatics better when I'm on tour with Glass Candy.

Regardless of what band you're playing in, who are some artists or eras that have long influenced you? 

Well, I grew up in Texas, like in the '80s, pre-internet. You kind of felt that you were really alienated because all of the action was on the coasts. Now it's different, because everybody travels everywhere. It was hard to even get certain records in our town. You would just see things on MTV or in magazines, and you lived vicariously through that. My relationship with music and art has always been through a distant looking glass. That's just the way I learned to interact with art. That hasn't changed, but I developed a kind of fixation for climates or regions. I'm really into tropical. Like I just went to Cancun, you know! I didn't do anything but build sandcastles and chill out. I've always been really fascinated with bodies of water and things like that. I like fashion photography from the '70s and '80s, like Helmut Newton: Really tropical fantasies. We're all huge fans of Andy Warhol and the whole Pop Art era.



Do you create all the art for your releases?

I do. It's not silk screened, and a lot of it's photocopied and cut paper, whatever I could do at Kinko's. I was trying to emulate Andy Warhol and Interview Magazine in the '80s, all those pencil drawing faces and stuff like that. To me, it was a cross between Art Deco and Punk. Again, growing up so isolated, ideas were everything. You'd see a photo and sort of fixate on it, and you didn't know anything about that place or time. I didn't know what New York was, and I didn't know what Paris was. I was in Texas and that's the center of the universe if you're Texan.

I know, I've grown up out here in L.A. my whole life, so everything is kind of happening here. I don't have that smaller town viewpoint.

What's weird is that I moved here in March, because I have to come out here so much for film [work]. And now I live here and I don't do anything. I stay in my house and my studio. I kind of live like a bird on a hill. I travel so much, I have more weekends in a year than most people because of touring, you know. So when I'm at home, I don't do anything. It's ironic. I'm in L.A., a big city, and it's a great city for music and art, and I find myself just kind of being at home almost like a hermit. And this would've been my dream growing up, like Los Angeles! Crazy! 

What's your favorite part about having your own record label, Italians Do It Better?

I'm not a perfectionist, but I refuse to answer to deadlines, which makes me kind of annoying in Hollywood, but they put up with it. The best thing about running your own label is that you can do whatever kind of packaging you want, and I can release any artist I want, any song I want. There's no fiscal pressure, none of the bands have deadlines, none of the bands have contracts, no employees, no overhead, no office. It's really cool. I call this guy, like, "Hey, I want to press 10,000 records," then I wire him the money and they disperse internationally. You can do anything with a phone and computer. It's cool to have this huge indie label and to have that freedom.


After Dark 2 artwork.


Since the new year has just begun, have you got any music related resolutions?

I want Chromatics to start practicing. We all live in different cities and haven't practiced in, like, five years. I'm excited about getting a tour space and doing a tour in the spring. I also have a few records I want to finish this year, so that's a resolution, and finally I want to commit to this poet from Texas, Farrah. I want to finish her album. Obviously there's a new Chromatics record, too. The project I'm most excited for outside of the bands is this film I'm scoring that was written by Ryan Gosling [How to Catch a Monster]. It's his first feature-length as a director. He's not in it. It stars Christina Hendricks, Saorise Ronin, Ben Mendelsohn, and the dude that plays Doctor Who [Matt Smith]. He's crazy, he's the villain. He's really disturbing, and psychotic. He has a shaved head, and he wears this gold lamé jacket and drives around with a beat up chair on top of a convertible in dying Detroit. The soundtrack is incredible. We've been working on it since February. It's gonna come out in October, and it's gonna be really cool. This French cinematographer shot it, so it's absolutely gorgeous if you like beautiful but strange cinema. 

Closet Project: Tara Violet Niami

Budding photographer, cinephile and model (and star of Samatha Pleet's latest look book), Tara Violet Niami isn’t your typical college sophomore. She owns a leather prom dress and collects Victorian flea market finds, while her style is inspired by the changing fashions of the early 1900s and the young protagonists of Little Women.
Interview by Maddie Sensibile; Photography by Amanda Charchian




Hi Tara! Tell me a little bit about yourself, and what you're up to right now.
At the moment I am studying fine art photography at the Pratt Institute and I am also doing other photography on the side, like fashion photos. In my free time I’m modeling as well.


Tara for Samantha Pleet S/S 14 photographed by Jacqueline Di Milia

When you walk into your closet, what are some essentials you always gravitate toward?
I really like my black oxfords, which are just really classic looking and worn out because I wear them so much. I generally like flat shoes. I'm also drawn towards patterns and interesting textures.

How would you describe your style?
Old fashioned, but with my own modern twist on it. I’m into drama in my clothes, and feeling like I’m a character in a movie or book. People that I look up to, style icons...I’m really into the 1900s. I guess because it was a very restrained time, both in terms of how women had to act in society, and how they had to dress. People found a way to express themselves in interesting ways with their own personal style. Also, growing up as a kid, I was really inspired by Little Women, and the idea of these really cool girls who would wear long dresses but would get them dirty and adventure around--I wanted to be like them. I like the idea that you should have fun in your clothes, even if you’re wearing something feminine, and you can mess it up.





You clearly love vintage. Where are your favorite places to search for special pieces?
In L.A., American Vintage on Melrose. The Melrose Flea Market is also really fun. There's also Jet Rag, which has a one dollar sale, and in Westwood, where my family lives, there's an Out of the Closet thrift store. I’ve found amazing things there, including a cashmere sweater for ten dollars. Those places are my go-to places in L.A.

What's the most treasured item in your closet?
I have this rainbow harlequin skirt that was my mom’s. I love it because it’s so colorful. I think it's from India, because it has batik symbols on it. I’ll never let that go. She also passed down to me this leather dress that I wore to prom. It's '50s style in the front with corset lacing in the back. It's really special. I don’t wear it that much, but I want to wear it more. Another thing that is super, super fragile that I love is a hand-embroidered 1920s dress that I wore to my graduation. It has butterflies on it and it reminds me of The Virgin Suicides.



What's your approach to skincare and makeup?
I don’t really wear makeup that often, but when I do, I’m really into lipstick, like wearing a red or plum color. I like the classic look of lipstick. It can dress up outfits too, and make you look more sophisticated and elegant.



Who inspires you?
Photographers that inspire me are Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, Edward Steichen, and Amanda [Charchian, who took these photos] is really amazing. And my friend Shae Detar, she hand-paints her photos. A photographer I’ve loved for years is Ellen Rogers, who’s British. She shoots large format and hand paints her photos, and they’re incredibly beautiful. They look like they’re out of a dream. And I always go back to the films I watched as a child: The Secret Garden and the Little Princess had a big influence on me, and still do. Those rebellious, complex girls in dresses. I don’t know, I just really like them.

Happenings: Urban Outfitters Heads to DTLA


Once home to a booming theater district, Downtown Los Angeles is reemerging as a bright light in the big city. The iconic streetcar is being brought back to Broadway, where Urban Outfitters debuted a new location on December 18 inside one of L.A.'s architectural gems, the Rialto Theatre building, which originally opened its doors in 1917. 


Located between the famous blue Eastern Building and Chinatown, the Rialto had fallen into disrepair, closing in 1987, but through the Bringing Back Broadway initiative, the new UO location is a pioneer in breathing new life into Downtown, where you can now grab a slice at NYC pizza legends Two Boots next door and soon stay at the Ace Hotel, set to open in the former United Artists studio building down the street.




With the Rialto Theatre marquee shining bright outside (lovingly restored along with the theater's original doors), inside you'll find a colossal selection of alphabetized vinyl records and a specially curated crop of Urban Renewal's latest vintage and re-worked finds. Suede fringe jackets mix with neon New Balance sneakers and vintage Fender and Gibson guitars line the walls, reflecting the eclectic style of the neighborhood's young denizens. The huge projection screen at the the rear of the store is a nice nod to the building's history, and will host a rotating selection of visual stimuli for your viewing pleasure. —Maddie Sensible


Get Gifted: Maddie's Wish List

Get Gifted: Maddie's Wish List!


For my holiday wish list this year, the things I chose are all over the place, which is how my brain feels most of the time. Everything I chose would be excellent for multiple people, like the creative person in your life, someone who enjoys bright colors, record albums, or having a great winter complexion. See, I told you my choices were all over the place! Maddie

1. Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City

Frankly, it took me about six months to fully appreciate this record for what it's worth. Vampire Weekend's third LP is a total masterpiece, and a little bit different from their earlier material, but just as catchy. I want to pop this into my record player and pretend I'm sitting in the sun on Cape Cod with Ezra Koenig.

2. UO Sticker Collage iPhone 5/5s Case
I always tend to put stickers on the back of whatever boring iPhone case I have at the moment, so I love this case because it does all the work for me. It includes unicorns, stars, kittens, ice cream... basically everything cute, ever.

3.
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery
I'll admit it, I'm not the world's biggest reader, but if it's music related, I'll probably pick it up. Anyone who is into that stuff should check this book out. Definitely a great way to continue to build that vinyl collection, right?

4.
Andrea Garland Rose & Hazelnut Daily Moisturizer
It's wintertime, which means we all need a good moisturizer. This one by Andrea Garland sounds lovely and can be applied daily. Smelling like roses and hazelnuts is an added bonus.

5.
Magical Thinking Enamel Confetti Box
I have so many random little things in my room, especially various pins that say silly phrases or have band's logos on them. This adorable and sparkly box will be great to hold all of the things I never know what to do with.

6. 
Fujifilm INSTAX Mini Rainbow Film
I love taking my INSTAX camera with me as many places as possible during winter break, because there's always so many fun things to take a snap of. (And by snap, I do not mean Snapchat.) This rainbow film will nicely spruce up the photographs I take this holiday season.

7.
Vans Sk8-Hi Leather Women's High-Top Sneaker
I don't think any girl can deny that shoes are the way to her heart, so for the holidays, I would very much like this pair of leather sneakers by Vans. They're an updated version of the classic Sk8-Hi, made of slick leather. A little boyish and way classy at the same time.

Happenings: Miista Shoes Pop-Up Shop at Space 15 Twenty


Attention shoe lovers! For one night only, Friday December 13th, at Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd), UK shoe brand Miista are hosting their very own pop-up shop. Recently, Miista has collaborated with Urban Outfitters on a few pairs of totally rad shoes, like the Miista x UO Metallic Lace Up Boot, and the Miista x UO Georgie Heeled Oxford. From 6PM - 9PM this Friday, you'll be able to meet the Miista crew, plus see all of their wonderful sartorial creations. Enjoy drinks by Tequila de la Riva, and tunes by DJ Amy Pham. Plus, there's an Instagram contest you should totally enter: just post a photo of your favorite pair of Miista shoes, using the hashtag #URBANLOVESMIISTA, and you might just win a new pair of kicks from them! Maddie






Happenings: 'The Punk Singer'


Over the weekend I spontaneously decided to see a documentary called The Punk Singer at Cinefamily in Los Angeles. Originally premiering earlier this year at SXSW, The Punk Singer is a documentary that chronicles the life thus far of singer and songwriter Kathleen Hanna, who came onto the scene with Bikini Kill in the early '90s. The film features the voices and opinions of many strong feminists, including Kathleen herself, Kim Gordon, Tavi Gevinson, Carrie Brownstein, Kathi Wilcox, and so many more.

The Punk Singer
is a total must see, and you'll have no choice but to feel inspired after watching it. In it, Kathleen Hanna talks about her career with Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, her new project The Julie Ruin, and essentially why she has ever done everything she has accomplished. It's an excellent glimpse inside where and how the Riot Grrrl movement originated, which is what I loved most. If you're not in Los Angeles this week and can't catch the week long run of the film at Cinefamily, you can also view it in various other theaters across the country up until February, and you can also rent it on iTunes. Go see it and let Kathleen inspire you to let your voice be heard! Maddie


I'm With The Band: Kate Nash

Ahead of the last gig on her recent tour of the United States, I caught up with singer-songwriter Kate Nash at The Fonda in Los Angeles to talk (amongst other things) about the release of her third record, Girl Talk, which came out earlier this year. Kate told me about her biggest role model, her experience at Reading Festival, and what she is most looking forward to about the holidays. Interview and photos by Maddie Sensibile

Maddie: You released your third record, Girl Talk, earlier this year. What was your mission when creating this album?
Kate:
When I was actually writing the record, I wasn't really thinking at all, because I was going through a lot of emotional crap. I didn't have any other way of being powerful, so I just wrote songs. I would go into my house and just explode how I was feeling. It was the only way I could be that honest when I was writing songs. 

I knew what the attitude of the record was going to be, but I didn't know how I was gonna make it until I started writing the songs. Playing bass made it sound really different. I wanted it to be an indie version of Destiny's Child's Survivor album, and bring together all the work I've been doing over the past couple of years… a really empowering album for young girls.

Maddie: Your opinions on feminism are definitely clear and very positive for young women. Growing up, did you have a role model, or is there one that is still important to you?
Kate:
Yeah, I would say my mum, really. I've got two sisters, they're both here [in L.A.] actually. My mum and dad were very open-minded. My mum was very much a debater, and taught us to argue and be challenged. She would always open debates and discussions growing up. That had a really massive effect on me. She's just a really strong woman. She's a nurse and she worked in a cancer unit when she had cancer [herself]. She's so strong, but really motherly and nurturing as well. She's my biggest role model.

Maddie: Speaking of being a role model, you're very close with your fans. Why do you think its so important to maintain this relationship?
Kate:
 Because you can. It's so easy now, it almost feels pretentious if you don't. There's a line where you should be able to switch off and have time to chill out and zone out or whatever, but there are so many opportunities now to connect with your fans, and it's a really nice thing. I have the sweetest fans as well. They're so nice, its ridiculous. They're just really nice to each other, and [have] become best friends across the globe.

It's also been really cool because I got dropped from my record label last year, and to see how supportive my fans are...it's great. As an artist nowadays, you don't have to rely on a record label or a radio hit. With things like Twitter and Instagram, and just meeting your fans, they'll always support you for that. I feel like I'm not just writing songs to be cool or to be a musician. I've always believed in revolution and change, and connection with an audience. 

Maddie: Your Girl Talk tour shows have gained some serious notoriety, stage raids included. What's the best gig you've had this year?
Kate:
I guess Reading [festival] was crazy. I was so nervous about it because I haven't played a UK festival for a few years. When I went to the tent, I was like, No one's going to be there! I'm really scared! And then the tent was packed. I could see people in the audience, either friends or fans that I've recognized from shows on the tours we've been to.

There's this band called The Tuts from the UK that have opened up for us a bunch. They're insane. Really, really fun. Nadia [Javed, vocals] will, like, crowd surf and get dropped. She doesn't care about looking stupid or anything. I've seen her slam down trying to crowd surf and failing, being stuck over the barrier. At festivals it's really hard to get over the barrier, there's like ten men lined up, and everyone was trying and getting carried off, but somehow Nadia managed to run on stage. We were all laughing so much while we were playing.


Me and Kate

Maddie: Who are your favorite artists or songs to dance to at parties?
Kate:
Mariah, first of all, is my queen. I love Mariah Carey so much. Beyonce, "Countdown," when I saw how many times I played that on my laptop, I was like, in shock. I have literally played that the most out of every song on my iTunes. Eminem, a bit of Slim Shady, you can't go wrong. Usher, R&B, Ashanti, maybe some N*SYNC, some Britney. P!NK. I love that Missundaztood album.

Maddie: You always wear the coolest outfits for every performance. What's the best thing you've worn on stage?
Kate:
Recently, I wore this costume by this designer called Bas Kosters, and it's literally made of, like, a thousand tutus. It's insane. You look at it and think, How could that be flattering? But somehow, it is. I went down on the floor after one of my songs, and one of my guitarists was just cracking up. It was just like tutus and a head. I want him to design something for me. He's from Amsterdam, he's always dressed up in crazy makeup and outfits.

Maddie: What's on your Holiday wishlist? 
Kate:
I'm obsessed with space at the moment. All I want are presents to do with space. It could be, like, pajamas that have planets on them, or one of those planet things that spins around, and a telescope. I'm so into Chris Hadfield. I've got his book and I'm going to his book signing in London.

Maddie: And the best gift you've ever received? 
Kate: It was the weirdest Christmas ever. I was 14. I had food poisoning, and I wanted these jeans from this store River Island. They were, like, bootcut jeans that were blue down the side and white down the middle, and covered in glitter. I was so excited for these jeans. We were opening presents and I was, like, puking in a bucket, and opening presents. My family was trying to still include me in the day, and I was just sitting there pretending to have a good time, even though I was destroying the atmosphere. Those bootcut jeans were like my favorite thing ever.

Maddie: Are there any family holiday traditions you're looking forward to?
Kate:
My mum makes the best Christmas dinner ever. My dad cooks the turkey on the barbecue outside. He wears a chef's hat in the garden. My mum is really obsessed with decorating the house as well--there are baskets of pine cones that have been spray-painted with silver and gold, and decorations everywhere. My dogs are like the kids now. We have Max and Molly, two Labradors, and Max, his face on Christmas! He smiles! He puked last year from excitement before anyone had opened presents. I just like going and eating and drinking during the day, and watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since The Hobbit Two is out this year, I'm really excited.

Maddie: Tonight is the last gig of you tour. What do you have next on the books?
Kate:
I'm releasing a Christmas EP called Have Faith with Kate Nash this Christmas. I'm just going to go home [to the U.K.], and maybe do a Christmas show around that. I was in a movie last year, and that's coming out this week, so I'm going to go home for the premiere of that. As soon as I've done that stuff, I'm just gonna slob out, watch Lord of the Rings and get my mum to feed me.

I'm With the Band: Albert Hammond Jr.


You may know Albert Hammond Jr. as long time member of The Strokes, but he also has a totally noteworthy solo career. Albert recently released his new EP, AHJ, on his friend and bandmate Julian Casablancas' new label Cult Records, and it's a solid, five piece collection with some of AHJ's best and catchiest tracks. We sat down with Albert to talk about his musical process, what it's like working with Julian, and whether or not he's ever gotten carried away with his tour rider. Interview by Maddie Sensibile

Maddie: Hey Albert! How has your solo tour been going so far?

Albert: It's been wonderful. I've had a lot of really great turnouts.

Maddie: Let's talk about your new EP, AHJ. What does it feel like to have both your own material and new music from The Strokes out this year?
Albert: To be honest, I didn't even really think about it. I enjoy all the processes that it takes to make music, from the studio to playing live, so it's always good when you're working and having fun.

Maddie: Growing up, what made you want to become involved in music?
Albert:
I never really wanted to do music - I only got into music around twelve or thirteen. I just kind of fell in love with Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison. There's no real reason; it's hard to explain that feeling of falling in love with something. It's not really an emotion that has a reason. It just exists.

Maddie: This is your third release as a solo artist. What do you like most about being able to create everything yourself?
Albert: I don't feel like I'm on my own. I work with Gus [Oberg] quite closely, and we usually bounce ideas. It's not something I wanted or I craved. When I have breaks, I write new music, and I just get so excited about something that it ends up getting recorded. It's kind of a funny thing to get really excited about something in your bedroom, or a new idea you're coming up with, and then continue that excitement through the recording process. It becomes so fulfilling that you can't wait to show people and then you're in this cycle.



Maddie: Did you enjoy being able to work with Strokes bandmate Julian Casablancas in releasing the EP?

Albert: There's nothing like working with your best friend. As soon as he had a label, I kept on having these ideas of wanting to do different stuff, but he wasn't ready for it yet. Then he came back and he was like I'm ready, and I was like Let me show you something new, and then it just built up. It's really exciting to be like that. It kind of feels like when we used to live together back in the early days, you know. We end up talking the same way we would when we're working together. It's more of a conversation, less of anything else.

Maddie: How did you come up with the cover art for the EP, the growling Rottweiler?
Albert:
We had one beforehand that we all liked that we didn't use, so we were looking at other ones, and it just kind of came together. It just felt so fitting. There's no big reason or statement. The way I view work is that you look at stuff and everyone has different ideas, and then all of a sudden something just comes together, and it's better than everything else and everyone likes it.

Maddie: Yeah, you just know it's right.

Albert: Yeah, it's the same way you do music. The best idea is the one that wins and floats to the top.

Maddie: What is your favorite thing to do in Los Angeles?
Albert: I'm so bad with these lists. I don't like favorites - it's like tying you down to something. It's so weird because I could say something and never go back there again! One of my favorite things to do when I come to L.A. is to see Nick [Valensi] and his kids.

Maddie: If you weren't playing and creating music, what do you think you'd be doing with yourself?
Albert: That's a beautifully hypothetical question. If I could say anything... I remember the stuff I like. I like the idea of learning how to fly, and I love to cook, so maybe I would do something with that. I went to film school and I love movies, so maybe I would do something with that, too. I also like using my hands, so maybe I'd do construction or something. Hypothetically there are a million things. I would've loved to have been an athlete.

Maddie: What's a song you've been feeling lately, or a favorite song of all time?
Albert:
"Goodbye Girl" by Squeeze.

Maddie: Best vinyl record you own?
Albert: One of my favorite records is Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon.

Maddie: What's the craziest thing you've ever put on your tour rider, on your own or with The Strokes?
Albert: It's gotta be crazier with The Strokes. It's going to be so boring, but when it gets crazy, you bring what you need yourself. By the time you can afford crazy things, you don't even need a rider, and that's what's so funny about it. By the time you make money, people are bringing you free clothes. But we don't ask for anything crazy. Lots of ice. For some reason, when we're in New York, people can't believe how much ice we ask for.

I'm With The Band: Maddie



Our L.A.-based freelancer Maddie is so in love with music we were like "Why don't you marry it" and gave her her very own column, "I'm With The Band." Whenever a cool band rolls into town, Maddie will be there to chat to them - and she'll get the pictures to prove it. We'll be putting up Maddie's most recent interviews in the coming days, so stay tuned.

To find out a little bit more about our favorite fanatic, read on!




First concert attended: NSYNC.

First big band crush: Green Day when I was 11.

Favorite concert experience: Seeing The Rolling Stones in May was THE BEST EXPERIENCE EVER!

Favorite album of 2013: Arcade Fire Reflektor.

Most BFF-worthy band: Haim.

Most exciting 2014 tour: Apparently Outkast are reuniting at Coachella next year...

Guiltiest pleasure: ONE DIRECTION. (Also want to see them next year.)

Favorite shows ever: Arcade Fire at Coachella 2011 (first time I legitimately cried seeing a band), Franz Ferdinand at the Fonda April 2013, Palma Violets Echoplex August 2013, The Vaccines at the Troubadour Sept 2012, Arctic Monkeys Ventura, CA May 2013, New Order Coachella 2013, and Stone Roses Coachella 2013. There are so many more but those are the biggies!


Happenings: Globe Pop-Up Shop at Space 15 Twenty



This weekend at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd), Australian clothing, skate, and surf brand Globe are opening up a pop-up shop that will open officially on November 17, and will run until November 24. Globe's shop will feature the brand's Holiday 2013 collection, plus accessories for men and women by Bing Bang NYC jewelry, bags by Summer Bummer and more.



For the pop-up shop, Globe also created an excellent short film entitled "Ice Cream", starring Stazia Lindes and Dion Agius. (Watch it below!) Stills from the short film will also be on display at the shop, bringing the retail-meets-gallery space to life. RSVP for the opening party, which will be happening on Saturday November 16, from 7PM - 10PM at Space 15 Twenty. Since the shop will only be there for a week, you won't want to miss it! Maddie



Interview: Peace


Birmingham band Peace made a quick stop in Los Angeles this week, and I was able to have a quick phone chat with lead singer Harry Koisser while they were here. The band's had a whirlwind of a year: They've come out with their debut record, In Love, and have toured everywhere from their home country of England to Japan. Their music has an extremely unique sound that is somewhat psychedelic, but also sounds like something you've never heard before, which is unbelievably refreshing. As Harry says, the band was influenced by "everything you'd ever like." Harry told me about his favorite places, guitars, and the red velvet catsuit he just purchased. Don't fret, he's wearing it on Halloween.
Interview by Maddie Sensibile.

Maddie: Hey! How has your headline tour of the U.S. been treating you so far?
Harry: It's been fantastic, you know. I love going around the U.S.

Maddie: Your debut album, In Love, came out earlier this year, but just came out stateside. What were some of your main influences making the record, musically, or even non-musically?

Harry: Everything. I don't know really. Musically, just everything you'd ever like. We were just doing what we wanted to do, and we'd never made a record before. It was more about just doing it and making a record and writing songs. I guess we were influenced by the opportunity to do it.

Maddie: I know you've recently acquired a double necked Gibson SG, and I've read your tweets about looking for vintage guitar specialists. Is there one guitarist that really got you to become a guitar enthusiast, and eventually led you to playing music?

Harry: Guitarists... Jimmy Page was always my favorite. He's just, the one.

Maddie: Yes, he's everything.

Harry: Yeah, he's brilliant.

Maddie: Speaking of that, what was one of the first gigs you ever went to that you knew sealed the deal early on?
Harry: I don't know really! I went to my dad's band quite a lot. He was a drummer in a covers band, and he played like weddings and stuff. I used to go to those, and I guess that's kind of it, really. Seeing a band, when I was like two years old, was quite cool. It's what I wanted to do when I was really young.



Maddie: Aside from having incredible guitars, you're always dressed excellently on stage. What is the best piece of clothing you've ever worn on stage?
Harry:
I just bought a like, I don't know what you'd call it - it's almost like a catsuit. It's made of like, velour, and it's dark, dark red, almost black. It's kind of what Catwoman would wear, I guess. I've got that. I don't remember where I bought it actually. It's very good.

Maddie: You should wear it on Halloween.

Harry: Yes, I will. 

Maddie: Now, let's chat about tour. What do you guys put on your tour rider? Anything we wouldn't expect?
Harry: We don't actually put anything on it. We just say Whatever.

Maddie: You're very easy.
Harry: Yeah, we can't bother to write it, really. We used to have one, for Christmas, we used to ask for loads of stupid stuff, but now we just ask for whatever.

Maddie: What's the best city you've visited on this tour? Any place you'd really dig returning to?
Harry:
I always like going to Portland. We didn't actually play there, but we did stop there. I know it's not in the States, but Vancouver was really fun.

Maddie: What music have you been listening to lately that you just can't stop listening to?
Harry:
Queen, A Day At The Races. It's quite good. I've been writing new stuff, so I've been listening to myself, which is lame. Dom's [Peace's drummer] been listening to something awfully psychedelic. Dom's always got something terribly psychedelic from like, Budapest.

Maddie: Lastly, is there any song, new or old, that you wish you could've written the lyrics and music to?
Harry: I heard the demo of Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side," and I was like, awesome. You know I've just been reminded of that 'cause he cocked it. I was thinking about that, when I heard [about his passing]. I was like, he wrote some songs that I really wish that I could've written.

Playlist: Remembering Lou Reed


Yesterday the world lost an extremely influential and groundbreaking musician, Lou Reed. Although he was a founding member of The Velvet Underground, he also had an extensive solo career, and was responsible for influencing the psychedelic and punk scenes. Beginning his career with the Underground, Reed later collaborated with other influential artists like Andy Warhol, and worked on his own solo career, even releasing the controversial album Metal Machine Music. Through it all, Reed made a gigantic impact on the world, for musicians and non-musicians alike. His work and attitude influenced and continue to influence nearly every band, old and new. Music surely would not be what it is today without his contributions. Here's a little playlist for your mind and ears to remember some of his best. We'll miss you, Lou. —Maddie





Interview: Palma Violets




Last Saturday, October 19, Palma Violets brought their extremely high-energy show to the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, and just before the gig I had the chance to sit down with them (literally, on the red, carpeted floor of the venue) to chat. Vocalist and guitarist Sam Fryer, bassist Chilli Jesson, and resident Palma Violets prophet/merch boy/band's best friend Harry Violent joined me. Here's what they had to say.
Interview and live photos by Maddie Sensibile.

Maddie: How's the Rattlesnake Rodeo Tour been treating you so far?
Chilli: It's been great.
Sam: It's been up and down.

Maddie: How was Berkeley yesterday?
Sam:
It was one of the ups, definitely.

Maddie: How does it feel to have such a well-received debut record, and to be so young still? Do you feel happy about it?
Harry: I'm twenty-two...

Maddie: I'm about to turn twenty. I know, getting so old.
Harry: Oh, to be twenty again!

Maddie: Only two years ago!
Chilli: Absolutely, it's been really great. Good reaction.
Harry: Gotta bring it down from the inside, haven't ya?



You recently released the "Invasion of the Tribbles" single with a special etching on the back, the purple "Best of Friends" vinyl, and the white "We Found Love" single as well. Do you enjoy collecting vinyl?
Sam: I think it's fantastic. I wouldn't say we're vinyl collectors, but we all have vinyl collections. We're not fanatics, we don't study it.
Chilli: Our sound guy goes to every city and picks up a little. You also need to have quite a bit of money to get a vinyl collection going, you know what I mean? On tour we need to kind of save our cash to buy food.
Sam: We've got a good collection, though. A good stash in 180.
Chilli: Most of mine are from my parents. Some that I've bought. It's building up into a good stash.
Sam: It's the best way to listen to music, to the ears.

Maddie: Speaking of all things analog, you guys use social media, but not too much. Do you think it's crucial for a band to have a strong social media presence, or do you think it's okay to keep it minimal?
Sam: We keep on being told it's crucial.
Harry: We've been tweeting, though.
Sam: These guys are trying their best.

Maddie: How do you feel about Twitter?

Chilli: Oh. By the way, I deleted it...
Harry: You deleted it?
Chilli: So, we had a twitter account, but I woke up this morning and felt like, very anxious...
Harry: Didn't you tell me something about it this morning? You told me we gained thirty or something.
Chilli: And then I thought, well then we'll just pull out.
Harry: We did two tweets.

Maddie: It was too much for you?
Sam: We're definitely too sensitive for Twitter, I think.
Harry: I'm too long winded as well.

Maddie: You recorded 180 with Steve Mackey of Pulp. Do you want to work with him again?
Sam: We're big fans. We went to go see them in Sheffield, one of their last shows ever.
Chilli: Supposed final show, in England, in Britain.
Harry: Final homecoming show!
Sam: We're big fans of Pulp, yeah. The future is unwritten as well for album two.


Palma Violets' drummer, Will Doyle.

Maddie: Who do you listen to before shows? Any specific things you do?
Sam: We don't listen to music; we actually just watch interviews. Nick Cave does good interviews, and Jesus and Mary Chain do great interviews. They're actually quite entertaining. That gets us geared up.
Harry: Sometimes Shrek and Depeche Mode as well.
Chilli: Yeah, and Zoolander.
Sam: Sometimes other peoples' music can pollute the soul, so you want to feel your own energy as you head onto the stage, as opposed to somebody else's.

Maddie: Since you guys are here, what are your favorite things to do in L.A.?
Chilli: IN 'N OUT BURGER! We've just been.
Harry: I want to go lick the sand on Venice Beach again.
Sam: Last time we saw loads of porpoises.
Harry: Call them dolphins.
Sam: I was told, "They're not fucking dolphins! They're porpoises!"

Spooky Tunes: Dead Man's Bones


One record you should always have on hand during the Halloween season is Dead Man's Bones' self-titled album that came out a few years ago. Dead Man's Bones is a project that was created by the one and only Ryan Gosling and his pal Zach Shields. So far, they've only produced one album that brings together all things creepy and mysterious, made in collaboration with The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children's Choir. Dead Man's Bones is a bonafide Halloween album, with twelve tracks that will put a spook in your step and make you want to dress like a skeleton year round.

The album fluctuates from more lively and eerie songs like "In The Room Where You Sleep" to darker, more somber tracks like "Young & Tragic." Who wouldn't want Ryan Gosling singing to them about zombies and werewolves? I'm hoping Dead Man's Bones reforms sometime soon to make another Halloween record for the coming years. Maddie



Shop Dead Man's Bones

Interview: SKATERS




I caught up with SKATERS frontman Michael Cummings while the band was in Los Angeles last weekend, opening for Palma Violets. Michael told me about how the band quickly got it together, and why New York is a constant source of inspiration for SKATERS, especially for their upcoming record, Manhattan. Also, did I mention how well-dressed they are when they perform? Take a note, boys.
Interview and live photos by Maddie Sensibile

Introduce yourself and what you do in the band!

I'm Michael and I sing in SKATERS.

So you guys have been around for a little over a year. How did you get started?
We formed kind of quickly. I met Josh here at a party in LA - both of our bands were winding down, and Noah and I were already in another band previously. We were moving to New York, and Josh was like, "Let's start a band!" We got really messed up at a party, and I didn't think much of it. He wrote me one email that was like, "Maybe I'll come to New York in November or something." I didn't hear from him until October 31st. He shows up, writes "I'll be there tomorrow at 4" on an email, and then that night we went out for drinks. It was Noah's birthday, and we started the band the next morning. Then we booked three shows!

How did you decide you wanted to be called SKATERS, and why the stylization?

The name was floating around before the band even really started. I just thought it was a good name for a band that was formed, because I wanted to do something more youthful than my previous band; play faster songs and stuff like that. The reason that it is in all caps is because of aesthetics.

SKATERS' music is definitely many genres mixed together. How would you describe your genre, and what influences have you had over the years?

I would describe it as fancy punk music. Someone said it was, "Pre-Giuliani Post-Punk" which I thought was pretty good, because that's where we draw a lot of our inspiration from, New York punk bands from the '70s. It's for other people to figure out what we sound like, and compare us to that, which they do.

Your debut album is called Manhattan, and right now the band is based in New York. What do you love about the city that you really feel you can't find anywhere else?
The energy. It's a very fast-paced way of living, and everything that's on this record has been inspired by things we've done or seen in New York in the first year of starting this band. And the songs' pacing and stuff like that, it all kind of feels like New York to us.

The lyric video for "Deadbolt" looks like an old karaoke video, and I've read that you're a fan of karaoke. What is your favorite song to karaoke?
Bruce Springsteen, "Born to Run." That's my favorite.

Lastly, can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from your debut?

We're totally excited for it. You can expect like thirty-three minutes of music, and no filler. We just tried to cut it down to songs you'd want to hear.