Behind the Scenes: UO Live White Lung
We can't help but be charmed by Ali Michael and Marcel Castenmiller, modeling veterans and real-life couple who are way more than just blank slates for someone else's vision. Between Marcel's analog photography, Ali's catalogue of amazingly bizarre images and videos, and the hilarious, candid, and weird snippets of their lives they share on each of their huge social media followings, Ali and Marcel have created a new digital dialogue about themselves that makes us all want to hang out with them. And after spending the day with the pair on set of UO's new "Moving In" video, it's easy to see why.
Behind the scenes, we talked with Ali and Marcel about digital self-awareness, how they met, and some things they will never take seriously.
Photography by Bobby Whigham
Let's talk about the Internet: These are a bunch of obvious statements, but you both share a lot on Instagram and Twitter, and have big followings, but also share a very openly candid, transparent, and un-glamorized version of yourselves. Has this been a choice?
Ali: My relationship with the Internet and especially Instagram has been really interesting. I think typically as a model you are not seen as an individual. You are seen as a blank slate for someone else's vision. So even though you are visible in ads or magazines or whatever you are not portraying yourself so people don't get a sense of who you are.
And it's been cool because Instagram and social media has been a way for both of us to present a more accessible portrayal of ourselves as opposed to going through some third party. I don't like feeling like I can't be myself.
Do you ever think about people not responding to it?
Ali: I'm sure that some people aren't into it. That's fine though, because some people are into it and that's enough.
Marcel: I agree. I haven't changed the way I do it when I started and when no one was looking. At first I thought,'Do I want all these people to see my real life?' But then I realized, yeah of course I do. It's like when you think about actors and how you can relate them to certain roles because they are able to talk about them. Like when Bill Murray says, 'I'm playing this role and here's how it was like me and here's how it wasn't.' Whereas with modeling you want to be like, 'Hey actually I'm not that guy — I'm this guy' but that typically never happens.
Ali: It's just nice to have control of your image. The Internet has provided a voice that we wouldn't otherwise have had.
And it comes down to you both having a self-awareness of the fact that people are forming opinions about the people they follow and especially ones they don't know.
Ali: Completely. And it's also cool because everything is so accessible. I know I've found people or things I wouldn't ever have found otherwise but you see them everyday. They are right in front of you.
Do any specific stories come to mind?
Marcel: Well, we met on Instagram.
Ali: Ok, only kind of! I had an Instagram crush on him.
Whoa. This is modern romance.
Ali: Yes, well so I had a fake account, the name of which I cannot reveal. My friend and I had started this fake account so we could secretly follow people, or people where it would be creepy if they knew we were following them.
Marcel: I don’t understand that.
Ali: You should!
Marcel: I feel like everyone should know when you follow them.
Ali: What! I definitely don't. Anyway, I was just being a creepy stalker and following him and had a crush on him.
Marcel: And I asked my friend, who posted a picture of Ali, ‘Who's this girl, what's she all about?'
Ali: This is such a dumb story.
Marcel: No it's not! It was great because we didn't have any expectations.
Ali: So then there was this event at the Bowery and my friend invited me and I went because I heard his friend — and probably he — was going to be there. So of course I went.
Marcel: And I bought tickets because I thought she would be there.
YOU GUYS! This is real blog fodder right here. It’s great you’ve been able to work together so much.
Marcel: We didn't see that happening.
Ali: No, not at all! But it's been so cool. We've done some awesome stuff together and, with working together, it’s like: we want to hang out anyway.
Ali, you are from Texas and Marcel you are from Toronto. Now you are in New York. Do you think you will stay there?
Marcel: We talk about LA and we talk about Tokyo all the time. But maybe they are pipe dreams.
Ali: I lived in LA for a year and afterward was antsy to get back to New York. I have a love - hate relationship with New York, because I grew up in Texas riding horses every day in a field…I love that kind of environment so it feels exhausting to not have nature around. At the same time, the moment I leave I want to go back immediately. I don't know, sometimes I feel like I want to get out.
Here are some more quick-fire questions for you:
What do you take seriously?
Ali: Being responsible
Marcel: Airport Security
What will you never take seriously?
Marcel: Gummy bears
Please share some items in a recent Notes App draft
Ali: One note of dreams I have starts out with:
cross your arms
"Are you a human being?"
nails outside glitter
Marcel: In my notes app: "I'm on a trip and Matt is singing a song for some of us on his road trip. He starts joking about the dead body downstairs. Somehow it appears in the room from where it was. He has to carry it back downstairs."
Offer three pieces of advice to your younger self.
1. Not everyone is going to like you and that's fine.
2. Feeling uncomfortable is often a good thing that you'll appreciate later.
3. Mom is probably right.
1. Manage your sweet tooth.
2. Swim once a day.
3. Get a cat.
Walk us through a typical day for you — what's your routine like at home?
Ali: I typically don't stay out late because I like to work out in the morning- it makes me feel like it's out of the way early. After that my schedule is kind of up in the air. As a model you're always kind of on-call for castings so sometimes those come up. Other than that I don't have too many rituals and just go wherever I find something I want or need to do.
Marcel: I usually will spend the night before at Ali's then bike home in the morning. I'll feed the cats and do some work on the computer. Otherwise, I will go out for a walk and take some photographs.
What is something you are good at?
Ali: Watching and listening
Marcel: I'd like to think I'm good at directions.
What is something you are bad at?
Ali: Being organized
Marcel: I get stage fright very easily so anything with a crowd makes me nervous.
Please recommend something...
To wear —
Marcel: a long black coat
To read —
Ali: Anything you can hold in your hands
Marcel: Ender's Game
To watch —
Ali: VICE on HBO, Bruce Jenner's ponytail on "Keeping Up with the Kardashians"
Marcel: "Possession" by Andrzej Żuławski
To hear —
Ali: The Spotify radio station for "Everything You Want" by Vertical Horizon
Marcel: Philip Glass
To drink —
Ali: Matcha or black coffee
Marcel: Sake masu
To eat —
Ali: Yosenabe at Inaka in Los Angeles or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Marcel: A tuna sandwich.
Ali, please tell us some things we don't know about Marcel.
Ali: He is incredibly considerate and has a perspective unlike anyone else I've ever met and also has a pair of toe socks that he likes to wear sometimes and looks way better in my clothes than I do.
Marcel, please tell us something we do not know about Ali.
Marcel: Ali admires her own bruises.
Singer, songwriter and Goddess Banks recently spoke to us about her writing process, her love of Greek myths and what we can expect to hear from her upcoming album Goddess. And after a whirlwind year of EP releases and festival performances, we're thrilled to see Banks embarking on her own headlining tour this Fall. If you'd like to meet Banks and get her debut LP signed, make sure to catch her at our next For The Record vinyl signing event on September 10 at Space Ninety 8 in Brooklyn, NY!
On preparing for shows:
For me, I get nervous, but it's kind of just funneled into adrenaline and the second I'm on stage, it turns into something else - maybe some sort of power. I definitely get nervous before the start of almost every show; I'm not sure that will ever go away.
On being a self-trained musician and how it affects the way she approaches music:
I've never used music any differently than what it means to me. It's honesty and it's truth. It's really just a tool for me that I use to survive, really. [Laughs] A way of letting things out and expressing things that I need to express. Whether that's really happy and bright things or dark things, it's really just another language for me that will always be there.
I taught myself to have my own way of doing everything. I developed my own style and my own point of view and way of structuring my songs because of being self-trained. I didn't have any voices in my head, so it's had a lot to do with how I write, I think.
On her other hobbies and what she'd be doing if she weren't a musician:
I used to love drawing and painting, and I mean... I love art, but music is like my entire heart. Even if I love doing other things, it's not the same as writing music for me. That's something that I need. The other things are fun for me, but music is like water to me.
Banks' US television debut performance on Kimmel
I played in so many different places! It's cool when you play in different countries, different cities, even different towns, because culturally the audience can interact differently with music and you really feel it when you're doing the festival circuit. When I was in Poland, the crowd was so juicy, they were just incredible. There was this staircase from the crowd into the audience, and I think you're supposed to tell security if you plan on entering the audience, which I'd never done before so I didn't think to plan out, but during "Goddess" I just wanted to be closer to everyone, so I went into the audience down these stairs, through this pathway. I was touching everybody as I walked and it's just one of my juiciest memories of performing.
You don't really get a day off when you're touring, but in every city I go to, I try to wander around for at least an hour or two, just to see things.
On what she's interested in right now:
I love all Greek stories, Greek mythology. I've been reading those when I've been on the road. I love moving my hands in hypnotic ways. Very smooth. And I love ginger. [Laughs] Any type of drink with ginger in it!
On her upcoming album Goddess:
Goddess is my whole heart. It's me 100%. I put everything into it. I feel like after you listen to it, you'll really know me – my layers and all my flavors.
I don't really think in terms of albums. I'm constantly writing because it's just a part of my life - I can't stop writing, so I don't really think of it in terms of albums. Goddess is a body of work that represents a time in my life, a really important time in my life. I'm always writing, I have more songs, and I'll always be writing more songs.
On what the rest of 2014 looks like for Banks:
I don't know! Lots of touring. My album is coming out so soon. There's so many things that I'm doing that I've never done before. Even when I hear that question, my heart starts beating really fast. [Laughs] It's just a mix of excitement and nerves. Everything is new - doing Jimmy Kimmel is new, so I guess I'll be doing more stuff like that and more collaborations. Right now my head's just on the Goddess tour in September. I'm really, really excited for that. It's crazy. I'm so happy and it's the most fulfilling feeling to know that people are connecting with the music. Every stage is exciting - playing for five people or thousands of people, it's all great.
Washed Out, aka Ernest Greene, put out one of our favorite albums last year when he released Paracosm. Now, he joins the ranks of the many artists participating in our For The Record vinyl signing program. We've worked with Ernest before when we produced his "All I Know" video last year, and we're psyched to work with him again, especially in a setting where he gets to interact with his many fans.
Washed Out will be on tour this fall, so if he's heading to a city near you, make sure you catch the show. His live performance is just as incredible as his album, and hearing him in a live setting only makes the experience that more magical. Watch the video for "All I Know" below, read our interview with the video's director Daniel Kragh-Jacobsen, and check to see what cities he'll be visiting for For The Record!
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!
As summer keeps rollin' on, so does the internet. Another week means another pile of tunes, good reads, and movie trailers. See a handful of our favorites from this past week below!
Merchandise "Green Lady"
This song is so good. Merchandise kicked it up a notch with the synth in this one, and man, is it working. Makes me feel like I'm starring in my very own melodramatic '80s movie. (via Stereogum)
"Everything Happens So Much"
This piece over on Pitchfork (yes, the title is a Horse ebooks reference) by Lindsay Zoladz about music being available all over the place, forever, because of the internet, was an interesting read, as well as The Atlantic piece she linked within it which talks about internet streaming and why it's so bananas. I felt very internet overwhelmed after reading these, so read at caution if you don't want to feel guilty for sitting on Buzzfeed three hours a day, endlessly refreshing.
Banks "Beggin For Thread"
We chatted with Banks earlier this week (interview coming soon!), right before she was set to perform on Fallon for her first television debut. She did absolutely amazing and was also wearing a cape, so if you don't love Banks even more now, then yikes.
Cayetana "Scott Get The Van, I'm Moving"
We've been loving everything we've heard from Cayetana and this newest one is no exception. Very, very excited for their LP Nervous Like Me. (via AV Club)
Saved By The Bell: The Unauthorized Story
Oh my god, what are you even doing, Lifetime? (via Vulture)
To kick off the Dreamers + Doers series, we are highlighting the work of Shaun Wallace, the Santa Barbara-based woodworker and builder behind Gopherwood Design/Build. Shaun got his start as a UO Display Artist in 2009, and has since gone on to develop his own brand, where he conceives and constructs projects ranging from intricately hand-turned wooden bowls to large-scale installations. Talented, humble, and hard-working, we keep collaborating with Shaun as much as we can — most recently, he was part of a team that constructed an complex three-part display build-out inside the new location of our Westwood store, relocating down the street into an expanded space later this month.
We asked Shaun to let us follow him around for the day and learn more about how he works, what influences him, and how taking on challenges produces the biggest rewards.
We milled and ripped for a couple days, installed framework and built interior frames for about three more, and finally installed everything pictured in about a day and a half with the aid of a couple scissor lifts.
Jenny Lewis is no stranger to collaboration. She began her musical career with Rilo Kiley and has worked with more musicians than we can count, including The Postal Service, Bright Eyes, The Watson Twins, Johnathan Rice, and most recently, Ryan Adams and Beck for her newest album, The Voyager, out now. Celebrating the release of The Voyager and gearing up for a few For The Record vinyl signings, she chatted with us about her many collaborations, her fashion sense, and growing up in the desert. Photography by Autumn de Wilde
Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for chatting with us. How are ya?
Doing well, thank you!
We’ve been big fans for years and years!
Well, thank you!
So, how excited are you about The Voyager finally coming out?
I’m pretty excited considering it took quite a while to complete. I feel like I can relax a little bit now that it’s done.
You worked with Ryan Adams on the album. What was that like?
It was wild! I reached out to him directly, via Twitter. I think I DM-ed him! I was on tour with The Postal Service and we were wrapping it up after Lollapalooza last year. And so I reached out to him because I had a new song that I wanted to record. And he said, “Yeah, come on down to Pax-Am, come check it out, and we’ll record your song.” And by the end of the day, we recorded two songs, and then he asked if I wanted to come make my whole record at Pax.
Yeah, it was exactly what I needed to get over the hump of this record. I didn’t want to be the captain of the ship anymore. I was happy to be the skipper.
That was the 10 year reunion tour with The Postal Service, right?
It was. It was really exciting, so fun! It’s like a rock and roll dream come true, where you disappear for a decade and come back and play two sold out shows at Barclays Center. That shit never happens!
Are there any songs that will always feel extra special to you?
My songs are like my kids in a way, so it is hard to choose. But I think I’m drawn to a song over time when it can exist in different ways. If you can strip a song back and play it on an acoustic guitar in a room with your friends, then it’s something that sticks around for a little while. Some songs are tricky and I can’t play them outside of Rilo Kiley, they just don’t make sense. I feel like "Silver Lining" is a song that’s really flexible in that way.
I feel like I’ve witnessed something very rare in your musical history. I’ve seen The Frug live.
Oh my gosh! Oh wow, that is a really rare thing. Did I do the dance?
You did! It was incredible!
[laughs] How embarrassing! It’s funny, because I didn’t even realize when we were writing that song that I was referencing Troop Beverly Hills. It didn’t occur to me, and then someone was like, “Yeah, don’t you remember? You did The Frug in Troop Beverly Hills with Shelley Long?” And I was like, “Ohhh, that’s where I got that from!”
If they did a remake of Troop Beverly Hills, would you do it?
Would I play like the older, wiser one?
Yeah, like they get the old gang back together.
You know, I would seriously consider it.
In addition to your acting history and musical prowess, you’ve also become quite a fashion icon. Is that something you identify with?
Oh, well that’s so nice to say! I certainly have never set out to be an example or a trend, I just wear what feels appropriate at the time. But I have noticed over the years when I look out into the crowd, that the fashions are always just a little bit behind what I’m doing. You know, when I was touring Acid Tongue, for example, the kids were dressed like I was for Under The Blacklight, like hot pants and glitter and gold lamè! And by the time Acid Tongue was finished and we were doing Jenny and Johnny, I had moved on to like a ‘50s greaser kind of thing, and the kids were dressed like I was on the cover of Acid Tongue, in bellbottoms and a hat, out there flashing peace signs!
Will you ever put out another one under Jenny and Johnny?
I’d like to! We shall see. Johnathan [Rice] and I continue to write together for my records, his records, and we wrote a bunch of songs for an Anne Hathaway movie. We’re always collaborating on stuff, and I’m sure that when we write something that feels really ‘us’ it will inspire another J & J record.
That’s the second movie you’ve worked on a score for, that’s very cool.
Yeah, that is the second one. The first one I did by myself, and then exactly a year later we were asked for Song One and I was so relieved to have Johnathan and Nate Walcott from Bright Eyes. It’s a big responsibility, it’s a lot of hard work and homework. There are a lot of revisions when you’re working on a film because it’s so collaborative.
How does that differ than making songs for your own album?
Well, you’re not writing for yourself, which is a really fun exercise. You’re writing for a character, and in the case of Song One, we were writing for a male singer/songwriter. To flip the gender roles like that was really exciting for me. Although I think we created a very sensitive man [laughs]. The sweetest, most thoughtful guy ever.
You seem to really collaborate a lot on your solo work.
Yes, I need a lot of help [laughs]! I come from a band, so I’m used to sharing the responsibility and I’m used to collaborating with people. I love it. When I first got into music, I knew nothing about music. I just knew how to write words and put them to simple chord progression. I learned everything being in a band. Standing alone and being a solitary solo artist isn’t as comfortable for me, so I try to be as inclusive as possible.
You were actually born in Las Vegas, but do you identify with that at all?
I’m pretty much a Valley girl, I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. But I do go back to Vegas on occasion. I mean, none of my family stayed in Vegas. But when I do go back, I feel a certain kinship with Las Vegas. I feel very comfortable in a desert mini mall out in the middle of nowhere. For whatever reason, that’s like when I’m in my element.
Vegas is a kind of weird place.
Kind of weird?! It’s the weirdest place on Earth! It’s so strange. You can stay indoors for three days in the AC and never see the real Vegas, but the way I grew up when I was a kid–we lived in an apartment complex and my parents worked in the casinos–our life was very separate from that.
Back to fashion a little bit, tell us about your amazing rainbow airbrushed suit!
Oh, man! Well, for every record since Rabbit Fur Coat, I’ve collaborated with Autumn De Wilde and her amazing team in Los Angeles. So we always get together and pow-wow about what the look is gonna be of the record I’m about to put out. So for The Voyager, we wanted something slightly cosmic. I was referencing Gram Parsons and those famed nudie suits he wore. They’re beautiful! It’s kind of a nod to country western music, but I also wanted it to be more modern and reflect when I grew up, which was in the ’90s in Los Angeles. So it has kind of a graffiti element to it.
Are you wearing it on tour?
Yes, I’m going to wear it as much as I can! But I’m playing a lot of summer festivals so I may have to rethink the three-piece polyester suit. You know, if you wear a suit like that, it does like half of the work for you. You’re like, “here I am! I’m in this rainbow suit!” and everyone’s like “Hey! Who cares about the music!”
I’ve heard you also love wearing tracksuits!
[laughs] It makes me happy, it keeps me very comfortable when I travel. I used to wear oversized tracksuits when I was a kid and so lately I’ve opted for a kids medium, that’s the size that fits me! I’m a total shrimp. They’re a little high-water, which I like. I’m dying to do a collaboration with adidas where we cop my rainbow airbrushed suit and make that design on a tracksuit. It would look really cool.
I would totally buy that!
The next up in our newly-premiered UO Live series, Jungle takes a break from their first US tour to perform "Busy Earnin’" to an intimate audience. On the heels of a breakout TV appearance and releasing the much-anticipated self-titled album, Jungle’s T talks to us about the secrets behind the mysterious group’s process, working and touring with his best friends, and never taking any of it for granted.
Hi T, can you tell us about yourself?
I’m T, from Jungle. I guess there’s not much else to say, really (laughs).
You guys have known each other for a long time, right?
Yeah, I’ve known J since I was 10 years old.
What’s that like, to now be traveling the world and working and making music together?
It’s really good, it’s our relationship that keeps us grounded. It helps in the studio as well, because when we’re creating together I’m not afraid to tell him an idea is bad. We’ve known each other so long and we know each other so well that I’m not afraid of hurting his feelings and we’re always honest with each other like that, rather than spending three weeks working on an idea that isn’t good. We can immediately nip it in the bud.
Do you ever fight?
Yeah, of course! I think it’s actually a good thing that we do that, because then we can take our frustrations and our fears out on each other. We know that we don’t mean it and we know we can be there for each other and kind of be an emotional punching bag.
Your recent performance on Jimmy Kimmel was incredible. What was that experience like?
That was a really cool experience, it was a completely new experience. I think with the project, the great thing about it is that we take each day as it comes and I don’t think we’re scared of anything because we’re all in it together. There’s such a great team of people behind it. We’re so lucky to have been able to come to the United States in the first place that I think we’re not taking it for granted. We’re really focused and energized.
Had you been to the US before this tour?
I’ve been to New York once. Yeah, it’s a bit of a dream! When you get to LA and you see all those palm trees.. there are too many palm trees! And we’re touring with Beat Connection, which has been great. It’s been really special.
So now you’re traveling all over the States, seeing everything.
Yeah, that’s the beauty of it!
Are there any cities or shows on this tour that stand out to you?
The El Ray in LA was the first show, and that was pretty special because it was an amazing theatre. It was really full and everyone was really happy. I got all the nervous energy out of my system and I think that was a really great place to do it. Everyone has been really amazing, and the response in all the cities has been overwhelming and surprising.
Tell us about the new album.
I’m really excited about it. I think it’s been inside our heads for so long, it’s a really special thing to be able to release it and give it to people to make judgment on, to form their own opinions. It’s kind of beautiful; we have the control on the stage or in the studio, and it’s nice to now put it out there and not have any control whatsoever. You free yourself of that worry.
How long did you work on it?
It took about 12 months in total. A lot of that was interrupted by the early days of forming the live band. That took a lot of time. So maybe 3 months, solid focus, day in and day out.
When you first went into the studio to make the new album, did you go in with a clear idea of what you wanted it to sound like, or do you feel it out as you go?
I think with me and J, we literally just sat down, and our mantra was that whatever feels good, we go with. Whatever sounds cool and whatever sounds unique is where we start from, and then our influences and subconscious takes over a little bit. When you’re being so conscious about creating–being very focused on the task at hand and trying to create something new–you completely free your subconscious of negative thoughts. The what if, or why, when, how. That’s the really interesting thing about it, the whole record has kind of been a battle between our conscious and subconscious.
Jungle has been shrouded in mystery until recently–was this intentional?
Being mysterious was never the intention. I think the intention was to remove our egos from the process of creativity and the idea of a front man, someone who has to be the alpha. It’s quite a negative thing in my eyes. A shared experience that is more focused on a group mentality and a set of ideals rather than a set of individuals, that’s much more important to us. In a way, it’s sort of the old way of going about things. We’re not after Instagram or Facebook likes. People used to not know anything about musicians. We’ve chosen to communicate with the world through our music.
You’ve still cultivated a generous following, which is really refreshing in this technology age.
Yeah, I guess you don’t see it as a bigger picture. We don’t have that same sense of scale. Every night is a surprise, selling so many tickets. We don’t expect it, how popular we are, because we don’t tend to focus on that aspect of it.
You worked so hard to make the album, do you feel like you’re celebrating it over and over each night when you perform?
Yeah, I think what we really love is making the connection with audiences. Sharing that energy and experience with as many people as possible.
What’s it like to travel the world, live your dream, and experience so many things with a crew of your best friends?
It’s amazing! It’s a real privilege, I don’t think we’ll ever take it for granted. Each day is different; we’re in a different place, or on a different road, in different circumstances. It’s very exciting.
Happy Friday, everyone! There's so much beautiful garbage on the internet every week that I want nothing more than to share every special moment in this one post, but I've (somehow) managed to narrow it down to five favorites this week. Read on to see my favorite internet gems of the week. —Katie
Janelle Monae "Electric Lady"
Janelle Monae is literally the only person in the world who can make those little Samsung watch phones look cool (re: the first 30 seconds of this video), and I now want one to take pics of all my cute friends. ("I saw Janelle wearing a bulky Samsung phone watch so I bought a bulky Samsung phone watch.") But forreal, this video rules.
A new little boppy song from Sophie! I was curious to see what would be the next big internet tune after "Bipp," and I think I still like "Bipp" more, but for weird electronic jams, this one is pretty catchy.
Running Wild with Bear Grylls
Somehow I had no idea that this "Running Wild" show was happening this week, which seems like a real shame because Zac Efron is probably, like, #4 on the list of things I love. In this episode with Zac Efron, Bear and Zefron repel shirtless down a mountain together and Zac even kisses Bear on his sweet face after Bear farts in his sleep. (Zefron also has a long laugh by himself over the whole thing, because he is an angel and gets humor.) If that's not true friendship, then I don't know what is. Watch the whole episode here.
(Photo via NYDN)
Stuff Drake Does Twitter
Boy, this Twitter account Stuff Drake Does only has 22 tweets so far, but they're all gold. I just reread them for a second time and laughed aloud, again, and that's truly something special. IDK what we all did to deserve Drake, but thank you, universe.
Twin Shadow "Locked and Loaded"
A new Twin Shadow song was premiered in the most recent episode of Comedy Bang Bang and it's totally buried close to the end (start playing around the 1:02:00 mark), but it's so good and so beautiful. Emotions. :(
What is contouring, you ask? It's that magic beauty trick that makes everyone look like a goddess. Even though contouring is a little bit more involved than just slapping on some blush and heading out the door, it's a great way to amp up your regular makeup look for a night on the town. And since there are now a million YouTube videos for just about every beauty technique out there, the whole process is even easier. Read on for some of our favorite tips and products.
Okay, so you're ready to contour. Great! We're here to hold your hand and pet your hair as you head out on this daunting journey. First of all, make sure you start out with a good brush. At UO, we like to use this angled one from Japonesque, because the angled handle makes it easier to control. (We're not sure why, but we're guessing science.)
Now, when you're contouring, you want to make sure the look you're creating is natural looking. What you're trying to achieve is a slightly more sculpted face. To start off, you want to use a darker product than normal in the hollows of your cheeks, because you want to create a fake shadow (that's what makes the cheekbones pop). Don't get in there with bronzer if you're very fair, because you'll just end up looking like you smeared some dirt on your face. We like this bh Cosmetics palette because of the variety of colors, but there are plenty of options out there for a variety of skin tones. For creating the "shadow" in the hollows of your cheeks, you'll want to stick to a color that has beige or even gray undertones - that'll help it look most like a natural shadow, and not just makeup that's been plopped randomly on your face. The illustration above is a great, quick reference for where to put this color.
While doing this, remember you absolutely don't need to use a lot of product for the contouring, and when you do apply it to your face, make sure it's blended well into the skin. And try to do your makeup in direct sunlight, because contouring can go horribly wrong if you're sitting in a dark bedroom - you'll end up looking very makeup-y the second you step outside. After you have the color applied, you want to make sure all the lines are blended away (we like to use this Stila brush, specifically made for contouring). It definitely takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it's like second nature.
After that, top off the apples of your cheeks with some blush. Whatever blush you normally use is fine. Then, top that off with some highlighter to really accentuate the cheekbones. It's a lot to get the hang of at first, especially if you aren't a beauty guru, but it's super fun to play around with and to see how close you can get yourself to looking your absolute best.
So, there you go! Obviously everything is always trial and error, but these tips and resources should send you all on your way to becoming the most beautiful and talented makeup geniuses. Good luck!
What's our favorite new record? We're thinking Spoon's forthcoming They Want My Soul is a pretty solid contender. Each track the band has released from the album thus far ("Do You", "Rent I Pay", "Inside Out") has been good, but we've come to expect no less from Spoon. The band's been putting out music for over two decades now, and their consistent, catchy sound has guaranteed that they've stayed relevant to listeners of all ages throughout the years. Even though the band may be in their 40s now, they're still the quintessential college band. There's something to be said for staying power like that.
Ahead of their newest album They Want My Soul (the band's first in four years), we'll be having Spoon come out to our Soho, NYC store (628 Broadway), August 4, from 2pm-3pm to sign some records and chat with fans. And for everyone out there who's heard a lot about Spoon but isn't sure where to start when it comes to their music, we've compiled a list of our favorite Spoon songs to get you going. Some are hits and some are just personal favorites around the office, but all are amazing. If these don't get you pumped on Spoon, then nothing will!
Happy Friday, everyone! We rounded up some delightful internet tidbits for you, but read fast and then head outside - it's beautiful out there, and you aren't going to wanna miss this sunshine. #SUMMERFRIDAZE
Banks "Beggin For Thread"
This newest song uploaded by Banks from her upcoming Goddess LP is sooo good. It's a little more upbeat than what we're used to hearing from Banks, and I'm a big fan. (via Idolator)
Ryan Adams "Stay With Me"
This past week, Ryan Adams started touring with a full band again, and he debuted a few new songs from his upcoming self-titled album. Here he is playing his new song "Stay With Me" at the first show of his tour (his banter!!). And if you feel like weeping at your desk this Friday, here he is closing with "Come Pick Me Up." (via Stereogum)
If I Stay
Listen, I know this looks corny. I know they are using that horrible, cheesy "SAY SOMETHING I'M GIVING UP ON YOU" song. I know of all this. But there's also a sad grandpa. And a boyfriend playing guitar romantically. And tragic, loving parents. So, yes, I will weep at this in theaters. Let's all weep at this, together.
Fifty Shades of Gray
Yeah, I know. We've all seen this trailer already. But I needed to post it again because I need to talk about how surprised I am that Focus is involved in this. And the fact that this definitely, absolutely looks like it's going to be a horror movie for the first 1.5 minutes. And the fact that all I can think of with the whole, "There's not much to know about me. I mean, look at me," line is the "She's got glasses and a ponytail! And paint on her overalls!" line from NATM. And Beyonce is involved, which is surprising? (Even though we all know Bey has terrible taste in movies.) Wow, anyway. Can't wait for February.
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
Summer is hurtling by, and that means Jenny Lewis' newest album The Voyager is coming out so soon (only a little more than a week, now). This is so exciting. My teenage self from 2003 is screaming in excitement. Her video for "Just One Of The Guys" came out this past week, along with some other awesome vids. Let's check them out below. —Katie
Jenny Lewis "Just One Of The Guys"
Jenny can do no wrong and Kristen Stewart is incredibly charming in this, HATERS BE DAMNED. Always here for the "kinda totally random" actor cameos in music videos.
Here's the newest video from SZA, another perfect jam for the summer. There's also this clip of SZA and tiny little Willow Smith performing their song "Domino" together earlier this week, which was fun to watch. (via Vibe)
Made In Minnesota
I was recently re-reading an article on The Replacements in a Sassy mag from, like, 1991, so when I saw that Noisey went out and did this mini-doc on the Minnesota music scene, I was pretty pumped to watch it. It's good, and made me finally realize that Craig Finn's speaking voice sounds literally exactly the same as his singing voice. I have no idea how I'm just finding this out now.
Lapsley "Painter (Valentine)"
This song is sooo pretty and Låpsley is apparently 17 years old, so have fun feeling like an untalented garbage can after you listen to this one. (via Gorilla vs. Bear)
"My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday's Endless Appetizers"
Caity Weaver is my favorite person to read over on Gawker and her most recent post over there may be her best yet. Basically, she sat in a TGI Friday's for 14 hours to test out their new unlimited apps deal, and boy oh boy, the laughs you'll have along the way are endless.
Can you even believe that it's already mid-July? Because I sure can't. Luckily there will always be songs coming out that help us hang onto that "endless summer" feeling. Here are some of my recent favorites. —Katie
Yumi Zouma "It Feels Good To Be Around You"
I'm really into this one from Yumi Zouma for the aforementioned summery vibes. Makes me want to sit on the beach in a sparkly leotard while drinking a Raz-Ber-Rita. (via Gorilla vs. Bear)
Christopher Owens "Nothing More Than Everything"
Listen, if you know anything about me, you know that nostalgia is everything to me, which means that I am so into the vibe of this video and song. Great job, Chris Owens. You're really doin' it.
Little Dragon "Pretty Girls"
Realllly into this new video from Little Dragon because it involves a beauty pageant, pageant queens and ZOMBIES! It's a real delight. Very girl power, TBH.
Dev Hynes "Chandelier" Remix
"Chandelier" on its own is a very special song so I was a little unsure about any remixes, but Dev Hynes did a-ok with this one. Gonna make a playlist with just this and the original "Chandelier" looped over and over again for 40 straight hours. (via Pitchfork)
Interpol "All The Rage Back Home"
Interpol are coming back with a brand new album, El Pintor, this September and the first single is here with an accompanying video shot in a moody black and white. INTO IT.
Chicago, listen up! We're excited to announce that for this year's Afterfest our friends Liars and Vatican Shadow will be performing at The Mid (306 N. Halsted St.) on Friday, July 18, from 10pm-4am. As always, Making Time's resident DJs Dave P. and Sammy Slice will be continuously DJing throughout the night. Admittance is free with RSVP, but make sure to arrive early to guarantee entrance. We hit capacity last year (thanks, everyone!) and expect the same to happen this year. Read our recent feature with Liars here and watch their video for "Mess on a Mission" below. See you in Chicago!