Sissy’s Fall 2017: What I’m Into

Our Fashion Editor-At-Large, Sissy Sainte-Marie, shares her current obsessions.

 

SILVER LAMÉ

Wearing head-to-toe beige cotton everyday is so me. But don’t be shocked if I shift gears and go full-on lurex and lamé this season.

 

 

BERETS

I think it was last year’s election that got me feeling a little militant, or maybe it’s merely the Gucci effect, but I’m really into topping my noggin with berets right now. Clyde’s in fawn lambskin is my choice.  

 

DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST

I guess we have Beyonce to thank. Lemonade’s references to this 1991 film about Gullah women at the turn of the 20th century, led to its restoration and re-release late last year. It is a visual masterpiece, a beautiful story, but tbh, I was mostly focused on the costumes.

 

SLEEPING BEAUTIES

I love my bed so much I recite an ode I wrote called “Oh bed oh bed” to it from time to time. If you, too, can list sleeping as one of your favorite activities, you are going to love the bedspread-inspired runway looks for F/W 2017. Grab a pillow bag from Modern Weaving and you’ve got yourself a look.

CURLS AND BANGS

If it ever looks like I’m having an absence seizure, I’m not. I’m most likely just seriously wondering if I could pull off “Last Tango in Paris” hair.

 

MENOPAUSAL BLUE

I once heard an older woman in a vintage store describe a dress as “menopausal blue”. I still don’t know what that even means but perhaps it is no coincidence this blue-gray shade is showing up all over catwalks around the same time Manrepeller is trend-reporting on Menocore?

 

BEN TOMS’ POSTCARDS

Ben Toms’ set of postcards for Owl Cave books. The theme is adaptive mimicry. The title is Untitled.

 

ALEX CAMERON

This Aussie pantydropper is equal parts humor and heart.  Recommended for you if you think Louie Anderson should win a nobel prize for his portrayal of Mama Baskets and that Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads could have had more laughs per minute.

Woman We Love: Eden Hagos

It’s been an inspiring summer for Eden Hagos. The Sudan-born, Los Angeles-based DJ has spent part of the dog days traveling throughout East Africa, wholly absorbing the beauty of her land and culture, which, she says, have always been a point of reference for her, creatively.

Of course, Eden has made a name for herself with the way she blends her ties to her roots with an instinctive ability to cultivate the freshest, most original beats. She honors representation, diversity and innovation through thoughtful sampling and re-worked cuts (her latest playlist, “Her Favourite Beats,” is a perfect example), remaining firmly entrenched in respect and positive energy.

It’s a thread of integrity that not only weaves into the fabric of Eden’s work, but also how she navigates through life, from mindful style choices to the way she commands her place in a male-dominated industry. A thread that’s made her a go-to for tastemaker label Soulection and festivals like Women In Music and Afropunk. “I pride myself in being a strong, opinionated woman driven by a strong moral compass,” she adds. “If it doesn’t feel good to me, I won’t engage in or support it.”

With open ears and an assured sense of self, Eden’s star continues to shine, enlighten, and rise.

YOU’RE IN ETHIOPIA RIGHT NOW. HOW HAS THE TRIP BEEN? It’s been amazing! The continent of Africa is home. I’m Eritrean by heritage, but I was born in Sudan and immigrated to the U.S. as a toddler. I’m a proud Habesha, which is an umbrella term for individuals from Eritrea or Ethiopia.

I love traveling, whether it is for a music gig or a consulting project. For me, there is nothing more inspiring and eye-opening than leaving your hotel and going for a walk in a new city, especially at night. The sounds you hear, the street style you see, the food you smell and conversations you overhear — each of these add strings to the fabric of your soul. I always make sure to soak in as much as possible.

ON INSTAGRAM, YOU’VE POSTED SOME WONDERFUL VIDEOS OF MUSIC AND DANCE FROM YOUR TRAVELS. WHAT KIND OF ROLE HAVE YOU SEEN THESE THINGS PLAY IN EAST AFRICAN CULTURE? The various tribes and ethnic groups of each East African country have their own distinct music, culture and tradition. Music and dance has always played a vital role in my culture. It means so much more than having a good time. In many ways, African music is a utilitarian function used in vital aspects of life such as a child’s naming ceremony, initiation rights, religious ceremonies, etc.

HAVE YOU DISCOVERED ANY ARTISTS YOU’RE PARTICULARLY EXCITED ABOUT WHILE YOU’VE BEEN THERE? Yes! I discovered Jano band while I was in Ethiopia. I was in town at the time working on a story for an online women’s platform and our translator found out I was an a DJ. He was a big fan of the band and took me to a record shop on my last day to purchase their album for me as a gift. I love what Jano band represents, which is this new sound that blends traditional East African music with more modern rock and future beat sounds. I would love to see them try and attempt a crossover here in the United States. I think they have a shot and I would love to help them attempt that.

YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT HOW A FUGEES ALBUM FIRST SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN BEATS. WHICH RECORD WAS IT AND WHAT DID YOU REALLY CONNECT WITH? During my adolescence, I had a step uncle come and visit our family. It was our first time meeting him and he asked me what I wanted as a gift, so he brought me the Fugees album. Lauryn Hill resonated with me because she addressed topics I could relate to, such as feminism and spirituality. Her honesty and openness was incredibly inspiring and she represented a natural, wholesome look which spoke to me. It is because of her that I always say representation matters.

YOU JUST RELEASED YOUR NEW PLAYLIST, “HER FAVOURITE BEATS.” WHAT KIND OF VIBE WERE YOU GOING FOR? A chill vibe. I honestly just wanted to put together a compilation of songs that I had discovered over the past few months, including while I was in Ethiopia. I wanted to share the music that has been inspiring me.

THE PLAYLIST FEATURES GREATS LIKE BARRINGTON LEVY AND SADE, BUT ALSO SOME LESSER-KNOWN ARTISTS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A COUPLE OF THEM AND HOW YOU DISCOVERED THEIR MUSIC? The selections reflect the different sounds that have shaped me as an artist. Most are sample, reworked beats which are what I am actually known for and enjoy most. I love to find unique sounds and find a way to bridge together different cultures, genres and sounds. As an aspiring producer and as a selecta, I tend to tune in to samples and instrumental usage when I listen to music.

YOU ALSO INCLUDED RAMRIDDLZ’ TRACK, “HABAESHA.” HOW HAS YOUR CULTURE INFLUENCED YOU CREATIVELY? My culture/Africa has been and will ways be a reference point for me.

YOU ALSO INCLUDED RAMRIDDLZ’ TRACK, “HABAESHA.” HOW HAS YOUR CULTURE INFLUENCED YOU CREATIVELY? My culture/Africa has been and will ways be a reference point for me.

HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY CHALLENGES BEING A FEMALE DJ WORKING IN A MALE-DOMINATED INDUSTRY? HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES? Yes, I have experienced unique challenges because of my gender. However, I have been able to overcome these challenges by staying true to myself. I pride myself in being a strong, opinionated woman driven by a strong moral compass. If it doesn’t feel good to me, I won’t engage in or support it. I have to be picky about the artists I support and labels/brands/companies I work with. I’ve been inspired by fearless women who have been unafraid of the ridicule, double standards and any other setbacks. I also make sure to surround myself with a close knit group of friends and mentors that genuinely care about my well being.

LET’S TALK STYLE. DO YOUR ONSTAGE AND DAY-TO-DAY STYLES DIFFER? WHAT DO THEY REPRESENT ABOUT YOU? My day and night slightly differ. I like to keep everything simple and clean. I tend to get overwhelmed with over-the-top ensembles. I’m into African inspired breathable clothing with lots of movement and a minimal aesthetic. I also love everything green and earth tone, I’m very inspired by nature. Minimalism is top of mind for me. I truly believe that if you want to lead a minimal life, assessing your wardrobe and living space is a great place to start. You have to de-clutter and get rid of what you don’t need, so you can make room for new energy.

HAVE YOU PICKED UP ANY SPECIAL PIECES WHILE YOU’VE BEEN IN EAST AFRICA? I purchased several dresses, gold, lots of fabric and traditional incense for Bunna (coffee) ceremony.

THROUGH YOUR WORK, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BRING YOUR LISTENERS? I’m just being myself and I hope that shines through and resonates with people. I stand for greater representation of people of colour and women in music and technology. My hope is to facilitate experiences, offer platforms for individual’s voices to be heard, and for people to find a connection to their own stories through my music and other artistic projects.

eden-hagos.com

By Yasmine Shemesh.

 

Woman We Love: Zarina Nares

You would be forgiven for thinking Zarina Nares was a contemporary of Nina Simone or Ella Fitzgerald. After all, the quality of her voice is of a different era — a gorgeous, throaty warble meant for listening to on a crackly vinyl or through the haze of a dark, smoky club. Nevermind the fact that she is only 21 years old. Songs to Sway To, the New York-born, Los Angeles-based musician’s new EP, is a timeless piece of work that at once haunts, rouses, and delights. The sometimes-model — who’s arresting gaze and pillowy lips have bewitched designers like Maria Stanley and Desiree Klein  — just wants to move you.

“I have just these very distinct memories of seeing someone perform or hearing someone, and going, ‘I want to do that,’ because it would just make me feel a certain way,” she says. “I want to do that to somebody else.” Meet Zarina.

WHAT WAS INSPIRING YOU WHEN WRITING SONGS TO SWAY TO? I guess they’re all sort of love-inspired, but I don’t think they talk directly about a specific romantic relationship, more just about different feelings in love and then different feelings that come with that. “Playboy”’s a bit cheeky, I think. It’s kind of about being a young girl in LA and dealing with older men who think it’s appropriate to treat you in a way that I don’t think is appropriate. And I usually, probably once a month, will write a song about that type of situation, because I feel like it’s something that comes with living in LA and being a young woman, which is unfortunate. And then the other songs are really just about being in love and the different ways that we feel that. You know, being in love is not necessarily always a happy feeling, but it isn’t necessarily being heartbreak either.

LOVE IS ONE OF THOSE EMOTIONS THAT NEVER SEEMS TO HAVE A STRAIGHT ANSWER. Right, yeah. And it seems like with every experience with love you still don’t understand it, you know? It’s in a way it just can’t really be learned or taught. I feel like every experience with love is like a new experience, no matter what relationship you’re in, whether it’s a friendship or with a family member. It’s just always weird and confusing. And so I think that’s why so many musicians write about that. They say ‘love-crazy’ or ‘love makes you crazy,’ but it’s true, it makes you do so many weird things and act in such weird ways and so I think just writing about that, especially as a young girl experiencing a lot of feeling for the first time, writing about that is just a way of making sense of all of that.

BLUES IS A GOOD GENRE FOR THAT, TOO. DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOMENT YOU FIRST REALLY RESONATED WITH IT? There was a clear moment in my life when my idea of music sort of shifted. I was a musical theatre kid. Like, super not cool. I thought I was put on this earth to play Sandy in Grease, was doing classical vocal training, and studying opera. And then in an English class, in sophomore year of high school, we were studying poetry and my teacher opened one of the lessons playing “You Don’t Know What Love Is” by Billie Holiday. And that was just a complete shift for me. I remember crying in class and it was the first time, I think, that I felt truly affected by a song. And that sort of opened up this whole new world of music and what music’s purpose is.

YOU’VE GOT SOME GREAT COVERS ON YOUR SOUNDCLOUD: “(SITTIN’ ON) THE DOCK OF THE BAY” BY OTIS REDDING, “YOU KEEP ME HANGIN’ ON,” BY THE SUPREMES. WHAT IS IT ABOUT SOULFUL MUSIC THAT YOU’RE DRAWN TO? I think what is so special about jazz and blues and soul is — it’s so hard to describe — but I genuinely feel something inside me light up. It’s just magical and it feels like there’s just this connection that I have with the music. I mean, I can dance to other stuff and enjoy listening to other music, but it’s just something about soulful music. It’s just so honest, it pushes every single button inside me. And I think also I’m a very sensitive person. I feel a lot and I react very strongly to things that happen to me in my life, just in general, so I think that’s just the type of music that comes naturally with that, in a way. I just remember there’s been so many points in my life where I have just these very distinct memories of seeing someone perform or hearing someone, and going, ‘I want to do that,’ because it would just make me feel a certain way. It was powerful. And I would be like, ‘I want to do that to somebody else.’ I just think that’s the music that feels natural to me and I could eventually make someone else look at me and go, ‘Wow, I want to be able to do that.’

YOU POSTED A BEAUTIFUL PHOTO ON INSTAGRAM ON FATHER’S DAY OF YOUR DAD [JAMES NARES] BUSKING IN CENTRAL PARK IN THE ‘70S. WITH HIM BEING AN ARTIST AND A MUSICIAN, DID HE PLAY A BIG ROLE IN ENCOURAGING YOU CREATIVELY? Yes. Without a doubt. Both my parents, really, but my dad was constantly encouraging myself and my sister to be expressing ourselves, and creating things, and doing things that made us happy. He’s an extremely supportive person. He moved to New York City when he was just under 20, I think, in the ‘70s, from England, and just started painting and working on his artwork. And so I think he’s just very understanding of that feeling and that necessity for me, because that’s what I did — I moved to Los Angeles when I was 17 to pursue music and so, in a way, I feel like I’m following in his footsteps.

YOUR MOM DID BEAUTY CREATIVE DIRECTION FOR BRANDS LIKE CHANEL, TOO. WERE YOU CONSTANTLY SURROUNDED BY MUSIC, ART AND FASHION GROWING UP? Yeah. I had a very unusual upbringing. It feels completely normal to me, but yeah, you know, I grew up in New York City, which already is kind of an interesting place to grow up for that reason. There’s just so much going on, all the time. We grew up living with my mom in Tribeca, my dad lived in Chelsea, but he would come over every night for dinner. Tons and tons of fashion photography books lining all the walls. Just anyone you could possible think of, my mother has their book. And then magazines everywhere. At one point, I think we had every Vogue from 1990 to 2010, or something. Vogue, and W and Harper’s Bazaar, and Interview — just tons of magazines everywhere. And then my dad, always coming around and taking us to his studio, and we would go to gallery openings on Thursday nights in Chelsea. I was saying to someone the other day, ‘I grew up running around gallery openings from the moment I could walk to, by the time I was 10, eating snacks after school in an advertising focus group about what the next Calvin Klein fragrance should be named.’ So it was just a lot of creativity around me at all times. And, truthfully, it just seemed normal. But now, I consider myself very lucky and really grateful to have been given the life that I’ve been given.

HOW DO YOU THINK THAT ENVIRONMENT SHAPED YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS STYLE? I think growing up with a mother who works in fashion, we were always pretty up to date on what was cool or trendy and what not. But, I think also my parents are both just, like, effortlessly cool-looking people. And while they’re stylish in their own ways, they’re very much individuals, and I think that’s really what’s shaped my style. I wear what makes me feel good and my mom would always say, ‘If you feel good in your outfit, you’ll have a great day.’ She loves to wear Chanel. She’d always be in her Chanel mini-dresses and I think I have that in my mind, always. And I find that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started dressing more and more like my mother. My mother walks into a room and generally stands out. In New York, where everyone wears black, my mom would always be in a hot pink mini-dress or something. And gold jewelry.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Well, a friend said this once to me and I like it: a modern-day Edie Sedgwick, maybe? I like something that I can wear during the day and then go to a party as well and it still kind of works. But, yeah, I guess fun and colorful. Mismatchy. Lots of prints and patterns.

DO YOU THINK WORKING IN BOTH FASHION AND MUSIC WILL LEND A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE TO EACH OTHER? I think that the two worlds are very different, but I think they both help one another. A lot of people will ask if music has helped build confidence for modeling, which I think is so funny, because I’m like, ‘no, it’s the complete opposite.’ Modeling has completely built confidence in music, because modeling is like playing house for a living. It’s just getting to play pretend, which is so fun — you get to dress up and be a new person each job, depending on that magazine or whichever clothing company. And music is really just the complete opposite. It’s everything stripped away and it’s just myself not getting to pretend to be anybody else. I think both things are slowly helping me build more confidence in myself, which is good, and I think as one thing helping the other — I hope that modeling helps music more. My goal, really, is to one day just get to be a musician. Modeling is very fun, but music is really just what I know in my heart I’m meant to do.

FINALLY, WHAT’S BEST SONG TO SWAY TO AND THE PERFECT OUTFIT TO SWAY IN? [giggles] It would have to be “You and Me” by Penny & the Quarters. And perfect outfit to sway in… Gosh. I would say a mini red dress. Nothing body con, ever, if you’re planning on swaying. I mean, no body con in general.

zarinanares.com

By Yasmine Shemesh.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Woman We Love: Hannah Anderson

We discovered Hannah Anderson, the way most of our girl crushes occur, through a winding Instagram rabbit hole. After scrolling through her feed of colorful snaps, endless OOTDs and professional-quality selfies, we knew it was true love. Her style had us hooked. But then, we discovered her voice. Hannah is actually an amazing singer who also knows her way around the guitar and piano. Her dreamy sound and powerful lyrics will have you enchanted within seconds. And don’t be surprised when all sorts of feels come rushing in because that’s just what Hannah’s music has the power to do. Here, we chat with her about style, creative expression and being an artist in LA. If you’re not already on the ‘gram stealing style inspo from Hannah while blasting her Soundcloud, then you most definitely will be after this.

Listen to Hannah Anderson as you read along.

https://soundcloud.com/hannahanderson

SO WE’RE KIND OF OBSESSED WITH YOUR STYLE. HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD A LOVE FOR FASHION? Too kind. Thank you! I have always loved to express myself through my clothing. I remember when I was really little I would cry if my mom tried to dress me. I’ve always had a very clear vision of what I want on my body.

IT CLEARLY COMES SO NATURALLY TO YOU. IS STYLE SOMETHING YOU USE AS A TOOL TO EXPRESS YOURSELF? OR JUST A FUN PART OF YOUR DAY? Getting dressed really is an event in and of itself. It’s both a tool of expression and a fun part of the day. It’s how you present yourself to the world and it’s how you feel about yourself.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Constant shape-shifter and fabulous tomboy.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO OUTFIT? High-waisted trousers, a t-shirt and sneakers.

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR REAL SUPERPOWER: YOUR VOICE. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CREATING MUSIC? I’ve always loved singing and I had my first “performance” when I was nine at my older sister’s Quinceanera (15th birthday party). I started writing my own music at 16. Music is my most powerful form of expression and my most personal and sacred form of expression. I’ve had a really hard time sharing my music because I’ve honestly been terrified to. I am also very excited to see the music I’m working on now as a complete project!

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES? Honestly, my list of musical influences is impossible to write down because it’s endless. A few things that inspire me are people that are kind and true. I like to surround myself with people who are undeniably themselves because that requires honesty in myself. Love and tragedy, the most extremes in life, that’s what I’m really inspired by.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST? I love being an artist because as an artist you feel everything very deeply. I’m already someone with very extreme emotions and so it’s nice to be able to have an outlet, whether that be through music, what I wear, a painting, etc. I love being able to translate my emotions to something physical and through that have the ability to directly affect people.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST IN LOS ANGELES? HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED THERE? I won’t say being an artist in LA is my favorite. It’s cool because there’s a lot of people doing what you’re doing, but then that’s also a negative because it feels more like a sport and everyone is competing. Being able to find/know yourself and find a good flow with solid people is key. I’m originally from Houston, Texas and just moved here to LA about year ago. There’s still a lot I’m adjusting to! I really am starting to enjoy being here more everyday!

YOUR TOP THREE SONGS ON REPEAT RIGHT NOW? Last Dance by Rhye, Still Feel Like Your Man by John Mayer, Mistress by Nicholas Jaar.

TELL US SOMETHING NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU. I’m one of the most introverted-extroverts ever. I LOVE being around people but almost 90 percent of the time I would rather be home, by myself, or with those I love. I’m also a very good cook. If I wasn’t pursuing music I would probably want to be a chef!

Shop Hannah’s Puma kicks here >

Follow @hannahandersonn

hannahanderson.net

The Insider’s Guide To Palm Springs

Long before the crowds of hipsters, models and Kardashians descended upon the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs was the OG Hollywood hangout. We’re pretty sure we’re not alone in being tired of those long Coachella days, so we thought you might need some alternative inspiration this April for your upcoming trip to the desert.

palm-springs-pool-dunes-2017

Palm Springs is full of hidden treasures, so we went straight to the experts to get the lowdown on the best of the city. Lauren Coleman (a PS native), Tiff Horn and Sarah Kissell are the brains behind a gorgeous new magazine celebrating the arts, aesthetic and unique woman power behind Palm Springs, DUNES. (Photos from the first issue above and below.) Here, they dish on their faves.

BEST PLACE TO EAT

“We love El Marisol Mexican Restaurant at Los Arboles Hotel. It’s been around forever, the food is spicy and the margaritas are strong. In addition to this, we love Palm Greens Cafe. They have a lot of healthy vegan options and smoothies. In the summer crushed ice with watermelon juice is so refreshing.” (Editor’s note: the vegan date shake is a must!)

palm-springs-dunes-april-2017
BEST PLACE TO DRINK

“I have always been a huge fan of Melvyn’s Piano Bar. It’s still living in the old Palm Springs tucked away behind Palm Canyon. Also the Avalon Hotel a few doors down is very reliable and Mr. Lyons in the bar if you want some good snacks with your drinks.”

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH

palm-springs-the-parker-april-2017
“There are tons of natural desert hot spring spas. Two Bunch Palms is the most reputable, and it’s good for observing the locals interacting with the out-of-towners. The Parker Hotel (above) was just updated and has many observation areas, the bar and the pool being prime. [At the Ace Hotel], the Amigo Room offers good acoustic sets in the bar during the week and DUNES‘ own showgirl Shirley Claire, puts on quite a show calling out bingo on Monday nights at King’s Highway (below).”

palm-springs-ace-hotel-april-2017
BEST HIDDEN TREASURE

“There are a few shops together tucked away on Perez Road, very Palm Springs-style home furnishings and books. For clothing, our favorite designer vintage shop The Fine Art of Design in Palm Desert. Nicholas and Luisa are extremely helpful and the selection there is incredible!”

BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITY

palm-springs-palm-canyon-oasis-april-2017
“We love a hike in the Indian Canyons (above). It is super beautiful this year with all the water. And, we always love to stop into Moorten Botanical Garden to say hello to Clark and his doves.” (Editor’s note: You’ve definitely seen the latter on Instagram.)

 

Now that DUNES has given you the tour, here are our personal favorite swaps for the Coachella experience.

BEST ALTERNATIVE CONCERT VENUE

palm-springs-pappy-harriets-april-2017
Ditch the massive crowds in Indio and head to Pioneer Town instead. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneer Town Palace (above) is a hidden host to some major bands with a more intimate setting. The indoor/outdoor bar has Western vibes in the best way and they’re also renowned for their chilli.

BEST ALTERNATIVE ART INSTALLATION

doug-aitken-palm-springs-vertical
From Modernism Week to the film festival, you are guaranteed to find something celebrating the arts in Palm Springs. The city and its supporters are truly dedicated to a thriving arts and culture scene. Desert X, an area-wide exhibition that first opened last year, is still open with a few installations and has announced the second edition to open February 2019. Get excited.

Photo by Lance Gerber

BEST ALTERNATIVE PARTY

palm-springs-saguaro-april-2017

Head to the colorful doors of The Saguaro (pronounced Sa-wah-ro, and pictured above) on the weekend for amazing tacos and watermelon margaritas first. Then wander over for one of their much-loved pool parties. Who needs the Sahara Tent when you have DJs poolside?

This story has been updated and revised. 

Montreal’s Homeshake On R&B Influences, Songwriting and Anxiety

Peter Sagar makes ambient R&B that’s so chilled, it’s hard to believe it comes from someone who experiences any sort of anxiety. Indeed, it’s rattling to uproot one’s life and move away from the comforts of home — Edmonton-born musician Sagar is currently based in Montreal, and spent a number of years in between as the touring guitarist for Mac DeMarco. Thankfully, though, for anyone who’s listened to his music, the deft songwriter has been channeling the nervous energy into his art. Recording under the name Homeshake, Sagar released two full-length albums (2014’s In The Shower and 2015’s Midnight Snack) to widespread acclaim for their bedroom vibes and slinky production. Now, on his newest effort, Fresh Air, Sagar has found himself more settled and soothed than ever, delivering a honeyed collection of songs that are relatable, poetic, and, of course, incredibly easy on the ears.

Listen To Homeshake As You Read Along >

YOU’VE CITED SADE AND PRINCE AS INSPIRATION. DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST ARTIST THAT REALLY GOT YOU HOOKED ONTO R&B? It would actually probably be Sade. My dad had this mixtape that had “Hang On To Your Love” on it and it would play all the time when we were driving around. I don’t know why, that song just sort of stuck in my head. And I really didn’t like most of the songs on the mixtape I don’t think, and I remember thinking that I was surprised that I liked it because, I don’t know, I was probably listening to Limp Bizkit or something at the time. And it was just so good and undeniable.

SHE HAS THIS AMAZING, INTOXICATING VOICE. Yeah. I mean, I don’t know what it was exactly, but now I’m pretty convinced that she has invented love. And we all have to thank her every day.

YOU’VE OFTEN SAID THAT FRESH AIR FEELS LIKE PART OF A TRILOGY. WHAT STORY ARE YOU TELLING AND WHAT IS THIS PARTICULAR CHAPTER ABOUT? Everything I write is fairly introspective, so [it was] just the third part in that story since I moved away from home. I don’t know. I spend a lot of time on the road and then I stop doing that and then I have a lot of anxiety and stuff. But, for Fresh Air, I guess feel like I found more balance or something. It’s all a little calmer and clearer.

WHAT KIND OF HEADSPACE ARE YOU GENERALLY IN WHEN WRITING AND COMPOSING? Work. I feel fully driven to work really hard, actually. I would post myself up in my recording space at home and try to write at least one song everyday for weeks, maybe a couple months. And I was just trying to get enough songs that I could cut ones that I wouldn’t be pleased with later — because usually I just make an amount of songs and then record them and then later I’m like, ‘nah, that shouldn’t have been there.’ And I guess I still feel that way — there’s no really avoiding that. It’s kind of the only time I really feel like working. The only work I really like. I get pretty serious about it.

SETTING ASIDE TIME TO WRITE OUT YOUR FEELINGS AND ANXIETIES CAN REALLY BE THERAPEUTIC. DID YOU FIND THAT HELPED YOU, IN YOUR PROCESS? Yeah, that certainly takes your mind off whatever — well, it helped me take my mind off whatever trivial thing I was worried about. I don’t know, dumb shit like that. [It was] calming and a good escape, and then after you start working and I found myself more of a functioning person. You know — you got a problem, write it out. You can feel it out into the song and then feel better.

YOUR BIO DESCRIBES FRESH AIR AS BEING CREATED TO CLEAR YOUR LISTENER’S MIND OF NEGATIVITY. I think I wrote that after I made the album. I wasn’t considering it at all. [laughs] They just ask for little blurbs and stuff on your record. My music is not so thought of in advance. I find, for each album, I’ll make it and I’ll be surprised afterwards at an overarching theme that I did without really thinking about it. And, for this one, the same thing happened at the end of the album, but then also it fit into an arc, in my mind, with the other ones. And that’s sort of where it fit in — going from the most anxious to the least anxious. The most stressed out and worried about everything to not really worried at all and feeling pretty nice. It’d be really nice to help other people with their problems. It’s the best thing I can hope for.

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IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR ALBUM THAT DOES THAT FOR YOU? All of them, probably. That’s why I listen to music. I can’t have it not on. I get really nervous when there’s silence in the room or something, whether I’m alone or with people. It’s probably a pretty bad habit, actually. When I was a little kid, I couldn’t fall asleep unless there was music on. I can’t remember how I stopped doing that, I don’t do that anymore. I feel like the first album that did that to me was probably Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis, when I was, like, 14. I listened to it every night for at least a year. It calmed me down.

DANCE IS ALSO A CREATIVE OUTLET THAT CAN CLEAR YOUR HEAD. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO USE DANCERS WEN-HAO CHANG AND HAN NING IN YOUR MUSIC VIDEO FOR “EVERY SINGLE THING” AND HOW DO THEY ILLUSTRATE THE SONG’S NARRATIVE? They did such a good job, it’s crazy how good it is. I feel so lucky to have a video that good, I was really blown away when I watched it. But, yeah, they really captured the mood with the tension between the two of them. Good actors, as well as dancers. And the dog is so cute. I sent her [Han Ning] some t-shirts and a record and stuff, and she wanted a t-shirt just for the dog, so hopefully the [size] small will fit the tiny dog.

WILL YOU WORK TOGETHER AGAIN? Yeah, sure. They’re so great. I always had the idea that I would love to have dancers onstage, but that’s a whole other thing. Salina, my partner, she really wanted to do that, but she didn’t know who else to dance with.

YOU COULD HAVE BOTH DANCERS AND THE DOG — EVERYBODY ONSTAGE TOGETHER. Oh, yeah. [laughs] I’d love to get that dog onstage.

homeshake.bandcamp.com

By Yasmine Shemesh

This interview has been edited and condensed.  

Alaina Moore Of Tennis On New Music, Feminism And Fashion

It’s barely 10 a.m. and Alaina Moore, one half of the husband-wife pop duo Tennis, has spent the morning curled up in her pajamas talking to journalists. Female journalists, specifically, which has made it a great day so far, she says, speaking from her home recording studio in Denver. The occasion? Tennis’ fourth LP, Conditionally Yours. The new album — sonically illustrated by lush vocals and glittering, retro-inspired production — was partly composed at sea, much like how Alaina and her partner, Patrick Riley, conceived their 2011 debut, Cape Dory. This time, they voyaged from San Diego into the Sea of Cortez and it was a journey that had Alaina contemplating her feminism. How does it pair with her marriage? With being a female artist, amongst pressures and labels?

“I want to decide for myself how I want to be in the world,” Alaina affirms.

WHAT PROMPTED THE NEED TO CREATE AT SEA AGAIN? We hadn’t been sailing since that first trip that brought Cape Dory to life and we felt like we had really immersed ourselves into our careers — trying to figure out where Tennis could go and how solid and real and sustainable we could make it as a project together. And after about six years, we just started to feel a little bit of burn out and we needed to clear our heads and look at everything we’d been doing in more of a third person perspective. Because we just started to feel so mired in it, if we asked ourselves, ‘what do we want from this, where do we see ourselves in a year?,’ we couldn’t even answer those questions. We thought, ‘okay, it’s been a really long time’ and we both missed it immensely, so we decided to do another sailing trip that was even bigger and more ambitious than what we’d ever done before.

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Photo by Kelia Anne. Lead photo above by Luca Venter.

HOW DID YOU WRITE? We were only able to write for about two weeks out of the whole period of time — out of about five months of sailing — because sailing was so demanding. The environment is really extreme. It’s known for crazy weather. When we finally had 10 days of peace where we could sit down and write on our boat, we finished half of the record almost immediately and I think it was because we had that distance and perspective and we felt all alone in the world, so we didn’t feel any pressure to please anyone with our writing. I felt like we were writing for the sake of itself, just so that it could exist.

IT’S AMAZING HOW PUTTING YOURSELF IN A SITUATION LIKE THAT CAN IMPACT YOUR PERSPECTIVE. It was just very grounding and it helped remind me what was important to me.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MOMENT FROM THE TRIP? It’s so hard to choose. I mean, the feeling of triumph when you enter a port for the first time after three days at sea. We sailed into Cabo San Lucas and I had never been before, so it was my first time seeing those beautiful, natural land formations at the point of Cabo — those arches where everyone goes for their Spring Break photos. I saw that for the first time, covered in salt and soaking wet from three days of really rough sailing with my husband on our 30-foot boat.

It just felt like the most bold, tiny form of discovery.

THE ALBUM’S NARRATIVE EXPLORES YOUR RELATION TO THE WORLD, FEMININITY AND GENDER ROLES. HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOURSELF, BOTH AS A WOMAN AND AN ARTIST? I’m not sure if it’s correct to compartmentalize it, but it’s easier for me to think of it when I parse it out. I think of my relationship with Patrick as a wife, in a monogamous relationship, and then I think about my relationship with an audience as a songwriter and then in another iteration as a performer, one who’s visible and kind of perceived as the frontperson of a band. I notice the ways in which I feel shaped by expectations from the world and a lot of those are governed by stereotypes or archetypes and just conventional assumptions about gender roles, and, in my eagerness to please the world, my audience — that’s partly my personality type, but I think it’s something a lot of women can relate to — I noticed that I almost felt like I was wearing myself down in an effort to become all the things that people needed from me.

On the performative side, for example, I want to be technically proficient and a good musician, but then the criticism — and it’s not these things are unfair, they could be totally true  — that maybe the show is dull because I’m focused on my musicianship. I’m not making eye contact. I’m not engaging directly enough. I’m not smiling enough. I don’t look like I’m having fun.

I’m not trying to be the next Madonna or anything. I just want to be a band that plays the music live for people who enjoy the music.

I’m asking myself where the limits of my devotion [are] to my audience, to my husband, to the way that the world wants me to be as a woman, and establishing some boundaries for myself where I can assert my own humanity against some of these things.

HUMAN BEINGS DON’T JUST FIT INTO SINGULAR DEFINITIONS. You know, even my relationship to fashion — I love clothing, I love makeup. As a person in the arts, I love aesthetics and making something banal a little more beautiful. I’m all for that, but even that’s something I have to continually think about. Resisting the urge to buy clothing all the time because every time I’m photographed I need to be wearing a new outfit that’s better than the last one. Or, in my desire to present the best version of myself on stage, am I inadvertently contributing to every other girl’s daily insecurity of not being good enough in the world? And I think about that all the time, even when I’m just using Instagram. Not like I have some impossible form of beauty, I’m a very plain person, but I just care about that I don’t want to be one more person putting that out in the world.

DO YOU CONSIDER DRESSING TO BE A FORM OF EMPOWERMENT? Yes, absolutely. I know I’m wearing the best outfit if I feel just the most like myself and I feel powerful — and that’s how I want to feel onstage, which is why I almost always wear pants. I have two sisters and we talk about this all the time, that we love to wear pants because I just feel power. I can run or kick and, we joke, I can always escape. I can always run away. Fashion plays an important role in my life, but I don’t want it to dictate my life.

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THE ‘70S ARE A BIG SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR TENNIS, MUSICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY ON CONDITIONALLY YOURS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THAT ERA THAT YOU AND PATRICK ARE DRAWN TO? Our original desire to write music as Tennis came from listening to girl groups and that Wall of Sound, Phil Spector production from the ‘60s. And in the intervening years as we’ve continued to write and your taste just naturally moves on to the next thing, we joke that maybe we’re just moving forward in time.

And then I also just discovered a lot of female songwriters and I found women who composed primarily on the piano, rooted in the early ’70s that really inspired me, like Carole King and Laura Nyro. I feel like that’s another reason why we landed aesthetically where we’re at right now.

THOSE ARE ALSO VERY POWERFUL WOMEN. Another interesting thing that I noticed, that in the ‘60s, obviously Carole King was ghostwriting for some people and there were other female writers, but most music was written by men. And when Patrick and I first started writing, he wrote most of the music. And then as our careers progress, I write more and I contribute more equally to our songwriting. So, I feel like it was kind of natural that I move forward in time to an era where women emerged as their own writers — the person behind themselves was themselves, not a man writing for them.

By Yasmine Shemesh

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Pre-Order ‘Yours Conditionally’ Out March 10

 

The Insider’s Guide to Nashville

Long revered for its music scene, Nashville has a new creative industry to boast: Fashion. We’re lucky to work with a few amazing people from the city’s tight knit creative community and we’ve discovered that constant good vibes and a true collaborative spirit are always in the air. On top of this positive energy is a beautiful city that offers a vibrant downtown and easy escape routes to gorgeous parks, lakes and vineyards. What more could you ask for? To narrow things down, we asked the experts to give us the lowdown on the best places to eat, drink, take in the outdoors and people watch.

Bonus: We also got the deets on the rad city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is only a two-hour drive away. It’s home to a couple of our favorite boutiques and are closely involved in the Nashville fashion community.

Above from left to right: Elise Joseph, Ivy and Josh Elrod, Brittney and Jessica Wooten, Patrick Woodyard, Ceri Hoover and Han Starnes. Photo by Zachary Gray.

 

WHERE TO EAT + DRINK

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Photo courtesy of Rolf and Daughters

In a city like Nashville there is no shortage of amazing eats and one-of-a-kind restaurants, so deciding where to go can be, well, difficult. But don’t bother with Yelp or Trip Advisor because we’ve got something even better: local experts.

“Rolf and Daughters (above)… for both. They have a special drink called the Absinthe Father with bourbon, ginger, lemon and a rinse of smoky absinthe, and it’s delectable. Order the sourdough with seaweed butter, a few small plates and finish with a big bowl of the garganelli verde,” says Elise Joseph, owner of Goodwin boutique. 

Han Starnes designer behind beautiful label Han Starnes and Ivy and Josh Elrod, owners of boutique Wilder, all noted this cool restaurant as the place to hit up.

Rolf and Daughters, 700 Taylor St

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Photo via @lttleoctopus

Ivy and Josh also recommended the Little Octopus (above) –a bright and airy spot that serves tapas-style bites and creative cocktails – as a great place to grab a bite. Matt and Carrie Eddmenson, owners of imogene + willie confirm: “We had an amazing sit down dinner at Little Octopus that was next level!”

Little Octopus, 505 12th Ave S

Lindsay Clark, who heads up sales and customer service, crowd-sourced a top five from the whole Ceri Hoover team: “The Grilled Cheeserie, Five Daughters Bakery (below), Steadfast Coffee, The Treehouse, and Salt & Vine.” 

The Grilled Cheeserie, 2003 Belcourt Ave

Five Daughters Bakery, 1110 Caruthers Ave

Steadfast Coffee, 603 Taylor St

The Treehouse, 1011 Clearview Ave

Salt & Vine, 4001 Charlotte Ave

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Photo via @five_daughters_bakery

Patrick Woodyard, designer and founder of Nisolo, has been hitting up the “rooftop of the Thompson hotel” but he also notes that the City House will always be at the top of his list.

Thompson Hotel, 401 11th Ave S

City House, 1222 4th Ave N

WHERE TO CATCH A LIVE SHOW

With such a massive and influential music community, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of beautiful venues to see live music in Nashville. The Ryman Auditorium (below) is a favorite of many: “It’s our ‘Mother Church’ here in Nashville – it’s truly magical,” says Elise. She also adds that her “most intimate music experiences have been at The Basement. Two very different vibes, but both equally cool and special.”

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Photo by Ryman Auditorium

Two words: THE RYMAN,” say Matt and Carrie.

Han reveals, “The Ryman will always have a special place in my heart.” Lindsay and the Ceri Hoover team also listed The Ryman and The Basement as their top places to go and noted 3rd and Linsley as well. 

Ryman Auditorium, 116 5th Ave N

The Basement, 1604 8th Ave S #330

3rd and Linsley, 818 3rd Ave S

Ivy and Josh love the American Legion in Inglewood – a hidden gem that has great music and drinks. 

American Legion, 3204 Gallatin Pike

BEST WAY TO ENJOY THE OUTDOORS

Looking for a long, hot summer? Nashville is your place. When the sun is shining it’s easy to spend your whole day outside soaking up the rays. “I love going to Beaman Park, just north of Nashville. It really feels out of the city, but isn’t too far of a drive,” says Han. “Also, Shelby Bottoms Park in East Nashville is pretty great on a sunny day.”

Beaman Park, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd

Shelby Bottoms Park, 1900 Davidson St

The perfect outdoor day for Patrick is “rollerblading along one of Nashville’s many greenways or taking a bike ride with friends to Mas Tacos’ patio for a bite and cocktail.” 

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Photo via @arringtonvineyards

The Ceri Hoover team lists their favorite ways to spend Nashville’s beautiful days: “Percy Priest and Radnor Lake (below), Live on the Green music festival, and Arrington Vineyards (above). Live on the Green is a free, environmentally-friendly outdoor music festival that showcases Nashville’s emerging artists and many well-known national acts. That’s right, free. Then there is Arrington Vineyards, which also has live music every weekend from April through November. Wine, music and the outdoors… we’re in.”

Elise reveals that she, too, loves “the Ganier Ridge Trail at Radnor Lake (below). It’s near the center of town but feels a million miles away from everything. I go here to hike with my husband and always see beautiful wildlife. It’s so peaceful and impossible to leave without feeling refreshed.” 

Percy Priest Lake

Radnor Lake, 1160 Otter Creek Rd

Live on the Green, 350 Deaderick St

Arrington Vineyards, 6211 Patton Rd

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Photo via @radnorlake

“We used to live on the east side of town and we really enjoyed spending time in Shelby Park,”says Matt and Carrie. “It has a great dog park with plenty of room for the dogs to run around and the walkway there is something to marvel. We also enjoy hanging outside at Cheekwood Botanical Garden, but then again, Shelby Park is free!” 

Shelby Park, East of Downtown

Cheekwood Botanical Garden, 1200 Forrest Park Dr

Ivy and Josh are on a mission to keep cool in the comfort of their own home. “We’re trying to build a pool in our backyard. Until then: windows down.” Simple yet effective. 

LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT HONKY TONK

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Photo via @honky_tonk_central

It’s almost like the elephant in the room. The Honky Tonk Central has a reputation, so we got the real down low.

“I don’t really have much to do with honky tonk – it’s not really my scene, but if I do go down to Broadway I love popping in to Robert’s Western World,” says Han. Elise has similar feelings, “Tourist trap! Locals tend to avoid the swarms of bachelorette parties and hang in neighborhoods like East Nashville or Germantown instead. If you’re really wanting the Broadway experience, head to Robert’s Western World for dancing, beer, live music and a really fun time.”

Musicians on every corner and in every bar, neon lights, The Bachelorette/Bachelor Capital of America! Anything and everything. The energy is crazy on Broadway – there is something for everyone, from music, to shopping, drinks, museums, etc.,” explains Lindsay. She does note that her favorite part is “Acme Feed & Seed.”

Acme Feed & Seed, 101 Broadway

Patrick echoed Elise and Han’s pick. “Robert’s is consistently at the top of the list for Broadway bar hopping.” Matt and Carrie add that their favorite part of Robert’s Western World is the “Recession Special. It’s a bologna sandwich with chips and a PBR for like a dollar or something!”

Robert’s Western World, 416 Broadway B

NASHVILLE STYLE

Han Starnes
Photo via @hanstarnes

Comfortable,”says Elise. “There’s a slowness to the south that really can’t be replicated anywhere else. Nashville is my hometown, so it’s great to see people from all over the world moving here and broadening the style horizons.”  

Han agrees. “I think it used to be really motorcycle/denim/boots — but I think in general it’s progressing to be a bit more experimental as the town grows.” 

Ivy and Josh explain that “Nashville has the third highest concentration of fashion designers per capita in America after NYC and LA. There stands to be a 9.5 billion dollar fashion industry in middle TN by 2025 (currently at 5.9 billion and swiftly growing). But it’s weirdly true that everyone still wears cowboy boots.” 

“We have everything from the stereotypical (rhinestone cowboy boots) to the innovative (budding fashion brands) that influences the city’s style,” adds Patrick. 

I’m not sure ‘Nashville Style’ can be described, but if I had to take a stab at it I would say that it’s a mix of blue jeans and sports coats, dresses and cowboy boots. We can just settle for good ol’ jeans and tees,” Matt and Carrie chime in. Lindsay sums it up: “Fresh, new-Southern. A total mix of fashion.”

BEST PLACES TO PEOPLE WATCH

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Photo by Barista Parlor

I always enjoy people watching at coffee shops like Barista Parlor (above) – so many people coming and going. The Gulch is also a bustling area, where you can probably spot a photo shoot happening around the corner,” says Elise. 

Barista Parlor, 519 Gallatin Ave

The Gulch, South-West Fringe of Downtown

Han goes for Centennial Park, one of the city’s greatest treasures. It can be spotted by the iconic Parthenon which also serves as Nashville’s art museum. Patrick also loves this spot: “Centennial Park, hands down. On any given day you can catch folks taking iconic landmarks, live outdoor music, and even the occasional Nisolo team bubble ball soccer match.”

Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave

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Photo via @wildershop

“Well Wilder (above) of course! And Opry Mills Mall,” say Ivy and Josh. We couldn’t agree more. Boutique shopping often doubles as people watching and is such a rad way to meet new people, discover style and get inspired. 

Wilder, 1212 4th Ave N

Oprys Mills Mall, 433 Opry Mills Dr

We just stayed at the amazing Thompson Hotel in the Gulch a few weeks ago. We had the best time sitting on the couch, eating homemade ice cream people watching in the lobby! That might to be the best place to people watch (this week anyway),” admit Matt and Carrie.

Thompson Hotel, 401 11th Ave S

DAY TRIP: CHATTANOOGA

Just over two hours south east of Nashville and home to Uncommon Deux – a rad concept shop run by sisters Brittney and Jessica Wooten – Chattanooga is not to be missed. They describe their hometown: “An up and coming city for young entrepreneurs, creatives and tech innovators. It’s a small city snuggled between mountain sides and rivers.”

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Photo via @localjuice

“There are a ton of great locally owned coffee shops and juice bars, The Local (above) and Wildflower Tea Room are favorites of ours,” reveal Jessica and Brittney. The Local seems like that perfect spot to kickstart your Monday morning or cure those hungover Saturdays.

The Local, 48 E Main St

Wildflower Tea Shop, 1423 Market St

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Photo by Lauren Coakley

Nashville isn’t the only place to see great live music. Jessica and Brittney tell us that “big name acts travel to Chattanooga” and that the best places to go are “Track 29 (above) and Revelry Room.” Both venues are small and intimate which makes seeing your favorite bands all the more special.

Track 29, 1400 Market St

Revelry Room, 41 Station St

Uncommon Deux
Photo by Zachary Gray

These sisters clearly know what’s up when it comes to fashion. So what about Chattanooga style? “Electric and a bit outdoorsy.” 

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Photo via @nsumsion

Jessica and Brittney’s fave spots are “downtown on the river walk or hanging out in Coolidge Park (above).” A beautiful area along the river, basically perfect for that sunny day stroll.

Coolidge Park, 150 River St

When it comes to people watching, “the Southside (up and coming neighborhood with shops, art galleries, music venues, local eateries)” is the place to go.

 

So, ready to book your plane ticket? While you’re waiting for that trip shop the Nashville boutiques and designers at home right here. Don’t miss our unreal flash sale, February 15 – 28. Two weeks, up to 60% off. Ready, set, go >

On Repeat: Meet Montreal’s Ryan Playound

Full confession: we’re kind of obsessing over Ryan Playground. She’s a musician who is doing things differently, taking complete control of her creative output and vision, and is straight-up one of the coolest women we love right now. Not only is she a singer, songwriter and producer (aka the holy trinity) but this rad woman also has strong ties to the fashion industry. She has modeled for Vera Wang, ELLE and Rudsak and created her own capsule collection. Featuring two t-shirts that read “Jeune Pour Toujours”, which translates to “Young Forever”, the collection is simple but perfectly reflects Ryan’s easy going approach. As such, living and working in Montreal as an artist seems like the way to go. The city’s arts community works closely together and they always have each other’s backs. By surrounding herself with like minds, Ryan is constantly inspired and pushed to new creative levels. Her signature sound of crisp drum sounds, loud bass and soft airy vocals, will get you moving to the tempo in a matter of seconds. Here, we chat with her about music, inspiration, Montreal and of course style.

Listen To Ryan Playground While You Read Along >

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Photo by Scott Pilgrim

HOW DID YOU GET INTO MUSIC? I was into music at a really young age. Both of my parents are classical musicians so I’ve always been surrounded by music. Everything started for me when I got my first guitar and mini drum kit when I was five!

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST? I feel I’m free to do whatever. Like there’s no real convention or way to do music, every musician has the freedom to reinterpret music and find his own way of doing it. It’s super relieving somehow but it also can be kind of weird because it’s limitless and having no boundaries can bring a feeling of insecurity.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS? It really depends. It depends on the place and the time I start to create something. I usually start by messing around with my guitar or my bass then I add drums and finally vocals. But then if I’m on the bus for example, the process will be different. I will maybe start with drums or maybe I’ll try to create a specific texture or whatever or simply write lyrics or ideas that will bring me to the next step.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES? My biggest influences are the bands I used to listen to when I was a kid. I’m talking about Blink 182, Sum 41, Billy Talent and Hawthorne Heights, for example. I also have a soft spot for A$AP ROCKY.

ANY ARTISTS IN PARTICULAR YOU LOVE WORKING WITH? I definitely enjoy working with my friends Robert Robert, Thomas White and Ryan Hemsworth. I mostly work alone, but I easily connect musically with these people and it’s a lot of fun to share music with them as well.    

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Photo by Scott Pilgrim

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN MONTREAL? I love the peaceful vibe in Montreal, although it can be a little too slow sometimes. When I come back from cities like New York I realize how cool and chill Montreal is, but at the same time I have the urge to be more productive. Montreal will always be my favorite city though mainly because I feel free and inspired and it’s a very easy going city.

Psst… Ryan reveals some insider scoop on Montreal. Find it here>

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD? I live near the Jean-Talon Market and Parc Jarry. It’s a very fun and quiet neighborhood, there’s everything you need around here really and it’s beautiful. It’s fun to just walk around and I actually quite like doing groceries and Marché Jean-Talon makes it easy and fun. There’s also this Italian grocery store called Milano that I love.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLACE TO PERFORM IN MONTREAL? I think École Privée because the sound system is amazing and it’s something really important for me to enjoy a performance. Both times I’ve played there the crowd was super into it too.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Quite simple, too big for me and a little bit colorful.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO OUTFIT? Black loose straight pants, t-shirt (it really can be anything, one of my favorite one is a vacuum company t-shirt), white socks and a color baseball cap.

TELL US SOMETHING NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU? I’m really good with numbers and math in general.

Bonus: Ryan put together a Soundcloud playlist for us with some of her fave songs.

TRACK LIST 

“Changes” – Antonio Williams & Kerry Mccoy
“Ohio is for Lovers” – Hawthorne Heights
“Your Best American Girl” – Mitski
“What’s My Age Again” – Blink 182
“Don’t Give Me Grapes” – Happy Doghouse
“I Hear You Calling” – Gob
“Handle This” – Sum 41
“Responsibility” – MxPx
“Delete Me” – Posture & The Grizzly
“Hear You Me” – Jimmy Eat World
 

The Insiders’ Guide To Montreal

Montreal is renowned for its energy, creativity and eccentricity. As the longstanding home of a tight-knit community of talented artists and designers, the city is cultured, diverse and boasts travel-friendly regulations, like enjoying wine in the park as long as you have a food pairing. Plus, as one of the only French speaking cities in North America, it offers up something truly special. It’s easy to feel like you’ve jumped the ocean over to Europe when strolling Old Montreal on the winding cobblestone streets. Whether you decide to visit during a blistering-hot summer or below-freezing winter, this city will not leave you hanging with things to do. But before you pack your bags, we asked some of our local fashion friends for the lowdown on where to find the best eats, drinks and live music, plus their personal seasonal survival tactics. 

 

WHERE TO EAT

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Photo by @labanquise_resto

There is no shortage of amazing restaurants in Montreal, but what we really do right is diners, greasy spoons and lunch counters,” says Davis Guay designer of Cartel Footwear. “Nothing feels more Montreal than having a poutine and Pepsi sitting at the counter of a greasy joint.”

Boutique Unicorn‘s Zola Martin-Lim also swears by the city’s poutine. She recommends La Banquise (above) which is open 24/7, bonus! 

La Banquise, 994 Rue Rachel E

Montreal musician Ryan Playground hits up Rotisserie St-Hubert for hands-down the best chicken. With locations in almost every part of the city, it’s a Montreal classic.

Rotisserie St-Hubert, 6355 rue St-Hubert, Montréal, QC

The Stowe’s designer Molly Spittal feels most at home with casual-fine-dining. “I like to be able to show up in jeans and a t-shirt but be able to expect a meal you’ll talk about later. I highly recommend Agrikol, which is a Haitian restaurant with an unbelievable menu and cocktails.”

Agrikol, 1844 Rue Amherst

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Photo by Satay Brothers

It’s easy to find food from a variety of cultures in Montreal. Caroline Pham, designer of Ora-C, swears by one of her favorite restaurants Satay Brothers (above). “It serves South East Asian cuisine, owned by two brothers from Singapore. Beautiful, cheap food, always packed.”

Satay Brothers, 3721 Notre Dame Ouest

“I love Dinette Triple Crown (southern style food like fried chicken, ribs etc., comfort food) for dinners and Chez Buvette for the best Greek salad,” reveals designer Eliza Faulkner. She is also really into Dépanneur Le Pick-Up (below) for lunch. “Their Halloumi sandwich is the best.” 

Chez Buvette, 4869 Av du Parc

Dépanneaur Le Pick-Up, 7032 Rue Waverly

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Photo by Dépanneur Le Pick Up

“I don’t eat meat so my choices in Montreal are a little limiting,”explains Mérida Anderson the multidisciplinary artist behind jewelry line YYY. “But there are some standbys like Jardin du Cari on St. Laurent run by a couple that makes the best roti I have EVER eaten.”  

Jardin du Cari, 5554, boul Saint-Laurent

The ladies at The Sleep Shirt gave us their go-to brunch spots. “As sleepwear enthusiasts, we love a good brunch. Le Vieux Vélo and Sparrow serve some of our favorites.” Find delicious buckwheat pancakes and any kind of fresh pressed juice imaginable at Sparrow.

Le Vieux Vélo, 59 Rue Beaubien E

Sparrow, 5322 Boul St-Laurent

“We see so many tourists doing foodie trips to Montreal and just spend the whole time eating. Montreal has the second most restaurants per capita after New York.” Well said, Alex Danio, owner of the rad shop Rooney.

WHERE TO DRINK

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Photo by Mariel Rosenbluth

“For fun drinks I’d recommend this speakeasy Tiki bar in Chinatown called Le Mal Nécessaire (above),” Caroline says. You can spot the place by its famous neon pineapple sign and once you’re inside you’ll be sipping on delicious drinks served in a pineapple. Need more? Caroline continues: “Kazu, Loic, Tacos Frida, Junior, Big in Japan, and Harricana.”

Le Mal Nécessaire, 1106 B Boulevard Saint-Laurent

Kazu, 1862 Rue Sainte-Catherine O

Loïc, 5001 Rue Notre-Dame O

Tacos Frida, 4412 Rue Notre-Dame O

Junior, 1964 Rue Notre-Dame O

Big in Japan, 4175 Boul St-Laurent

Brasserie Harricana, 95 Rue Jean-Talon Ouest

Eliza has faith in two bars: “Best drinks are at No Name bar on Avenue du Parc, or Bar Henrietta on Laurier.” Known for amazing cocktails and delicious eats, Bar Henrietta (below) is the perfect spot for post work relaxation on the lovely terrace. 

Bar Henrietta, 115 Avenue Laurier O

bar henrietta
Photo by @barhenriettamtl

Molly doesn’t have to go far when happy hour hits. “I’m a sucker for a dive bar. My favorite neighborhood pub is Idee Fixe, a local hangout in the Mile End. I guess it doesn’t hurt that it’s right around the corner from my apartment.”

Le Petite Idée Fixe, 4857 Av du Parc

Ryan gives us insight on where to go for both the best alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks: “For non-alcoholic I love L2 Lounge and for alcoholic Suwu is the place to go.”

L2 Lounge, 71 Rue de la Gauchetière O

Suwu, 3581 Boul St-Laurent

WHERE TO CATCH A LIVE SHOW

hotsprings4
Photo by Yanick Grandmont

“On any given day, you can pop into Casa Del Popolo, check out their monthly calendar and see a handful of bands you’d likely recognize,” Molly recommends. “They’re a great little venue that’s always got a show going on. There’s also these tiny little venues that feel more like someone’s living room. These venues fill up their calendar with local talent and it’s always really fun and really intimate.” Caroline also loves Casa Del Popolo and adds Vitrola and La Sala Rossa to her list of classics. 

Casa Del Popolo, 4873 Boul St-Laurent

La Vitrola, 4602 Boul St-Laurent

La Sala Rossa, 4848 Boul St-Laurent

hotsprings3
Photo by Yanick Grandmont

Intimate venue Divan Orange (above) is Alex’s go-to when in need for some live music. The small space is a great way to discover under-the-radar bands and experimental DJs. It is one of those places that turns from a chill hangout pub to a hardcore dance party in a matter of minutes.

Divan Orange, 4234 Boul St-Laurent

Davis loves the venue Turbo Haüs in Saint Henri which hosts all kinds of events, from spoken seminars for alternative businesses to punk rock shows. “Coupled with a great bar downstairs and perfect decor, this is an easy win.”

Turbo Haüs, 5011 Rue Notre-Dame O

SUMMER VS. WINTER

o2
Photo by Lauren B

“Summer in Montreal is a special thing, tons of street festivals, lots of music, comedy, and excuses to get out of the house. To experience a real Montreal summer day just walk out your door without expectations and you’ll find what you’re looking for,” says Davis.

The summer can bring seriously hot temperatures… like stick to your seat hot, but according to Molly there is a simple solution: “Head to one of the local pools (my favorite is Piscine Laurier (above) at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park) to cool off from the extreme heat we get here in the summer months.” Afterwards hitting up any local park for a BBQ is ideal. FYI: “Drinking in public is allowed here as long as you have something to eat. It’s called the picnic law,” explains Caroline. 

Piscine Laurier, 5200 Rue de Brébeuf

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Photo by Benoit Rousseau, Montreal International Jazz Festival

The summer is really the best time to visit because Montreal has so many of the best festivals like the International Jazz Festival or Just for Laughs to name a few,” says Alex. Osheaga, the Mural festival and the Beer Festival are Zola’s musts. 

International Jazz Festival, Quartier des spectacles

Osheaga, Parc Jean-Drapeau

Mural FestivalBoul St-Laurent

Beer Festival, 2236 Rue Beaubien E

beaverlake
Photo by @inayali

In winter, Montreal has many exterior skating rinks with great views like Lac aux Castors on Mont Royal (above), Parc Lafontaine and in the Old Montreal where they all rent ice skates,” says Zola. However, others prefer using the cold winters to stay inside. Caroline loves to “catch up on old movies at various movie nights hosted by small local venues.”

Lac aux Castors, Mont Royal

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Photo by Marie-Reine Mattera

A spa day is another way to spend a cold winter day. “I like driving to the eastern townships and visiting one the many nordic spas,” Eliza recommends. “There’s also Bota Bota (above) in Montreal which is an old boat converted into a spa.” Hot tubs, massages, manicures and pedicures? Sign us up.

Bota Bota, Entrée McGill Coin De la Commune et McGill, Promenade du Vieux-Port

Ryan has one simply advice in order to survive winter, “Get to know Kanuk”:  a Quebec clothing brand that is known for their signature winter coats that are guaranteed to keep you warm in the crazy cold weather.

Kanuk, 485 Rue Rachel E

WHAT TO WEAR

boutiqueunicorn
Photo by @boutiqueunicorn

Montrealers do it right. Layers, accessories and footwear are always very well considered,” says Davis. The ladies at The Sleep Shirt admit that Montreal “is a city that values comfort, ease, and classic vintage inspiration.”

“There is also a lot of support of local brands here, which has benefitted us in so many ways. Quebecois like to support their designers,” they continue. Merida adds, “It’s a mix of old and new, and this city loves to support its local designers.” 

HOW TO HAVE A PERFECT DAY IN MONTREAL

st ambroise
Photo by @loriechater

“Perfect days in Montreal are definitely during summer! A little sunbathing on a terrace drinking a glass of tequila on ice and lime with good friends, sounds pretty dreamy right now,” Caroline says. These sunny vibes continue with Molly’s dream day: “Definitely summertime! Riding my bike with a group of friends along the canal up to Atwater Market and then carrying on to the St Ambroise Brewery (above) for some afternoon pints on their giant dog-friendly terrasse”. 

St Ambroise Brewery, 5080 Rue Saint-Ambroise

Alex agrees. “Walking around the city in the spring or summer then having an amazing dinner and good wine with friends at a restaurant with a terrasse to just soak up as much outdoor time as possible!”

Ryan explains to us that the “top of Mont-Royal when the sun comes up.” is the must see visitor spot and going up there right at that time can make any day in Montreal perfect.

olimpico
Photo by @cafeolimpico

Eliza has her perfect day down to a tee. “I’d start with coffee at Olimpico (above) in Mile End, then a walk down St. Laurent to check out the shops and stop by Eva B (amazing three-story vintage shop), lunch would be at Le Pick Up in Mile Ex where I’d have a Halloumi sandwich and then find a park to walk through. In the evening, I’d grab a picnic box from Triple Crown and have drinks and food with friends in the park… a lot revolves around food as you can see!”

Olimpico, 124 Rue Saint Viateur O

Eva B, 2015 Boul St-Laurent

Dépanneaur Le Pick-Up, 7032 Rue Waverly

Triple Crown, 6704 Rue Clark

And where to shop? We’ve got you on that front. Click here to find out.