Festival season is officially here, kicking off this weekend with the sunny style extravaganza that is Coachella festival. Sadly most of us will be stuck at our desks in not-so-scorching Blighty while the style set are living it up in the Californian desert, but that hasn’t stopped us from sending our spies to get the skinny.
And who better to give you the insider scoop than DJ and ultimate cool-girl Harley Viera Newton? Harley will be taking over our Instagram account over the weekend, so stay tuned to get the Coachella goss before anyone else. In the meantime, we quizzed Harley on how she’s gearing up for a super stylish Coachella ’14.
Can you sum up Coachella in three words?
What a weekend!
Do you change up your signature style for a festival?
Definitely not! Festival style ultimately has to be about comfort. You’re walking around for hours and don’t want your outfit to make you feel uncomfortable in any way.
What outfits are you planning this year?
I’ve been to several Coachellas and have learned the hard way that you have to keep it really light, comfortable, and breezy. It’s HOT there, so I’ll be going for easy airy pieces in fun prints.
It feels like a lifetime since The Pierces last wowed us with their dreamy harmonised folk (or three years if we’re sticking to the facts), but this spring sees the welcome return of the Alabama sister act to our airwaves. With a fifth album in the works, the girls have just dropped new track ‘Believe In Me’ – a feel-good pop hit that’s a long departure from the more melancholy sound we’ve come to know from the girls.
So what’s cheered them up? A relocation to sunny LA might have something to do with it, inspiring a care-free direction with driving drums and sing-along choruses. Think Fleetwood Mac minus the heartache and you’ll get the idea. We caught up with brunette haired Allison to find out more.
You’ve been in the music industry a long time. How have things changed?
We’ve become more sure of what we want. When we first started out we were very young and innocent! We’ve grown and changed a lot as people and have become more clear over the years. And we’ve learned patience!
Did your upbringing shape your sound?
Our father is a musician and our mother a painter, so we grew up in a very creative environment. We were in encouraged to express ourselves and do what we love, so yes, it definitely shaped our path.
How has the new album moved on from your earlier records?
This record has a bigger soundscape with lots of dreamy synths and powerful drums. It has a fresher, more modern sound than our last record. We love the way it turned out!
You’ve lived in LA and New York. How do they each inspire you?
Los Angeles inspires our music everyday because of the beautiful weather and incredible outdoor activities that are available to you. But I must say, Los Angeles doesn’t have the style that New York has. I miss being able to walk out my front door and be inspired by the personal style of the people in my neighbourhood. Nobody beats New York for style – except possibly London… it’s a very close race!
If we had just one hour in New York – where should we go?
What I would do is go sit at Marlowe and Sons and absorb as much food and drink as possible.
What’s your favourite music video?
That’s a really tough question to answer, but off the top of my head I’m going to say Arctic Monkeys ‘R U Mine’. It’s unexpected, unpredictable, badass, sexy and just really cool.
Do you both listen to the same music in your time off?
Yes, we have very similar taste in most everything, but I’ve been listening to a lot of indie melodic guy rock bands and Catherine recently informed me that she thinks they all sound the same, so I guess not at the moment.
How would you describe your style? Any icons?
I like to be comfortable but still look good at the same time – sexy without being overt. Icons would be, Kate Moss, of course, Alexa Chung and Jane Birkin.
Song with the best lyrics of all time?
‘Woman of Heart and Mind’ by Joni Mitchell.
Who would be the dream third member of The Pierces?
Listen to ‘Believe in Me’ below and catch The Pierces play one of their UK gigs in June.
Blue skies outside Topshop HQ have got us dreaming of ice cream, lazy days in the park and finally going tights-free. Summer is just around the corner and we cannot wait. What’s more, LA band DWNTWN has added to our sunshine-will-be-back-soon vibe with their new track ‘Til Tomorrow.’ Taken from the group’s upcoming EP, sun-soaked pop and dreamy synths merge together though breezy boy/girl vocals to create a sound that was made for driving through the Hollywood Hills with the windows down. We caught up with girl-in-the-group, Jamie, to talk fashion, tacos and break-ups. Oh and a bit about the music too…
How was DWNTWN born?
A few years ago Robert and I were both going through break-ups and my ex just so happened to be his brother. We would hang out together and write songs about our heartache!
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it before?
A friend once told us that our songs “make you dance to words that should make you cry.” I’ve always loved that description.
Where did you write ‘Til Tomorrow?’
We were house sitting a mansion in the Hollywood Hills and ended up with this song about feeling stuck in a stale routine while everyone around us seems to be moving forward, or living in mansions. Not that we want to live in a mansion… but maybe moving out of our parents basement would be nice!
What influences your sound?
Kurt Cobain’s pretty face, Bob Dylan interviews, Burritos from El Chato, Stevie Nicks’ voice and late night drives to see Crystal Castles.
You’ve been compared to bands like Postal Service and M83. Would you agree?
That’s a huge compliment! Those are both bands we really love, so it’s an honour that people are hearing similarities between us.
Any funny stories from your latest tour?
We always have a crazy night when we’re in Salt Lake City, Utah. I don’t know what it is about the place, but people go nuts, and we love it! Last time we played, everyone got on stage with us during our last song. They stole the mic from me and started yelling the lyrics, and then insisted that our drummer play a giant solo once the song was done. We can’t wait to go back!
Who’s your style crush?
Robert idolises Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash, so he’s all about that grungy country look. I’ll wear anything that looks like Stevie Nicks might have worn it.
Any favourite outfits to perform in?
I love performing in floor length lace dresses. I have a handmade vintage one I can’t stop wearing. It’s got a beautiful embroidered high neck, and takes about ten minutes for someone to button me into it.
Hot tips for an LA trip?
You have to eat tacos in LA. Our favourite spots are El Taurino and El Chato, which are both super authentic. Get the Al Pastor tacos – you won’t be sorry! As for shopping, I’m going to be totally honest – our go-to spot is Topshop, so I’m pretty sure you know all about that!
If you could collaborate with any artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
Probably Mozart, it would be the most unreal experience ever! He’d be going on and on about something in German while we just nodded our heads and smiled at him. And at the end of the session chances are we’d end up with a hit song… I mean it is Mozart; the original hit machine.
‘Til Tomorrow’ will be released as part of the ‘DWNTWN‘ EP, due out 29 April.
When it comes to edgy popstresses, you’ve got to hand it to the Scandis. Lykke Li, Icona Pop, Elliphant and Say Lou Lou are just a few of the Scandi girls who’ve invaded our playlist recently, and now we’ve got a newbie to add to the never-ending list. Meet MØ – the Danish singer who’s got everyone talking.
So impressed were we with her electro beats and achingly cool style that we asked her to perform at our Berlin Fashion Week party this week. Performing to 600 fashion-fabulous guests wearing our textured bubble crepe tee, she got everyone dancing with material from her upcoming debut album, ’No Mythologies To Follow’. There’ll be more on the party later, but for now read on as we chat with her about all things MØ!
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?
It’s electro indie pop with vibes of hip-hop and soul.
What was the first record you ever bought?
It was the Spice Girls! I was 7 years old and I thought they were the most wonderful thing in the world. Buying their record was actually what made me want to be a musician – I started my first band the next day at school!
What can we expect from the album?
The album embraces the same elements as my singles and EP, but still brings something new to the table. The lyrics are very personal to me. I was inspired by young people being a bit lost and restless in modern society – about our struggle to find our own path through life.
Has your upbringing inspired you?
I come from the suburbs of Denmark and I’m very happy and nostalgic about that. Growing up in Scandinavian has definitely had an influence on my work – everything you experience in life is within you somewhere, and has something to do with your output in one way or another.
What’s on your playlist at the moment?
I’m listening to an LA based band called The Growlers all the freaking time!
What do you think of the music industry’s relationship with women?
I think it’s going pretty well for girls at the moment. Strong female artists like Rihanna, Beyonce and Lady Gaga are ruling the western music scene. Music has been dominated by men for a long time, for better or worse, but screw that – the girls are ruling now!
How would you describe your style?
I’d say it’s grunge-meets-street, and a bit sexy sometimes!
Who are your style icons?
Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth has been my style icon since I was 14. She seems like such a strong woman, and her style is just so cool and natural. She’s the greatest role model.
If you need a bit of a break from all the cheery Christmas tunes, (there’s only SO many times we can listen to Mariah Carey in one day) – we recommend getting some of Cults‘ new material on your playlist.
Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion’s second album ‘Static’ offers more of their sixties-inspired indie pop, full of chilled out bass lines and dreamy vocals. But this time around the mood is distinctly darker – perhaps something to do with the duo ending their in-real-life relationship recently. *Sad face*
Whatever the case, it’s made for some seriously powerful music, and we can’t get new track ‘High Road’ out of our heads!
We caught up with Brian Oblivion in between touring, who also provided us with his ultimate playlist for listening to by a crackling winter fire.
Hey Brian! What can we expect from the new album?
We were lucky enough to have a good deal of studio time, so went all out to get the sound just right. The title ‘Static’ was an overarching concept for the tonality of the instruments, and more loosely for the lyrical content. We’d even turn out the lights in the studio and hang out in the glow of the TVs we brought in to try and settle into the vibe.
Best lyric on the album?
The title lyric ‘I Can Hardly Make You Mine’ is my favourite. From the moment Madeline came up with it I was smitten. It feels like the title of some lost Otis Redding song!
What inspires you about living in New York?
Honestly I think it’s the spontaneity. There’s a kind of peace in knowing that you can do almost anything you want any time you want. It makes it easier to focus on your work knowing that you’re never really missing anything.
Favourite hangouts in the city?
If we’re not going to concerts or art events we’re usually around the same handful of dive bars. I live in Chinatown so I’ll often be at 169 Bar, which is a really bizarre New Orleans themed place with great music. Madeline likes KGB, Lucy’s, or Black and White. Any place with tables where you don’t have to battle to get a drink!
What’s been your career highlight so far?
We recently got to collaborate with Jim Jarmusch on a song for his new movie that we’re very proud of. Whenever we get to work with television or film we get really excited.
How would you describe your on-stage look?
We dress pretty formally on stage. I think it’s about showing a certain amount of respect for what you’re doing. There’s anonymity to dressing up; it can feel like putting on a super hero costume. I recently spilled something on my suit before a gig and had to play in jeans and a T-shirt – I felt naked up there.