THEY’RE A REALLY, REALLY BIG DEAL

Posted on July 1, 2013

We like nothing better than stumbling upon a new boy-girl musical team on a lacklustre Monday morning so were overjoyed when our ears pricked up the luscious sounds of dashing duo, Big Deal. Anglo-US indie pairing, Alice Costelloe and Kacey Underwood, may sound like a gambling company but are in fact a twosome that have been slowly but surely getting the music biz excited. They both do vocals and both play guitar to languorous perfection and there’s nothing missing even without a rhythm section. It’s our favourite brand of fuzzy dream-pop with a lot of moody guitar riffs that we can see ourselves sunning ourselves to. As for the lyrics, they’re awash with romance and young love and there’s even adorable references to homework and days at school, “can’t do my homework, I can’t concentrate … it’s ruining my grades.” This month they play London’s hip Madame Jo Jo’s and one of Topshop HQ’s top British music festival, Lovebox.We spoke to the boy half, Kacey, about making music and if music were food, what edible goods Big Deal would be.

What came before Big Deal?

We were all in different bands with less nice people. Alice was in a band called Pull in Emergency and I was in a bunch of different ones but most recently Little Death.

What’s your “making music” process like? 

One of us has an idea which we then bounce back and forth for as long or as little as possible til it resembles a song. It’s a lot like tennis, which we actually love as well.

Is it completely joint effort or does one of you lead the way? 

If I am serving, I tend to win. If Alice is serving, I also tend to win.  But it is always a very… ehem joint effort.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?

We do our best not to ever try to describe our music. But since you asked: like unicorns arguing.

If your music was a food what would it be?

Ice cream.

What are your touring must-haves?

Fingernail clippers, Baraka and lots of good music to fill the drives with.

How would you describe your style?

Comfortable, mostly hardly washed, second hand germ-infested rags.

Who would be your dream collaborator?

David Byrne and Joanna Newsom

Watch Big Deal’s latest music video below and listen to their new single Dream Machines, here.

TOM ODELL: THE ROAD TO ITUNES FESTIVAL

Posted on June 25, 2013

Many young hearts have been broken thanks to the musical presence of hot new thing Tom Odell. Most recently, the singer-songwriter has caused such a stir that he’s been chosen to take the Roundhouse stage at the iTunes Festival with none other than Elton John.

The 22 year old has been penning original material since the age of 13 and now has a huge fan base who are smitten with his moving vocals and impressive piano skills. His newest single “Grow Old With Me” pulled at our heart strings from the moment we heard it and since then, we’ve wanted to find out where all his material came from. We managed to grab some time with Tom earlier on in the year to talk inspiration, dreams and Chinese herbal medicine. Needless to say, we’re more in love with his voice than ever!

(Don’t forget, you can win tickets to any of the iTunes Festival shows all month over on Twitter!)

What’s your “making music” process like? 

It’s kind of always changing and I never really stick to one method. I think the thing I’ve learnt from making an album is, you can’t force inspiration, but it’s important to be prepared for when it does come. So I always keep a notebook and dictaphone with me.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it? 

Piano. Lots and lots of piano. Also some singing. And some drums. And some bass.

What are your touring must-haves? 

There’s this special type of Chinese herbal medicine that I can’t pronounce the name of that really helps my voice. When I’ve had 4 hours sleep, been singing all day and need to do a gig, it really sorts me out. And next time I tour, I need to stock up because I ran out half way through the last tour and it’s impossible to find!

How would you describe your style? 

I wear Chelsea boots and black skinny jeans pretty much the whole time. And at the moment I’m wearing a lot of varsity jackets.

What was the inspiration or main message behind the new album? 

‘Write your troubles in the sand’, you know that quote? I guess the same applies to songwriting. Once I put my troubles in a song, they seem to disappear a little.

Who would be your dream collaborator? 

I’m a big film fan and I’ve always had this dream of working on a score or a soundtrack. The way music and film fit together, it fascinates me. I was lucky enough to work with this amazing director Jamie Thraves on a short film for Another Love. I really enjoyed that.

Tell us a little bit about Another Love.

It’s called “Another Love” and it’s the first song I ever showed to the world back in September of last year. Christopher Bailey decided to use it in his Burberry Fashion show and it’s kind of risen naturally since then. It’s nice to finally hear it on the radio.

If you’d like to win tickets to the iTunes Festival with a line-up that includes Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake follow our competition over on Twitter.

THE PROM DRESS YOUR DREAMS ARE MADE OF

Posted on June 21, 2013

This year we played the Prom Fairy Godmother and made two fashion wishes come true for two very lucky students’ special night. We’re talking about the Prom Queen competition we launched in early March, when we encouraged our Pinterest-loving fans to create a board dedicated to their dream prom dress with the chance to win a fabulous frock inspired by the very same mood boards. Months passed, entries flooded in and finally, our prestigious design team sifted through the incredible submissions to find two of the most enticing boards that they were eager to turn from theme to bespoke gown!

Enter Alina Pena, our US winner from La Guardia Performing Arts High School whose ‘70s-style, glitter-tastic and butterfly covered mood board caught the design team’s attention. This wasn’t just any dress-winning-competition either. Alina had initial design sketches sent over to her before being whisked over to Topshop HQ in London for a fitting with our pattern team and time to put the finishing touches on the gorgeous gown. The result has a sumptuous lilac gown with a sheer overall and puff sleeves – a dreamy, romantic silhouettes that all of the staff at Topshop  HQ were swooning over. What more could a girl ask for? Oh, an article on Teen Vogue following the whole experience wouldn’t go a miss either!

We stole some of Alina precious time in London and chatted to her about the competition, prom beauty looks and what she’s expecting for the big night.

What are blogs or magazines are you’re into at the moment?

I’m a big fan of Tavi Gevinson, her blog and Rookie, I’m on there quite a bit. I’m subscribed to Teen Vogue and Marie Claire and whenever we go to airports I get Vogue and more high fashion magazines that I normally wouldn’t get. Also, my friend has a really cool blog called You’re A Tulle, that’s great.

Where is your prom?

it’s on Park Avenue. It’s supposed to be a really nice. I’m hoping it’s going to be just like Virgin Suicides. Nice and sparkly.

What are you thinking for your make-up look?

I think I’m going to keep the nail polish I have on now, it’s a light pastel, periwinkle blue. I’m probably going to get streaks in my hair in like a pink or lavender colour extensions maybe.

Is your dress what you imagined?

We fitted it today and pinned me in and it felt very glamorous! It’s so perfect. I was so highly specific about butterflies and now they’re all over it.

Where did the main inspiration come from?

I was torn between two things. I didn’t know if I wanted to do a strictly Virgin Suicides, ‘70s, flowly thing or more of a rockabilly rebel look with a fitted gingham dress. When I started making the board I went through my fashion and shoes folders and saw that a lot of things I loved were sheer and floral so I pulled all of those things that were similar. It’s a similar vibe to Meadham Kirschoff. I threw all of those images into my Pinterest board and I never thought that this would happen!

What are you listening to at the moment?

There’s this band called The Growlers, their aesthetic is totally not consistent with the dress they’re really dark and sun soaked at the same time. Evil carnival-meets-The Beach Boys that reminds me of chilling with your friends by the pool.

Do you have any fashion people who you look up to?

Tavi again and pretty much every Wes Anderson character like The Royal Tenembaums. I looked for a tennis dress that Margot wears for so long and finding one felt like such a success. Audrey Hepburn is everyone’s right? I’ve got little bangs just like hers.

What have you planned for prom so far?

It’s hectic. There’s pre-prom where I’m hoping to get ready with the girls. Then actual prom, which I hope, will be lots of eating ice cream, plenty of dancing, saying goodbye! And then there’s ‘After Prom’ which is like a big party with pretty much everybody from the school. Hopefully staying out as late as possible.  Falling asleep on the beach, etc.

Do you have a date?

My friend Josh asked me so he’s probably going to be dressed equally as wild, I think everyone will be impressed by him.

What’s planned post-prom?

I’m going to Queen College in September for their Macaulay Honours programme. As for over the summer my best friend and I are probably going to go to Greece, I’m looking forward to that. I might go to Florida with my friend Gabi and all the girls. I’m gonna try and take trains places and cross state lines with my friends.

We asked Alina what she’d like to hear at prom and she very kindly made an awesome playlist just for us Topshop gals.

“It’s a bit of a mix. I knew the whole prom/leaving high school was going to be a pretty wild mix of emotions, so I figured I would let the playlist do the same. The majority is, of course, all that sort of chaotic-self-centered-I-don’t-care-about-anything-but-having-fun type of music that has everything to do with prom night, but there are also songs that are there just ‘cos they’re great to dance to or they contain the kind of sentimental and nostalgic feelings that I’m having at the moment.”

Stay tuned to hear more about our second winner from the UK.

DEAP VALLY: VALLEY GIRLS WHO ROCK

Posted on June 12, 2013

Deap Vally’s Twitter bio describes them as “Bad Ass” and we have to agree, there’s really not a better way to describe this carefree duo. Julie Edwards – a redhead who goes wild on the drums – and Lindsey Trott – the singer and guitarist with a blonde fro that would make Jerry Hall jealous – are the striking figures behind our new favourite band. These girls are anything but tame and the music they produce is equally so.

Blues and rock and something primal mix up in Deap Vally’s punchy sound. With musical inspiration from Janis Jolin and Led Zepplin there are big riffs and screeching vocals to keep you on your toes. Baby I Call Hell has already received 300K+ views on YouTube and received praise from NME and Billboard alike. It’s not just the headphones that have been appreciative but Deap Vally have been getting a lot of love for their rowdy and impassioned live performances too. So much so that they’ll be kicking off LA’s Bonnaroo tomorrow with huge expectations for a night to remember.We chatted with the glam rock loving duo to talk the euphoria of gigs and the necessity of manuka honey.

What inspires the music you make?

Making and playing music is one of the most meaningful and rewarding things in my life. My relationship with it and my appreciation for it only evolves as I get older. Playing music is both spiritually and physically addictive. Music is the highway to truth.

When did you know that you wanted to go into music?

In utero? I’ve been singing and playing music for nearly my entire life. It’s always been there. There have been times in my life where I have tried to divorce myself from it, but I always came back. Music is soul food. If I don’t have it I starve.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?

It’s kind of funny because most times I get asked that question, my inclination is to answer with the latest show we’ve played. We really live in the moment because we are so busy and we play shows all the time, and every show is magical and euphoric in its own way, and so the memory of the most recent show is always impressed upon me. (That being said, on rare occasions we have had what we like to call a “public pap smear”. This is a show that feels like–well, a public pap smear. But even public pap smears are valuable in their own way.) To answer your question, I’m gonna ramble a little and make a list of all-time favorite gigs because I can’t just pick one: both weekends of Coachella, our last headlining show in London at Dingwalls, a gig we played in Madrid opening for Mumford and Sons, festival called Rock en Seine in Paris, and a show we recently did in Melbourne at the Northcote Social Club.

What music have you been listening to recently?

Black Angels, Savages, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tame Impala. I have such an enormous respect for each of these bands and I hope to tour with each of them one day. We played a couple shows with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs recently and that was truly a dream come true. They are one of my favorite bands. They set the bar so high.

What past or current artist most excites you?

Led Zeppelin will eternally sit in the thrones of rock. That being said, there is so much incredible music out there for me to obsess over. I’m currently really inspired by Savages. If you haven’t heard of them, do yourself a favor and check them out. Four women who play really intense, hypnotic, shoe-gazey post-punk. They’re so committed to what they do. They put on an incredibly fierce and inspired performance.

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

The Rolling Stones

How would you describe your style?

Rock’n'roll glamour

What are your touring must-haves? 

My leather jacket, knitting needles, a good book, cuticle trimmer, aromaco deodorant from Lush, Manuka honey, sleep mask, neck pillow for flying, my journal, music.

Catch Deap Vally in tour here, watch more of their videos here and watch their most recent video below.

 

WONDERFUL WARDELL

Posted on June 4, 2013

The sun is finally out and all we want to do is hang out in the park with good friends, scrumptious snacks and even better tracks! Here at Topshop HQ, we’re obsessing over Theo and Sasha Spielberg’s freshly released EP “Brother/Sister” and reckon that if you don’t already love it too, you soon will. If you’re by any chance wondering whether these two are related to legendary director Steven Spielberg, you’re right! They’re his kids so it looks like creativity runs in the family. We’re loving their summery sound that’s best summed up as melodic Cali pop and sounds just like summer should. Wardell are currently streaming a brand new song entitled “Call It What You Want so once you’ve caught up with them, head over to their site to take a listen. How could you not with such a cute album cover?!

What inspires the music you make?

Our surroundings, our state of mind, what we’ve listening to the day before, how hungry we are, how tired we are… etc.

When did you know that you wanted to go into music?

Pretty early on! When Theo realized he wasn’t going to become a professional soccer player and when Sasha first heard “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?

Stubbs in Austin. It was surreal and the BBQ was beyond and the Small Black, Haim and the Vampire Weekend folks are just a real ball! It was also an outside venue which made it that much more breezy.

What have you been listening to recently?

Theo’s been listening to the new Vampire Weekend album and I’ve had “Started From the Bottom” by Drake on repeat. I’m loving old Kate Bush demos, Haim, Ike and Tina Turner right now. We also love Dirty Projectors, Haerts Nicolas Jaar and Darkside as well as Papa who are friends of ours and who’s music we love.

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

Haim, for the ultimate family affair. Or Kendrick Lamar. We’d be perfectly fine with that. But mainly Barack Obama.

© by Jonathan Simpson

How would you describe your style?

For me (Theo) it’s Californian prints, always comfy, always warm enough. For me, (Sasha) it’s never warm enough but always comfy. A lot of collars, high waisted bits, two pieces. It’s like I’m dressed in summer get-ups but in winter colors. My style is very confused, all the time. Hopefully in a good way.

What are your touring must-haves?

Protein bars, the Internet every now and again, and a car iPhone adapter. That being said, we haven’t fully gone on tour yet, so we’ll get back to you!

Check out the banana leaf print Sasha Spielberg is wearing here.