Married music duo Tennis has long been our go-to summer soundtrack, thanks to their signature brand of ultra-chilled beach pop. So it’s good news for summer 2015 that Alaina and Patrick will be back with a third album, ‘Ritual in Repeat’. To find out more, we chatted with Alaina on recording, stage-fright and her new obsession with the ’70s.
What can we expect from the new album?
This album was tough for me and Patrick. I didn’t know what the future of Tennis was supposed to sound like. Everything I wrote sounded like something I’d already written, or someone who wasn’t me. But we travelled around a lot for inspiration and I pushed myself to try new ways of songwriting which helped get the sound.
What’s your favourite track?
Needle And A Knife is my most personal moment on the record. I was 28 when I wrote it, thinking about Womanhood (with a capital W) for the first time in my life. Lyrically it represents the ambiguity I feel towards motherhood, marriage, and the inner conflict that those things represent to me. I listened to a lot of No Doubt during this period. Gwen Stefani is insight wrapped in raw emotion. I wish she would write a memoir or at least an advice column.
The video has a real ’70s vibe – what inspired that?
I wanted a video that combined a ’70s aesthetic with the dreaminess of adolescent girlhood. I was inspired in part by Petra Collins’ photography which is aggressively girlish. Also, the ’70s was a good time for curly hair which is why it so appeals to me.
What shows are you excited to play this summer?
I have a bittersweet relationship with playing live because I have pretty intense anxiety on stage. Writing a song alone in your room is very different from recreating it in front of hundreds of people. I am growing into it though, and it gets easier with time. Next week Patrick and I are performing a song from the Blue Velvet soundtrack as a tribute to David Lynch in LA – I couldn’t be more excited about anything!
How would you describe your style?
My style is constantly in flux. The only constant is that I dislike wearing very girly clothing on stage. I want to feel tough and move freely. Clothes with a slightly androgynous bent seem to balance out my waifishness. Lately I am most inspired by Sean Young in Blade Runner. She is elegant in a way that is powerful and angular; all softness and hard edges.
What’s your dream outfit to perform in?
Anything by Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent. He perfectly channels the spirit of early rock and roll, whether it’s ’60s Rolling Stones or ’70s Patti Smith. He makes clothing that is wearable but transformative, which is essential to rock and roll iconography. That said, there is nothing punk rock about a $4,000 fringe vest. If only fashion houses were as ‘of the people’ as their sources of inspiration are.
How does being married to Patrick help (or hinder!) your work?
Without Patrick I doubt I would have ever written a song, so in that sense he is everything to my work! Now, after years of making music together, I have been able to develop my own voice and style separately from him. Difference in our writing style leads to more disagreement, but conflict yields the best results! We make each other better, and we want each other to be our best, no matter what that means for Tennis. I think that’s what makes us work!
‘Ritual and Repeat’ is out on 20th April. Keep up with all things Tennis here.
Shopping in London this weekend? We’re celebrating payday at our Oxford Circus flagship store with DIY workshops on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March. Denim customisation, monogramming, initial engraving… everything looks better with a personal stamp! Here’s what’s going on.
Fancy letting our tailors customise your denim? Get complimentary patches, studs or distressing with any of your denim buys.
ENGRAVING & EMBOSSING
Give your jewellery a personal touch with initial engraving, embossing and foiling on selected accessory purchases.
Embroidery experts Hawthorne & Heaney will be on hand to custom monogram your jeans, shirts, scarves or nightwear.
Personalise anything from your clutch to your iPhone case at Skinnydip’s sticker shop.
Wear glasses? You can add your own prescription to any frames at our Toyshades pop-up – choosing everything from the frame shape to the colour of the lens.
Create your own necklaces and bracelets from a selection of charms and semi-precious stones with help from Orelia’s jewellery designers.
Customise anything from a T-shirt to socks with YR Store’s exclusive prints.
The finishing touch to all your DIY goodies? Nab free eye and lip touch ups from our makeup artists, with every beauty purchase.
Book your complimentary appointment today and you’ll get your own personal stylist in one of our VIP dressing suites.
Channel your inner Bake Off winner and get cupcake decorating at our Lola’s stall. Cupcakes not your thing? Pick and mix from Frae’s endless selection of frozen yogurt or keep up your shopping stamina with refreshments from Juicery.
Make It Your Own runs from Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March at Topshop Oxford Circus in London.
If you fancy making the most of the four day Easter weekend (rather than sitting on the sofa surrounded by Easter egg wrappers), here’s what’s happening:
The first bank holiday weekend of the year means it’s time to party, right? Kick it off by going to see our current music crush Wolf Alice play Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Friday night. Alternatively, you can spend the whole weekend soaking up something a little more old school, at ’60s themed festival Le Beat Bespoke Weekender, or the London Ska Festival. Not in the mood for music? Check out Bath Comedy Festival for some guaranteed LOLs.
Pencil in a cinema date (or three), the long-awaited documentary about Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection for Dior, Dior & I is out on the 27th March – think dream dresses and celeb appearances all round. If that’s not your cup of tea, While We’re Young is out on Friday, directed by Frances Ha’s Noah Baumbach and starring Girls Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried – prepare yourself for a sweet, awkward comedy with a dreamy New York backdrop. Or, unleash your inner Disney princess and check our the live action Cinderellare-make.
OUT AND ABOUT
The weather is (fingers crossed) going to be brilliant across Easter Weekend, and luckily there’s some amazing outdoors activities going on. It wouldn’t be Easter without an egg hunt, so get down to Kensington Roof Gardens and find your way to a giant luxury egg from Choccywoccydoodah, or Kew Gardens for a Willy Wonka themed eggstravangza, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Shopping on Oxford Street? The Meringue Girls are setting up shop in our flagship store, stop by for free sweet treats when you spend over £60!
And what to wear? Get your outfit inspiration from our Easter feature.
Girls still ruling the music scene? Of course. In 2014 we fell for female voices like London Grammar, Banks and FKA Twigs, but now there’s a whole run of new female singers hot on their heels. Meet the new girls on our playlist.
If you like London Grammar… Listen to LAURA DOGGETT
We first fell for Laura Doggett‘s deep, seductive tones on Broadchurch, but nothing prepared us for the spine tingles at her recent slot supporting Years & Years. We tracked down the lady herself backstage to hear more about her distinctive sound. “I guess it’s more of an older voice,” she told us excitedly. “I’ve had comparisons to singers like Patti Smith and Tracey Chapman, which I can’t even get my head around – it’s so amazing to hear!” Fashion is another important part of her stage presence: “I love performing in dramatic pieces like capes and floaty dresses - it’s about tricking people into thinking I’m more majestic than I really am.” Taking to the stage in a white tailored cape with shoulder pads and flowing sleeves, she certainly fooled us.
Kacy Hill‘s already hit the big time as an American Apparel model – but now it’s her music catching people’s attention – namely Kanye West, who just signed the 26-year-old to his record label G.O.O.D. Watch the video to her debut track ‘Experience’ and we guarantee you’ll get hooked on her dreamy vocals and fresh take on pop – not to mention those next-level freckles. Pass the freckle pencil…
Charlotte O’ Connor scored a record contract off the back of her MySpace at just 16, but after a somewhat shaky start in the music biz, she’s back again with a new sound and a new pop star name. ‘Colour My Heart’ showcases her darker, more gothic sound – a new direction inspired by a night spent in Berlin’s notorious Berghain club. Think soul searching lyrics, electro hooks and some seriously statement stage outfits that’ll give Banks even more of a run for her money…
Simple, yet iconic, the classic white shirt is a long time wardrobe staple. This season, we’re taking our styling tips from the throwback girls who wore them best. Here’s who to channel:
For the ultimate summer vibes, take your inspiration from a ’90s Cindy Crawford and tie an oversized style into a crop. Roll up the sleeves and pair with vintage-look mom shorts and hoop earrings. So simple, so cool.
If you’re in need of a holiday cover-up, a Pretty Woman era Julia Roberts is your go-to girl. Opt out of feminine styles and knot your shirt over everything from a colour-pop mini dress and heels, to a beach ready bikini.