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How to Make the Most Out of COUCHella

April 11, 2020

What was supposed to be weekend one of America’s biggest music festival has been derailed by a pandemic, of all things—leaving Coachella ticket holders trading music, dancing and dosing for a weekend on their couch.

While absolutely nothing matches the experience of dancing to Diplo (just throwing a name out there) under clear desert skies with 100,000 of your closest friends, you don’t have to sidestep the aggressively anticipated weekend altogether.

Keep reading for how to make the most out of COUCHella.

1. Blast a Playlist of Intended 2020 Coachella Performers (or Bust Out a Playlist From Your Fave Coachella of Years Past)

If you were hyped for this year’s fest, chances are you’ve had a playlist going for months. Don’t let that go to waste! Turn up those tunes—or, if it tugs at your heartstrings to play songs from the Coachella that never was, take a time warp to a favorite festival year by throwing on a different playlist. You can also replay specific sets or years on YouTube if you really want to relive magical years past.

2. Support Small Businesses and Order Delivery From an Intended Coachella 2020 Vendor

There are two types of people who go to Coachella: people who eat there and people who don’t. That said, we’re in unique times, and as you galavant around your living space, you’re bound to get hungry. You were likely going to order food anyway, so keep it thematic and order (if you can) from a vendor who was supposed to be at Coachella. Not only are you adding to the “feels like I’m there” vibe, but you’re supporting a small business. If you live in L.A., there are tons of options. For some inspo, click HERE.

3. Throw on a ~Festival~ Ensemble and Take Pics for the Gram (Trust Us, No One’s Judging at This Point)

Three weeks deep of quarantine and anything goes at this point. We’ve seen people dance alone in their living room, we’ve seen people get dolled up as if they’re going to prom—how’s a cute shot of you and your S.O. or roommate appearing Coachella-bound gonna hurt anyone? You probably have a ton of prepped looks ready to go. Put one (or two, or three) to use, flash a peace sign and call it a day. Have a palm tree on your street or a backyard? Added bonus! And be sure to hashtag #couchella or #coachellafromhome so you can attract all those fellow DIY Coachella-ers like yourself!

4. Organize a Zoom Extravaganza With Your Intended Coachella 2020 Crew

While not quite the same as exchanging sweat in 110-degree weather, hangin’ with your presumed festival squad via video chat isn’t totally pointless. Especially if you guys all follow the whole dressing up thing, you can all debut your looks while sipping cocktails, with your favorite Coachella artists playing (via Spotify or played back performances from the past).

5. Bust Out Some Cocktails (or Whatever Else You Have Up Your Sleeve—We Kid, of Course)

Everyone’s already drinking amid quarantine anyway, so it’s not like this COUCHella celebration should spike your intake, but you can still make it especially fun! This is your chance to make drinks you probably wouldn’t opt for otherwise. We suggest wine or champagne popsicles (we like THIS recipe, but obviously you can alter to make it your own), or you can spice up your traditional White Claw with one of THESE specialty WC cocktails—or, you can simply just drink White Claw. Think: REVOLVE party vibes. Heck, did someone say Piña Colada?

6. Make a Drinking Game Out of the Coachella Documentary

If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve already seen the just-released Coachella documentary (or maybe you haven’t, but now’s the perfect opp). To make it even more entertaining, perhaps make a drinking game out of it (every time they reference this artist, or every time this person shows up on the screen). This is really up to you, but make the most of that viewing. Once you’re done watching, head over HERE tonight (April 11) for a Q + A with the director and producer of the doc at 7 p.m. PST.

7. Create Something Sentimental

A little late to the game, but we recently discovered the Canva app (thanks, quarantine!), and it is a game changer. It gives you rearrangeable templates to design anything, so with a little extra time on your hands, why not use it to put together a sentimental graphic for your Coachella besties? Perhaps a collage of greatest moments? Or even a group shot of you guys superimposed into a fake April 2020 Coachella? And then there’s always the option to make your crew friendship bracelets that you can throw into a quarantine care package next week!

Music Featured

8 Surefire Signs You’re Too Old for Coachella

April 10, 2019

Age is totally just a number, but not when it comes to Coachella.

How old is too old to attend, you ask? We’ve rounded up eight undeniable signs it’s time to retire your flower crowns or Kanye shutter shades and move on to something else. Find out if you’ve hit your Coachella expiration below!

(Coachella via Instagram)

1. #Strollerchella is an Actual Thing for You

Okay, nothing against moms who love music at all, but if you can’t find someone to watch the kids, just don’t go. Bringing a stroller to the festival completely kills the vibe, and everyone around you will think so, too. Coachella will always be there, and you’ll definitely want to save it for a time when you can let loose and be care-free.

2. You Contemplate Streaming the Festival From Home Instead

Trust, we’re not even close to judging anyone for this because we’ve contemplated doing the same. Honestly though, if staying home is on your mind, it’s a surefire sign to stay back. We believe nothing beats immersing yourself in music for three days straight, and if you’re even slightly not onboard, this definitely isn’t the trip for you.

(Coachella via Instagram)

3. You Complain About the Festival on Social Media

There’s nothing worse than someone who attends the festival only to complain about it before, during and after. Do everyone else a favor and complain from the far away sidelines (aka not at the festival) if this is you. That’s the best solution for all parties involved.

4. The Hangover Just Isn’t Worth It Anymore

Once you’ve hit the point where the hangover isn’t worth it, it’s probably time to quit. Although everyone is clearly exhausted by the end of the festival, you should still leave with the satisfaction of a weekend well-spent, however blurry it may be.

(Coachella via Instagram)

5. You Don’t Know 80% of the Acts on the Lineup

It’s insanely difficult to keep up with all the new and trendy music coming out these days, but if you find yourself saying “who?” to more than 80% of the lineup, yikes. There’s no point in attending a festival where you don’t know most of the acts. It’s first and foremost always about the music, anyone who says otherwise is truly misinformed.

6. You Don’t Plan to Show Up Until 7 p.m.

If the all-day marathon does not sound appealing anymore, time to call it quits. It’s not really Coachella unless you’re five glasses of rosé in by 12 p.m., amirite? The older crowd always make themselves known by being the last in and first out. No shade, but we don’t really see the point then.

7. You Question Every Coachella-Centric Outfit You See at Stores

Part of the magic of Coachella is embracing the ridiculous festival wear. Question the sometimes-obscure fashion choices and you’ll know you’re getting too old. Appreciate those over-cropped tops, man-capes and unicorn costumes or you’ll just walk away with a headache.

(Coachella via Instagram)

8. You Leave Sunday Night Instead of Monday Morning

Sunday night leavers are the worst kind of Coachella-goers in our opinion. Although, on the other hand, we have no complaints because that means more room for the rest of us.

Angelenos Featured

29 Signs You’re a Basic Bitch in L.A.

November 28, 2017

It’s universally common to make a quick Starbucks pitstop on the way to work each day, or feel out of sorts if you don’t get at least three days of fitness into your weekly routine—but there are certain activities, interests and habits that pertain particularly to Angelenos.

Are you just like everyone else in this town? Or do you stray from the city’s beaten path?

Keep reading for 29 signs you’re a basic bitch in L.A.

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @ocvisual

1. You’re the first to request “Bad & Boujee” at the club

2. ” ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ is your go-to karaoke jam

3. You go to The Bungalow at least once a week

4. You’ve celebrated your birthday at The Bungalow at least once

5. You’ve made out with at least three people at The Bungalow over time

6. You or someone close to you has had their bachelorette at The Abbey

7. The only gay bar you’ve been to is The Abbey

8. You can’t imagine living anywhere but Santa Monica (Venice, if you’re feeling slightly more on the spendy-trendy side)

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @shannacamilleri

9. 75% of your Instagrams involve a gaggle of 4-6 gal pals toasting with either champagne or rosé

10. “Rosé All Day” is your motto—obvi

11. Your social media userpic is either a headshot, you at Runyon, you at Coachella or you in front of a mural wall (bonus points if it’s taken in Venice. Extra bonus points if it’s taken in front of wings!)

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @marianorossi

12. A day in hell for you is one in which you’ve missed Pilates

13. You think Silverlake is too far away and full of way too many hipsters

14. But… all the cool kids are going to Tenants of the Trees, so you’ll make an Eastside exception this once… or twice

15. Alfred Coffee lattes are worth every overpriced penny, in your opinion

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @thecupandtheroad

16. Alfred Coffee is your go-to when you have a day to take your laptop and roam free

17. The baristas at Alfred Coffee (whichever location) know you by name

18. You sign on to buy your Coachella tickets the second they go on sale and will stop at NOTHING to get them

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @ericjamesward

19. Coachella isn’t enough for you. You also go to Stagecoach, ’cause, you know, the more time on those Empire Polo Fields, the better.

20. You don’t usually bother with breakfast, because a Pressed Juicery is right around the corner

21. Halloween is the most important weekend in your L.A. life (besides Coachella, of course!)

22. You’re a ride-or-die Rams and Lakers fan, but you’ve never been to a Dodger game

23. The second Saturday of October is booked from now until eternity (aka when you move out of L.A.)! You’ll obvi be at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic (because polo is your fav sport and all)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

24. Your weekend morning routine goes as follows: work out, grab juice, head to flea market

25. You drive a Mercedes, BMW or Prius

26. You love going to brunch (usually in Venice), mainly so you can pack your Insta feed with photos like this:

Photo Credit: Unsplash / @brookelark

27. You consider yourself an “influencer” and can actually explain to someone in-depth what the term means

28. You refuse to tag any brand or product on social media unless you’re being paid to do so

29. When you’re not downing bottles of rosé, vodka soda is the only alcoholic beverage you’d dare consume

WHAT DOES YOUR SCORE REVEAL??

  • If only 1-9 signs pertain to you, you’ve managed to live in a metropolitan area without succumbing to everyone else’s norm. It’s hard not to be influenced by everyone else around you, but you’ve proved it’s possible. You live your most authentic life and have figured out what works for you. You’re pretty independent and don’t care about being “seen.”
  • If 10-19 signs pertain to you, you like doing your own thing, but you also love being in big crowds and running into people you know. You love to have fun, and even if it means following the norm, it’s cool with you as long as it keeps you busy.
  • If 20-29 signs pertain to you, you have a bad case of FOMO. You don’t like being apart from your group, and if you’re stuck being somewhere or doing something different from them even for a night, you’ll go crazy. It’s hard for you to adapt to new surroundings and get out of your comfort zone, but at least you have a routine that keeps you motivated and content, and people know what to expect from you.

Lifestyle Music

Celebs, Swag & Sun: Photos and Details from Coachella’s Hottest (No Pun Intended) Weekend One Day Parties

April 20, 2017

One weekend down, one to go!

As any regular Coachella attendee knows, the first installment of C’chella each year is the major one, with the Empire Polo Fields and semi-neighboring parties filled from head to toe with celebs, tastemakers and pretty much everyone transplanted from L.A. for the weekend.

Well, this year was no exception, with the typical expected guests hitting the desert hotspots when they weren’t checking out their favorite acts at the festival.

Keep scrolling, because skyelyfe has the scoop on some of the hottest day soirees of Coachella season. And I’m getting exhausted just writing this—for all the right reasons, of course!

#REVOLVEfestival

Joining forces with Billboard Media Group, Revolve clothing put on another Coachella weekend party for the books! Moving locations this year to the Merv Griffin Estate, the hugely popular online retailer brought out droves of stylish stars, including Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Kaia Gerber, Joe Jonas, Sofia Richie, Nicole Richie and Louis Tomlinson, among many others. Over the course of the weekend, guests took in live performances by Rick Ross and Migos, while sipping Ciroc cocktails, snagging swag from ColourPop cosmetics, Schutz shoes, Lovers & Friends apparel, Joico InstaTint hair spray and Impressions Vanity Co.—and frolicking through the incredibly spacious, picturesque space.

Photo Credit: BFA

Photo Credit: BFA

Photo Credit: BFA

Photo Credit: BFA

Photo Credit: BFA

The Lucky Lounge Presents: Desert Jam Produced by BMF Media

Still fresh to live performance life, Noah Cyrus put her best foot (vocals) forward, giving guests a mini three-song show at Palm Spring’s Ingleside Inn. In between taking in the live music, partygoers (including Sia, Ashlee Simpson-Ross and hubby Evan Ross) had the option to snag free apparel from Lucky Brand, sip Heineken beer, Deep Eddy vodka and High Brew coffee and score swag from One Two Cosmetics.

Photo Credit: Vivian Killilen / Getty Images for BMF Media

Photo Credit: Vivian Killilen / Getty Images for BMF Media

Katy Perry’s Easter Sunday Funday Recovery Brunch Produced by John Terzian’s The h.wood Group

There were no kitty cats, only bunnies, for Katy Perry over the weekend during her hosted Easter boozy brunch. The pop star not only flaunted her newly shorn hair, but also debuted her footwear collection. Guests at the Thermal, Calif., estate, were treated to oxygen bars, a Cover Girl-sponsored Easter egg hunt, massages and beats by Mia Moretti, Balthazar Getty and Bobby French. And topping things off, everyone had a first chance to shop Katy’s new kicks.

Photo Credit: Rony Alwin

Photo Credit: Rony Alwin

American Express Platinum House

For partygoers seeking a healthy reprieve from the otherwise debaucherous happenings over the weekend, the American Express Platinum House went as far as offering on-site Soul Cycle classes by famed spin instructor Stacey Griffith. Spinning or not, all guests were treated to tacos, popsicles, veggie skewers, handcrafted flower crowns, a live performance by Bebe Rexha and a DJ set by Hannah Bronfman.

Photo Courtesy of Ari Perilstein, Getty Images

Photo Courtesy of Ari Perilstein, Getty Images

Photo Courtesy of Ari Perilstein, Getty Images

Photo Courtesy of Ari Perlstein, Getty Images

The Zoe Report’s ZOEasis

Swag and style were the name of the game at this gathering. Guests, including Kate Bosworth, Brooklyn Beckham, Olivia Culpo, Louise Roe and Rachel Zoe herself made their way through the gigantic Palm Springs space, where they took in a performance by The Aces and DJ sets by Pamela Katz, May Kwok, while walking out with hundreds of dollars in beauty products, handmade bracelets and gift cards galore.

Galore x Grindr Present Queens of the Desert

Dope performance by Charli XCX? Check! Free shoes by Melissa? Check! Slews of Grindr swag? Check! Cute, shirtless gay boys? Mega-check! Palm Springs’ Coral Sands Inn was transformed into the Galore Motel for a packed pool party that included DJ sets by Simihaze, Jordyn Woods, Alie Layus and Taryn Manning—and lots of Stillhouse Whiskey & Bourbon (yes, I drank whiskey drinks that day).

Chevrolet Bolt EV Launch at the Bootsy Bellows Estate

This party was a who’s-who of Hollywood, boasting appearances by Katy PerryNick JonasJoe Jonas, Ryan Phillippe, Kendall Jenner, Ariel WinterHailey BaldwinJeremy Scott and a slew of others. VIP guests rolled up to the Rancho Mirage-based party in the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV, while regular partygoers took in a live performance by Lil Yachty and swooped up goodies from PacSun‘s festival-inspired pop-up shop.

Photo Credit: Rick Williams

Photo Credit: Rick Williams

Photo Credit: Rick Williams

Music

Cruise to Coachella with This Playlist of 48 Artists Worth Seeing at the Festival!

April 10, 2017

Road trips are great and all, but when it comes to Coachella, we really have the mindset of just get me there already, right?

But unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way, and sometimes we are stuck cruisin’ for hours to get to the coveted Coachella Valley desert area.

That said, what gets us more amped for the festival than a little taste of what’s to come over the next few days? Well, clearly not traffic! Forget about your traveling woes and scroll to the bottom of the post for a playlist of the 48 artists skyelyfe encourages you to see. IMHO, if you miss Gucci Mane, Shura, Classixx or ScHoolboy Q, why did you even bother showing up?!

But regardless of who you watch, if you’re feeling reminiscent about last year’s festival, listen to my must-see playlist from Coachella 2016. And above all else, safe travels!

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Music

Lucas Nord, PHASES, HONNE, Kaskade & 15 More Artists: New Music Monday!

April 25, 2016

lucas-nord-skyelyfeIt’s official, Coachella is over!

While some may weep (time to retire the flower crowns ’til next year!) and some may cheer (all of the Coachella pressure is finally off!), one thing holds true: We can now revert back to our regular music routines.

As much fun as it was putting together my annual playlist devoted to the two-week festival, it certainly took away from time I could have spent finding new music.

So with that, skyelyfe’s New Music Monday is back with 19 new songs. Lucas Nord, HONNE, PHASES, White Sea and Kygo are each among artists who made the cut, along with 2016 Coachella act RL Grime. Additional festival act ZHU made the list as well with “In the Morning,” featuring Kaskade, which was on repeat for me all throughout weekend one of the festival (so pretty!).

Check out the playlist, which also includes Mako, Sizzy Rocket and Selah Sue f./Childish Gambino, below!

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Beauty Music

Still Having Coachella 2016 Withdrawals? Revisit Weekend One Once More With Pics & Details from Skyelyfe’s Favorite Parties!

April 20, 2016

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Between the heat, the tedious driving and the endless flow of activity, Coachella is guaranteed to wear a person out. But we wouldn’t have it any other way, right?

Whether it’s running into an old high school pal in the Ferris Wheel line at Neon Carnival or dancing to your favorite musical acts with your festival crew at the Empire Polo Fields, there’s never any shortage of excitement during weekend one of the 3-4 day music celebration.

Although I still feel slightly (understatement) sleep deprived with barely a single clean, wearable clothing article to my name, I had such a blast this past weekend being in the mix of some of the desert’s best bashes and liveliest crowds. Although frolicking around the festival was indeed amazing (check out my Coachella 2016 playlist here!), I certainly put a solid amount of time into the parties. Scroll below for details and photos from some of the hottest (literally and figuratively) events that accompanied the festival during weekend one!

The Music Lounge Presented by Las Vegas and #WHHSH

Guests were given the ultimate Las Vegas-like experience by way of Palm Springs in the company of G-Eazy, DNCE, Balthazar Getty and DJ Equal, who each took a hand behind the turntables over the course of the two-day event. Celebrity guests, which also included Kat Graham, Kellan Lutz and Amber Rose, swooped up a generous selection of swag, including colorful kicks by Diadora (my new purple ones are so much fun!) and matching men’s sock and underwear sets from Related GarmentsARIA Resort & Casino‘s mixologist was also on hand to provide specialty #WHHSH beer cocktails.

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Neon Carnival

In typical yearly fashion, Neon Carnival was the most packed party of this weekend. A slew of celebrities and tastemakers came out in droves to the coveted nighttime event, presented by Re/Done Levi’s and hosted by Tequila Don Julio. Guests at the hotly hyped bash – which included Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna, Jared Leto, Joe Jonas, Scott Eastwood, The Weeknd, Derek Hough, Aaron Paul and Brody Jenner, to name a few – hopped on a variety of theme park rides, won game prizes and took in the sounds of DJ Rukus, DJ Politik and DJ Equal, while partying until 5:00 a.m.!

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

REVOLVE Desert House

There was no lack of pretty faces and swag-filled bags at Revolve clothing’s picturesque desert house, which had been the home to Lacoste‘s former years-long Coachella celebration. Joico was on hand to spray guests’ hair with its popular new temporary Insta Tint colors; Ciroc and Baileys made sure no hand was left empty in the scorching sun, while Bai provided vodka mixers; ColourPop cosmetics provided a slew of colorful take home “lippie sticks” (my favorite snag of the day!); and Cult Gaia provided gorgeous custom flower crowns for the stylish soiree, which hosted Shay Mitchell, Emma Roberts, Alessandra Ambrosio, Warren G. and A$AP Rocky, Peyton List and Zoe Kravitz, among other bold-faced names.

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Revolve_Peyton_List_skyelyfe

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Revolve_tents_skyelyfe

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Calvin Klein‘s packed CK Desert Sessions on Friday night was another fun hit of the weekend. Held in the middle of a Cathedral City strip mall warehouse, the celeb-heavy, beer-filled fete featured a set by Alesso, among other DJs. Meanwhile, one of Saturday afternoon’s biggest musts included Bootsy Bellows‘ Pool Party Presented by McDonalds, where Kendall and Kylie Jenner and their hot Hollywood crew (Hailey Baldwin, Bella Hadid, The Weeknd, Cody Simpson and even the sisters’ step bro Brody) were all in tow, where some of them munched on bites from the Mickey D’s food truck while lounging around. The lady Jenners and their party posse didn’t skip a beat all weekend. A day earlier, the gang made their way to the 1OAK and Up&Down-hosted pop-up event that included a DJ set by the Pizza Boys and an impromptu performance by Post Malone. Kendall and her friends passed out pizzas on the dance floor, while guests also munched on tacos, sipped on Budweiser and swooped up sunnies from Smoke x Mirrors and clothing from Aussie brand nANA jUDY.

Photo credit: Rick Williams

Photo credit: Rick Williams

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Music

Coachella 2016: This 52-Song Playlist Is Your Guide to Must-See Festival Performers!

April 12, 2016

CoachellaImageWe all know the Empire Polo Fields are a destination we can rely upon yearly to bring music aficionados performances from their favorite artists – big and small.

2016 is no exception, as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicks off its first of two weekends in Indio, CA, on Friday, April 15 with Calvin Harris as a headliner, along with Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem – who are both coming together (separately) for reunion performances.

My excitement particularly lies in a few of the other highly touted acts (Flume, Miike Snow, The 1975), a handful of my standard under-the-radar go-tos (Goldroom, Tensnake, Miami Horror, Rhye) and a couple of on-the-risers (Zella Day, SOPHIE).

But festival goodness isn’t limited to just the artists listed above. Click the playlist below for 52 songs by acts skyelyfe suggests lending an ear to at the annual event! (And if you’re feeling especially nostalgic for last year’s dance party in the desert, check out my Coachella 2015 playlist.)

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Be sure to check back next week, as I will be hitting the hottest parties in the heat this weekend and giving you the lowdown on everything you need to know about what you may have missed!

Music

Tegan and Sara, The Chainsmokers, Galantis, LIGHTS & 14 More Artists: New Music Monday!

April 11, 2016

Tegan-and-sara-boyfriend-skyelyfeIf you’re based in L.A., then yes – I get it – your only focus this week is weekend one of Coachella, which kicks off with festivities on Thursday.

Rest assured, there will be a fitting playlist to come for your listening pleasure, but for today, I encourage you to lend your ears to an amusing selection of 18 new songs, ranging from pure poppy fun in Tegan and Sara‘s “Boyfriend,” to acoustic beauty by LIGHTS with “Same Sea.”

Scroll through the playlist below for this week’s New Music Monday, which also includes tracks by Midi Matilda, MadukThe ChainsmokersGalantis, Erik Hassle, Benny Benassi f./Chris Brown and Skizzy Mars f./JoJo (yes, that JoJo!).

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Music

James the Human Is Just One Musical Act to Recently Remind Us Why Sofar Sounds Is So Amazing!

December 15, 2015

Photo credit: Kyle Fierro

Photo credit: Kyle Fierro

It’s hard to impress jaded music lovers nowadays. Concerts, venues and events are constantly pushing the envelope and attendees get used to the party formula quickly. But that’s why we continue to love Sofar Sounds.

For those unfamiliar, Sofar curates intimate, donation-only gigs in secret locations around the world, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have attended a handful of the shows. They spotlight emerging artists and place them in front of a receptive audience of extraordinary people. No headliners needed. Music is delivered in its purest form, and guests must be on a waiting list to attend. These deeply personal concert experiences are then turned around and shared with other music lovers around the globe via streaming.

In order to execute these magical soirees, Sofar (short for “Songs from a Room”) has amassed connections with concert goers, hosts and artists since its 2009 debut in London.

Photo credit: Kyle Fierro

Photo credit: Kyle Fierro

One of the most recent Los Angeles sessions brought out James the Human, Tiron & Ayomari and The Bots to the WorldArts Stage in Culver City. The lineup was hand-selected based on talent, uniqueness and diversity. True to their formula, Sofar didn’t release the secret location until the day before the session, or musical lineup until the night of the event. There was no “opener” or “headliner,” the three performers were treated with equal importance and the audience took note, keeping engaged throughout the three musical showcases.

James the Human is an L.A.-based singer/songwriter who was the night’s one-man show. His easy and upbeat sounds serenaded the crowd with lyrics about working in the City of Angels. Tiron & Ayomari performed carefully crafted hip-hop beats that included recognizable nods to Americana. The duo showcased material from their newly released album The Great New Wonderful. L.A.-based brothers and bandmates, The Bots paid homage to American Blues and ballad traditions. Their songs could be easily recognizable from Coachellas past as they were indie favorites at the 2014 festival.

Want to join the fun for future Sofar L.A. sessions? Sign up here!

Photo credit: Kyle Fierro

Photo credit: Kyle Fierro

Photo credit: Kyle Fierro

Photo credit: Kyle Fierro

Music Food

Life Is Beautiful Festival: All the Behind-the-Scenes Secrets, from Co-Owner Ryan Doherty

September 22, 2015

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

With fall underway, most of the year’s biggest music festivals are a thing of the past.

But Life Is Beautiful gives people a chance at one final big festival hurrah until 2016 Coachella.

Taking place this weekend in Downtown Las Vegas, the music and arts festival features huge talent, including Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Brandon Flowers, Snoop Dogg, Duran Duran, Kygo – and a slew of my favorites (Porter Robinson, Death Cab for Cutie, Madeon, Future IslandsGlass Animals, Peking Duk, Audien and What So Not).

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Skyelyfe sat down at Soho House in West Hollywood with the festival’s co-owner, WENDOH Media‘s Ryan Doherty. Doherty discussed the headliner selection process, the things that set this festival greatly apart from the others and some of the year-long challenges that were faced in pulling this incredible experience together. 

Read on to learn six behind-the-scenes things to know about Life Is Beautiful festival:

1. The Setup Is Wild

“At a music festival, you’re usually in a venue. In this case, the entire downtown is turned into a venue,” Doherty said. “We fence off 17 blocks, we have stages and parking lots in the middle of the streets. There are casinos, bars, restaurants that become parts of the venue. It has this ever-evolving footprint that changes every year.”

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

2. Here’s How the Headliners Came to Be

“We had a lot of artists we went after for headliners,” Doherty said. “The festival scene has gotten so broad now. There’s a festival every weekend, and we’re all fighting over the same talent. We got lucky. We did end up getting who we wanted. Stevie Wonder was a big get for us. He’s not going to be playing for a [much longer] time. You never know when he’s going to hang it up, so for us to get him for a festival is a good get. We had hoped to get Imagine Dragons because we don’t have a local sports team. We have very few hometown heroes. So, the Killers and Imagine Dragons are like our two hometown heroes. and Kendrick, we kind of bet on that horse, so we got him a long time ago and hoped he would catch on fire. And so far, it’s paid off. He’s turned in some great festival performances already this year. His music is smart and conscious. One of the goals was to make the lineup diverse, and I think that was accomplished.” 

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

3. The Challenges of Putting Together L.I.B Differ from Other Festivals

“There are a million moving parts to a music festival,” Doherty explained. “There are tons of speed bumps, but no obstacles. It just takes a long time to get things done. Most of you go to a music festival and you have to deal with the personalities of rockstars. We have to deal with the personalities of chefs and rockstars. We have an entire speaker series, so we have all these speakers. It’s a lot of stars who have all different personalities and are all coming in from different places from all over the world. Just booking their travel is a full-time job.”

4. Just Dealing with Venue Matters Alone Took a Whole Year

“We have to shut down city blocks, rearrange traffic,” Doherty said. “When you have a venue you can walk into, like a Coachella, where it’s a big field, it’s a lot easier. We have residents that we move to hotels for a weekend, we have perimeter fences that we have to put up around 17 blocks. People are surprised it takes a whole year to put this together, but it’s 100,000 people across four pillars. We have the speaker series, we have the culinary program, then we have the musicians and then we have art.”

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

Photo credit: Life Is Beautiful

5. The Festival’s Learning Project Is Something That Doesn’t Exist Elsewhere

“It’s essentially built around the platform of small, 200-300-person theater-style engagements going on during the festival,” Doherty explained. “It’s short-form content. These are 20-minute sessions. The idea of it is so that if you’re in groups, you can divide off and two of you can catch a session while the others catch a music set and then you can meet up and get some food together. The learning project is really meant to inspire everyone. You’re not getting that at any other music festival – whether it’s an inspirational culinary experience or little pop-up demonstrations.”

6. Despite Its Las Vegas Location, L.I.B. Doesn’t Typically Bring Out the Party Animals

“It’s really not that kind of festival,” Doherty said. “It’s not that crazy type of environment.”

Uncategorized

L.A.-Based Indie-Electro Duo Solar Heist Talks to Skyelyfe About Favorite Hangout Spots, Fellow Musician Pals and Making It in This ‘Scattered’ City

May 13, 2015

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Photo credit: Rachel Ariel Photography / rachelariel.com

From childhood neighbor pals rapping and playing guitar (what a combo!) in Northern California to becoming an indie-electronic music-making duo in Los Angeles – that sums up Solar Heist‘s relationship history in a nutshell.

Made up of Jason Powers (singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer) and Justin Karcich (DJ/producer/songwriter/mastermind), Solar Heist’s two members hail from Belmont, California, a small town south of San Francisco.

“L.A. is a big and scattered town, and hard to call home being huge SF enthusiasts,” Powers admits to skyelyfe, despite the success he’s found in the City of Angels. “[But] Los Angeles has something for everyone and pockets of awesomeness are all over if you are open to finding them.”

Although they’ve found their niche in the ever-present world of electronic music, they aren’t bringing you replicas of what you hear when you flip through your favorite Sirius stations.

“To us, it’s important to keep an open mind when creating music and not try to do something that has already been done,” Karcich says. “I think a lot of producers out there try to go after a certain generic sound or trend that is going on in music, rather than trying to create something fresh and unique to themselves.”

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Photo credit: Taylor Martin Photography

As the guys excitedly gear up for Monday’s release of their latest single “Take You Home,” they filled skyelyfe in on how their unique name came to be, other rising musicians they call friends, why the music scene in L.A. undoubtedly trumps that of SF’s and what places in L.A. are just awesome.

Read on to learn all about Solar Heist and scroll to the bottom to hear their latest single “Wait for Love”:

skyelyfe: How did Solar Heist come together and how did you come up with the name?

Jason Powers: Justin was DJ’ing in San Francisco, doing really well as half of the Designer Deejays. I was a hired gun for various signed artists in LA, playing guitar and singing b/u vox, while still performing my own acoustic material. I took a trip up to SF and we sat in Justin’s tiny little studio in SF. We set out to make something weird, trippy and different, and out came our first song, “Searchin.’ ”

The song was picked up for a National Watch commercial and aired for about seven months or so. We didn’t have a project name at the time so we scrambled to find something, throwing out every option in the English language. We decided we were both night owls and space nerds. Someone blurted out Solar Heist and right away we knew that was it.

SL: How would you describe Solar Heist’s music and how did you decide to go with that sound?

JP: Solar Heist definitely has a very unique sound. Combing my songwriting and organic instrumentation with Justin’s electronic sound and vintage analogue gear has helped us shape this sound and give us a nice palette of sounds to choose from. We try not to force any song to fit with any specific genre. Instead, we try to focus on what each song needs to feel good.

SL: Aside from your own music, who are you hugely into at the moment?

Justin Karcich: We just had the pleasure of catching this band Jungle when we were out at Coachella. Their live set was something special and their album has been on rotation since then. We also are into The Knocks. Their new music is dope and we’re looking forward to their new album to drop. Also, there is this songwriter duo out of London called Oh Wonder. Their lyrics, melodies and harmonies are amazing. Other artists we also have on rotation are Sohn, Sylvan Esso, TV On The Radio, Big Data.

SL: How does Solar Heist’s music differ from what else is out there right now?

Solar-Heist-Skyelyfe-4

Photo credit: Taylor Martin Photography

JK: One thing that I think separates our sound is that we both come from completely different musical backgrounds and when we bring both of our worlds together, we create something organic and fresh. We just try to do us and hope people will dig it. If not, it’s all good.

SL: Do you feel like you’ve reached a point where you have a solid fan base now?

JK: Yes and we love them all.

JP: It’s great to have people from different parts of the globe reach out and be excited about your music. It gives us a purpose.

SL: What do you think about L.A.’s music scene? 

JK: L.A.’s music scene is great. Moving here from San Francisco more than two years ago, where the tech industry has unfortunately pushed a lot of creatives out the past five years, it was very refreshing to see such a strong artistic and creative community upon moving here. There is something for everyone at any given time and especially for electronic music, which is great for us. It seems more and more artists and musicians have been moving to L.A. recently from all over the world. It is super inspiring.

SL: What are your favorite venues to check out shows in LA?

Solar Heist: El Rey, The Wiltern, Echoplex, Hollywood Bowl, The Forum

SL: Are you friends with any fellow music artists?

SH: Yes we are. I think that comes naturally when working in music. It’s great to have friends in the industry to bounce ideas off and even collaborate. Quick shout out to some of our friends’ bands – Heaps N Heaps, Milo Greene, The New Peter Gabrielz and The Public Trust.

Also, thank you to our friends and musicians who helped out in one way or another on our Day Trip EP – Joe Berry, Maggie Szabo, Marcus Brown, Marcello De Angelis (DJ Birdee), Gray Bashew, Erik Groysman, Greg Martin.

SL: Where are your favorite places in L.A. to eat/drink/shop/be merry?

SH: When we aren’t in the studio or taking day trips outside of L.A., we enjoy hanging out at Steam Punk, Baby Blues BBQ (shout out to Beau), Hyperion Public (for Giants World Series victories), M Street Coffee (hello to our favorite baristas if you’re reading this), The Hudson, Sadie Lounge, Egg Slut, Cheebo, Rose Bowl flea marketGriffith Park, Venice, Malibu and so much more.

SL: What’s Solar Heist’s goal for 2015?

SH: We want to debut our live set, start touring major US cities and keep releasing more awesome music.

**In addition to the Monday release of their new single, you can also pre-order their upcoming EP Day Trip on iTunes on the 19th before it officially hits sound waves on June 2nd.

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Music

Erik Hassle, T.I., Manufactured Superstars, Strange Names, Katie Otro & 20 More Artists: New Music Monday, 4.20.15

April 20, 2015

NoWords_ErikHassleCoachella 2015 is officially over – but just because it’s time to put away the flower crowns and scrub off the flash tattoos doesn’t mean anyone needs to turn down the music!

Today I bring you 23 fresh songs, ranging from T.I.‘s catchy rap “I Go Hard” from the Go Hard soundtrack, to 16 Bit Lolitas‘ deep “I’ll Be True” and Matt Woods‘ electro-soul “Impression.”

Carly Rae Jepsen took a temporary departure from the bubblegum that made her a household name, with the release of “All That,” an ’80s-inspired ballad.

Meanwhile, Erik Hassle has graced us with his uncharacteristically upbeat “No Words.” While the Swedish artist still manages to shed a tear in the cover art for the new single, his typical sound of heartache has transformed into something a little more lively (even though he has said that yes, this song, too, reflects on a breakup).

And just today, new Ibiza-based tech house artist Katie Otro just released her very first track, a mix of Todd Terry‘s “Back Around,” available on Ministry of Sound, courtesy of Inhouse Records. Get a first look at the track and music video below!

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With that, it’s now time to brush away those bye-bye-Coachella blues and check out this week’s New Music Monday playlist, which also includes tracks by Gramatik, Cut Copy‘s Ben Browning, Oddisee, Moons of Mars, Lord Huron, Strange Names and Alex Gaudino, featuring Manufactured Superstars.

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Music

Coachella 2015: This 64-Song Festival Playlist Will Keep You Busy While Venturing Through Desert-Bound Traffic!

April 8, 2015

CoachellaDid it take far too much effort to rummage through the seemingly endless list of Coachella performers to weed out who you want to see live, aside from the obvious (I’m looking at you, Drake, RAC, St. Lucia, Tycho, , Odesza)?

Well, rest assured, I have a good grasp on the acts this year and I’ve got your must-sees covered. From my newer discoveries Alison Wonderland and Coyote Kisses, to some longtime favorites Kaskade and Nero, there is a slew of solid music options between Friday and Sunday for your listening pleasure.

So, whether you’re packing your bags for the big weekend that lies ahead, or you’re getting in your car to head to the festival, sit back, relax, and listen to this playlist of 64 artists worth seeing at Coachella!

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Music

Alison Wonderland, Gorgon City, Avan Lava & More: New Music Monday, 4.6.15

April 6, 2015

alison-wonderlandWoooo, it’s the kickoff to the week of Coachella weekend one, and today’s featured New Music Monday artist is none other than festival performer Alison Wonderland, whose stage name is as legit as her fashion sense. The Aussie DJ/producer’s latest track “Run” is fab and sums up the exact sound I want to hear as I frolic through the field in the next few days.

Following in the Coachella theme, I am also a big fan of fellow festival duo Gorgon City‘s new song “Imagination,” featuring Katy Menditta on vocals.

Additionally on my radar this week is one of last month’s SXSW acts Avan Lava, a regular favorite on this site. The Brooklyn-based indie-pop trio just released their long-awaited Make It Real EP, and “Take This City” is my favorite from the six-song selection.

Also on this week’s list are additional site repeaters Death Cab for Cutie, Late Night Alumni, Ookay and The Erised. But I had to be sure not to leave out Robin Schulz, Evan Voytas, Golden Coast, the Acorn and Boxed in, who also had some stellar new material this week.

Happy listening, and be sure to check back on Wednesday, when I’ll be posting my playlist of Coachella 2015 artists worth seeing at the festival!

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Music

Skyelyfe’s Best & Worst of Music in 2014

November 15, 2014

BreezySome folks may beg to differ, but I’m just going to say it (in my own humble opinion, of course): 2014 was the most unsatisfying year in pop music that I can remember. Ok, Taylor Swift came through in the clutch at the end of the year with an album that took the world by storm. And there’s no denying that Ariana Grande is a cutie who can sing (even though her music doesn’t personally appeal to me). Obviously Sam Smith‘s music has a way with the ladies. And I have nothing but love for Tove Lo and Banks. But aside from that, hardly anything on the radio except for Chris Brown (despite his personal woes) resonated with me this year.

In the past, I could at least depend on a good hook in a commercial rap song to get me by, but even the so-called “hip-hop” this year was beyond laughable. Not only did every song sound the same, but I seriously can’t keep up with who anyone is or what gimmicky nonsense they’re talking about anymore. I mean, even Drake, who usually never lets me down, had me scratching my head in 2014.

That said, this is why I turn more and more to alternative avenues to find good music. From MØ‘s No Mythologies to Follow, to Tensnake‘s Glow, among many others, the year did indeed produce sounds that were rewarding to the ears.

Here is skyelyfe’s favorite and least favorite music in 2014:

10 LEAST FAVORITE SONGS (in order):

1. “Anaconda” – Nicki Minaj

2. “Rude” – Magic!

3. “All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor

4. “Talk Dirty” – Jason Derulo

5. “Wiggle” – Jason Derulo feat. Snoop Dogg

6. “Don’t Tell ‘Em” – Jeremih feat. YG

7. “Problem” – Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea

8. “Black Widow” – Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora

9. “Show Me” – Kid Ink feat. Chris Brown

10. “Happy” – Pharrell Williams

10 FAVORITE SONGS (in order):

1. “Slow Love” – MØ

2. “Love Sublime” – Tensnake feat. Nile Rodgers & Fiora

3. “Loyal” – Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne & Tyga

4. “Main Chick” – Chris Brown feat. Kid Ink

5. “Busy Baby” – Tomas Barfod feat. Nina K

6. “All of You” – Betty Who

7. “Diamonds” – Lane 8 feat. Solomon Grey

8. “Bullet Train” – Gardens & Villa

9. “Self Control” – Kate Boy

10. “Dreaming” – The Knocks

15 FAVORITE ALBUMS (in order)

1. No Mythologies to FollowMØ

2. GlowTensnake

3. X (Deluxe Version)Chris Brown

4. BlondeGhost Beach

5. GoddessBanks

6. Queen of the CloudsTove Lo

7. Dunes – Gardens & Villa

8. Awake – Tycho

9. SinglesFuture Islands

10. Noise vs. Beauty Bassnectar

11. Take Me When You GoBetty Who

12. PolyphonyLogistics

13. Strangers, Part IIRAC

14. Nabuma RubberbandLittle Dragon

15. Down to EarthFlight Facilities

5 FAVORITE LIVE SHOWS OR ACTS (in order)

1. Cut Copy @ Lollapalooza in Chicago

2. DWNTWN/ASTR/The Knocks @ The Echo in L.A.

3. RAC/The Knocks (Something Classic Tour) @ The Fonda Theatre in L.A.

4. Robyn & Royksopp (Do It Again Tour) @ The Hollywood Bowl in L.A.

5. Future Islands @ Coachella in Indio, CA

While you anticipate what’s musically in store for 2015, here’s a playlist of my top 50 tracks of the year (in no particular order):

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Music Featured

Skyelyfe Sounds Off with SomeKindaWonderful’s Jordy Towers

September 21, 2014

IMG_4356.JPGI met Jordy Towers for the very first time at around 2:00 a.m. in the pool area of the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California, the night before Coachella. In this huge resort where we were both staying during one of its busiest weekends, we just so happened to be the only ones wandering at this hour in this particular space. Not familiar with who he was, I decided to approach him (why not?) and we got to talking. In just one night, I heard a bunch of his then-unreleased songs, learned all about his passion for music and gained insight into the story of how his band SomeKindaWonderful came to be. We’ve stayed in touch ever since, and it’s great to see his career soar.

Now, fresh off the heels of a successful release of the group’s self-titled debut album – along with regular spins of their hit “Reverse” on L.A. radio stations KROQ and ALT 98.7, Towers and his band mates are embarking on a fall tour with Bad Suns and New Politics, which kicks off in early October. Set to play at the Fonda on Nov. 1 (for all you L.A. locals), the Cleveland-bred former freestyle rapper took some time off from prepping for his tour to chat with skyelyfe in August about the fateful (literally) night his trio came together, how being cheated on inspired his album, his surprising culinary obsession and why he considers Lady Gaga one of his musical influences.

SL: How did SomeKindaWonderful come to be and why was “Reverse” chosen as the first single?

JT: I left L.A. and went on a soul-searching mission. I went to a bar with my cousin in Ohio and I ran into Matthew [Gibson] and Ben [Schigel], and when I ran into them, Matt was playing the guitar and he was playing the melody for “Reverse.” I walked up to him and I was singing the melody to the song, which ended up being our single. So we basically met writing our single. We ended up recording the verse that night, so about four hours after we met, we had our song.

SL: What’s the story behind “Reverse?”

JT: It’s about something that actually happened to me, but I didn’t want to tell the story – see, I was cheated on, and I didn’t want to tell the story exactly how it happened. But then I decided, fuck it, I’m going to do it three layers of “Reverse.” In the story, I say that I was the one who cheated, but really she cheated on me. So the whole thing is in reverse.

SL: Who/what are some of your musical influences?

JT: My songs are written by looking at someone taking a bite of food or kissing their child or talking or reading a book – just kind of human elements. Musically, I’ve always loved Bob Marley as an artist. He actually cared about people and the world and wanted to make a difference. John Lennon was also that kind of artist. I love Gaga for that same reason. I’m more cerebral when it comes to things like that. I don’t want to do anything that ever sounds like anybody else. Alternative music needs stars. The radio game is very single driven. A lot of these people are good musicians, but there are no personalities. They don’t know how to brand themselves. That’s what we bring to the table.

SL: Where were you the first time you heard “Reverse” on the radio and what station was it? What was your reaction?

JT: I just got back from SXSW, which was our first show. I just got home and I was driving to play basketball and I had KCRW on and Jason Bentley was the first person to play my song. If people go on Instagram, they can see my reaction.

5 FUN FACTS

Last movie you watched:

Bad Words, and I loved it. It’s fucking brilliant. Jason Bateman is amazing. He’s hilarious. The movie will make you laugh and break your heart at the same time.

Last time you cooked:

I cooked last night. I make endive tacos. I chop up tomatoes and onion and mushrooms and I make a stew and put in brown turkey meat. I grate this white cheddar cheese and I take the endive and use it as a taco shell. And I make my own homemade green salsa.

Last time you couldn’t stop laughing:

I laugh almost every ten minutes pretty fucking hard. Things are hilarious. Last night I was watching a Dodger game and [Yasiel] Puig – this kid shows all of his emotions – You either hate him or love him. He shows his expressions. He’s not stoic. He doesn’t know the major league way to be. I adore him for it. I almost died last night.

Last real work-free vacation:

I don’t think I’ve ever had a vacation. I just constantly work. Maybe Coachella. Writing my album was like a vacation I guess. That was in January. I got to go out in Cleveland and rent a little cottage for myself. It was probably the best time of my life. It was -20 degrees every day.

Last reality show you watched:

I’m kind of a dork. The last one I watched was Next Food Network Star. I love Food Network. If I weren’t doing music, I’d probably be a chef. I love being creative with food.

Check out SomeKindaWonderful’s debut music video here:

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