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Lifestyle

5 Things You Should Buy Your Boyfriend—Just So You Can Steal From Their Closet

October 28, 2020

Nothing’s worse than feeling like your S.O.’s garb is cramping your style (no pun intended). Whether you cohabitate or simply spend a lot of time together, your overlap of clothing is bound to get in the way. That’s why, if you’re dating a dude, make your life easier by figuring out what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet.

While gender norms have greatly gone out the window (at least in L.A.), plenty of clothing articles are obviously still designated for men. Therefore, we’re here to help you keep your man’s wardrobe growing, while benefitting in the process. Especially with holiday season around the corner, why not swoop up something that will (secretly) appease both of you?

(Instagram via @deepikaa_malikk)

To break down the best items to buy for your BF (only to steal them from their closet), we reached out to BJ Panda Bear. BJ is the cofounder of fashion and lifestyle e-commerce space, QooA—keep reading for his 5 musts!

1. Oversized Sweater

An oversized sweater on him is an oversized sweater for you waiting to happen. If you’re lucky enough, it’ll be so oversized that it fits you both.

(via Dries Van Noten)

2. Eyewear

Eyewear is always a shoo-in when you’re fake shopping for the boo. Edgy on him is bound to be fashion on you. Try unconventional shapes and colors.

(via Loewe)

3. Mini Bag

The democratic experience of the mini bag is something anyone can enjoy and embrace. It’s a statement of love if you really know the persons taste, or rather the value of neutral colors to steal into your own selection.

(via Issey Miyake)

4. Hoodie

When you think about what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet, the classic hoodie’s the most natural first thought. The ’50s-era equivalent of wearing of your BF’s letterman jacket in today’s TikTok times is surely the worn-in hoodie, is it not?

(via Reese Cooper)

5. Bold Printed Button-Down

Versace Versace Versace/Gucci Gucci Gucci… We kid… sorta. But really, any brand with the most boisterous prints will do. Play with the XXL size. It might be a luxuriant and playful gift for him, but it will soon be a wrap dress belted for you.

(via Versace)

Now that you know what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet, be grateful because you also get to avoid THESE obnoxious dating profiles.

Food

Get to Know Fairfax’s New Plant-Based Eatery, Extra Market, Inc.

October 23, 2020

Launching a business amid a pandemic is obviously hard enough. Doing so during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and its accompanying riots… in the thick of the chaos? Sounds impossible.

Skateboarder and $ clothing designer Jamie Story was on the verge of opening his plant-based eatery Extra Market, Inc. Then the unthinkable hit the Fairfax District of where his spot is based. Following a new plan, the multifaceted artist is well into fall with a successful new business under his belt.

Jamie spoke to skyelyfe about his challenging launch experience and how Extra Market, Inc. stands out from the slew of other vegan dining establishments in L.A.

Photo Credit: @sdj

skyelyfe: What was your experience initially launching a new business at the height of rioting on Fairfax?

Jamie Story: I’m not sure any experience could prepare anyone to open amid whatever was or is happening now. When the protests were happening here it was more fear of possible destruction of what we’d been building over the past year. My friend hit me at 1 p.m. Saturday and said I should check my spot and they were going to march up Fairfax. I was totally unaware they started at noon. I rushed down and had to seal up a ceiling door. When I came out, the protests were heading up the back alley. We were lucky, though many of our neighbors were not. It made an already difficult time much rougher. The whole neighborhood came together to rebuild, and some are still working to get open. Foot traffic is slowly picking up every day.

Photo credit: Benjamin Story

SL: What made you decide to open your restaurant in the area you chose?

JS: Fairfax is a familiar neighborhood. I’ve worked with many of the brands on the block over the years.

SL: How does Extra Market differ from other popular vegan eateries in L.A.? 

JS: Extra Market is more of a conceptual project that will be collaborating with other restaurants, brands, artists and more. Once things get back to whatever the new normal is, we’ll be able to utilize our back space for galleries, events and pop-ups. 

SL: What are the restaurant’s specialties?

JS: That would be up to the customer. We’re excited about the burgers and people are excited about our pickles. More and more people are ordering a burger with a salad as opposed to burger, fries and soda. We offer the balance of indulgence and health. You can have Chili-Cheese Fries and a Broccoli Salad so you can have a little less guilt. Also everything is plant-based, and offering items like pressed juice and ginger shots brings healthier options to the block. 

Photo credit: Jamie Story / Extra Market, Inc.
Photo credit: Jamie Story / Extra Market, Inc.

SL: How did this project come to be?

I’d been looking to open a restaurant, but only if it was kind of the right space and time. This just felt right, being able to balance my creative and culinary sides. I’ve been making many of the dishes you see on the menu for my family and friends for years, and I grew up working in kitchens in New York. I was initially nervous, but I’m really proud of what I’ve built, and the feedback has been amazing.

SL: Who are some of your influences in the foodie/restaurateur space?

JS: Anthony Bourdain.

If you’re looking to explore more spots unique to the City of Angels, then you’ll appreciate THIS list of L.A. shopping gems a tourist wouldn’t know!

Angelenos Featured

Clothing Designer Sheer Sebag, on Disrupting L.A.’s Apparel Tech Industry

May 9, 2019

Photo courtesy of Sheer Sebag

While having a side gig in L.A. is par for the course, Sheer Sebag went a different route and changed her career altogether.

The Beverly Hills-based beauty recently dropped her full-time finance gig to pursue fashion design—and has since launched a size-inclusive line of LBDs that do the work of SPANX, without the uncomfortable added clothing layer. Appropriately named SHEER, these little black dresses, which come in XS-XXL (0-18), are made with built-in shapewear, sucking you in, in all the right places.

I actually met Sheer at Soho House (go figure), and when we got to talking, I was beyond impressed with her innovative invention. As I cringe thinking about how frumpy I felt the last time I wore my granny-panty SPANX, I sit here in awe, shocked that a line like SHEER had yet to exist.

Sheer was beyond gracious enough to send me a dress of my own, and while the shape was indeed flattering, it was slightly too snug, so I felt it was so much more appropriate for my friend Christina to model it on my behalf. I love how you can totally dress this up (and down, as evidenced in the photo of Christina below).

(Photo courtesy of Christina M.)

I love supporting rising L.A. designers, especially because it must be challenging to make it in such a saturated market. Sheer took the time to answer some of my biggest questions about the ups and downs of launching a clothing line in the City of Angels, and who she admires when it comes to her own style.

skyelyfe: What’s the biggest challenge of starting a clothing brand in L.A. vs. somewhere else?

Sheer Sebag:

Being an L.A.-based clothing brand can create even more pressure for you to succeed in what is already known to be an extremely competitive landscape. L.A. is one of the fashion capitals of the world, there’s a lot of competition in this city, and new clothing brands are launched here, practically everyday, which gives you a small window of opportunity to stand out amongst the bigger more well-known clothing brands based here.

SL: What’s the benefit of starting a clothing brand in L.A. vs. somewhere else?

SS:

There are a lot of benefits to being an L.A.-based clothing brand. You have a lot of access to resources within the industry, networking, the media, celebs. etc. It’s a melting pot of all of that in one place.

(via Unsplash)

SL: Would you have designed the dresses differently or changed your concept had you launched your brand elsewhere?

SS:

Growing up in a city like L.A., where body image and beauty are synonyms to the culture, it put a lot of pressure on me to constantly feel like I needed to look a certain way to be beautiful. You’re surrounded by models and celebrities both in real life and on TV, magazine covers and billboards, who are slim and fit, and you can’t help but compare yourself to them. It definitely played a role behind the inspiration, design and concept of the dress. When I came up with the design and concept, I wanted to inspire confidence in women, while giving them a “magic” little black dress that has the comfort of Lululemon yoga pants with the shaping technology of SPANX in a traditional, elegant, and sexy style—all in one piece—that can take them from day to night.

(Photo courtesy of SHEER)

SL: What are the biggest cliches that hold true about L.A. fashion?

SS:

Yoga pants, statement sneakers, oversized jackets, designer handbags, and ’70s-style sunglasses.

SL: What are the biggest misconceptions about L.A. fashion?

SS:

Probably that you always need to look super glam and be dressed really well when going out. In reality, it’s quite the contrary! You can literally wear anything and nobody will judge you for it. You can go out during the day or night completely glammed up from head to toe, wearing designer brand clothing and heels—or be low-key casual chic, in yoga pants or jeans, a simple tee, oversized jacket, Vans, and no makeup.

SL: What do you love most about L.A. fashion?

SS:

I loved that L.A. fashion has a very lax and carefree attitude. You can wear anything, and the next day it can become the biggest fashion trend!

(via Unsplash)

SL: Who are some L.A. designers who have done things in a way you admire?

SS:

There are really so many incredible designers and brands based in L.A. To name a few: Rachel Zoe, Monique Lhuillier, DVF, James Perse, Jeremy Scott, Reformation, Re/Done.

SL: Where are your favorite places and websites to shop for clothes?

SS:

I’m a big online shopper. These days, I don’t have much free time to shop in stores. Online shopping is a lifesaver. I really love Net-a-porter, Revolve and Intermix.

SL: How does it feel to be a female designer? And did you face specific challenges in the design process based on your sex?

SS:

It’s an incredible feeling to be able to design and create clothing that not only inspires confidence in women, but helps them. For the longest time, men were designing clothing and intimates for women, and didn’t truly understand how things should fit and feel. Only a woman knows what she wants for herself, how she wants to feel in her clothes, and how the clothes should fit her body. It’s an exciting time right now, as female founders and designers are at the forefront and revolutionizing the clothing and fashion industry.

I’m very fortunate to be designing clothing during this time, and in this country, where I have such an outpour of support and positive feedback. There have been immense shifts in our culture, and we’ve really come a long way as woman. I always remind myself how lucky I am to be born in this era and have the freedom to do what I love. If it were only a few decades ago, it would have been much more challenging based on my sex.

SL: Where are your favorite places in L.A. to eat/drink/workout/live?

SS:

Favorite go-to’s for drinks and food: Cha Cha Matcha, Kreation, Erewhon, Alfred’s Coffee, Lemonade, Il Pastaio, Wally’s, Madeo, Tower Bar and Soho House.

For workouts: Eden Sassoon Pilates, SoulCycle, Hot 8 Yoga, and any outdoor hiking trails.

To live: Malibu! I love the ocean so much.

Lifestyle Featured

Creating Your Own Brand Can Be Cheap, Easy and Fun, Thanks to THIS Company

February 14, 2019

(via StickerYou)

As someone who has spent the last 6+ years trying to cultivate a following for my very small brand DGI, I’ve definitely agonized over the time and money that goes into all the merch needed to really spread the word.

It wasn’t until three years ago that I finally buckled down and did the most minimal things a person does when they’re trying to launch something: I created an Instagram account, made a logo and created stickers. And let me tell you, all these years later, the idea has remained more of an inside joke among friends than anything else. My account has a whopping 100 followers, my stickers were created at Staples and my logo is a super basic font in the most basic color of them all—red.

That’s why, when I received an email from StickerYou, telling me I could mass produce merch at any given quantity (and for cheap!), I absolutely had to give it a shot. Discovering the innovative website for the first time, I found a plethora of customizable options (some made by professional artists!) for obviously not only my tiny DGI brand, but any brand I wanted to create on the spot. I could upload my own logo, work off of a premade logo or create my own—and from there, turn the silly piece of art into everything from a cell phone backing sticker, to a temporary tattoo, to product label, magnet, you name it! I was beyond impressed and realized the possibilities are endless.

Naturally, I immediately placed an order for a set of magnets, a sheet of heart-shaped stickers, a sheet of regular-shaped stickers and two phone case sticker backings. Totalling up to just under $50, my order was placed, and I was beyond wholly pleased when my items were delivered.

Because I’m so impressed with the opportunities StickerYou gives consumers and small business owners, I wanted to get acquainted with the company’s founder and president, Andrew Witkin. I had a few burning questions for the entrepreneur, and he answered them below!

skyelyfe: I know that the concept of StickerYou came from seeing stickers everywhere in Manhattan Beach. How did you go from there to creating a whole business?

Andrew Witkin: Manhattan Beach was an aha moment. When I later looked into buying some custom sample stickers, I found the prices for small batch die-cut sticker printing to be outrageous. I thought there had to be some way to provide stickers to customers in small batches for a more affordable price.

In my previous job with Mattel, I noticed kids were buying building blocks designed to build things like airplanes. The kids would build the airplanes, but then would take the blocks apart and make their own things instead. I saw that people (not just kids) wanted to make their own things, and placed value on things they created themselves. That, combined with the marketing shift to digital from 2003-2007, meant that the time was perfect for customized e-commerce products.

After I returned to Toronto from California, my mind was buzzing with ideas. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I started a focused approach, spending half the day job-hunting and half the day on this idea. I found companies using the machinery needed to produce stickers to test run times and formats, and wrote a business plan. The original business model was more centred around youth having the ability to create custom stickers with different themes from cute flower art to customizing a Batman sticker with their name on it. I went to California to meet with licensors and targeted those who I thought would be looking for more engagement. I wanted to keep it simple, like YouTube. So I called it StickerYou.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Witkin

SL: What was the biggest challenge when you launched many years ago, and what is the biggest challenge now that you’ve been established?

AW: One of the biggest challenges initially was orchestrating the user experience to meet the demands of the market were were serving. Initially, we were looking through a B2C lens, aiming at creative tweens and teenagers, people who wanted skateboarding stickers, things like that. But it wasn’t long after we launched that we realized our customers weren’t exclusively youth. They were small businesses, organizations and nonprofits. In order for the business to convert better on our site, our customers needed a more practical user experience, and building that would take time. We reorchestrated the user experience so that people could come to the StickerYou website, upload their logo, select a size and die-cut shape, and order, say, 100 custom stickers and check out. It was a new StickerYou site, with a simpler interface.

Now that StickerYou is established, one of the biggest challenges is maintaining focus. Our products fit into so many niche markets and there are so many different ways to engage with our customers that it’s a problem of choice. But in order to continue to grow, choosing and focusing on specific markets and elements of the business are incredibly important.

SL: What are your main pointers for creating a memorable logo (regardless of how big or small the brand)?

AW: When creating a memorable logo, it’s tempting to try and fit a lot into it. But I’d advise against making it too intricate or complex. The best logos are simple, clean and focused. The best ones may be simple, but there is a lot of thought behind the simplicity. If you’re not a graphic designer, consider hiring a pro to help you. The cost will be worth it to have a solid logo for your brand.

via StickerYou

SL: Is it difficult to profit when you’re letting people make very small purchases as opposed to mass ones?

AW: Because we offer the option to order just one custom product, or as many as needed, we find that the number of customers ordering small batches are quite a few. Since we built technology that enables small runs to be produced as profitably as large runs we knew from day one that our DNA was to serve many customers with any quantity needs while being profitable—and that is what we did.

SL: What’s your best advice for anyone trying to start a small business?

AW: Focus on your health. It may sound obvious, but it’s something that too many people forget when under the stress of starting a small business and all the work that entails. But making sure that you are well-rested, that you are exercising regularly and eating well will directly impact the ideas, attitude and energy that you bring to your burgeoning business. You’ll need all of your resources to make it work (and even then a bit of luck), so make sure you take care of yourself and replenish your resources to give yourself the highest chance for success.

SL: What’s next for the company?

AW: StickerYou is based on creativity and innovation, two qualities that allow us to stay at the forefront of e-commerce and tech trends. We’ll be opening a brick and mortar retail space in Toronto in 2019, which will be the largest dedicated sticker store in the world!

Lifestyle

How to Easily Ditch Your Couch Potato Lifestyle If You’re Still in Holiday Mode

January 17, 2019

via Pixabay

Some people made a dash for the gym as soon as their alarms went off on Jan. 2.

Others, however, are still nibbling on the remnants of the dilapidated gingerbread house-turned-centerpiece they’ve been showing off in the kitchen since the week before Christmas.

If you resonate more with the latter, you’re not alone. Society thinks that when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, suddenly everything changes in an instant. Suddenly we’re all going to be insanely productive, motivated and, of course, healthy. And while that does hold true for those dedicated new year’s resolution-followers, it’s not the case for everyone. Some people want to go the healthy route, but just can’t pull themselves out of that lazy holiday rut.

I chatted with Patrick Waters, founder of Brooklyn’s sleekest new boutique circuit training studio SESSION—and he, along with their lead trainer Thea Hughes, shared pro tips on how to easily transform your couch potato lifestyle into a healthy one. Keep reading for what they had to say:

Skyelyfe: What’s the best workout to start with if you’re just getting back into fitness in the new year?

Patrick Waters + Thea Hughes : The best workout to get back into is through movement that you enjoy. That might be yoga, running or a circuit training class. Just remind yourself to ease into it—perhaps low impact, or lower intensity as you rebuild your foundation.

Photo courtesy of SESSION

SL: What’s the best at-home workout for when you’re in a time crunch or you simply aren’t motivated to workout long?

PW + TH: Depending on what you have access to, or the space for, here are a few options: If you have a hardwood floor, grab a set of towels to use as gliders for a total body workout. Place them under your hands for push-ups, hand circles, or plank rollouts. Place them under your feet for lateral or reverse lunges, mountain climbers, knee tucks or pikes.

If you have access to resistance bands, both mini bands and therabands are incredible for quick and effective total body circuits. Pick four exercises, then repeat 3x through.

Try an AMRAP circuit: 12 push-ups, 12 mountain-climbers, and 10 jump squats for 12 minutes, nonstop.

SL: What’s the healthiest, most filling on-the-go snack or meal?

PW + TH: This is a tough one! Smoothies can be a great way to jam-pack a lot of protein and nutrients in for those on-the-go days. Alternatively, a banana with a handful of raw nuts is great for a carb, sugar and fat fix. Or, of course hard-boiled eggs with chopped veggies—unless it’s the heat of summer and there’s no fridge in sight.

SL: What’s the most underrated and most overrated workout—for the average person—and why?

PW + TH: It’s arguable that no work is overrated, but if we had to say…

Underrated: push-ups, RDL’s, and chin-ups are the unanimous answer among the SESSION coaches

Overrated: calf-raises and crunches can be ditched. Instead, integrate strong breathing, unilateral and anti-rotation work for your core.

SL: What are your thoughts on paleo/whole30/keto eating plans?

PW + TH: It all comes down to the individual, as our bodies are all unique and we each take to food differently. We would encourage you to experiment, do your research, and then implement the most positive aspects into your eating plan. That aside, whole foods are a great, arguably the best, place to get started. Stay away from processed as much as possible.

SL: What does SESSION offer that other local gyms do not?

PW + TH: Community. New York can be a harsh city at the best of times, and SESSION offers a space where people come together to workout—but most importantly they connect and have fun pushing themselves physically and mentally.

Photo courtesy of SESSION

Photo courtesy of SESSION

SL: Explain the gym’s 30-day challenge that just kicked off on Jan. 14

PW + TH: The 30 Day Challenge is meant to spark motivation and drive with the SESSION community. We realize that an hour at the gym is only a part of the math, so we provide the physical space to workout, paired with tools to reflect on current behaviors (workouts, food, sleep and lifestyle), set goals, and track progress. In addition, we loop in our favourite physical therapy experts for one-on-one assessments, InBody body composition scans and weekly nutrient-dense soup deliveries.

Photo courtesy of SESSION

Want to check out SESSION, or ask Patrick and Thea more questions in person? Classes start at $32 for a drop-in.

SESSION

98 South 4th St.

Brooklyn, NY 11249

info@thesessionnyc.com

929.337.6393

Music

Maryland-Based Music Artist Mannywellz Debuts New EP With Nigerian Dinner in the Hills

January 22, 2018

Instagram / @Mannywellz

On a cold Thursday night, I was escorted through the hills to an undisclosed Mulholland Address.

As the black car that arrived for me took me through windy, pitch black roads, I sat in anticipation: Was I underdressed? Was this gonna be another night at “the club?” Beyond the gates was the opposite—an elegant, chill dinner party serving up Nigerian food and endless wine and cocktails.

The host of the night was Mannywellz, the Maryland-based musician and producer who stayed humble and courteous as he debuted tracks off his new EP, SoulFro. A kaleidoscopic feat, it was an extension of his continuing eclectic fusion of hip-hop, jazz, afrobeat, electronics and live instruments.

A self-taught-multi-instrumentalist, the 24-year-old has found his credibility in the underground, while potentially tipping into the mainstream; through this worldly fusion that embraces modern times, as well as stays reverent to his Nigerian roots steeped in Yoruba traditions. His words stretch poetically as heard on tracks like “Watermelon,” which uses food to allude to the structural dynamics of the odd man out at the dinner table. We recently chatted with autodidact wunderkind to find out what makes him tick.

Photo Credit: Joshua Alexander

skyelyfe: How did you get your start?

Mannywellz: Music runs in the family, and I’ve been around it my whole life. From my grandfather teaching me how to sing harmonies, to performing with my dad on big stages in front of Nigerian presidents and ambassadors all before the age of 13. Closer to my late teen years I decided to buy my own music equipment to start producing and recording myself, and to put out my own content. It took and required a lot of YouTube, trial and error to start.

SL: Did you derive any specific inspiration for this first piece of work?

Mannywellz: For SoulFro, I tried my best to stay connected to god to draw inspiration and be really creative. My roots are something that I’m already super connected to through my everyday life.

Photo Credit: Joshua Alexander

SL: Who would you say are your main music inspirations?

Mannywellz: Asa, who is my favorite artist—a Nigerian artist that resides in Paris. Also, Lauryn Hill is a huge inspiration to my music as well.

SL: What was it like going on tour with Jidenna?

Mannywellz: Touring with Jidenna was amazing—one of the greatest experiences ever. I got a glimpse of what the future holds for my team and me. His team is really dope, too. He has a lot of cool and genuine people around him. It was really refreshing to see that.

SL: Where do you see this year taking you?

Mannywellz: I’m going to be happy in 2018. I see myself touring and performing everywhere. I see different kinds of people connecting with SoulFro and spreading the project everywhere around the world.

Want to give the rising artist a listen for yourself? Check out his latest EP for free HERE!

Music

R&B Pop Singer JOEY Takes Skyelyfe Through Her Journey of ‘Setbacks and Heartbreak’

September 8, 2017

If you’ve ever wanted to read someone’s juicy journal, here’s your chance.

R&B pop singer JOEY, who recently released her debut full-length album Enough, has said the tracks are an “open diary through my first love.” She takes you through all the stages from the relationship’s joyous beginning to its tearful end.

Skyelyfe caught up with the Australian-born artist (formerly known as Joelle), who just released the music video to “Got Me Like,” her third single from the album. If you scroll to the very bottom, you can watch the upbeat video, which takes you through the honeymoon phase of a relationship.

But in the meantime, learn a bit more about the singer below:

Photo Credit: Dru Erin

skyelyfe: How did you get into music and how did you discover your own sound?

JOEY: I just enjoyed singing when I was a little girl. I never really took it seriously but somehow here I am all the way on the other side of the world in L.A.! I was rejected from the school choir, which didn’t discourage me. I kept at it and now I’m here. [laughs]

skyelyfe: How would you define your sound or genre?

JOEY: I would say that I am a mixture of sounds, definitely R&B and pop influences, but my voice definitely sounds soulful. 

skyelyfe: Who are some of your musical influences?

JOEY: I love listening to Ed Sheeran, Adele, Tory LanezAlicia Keys, Frank Ocean and Chris Brown.

skyelyfe: Your album takes listeners through the experience of falling in love. What was the easiest and hardest part about putting everything out there like that? Which song is the most personal to you?

JOEY: I didn’t find it difficult to be open about my personal feelings or struggles. I am extremely open with my setbacks and heartbreak! The most personal song is probably “Words Fall,” as I wrote it from my ex’s perspective while talking to me. It is pretty amazing and honest. 

skyelyfe: In a current era where pretty much everything sounds the same, do you find it difficult to find your own style and set yourself apart from other on-the-rise artists?

JOEY: No at all, I don’t really focus on others. I just love creating and vibing with musicians. So we always create something unique. I have always been a little rebellious too, so I am never going to be following the crowd. 

Photo Credit: Dru Erin

skyelyfe: Who do you think does a good job of setting themselves apart from others in the music world today?

JOEY: I love Adele and Ed Sheeran, I love how they are so incredibly talented, raw performers and are not involved in any Hollywood scandals to keep their careers afloat.

skyelyfe: Where are your favorite places to eat, shop, check out shows and grab a drink in L.A.?

JOEY: I live in L.A., I mainly find myself in the studio or at the gym. I love working out at Fit Arts, I love going to No Vacancy for a drink and I seem to always end up at Tender Greens for a quick meal after my workout.  

skyelyfe: What can fans expect from you through the remainder of the year?

JOEY: I will be performing everywhere and anywhere! I plan on going on tour in Australia and the USA. I am recording new music and also releasing a book. 

[divider_flat]

Music

If You Love That Animated Hot Dog on Snapchat, You’ll Dig the Dancing Cactus in This Adorable New Music Video

July 20, 2017

If you’re crushing as much as I am over that animated hot dog roaming all over social media lately, brace yourself, because indie-pop rockers Flights Over Phoenix have discovered the real-life version—in the form of a cactus!

Yes, I was immediately taken by the trio’s brand new music video for their upbeat track “Middle of the World.” Not only I am legitimately digging the uplifting tune, but seriously, this video is totally entertaining, especially if you live in L.A.

Taking place partly in the middle-of-nowhere desert, and graduating on to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and later to the beach, there’s nowhere this green little guy can’t conquer, and you’ll see that for yourself if you scroll to the very bottom of this post.

“We had a blast working with Flights Over Phoenix,” Eric McCoy, of directing duo Mccoy | Meyer, tells skyelyfe, of working on the memorable shots. “These guys trusted us implicitly with the vision of the video, and even showed up at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of the desert to get the perfect sunrise performance. We couldn’t be more proud of this!”

Skyelyfe also chatted up the three L.A.-based guys themselves—who recently performed at The Peppermint Club in West Hollywood—so keep reading and get to know more about Keith Longo (lead singer), Jordan Nuanez (drummer) and Chris Santillo (guitarist)!

skyelyfe: How did you come up with the name of your band?

Keith Longo: The name of the band is a reference to the Phoenix Lights which was a UFO sighting that happened in the ’90s. It has nothing to do with the music, I’ve just always had a deep curiosity of what else is out there and where we come from, as I think most people do. It’s fun to think that maybe we could witness something that could give us those answers someday, something that defies normal logic. I’ve also always been interested in the Phoenix bird in mythology. The idea of rising from the ashes speaks to me, so the name Flights Over Phoenix felt right. And, most importantly, nobody else on Facebook had taken it yet [laughs].

SL: How would you define your sound or genre?

Jordan Nuanez: I think we’ve kinda taken our cumulative musical interests and allowed that to influence our sound as a band. For instance, Keith loves ’90s music, and some of those bands and artists have incredible songwriting and powerful vocal melodies. I personally think some of that comes through in the songwriting. Chris digs songs that have a great vibe and great modern production techniques. So that’s where we get some of our more interesting and synth-y sonic nodes. I personally appreciate any music, so long as it feels good. All of us have a pretty broad pallet as well, so we like to take some rock from here, a little synth sound from there… Really though we are trying to create our own sound that is of course reminiscent of some other styles and genres, but that is also distinctly us.

SL: Who are some of your musical influences?
Chris Santillo: We all come from a wide range of musical backgrounds and influences. Keith is a big fan of Phil Collins and ’90s grunge, Jordan likes reggaeton and Latin music, and I love everything from ’90s music to blues to soul music, but equally love modern artists like The 1975. I love when artists are able to blend live instrumentation with synthetic instruments. It’s always a tough balancing act that I constantly try to get better at. I also love Bruce Hornsby-type music, it really just depends on my mood.

SL: In a current era where pretty much everything sounds the same, do you find it difficult to find your own style and set yourself apart from other on-the-rise artists?
K.L.: I’d agree that if you are listening on certain platforms, certain radio stations for instance, a lot of the music can start to sound similar. I would say that is probably true in every decade though. Music is like fashion in that way. Certain trends become popular and after a while they change. But, there is so much music out there in the world, and with all of the platforms to listen to music on, I think there is great variety. With that said, I do think finding your own voice as an artist is crucial. It can be difficult to find the essence of who you are as an artist and to present it in the best way possible, but that’s always the goal. It can definitely be tempting to hear what is popular or successful at the time and try to replicate it, but I think the key is listening to that little voice in your head. If you feel good showing people your music and you feel it represents you well, that’s usually a good sign. If you don’t feel like sharing it, maybe it’s because you aren’t being true to yourself in that song.

SL: Who do you think does a good job of setting themselves apart from others in the music world today?

J.N.: The world is so saturated with artists and bands these days. Honestly, it can seem daunting as an artist at times. But I also don’t necessarily think it’s such a bad thing. Since there is so much out there, so many people listen to such a wide array of music. You’ll have someone who appreciates going to Coachella to see Lady Gaga, but also wants to see Kendrick Lamar, Martin Garrix, and some obscure band from Norway or something like that. But really, all those artists are successful in part because they just own what they do. They do it 100%. I think that is the key to setting yourself apart. Work hard at it, perfect your craft, get tight as a band, work on your songwriting and live shows. That all comes across to the audience. So that’s what we’re trying to do. We’ve put a lot into this. We’re trying to make it so that when people leave our live show, they walk away feeling that we owned it. We consciously try to build Flights Over Phoenix, and not just fit into other scenes.

SL: When you are in L.A., where are your favorite places to eat, shop, check out shows and grab a drink—if you drink?

C.S.: I was born and raised here in L.A., but surprisingly enough I don’t go out and explore much of the food scene. I usually just make dinner at home so I don’t really have a list of go to food spots. As far as shopping though, I love going to Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Trading Co. and stores like that. I always find the most unique stuff there. For shows, lately I’ve been going to School Night at Bardot [in Hollywood]. A lot of phenomenal upcoming artists play there so it’s always humbling to watch and it’s a place we would like to play soon. I also like going to Sayers Club and The Peppermint. As far as bars go, I love going out by my parents house where I grew up in Montrose to a bar called Basin 141. It’s total hometown vibes and I always see people I know there.

SL: What can fans expect from you through the remainder of the year?
K.L.: Right now we are writing a lot of songs and just trying to focus on playing shows and making people more aware of us. We’ve considered releasing singles or a second EP, and at this point, I’m not sure which we will decide, but one way or the other we will be releasing new music soon enough. And, if you can’t wait, you can always come to our live show.

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Music

Skyelyfe Exclusively Premieres Indie-Pop Trio Wolves’ Sexually Driven Debut Single ‘Animal’

June 23, 2017

Photo Credit: Solomon Augusteyn

It’s the first Friday of summer 2017!

And going off of that, I can’t think of a better song to kick off the season’s first weekend than indie-pop trio Wolves‘ debut single, “Animal.”

The upbeat track, being premiered here on skyelyfe, comes from L.A.’s Sean Carney, 29 (Lead Guitar/Background Vocals), Phoenix’s Rockwell “Rocky” Sands, 26 (Drums/ Guitar/ Keyboard/ Background Vocals), and Chicago’s Marc Avery, 32 (Lead Vocals).

Scroll to the very bottom to hear the sexually empowering song, but before you get there, read on to learn about the song’s backstory, how the trio came together despite being from totally opposite sides of the country and what the three guys like to do outside of the studio.

skyelyfe: How would you describe your sound and who are your musical influences?

Sean Carney: We would say that the best description of our sound and our musical influences are Coldplay, Michael Jackson, and The Eagles. We like to think that we have a solid blend of the past and the future that hasn’t been heard before. Being from different parts of the country and coming from different walks of life, our music definitely paints the picture of the diverse landscape that we live in.

SL: What is the backstory behind “Animal”?

Rockwell Sands: “Animal” came organically. Once we had the production pretty much finished and the melody together, one of us came with the line, “Love me like an Animal!” The rest of the song came pretty easy. This song is a celebration of a woman who is completely in tune with her sexual being. On a deeper level, women catch a lot of shit for being sexual in the eyes of the public and that’s total bullshit. The song is telling women not to be afraid to indulge in their carnal instincts when it comes to the bedroom.

SL: How did you form as a group?

Marc Avery: Well, each of us are songwriters and producers, and have been doing this for a while. Sean and Rocky met each other at a songwriter’s expo about two years back and worked on a few songs and projects here and there. I met Rocky while I was bartending in Hollywood. He was getting hammered and we talked about how the two of us were songwriters. We ended up working on a few songs for placement when the conversation of starting a band came up. Rocky began production on a track and brought Sean in later on to add the flavor it needed. That track eventually turned into “Animal.”

SL: What are your hobbies when you’re not recording and listening to music?

R.S.: Nothing! No, honestly I enjoy playing video games and going to the movies. I’m a huge comic book fan, so I love all the superhero movies… well, most of them.

S.C.: I like going surfing and going to the beach. I also like partaking in “seaweed,” if you get my drift. I have two cats at home, so I like to hang out with them sometimes.

M.A.: I enjoy movies as well, but I am a huge sports fan! I’m really the only sports fan in our band. So I love almost anything that is competitive on a high level; basketball, football, baseball—Go Cubs! A good whiskey or “seaweed” is always welcome as well [laughs].

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Music

From Soccer Pro to Sexy, Soulful Pop Sensation On-the-Rise, Meet Devin K

February 26, 2015

Photo credit: Alex Owen aka Zandy Photo

Photo credit: Alex Owen aka Zandy Photo

Soccer and music aren’t known to go hand-in-hand, so when it came down to choosing between his two passions, Devin K (born Devin Kirtz) knew the “transition was inevitable” to move solely in the direction of becoming an artist.

“Everybody would be out partying and stuff after our games and I was just kind of in my hotel room, writing at all times,” the former New York Red Bulls soccer pro tells skyelyfe. “I had to put 100 percent into one or the other, and music wins every time. It’s not even a question.”

So now, with four years of living in Los Angeles under his belt (he originally hails from nearby Long Beach, Calif.), the multitalented musician is ready to make a name for himself in the sound space – and he’s starting to make waves with his latest single “Move” (more on that at the bottom).

The 26-year-old – who already has some minor tracks from years past on his discography – spills on everything from his dating status and musical influences, to his cooking skills and his full sleeve of tattoos!

Photo credit: Darin Rios

Photo credit: Darin Rios

SL: What was the influence behind “Move?”

DK: I was on much more of a poppy path when I first moved to L.A. It was definitely an eye-opener. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was kind of everybody directing me in where they thought I should go as an artist, but I thought what better way to show my [own] style than to just ask people if I make them want to move.

SL: Who are some of your artist influences?

DK: I’d say huge, huge influences of mine aside from all oldies are Robin Thicke and Lauryn Hill.

SL: What’s your plan with releasing new music?

DK: I actually have way too many tracks and we’re just trying to decide what’s going to be next. I think I’m going to start off with an EP, as well probably four or five other tracks. We haven’t decided yet.

SL: Are you going to stay with the sound of “Move?” What can we expect?

DK: I want everybody to expect soul-pop mixed with a hip-hop influence. Almost soul-pop R&B with lyrical meaning. As I release more songs, you’ll see the lyrical context get deeper.

SL: Being from Long Beach, which isn’t far from L.A., but yet still so different, what was the move and adjustment like? 

DK: Everyone out here seems to be from somewhere else. I feel like I’m the exception being from Southern California. But it’s crazy how it’s 45 minutes away and it’s a whole new world. It’s been a crazy transition, but I definitely have not looked back. I love it. I love downtown and the beach. Growing up in Long Beach, I’m always, always at the beach.

SL: Can you talk a little about the inspiration behind your tattoos? Have you always been a tattoo guy?

DK: I got my first tattoo in a garage when I was 15 in Long Beach. My friend did it with a safety pin and India Ink. It was so sketchy [laughs]. I grew up very religious. My first tattoo was of a cross and then after that, the same guy legitimized himself and got his first tattoo machine. Then when I was 17, I got a soccer ball with an Argentina flag. My mom’s from Argentina. And then there are three songs I ended up turning into my whole sleeve. My three favorite songs: “Yesterday” by The Beatles, “Man In the Middle” by Michael [Jackson] and then Stevie Wonder.

SL: A sexy guy like you – single? Taken? What’s the status?

DK: I’m not in a relationship. Music is my girlfriend, wife, everything at the moment.

5 FUN FACTS

Last time I couldn’t stop laughing: “Ok, people didn’t think this movie was funny, but maybe I just watched it at the right time or whatever, but The Interview was so funny. I was dying watching it.”

Last concert I attended: “I just attended the best show I’ve ever seen. It was the day before the Grammy’s. I saw Big Sean at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. On one stage, he brought out Chris Brown, [Justin] Bieber, Meek Mill, Tyga, J. Cole, Kanye West. It was everybody on one stage and I was like, ‘What is going on?’ ”

Last thing I cooked: “I cooked chicken parmesan on Valentine’s Day. The boy can cook! I’m telling you, it turned out really well!”

Last time I was injured: “I just ruined my foot playing flag football. It was because of my manager. I’m running straight at him and he kind of ducked the other way and my foot went right into his shoulder.”

Last present I bought for someone: “My mom and I hike a lot. So I got her some hiking shoes for Christmas.”

Check out the sensual, desert-themed video for Devin’s latest single Move, directed by Rob Witt and Alex Delgado:

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Music Uncategorized Featured

Electronic Duo Cazzette Dishes to Skyelyfe on the ‘Problem’ with ‘EDM,’ Who They Think Will Be the Next Big Thing in Music and Why They Miss the Old Stuff!

November 4, 2014

cazzette

Photo Credit: Alex Wessely

Cazzette has made 2014 their year! The Swedish duo, consisting of Sebastian Furrer and Alexander Björklund, are fresh off the heels of releasing their new melodic dance track “Blind Heart,” and they feel like they’re in a great place.

The lovely lads, who are under Avicii‘s LE7ELS label and are best known for 2012’s “Beam Me Up” and this year’s “Sleepless,” recently sat down with skyelyfe on the picturesque rooftop of Sixty Beverly Hills to talk about being more in control of their sound now than before, why they refuse to be classified as “EDM” artists, how they are “down to earth guys who don’t do crazy stuff” and why Flume is going to take over the music world.

SL: What do you guys think of L.A.?

Sebastian: We love L.A. It’s a very nice city and obviously the weather is very nice. There are very good vibes here. It’s obviously a big city to music and film and we’ve been meeting people here. It’s so easy to meet people in the music industry. Everybody’s here basically, so it’s nice. I wouldn’t move here because I’m still in love with Sweden and I’m a big New York guy more than a West Coast guy, but I love it here for work and for a short amount of time to hang out.

SL: You guys recently performed at Avalon in Hollywood. What was that experience like?

Alex: Avalon is great. It’s a big venue, which is cool. It has that theatre vibe, which we like. And this time was the most fun we’ve ever had playing there because we’ve changed a lot over this past year. I feel like we’re way more honest to ourselves now and with the music that we make and play. It’s more exciting to play now because we’re playing 100 percent what we like. We slightly try to educate the crowd a bit with playing the music that we grew up on even though it doesn’t sound like the typical Top 40 for music. We play tracks from 2004-2007, like old Axwell, all old stuff.

SL: Going off of that, who are some more artists whose old style of music you miss?

Alex: Laidback Luke. I miss his old stuff.

Sebastian: Yeah, he was great before. I mean I haven’t heard his [newer] stuff that much. I just love his older stuff. Everybody has to evolve in a way, so I get it, but his old stuff was incredible. As producers, we were like, “Whoa, what’s this?” It was so interesting at the time.

SL: What’s your take on this whole “EDM” craze?

Alex: I think there’s a problem with that word “EDM.” I mean, sure, it’s electronic dance music, but I’d rather it be “EM,” electronic music. You can’t compare dubstep and house. They are two completely different things.

Sebastian: I think they misuse the word, and that’s the problem. This became a big term in America. It probably will never be a term in Europe. I’ve never heard anyone use it there. I think when people got educated here, they put it on blogs and they were [labeling] a dubstep act with EDM. I’m not saying not saying it’s the blogs or anyone’s fault, I just think it’s been misused. People think everything is EDM and it’s the same stuff. If you compare rock music, it’s very broad. There are tons of stuff within rock music. There’s indie rock and there’s pop rock, but you can’t put them in the [exact] same category. And that’s the same here. Dubstep is completely different from house music. House music is completely different from electro and techno. Of course they have the same elements, but it’s still different vibes.

SL: Do you guys classify yourself in what’s considered “EDM” or in some kind of sub-genre?

Alex: It’s a problem for us because we’re like so many different kinds of genres, but right now I would say house.

SL: Congratulations on “Blind Heart.” Tell me about the inspiration behind that song

Alex: The inspiration was from just listening to the acapella. That’s usually how we work if we receive an acapella. When we hear something, it’s like, what kind of vibe does this track have? How are we going to capture what we fell for in the acapella?

Sebastian: It was a very long process to make because we were changing our minds all the time about arrangement. We were discussing what the chorus is, but then we decided, fuck it, there’s no chorus. Let’s just go with vibe and people can decide what the chorus is. The song is very specially structured. It’s not the typical verse-chorus.

SL: Aside from people you’ve worked with, who do you admire in the music scene in general?

Alex: Kanye West.

Sebastian: Pharrell Williams, Moby, Justin Timberlake, obviously. From the hip-hop and trap stuff, we like Flume. He’s incredible. There’s a guy from Sweden called Skogsrå. He’s a new guy. There are so many people who inspire us in general. We love rock, we love hip-hop. Sometimes we listen to jazz.

SL: Any predictions on who’s going to be the next big music thing in the states?

Sebastian: I think Flume is just going to get bigger. What he does is incredible and he’s just going to keep growing.

SL: What’s something about you guys that your fans don’t already know?

Sebastian: [laughs] We have no dirty secrets at all. We just want our fans to hear our music. Our personal life is kind of irrelevant because at the end of the day, it’s about the music. Of course it helps if you have  a personality. I wouldn’t say we’re boring, but there’s not too much to know. I think we’re very calm. We’re down to earth guys who don’t do crazy stuff. If there’s something people should know, we work a lot. We always spend time in studios. That’s our crazy life [laughs].

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Photo Credit: Alex Wessely

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Music Featured

Skyelyfe Sounds Off with DWNTWN’s Jamie Leffler

September 21, 2014


DWNTWN2

I randomly stumbled upon DWNTWN‘s music in 2012 by browsing through the Soundtracking music app. The folks at ST were really pushing this group. I decided to give them a listen and I was instantly smitten with “Look the Other Way.” I also liked “See My Eyes.” Both songs were off the act’s four-song EP, The Red Room.

Since then, I’ve been following their career, just hoping for a full-length album at some point. Although they haven’t gotten there just yet, I was super excited when I was driving around in April with a friend and a new DWNTWN song came on an indie Sirius radio station. The song was “Til Tomorrow,” and it gave me great hope that more new music was to come from them. Sure enough, they released another EP, a self-titled five-song set of tracks. They’ve also lent their efforts on indie electro pop Kistuné compilations and on the upbeat melodic “On My Mind,” by SomethingALaMode.

I knew I needed to let everyone know how amazing this group is, so I featured them in a post while working at People.com. Since then, my biggest thrill was finding out they were opening for ASTR and The Knocks at The Echo back on July 3. I mean, three of my favorite acts under one roof? I was obviously going! Even better was approaching lead singer Jamie Leffler in the patio of the venue after the group’s performance and introducing myself. She was hanging out with her mom who came out to support. Leffler not only has a soothing voice, but she is so beautiful – mermaid-like. It also helps that she has a delightful, gracious personality to match.

The road to success hasn’t been easy for the humble star-on-the-rise, daughter of late Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers bassist Howie Epstein. Despite coming from a musical upbringing, the singer experienced much pain stemming from Epstein’s heroin overdose in 2003 at the age of 47 when Leffler was only 15. The Los Angeles native, who relives the experience of learning of her father’s tragic fate in the song “Heroine,” opened up to skyelyfe this week about everything from the heartbreak of losing her dad and grandfather, to her latest splurge and her love for Stevie Nicks.

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SL: How did DWNTWN come to be?

JL: I’ve known Robert for, wow, it’s nine years now. That’s crazy. Anyway, I dated his brother for years and when we broke up, I begged Robert [Cepeda] to write songs with me. Robert has been making music since high school and I had always been a fan, so I was thrilled when he finally agreed. We were pleasantly surprised with our first attempt and have kept going ever since.

SL: What is your favorite song of every DWNTWN release?

JL: That’s a tough one! I have special attachments to every song we make, so it’s hard to pick one. It’s like asking me to choose which child I love the most [laughs]. But if I had to, I’d say “Missing You.” It’s a song written for my late grandfather who was the best man I will ever know. The sweetest, most supportive, lovely person, and it was devastating losing him. I still sometimes well up when we are performing the song. In fact, I did when I performed it [on Saturday] at Tarfest.

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

JL: I love Stevie Nicks. Not only is she an incredible songwriter, but that voice! It’s gentle yet powerful at the same time, which is something I strive for. And of course I love her stage persona.

SL: What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

JL: Our song “Heroine” is almost at 1 million plays on Spotify, which is a big deal to us because we’ve never had a million of anything before [laughs].

SL: Describe the band’s latest EP

JL: We wanted to sound more like a band with this. Prior to adding our drummer and keyboardist, Robert and I were very limited live, which was reflected in the music we wrote. Now with more people, we have more freedom when we are writing. Also, I was determined not to continue writing songs about a past breakup. I delved deeper and took more inspiration from my family. “Heroine” is a song written about my father’s drug addiction, and “Missing You” for my grandpa, as I mentioned before.

SL: Who are some of your favorite current artists and which other artists (if any) do you consider personal friends?

JL: We always love playing with Tapioca and The Flea. They Really nice guys that make really cool music. We have probably played with them more than any other LA band. Gold Fields are also awesome dudes from Australia who we met while we were both on the Capital Cities tour. AMAZING live. When thinking of how we need to improve live, I always think, we need to be as good as Gold Fields.

5 FUN FACTS 

Last time you were drunk:

Saturday night. I played a little beer pong at our drummer’s house after our show at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Last thing you splurged on:

Freebird boots. They were on sale, so I couldn’t resist. But I’m feeling guilty about it, and I’m probably going to return them.

Last concert or festival you attended (can’t be your own):

We saw Interpol in Vegas. They are one of our favorite bands, and I had never seen them live, so it was a great experience. Plus it was in Vegas, so that’s always a good time [laughs].

Last reality show you watched:

Does Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives count as reality? Because that show is awesome. I like food more than I like most things in life.

Favorite pop star and why?:

Queen B! You can’t take your eyes off her! What an amazing performer.

Check out the brand new release of DWNTWN’s cover of Vance Joy‘s “Riptide”: