I Live For These Moments

The Satellite Photo credit: Ramon

The majority of life is about appreciating the little things. I live for moments:

At shows when I’m :
Dancing. Smiling. Laughing. Singing. Losing myself in the music. Watching people do the same.

At home when I’m:
Admiring the view of Downtown Los Angeles. Cooking healthy meals. Resting in a clean space. Binge watching a new favorite show. Feeling emotional during an indie flick on Netflix. Relying on Friends to be on every night. Enhancing my mind with a book. Sketching. Playing records.

At work when I’m:
Gaining trust and more responsibility. Learning in a creative and supportive environment. Brainstorming fresh ideas. Accomplishing a task. Helping someone with their dreams.

With pals when we’re:
Sending each other texts, gifs and snapchats when something reminds us of each other. Exploring somewhere new. Moving beyond small talk. Geeking out about common interests. Learning their quirks. Understanding differences. Falling in friend love.

With myself when I’m:
Expanding my knowledge. Understanding feelings. Discovering new interests. Falling in love with a song or quote. Deciding what I want out of life and going after it. Trying to be someone I can be proud of.

What moments do you live for?

The 1975 Are Kids At Heart

Heart OutThe first 40 seconds of The 1975’s video for “Heart Out” was puzzling, but OMG Bae was killin’ it. Am I right, or am I right?

On a serious note, the casting for the rest of the video was impressive. The adolescent version of The 1975 did an excellent job mimicking the band’s stage antics and overall presence.  The make or break of this video depended on the attention to detail, and the clothing, hairstyles and tattoos were completely on point. A part of me wishes these kids had their own band that could open for The 1975. Would be trippy.

Video for “Heart Out”: YAY or NAY
Let’s chat below.

11 Bands You Should Be Aware Of

Record Player

I like to surround myself with people who are passionate about something and most of them happen to be musicians. I’m also a musician, but I focus more on writing about and sharing music. When I believe in a friend’s project, I try to find a way to support, whether it’s verbally expressing my admiration, attending their shows, purchasing their music or posting about it.

Right now, it looks like everyone is hard at work creating and perfecting their current musical endeavors. As much as I want to donate funds or purchase items from everyone, I unfortunately have to have some self control to save for bills and other adult responsibilities I’ve recently acquired. So this is me showing support by generating awareness. I strongly suggest you take the time to listen to each of them.

Natalie Angiuli 

Natalie Angiuli

Photo by Shervin Lainez

When I met Natalie a few years ago, she was a girl with an acoustic guitar. Now she’s embracing synth and evolving into an electro-pop artist. I’m not going to babble on about her recent exploration and success in the EDM scene (you can read about it here). Instead, listen to her latest single, “Chaser.”

FEiN

FEiN

Photo by Sarah Oh

It’s going to be brilliant when these two introduce their band at a show by saying “We’re FEiN” (pronounced “fine”). Brandon and Luke have created this alternative rock band, infused it with electronic elements and produced an independent newspaper to accompany it. Smart guys.

RKCB

Baptize

I enjoy experimental music with interesting sounds that blend with the fundamental roots of whichever genre it originates from. R&B is one of those genres. It’s dreamy, sexy and full of soul. RKCB, the music soul child of Riley Knapp and Casey Barth, fits into the realm of contemporary R&B. Check out one of their most recent releases, “Baptize.”

AMAN

Aman

I was already a fan of Aman’s band House Fire. Then I discovered his solo track “Haunted.” I closed my eyes when I listened to it because the synth and his voice creates a dream-like atmosphere. It’s chilling.

Kid Astronavt

Kid Astronavt

When I was working Warped Tour, I met Jon from Air Dubai. Then he further sparked my curiosity after tweeting about his side project, kid astronavt.  While expressing themes of love and relationships, his tracks flow with sentimentalism.  Enjoy the slow jams over on his Soundcloud.

MUNA

Muna

MUNA is the type of band you want to play when you’re about to head out for a middle-of-the-night adventure in an urban city. These girls write pop hooks with dark, grungy tones. It’s “dark pop.” Head over to MUNA’s website for the jams.

brightener

brightener

Will Sturgeon, also known as brightener, and his music made me realize I needed to Make Real Friends. Now I’m patiently waiting for his first full-length album to be released. Interested in his work? Want to support? You have less than a day to donate to his Kickstarter. You can already watch his hilarious R. Kelly-inspired video he released after reaching his second goal. Two words to describe my mind while watching it: “I can’t.”

Oliver Riot

Oliver Riot

Ben and Alex Moore, together known as Oliver Riot, are a folk duo. They sing beautiful harmonies, have killer guitar riffs and showcase the vibrancy of the harmonica. I’m really excited for when they release a cover of “Riptide” by Vance Joy on Sept. 11. For now, here’s their original song “Tired & I’m Awake.”

dale

Dale

dale’s  video for “Tame” is still one of my favorites out of all the videos my friends have released. Fun fact: I’m in the video. Barely. That’s not the reason I love it though. The video is quirky, nostalgic and the track always gets stuck in my head. Take a listen to the band’s EP, love, dale.

Bad Heat

Bad Heat

Here’s some more rock for you. Bad Heat’s self-titled EP exceeded 1,000 plays on its first day and I’m hoping to see a video release from them soon. Or an announcement for a mini West Coast tour so I can finally see these kids in action. It’s tough when a friend is in a band on the opposite side of the country.

Together Apart

Together Apart

One of the most genuine and kind fellas I know happens to be the frontman for the hardcore punk band Together Apart. I listened to them for the first time yesterday and my eyes lit up. I don’t listen to hardcore music on a daily basis anymore (shout out to high school Jenay), but I do enjoy it when the band is melodic and the singer is still understandable. This is heavy in all the right ways. Listen here.

FYF Fest: I Was There. Where Were You?

Haim at FYF

“HAIM-ing around” – Ramon Smikle

FYF Fest was my chance to feast my ears and eyes on a couple bands I have fallen in love with this year. Not a bad way to end my summer. I watched some impressive sets, hung out with my pals Ramon and Max, reunited with some Warped Tour family, saw a friend from USC and managed to not get completely robbed by food / merch prices.

Day 1

We started our day with a #FYFVans photo op, sliders from Me So Hungry and observations of crowd management issues the festival was having (more about that later). Then we spent the day checking out vendors and bands.

Where Are You

Who I saw: Chet Faker, Little Dragon, Slowdive, Tycho and Phoenix

Chet Faker

Chet Faker and his rad light show in the Arena.

Tycho was the group we were most excited to see. Although strictly instrumental, they didn’t bore me at all. The band was incredible. Between the sounds they created and the visuals played during their set, it was mesmerizing.

Tycho 1

Tycho at FYF 2

Day 2

As I said above, FYF was having a lot of issues. It took hours for people to get through the entry line, the U shape of the festival made everything too spread out, the entry to the Arena and its stage was overcrowded and only the floor of the arena was open. Impressively, FYF recognized these issues and made changes for Day 2. Despite having my Keep A Breast Klean Kanteen thrown away by a security guard (which FYF is replacing for me – they just emailed me about it), the day was more pleasant.

I bought Tycho’s “Awake” record from Origami Vinyl and got a free tote and Epitaph Records mix tape. Isn’t it pretty?!

Origami Vinyl

I ate my first Donut Friend donut.

Donut Friend

We had some fun at the Air BNB booth by making a gif and playing some childhood games such as four square, corn hole and hop scotch.

Air BNB gif

Four Square

Four Square

Cornhole

Cornhole

Who I saw:

  • Balance and Composure
  • Ryan Hemsworth
  • Tanlines
  • Blood Orange
  • HAIM
  • The Strokes
image

Balance and Composure

Blood Orange

Blood Orange at sunset

Show buddy

We’re just a couple of live music fans

The Strokes at FYF

The Strokes

Did you go to FYF Fest?
Who was your favorite act?
Leave your comments below.

 

Hello New Job. Farewell Comfort Zone.

RemarkableJohn Green wrote it perfectly. “What’s the point in being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”

Today was my first day at my new job as an artist management assistant at KMGMT. It’s normal to feel a little nervous when starting a new position, but this one makes me feel like I’m jumping out of an airplane while feeling unsure about whether or not my parachute will open.

I have a background in journalism and digital media, not artist management. I have a background in music business as well, but it’s an industry with a lot of nuts and bolts. I’m here hoping to figure out how everything functions and fits together. This is one of the reasons I’m thrilled to work with the KMGMT team. Working with them means I have the ability to gain hands-on experience with the guidance of people who are always on their A-game. Then there’s the bigger picture of helping my boss and musicians with less-than-glamourous, but important, components of their career.

My comfort zone is so far away that I can’t even see it anymore, but comfort zones are boring.

Have you lived outside of your comfort zone lately?

Share a story below in the comments.

 

Don’t Go Crying To Your Mama

Griffith Observatory

I looked out into the city and saw my gateway to opportunities and my promised land.

After a summer of living in a bubble of tour life, I have been catapulted  into the real world and no longer have the buffer of school or an internship. Here’s a time frame to put my recent schedule into perspective: Two and half days at home -> Three and a half days in Los Angeles to find a new apartment -> Three days at home before returning back to LA to officially move. Between gaining new financial responsibility and moving into a new place, I walked into a tornado of situations with minimal knowledge on how to handle them.

It’s been nerve wracking, but as Hayley Williams said, “Don’t go crying to your mama ’cause you’re on your own in the real world.” Although I am not alone and have a great support system, change can be unsettling, especially when there is a lot of it. But this is my chance to learn details about adulthood that school didn’t teach me. I’m entering a period of my life when I can develop my true independence.

I have spent this week setting up utilities, shopping for and building furniture and making a game plan for how I need to budget my life. The most terrifying aspect of all of this is the budget. I’ve never spent this kind of money before. 1) I never had this much money saved up and 2) I never had to handle these types of expenses. I’ve been overwhelmed and filled with anxiety because of everything I’ve had to pay for this week. Good thing I had my mom and best friend Janessa with me to make me realize that each purchase was an investment for me future.

I was fortunate to have my mom, Janessa and a couple other friends who took time out of their day to help me with this move-in process. I am also thankful for the others who offered to help. Cheers to transforming an empty space into a home. My roommate Nik and I can’t wait to finish setting everything up.

First installation: shower rod and curtain

shower curtain

Building the bed I’ve had since my childhood

building bed

 We were stoked to finally have something to sit on

building couch

couch process

 The kitchen has no drawers… Purchased a cart with one included

building cart

The living room is coming together!

finished

Next up : finishing the unpacking process, decorating and starting a new job!

Does anyone have suggestions for places to buy decently priced decor, art / typography prints?
Comment below!

We Will Be The Hopeful

We Will Be The Hopeful

In light of the recent passing of Robin Williams, I am reminded of the darkness that overpowers people.

The non-profit movement To Write Love On Her Arms introduced the motto “We will be the hopeful” to me at Warped Tour. TWLOHA has a vision to provide encouragement and inspiration for those who struggle with depression, self-injury, addiction and suicide.

I can’t come out and declare that I  have suffered from depression, but I do know I have spent the majority of my life suffering from high-stress and high-anxiety levels. It became evident to me in high school. For a long stretch of time, I was exhausted, unable to sleep well, negative, stressed and had low self-esteem. To others, I seemed fine. I had perfect grades, was involved in extra-curricular activities and for the most part seemed like a happy person. On the inside, my mind was plagued by overthinking and the mentality that no matter how well I seemed to be doing, I wasn’t good enough.

I’d be wide awake in my bed at night wondering if I’d ever be good enough. If I would be able to achieve my dreams. If a boy would ever like me. If I would end up alone. If I would be able to stay interesting enough to maintain friends. If any one would care if one day I just left.

One day my mom noticed I was overtly struggling with life. She said, “Do you want to see a therapist?” The word therapist snapped me back to reality. The reality that made me realize that life is difficult, but there are ways to rise above it. You see, back then I always thought therapists were for people with real clinical problems. Really messed up people. I didn’t want to be categorized as one of those people. Of course, now I realize therapists are for any kind of person with any kind of issue, big or small, and that seeing one is nothing to be ashamed about. But back then, the fear of going to one was enough for me to reevaluate my situation, my way of thinking and my approach for dealing with life. With every shadow of darkness, there is a silver lining.

While I still deal with stress and anxiety as a 22-year-old, both in professional and social settings, I am a much more positive person and have gained confidence. One way I maintain this mentality is by influencing others to be happy and positive. Inspiring others inspires me. I have a fortunate life. I am surrounded by a wonderful family, wonderful friends and a wonderful network. I’ve experienced so many incredible adventures and opportunities.

I am thankful. I am hopeful. I hope you are too.

If you need an ear to hear you out, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Or a friend / family  member / anyone who will listen.
You’re not alone and help is always available.

I leave you with one of my favorite Robin William quotes:

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change this world.” -Dead Poets Society

Fences And Macklemore Video For “Arrows” Reminiscent of Wes Anderson Style

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 11.48.20 AM

I’ve only seen two Wes Anderson films (don’t worry, I plan on watching them all), but I believe I’m familiar enough to recognize his film style. The newly released music video for “Arrows” by Fences featuring Macklemore is visually similar to Anderson’s precise approach, especially in a Moonrise Kingdom kind of way. On top of having a rad concept, the video is pleasing to the eye.

Similar elements:

  • Well-thought-out and consistent color palette
  • Central perspective and symmetry
  • Flat space camera shots and moves
  • Obvious use of green screens
  • Tracking shots

Here’s the video for your viewing pleasure:

Any Wes Anderson fans out there? See any resemblances?
“Arrows” video: YAY or NAY?
Comment below.

All Of The Sam Smith Feels

In The Lonely Hour

“Too much of a good thing, won’t be good for long.”

Sam Smith’s album “In The Lonely Hour” is finally in my possession. I’ve been streaming it on Spotify since its online release, but I enjoy having a physical copy for my collection. You better believe I’ll own it on vinyl one day.

Every time I listen to this mid-tempo album, I experience what has become known as “the feels.” It’s the lyrics. It’s the swelling of his vocals. It’s the addition of a choir. It’s the string section. I feel a plethora of emotions when I’m listening. This crooner is the male version of Adele. Damn. Don’t even get me started about how much I miss Adele and that soul-wrenching voice and and songwriting.

Back to Sam.

“In The Lonely Hour” is a beautiful album. If you’ve ever been in love, have had your heart broken, and/ or hope to experience love, this album is for you.

Tell me your thoughts. Are you a fan?
Comment below.

 

This One Time At Warped Tour – I Was Charmed By Neck Deep

 

Neck Deep Boobie Tuesday

It all started with a signing and I Love Boobies socks. I was first introduced to Neck Deep, a pop-punk band from the UK, when we began hosting their meet and greets in the Keep A Breast Girlz Garage. With their goofy wit and accents, I was charmed by them. It was always fun to have them in our tent, whether they were drawing Boobie doodles or sharing stories with us. These mischievous boys always stirred up laughter this summer.

My phone and camera are filled with silly photos of these lads. Here are a couple shots I snapped of the guys (plus Melanie and Ian) during the last two days of tour:

Dani Fil and Ian Dani and Fil - Neck Deep

neck deep 1

They opened for Blink-182 today. How rad is that?