Friday, January 30, 2015

Velveteen // 'Mess' Review

Hey, I'm ... Velveteen Jones.

I am a musician because ... I spent so much time doing other things that were a bit more stable and was quite terrible at them all.
I love my new demo song because ... it is a sound I have been aiming for and [is] produced by a favourite artist of mine.
My favourite thing about music is ... goosepimples.
I am inspired by ... dark times, watching couples argue [and] also obscure fantasy books strangely enough!
I'd describe myself as ... odd.
My favourite time of day to sing is ... bed time. Ever since I could talk I would sing myself to sleep.
I could spend the rest of my life ... eating burritos.
I'm taking my music back overseas because ... I want to draw inspiration from unknown places.
My goal in 2015 is ... to be grateful.
I'm most thankful for ... him.
You should listen to my music because ... it could give you super powers. (It probably won't.)
One last note ... you only have one chance to do life your way, so don't waste time doing someone elses' idea of it. 

The song might be called Mess but the music most certainly isn't. This perfectly timed, well executed masterpiece is the debut demo single from Perth artist Velveteen Jones (real name Keira Ephraims). The overall vibe - a crossover falling somewhere near electro, fairly close to indie and not too far afield from pop - is the magic that you hope for in an artist. You'll definitely remember this one.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Shelfies // Clothes To Smile At


Created to "break the mold of typical fashion trends and rules", Shelfies is the loudest, raddest and quirkiest clothing line you'll come across. Hailing from Toronto, Canada and founded in late 2013, this creative brand has gone from strength to strength.

I'm not typically shy with my clothing choices, so Shelfies is a fantastic fit for me! As soon as I ordered my pieces off the Shelfies website I was impatiently waiting for everything to arrive - and it hadn't even been shipped yet. A lot of the items for order are ready for immediate shipment, but some are custom printed or made-to-order, so be patient: the wait is certainly worth it. 

The hardest part about shopping at Shelfies is, without a doubt, deciding what to actually buy! Personally I loved almost every piece, so picking just a few was hard. I definitely wished I could've bought one of nearly everything they sold, but I will say that Shelfies isn't exactly cheap. But the quality and, of course, the designs are completely worth it. I would definitely recommend saving up - you won't regret it! [Thanks to Shelfies for the discount also!]
Emoji Madness Tank

The first piece I picked was the Emoji Madness Tank; I'd already had my eye on it, before I even ordered. I know that this top isn't for a lot of people, but I personally this tank. The cut was perfect for me, there really wasn't anything I didn't like about the top. I also found this an easy piece to style - because it's such a lively print, I love teaming it with plain, block coloured skirts or jeans. 

Trippin' Kitty Kat Loose Tank
My favourite of my order is this gorgeous Trippin' Kitty Kat Loose Tank. Loose tanks are quite popular at the moment but this one has the incredible design and detail to set it completely apart from everything else. All of the clothing from Shelfies is incredibly comfortable and the loose fit of this piece makes a perfect choice for summer. It also would make a pop of colour during the colder months.

I'm a cat person, so bonus points for that!

Ocean Wave Sweater

The Ocean Wave Sweater is seriously cool. I originally was going to buy a different design but I'm so glad I ended up with this! I ordered it several sizes too big, which makes it even more comfortable - I'm hanging out for some chillier weather now, I haven't been able to wear it for long periods of time just yet. But I can guarantee that this classic cut sweater will win you over. If you aren't afraid of making a statement, especially in colder, bleaker months, then I would 110% recommend a Shelfies' sweater.

Clothes don't have to be boring. And Shelfies has certainly got you covered.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day In The Life: Gig Day // The Colour Code

Join The Colour Code guitarist Ryan on the day of their Yah Yah's show supporting The Caning.

The day of the gig. 
"My alarm goes off at the obnoxious time of 5.30am to start my Friday. Knowing we have a gig tonight I can't help despise my beloved wake up jam of Huey Lewis & The News 'Hip To Be Square' but then again I can't help but love it. The harsh reality of being a new band on the scene is you still need to pay the bills so a day of retail bliss awaits before I get to hit the stage with The Colour Code boys tonight. I have a long day of politely responding to rude jerks ahead as Christmas approaches and humans ironically become increasingly hostile and demanding in their rush to buy the right things to make them look like nice people.
I find solace under the heat of my shower and daydream of when our first track breaks through and we can tell our employers and customers alike to shove it. Then I realise I'm being fairly Grinchy and pessimistic about humanity and start to wrestle with whether to load my car now or after work. I bite the bullet and lug my amp to the car on my way out. It's vintage and sounds like God's farts, but the trade off is it weighs a metric ton so it is always a relief once it's in the car.

"Work is a blur as I slip into auto-pilot. The gig fades in and out of my thoughts but my only real awareness of it is the additional trips to the bathroom I take throughout the day. Whilst years of playing shows has steeled my conscious nerves apparently my bowel is still a nervous performer. I mentally rehearse from time to time, running parts of newer tracks through in my head while speculating as to how strong the crowd will be.

"I leave work with a sense of relief and head home to get ready, pleased with my efforts in the early hours of bumping my amp into the car, I know I can now kick back with a scotch for a bit before the show without the literal and figurative weight of that task hanging over me. Some pacing ensues and the usual messages between the boys about what time everyone is getting there and what they are wearing. It's lame but it's important because with our simple sensibilities there is every chance we could all show up in plain grey T-shirts, which would be a disaster aesthetically. I often think it would be much easier if we were a gimmick band and knew that our Power Ranger outfits were all we ever needed to don for a show.

"On route to the show I again speculate about the crowd. It's The Caning's album launch so I'm expecting it to be a killer night in the confines of Yah Yah's. We have a growing confidence in our tracks and our set, so our only hope at this point is that we get the opportunity to show that to some people. All the feedback we've had so far has been overwhelmingly positive, so taking the tracks to a larger audience is an exciting prospect.

"I arrive at the venue, and haul my gear inside. Having never played with any of the bands on tonight's bill I get busy with the other boys doing the meet and greet. As always the community of the Melbourne scene impresses me and everyone is pumped for a good night. As we watch the other acts and have a few more pre-gig scotches I am eager for our set time to arrive.

"The set begins and from the first few bars I know we are on. Dave is playing with more groove every gig and we are really starting to get a good feel for the tracks. The crowd responds well, although with the lights in your eyes sometimes you find yourself thinking mid-set, "is anyone even watching us?". The applause confirms it and the whole set feels great. The sound on stage is vibing, but once again you find yourself second guessing if the front of house mix is doing the song justice. Mike sings his arse off, Scotty rocks the bass like only Scotty can and I feel adequate. It's part of what goes with playing, you rarely feel anything but indifferent about your own performance. I felt like the other boys killed it and there are a lot of intra-band smiles and high-fives post set, so I wasn't alone.

"Just like that it is over. You get off in a hurry for The Caning to take the stage and nervously approach the bar to see what sort of a response you really got from the crowd. A few slaps on the back and 'great set' comments confirm the feeling amongst the band and you allow yourself a moment to be proud, knowing this was just one gig, in the hundreds more to come in order to get the tracks you have slaved over noticed."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Album Reviews // 1, 2 & 3

1//   Julian Simonsz ~ Julian Simonsz 

I have been complaining lately that I couldn't find the right songs for summer. Which I now have to retract because I should've just picked up Julian Simonsz' debut self-titled EP! (It would've saved me the hassle and those people having to listen to my constant music-wallowing.) Simonsz completely lives up to his Justin Timberlake comparisons, but totally owns it. This album is a gem, my favourite track is number 4: an acoustic version of I Do It For You. Big love for this, I'm pumped for Simonsz' next offering!

Read my chat with Julian HERE  ||

2// Shameem ~ The Second City

This album blew me away. I'm not going to lie, this isn't my usual type of music, but Shameem is such a standout that I had to give it a try anyway! And I'm so glad I did. This soulful, enchanting collection, with a distinctive jazzy feel, Shameem hasn't messed around with this one. The lyrics were amazing; I was so relaxed by this album that it took me way too long to write a review at all! Upcoming artists are my favourite, Shameem offers such an honest, refreshing album. Definitely give this one a chance!

Shameem finished my sentences HERE! ||

 3// Timothy Nelson & The Infidels ~ Terror Terror, 
                                                                                     Hide It Hide It
I'm just going to say it: I really love this band. Honestly, this album is a great start of the day pick-me-up. In fact I'd set it as my alarm, but that's just a sure way to make me resent it after about three days. So instead it stays ready for me to dance once the sun's fully risen. Its upbeat, quirky feel - guitar, drums, violin, synth, cello and percussion - has never sounded this much a perfect mess. Terror Terror, Hide It Hide It shouldn't work this well, but it just does. Listen to it.

I interviewed them HERE || 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Gabrielle Tozer // Author Interview

According to author Stephen King it is best to "write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open", advice that Gabrielle Tozer took to heart. Her first draft (of debut novel, The Intern) was written within five months and her sequel Faking It was released within a year of its predecessor.

This whirlwind, multi-talent has sub-edited and written for leading publications, including teen magazines DOLLY and Girlfriend. No one could ever accuse this girl of not working hard.

Gabrielle has kindly taken some time from her holidays and uber busy schedule to share her character love, hypothetical movie casting and sequel teasing with Love 'Em.

Well congratulations firstly! Writing a novel must be quite a labour of love.
Why, thank you very much.

For those unfamiliar with the story, can you give us a brief overview of your first book?
It would be my pleasure! THE INTERN follows the adventures of 17-almost-18-year-old Josie Browning, a sweet and bumbling first-year journalism student from the country. She finds herself taking part in a fiercely competitive internship at a glossy magazine in the city, resulting in a total duck-out-of-water situation for the poor thing! On top of that, Josie's dealing with a few pretty heavy issues back at home, her and best friend Angel's friendship is going through some interesting changes, and there's a guy (or two!) hanging around, which makes things more complicated... Oh, and there's awkwardness galore. Lots and lots of awkwardness.

Any sneaky hints for the second that you can share?
Talking about sequels without giving away too much is difficult! FAKING IT is set three months after THE INTERN and follows Josie on her next adventure (which is revealed at the end of the first book). There's more chaos, more awkwardness, more fun, more guy drama and, of course, more cringe-worthy shenanigans! Josie's doing her best to fit into new surroundings and it's proving to be more difficult than ever...

I know when I read a book I get really attached to the characters I'm reading about. Do you find yourself doing the same for your own characters?
 You bet! I feel for them all in some way - even the bad seeds. When they get butterflies, I get butterflies. When they're cringing, I'm cringing. When they want to kiss that guy, I want to kiss that guy (shoutout to my husband JT for being so damn understanding!). As the Robert Frost quote goes, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader".

Who's your favourite character from FAKING IT? What makes you love them in particular?
Tough question. I'm going to have to cheat by naming a few. I have soft softs for Sia, mainly for her boisterous and hear-on-her-sleeve nature, Kat for being as sassy and sharp as ever, James because he's just so damn goofy and loveable and, of course, Josie Browning - I've put her through a lot over the past year and, despite all awkwardness, she always manages to pick herself up again and carry on with things. It's a good quality.

Your background is journalism, why did you want to write a fiction work about this world?
I never thought I would, to be honest! But when the time came to work on a first draft of a novel, it seemed like a natural place to begin. The media is a fascinating, drama-filled industry teeming with creative, colourful characters, so I already had experiences I could draw on (and exaggerate the hell out of). Now, two books later, I feel ready to tackle a new world!

Was it easier or harder to write the sequel, over your debut novel?
I love writing and can't imagine doing anything else, but writing both books came with plenty of difficulties. THE INTERN came hand-in-hand with so much self-doubt: Can I even write this many words? If I can, will they even be any good? If they are, will anyone even want to publish me? As for FAKING IT: I had conquered those initial fears, but had bred a new batch of them because I had readers counting down for a sequel! Someone really needs to invent an off-switch for writers' brains...please, please, please!

How long does it take you to write a novel?
There's not an easy answer to this! It can take some people a month, others 10 years. It takes as long as it takes to tell the story you're trying to tell.

How did this compare for you, from the fast-paced world of journalism?
It was a completely different experience to go from working in a large team to being alone in a room for a few hours every day. While writing the books, I craved time on my own so I could hear myself think and dream and imagine - something that's almost impossible in an open-place office. I've always loved creative writing, though - I studied both journalism and creative writing at university, so am accustomed to chaining myself to my computer for hours and hours at ridiculous times of the day and night!

Imagining your books were to be made into a film, who would you cast as the leading lady?
Tough question! A few readers have suggested Lily Collins and I could also imagine Ariel Winter or Hailee Steinfeld in the role. Happy to hear further suggestions - I love planning a hypothetical cast! A girl's gotta dream, right? The general consensus is James could be played by Dylan O'Brien and I'm happy with that.

Thanks for having a chat with Love 'Em! I can't wait to read FAKING IT!
Thank you for having me stop by - it's been fun!

Gabrielle Tozer is an Australian author, journalist and editor. She has written for publications including Cosmopolitan, TV WEEK, Bride to Be, DOLLY and Girlfriend. Her YA novels THE INTERN and FAKING IT are out now.  

Say hello:

Feel free to squeeze in the hashtags #fakingitau #theinternau and #gabrielletozer if you fancy, too. Distractions are always welcome. Clearly.