FashionInsta-cute! Amanda Norgaard for NY Times Style

Amanda Norgaard by Sanchez & Mongiello, New York Times Style Winter 2010

MusicArtist to Watch: Ski Lodge

Ski Lodge is the perfect band to be our last featured artist from the Digital Album. I mean, it’s winter and their name is Ski Lodge. Who doesn’t want to think about log cabins, snowmen, hot coco, and ski lifts? Hailing from Brooklyn, this fearsome foursome is coming up in the world of music, being featured at CMJ in October. Without futher ado, come join me for an interview with Andrew Marr. 


So the band name begs the question, are you stoked on skiing or snowboarding? Or have a love of hot toddies at the lodge?
Ha, yeah I like both. Been snowboarding for a while but I’m thinkin about switching back to skiing. I always picture a certain scene when I hear the term “ski lodge.” People hangin around having a good time, by a fire, colorful/florescent one piece ski suits, bad sweaters… probably some hot toddies!
How do you hope to inspire your fans? What do you want fans to get out of your music, especially “I Would Die To Be?”
Umm, I guess if I inspire someone at all then that’s a win for me ha! I really just want the music to be something that makes fans happy or gives them something to relate to when they aren’t so happy… With this song specifically, I guess I just wanted it to express a level of frustration toward someone you like want to be with but things aren’t going the way you’d like them to. I think most fans would be able to relate to that.
What would you be doing if you weren’t (or when you’re not) making music?
When I’m not making music I like to eat/cook, watch movies, run, and play golf. If you’re asking what I’d be doing for a career, I’d probably choose being a chef or a pro golfer(even though I’m not that good at golf).
Fill in the blank, Ski Lodge is forever grateful for …
Bill Murray.
(Who doesn’t love them some Bill Murray? This picture doesn’t really have anything to do with Ski Lodge, it’s just awesome)
I know you guys are slated to play College Music Journal’s Music Marathon in October. Do you tour often?
Well “Ski Lodge” has only been around officially for about 4 months, so we just played our first 2 shows as a band at Cake Shop NYC this past month. We plan to try and do a bunch of touring once CMJ is over.
What have you learned about yourself in your musical evolution?
That I am very good at starting things but not always good at finishing them!
Do you have pre- or post-show rituals?
Nah I don’t think so. Recently I’ve been drinking lots of coffee before shows in order to get as anxious as possible, does that count?
Best show?
I’d have to say one of these recent shows at Cake Shop here in New York. I mean if I’m talking about “Ski Lodge shows” then I only have 2 experiences to go off of haha. But even counting shows from the past with other bands and stuff, these recent ones were really exciting, there was a sort of buzz surrounding them, at least from my point of view. And we had great audiences for both of them. That’s really what makes a show for me, it all depends on how the audience reacts to the music and if they are like dancing and stuff. 
Of course, then I need to ask … any disaster shows?
The closest thing to a disaster that I’ve experienced happened to me with my band down in Florida. Our bassist fell off the face of the earth the day before we were supposed to play our first show as a band. He decided to resurface, totally wasted (with none of his equipment), as we were doing a sound check. Then I think he got kicked out of the venue for bringing in his own bottle of whiskey. So we played without a bass player ha.. I guess it wasn’t a disaster per se, but definitely interesting and awkward.
How does fashion inspire you?
I think fashion is one of the best ways to express yourself. Fashion has inspired lyrics of mine in some instances… I’ve always appreciated certain trends and I feel like things are always better when people are dressed fashionably, not like totally crazy, but just enough to bring a certain vibe to a place. Does that make sense??
What else inspires you? Other artists?
There’s so much that inspires me! Other music is probably the main thing. There’s awesome music coming out every week, it’s so hard to keep up with. But the fact that bands and artists keep putting out great music helps me believe that I can also continue to make music that is somewhat authentic and fresh.
Favorite movie?
I don’t really have just one favorite. I love “Eyes Wide Shut” and “The Big Lebowski” to name a couple.

Favorite artist?
Always been a fan of Salvador Dali. I wish I was familiar with more artists than I am, that’s something I plan to do.
Favorite musician/band?
This changes so often. Right now it’s Beirut, maybe? It’s kind of just whatever album I’ve been listening to the most. Currently I’ve been loving Beirut’s “The Rip Tide.”
What’s next for Ski Lodge?
I think we will try and do some sort of touring for a little while, probably not long because I’m anxious to start recording the full length. So that’s the next big thing I guess – a full length record! 

MusicArtist to Watch: The Make

The Make is pretty much a Chico legend in the making.  Jeff Schneeweis & Trevor Sellers both come from the former local legend band Number One Gun, and Aaron Rodgers (oh, you know, just the QB of the Green Bay Packers and Superbowl champ) sought them out to be on his new record label. Add super hot Sarah Ann (See You Soon) into the mix, and you have music gold. And believe me, there is nothing not to love about these guys. 

We caught up with Sarah Ann to get some quality girl time and catch up on the deets about touring with the boys, video blogs, and being the only girl in the band. Check out her interview below!
How’d you end up hooking up with the guys [Jeff Schneeweis & Trevor Sellers]?
Last year Jeff produced a CD for me, I had a solo project I was doing, so I met him that way. He had his wife let me stay with them for a month [Sarah’s from Fresno] so I got to know the family pretty well and just stayed in touch since then.
The Make seems to really take advantage of social media. Why do you think it’s important to connect with your fans through these avenues?
There’s so many ways you can reach out to people online and contact people, it’s so easy now-a-days. That’s one of the things touring was really good for back in the day before you had all these ways to get out there and talk to your fans. That’s just one of the main parts of this band – we want to be connected to people who like our music and what we do because they are the ones that allow us to do it…. So we take full advantage of the Internet so everyone can see what we’re doing all the time. We are always videoing funny things, hilarious things seem to happen all the time.
What kind of funny things can we see in the future of your video blog?
Well, Jeff is a big coffee lover – he has it morning, noon and night – and the other night we were going to have some, it was all rainy … Jeff realized he didn’t have any more coffee filters … so he went into the trash and got out an old one and rinsed it off. This had to be documented, so I grabbed my phone. He’s really that much of a fan of coffee. I’m sure that’ll be one of the future videos we make.
How do you hope to inspire your fans? What do you want fans to get out of your music?
We just really like writing really fun music, it’s one of the things we’ve done a long time and we enjoy it, so we hope our fans can hear that in our music. And coming up on our tour, seeing us playing live onstage, we’re just so excited to see everyone. We are flattered they let us do what we love to do and we hope it inspires them to do something they love to do.
What would you be doing if you weren’t (or when you’re not) making music?
Lately I’ve been in Chico, hanging out and we’ve been staying really busy [with music]. On downtime, I would be back home in Fresno, mostly hanging out with my mom and friends and helping my mom, which is always fun. But right now music is keeping me pretty busy, it’s like 24/7.
Fill in the blank, The Make is forever grateful for …
… Fans. That’s our main priority with everything we do. We really do take everybody’s opinions and comments and when they give us awesome reviews – we thrive on that. If we didn’t have any fans, then we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing. That’s what we’re most grateful for.
What’s it like being the only girl in the band? Nervous about touring with all boys?
I’m not really nervous. I’m around these guys all the time …. I guess you have to have a little bit of a thick skin because guys are just goofy and think they’re funny a lot of the times, so you have to remember to laugh! It’ll be fun, we’re all really close and pretty much best friends.

How are you touring? Flying, then driving? Driving only?
Driving. From here to New York. The other day we asked, “Who came up with this idea?”
How does fashion inspire you?
Oh man, I‘m the first to say I’m not the greatest with fashion, but I love shopping and I like finding different looking things and things that kind of try to start trends, even if it might look funky. It definitely inspires me a lot. You can tell a lot about someone by clothes, like telling whether somebody is in a band or not. I hope we have awesome stage outfits, so kids offstage will know, “hey they are in a band.” LuLu*s has awesome clothes that I’ve seen…. I’m excited to be able to work with them.
What else inspires you? Other artists?
I go through musical phases; I’ll get super into country or slow, indie stuff. I’m a big ballad person myself so a lot of my music is acoustic and slow with romancy ballads. I’m not a daily inspired person; I can’t just sit down and … write 10 songs in one day. Life basically is what inspires me – something happens, good or bad, it’s really just things in my own life. Sometimes it’ll last longer than others, sometimes for one song or sometimes I can write a whole record. It’s the ups and downs of life.
Aaron Rodgers, QB for Packers, owns the label you’re on. Are you a football fan, or are you now?
I’m trying.
Favorite movie? 
I like when I can watch movies over and over again. I’d say one is “Finding Nemo.” On the other end of the spectrum, I really like “Braveheart.”
Favorite musician/band?
I really like Miranda Lambert. I like all her music, every album has been consistently good. I really like Rascal Flatts. I love them live. I’m a big country person I guess.
What’s next for The Make?
We have that tour coming up…. We are trying to think about getting a tour going on the West Coast, to Seattle and Oregon – a kind of mini-tour. We don’t get up to Seatlle on this tour and we have a lot of friends up there. After that, just working on our new album.
You can hear more about The Make over at their website, as well as being on our Digital Album, free with every order!!

FashionThe LuLu*s Holiday Dress Guide

Tis the season of The Holiday Party and shopping for the perfect outfit can be the best or worst few weeks of my life. Just so you guys know, I was born on Christmas (yes, it’s really cool but it sucks at the same time). So holiday dress shopping for me doubles up, as do other things, on this time of year. I need to have birthday and holiday ensembles. Sigh.
But to make it less stressful for you gals out there I decided to put together a little Holiday Dress Guide. You know, just to point you in the right direction of some goodies here at LuLu*s and to open your eyes to new options. Let’s get started.  
Sequins. They’re everywhere, and for good reason. They are the key to looking fabulous pretty much anywhere and they are the “it” item for this winter. The best thing is you can get them in so many different styles. Want to be edgy and sexy? No problem. Soft and sweet? Got you covered. Just want to look bangin’ and bedazzled? Done. Love one of the dresses above (or any in this article)? Just click the image of the dress you like and it will take you right to it!
These are for those of you who aren’t necessarily thrilled by the regular party dress. You’re funky and you know it. Walk like an Egyptian with a 70s/Cleopatra inspired dress. Be bold with a bright romper. Add a touch of class with a lace dress in jewel tone. Show ‘em how it’s done with a little funk.
Let me tell you a secret: black and gold are my go-to for holiday party color combos, especially because I like things on the edgy side. So I gave you a sampling of choice looks that have a little bite. The sequin black jumpsuit paired with gold heels is prefect for that devil-may-care-but-I-still-want-to-look-fabulous attitude. Show off your best assets with a cutout bodycon number. My fav? The comfy cool vibe of pairing sequin tap shorts with a velvet top and bold patterned tights. 
Who says you need to wear a dress for a party? Well, not us. Go get your menswear on with a white smoking jacket, a cute, shiny top and leather pants. Dress up a cute graphic tee with a sequin mini and a fuzzy cardi. Or just get archtectual with a bold skirt and a blouse with shoulder details. 
Mmm shoes. So beautiful. My three simple picks for holiday shoe wear: sequins, bright colors and a dash of seventies style. That’s all you need. Now if you’ll excuse me, all this talk of clothes is making me want to get holiday shop on. 

MusicArtist to Watch: Empress Hotel

Empress Hotel is like my perfect boyfriend, they love tacos and Jameson, have a love for awesome facial hair, a great sense of humor, and make me want to dance. No wonder they were a perfect fit for our Digital Album. This pop ensemble hails from New Orleans and are inspired by one hit wonders from the 70s (Ace and The Dwight Twilley Band, click, really, I dare you) as well as great such as Prince and Roxy Music.
Before you go on to read their interview below, check out their video for Mach Bach, the song featured on our digital album. It’s super rad, and it features glitter balloons. That’s right, balloons filled with glitter. Now watch!

“Mach Bach” by Empress Hotel from drew stubbs on Vimeo.


First, we have to say, we loved the “Mach Bach” video. All the balloons and glitter made us happy. What was the thought behind that video?
The video idea was originally us in a ball pit with New Orleans bounce booty clappers. However, director Drew Stubbs came up with a more economical method of conveying that same playfulness without having to rent out a Chuck E. Cheese.
Drew is the man. I blame him for that video being amazing. He was in that space at 7 a.m. blowing up balloons. ‘Twas a great idea and we look forward to working with him again. 


How do you hope to inspire your fans?


Through heartfelt lyricism, a personally affecting live performance and dope ass beards.
What do you want fans to get out of your music?
A peaceful, easy feeling.
What would you be doing if you weren’t (or when you’re not) making music?
Micah: Watching star trek
Ryan: Shaving
Jack: Playing golf
Hache: Bikram yoga
Eric: Big room yogurt
Fill in the blank, Empress Hotel is forever grateful for:
Responsive crowds filled with beautiful, well-dressed women. Also grateful for a bottle of Jameson in our green room. Cheap tacos are nice too.
You guys are based in an area known for its rich musical culture. How do you draw on this and make it your own?
We take the lessons we’ve learned from growing up in a musically rich city and apply those lessons to writing great pop melodies.
Do you have pre- or post-show rituals?
Bird watching, beer drinking and beard trimming.
Best show?
Nashville – 3rd and Lindsley on Sept 25, 2011 with Van Hunt.
Of course, then I need to ask … any disaster shows?
Once – we were the band on the Titanic.
How does fashion inspire you?
We all love great hats, and often you will notice more than two hats on stage. Goorin Bros hats are particularly snazzy.
What else inspires you? Other artists?
Jack is personally inspired by a great dish of spaghetti and meatballs, particularly those meatballs that are made with parmesan.
Favorite movie?
Micah: “Mulholland Drive”
Hache: “Serpico”
Jack: “Kenny”
Ryan: “Jurassic Park”
Eric: “Fargo”
Favorite artist?
Micah: Pablo Picasso
Hache: Ryland Cook
Jack: My aunt. She’s a painter.
Ryan: [Jackson] Pollock
Eric: [Salvador] Dali
Favorite musician/band?
Micah: The Kinks
Hache: Os Mutantes
Jack: Neil Young
Ryan: Michael McDonald
Eric: Floating Action
What’s next for Empress Hotel?
Europe, Japan, Australia. New full-length album in spring 2012. Tour, tour, tour!!!

As always, you can get more of Empress Hotel on our Digital Album, free with each order, no matter how big or small. Plus, the more you order the more you have a chance to win our golden ticket. And who doesn’t love having a real life Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moment?