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.
 
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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. 
 
 xoxo

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!!!
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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? 

 

MusicArtist to Watch: Said the Whale

On the next installment of Artist to Watch, we have our next band from our digital album, Said the Whale. We found this gem via word of mouth, and let me tell you, we weren’t disappointed. This Vancouver-based band captures the best of west coast indie-pop. We caught up with keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown for a few questions.

I noticed Said the Whale was featured in a CBS documentary about breaking into America. Do you think that is truly important? How do you think it’s going?
Yah! We have been doing well in our home country of Canada, and it’s really awesome to have such great shows and amazing Canadian fans!  But it’s very important to get your name out into the world, especially America. The US is so musically strong and for us to build up a fan base in the states would be very beneficial. We’ve only toured the western and northern states, as well as Texas for a festival called South by Southwest, so we still have quite a few states to play. The shows have been quite small, which is only natural, but everyone’s extremely friendly and receptive to our music. One can only hope that they tell their friends about us and the next time we roll into their city, we make a couple more fans.
 
How has Vancouver inspired you?
I’ve lived my entire 23 years in Vancouver, and it’s such a beautiful place to grow up. There’s so much to see in and around the city because of the location. Natural beauty is what usually inspires me, so being close to the mountains and ocean really helps. There are also tons of local Vancouver bands that we have become friends with who are musical geniuses and continually motivate us to write.
 
How do you hope to inspire your fans? What do you want fans to get out of your music, especially “Gentleman.”
Whenever I see shows, it makes me want to be on stage, even if I performed just the other night. It also makes me want to improve. Music is a crazy thing because you can express yourself to thousands of people at a time. I’ve had fans come up to me saying they used to play piano as a kid, put it aside for some reason, and because they saw me play they want to have another crack at it. That’s ridiculously exciting to me. So I hope I can inspire people to pick up an instrument, whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth time.
 
We try to write songs that our relatable and move the listener in some form. Some of our songs are upbeat and danceable, others more emotional. There’s quite a diversity to our music since we have two lead singers, Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft, who are the songwriters and each have their unique style. Our song “Gentleman” is a tricky one for me to answer a question about because it’s from the male perspective. Tyler (the writer of the song) describes it as “a little personal song about getting burned by a girl.” There are four guys in the band, and I can say that they’re all gentleman.
 
What would you be doing if you weren’t (or when you’re not) making music?
Before I joined the band I was studying sciences at the University of British Columbia. I was interested in going to veterinary school, but music has always been my passion. I’m thankful that I’m in the band and pursuing what I love because I now realize that being a veterinarian isn’t what I want to be. When I joined the band I didn’t have time for school, so sometime in the future I’d love to go back and possibly get a degree in teaching and teach music. I knew that school would always be there, but being asked to join a band that I loved was a one-time thing for me. When I’m not on tour or doing band things, I teach piano as well as take time to see friends and family. It’s rough being on the road for about seven or more months out of the year, so it’s great just to relax and spend time at home.
 
What’s it like being the only girl in the band (and how is touring)?
Being the only girl in a band is maybe the greatest thing. Some people would call me crazy, but I love being the only girl. You get a lot of attention. When you put two or more girls together for a month on the road, you’re bound to have drama. We hardly ever have any drama between band members, maybe a disagreement from time to time. I’ve grown up with an older brother and a lot of guy friends so I’m used to being with guys all the time. We also tour with tons of bands that are all guys, so sometimes I’m the only girl amongst 15 talented men, lucky me?
 
Any good touring stories?
Usually things that happen to us on tour turn into inside jokes or ones that we can’t quite publicize. But one that recently happened to us in March is quite appropriate. We were touring for the first time in the states and during our first week our trailer that we keep all of our instruments and luggage got broken into. We had played in Sacramento that night. It’s possible that they followed us to where we were staying and waited until we were asleep. Luckily they didn’t take everything, but we had over $8000 worth of gear stolen, including one of my keyboards, two coveted acoustic guitars, two glockenspiels (bell kits), cymbals, guitar pedals, and three suitcases (one of them being mine that had all of my favourite dresses, including one that I was to wear for the Juno Awards in Toronto a couple weeks later). It was an unfortunate event, but it created a lot of buzz, which also helps get our name out there and was included in our CBC documentary “Winning America.” We also ended up winning a Juno Award for Best New Band (I had to find a different dress to wear). That tour was bittersweet for sure.
 
Best show? Of course, that begs the question … any disaster shows?
Best show, oooh that’s a hard one. There isn’t one show that stands out for me. Most shows in Canada are wonderful. But there are so many factors to take into account: fans, sound, our performance (musically and visually), etc. I can name some cities that I love playing in: Vancouver (of course!), Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and St John’s (because bands rarely tour that far east, and so their fans are eager and awesome). I guess I just have to wait to name American cities because there are still so many we have yet to play in. We have had some unfortunate things happen during shows, like bad sound on stage, but we don’t let that affect us. People are there to see us play, sometimes for the first time, so we try our best to put on a great show every time.

 

How does fashion inspire you?
Fashion can totally change how you carry yourself. I love being able to dress up for shows. It’s funny, I used to wear skinny jeans and a t-shirt for shows to fit in with the guys, but now I go for the dresses or skirts and rock them with sneakers. It’s fun to play up being the only girl, but comfort is always key! I usually see what the venue’s like and figure out what I want to wear. Sometimes I even try to remember what I wore the previous show in that city so that I don’t double up on outfits.
 
What else inspires you? Other artists?
I touched on this in a previous answer, but other artists are probably my biggest influence, especially Canadian musicians. I’m a huge fan of Metric, Tokyo Police Club, Dan Mangan, Hey Rosetta, Mother Mother, Aidan Knight, and so many more. I recommend you go out and buy their albums and/or see their shows!

Favorite movie?
Funny you should ask this. I just watched the most amazing independent film last night called “Incendies”, which is probably my new favourite.  It’s an adaptation of a play about two twins who discover they have an unknown brother after opening their mother’s will. They embark on a journey to the Middle East to entangle their roots and find out what happened to their brother. I will say no more because I don’t want to give it away. It really captivated me like no movie has before. 
 
What’s next for Said the Whale?
 
We are getting ready to tour the states again! It’s a one-month tour starting on the east coast, hitting cities all the way down to Miami, across to Austin, and then up the west coast. I’m really excited for this tour because I haven’t been to the east coast (and neither has the rest of the band), so it’s new territory for us. Tour dates can be found on our website: saidthewhale.com. As for albums, we have a 4-song EP called “New Brighton” which will be released November 8th, and a full length album (name not released yet) which will come out March 6th, 2012.
 
One last thing: Thank you LuLu*s for featuring us on your blog! And on behalf of Said the Whale, I hope that everyone enjoys our song “Gentleman!” Maybe see some of you on the road.
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Want more? Don’t worry, anytime you order from us, you get access to our free digital download! For now, you can suffice with their Island Disappear EP below!

http://saidthewhale.bandcamp.com/album/islands-disappear

FashionReal vs. Steal: Rebecca Minkoff Dress

 

We always want things we can’t have; it’s part of nature, right? Well, at least I know I feel that way. I love looking at expensive things that I can one day own. We can’t all spend $500 on a dress. That’s why I love how the fashion world “borrows” styles and makes a more affordable version for us mortals. So here’s another version of Real vs Steal, with an ever-so-sexy Rebecca Minkoff dress. 
 
Real
 
Rebecca Minkoff Pleated Sexy Dress $428
 
 VS

Steal
 
Surprise Surprise dress in black, fuchsia, and teal $36.50