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MUSE Series

MUSE: Mira Stanley

September 13, 2014


Like an old soul in new shoes, Mira Stanley—female half of the symbiotically harmonious duo, The Sea, The Sea—is both timeless and original. She exudes a youthful energy and a wise-beyond-her-years soul. A little Lucinda Williams, a little Rilo Kiley, and a little something all her own. When paired with the insanely sweet vocals of Chuck e. Costa and their fiercely intelligent lyrics, it's nothing short of magic-making. We can't wait for this holiday season when The Sea, The Sea will be performing at Ode (December 12th). Meet Mira, our Muse.


What’s the first line in the book about your life? What’s the last line?
‘It had been months that her mother spent upside down, trying to convince baby Mira to turn, but she stubbornly refused, entering the world instead foot first as Neil Diamond’s voice rang through the delivery room “I Am I Said!”

Last line: ‘“Until next time!”


Favorite dance move?
A little Uma Thurman/John Travolta twisting action a la Pulp Fiction.

What song breaks your heart? What song mends it?
“Changer” by Anais Mitchell. “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison. 

We love the origin of your band name. For those who don’t know it, will you expound?
THE SEA THE SEA is a cry of joy that comes from an ancient Greek tale of soldiers returning home from battle (Xenophon’s Anabasis). When they saw the ocean, they knew they were home. It’s a light a the end of the tunnel sort of scenario. Finding each other felt that way. Playing music feels that way. And there’s a lot of joy in the things we find ourselves writing about - even the more difficult things.


Repetition seems to be thematic in your titles. Could you explain what function repetition plays in your music?
We liked the repetition in the band name because we’re a duo-band - emphasizing the idea of two but one. Beyond that, I think there’s sonic satisfaction in repetition that’s almost primal. And sometimes you experience a line differently, importantly so, the second time around. I’ve always loved how to certain poetic forms, for instance, allow for those discoveries. Take our song “Guess it Was” - there’s almost a villanelle sort of thing happening that I think is the core of how that song’s meaning is conveyed. I also tend to be a very visual writer when it comes to the words of a song - like with the palindromic title of the album - I love wordplay and the occasional symmetry on a page.

Favorite palindrome:
I like the existential: Do geese see god? Also, someone once sent us a 150 word palindrome that was quite impressive.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Cooking is one of my favorite creative past times, and Chuck and I have had the pleasure of some incredible dining experiences all over the country, but in recent memory...this summer we had a mind-blowing brunch with some of my longest-time friends that my amazingly talented friend Kyky made. It was homemade eggs florentine (with eggs from Chuck’s sister’s chickens who live down the street) on sprouted grain english muffins. I love yummy tasting things that make your body feel good too. Also, Chuck introduced me to the importance of ambiance/location - even on the road - we’re forever trying to find the “scenic overlook” where we can sit and have our sandwiches.

Favorite YouTube video?
Just about anything that involves animals and unexpected friendships. I’m beginning to believe the internet exists solely for the purpose of sharing these sorts of videos. Here’s my recent favorite (warning: it’s a tearjerker): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ-bJFVJ2P0


Best song ever written: Leonard Cohen “One of Us Cannot Be Wrong”

If you were a piece of clothing, what would you be? A big ‘ol pair of earrings, something flowy, or a rockin’ pair of boots. Does that count as one? smile

What’s your spirit animal?
Peacock-horse! Though I share with my spirit sister Emma this spirit animal as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPWXOlCiEgg

Describe your perfect day.
Any day outside or with the windows open (at home or in the car) that also involves good music, good company, and good food.

If there was a perfume named after you, what would it smell like?
Once I fell in love with a scent a woman was wearing at a show we played in Cleveland. She proceeded to give me the one-of-a-kind bottle of what she told me was a homemade perfume (that she happened to have with her). It’s floral, a little sweet, and it transports me. It’s like the first day of Spring and the first day of Fall all wrapped up with every good memory I’ve ever had. I have no idea how to recreate it, but my friend Nels Andrews has an incredibly beautiful song “Wisteria” in which he references a woman on the Lower East Side who creates perfumes based on how you describe someone (or yourself). She has an enormous collection of tiny little jars of essential oils. I plan to take my little empty bottle to her one day.


What musician would you love to cover your songs? My most favorite covers are those that I would’ve never seen coming...when an artist spins someone else’s song to give it an unexpected life. So, I’d want it to be someone I wouldn’t have thought of...

If you were to write an Ode, to what would you write it?
The moon (or maybe a Grecian Urn? Is that one already taken?)

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Maybe some late night Netflix and an extra glass of red wine. Sssshhh...Don’t tell anyone.

What’s next on your bucket list?
We just met a pilot at a show in NYC who offered to fly us to our next show in the city. So that...

Top 5 favorite albums:
Let’s go with the top 5 (ok 7...) albums I’ve listened to this year. Most of them have come out in the last year or so - some just newly discovered or re-discovered :

1. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
2. Sean Rowe - Madman
3. Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I  Fight, The More I Love You
4. Lucius - Wildewoman
5. Gregory Alan Isakov - The Weatherman
6. Joshua James - From the Top of Willamette Mountain
7. Andrew Bird - Pulaski at Night

What’s your favorite word to sing? LOVE


[Chattman Photography]


 

MUSE Series

MUSE: Scout Cuomo

July 30, 2014


Scout Cuomo doesn't know the meaning of the word unimaginable. Because her worlds are built on realizing the impossible. Unicorns? Easy. Magic forest? Done. An underwater abyss layered with darkness and light? Child's play. The only thing her art lacks is stillness: her creations move, breathe, swim and gallop. Scout's work is an exploration of life: from its vast skies and deep seas, down to its sinews and musculature. And there's always an element of whimsy. Not to mention she's the coolest, sweetest person ever. Basically, she does it all. She IS it all. Meet Scout Cuomo, who invited us to her studio one hot summer day and let us throw Ode clothes, hats, shoes, and some paint on her.

What’s your Spirit Animal?
Horse peacock. I was tied. That’s like a show pony.

 
What’s the first line in the book about your life?
When we first watched Scout jump in the pool at 9 months, we thought she was drowning.



Tell us about Pinchie. 
Pinchie is a creature that landed on a friend of mine while he was biking and bit him on his neck. But I wanted to keep it as a pet because I’m cruel I guess.  It was quite a topic of discussion in our house to free Pinchie or not free Pinchie.  She died a few weeks later and then, I immortalized her giantess shell with gold and placed her in a giant glass cabachon.  She hangs out with me in my studio. I guess you should probably hate me now that I kept this giant bug and then made it a desk top paper weight. The world has some crazy critters in it.
 
                                                                    "Pinchie"

If you were an article of clothing, what would you be and what color/pattern?
I would be a short jumper covered in paint.




In your opinion, what’s hot for 2014?
2014 is sizzling with the woman who lives in her truth. That hotness boasts about her fine curves, she eats humble pie, she spits out humble pie too, she wears lots of eye liner, or she doesn’t, she laughs too loud, she’s messy, she’s shy, she is neat, she is unapologetic about being a woman, but sometimes apologizes for accidentally hurting your feelings because it’s a beautiful thing to care and care for.  And let’s not underestimate some good clunky leather shoes to match.

Who’s the most important person you’ve ever met?
Oh wow, I’m not sure.  Probably my first art teacher mixed with my parents. 

What’s your death-row meal?
Let’s see here, first there’s going to need to be some summer strawberries and a cold beer, then bring in the steak and potatoes with whatever that tomato basil sauce from Sierra Grille is and some red wine, but I don’t know which one, and I’ll finish this life up with a sugar cookie loaded with frosting and probably shaped as a unicorn. Actually two of those cookies.

If you were given a grant to fund the project of a lifetime, what would you create?
Ok, this is admittedly just self-centered, but I would get a big brick building and convert the rooms into a giant ‘making factory’.  A ‘making factory’ has  air conditioning and a hearty furnace.  It holds different rooms for different means of making.  There would be one for carpentry, for ceramics, painting, photography, textile arts, blacksmithing, animation, and silk screening to start. It would employ lots of professional makers and students to do their things, but also help me make big production projects.  I guess that sounds like Andy Warhol’s factory, but mine would be less sociopathic and with a roof top garden. I know, I really wanted to want to say something that would also save the world....

What are 5 things you could but wouldn’t want to live without?
Well, I don’t mean to get somber, but my hands and eyes, a car that can carry lots of stuff around, the beach, and a contraption to play music and podcasts.

If you had to listen to only one song on repeat, what would it be?
One!? Just one. Can I make a mash up then: Annie Lennox's “Little Bird”;  Glass Animals' "Gooey"; Hozier's "Take me to Church"; and Beyonce's "Drunk in Love." (...Sometimes the mash up wants Pat Benatar's "Invincible.")

What’s your fashion philosophy?
Do it! Do your thing! For me, I think I’m having a “you can take the girl out of Texas but not the Texas out of the girl” life where I think hair should go big, jeans are tight, and you should be able to run, dance, jump a fence, and go out to a semi-nice dinner in it. Otherwise, I’m probably uncomfortable.

What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
I am just having the toughest time picking one of anything here. Emma falling in love with her baby, Maurice, when she came out of surgery this year.  I never saw love like that before. Also scuba diving in the ocean.  It’s magic in there.



                                                   [Chattman Photography]
 

MUSE Series

MUSES: Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius

January 1, 2014

Take a woman with original style, voice, strength, and beauty. Now double that. It's what you get with Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the Brooklyn born Lucius. We first met the identically clad and coiffed Jess and Holly at Wilco's Solid Sound Music Festival where, in front of throngs of sweaty fans, they performed songs from their newly released and highly acclaimed album, Wildewoman. We've been listening to them at Ode ever since, fantasizing about getting to dress them. Our wish was granted when Lucius came through town again in early December, and they let us get our hands--and clothes--on them. Not only are Jess and Holly musical geniuses with harmonies that make Simon and Garfunkel sound like amateurs, but they are also insanely kind, sweet, gracious, and so much fun to be around. Not to mention they can rock a cat-eye like no one's business. You must listen to Lucius now. 

How did you two meet?
Jess and I met in college back in 2003 through mutual friends. A few years later, we connected on similar musical influences, similar experiences and views, and began co-writing. When we realized how special our sonic kinship was on top of that, there was no going back.


What do you love about your job?
What's not to love? Being able to sustain ourselves by creating and sharing music with the world is the dream. There are so many incredible artists who don't get the opportunity to do that. The arts in general are under-appreciated in so many areas, so we consider ourselves very lucky and will always continue to work hard to keep it up.

Where do you find inspiration?
In so many things--stories, conversations, interesting visuals, other eras and what they encompass, other artists, but also normal everyday life. Children are a great inspiration--they keep us imagining and questioning and appreciating the small stuff. There really is inspiration wherever you're willing to look for it.

 

What embodies a ‘Wildewoman’?
A Wildewoman is strong, open minded, unabashed- or working towards those things, which takes strength in itself. It's someone interested in journeying off the beaten path.

What is your dream project?
One night with the dead: John Lennon, Roy Orbison, James brown, Joe Meek, Carmen Miranda. And David Bowie as our goblin king.

If I wasn’t doing this, I would be...
A detective. There is a reason why I'm not one, but I love the suspense and solving puzzles
An architect. The idea of building a space from conception. Using my hands. Finding materials and interesting locations. I've been inspired by Gehry, Wright, and Richard Meier for a long time.


If you were a piece of clothing, what would be and what color/pattern? 
A pair of 60's Go-Go boots because we feel like they're glued to our feet already. We love a sweet printed shift or romper, too.

What's your go-to "happy" song? 
Anytime we want a good cackle we put on Flight of the Concords "Bowie's in Space."



When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Holly and I got carried away head banging in den Haag, the Netherlands this Fall. Lets just say we were solid for 2 whole songs and couldn't move our necks for the 2 days that followed. It was worth it though!

Watch and listen to Jess and Holly's impromptu performance at Ode:

Styling: Kristin Kelly. Makeup: Jenessa Cintron. [Chattman Photography]

Ode Muse Series : Lucius from Chattman Photography on Vimeo.

MUSE Series / Designer Feature

MUSE: Gail Travis

September 12, 2013

MUSE: Gail Travis
View Photos

We were honored (and totally smitten) to be able to spend a day with Gail Travis, designer of N:F:P (New Form Perspective), a collection of luxe sculptural sweaters that can be worn numerous ways. According to Gail: "I create the New Form, and the wearer chooses the Perspective." The Muse has spoken.

MUSE Series

MUSE: Suz Slezak

July 6, 2013

MUSE: Suz Slezak

An interview and lookbook with Ode's newest inspiration: Suz Slezak of The David Wax Museum band. Suz (rhymes with "muse") is a natural beauty with a knack for making music from pretty much everything she touches. We got to spend a day with her in a field of flowers with a jawbone and an accordian. Best afternoon ever! 

What have you been up to this past year?
Since releasing our fourth record, Knock Knock Get Up, in September 2012, we've been touring like crazy! East Coast to West Coast, Canada, Europe, even a trip to China.

Do you have any favorite stories from tour?
We had the beautiful fortune of getting invited to play at the University of Shanghai last spring. What an experience! Such curious, inspiring students, hilarious moments trying to speak Mandarin, and so many different kinds of dumplings to suck on! There's a wonderful video on our website (www.davidwaxmuseum.com) about our adventures in Shanghai filmed by an incredible videographer, Erik Jacobs, that came along. 

How is your stage style and your street style different/similar?
Oh goodness. My style has been a work in progress from the get-go. At first I was terrified of having to dress up on stage. But now it's become a fun part of the job. Since I'm the only woman in the band, I try to wear something colorful and fun since the guys usually end up with a pretty muted color palette. I typically have just one outfit for a string of shows. You know, when it works, it works. Plus, I only bring a small suitcase with me, so I don't really have room for much more.

I have this idea of writing a little book about what a woman needs on the road. It's actually not much at all when you get down to it. A pair of jeans, some yoga pants, a soft sweatshirt, running shoes, and my gig outfit. Plus a small blanket (you never know when the venue will blast the AC or you'll be stuck outside in the winter), coconut oil (for removing make up and general moisturizing) and a can of sardines (in case I need a quick snack before a show). Those are the basic necessities!

What musicians/albums have influenced you the most?
My favorite musician since I was about 13 years old is Gillian Welch. No one compares to the power of her voice, the simplicity of the production, and her songwriting that hits you in your gut every time you listen.

What were your favorite cities/venues to play this past year?
Oh, so many! Los Angeles, CA, Portsmouth, NH, Sun Valley, ID, Paris, France, the list goes on!

What's next?
We'll be releasing our record in Europe this summer, touring through the fall, then taking a break this winter before recording a new album in 2014. The adventure never ends!

MUSE: Suz Slezak
MUSE: Suz Slezak
MUSE: Suz Slezak
MUSE: Suz Slezak
MUSE: Suz Slezak
MUSE: Suz Slezak