Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Future Is Female ~ A Chat With The Seamonsters...

You here a lot about sexism and misogyny in the music industry with almost weekly articles about mistreatment and misrepresentation of female artists. However, with a clear influx of female musicians stepping into the limelight and a rise of females on festival line-ups, is the situation looking up? Is the future of music female? New 6-piece, all girl indie band suggest this is true as The Seamonsters are making serious waves in the Sheffield music scene. I caught up with Naomi (vocals), Lauren (bass/backing vocals), Holly (lead guitar/backing vocals), Tassie (rhythm guitar), Lydia (keyboard) and Ciara (drums) to chat about influences, fave moments and stepping into the music industry as a girl squad...

So tell me a bit about how The Seamonsters came about...

Ciara: The Seamonsters started in 2012, we were a group of friends who played instruments and wanted something to do so the obvious idea to start a band came about. I think the fact that other people around us were also starting bands made it easier, we shared a practise space with a few other bands our age for a couple of years.

Which artists would you say have the biggest influence on your music?

Naomi: I'd say there is quite a big range of artists that have influenced our music, as we have personal favourites that inspire our own musical perspective whilst writing songs and also inspire us in terms of performance and style. As a band, the main musical influences come from bands such as The Wombats and Two Door Cinema Club, as we are very inspired by their combination of catchy guitar riffs, strong melodies and a distinctive techno sound. We tend to get very inspired by local bands and new bands that we like, recently bands such as Black Honey, Blossoms, The Magic Gang, Tame Impala etc. Personally for me, female-fronted bands such as Wolf Alice, Alvvays and Beach House inspire me, as well as iconic artists such as Blondie and Bjork.

What's your creative process like when writing a song?

Naomi: Particularly with how we write now, our creative process often involves someone showing an idea on their instrument and each person adding on their part, whilst we share ideas on melodies, chords, structure, lyrics etc. A few times, one of us has written a whole song and shown it and taught it to the rest of the band, but we mostly collaborate and create our songs step by step as a band.

Was it an intentional decision to start an all-girl band or did it just happen naturally?

Tassie: No, we were all really good friends before and all played instruments and loved music so we thought it'd be fun to try playing together. We do sort of play to the "all girl" thing now though because I mean it is something that makes us stand out a bit and something we're proud of. But I don't think we ever intentionally decided we wanted to make any sort of statement, because although obviously all girl bands are a minority in the music industry, I don't think that forming one should have to be "making a stand" or anything like that, because if you make a big deal about it, it's not going to become normal for people.

Do you think being a girl band has put extra obstacles in your way entering the music industry? Or has it helped?

Tassie: I don't think that we've ever really experienced any kind of negativity about us being an all girl band, I mean, you get the odd comment and sometimes people have lower expectations of us before we play if they've heard we're an all girl band but I don't think it's ever stopped us from doing anything. I definitely think it's helped us more than it's been a problem for us, it's meant getting attention from great organisations like Girls Against and being given opportunities like getting to play at women's rights events.

Is there anything about the industry that worries you or makes you nervous to really dive into the business?

Naomi: The industry is more exciting than worrying, and the main obstacle is criticism towards the band. However, as we can continue creating music that people will enjoy and listen to, nothing can get in our way.

How do you feel about the current treatment of female artists?

Naomi: I think the treatment of female artists in the band industry particularly is essentially more equal, mostly due to the growth of females in bands and a general decrease of sexism. It's great to see that they are perceived as creative individuals who are musically and stylistically inspiring, rather than the over-sexualisation and shallow view of famous female pop artists.

What's been your favourite band moment so far?

Lydia: Getting to play at The Leadmill and seeing our name on the front of the O2 Academy for the first time!

Ciara: Recording was really fun as well, it’s really cool being able to make music with some of your best friends.

Who are some of your fave local bands?

Naomi: Our favourite local bands include Trash, The SSS, Bayonet, Time Sellers, Red Faces etc. We love to be a part of the local band community and support other bands, and it's very important for gigs and becoming locally known.

Which of your own songs is your fave to play live?

Tassie: As a guitarist, my favourite songs to play live are probably sunshine criminal or one of our new ones, anonymous. But I love playing afraid of heights because I see everyone singing along and all our mates in the crowd putting their arms around each other.

Naomi: Personally, it mostly depends on the gig and I tend to weirdly change between which songs I prefer. At the moment, my favourite song as a band to play is lost (and found) as it creates a great atmosphere, and afraid of heights receives a good reaction from the audience and is fun to perform.

What's the best gig you’ve ever been to?

Naomi: I have many favourite gigs and I don't have one specific gig, but some of my personal favourites are Blossoms at The Leadmill, The Last Shadow Puppets, The Wombats, and literally all of festival season, such as Catfish at Tramlines and Circa Waves, Black Honey, Ratboy, The Magic Gang and Noel Gallagher at Y Not?

Ciara: Probably The Stone Roses in Manchester, also the last shadow puppets were really good! In the summer we all went to Y Not? festival which was amazing!


Definitely a band to keep your eyes on if you're after some glittery indie magic.

Find The Seamonsters-

Facebook - /theseamonsters
Insta- @the_seamonsters
Twitter- @cmonstersmusic

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Uni Room Tour...

Bedding - IKEA (no longer available)
Tapestry - Ebay
V-Pillow - Argos
Battery-operated fairy lights - Primark
Shoe Rack - IKEA
Drawers - Unknown (you can get them everywhere though)

Whiteboard - Wilko
To-Do List- Sink or Swim Designs (comes in set of 3 with timetables)
Pen Pot- IKEA
Mirror - Matalan

I've been at uni for just under a month now and my room has only just reached a point where I'm ready to show you all. With student accommodation you've got to just work with what you've got as it will never been 100% amazing unless you're willing to pay a ridiculous amount each week, but no matter how good or how bad, you'll find a way to make it feel homely.

For me, I wanted to try and recreate my room at home to a certain extent. So I've practically re-made my manifestation board with added photos of family and friends that I printed before I arrived, and the essential to-do lists and timetables. Not only does this make my room feel way more familiar but it's full of positive reminders and memories which are vital. Similarly I brought with me a couple of little trinkets from home to make my bookshelf feel more like me, I couldn't leave home without my heart-shaped sunglasses or my Patti Smith Horses CD. The cactus, however, is a new addition that I picked up at a plant sale at the student union.

The biggest struggle for me was trying to handle the bright green wall in my room. In Sheffield, each block of flats has a colour and I was unfortunate enough to get vivid green (the yellow and orange flats are worse though so I count my blessings). If you've been around a while and read my posts about my room at home, you'll know that I always prefer a calmer, more neutral room, opting for greys and whites. So trying to make a green room feel cosy and homely has been a challenge. For a while my tapestry was draped on my bed, but I decided to cover up as much of the green as possible by putting some non-marking hooks (non-marking is a MUST you don't want a massive fine at the end of the year) and hang it on the wall. This has honestly made all the difference and I love my room now. The tapestry and my fairy lights make it so cosy and just so much more me. Since doing that I've felt way more settled.

If you're heading to uni next year or in the future, here's my top things you should definitely definitely bring for your room-

  • Shoe-rack - This just stops clutter when you've got a small room and several pairs of shoes, trust me. Your room will be messy enough so it's best to give your shoes a home.
  • An extra box or drawers for spare food - If your accommodation is anything like mine, you wont have enough kitchen storage. So having somewhere to store extra food in your room will really help. I use a set of plastic drawers just so everything is tidied away. Also this means you can bulk buy things like pasta or whatever either before you come or when you arrive as you've got a place to keep spares.
  • A little whiteboard - This one is pretty simple. Life gets hectic so having somewhere to write yourself little reminders is so so essential. Same with a to-do list and a timetable it'll just help you stay organised. If you check out theorganisedstudent, they have loads of useful printables for organisation like that.
  • Door hooks - So many coats, so little wardrobe space. You can pick up some over the door hooks for like £1 so having some with you will really help you out with closet space. 
My room is obviously never going to compare to my room at home which I spent a lot of time designing and love so so much, but for now it's home. All the accommodation for Sheffield uni is pretty much identical, so if you're looking at the uni (which you should), this is the sort of thing you'll get but hit me up if you have any other questions about uni accommodation or life in general!

Apologies for photo quality/lighting, I'm still trying to work out the lighting in this room but I promise it will improve, and I promise to start posting more now I've got myself settled!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Day-To-Night Makeup Routine...

If there's one thing freshers has taught me, it's the importance of the quick change. Plans are made so spontaneously that there is zero time for a full on getting ready routine before going out. So I've been adapting my makeup lately and devised my ultimate day-to-night make-up that only requires like three steps to go from natural to powerful. Lets begin...

Avon liquid eyeshadow
Sleek Face Form Kit
Avon Glimmerstick eyeliner
W7 Colour Me Buff palette
Benefit Rockateur blush
Sleek Solstice highlighting palette
My day makeup is pretty chill. I do my usual base of concealer, foundation, powder, brows then start to add some definition. During the day I tend to reach for what remains of my sleek face form palette as it's so quick and easy and the shade is a perfect pale contour, it gives a super natural finish while adding some cheekbones to my lil moonface. Pop on some rose gold blush and (a lot of) highlighter and my face is done for the day. This stays the same practically always, when you're as pale as me you've gotta just find the products that work and stick to them sometimes.

However for eyes, I've recently been getting into using a pencil eyeliner just to define my top lashes and create a super subtle wing while keeping the whole look smudgey and chill. I use this Avon one because I love the subtle shimmer it has, it really makes your eyes pop when the light catches it. I pair this with a bronzey liquid eyeshadow that I literally just smudge in and I'm done. This makes my eyes look defined and done during the day but also helps create a guideline for that night's wing.

Topshop Chameleon Glow in Wax & Wane
Clinique high lengths mascara
Miss Sporty liquid eyeliner
MUA matte lipstick in Fawn Fancy
Freedom Makeup contour stick in fair
Glitter liner unknown
Revolution setting spray

My night-out look is always centred around chiselled cheeks and glitter, I like to have a really clean defined base with a little pop of craziness as I cover my eyes in glitter pretty much daily. Normally by the time I'm going out my base is still pretty decent and really, you're going to get sweaty anyways so there's no point completely re-doing your base. So I tend to just slap on some more concealer and powder. However, I do add my freedom makeup contour stick to achieve a more intense, cutting contour. This is so creamy so it blends so easily, especially if you spray your brush with setting spray before.

My eyes are forever my fave part of going out makeup. Following the guideline from my pencil liner I create a pretty dramatic wing and then using the liquid liner I draw tiny dots along my bottom lash line to get that ultimate spider lash affect. This Clinique high lengths mascara is my dream bottom lash mascara, it has a one-sided, comb-like brush that coats every lash so you get a really dramatic affect which I'm all for. Once the technical stuff is done I start piling on the glitter. I love using either my topshop chameleon glow or this glitter liner that I got god knows when. The more glitter the better, that's the mantra.

Slick on some lipstick and drown yourself in setting spray and the whole process takes about 15 mins ish. I honestly love this look, I wish I could wear glitter on my face 24/7!

If you've got any other quick change tips, send them my way!