Thursday, May 21, 2015

EXCLUSIVE PREMIER: August Hotel - What About Now?


Known for their high-energy indie pop melodies, August Hotel is gaining a reputation, rightfully, for providing some of the best music Chicago has to offer at the moment. Their appearances at Evanston SPACE and the Dawn Theatre are undoubtably impressive, considering that the group's roots began back in 2011 in a church basement, according to their website.

I sat down with Ryan Lammers, the lead guitarist and vocalist of August Hotel, to talk to him about the band's first music video, What About Now, which is premiering exclusively here on Quaintrelle. A sophomore at Northwestern University, Lammers' thoughtful answers only echo the sort of talent that the band exudes on, and off, the stage.

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EK: Tell me a little bit about August Hotel's dynamic…what's the history behind the band?
RL: Dean and I met back in middle school when we were both auditioning for a talent contest. The judges suggested that we a jam a bit after all of the auditions were over, so we did, our parents exchanged numbers, Dean won the contest, and, not too long after, I introduced him to two of my friends from school who played bass and guitar and we started our first band. That band lasted until the middle of high school. Dean and I went to different high schools, so he met John at school and I met Cale, and it all just sort of fell into place after that. So I guess it was basically the friends who started a band together sort of thing. As far as our songwriting goes, it's pretty collaborative. I tend to write the lyrics and a basic outline of the music, and then I'll take it to the guys and we'll flesh it out, everyone pitching in ideas and playing around with it. Sometimes things can change pretty drastically from the little outline to the final product, which is pretty cool, I guess. And the same goes for anyone else comes in with a song, or even just a little riff. We've built songs off of just a little riff someone has started playing at practice before.

EK: Do you have a favorite concert venue, or moment from a concert, that stands out to you?
RL: My favorite venue at the moment is probably Schubas. It's tiny and just has a really intimate, cozy, but also electric vibe to it. I saw Catfish and the Bottlemen play there twice this past year - first in October with the music room about half full, and second in February with the place sold out - and just that whole experience is up there among my favorite concert moments. Those guys are going places, I mean, they're already huge overseas, and you could just feel that in that little room there. Also, Dean got on my shoulders at Lollapalooza in 2013 while The Cure played "Just Like Heaven" and it was pretty adorable and also one of my top concert moments. That's one of our mutual favorite songs. And live with Chicago surrounding us all lit up - oh it was amazing.

EK: This is your first music video. Tell me a little bit about the process and inspiration behind it. RL: So the video started off as a class project for Anderson, our director/cinematographer, for which she had to shoot on 16mm film and also use some sort of special effect just like in camera with the film, I think. Double exposure was her initial suggestion and we were super into it. We've used that urban, Chicago, lights aesthetic a lot, so we felt like it really fit, and I'm really glad we did it. I think the result is ridiculously cool. Shooting the video only took a few days - three I think. We shot us in the studio over the course of a couple hours on two consecutive days. Then Anderson and I went into Chicago after that to shoot the rest. So basically the technique is that you shoot the main thing first against a blown out background, so you end up with essentially silhouettes, and then you go shoot other stuff to fill in the silhouettes. Because the background has been completely blown out, you wont get any image on those parts when you expose the film a second time. The editing has been what's taken the most time, mostly just because we're all college students with insane schedules. But here we are, finally, and it feels really good to be getting this thing out there. We're all really proud of it.

EK: Who would you say is your style icon? RL: For me personally? Matt Healy from The 1975. Or just that whole band in general. They're a huge influence. But really Matty. I love the black and white with the occasional floral or something. Skinny jeans, loose or long top, a little androgynous at times, but yet still masculine. That band just has an incredibly strong and cohesive aesthetic, from their fashion to their imagery to their music. I love it.

EK: Are you working on any songs right now? What are they about?
RL: I am! One is one I started last summer that's finally just now getting finished and it's sort of a thematic sequel to "What About Now?" There's another that's probably about half done that's a bit more lyrically introspective. I feel like being 20 and halfway through college is an interesting place to be - not quite a kid, but also still not feeling quite like an adult - so it ruminates on that a bit while also thinking about things like relationships and all of that jazz.

EK: You've been to, like, 100 concerts... which has been your favorite, and why?
RL: Oh no. That's so hard. Can I do a top three? The first time I saw The 1975 was a pretty big moment for me. Stromae was absolutely incredible. Mind blowing performer. Damien Rice put on one of the most powerful and moving shows I've ever seen. It was just him and his guitar for two hours and it was absolutely captivating. He had the audience so drawn in you could hear a pin drop (if there wasn't music, of course) the entirety of the show. It honestly changed the way I think about songwriting and performance.

EK: What are three obscure facts about you that most people don't know?
RL: I'm half Dutch and have dual citizenship there and here, I started performing in second grade by doing a skit impersonating Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter (complete with costume, Australian accent, and giant stuffed crocodile I would wrestle), and I wanted to be a paleontologist for most of my childhood.

EK: Do you have a motto that you live by? 
RL: A motto? I don't know.. I've never really about that before. Make a difference, maybe? I feel like that sentiment drives a lot of what I do and I think it can be applied to a lot of different things. Do the things that matter to you, help other people, make art, make it all count. For some odd reason, I've also always liked Vonnegut's "so it goes," even though I feel like that's sort of the opposite of what I just said. Go change the world, but don't get too stressed out about it. Maybe that's what that contradiction means.

Much love,


Thursday, April 23, 2015

VIDEO OF THE MOMENT: Une Fille Commes Les Autres Pt. 2


Directed by Simon Cahn, this video supplement to Jalouse Magazine is one of the freshest, most brilliant fashion videos of the moment. Deconstructing our views of the Cannes Film Festival, the video   follows Ashley Smith,  a "jalouse girl", around the festival at night. The dynamic shift in what we think the experience will be and what the experience actually looks like is a powerful commentary on the illusionary foundation that the magazine, film and fashion industries are built on.

Enjoy. It's truly awesome. 
(warning: some language)

Much love,


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Selfie Centered

All images courtesy of Giselle Noelle Morgan.

About a week ago, I came across a personal narrative on the Huffington Post written by photographer and artist, Giselle Morgan. In her piece, What I Learned When I Turned The Camera On Myself, Morgan analyzed how her most recent photo series, Selfie Centered, impacted her style and perception of her own photography and self. Fascinated by her beautiful and original images, I reached out to Giselle to ask her a few questions about her art-centered photography project.

+ Give us some background; are you a big art history fan? Who is your favorite artist?

Art history is something that vexes me, since there are so few women artists and even less documented in art history textbooks. My photo series “Selfie Centered” was predominantly charged from my research of female artists in western art history. Olivia Bee is one of my favorite artists and she was my chief inspiration when I began taking photos. I’m also inspired by Jen Mann, Marina Abramović, and the Chavez Twins.

+ Why did you choose to reproduce the paintings you selected for the series?

I decided that I wanted to embody the emotions of the women in the paintings and live in their skin. I had immersed myself in research for particular paintings of redheads by female artists because my goal was to elevate women artists.

+ What challenges did you face while creating the series?

I dealt with the physical pain of moving from the pose of the painting to setting the self-timer for over the course of many hours while on set. There was also an emotional release while shooting since it was such a draining and frustrating process. I think humans love comparing pictures and identifying when an aspect is slightly askew, and this series tested my ability to create an image of substance in conjunction with a mirror image of the paintings.

+ Did you learn anything about yourself through this series?

That I will not wait to become someone’s muse, and to use myself as a source of inspiration.

+ What has the response to this series been like in comparison to other photo series you have done in the past?

Since this collection received a tremendous amount of attention compared to some of my other work, the feedback varied. It’s surreal to see people debating online regarding something I created; there is this argument about how my piece isn’t a true selfie, so the whole series is a sham or something. But for every disgruntled person on the internet, there are those sweet people who personally reach out. I’ve received some heartwarming messages about how much the piece has touched specific individuals. Before this collection gained momentum, I had never received much backlash because I was pitching my ideas to an audience that had similar interests and values. Experiencing these polar opposite responses has been a good reminder that it’s pivotal to hear other’s opinions, but ultimately listening to 
yourself is vital.

You can reach out to Giselle, or check out the rest of the series, here:

+ Instagram: @gisellenoelle

Much love,


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Quaintrelle X Warby Parker

Sam wears: Haskell in Crystal
Major:  RTVF 
Favorite Pastime: Going to concerts // performances 
Signature: Awkward first encounters

"These glasses are bold but subtle. Kind of like me. Not really, but you get the point."

Emily wears: Piper in Jet Black
Major: Journalism & Art History
Favorite Pastime: Farmers Markets
Signature: My very curly locks

"I genuinely feel like Holly Golightly in Breakfast in Tiffany's when I put these frames on... classic, simple and sophisticated."

Dan wears: Owen in Jet Black Matte
Major: Economics
Favorite Pastime: Having a catch
Signature: Practicing piano

"I like the square construction and masculine touches of these frames."

Helen wears: Quimby in Absinthe 
 English Literature Major // Art History Minor
Favorite Pastime: Eating bagels + reading poetry
Signature: Making mixtapes for friends 

"I liked the spunky green color of these sunglasses; it really stands out from the typical black or tortoiseshell frames."

Henry wears: Chalmer in Striped Beach
Major: African History & Music Composition
Favorite Pastime: Cooking
Signature: Cool tattoos

"I think the mixed construction of these glasses is super flattering."

A big thanks to Warby Parker for agreeing to team up with the Quaintrelle team. We compiled a spring lookbook featuring some of their newer eyewear designs.

Much love,


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spotlight: WILDFOX

All photos courtesy of Wildfox.

WILDFOX: Celebrating the laid-back, privileged & slightly cheeky lifestyle of SoCal socialites since 2007.

Much love,


Monday, March 16, 2015

spring idea: the wrap skirt

Worn today by A-List it-girls like Olivia Palermo, the wrap skirt continues to be the perfect transitional piece for spring. I caught Allison taking charge of this trend this afternoon; I pulled her out of the Chapin Lounge to snap a few quick pictures of her wearing this American Apparel wrap skirt with a simple crop tee. Stunning, simple and stylish (especially for finals week #yougogirl).

Much love,


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Products We Like

A few quick picks to achieve that easy, breezy beauty look for spring.

All products selected from Benefit Cosmetics:

+ Roller Lash Mascara
+ Puff Off! 
+  Brow Zings Brow Palette 

Much love,