If you’ve ever wondered what Fleetwood Mac would sound like minus the hirsute members and souped up with modern R&B licks, percussive breakdowns, and vocal harmonies (and we have), then Haim would probably be the resulting musical lovechild. The three San Fernando Valley sisters, Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim, learned their way around their instruments and microphones playing in Rockinhaim for ten years, another band fronted by their parents. But since 2008, they’ve been making music away from mom and dad, and their solo stuff has had a bit more staying power. So far, 2012 has proved a big year for the trio: Since releasing their debut EP, the sunny “Forever,” they’ve toured to rapturous acclaim. Ahead of a major junket in the U.K. with Florence and the Machine, and the release of their new EP, “Don’t Save Me,” Style.com caught up with Este to talk poor senior-year-haircut judgment, how the sister act keeps their signature beach-y waves so shiny, and the benefits of sharing a closet with “the coolest bitches on the block.”
So. How’s touring going?
The tour has been insane. Like, last night we went to a restaurant and had a topless photo shoot, and we’ve been to places like Iceland—it was so beautiful; I never dreamed I’d ever go there. When we got to Brussels, we were headlining a show, and it was crazy: We thought there’d be, like, five people there. You can never believe you have fans across the world.
Well, you clearly do—Florence Welch has asked you to join her on tour in December, no small feat.
I know! It hasn’t even hit me yet. Every time I think about it I get excited. It’s such a huge, huge compliment that she asked us; we’re huge fans. She’s a magical performer—so magnetic, fun, and beautiful to watch. And her style is so sick. It will be the biggest crowd we’ve ever played for—it’s, like, 20,000 people at a time. The last show we played in London was the first time we heard our lyrics sang back to us. It was a pretty incredible feeling.
I saw you play in London, and your mom and dad came on for a cover of “Mustang Sally.” Presumably your parents won’t be around for this round of shows, but do you still plan on doing a bunch of covers?
We can’t do those songs without our parents! It just wouldn’t be right.
Fair enough. You and your sisters share a few similar sensibilities with Florence, particularly her oft-reported love for R&B. Do you anticipate any backstage collaborations?
I hope it’s a dance party every night. When we went to her after-show at the Hollywood Bowl [in Los Angeles], we just danced to Stevie Nicks and Prince till midnight. We danced so hard, like it was the last day of our lives.
In case you somehow missed it, Azealia Banks is fashion’s latest obsession. The Harlem-bred rapper has sung for the houses of Mugler and Lagerfeld, starred in Alexander Wang’s latest T campaign, and, just this week, unofficially opened NYFW with a raucous SPIN show. Yesterday, Yung Rapunxel—as the well-coiffed Banks’ nearly 200,000 Twitter followers have come to know her—debuted her latest music-fashion crossover project: a limited-edition MAC lipstick of the same name. “I’m a huge makeup fan,” Banks told us yesterday as the Fashion’s Night Out madness threatened to close in on her from outside the MAC store on Broadway in Soho (thank God for that double-paned glass window barrier). “I always make the joke that I’m a tomboy, but I’m not really. I’m very much into my hair and my makeup”—a fact that is evident to anyone whose ever met the petite 21-year-old in person; her long, aubergine locks dangle well past her waist and her eyes are rarely without a slick of metallic eye shadow and a strip of fake lashes (“I don’t have patience for the individual ones,” she admits). Here, Banks filled us in on some of her other beauty essentials—including the Rihanna-inspired tatts and the Paris manicure address you may want to write down before PFW gets under way.
How did your relationship with MAC come about?
I had a meeting with them about two months ago. I’m always changing my hair, and when I met with them I had this purple hair. I did [it] for Splendor in the Grass [the music festival] in Australia. This is gonna be my color for the fall. And when you have such strong hair, you need to match it, you know; I can’t wear a red lip with purple hair! So I said we should do this purple lipstick.
Let’s talk about that hair. It is long. What’s the maintenance like?
The maintenance is so easy! People think it’s so hard, but it’s really not. I use Dove Intensive Care shampoo and conditioner and their leave-in and that’s it. Those are my three products. And I use Biosilk when I straighten it and curl it and stuff. I wash my hair twice a week; one is a co-wash, and at the end of the week, it’s with shampoo and stuff. I feel like the more you condition your hair, the better it is.
And those nails? The color is a perfect match for your hair and lipstick at the moment. How often do you switch them up?
My nails are acrylic—they’re fake! I do them. It’s kind of like therapy. You know how some people sit down to read a book? I’ll sit down to do my nails. I can do acrylics and all that stuff. I’m self-taught. I’ve been meaning to soak this set off forever but I just haven’t had time! Once one breaks I soak them off and get a new one.
That must be a pain on tour.
Well, there are acrylic nail places everywhere. My Yelp App is very handy—I just type in “acrylic nails.”
Fans of Marina Diamandis—a.k.a. Marina and the Diamonds—were in for a shock when the British singer returned with her sophomore album, Electra Heart. It wasn’t just the songs, recorded with big-name producers and bearing all the electro-pop sheen of big hits, that marked an evolution; it was the new persona she took on, trading long brunette tresses and varsity jackets for a fifties-style bleached blond wig and frothy pink dresses. “People often talk about the whole ‘pop star alter ego’ thing, and it’s so old and dusty and clichéd. But the main reason behind creating Electra Heart was basic: I just wanted to dissociate myself from the person I’d grown into at that point, and I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that,” explains Diamandis, adding, “I was ready for a different outlook, and creating Electra Heart helped me achieve that.” She’s taking her alter ego on the road, with a slew of dates (including a handful opening for Coldplay) that will keep her on tour through November. Here, the musician takes Style.com behind the makeover—and the music—while explaining why she never leaves the house without a jar of coconut oil.
At what point in the process of recording your new album did you realize that there needed to be a physical manifestation of this character you embody in the songs?
I came up with the name for the album in December 2010, but it wasn’t until halfway through the writing process where I began to construct Electra Heart as a fully formed fictional figure. It was weird because I created a character to have a vehicle that I could use to make a statement about love, but I didn’t really realize it until after the album was released.
Did that persona affect the music?
It affected it more than I thought it would. The first songs I wrote were very “Marina”: cold, depressing, blunt, and acerbic; songs like “Lies,” “Starring Role,” “Living Dead,” and “Teen Idle.” Then halfway through—much as you do in a breakup, you start to see the funny side of things and get over the person that has hurt you—I started to have fun with various themes; I wasn’t feeling depressed anymore and my old wit came back. I bought bubblegum PVC dresses, old wedding veils, and prom queen frocks off Hollywood Boulevard, and all those items manifested themselves in songs like “Homewrecker,” “Bubblegum Bitch,” and “Primadonna.” All the humorous songs came out in the second half of the writing process.
Besides the PVC dresses, anything else you’ve been gravitating toward?
Vivienne Westwood pompom rubber bubblegum shoes, a wedding veil, frill socks, heart iconography, lots of different color ribbons so you have one to match your outfit—I own about 30 different colors now!
What about the persona necessitated going blonde?
On the surface, I think I have associated bleaching my hair with a kind of freedom, as I was never allowed to in my teens. On a more psychological level, I really wanted to separate myself in some way from various experiences I’d associated my past with, and changing your image is the first choice for many people. I just associated having black, long hair with being depressed and bitter.
Does Electra Heart have any must-have beauty products that she’s taking on tour?
NuBo Diamond Peel and Reveal exfoliant, Crème de la Mer.
What about Marina—what’s your big beauty secret?
Coconut oil—you can use it for hair, skin, removing makeup, immune system support, cooking…it’s incredible and only $15 a tub. I carry it everywhere!
Do you think you could create this persona if there wasn’t a pop element to your music?
Of course! But the weird and the ridiculous are more acceptable in the pop world than perhaps the more credible world of indie singer songwriters. There are tons of indie singers who are avant-garde though—Björk, Grimes, Tori Amos…
Is there another major makeover in your future?
I think I have a little chameleon in me but I can’t say every album will be some radical change in identity. I do enjoy building a brand-new picture, though, and I adore artists who invest everything in a central theme. That is something that may follow through in future albums; each album is an opportunity to explore a different facet of the artist’s personality or musical identity. I always mention Madonna, but creatively you can say she has really “lived.” Sonically and stylistically, challenging your own comfort zone and doing the opposite of what people expect of you—that is attractive to me.
Life on the road has been the downfall of many a musician, but for Austra’s Katie Stelmanis, it’s not the sex, drugs, or rock ‘n’ roll that has gotten her in trouble. “I probably lose half of what I own when I go on tour,” the classically trained singer and keyboardist admits. Considering Austra was “on the road constantly—we didn’t have more than two weeks off” its first year out, long-forgotten jeans, dresses, and shoes dot the international cities where indie venues draw a crowd. The incessant traveling also amounted to a lot of new purchases, which isn’t a bad thing considering Stelmanis takes the styling of her bandmates—who have increased from two to five since the release of Austra’s debut album Feel It Break last year—seriously; an aesthetic that properly reflects the Toronto outfit’s operatic dark-wave dance music doesn’t just happen. With a slew of shows lined up for fall, Stelmanis spoke with Style.com about her best on-the-road finds, aromatherapy that works, and maintaining her peroxide white-blond tresses—that just took a turn for lavender—when she can’t make it home for a touch-up.
The band has become a touring machine since the debut album came out last year; how has the live show developed during that time?
I think that the record is a lot darker and more dramatic than our live show is. Our live show has turned into a dance party; it’s pretty high-energy. We like to keep momentum going, so every time we play a show, you’re just trying to create something fun.
It also seems like you all have fun with your clothing—one person is wearing sequins, another is in a tie-dye top, a third has some leopard print. Did you ever sit down and talk about the style you wanted the band to have?
That’s something that we talked about a lot, because it’s really important to us. It’s a very collaborative effort as well, and is something that’s constantly changing and evolving; we get bored with a certain aesthetic so quickly. We wear some pretty outrageous outfits, that maybe you look back on and are embarrassed about. One of the band members, Romy [Lightman], she has an actual background in art, and I guess a little bit of fashion, and that’s her thing. I definitely take her as shaping the direction that we’ve been going in recently. Six weeks ago we were really into long, flowing, Eastern-inspired outfits, and I guess we’re still kind of like that. Because we do so much traveling, we’re able to pick up such amazing pieces all over the world. We have so many pieces from Istanbul when we went there, and we got some stuff when we were in Singapore and Asia. We don’t want everything we’re doing to be trendy; we want it to be beautiful, special…an otherworldly feel.
When it comes to modern-day front women, few are as mesmerizing as Alison Mosshart. With her primal growls and intense delivery, she’s made fans across the globe since the Kills played their first show ten years ago. Her list of followers reads like a who’s who of bands (besides splitting vocal duties with Jack White in the Dead Weather, she’s also appeared on tracks for Primal Scream and Placebo), but it’s not just the musically inclined who are impressed with the striking singer-songwriter. Take fashion photographer Kenneth Cappello; upon meeting Mosshart and Kills cohort (and Kate Moss hubby) Jamie Hince in 2003, he followed them on tour, documenting life as an up-and-coming indie rock duo. The resulting collection of photos finally comes together in Dream & Drive, out September 4, just in time for the band’s string of late-summer dates. Mosshart spoke with Style.com about how the book has helped her piece together her past, including exactly why we have Kurt Cobain to thank for her recent hot pink dye job.
Is the anticipation leading up to a book launch different from an album release?
Yeah, it’s definitely different. The book has been around and been in existence; those photos have been around for so many years. It’s not like a record where you record it and there’s not much time in between. We’ve been talking about doing the book for three years.
Do the photos in Dream & Drive serve as a replacement memory, or do you remember a lot of the moments captured?
They help me remember those moments—everything becomes a blur after a while. Jamie has a much better memory for everything we’ve done than I do. So much happens every day that I forget almost everything, and [the photos are] a huge reminder. I remember that stage, that room, that town, and what we ate that day and what we did in that town; I piece together the entire scenario. So for me, it’s really brilliant to have this book, because it’s like I get to relive these things rather than just vaguely.
Some of my favorite photos are the ones of you getting ready—in front of a mirror, looking into a compact. It’s so intimate. At this point, do you have your beauty routine down pat?
Yeah, I can pretty much do my makeup and my hair in ten minutes. It just becomes this thing you do every single night: You get dressed, you get ready, you have a drink, and then you play. You get fast at it. Even at the very beginning, we were so nervous to play—and we still get nervous to play—but nervous in that completely uncharted way where you change your clothes 25 times because you just don’t know. It’s still kind of the same; there are still those nerves. You really care about how you’re getting ready and what you’re putting on. It’s never nonchalant.