Listen Up: Majid Jordan’s “My Love” Featuring Drake

Drizzy shines some soothing vocals on his latest contribution to Majid Jordan‘s “My Love”— “I’m not your trophy, baby / I won’t let you show me off or shine me up,” he sings. Formerly known as Good People, Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman are an electronic, alternative R&B duo who met while attending the University of Toronto. In early 2013, they dropped their debut EP, afterhours, as a free download. And boom: later that year, Drake’s “Hold on, We’re Going Home” appeared featuring “Majid Jordan.” Majid is working on the follow-up to their 2014 EP, A Place Like This. Listen Up!

Look, Listen: Drake’s “Obey Your Thirst” Documentary

Ah, Drake. Love him or hate him—Toronto’s hero is the only rapper that can truly change the game with a mixtape. The self-proclaimed 6 God recently partnered with Fader and Sprite for an in-depth interview series.

 

In the Obey Your Thirst documentary, Aubrey speaks on his hometown pride, the equalizing nature of internet culture, striving to be a multi-dimensional artist, and his take on industry competition.

 

“I’m not worried about these other rappers, I’m not competing with those guys,” he says in the insightful interview, “I already know their hand, I know their move. I study everything. I’m worried about the kid that’s sitting in his house that wants to be better than me and all those guys. That’s who I’m competing with.”

 

Can’t wait to hear what rhymes with bacchius.

Moving Images: Sven Dreesbach Captures a Reimagined “California Dreamin”

Nowadays, reimagining a classic music staple into our chic electronic world is either a hit or a flop; remakes don’t necessarily make the man. But for Berlin born, LA based award winning gem of a producer/composer, Robot Koch, it does. Lending his inspiring sound of electronic music to The Mammas and The Papas original classic “California Dreamin'” alongside Delhia De France‘s mysteriously beautiful vocals, the modern track is fit for a modern world, with an exquisite music video capture to accompany shot and directed by one of our faves, Sven Dreesbach.

The film industry likes Koch, too. His tunes have been used on plenty of TV shows and films including NBC’s “The Blacklist” and Fox’s “Rake” while he continues to connect with a global, growing audience. He also collaborated on the recent Tensnake album, which makes us kind of ecstatic. As for Delhia De France, she’s one to add to your radar of pleasurable tunes. She has quite the collaborative bone and has teamed up with artists like Robag, Wruhme, Marlow, Gunne and others. She’s also the main B of electronic band, Pentatones.

You should connect with Robert + Delhia and watch the video up there for some blissful bursts of moodiness.

Visual Aid: OK GO, “I Won’t Let You Down”

OK GO never fails at dropping some tight visual gems to stimulate the visual corners of our dark minds. In their latest installment of music video, “I Won’t Let You Down”, umbrellas, unicycle movement gadgets and choreography aren’t the only stunning elements that captivate us: the entire thing was filmed in one shot. We wouldn’t expect anything less from these creatively inclined, music making gentlemen. May the sparks of genius gently stroke your brainwaves while watching this spectacle.

Q&A: ZELLA DAY

This blue-eyed beauty isn’t just a pretty face. Zella Day packs a serious voice and along with her sincerely written tunes; a mix of folk, synth and deep beats, Zella soothes the soul with her own multigrain brand of “Granola Pop”. Hailing from a small town in Arizona, Zella has been making herself known in Los Angeles with singles such as “Sweet Ophelia” and “1965”. The artist sat with us to dish details about her process, sound and upcoming releases.
 
LA CANVAS: How would you describe your music and your sound?

ZELLA DAY: Hmmmm…. Well the sound is definitely a concoction of all things that I am inspired by, strive to be, who I was, and who I am presently. I’ve been creating music for long enough to have made music that I didn’t like and wasn’t too sure about to right now where I feel like I’m expressing myself to my full capacity. My square one was an acoustic guitar and a coffee house, so there inlays flares of classic  “singer-songwriter” vibes throughout the tracks. The music really started taking shape when I started implementing synths and programming big beats into the songs. Somebody once called it “Granola Pop”.

LAC: What is your inspiration for creating music?

ZD: I believe writers go through phases of inspiration. When I look back at my body of work I feel nostalgic with every lyric written. My head is in a different space everyday and music helps to document those spaces. I’m currently inspired by the major changes I’ve been going through in the past few months. I moved out to East LA by myself while dealing with one of the worst heart breaks I’ve ever endured.

LAC: What other musicians do you admire?

ZD: There are so many greats. I’ve always looked up to those like John Lennon and Bob Dylan, who I see as true poets that moved the world with their words.

LAC: You have some great singles out, is there going to be an album? If so, what can we look forward to?

ZD: Thank you! There is going to be an album released early of next year, but I’m anticipating the release of my EP thats out on October 21st. Baby steps 😉

LAC: Your performance at the Echo is quickly approaching, how do you prepare for shows?

ZD: I like to take my sweet time. The day before a show I make sure I do some yoga and have some quiet time. I find that it helps me to be meditative in the moments leading up to a show so that I can be fully present on stage and not have have mental chatter.

LAC: What is your favorite thing about being an artist in Los Angeles?

ZD: My favorite thing would have to be being a part of a thriving community with so much passion and grit. I find it enchanting that LA has so many talented people in it. This town is welcoming and competitive all at the same time which calls for GREAT art.

Check out Zella Day’s music video for her single “Sweet Ophelia” and don’t miss her upcoming show at The Echo on September 10th.

Q&A: Sylvan Esso

Throughout the past couple years, we’ve seen an emergence in what I like to consider folk-electronic music rising up from the depths of your favorite underground music venues into your SiriusXM radios. Although the genre has been steadily growing, it somehow has yet to move on as a passé movement in the scheme of genres making a comeback here in Southern California.

Since Sylvan Esso‘s self-titled debut this past May, they’ve set the bar to a whole other level with tracks that reverberate throughout and unique mixes of  top-notch vocals and clean production. From front to back, Singer Amelia Meath (previously of folk trio Mountain Man) and producer Nick Sanborn have created an interesting mix of simple yet mysteriously complex tracks filled with layers of meticulousness that leave for an experience in itself.

The dynamic eb and flow of the album provides listeners with jams like ‘Hey Mami’ and ‘Coffee‘— both to be enjoyed with a pair of headphones or in your nearest hipster dance dive—I personally recommend Dance Yourself Clean at Short Stop. Before the band hit their two night sold-out shows at The Troubadour, LA CANVAS Magazine had a chance to chat with Nick about now, next and how the duo came to be.

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LAC: Out of curiosity, Amelia, having played with the trio Mountain Man (a very folk centered trio, touring with Feist and such), did you ever see your musical journey translating over to a more electronic/instrumental world?

NICK SANBORN: I hesitate to speak for her, but she has always loved electronic music and pop and wanted to try something that was more accessible. Both of us have a bit of genre-ADD, and have hopped around a lot over the course of our “careers”.

We’re booked out for the extended foreseeable future, and working on lots of remixes and new stuff when we can. We’re just grateful to be out here and playing for more and more people, which we’ll continue to do as long as we can.

LAC: Having both come from what seems very different musical backgrounds, what brought you two together to experiment on what is now your signature sound?

NS: We were just big fans of one another. I think any time two people are fans of each other’s music it allows them to contextualize each other. The remix of Play It Right kinda took me by surprise – it showed me a way I could work with someone musically in a different way than I had been before, and thankfully Amelia felt the same way. We didn’t set out with any stylistic goals beyond accessibility, this is just the natural music we make together (for right now, at least).

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LAC: Once you got together and did the first mix of “Play It Right” what was the tipping point when you decided, “Yes, this is the direction we are going to go, and we are going to rock it”?

NS: After that we started trading ideas over email, which was exciting but neither of us had any expectations. The tipping point for me was a couple months later, when Amelia flew out to Durham to hang and record vocals at my house. I had a solo show scheduled at Hopscotch (a festival here in NC) and asked her to join me to sing Play It Right, which I had been using as the closer to my sets pretty regularly. Something just clicked during that song (the first time we had ever been on stage together, in front of six or so people) – we both looked at each other afterwards and decided we had to see where it could go.

*We both look at each other and decided we had to see where it could go…

LAC: The songs “Coffee” and “Hey Mami” seem to building the most traction in the blogosphere, are those tracks in which you were anticipating to hit, or did you have other songs off the album which you’d really like to resonate more with listeners?

NS: Not at all. We kinda had no idea what to release as singles. We had already put out Hey Mami and Play It Right on a 12″ single (just because they were our first two songs), and so we decided to put out Coffee next just because it was an opposite vibe of the other two. We thought it was way more of a sleeper hit than a single, I mean, it’s such a bummer of a song in so many ways.

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LAC: The album still seems to be building serious momentum since it’s release in May, and with a nation wide tour, what are you thinking is the next level for Sylvan Esso?

NS: Who knows? We’re booked out for the extended foreseeable future, and working on lots of remixes and new stuff when we can. We’re just grateful to be out here and playing for more and more people, which we’ll continue to do as long as we can.

LAC: I have to ask (sorry if this has been thrown your way a million times) but what is the meaning behind the name “Sylvan Esso”?

NS: It’s loosely based on a video game called Swords and Sworcery that both Amelia and I would highly recommend.

LAC: I am not sure how many times either of you have been to Los Angeles (we are very excited for your show at the Troubardour), but is there a spot in town that you must hit while you’re here?

NS: We’ve recently been addicted to this breakfast taco spot called Home State, so that’ll be on the docket. Other than that our trip will hopefully involve hugging my friend Spencer, eating bahn-mi at this pop up place by Jackie’s house, and taking a hike up several of your urban staircases.

LAC: If you had one thing to say to describe your current tour, what would it be?

NS: Fantastic and exhausting.

LAC: What are some bands or songs that you two currently have loaded on your playlists right now?

NS: The Lounge Lizards – Voice of Chunk (whole record), Jessy Lanza – Keep Moving, Caribou – Can’t Do Without You

Follow the band here and be sure to purchase their new album out now at your favorite local record store.

 

 

INTERVIEW: DAMIAN LAZARUS GETS LOST AT THE EGYPTIAN THEATRE

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Imagine satisfying people’s music thirst on jam-packed rooftops in Istanbul, then heading straight to London where you hypnotize a crowd of over 7k with your music selections for the night. Magical, right? Born in Whitechapel, London, and being a certified wanderluster, Damian Lazarus is mostly a rare-breed music conductor who creates and executes some of the best collaborative experiences in the international music scene—and music industry for that matter. Yet, it’s within the cult audience that follows every spin of his career that leaves us in a love haze when thinking of what type of mind this unique creature may be holding.

From creating record labels like Crosstown Rebels and producing Pakistani hits, to worldly Lazpod curations and an August 23rd music gathering, Get Lost LA, he just may be our new favorite music man. Who wouldn’t fall in love with someone who lives and breathes the word, anyways? Get turnt, for with Lazarus comes a whimsical journey (OK, now we’re adapting his tone):

LA CANVAS MAGAZINE: Tell us a little bit about yourself and music backstory.

DAMIAN LAZARUS: I grew up listening to old music hall favorites and movie soundtracks with my Grandfather and ended up playing underground deep, trippy and weird house and techno music to people all over the world. In between, I created super cool record labels and worked with some of the most inspiring people in the world of music.

LAC: What are 3 main things that influence your progression as an artist?

DL: Being in love, being lost and being free.

LAC: Was there a specific event that took place when the light bulb struck and you knew you’d be a music man?

DL: Realizing as a kid that I enjoyed Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture as much as I did the theme tune to the Pink Panther.

“It’s exhilarating to travel the world playing music to amazing people. Sometimes life moves so fast you don’t know if you’re coming or going, but once I’m in front of a crowd doing my thing, I feel relaxed and at home.”

LAC: Are you currently working on anything we can look out for?

DL: I have just completed the final touched on my new artist album project, Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons. The first single is out now which is called Lovers Eyes and features legendary Qawaali singers from Pakistan on vocals. The album is out early next year and I am currently preparing a new love show with The Ancient Moons.

LAC: It’s a pretty unbelievable track, along with the traditional-inspired video. What’s the flavor behind the song?

DL: It is a modern day Qawaali love story which has deep, hidden meanings and it works just as well on the radio as it does in the clubs, which is no mean feat.

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LAC: What’s it like to spin to a packed topless rooftop in Istanbul and only a few hours later, turn it out to an audience of 7k + in London?

DL: It’s exhilarating to travel the world playing music to amazing people. Sometimes life moves so fast you don’t know if you’re coming or going, but once I’m in front of a crowd doing my thing, I feel relaxed and at home.

LAC: What global destination, musically, makes you feverishly hot?

DL: The pyramid site in the jungle in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where we create our Day Zero event on January 10th, 2015, makes me all hot just thinking about it.

LAC: If there was a logline about your musicianship, how would it read?

DL: He played with your mind… and you loved it.

LAC: We recently enjoyed streaming Lazpod 27: The Lovepod at LA CANVAS HQ while hustlin’ for print deadlines. It calmed our nerves. Tell us a bit about that series.

DL: I created Lazpod some years back to allow myself a platform to show all the other music that I love and cherish and think that is cool that I cannot play in clubs and parties. The show now has a global-cult following and I really feel connected to the people that listen. It gives a solid understanding of the kind of artist by providing a back story to what I’m doing when I’m behind the decks.

LAC: What would you say to your ’10 years ago’ self?

DL: You’ll never guess where all this hard work and passion is gonna take you…

LAC: Any insight on what we can expect from you at Get Lost LA on Saturday, August 23rd?

DL: A day of magic, a night of madness.

*See you there, chum.

LORDS OF A GHOST TOWN: RUSSELL HOUGHTEN TURNS L.A. INTO A CAR FREE SKATE PARK

We’re no New York, but Angelenos have their fair share of claustrophobia in this wide spread city, despite the expansive sprawl. Never is that feeling more real than when you are bumper to bumper (and already running late in my typical scenario) with no end in sight to the jam that is now the bane of your existence. Enter Russell Houghten’s “Urban Isolation”, his award winning skate video that has captured our city in a way that it is rarely seen.

Houghten created the film for a contest with a morning commute serving up inspiration. Masking cars going 80 miles per hour as skateboarders cruise the 110 and 5, you  get no sense from the peaceful setting of all the risk involved in making something so mesmerizing. We had a chat with the creative mind behind it all with the hopes of finding out how to turn our 25 minutes of NPR into something so inspiring.

LA CANVAS: Give us a little background on how you got into shooting skate videos.

RUSSELL HOUGHTEN: I started skateboarding when I was in 6th grade, and was obsessed. My friends and I would borrow our parent’s cameras and make short little videos of each other skating. I had a bad ankle injury when I was fourteen and couldn’t skate for over a year. During that time I began filming all of my friends because I still wanted to be involved and hang out with everyone. After that I ecame really passionate about film making, and it stuck. It’s led to traveling the world filming with my close friends making skate films and working on various commercial projects.

LAC: What was your inspiration for “Urban Isolation”?

RH: It was pretty simple. I love ghost towns and abandoned cities, but you never see them on a large scale.  Skateboarders are also hassled in large cities, and it would be a lot of skaters’ dream to have an entire city to themselves.

LAC: If possible to describe in layman’s terms, how did you create the video?

RH: An easy way to describe the process for removing the cars is layering offset frames and cutting out the cars in each frame. The empty areas of the road eventually fill in the gaps. You then have to cut out the skater frame by frame to place over the empty scenes. All of this compositing was done in Adobe After Effects.The filming and editing process took about a month, I spent about two weeks shooting and another two weeks editing. Finding the locations to shoot was often the hardest part.

LAC: Favorite shot?

RH: The first scene where you see a skateboarder appear. My friend Tom Karangelov pushes down an off ramp over the 110 freeway in Downtown Los Angeles. I wish I had more time to shoot more shots like that

LAC: Most dangerous moment of the process?

RH: Probably my friend Jordan Taylor skating a bank on the side of the 5 freeway. We went at 5:30 AM in anticipation of an empty freeway. When we arrived there were still a lot of cars and it was pretty scary. We generally played everything pretty safe though, finding a spot to safely skate that had a freeway or busy road in the background, where the cars could be removed to achieve the effect.

LAC: What’s next for you?

RH: I’m currently working on a lot of different projects, some with skating and some outside of that. I am heading video production for New Balance and Volcom’s skate programs, and working on larger projects for both of them. I am also working on a bunch of commercial and aerial cinema projects when I have the time.

CULTURE CRAZE: THE LEVI’S COMMUTER WORKSPACE SETS OFF IN LA

Wifi and workspace. Bike tune-ups, customization and wash. Tailoring services + so much more set off at the Levi’s Commuter Workspace in DTLA, with a launch party on August 5th, 2014. Tunes by Nosaj Thing + Twin Shadow. Holla at us, we’ll be front and center catching a culture buzz. Head over for some afternoon delights. Pun.

Coffee provided by Bicycle Coffee

Test Rides & Grand Prizes provided by tokyobike

Local Partner Shop Just Ride L.A.

Bike Valet by LACBC

 

DIGITALLY LIVE: LOST MIDAS DELIVERS ELECTROFUSION VIA LIVE BAND IN “HEAD GAMES” VIDEO

[dropcap letter=”E”]lectrofusion guru Lost Midas has been making his own branding of electronic music for years, yet in the juxtaposition of traditional music composition aligned to modernist beat-making method, the latter is more the norm for the east coast native. In his latest video for the new single, “Head Games,” (off of his up-coming album “Off the Course”) we catch a glimpse of electronic music delivered in a way seldom than most: via a live band. Sans the visuals, the track itself peaks at its intergalactic tendencies, interweaving tinges of funk-based wavelengths and crisp percussions played by Lost Midas himself and strung together with vocals from Audris. Next week, Lost Midas will be hosting an album release party in LA’s Arts District at Fifty Seven, RSVP and get in for the free here.

 

Q&A: ALL ABOARD THE DOWNTOWN TRAIN

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[dropcap letter=”W”]ith the heat gradually rising day by day, we’ve been prone to putting our single unit A/C on full blast and rocking out to the tunes of our favorite bands. While I shrivel up to the sounds of Pentagram, Bass Drum OF Death and ASTR (I know, a very odd mix), I’ve come to find out that one of our favorite LA-based bands released a new album just last week. The Downtown Train, consisting of band members Troy, Bevi, Ned and Christopher take the meaning of cool cats to a whole new level. With the release of their EP appropriately titled “Egyptian Quinceañera” and a Monday night residency at new local hot spot Good Times At Davey Waynes (featured in our latest Teamwork issue), the guys seem to be the upward slope. I attended their album release party and had the chance to sit down and chat with the gents about life, music and a few of their personal favorite haunts in the city.

LA CANVAS: We heard you mention that your songwriting process took a few years leading up to this LP. What was the deciding factor for you as musicians when you knew you had what you wanted to move forward with and record?

TROY: Well, I come up with the songs, unconciously, months and months before hand through life, and the moment that they become the train songs, is when we are all jamming together. At that point, they hear them, and are able to put their magic into the pot, and thats when we come up with a real solution. We are always trying to find a new path, sometimes you come upon a real deep cut of forest in front of you, and it’s not always easy to keep going, so once we all get together, that’s when we start cutting through it all and it really becomes a hit, that’s where I think the magic is.

We are always trying to find a new path, sometimes you come upon a real deep cut of forest in front of you, and it’s not always easy to keep going, so once we all get together, that’s when we start cutting through it all and it really becomes a hit, that’s where I think the magic is.

LAC: You and the band recorded your demos in a cabin out in Joshua Tree. Was there any particular reason why you did so? Were you somewhat following in the footsteps of those icons from the 60’s and 70’s that did the same?

NED: As much as we do take influence and inspiration from the old school, rock and roll cats and the music and mystique of going out to the desert, it really is just a place that we resonate with that is isolated from the city . We needed to go away to focus on these things. Going back to what Troy said about the writing process, once a good portion of the record felt like it was together, that is when we decided to go out there. There were actually a few tracks that hadn’t been fully worked out yet and they kind of just came alive out there.

TROY: Yeah like 4 tracks, which is ⅓ of the whole album.

NED: Thats the kind of energy you find out in the desert. The inspiration and isolation that you have allows you to create without any worry, and thats what we did; by putting ourselves in this beautiful place. I think that is the same thing that those people saw, especially in the area of Joshua Tree.

LAC: While you were set up in Joshua Tree, the band particularly chose to record inside a rustic style house, and record all the demos strictly on analog. That must’ve been a pretty hefty set up, why did you choose to go that route in terms of recording style?

NED: We just went with tape, because we knew it was going to sound rad. We recorded once before digitally and we thought it sounded too clean, so we wanted to go more old school.

CHRISTOPHER: It’s complimentary to this sound, it gives off this warm feel, like a lot of old records, and thats something you don’t hear a lot anymore because of things like Pro Tools. It gives a uniqueness in this world, and connects back to that world of 60s and 70s rock and blues, which makes it sound nice.

BEVI: And at the beginning of the track it goes shhhhhhhhhhhh [the sound a record or tape makes when you start it up] saying [in a whisper] to be quiet, and listen what you’re about to hear.

EQmapBIGLAC: What was the process like setting all of that up?

BEVI: Basically we recorded our first album at some place where we didn’t necessarily feel comfortable, where we could do everything we wanted to do so we tried to find a place where we could do exactly what we wanted to do and feel free, and that was the desert. There’s something about the desert, where there’s almost no rules out there, because it’s not dense. So Troy found this really awesome place called The Bottle Rock House in Joshua Tree, and then we met Tyler and JJ from Zenith Studios when we were playing at the second Desert Daze out at the Sunset Ranch. So the guys met us out there with their recording equipment at these two houses. One was made out of wine bottles for walls, and the other was more of a normal house. Our sound man Gary was out there too, and they literally set up a whole vintage recording studio in this Bottle Rock house. There was nothing there and then all of a sudden, a couple days later there’s this whole studio inside the bottle house [kind of like a control room] where we had a cord snake going into the other house, where we played live.

NED: Also the amps were spread out into three cars outside of the house.

BEVI: Yeah we had the bass amp, Troys guitar amp, and mine in three separate cars, that way it didn’t bother the neighbors and we had the isolation.

TROY: The actual location and how everything came together was really the most thought out part of the entire album, which I think was pretty interesting The music just came naturally, and like you mentioned earlier, it took a long time, and it just came. One of the songs in particular, “Marley” came to me in an Indian casino up near Yosemite, while I was at a buffet and I just started hearing this repetitive melody, that was really high tension, and I just had to run out to the car and get my guitar and figure it out. It wasn’t until Joshua Tree that I wrote out the map of the song listing and saw how they all flowed together.

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Ideally if you put something out there and you do everything you can on your end, its bound to come around. I think if we work with our friends at different labels, it’s definitely a good way to catapult to the next level of where we want to be.

LAC: What are your hopes for the future of the record?

TROY: Hopefully we will be working with some of our friends—people that are inspiring music to be spread around the world which is really the key factor with any music. Music is not an idea until a lot of people hear it, and thats when it inspires people—especially here in Los Angeles. It has to go to ears beyond here, and thats when our friends at spots like Lolipop and Burger Records can help us out.

CHRISTOPHER: Ideally if you put something out there and you do everything you can on your end, its bound to come around. I think if we work with our friends at different labels, it’s definitely a good way to catapult to the next level of where we want to be. We aren’t looking to sign to a major label overnight, its about the journey.

LAC: Lastly, as always here with my interviews for LAC — as a band, what is your favorite spot to eat?

TROY: After a show, we go to Crispy Pork Gang and then for before and after a practice we go to Pacha Burger, to be COMPLETELY honest with you.

*Pick up “Egyptian Quinceañera” from the band at any of their live shows, and on digital platforms worldwide. Also catch the Downtown Train every Monday night at Good Times At Davey Waynes at 11:30 along with other local acts, and the bands own DJ Ned Casual on the decks spinning your favorite classic jams.

Q&A: MUSIC MAVEN MARZ LEON DROPS “LONER” VIDEO

LA-based artist on the rise Marz Leon knows just what she wants. The vocalist/producer has an anticipated EP dropping this summer, and with her deubut single “Loner” making waves (with the video drop today!), Leon has a lot to celebrate — and it’s not just her drop-dead gorgeous style and beauty.

In an exclusive Q+A feature for the LA CANVAS digi-sphere with photography by Taj TPK and styling by Mara Stusser, we see just how confident this music maven is in front of a lens. Her response to a few staple questions we tossed her way — what’s her LA hustle like, words of wisdom and her favorite moments in a recording studio — were as amplified and vibrant as her vocals. Damn, those vocals…

LA CANVAS: What’s the inspiration behind “Loner”?
MARZ LEON: Trying so hard to make other people that I’ve loved in my life happier than I’ve ever had for myself. I learned to let go of the lack of acknowledgement from selfish souls to embrace my lonesome and happiness first.

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LAC: What’s the journey been like in LA as a young emerging music artist?
ML: It’s a struggle but what isn’t? 2014 has actually been a lot more relaxed and natural for my music to come together and grow organically. LA is what you make of it—it’s all about who you surround yourself with and connect to without losing yourself. People get blinded by the flashing lights and idea of fame and forget what their real purpose is in life.

LAC: What’s your most cherished time in the recording studio?
ML: Being able to set my mind free and erase anything and everything that happened before I walked in there.

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LAC: What’s your current playlist?
ML: Music from the past to myself & Frank Ocean.

LAC: Words to live by?
ML: Always do what makes you happy & feel alive. Never focus on the distractions that try and bring an end to your path.

Follow this songstress on Instagram @marzxleon

INCOMING: ADRIAN YOUNGE’S “SOULS OF MISCHIEF”

[dropcap letter=”L”]A-based composer Adrian Younge’s eclectic skillset pays homage to the city that raised him. With collaborations with Ghostface Killah and The Delfonics under his belt, the aural architect has been on the cool kid’s radar for a minute now.

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We’ve been hearing whispers that his upcoming project was slated to blow our minds this August, so we’ve been internet thugging.

Art Nouveau caught up with Younge about his new project Souls of Mischief, how he identifies himself as a composer and not a beat-maker  and how hip-hop has become popular music—a reality he isn’t too keen on. The law professor turned composer-turned-vinyl record store owner with a predilection for commingling soul and progressive soundscapes is our forever creative crush.

READ THE FULL Q+A HERE.

NEVER ENOUGH STEEL DRUM: JAMIE XX DROPS A BRIT-TROPIC TUNE

[dropcap letter=”B”]ritish producer and remix artist from The XX, Jamie Smith (aka Jamie XX) just dropped a tune titled, “All Under One Roof Raving” — and we like it. Now hear us out: it’s not rave music, people going to a rave or what happens at a rave. Weren’t those finished and done with in the mid-late 90’s, anyway?

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Instead, this British homeland-infused track carries tropical notes fit for life on the beach, sexy spoken word vocals and an eclectic video by visual artist Rose Pilkington, which brings out all the lovely notes. On inspiration behind the track Jamie states, “I made this track in order to play out back home as I knew the year to come would be spent largely in the UK, DJing and making my own album. It serves as a reminder, not to take any time for granted at home or away.” This music mix master definitely never drops a bad tune in our lap.

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PURE CITY CYCLES: THE ONLY WAY TO ARRIVE THIS SUMMER

Summer is too short to be stuck in 405 traffic all day. Solution; Pure City Cycles. Made with the urban cyclist in mind, these bikes are designed to fit your lifestyle so that if you’re on a hill or a have runway-style long legs, your bike can be modified accordingly. The best part is none of the aesthetics will be compromised in the process, so you have all the mechanics along with all the style.

By far, our favorite is The Western, the black and white frame will go great with our white Converse Chucks, but the citrus hues of The Abbey would really make our tan pop. With all the gas money we’ll be saving we just might be able to nab both!

And let’s not forget how banging your legs will look after a couple of weeks of peddling your little heart out. So if you have to work this summer, why not arrive to that dreaded summer gig in style.

We can already picture ourselves riding around LA neighborhoods as pedestrians dodge out of our way—we don’t have that whole graceful bike rider thing down just yet. And ladies, don’t forget to wear some bike shorts under your dress while on the seat; moderation is key this summer.

CASEY JANE ELLISON HAS A CULT NOW. SORT OF…

LAC Clubhouse pal, comedian, VFILES regular, and newly inaugurated cult leader Casey Jane Ellison continues to awkwardly woo us with her maroon lipstick ways. Peep the launch of CASEY IS YOUR CULT, a mock-cult dedicated to teaching the Ellison “way of life.”

[Via Marina Galperina | ANIMAL]

My work is about life, equality, ruin, genderlessness, prettiness, societal ills, being chill, group sex.These things are life and they are my work.

A demented mix of Anna Wintour and The Source Family overlord, watch the video above and see Casey demonstrate to her four lovers/cultees that they don’t actually really, really want to leave. Stop trying to get away.

Casey Jane Ellison has shown work at at the New Museum, MoMA PS1 and the Museum of Art and Design in New York. She also curates Aboveground Animation, which presented a showcase at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles last year.