Star of Wonder EP and a new website!

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This fall was a crazy one for us with lots of changes, and everything that went along with the Peak Performance Project. Zoltan and I had joked that when it was all over we were going to be left with nothing to do, so he brought up the idea of recording some Christmas songs. I didn’t really want to think about any new projects, but when it was all said and done and we had some time to just hang out, I realized that all I wanted to do was get back into the mode of recording and creating music.

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These three songs were the perfect outlet, and I’m so happy with how they turned out. It was also the first time we used our newly acquired RME Fireface 800 interface, AKG 214 mic and Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. Ours is a humble setup but even though it’s simple, it’s nice having some good quality gear to work with.  Zoltan has been learning lots about mic set-up and using Logic, which gave me the opportunity to focus on the songs and arrangements. I’m hoping to get more well-versed in running the software, but for now it’s nice that Zoltan knows what he’s doing so I don’t have to worry about troubleshooting and turning knobs. At this point, anyway.

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We started the EP in the basement of our friend’s house in Brooks, AB where we recorded the piano, ukelele, and vocal scratch tracks. We wanted to make sure we got the songs done quickly so we brought our gear along with us on our tour to Manitoba. We set up a little portable studio in our friend Greg’s basement in Winnipeg and Josh recorded some guitar parts, and then in another friend’s basement in Saskatoon we finished off the guitar, did some vocal tracking, and recorded a bunch of additional keyboards.

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We released the songs yesterday along with the unveiling of our brand new website. In addition to the website, we announced a new project that we started where we’ll be releasing exclusive content every month to anyone who subscribes. It might be some demos, a video, collaboration, or in this case, the Star of Wonder EP! You can read more about this new project on our website.

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I hope you’re all enjoying the Christmas season and not getting too busy! We’re really loving life in Calgary, and all the opportunities that come along with it.

Until next time,
Lauren.

Getting Dressed Up!

Last week we played our final full-band show of the year to finish off the Peak Performance Project that we’ve been involved with since the spring! It’s been an intense five months, and it culminated in this show to see who would win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, with the top prize being $100,953.00. We came in second, winning $75,000, and we are so honoured and excited to finally be able to record our next full length album.

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I’ll be writing more about that soon, but for now I wanted to share about a collaboration I did for the evening! There are some really great Canadian companies that I’ve had my eye on for a while, wanting to do some sort of collaboration but not knowing how to go about it. It was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I decided just to send some messages and see what happened, and it all came together beautifully.

First, the dress. My amazing mom took me out and bought me this lovely wine coloured crushed velvet maxi dress from Free People. It’s the kind of dress that is fancy enough for a very special occasion, but versatile enough to wear it again and again. With the dress as a foundation, I collaborated with MLKANHNY and Pure Anada Natural Cosmetics to finish off the outfit!

Madison Bodenman (the talented wife of Ross, who did the artwork for the Visual EP), runs MLKANHNY, an etsy shop of handmade jewelry that she makes out of her home on Vancouver Island. I’ve been admiring her designs for a long time, and I love the clean shapes, and timeless details that she adds to all of her pieces. She made me a lovely necklace to complement my outfit for the evening, and it was the absolute perfect fit!

Madison is always adding new pieces to her store, so I would definitely encourage you to check it out and find something for yourself or someone you love!

Next was makeup. I haven’t worn makeup for a very long time, and part of it was wanting to find a natural makeup company with ingredients I could trust, and that wouldn’t break the bank. Pure Anada is a company based out of Morden, MB that uses all natural ingredients to make top quality cosmetic products. A friend of mine, Kristen von Riesen, who we met while on tour, works at Pure Anada, and inspired me to seek out their products. She also sent me a lovely package of goodies for a bit more of a dramatic look for the show.

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You can order Pure Anada cosmetics here, and Kristen also has a number of really helpful tutorials that you can check out for different looks. I used the Luminous Eye Shadow in Ornate, Java, and Stardust, and Velvet Matte Eye Shadow in Black Velvet, as well as the Pureline Eye Pencil in black, and Natural Mascara in black for eyes. For my cheeks I used the Pressed Mineral Cheek Colour in Sweet Pea, and for my lips I used the Natural Lipstick in Bordeaux Cherry. Since it had been a while, Kristen’s tutorial for Day to Evening Makeup helped me get the “smoky eyes” technique. All of the products were so great to work with. I highly recommend each one, especially the mascara, and the lipstick (which actually smells great).

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I’m so glad that I was able to collaborate with these two great local businesses for the show. Not only was it SO much fun to get all dressed up, but I love getting to share about products and people I love! What are some of your favourite local companies that you like to support? I’d love to hear about them!

Until next time,
Lauren.

Let’s Hit the Road!

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Today we head out on our last tour of the year! This time we’re heading east to Winnipeg and back, playing a bunch of shows in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I’ve been checking the weather, and it looks like it shouldn’t be that cold, but you never know with these prairie provinces, so I’m making sure to bring my winter gear just in case!

November 4th – Caronport, SK @ Briercrest
November 5th – Regina, SK @ The Artful Dodger
November 6th – Brandon, MB @ Lady of the Lake
November 7th – Winnipeg, MB @ West End Cultural Centre
November 8th – Gimli, MB @ Ship & Plough
November 11th – Winkler, MB @ House Show
November 12th – Sprauge, MB @ Sprauge River Inn
November 13th – Otterburne, MB @ Providence
November 16th – Saskatoon, SK @ Rock Bottom

Today is also significant because we find out if we’re in the Top 3 for the Peak Performance Project! It’s been an incredible five months journeying with eleven other bands from Alberta and honing our crafts, and this afternoon we find out the result of all our hard work. You can also hear the results by tuning in to the Peak’s online stream at 4pmMST. We’re going to be shaking in our boots, so it’ll make us feel way better if we know you’re all listening with us!

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And lastly, our guitarist Josh has started a tumblr to document life as a Fairly Odd Folk. He has a great perspective of life on the road, and captures some of the funniest moments, so you should definitely check it out and follow him to see what adventures we get up to in the next two weeks.

To our prairie friends, hope to see you on the road, and to everyone else, stay warm and well!

Until next time,
Lauren.

Where the Ocean Meets the Sky: EXCLUSIVE STREAM!

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We are SO close to having our new DVDs, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see this project finally coming together. Thank you to everyone who has ordered a copy of Where the Ocean Meets the Sky. We’re all sold out of the Pender Packages, but you can still order a copy of the DVD HERE.

Last week we gave everyone who has pre-ordered an exclusive link to watch all the songs from the DVD, and we’ve decided to make that link public for a limited time! Check it out here:

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The only thing missing is the 30 minute behind-the-scenes featurette, The Journey, and a few other special features that you can only get by purchasing the DVD. It was an amazing thing to see it all happen from start to finish, and we couldn’t have done it without your support along the way!

We hope you enjoy the videos, and have a great weekend and safe Halloween-ing!

Cheers,
Lauren.

The Unexpected Prairie Tour!

We had a great time up in Northern BC and Alberta last week (pictures and highlights to follow) and now we’re very excited to share with you more tour dates! Zoltan, Josh and I will be continuing on the Unexpected Tour, this time through Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We can’t wait to hang out with all of our prairie friends before we hibernate for the winter. Check out the dates below, and hope to see you at a show!

November 4th – Caronport, SK @ Briercrest
November 5th – Regina, SK @ The Artful Dodger
November 6th – Brandon, MB @ Lady of the Lake
November 7th – Winnipeg, MB @ West End Cultural Centre
November 8th – Gimli, MB @ Ship & Plough
November 11th – Winkler, MB @ House Show
November 12th – Sprauge, MB @ Sprauge River Inn
November 13th – Otterburne, MB @ Providence
November 16th – Saskatoon, SK @ Rock Bottom

See you on the road!

Cheers,
Lauren.