Learning to Recognize Your Inner Queen

The great RuPaul is on tour with the cast of this season's RuPaul's Drag Race. For those of you who are familiar with the series you can look forward to the amazing talent of Bob the Drag Queen, Kim Chi, Acid Betty, Derrick Barry and many more gracing our fair city.

Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race season 8

Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race season 8

We wanted to talk about the amazing influence the drag community has had on the body positive movement. Since modern drag performance began, it has been incredibly inclusive. It spans class and culture and is not only a form of entertainment, but a form of expression for the performer. When you look at incredible contemporary plus size queens like Stacey Layne Mathews and Delta Work you can't help but be inspired by their confidence and fierce stage presence. There are also beautiful queens embracing their naturally flat chests in a wonderfully sexy way. Naomi Smalls is a great example of a lean and muscular beauty. All body types are authentically celebrated.

Stacey Lane Mattews

Stacey Lane Mattews

Delta Work

Delta Work

Naomi Smalls

Naomi Smalls

Any cis woman watching can't help but be in awe of their beauty and femininity. Our friend, musician Chloe Spears said of the impact of drag on her body confidence "[Jaidynn Dior Fierce] helped me as a full figured woman dress better. It's about finding your waist and accenting your best features. It's effortless tricks to bring out your femininity." She was inspired by Jaidynn Dior Fierce who is a plus size queen from Nashville. Chloe even messaged Jaden to express her gratitude for the confidence boost and received a response. This community is incredibly supportive. The success in the drag community is largely due to the way these women support each other and support their fans.

Jaidynn Dior Fierce

Jaidynn Dior Fierce

Even current makeup trends were born in the drag style. Contouring has become popular as a standard part of make-up application. This is a technique straight out of drag culture. If you've ever watched a youtube tutorial on getting your eyebrows on fleek, you have the drag community to thank.

Vivienne Pinay giving us perfectly contoured face and on fleek brows

Vivienne Pinay giving us perfectly contoured face and on fleek brows

Just think about all the obstacles these queens had to face to become their most authentic selves. Their journeys are inspirational. They face many obstacles in being welcomed into mainstream society and sometimes their own families. They fought to express themselves in a way that feels authentic to themselves. They are perfect role models for men and women alike for confidence, self-love and self-acceptance. So we want to extend a huge thank you to anyone who has the courage the be themselves, fully, without exception, because you inspire us and you are beautiful.

Xo

The Spandettes

Lizzy's Portrait of RuPaul

Lizzy's Portrait of RuPaul

Body Posi Role Models

We scroll though Instagram everyday whizzing past images of full Kylie lips and sponsored adds with videos detailing how to take the best selfie (see: Amy Schumer sext photographer sketch for a good laugh!) . Don't get us wrong, we love an on fleek eyebrow as much as the next Kardashian, but it's so inspiring to see a rush of diverse body positive bloggers and posters entering the social media landscape and making a real impact. 

We're just starting to wade into the waters of the Body Positive Movement and we recognize that there are hundreds, probably thousands, of role models who have been talking openly and bravely about this subject for much longer than us. We wanted to highlight a few we've been checking out and inspired by lately.

1. BodyPosiPanda @bodyposipanda www.bodyposipanda.com 

Megan is a 'recovered anorexic and recovered self-loather'. Her beauty is palpable on her website and on her insta. She posts loads of selfies with funny and apt comments like "BREAKING NEWS! BODIES CHANGE SHAPE IN DIFFERENT POSITIONS!" She also shares and re-posts images from other body posi warriors. We love her for her wit and her fearlessness to tell the truth about our unwillingness to see our own beauty. Her mission is for YOU to see YOURSELF the way she sees herself and those around her. She's a hero in our books!!

2. Plusmodelmag @plusmodelmag www.plus-model-mag.com

 

Plus Model Mag is a hugely successful fashion magazine that features plus-size models and curvy fashionistas! Their photos bring high fashion and sleek photography that is often reserved for 'regular' models. The reality is that far more women fall in the size range of 'plus size' models, so we think it's fabulous to see an inclusive and growing fashion movement for all women. Follow them on Instagram to be inspired by body positive models and designers, and to get bitten by the fashion bug! Learn all about your favourite designers, make-up tips and plus-size model news from around the world on their website. For example, did you know that everyone's favourite Project Runway Winner Ashley Tipton has partnered with JCPenny as a brand ambassador for a new plus-size line? Well now you do because of the PlusModel trending News Tab!

3. HonorCurves @honorcurves

This 6'2" self-love advocate is not afraid to lay down some hard truths about the way we treat ourselves. In a recent post she posed in work-out gear with the caption "For every time I forged a note to get out of gym class. For every time I said I was the non-athlectic friend. For every time I sat out an activity because I believed I wasn't the right skill level or size for it…" She is an inspiration for every girl who ever said "I Can't", reminding you that, "Yes you can". She's funny and supportive, just scroll through her IG account and we promise you'll feel great!

Do you have another Body Posi Warrior you think we should know about? Please let us know! you can email us @ thespandettes@gmail.com.

xo

The Spandettes

 

 

New Music Video!

With no budget, not a ton of time, and a new single about to drop, what's an indie band to do? Reach out to fans and friends! We're so proud of this new record (Sequin Sunrise) we have coming out in March. We spent every last cent of grant, kickstarter and general band funds to make a record on par with any major label offering, leaving very little left to make a video. Lucky for us we have amazingly talented people in our corner who were willing to put themselves out there and sing or dance along to our new single, "Over Me".

Enjoy the video below! Any one of these lovelies could be a youtube star in their own right! Read about the cast below the video.

The cast:

Fly Lady Di: Diana is one of Toronto's finest dancers! She has danced live with us and helped us get our stage choreo together before our tour in Japan this past fall.

Anthony Bird: Anthony is one of our sweetest fans. He plays us on his UK based online radio show, sent us christmas gifts, and was the very first to submit his Over Me entry.

Glenn Tavas: Glenn has been such a supportive and loyal local fan. He comes to all our shows, invents hashtags for us (#mandette, #sequinsisters, #sequinsgreetings etc), and poured his heart and soul into his lip-sync performance.

Hailey & Alyssa: These talented young sisters study music with Alex and choreographed a routine for the whole song!

Emily: The youngest star in our video, Emily's passionate freestyle dance moves can melt the coldest of hearts :)

Nevon and Tracey: Nevon is a singer and vocal coach and Tracey is an actor. So it's no surprise that these jokers delivered pure gold start to finish. Make sure you watch a couple of their outtakes at the end, we had to choose a couple of moments from several minutes of hilarity.

Puppets: We had a cute little band brunch before Christmas, and after a couple of mimosas, someone came up with the idea of having some puppets and stuffed animals make cameos in the video. We definitely had some good laughs filming this part ourselves!


Tokyo Times a.k.a. #Spandokyo

Having had a little bit of time to reflect and think back on our whirlwind trip to Tokyo, we wanted to write a blog post and share a few memories!

We arrived, jet-lagged and excited and were immediately treated with so much respect and kindness by our hosts at Billboard Live. They picked us up and took us to our hotel, where we had a stellar view of the Tokyo Tower.

(From the left: Cab selfie, Tokyo Tower, Airplane wine selfie, our ride in Tokyo)

After some incredible sushi, drinks and a short walk, we all passed out for the night. The next day we had soundcheck and then two awesome back-to-back shows. Both of the audiences were amazing (and a couple of people even had tickets to both performances). We were humbled by how attentive our Japanese fans are! They cheered for every song, sang along and stuck around for autographs after the shows.

(Backstage at Billboard Live)

(The entrance to Billboard Live)

The day after our shows we girls had the honour of doing interviews with Cafe Paradiso on J-Wave FM (as well as an acoustic performance), Mikiki Magazine and Figaro Magazine. We also stopped by Tower Records to write a love note to our fans and take a few photos with our listening booth. We had a really fun photo shoot in the rain with umbrellas too!  That night most of us (who weren't absolutely exhausted) went for a night of private room Karaoke, which was epic! We had drinks, celebrated and sang our hearts out. After Karaoke we went to McDonalds to try the famous Japanese Teriyaki Burger (did we mention we had a few drinks?) and were floored when our song came over the speakers and we were asked for more autographs by people who realized it was our band playing.

(At Tower Records in Shibuya)

(Our interview at J-Wave FM)

We had a couple of days to hang out and enjoy Tokyo. We went to the arcade, shopped in Harajuku, a couple of the guys went to a baseball game, and we ate all of the delicious japanese food that we could!

We had an absolute blast in Tokyo and we can't wait to return to Japan!! Big love and thank yous go out to our hosts at Billboard Live and our Japanese label P-Vine.

xo

The Spandettes

 

 

 

Coffee Shop Mini Tour Starts July 5th @ Holy Oak

 

After wrapping recording our album recently (stay tuned for our album launch party announcement) we just wanted to have a relaxed summer playing some chill little acoustic shows at some of the coolest little cafes in town.

It makes all kinds of sense for our first show to be at Bloor West's darling spot the Holy Oak. Almost every young musician in town has done small shows there at some point, and they have become known as a cafe and bar that supports local music and art in general.

We decided to reach out to the cafes we're playing at and ask them a few questions. Here's what Holy Oak had to say:

S= Spandettes HO= Holy Oak

S: What kind of food/drink do you serve? Any reasons why?

HO: We serve a bunch of tasty drinks. some boozy and some not. We are a cafe by day and bar by night, but you know... the lines blur. There are also some snacks on offering. 

(S: We've tried a grill cheese there, and can highly recommend!)

S: What involvement do you have in the local community? What about the arts in Toronto? Why is this important to you?

HO: We are a local community hub. Since 2009 we've been a gathering place for people in the neighbourhood and a place where local live music flourishes. We have always loved music. The expressions of the inexpressible need space. 

S: What challenges have you faced as a small business in the city?

HO: As a small business, it's not an easy task in toronto where rent climbs as high as it can. There is also more and more competition in the neighbourhood which is both a good and bad thing.

S: Is there anything unique about Holy Oak?

HO: The uniqueness of holy oak is in the feeling you get in the room. It feels warm. As a bar, we could have been a black hole with rock and roll, but that is old and tired. People are ready for us. ;)

Be sure to come check us out singing a bunch of brand new songs and a few classics with our keys player Thomas Francis @ Holy Oak (1241 Bloor St W) on Sunday July 5th @ 5 pm. No cover, but we'll have a vinyl fund jar!

click here for event DETAILS

 

 

 

Studio Diary: Day 4

Today was our 4th day in the studio tracking vocals and now the horns are here to do their part on the next three songs for the record.

Today we wanted to talk about how things don't always go the way you plan in the studio- and in life! Today we just struggled on all levels. We were coughing and clearing our throats, feeling emotional and overwhelmed, feeling frustrated with not nailing the parts easily...

What happens in the studio is this thing where it feels like singing under a microscope. You have headphones on playing the track, usually with one ear on and one ear off to hear some of your own voice in the room as well as it's being recorded. It can feel very unnatural when you are used to singing on a stage or just unplugged. We're total pro's but today we struggled! 

But like anything in life, there's timelines and budgets and things to accomplish, so you have to do whatever it takes on a psychological level to get back in the zone and deliver. Somehow you have to check all of those worries and personal issues at the door and just vibe it out.

Today we had a few tears, some massive group hugs, some serious dancing in our vocal booths and lots of good talks about embracing our individual voices and loving what we each have to bring to the table- and it worked! We got it done, and things sound great!

Tomorrow is our last day of tracking and we're so excited to come back with a fresh perspective and wrap up this amazing record.

xo

Alex, Maggie & Lizzy

 

 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg

Studio Diary: Day 2 - Meet our new bass player!

Today we're back recording 5 more bed tracks! That is a whole lot of music to do in one day. It's going to be a marathon, but we're ready!

We thought today would be a good day to introduce you to our new bass player Mike Meusel. He's been playing with us for a few months now, and has been such a great fit for the band. He brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the music, and he even contributed a song to the new record! It's called "Over Me" and we can't wait for you all to hear it.

For these studio days, Mike brought 4 different electric basses to capture different textures for different songs.

For the gear heads, we thought we would ask Mike to talk about each bass and why he chose them. In his own words:

"I brought a Fender Precision 5 string, Fender Aerodyne, Squire Precision and a Tokai Hard Puncher, which is basically a copy of a Fender in the 70's.  

I needed a more aggressive sounding 5-string than my regular 5, so I brought that Fender Precision 5.  Some songs just need a low B string, ya know? The Fender Aerodyne has a super aggressive tone, and worked really well on tunes like "Mister Mister" and "Little Late".  My old Squire Precision has seen a lot of studio time, and was actually the first bass I ever purchased, and sold, and bought back.  It has a good old school tone, super dead strings and is a great reggae bass when eq'd with lots of low end.   The last is the Tokai Hard Puncher, which I only used on one track.  It has a decent slap tone, which I needed for the track." 

 

Mike having fun times
Mike chillin'