#TMITuesday: 10 Questions With Event Creator And Artist Mariel Pauline

In my party career, yeah I can call it that sure, I meet a lot of people. None quite like this week’s feature Mariel Pauline of course. From New York, to Miami to Toronto Mariel was a hard one to sit down to chat with but we did it. Discussions of art, that thing in the desert and more fill this week’s interview. Let’s get to it shall we?

Note: This interview was completed prior to the Tarna and Heavy Meta, event’s mentioned.

1. Let’s talk about your passion project Wishing Wings, what inspired it, and what is it?

Three years ago, after the suicide and overdose of a few friends in the New York City nightlife community, I felt stuck. I wasn’t creating, wasn’t living a life I could be proud of. I began reconnecting with nature, setting intentions, and letting go. At the same time, I became infatuated with the texture of fallen wood as it dries — and from this, the Wishing Wings Project was born.

Intentions are wishes our hearts are brave enough to beat into reality.  One of the most powerful things we can do is set an intention. The Wishing Wings aim to incubate that moment of pause, reflection, and reset. 

photo by Linda Odom

At its core, the Wishing Wings are a collaborative experiential mixed media sculpture that has appeared at events and festivals in the United States and Canada, beginning with I FEEL: Summer Escape 2018. It is composed of site-specific sustainably sourced branches and other flora, which are meticulously hand-woven into 8’x10’ wings.  People are invited to write their wish on a wooden heart provided by the artist, and hang it on the piece. I collected 2018’s Wishes at the close of each event, and brought to Burning Man to be sealed in the flames of Temple Galaxia. This year, Wishes from Ontario’s regional Burn, Hyperborea, were immolated in the event’s own Temple. I am ecstatic to bring the Wishing Wings Project to a close this summer at Burning Man; Wishes from Miami’s LoveBurn, Figment NYC, and I FEEL: Summer Escape will join the entire installation to burn in the dust. 

2. Since today is #TMITuesday can you tell the readers something about you that they do not already know?

I love hiding & jumping out to scare people. Or just hiding – typically in small places, behind doors, in your dreams. 

3. You were a co-creator for Figment NYC, what was that like? 

A lot of things aligned for this one… I attended Figment NYC for 4 years prior, and their new home on Roosevelt Island is directly across from my old apartment, so bringing the Wishing Wings Project this year felt like things were coming full-circle. I loved incorporating glitter and neon paints into the materials left for the Wishing Wings so participants could leave their creative sparkle on the piece. It brought immense joy to my heart to see families engage in the art, like The Toad art car that was curated by Figment’s team. Set against the NYC skyline, it was simply magical.

4. If you could choose one song to be your ‘theme song’ what would it be and why?

People like to peg me as a “Dreams” (Fleetwood Mac) type of gal, but right now I’m really leaning in to that “Norrland” (Gidge) vibe. I’m a big fan of proper horns and the entire track carries an ethereal, sunshine-forward lightness of being throughout that makes me smile every time.


5. What drew you to this traveling artist lifestyle?

I didn’t choose this crazy lifestyle, it 100% choose me.


In September 2017, I was introduced to the Heavy Meta art car family.  Shortly thereafter, I began splitting my time between Brooklyn and Toronto. New York City was feeling claustrophobic, having grown up there, so I was invigorated by the opportunity to check out Toronto’s innovative scene and collaborate on some amazing art and experiences. Y’all don’t have an ego up here, yet. It’s nice. 

Working in event production and art direction, I’m fortunate enough to be able to “follow the project”. From blinging out a throne in The Funhouse’s Underwater Ballroom, to co-creating a 10,000 person music festival on top of a ski mountain in Vermont – every day is different. I love learning from and be inspired by where each project takes me. Getting to create magic every day is a bonus.

6. If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

There are so many things I want to do; most center around healing and end-of-life care. Maybe art therapy? Maybe working to bridge the education gap between traditional medicine practitioners and caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonian symptoms? Definitely something that would allow for me to have a doggo, though.

7. As a contributing artist to the newly opened art maze “The Funhouse” in Toronto, how would you describe the experience? 

Holy wow, talk about dream project! All of last summer and the better part of this spring, I got to wake up and make art. Face casting alongside Paul Jackson last summer for his “Free Trial”-room collaboration with Bad Child was a huge lesson in deliberation and patience. As an emerging artist, it felt super badass to be trusted to execute this space. A few team members and I 100% ugly cried watching the Manual Arts team finish installing the fascia of the building, feeling what a gift it was to be a part of this project, and knowing what we’ve created for the city of Toronto to enjoy.  The entire Funhouse was a family effort. There’s so much love, detail, and joy in every single piece. I could not be more honoured to have been part of the team.

photo from BlogTO

8. You help create the environment and vibe for parties all over Canada, and the US. What are your must-haves at a party? 

You mean beyond free and easily accessible water, a responsible door policy, killer and well-balanced sound? I like music that allows my brain to play, and a vibe that invites people to “come as they are”- to connect without pretense. The parties where I find myself fully enjoying the experience also have an art or wellness component. Dancing for hours in a dark club is fun, but a space where there’s a collaborative mural, a rooftop, thought-provoking art, an elixir bar — most importantly, a crowd there to celebrate life? That’s a party, babe. Oh, and fire. Fire’s nice too.

9. Which event are you most excited about this year?

There are so many!  Every event is different in its own lovely way.  I’m looking forward to both the Tarna and Metaverse fundraiser parties in Toronto in July, then Burning Man to see all of the 4tress’ art cars on playa. I’m also looking forward to Burning Man because I get to torch the Wishing Wings with some friends from NYC and Amsterdam, celebrate my 2nd anniversary with my partner, and experience all the art.  I have to tip my hat to Circus Fabulae & The Cloud — so many artistically gifted friends bringing all the cool things to this Burn!

After this summer, I’m looking forward to our next Twinkle party during Halloweekend in Brooklyn. Twinkle is a collaboration between my brand, Kaphea, and Alex Daniel’s label, Playa Vibes Productions.  Together, we curate a fully immersive art-meets-music vibe with an art gallery, body painters, performances, and high octane DJs. We’re thinking this party will be Austin Powers themed. Bring on the fembots & sharks with laser beams!

Hyperborea photo by Fee Gunn

10. What’s next for you?

Right now, I’m spending some time building my wedding and corporate event decor business, and producing a few events in NYC this autumn.  My next intention is to find myself in Asia, from January – March 2020. I’d like to build some stages with woven bamboo, see some sunsets, visit some temples. I’m also interested in doing a vipassana sit while I’m there. Trying not to plan too much, and just let the Universe do her thing.

*Featured photo by Toronto’s Dead Pixel*

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#TMITuesday: 10 Questions with Writer, DJ, And Digital Nomad Jesse Champagne

I could pretend I had heard the term ‘digital nomad‘ before meeting this week’s feature but I won’t lie to y’all. From being a resident Heavy Meta DJ to reminding fellow writers like me to keep working at it, Jesse Champagne has worked hard to make a name for himself. And with a name like Champagne what do you expect?

I sat down to chat with him about music, remote working life, and honestly whatever else I wanted to talk about because it’s my site. Let’s dive into this one shall we?

1. You’re often describing yourself as a ‘digital nomad’, what exactly does that mean?

A digital nomad is a person who is location independent. They work remotely, telecommuting rather than being physically present at an office. As you’d expect, digital nomads work in industries where one doesn’t have to be in-person to do their job: marketing, writing, media, IT, tutoring/teaching, etc. Many digital nomads have multiple clients and work a combination of different jobs. Typically, the term is used to describe freelancers or telecommuters who are working abroad or travelling, but I believe being a digital nomad has more to do with having the freedom to pick where you spend your time working. Whether I’m writing on the road in the United States or in a cafe in Toronto, the point is that I chose to be there.

2. The struggle of a being writer is not something I am a stranger to, what is some advice you’d give to anyone getting their start as a wordsmith?

Getting your start as a paid writer is tough–most entry-level clients will try to grossly underpay you/overwork you. Content mills may seem appealing because of the near-limitless amount of work they have on hand, but they’ll leave you burned out and poor. Don’t settle for less than you’re worth, and don’t be afraid to make demands–you are your own boss, after all. Build up your portfolio, fine-tune your resume, and apply, apply, apply! I routinely wake up every morning to find 1-2 rejection emails in my inbox. It doesn’t matter; just keep going. 

3. What are your top 5 ‘must-haves’ as a digital nomad? 

  • Travel / Work Laptop. Obvious, I know, but you can’t be a “digital nomad” without being digital. The key here is to find a balance between size, comfort, and power. The MacBook Pro is fast, strong, lightweight, and covers all my needs as a writer. I never (OK, rarely) leave home without it. 
  • An unlocked smartphone and a good data plan. Being able to use local SIM cards and Hotspotting on the road is essential.
  • Carry-On Travel Backpack. Checking your bags at the airport is a pain in the ass. So is lugging around a massive suitcase every day. A well-organized backpack for your travel and technology gear is a gamechanger. I bought a Tortuga Air a few years ago and haven’t looked back. It’s seen better days, though, so I’m considering upgrading to the Minaal 2.0.
  • Nomad Clothing. Yes, this is a thing! I look for clothing that is easy to pack, lightweight, antibacterial, odour resistant, fast-drying, wrinkle-proof, and able to help regulate body temperature. The fewer articles of clothing, the better. /r/OneBag is a great place for clothing ideas. Watch out, though, some of it can get quite pricey (especially Merino Wool and fancy tech fabrics). Uniqlo is a great starter spot–their Airism and HeatTech gear are fantastic and make up the majority of my current wardrobe. 
  • Backup Battery / Powerbank. A dead phone is the bane of every digital nomad’s existence. Don’t be caught on-the-go without backup power.

4. I ask this question to a large number of my interview features because I’m interested to see what people from all walks of life are inspired by. So tell me, Jesse, what is it that inspires you?

Life is a series of moments. If you’re lucky you’ll get to have hundreds, even thousands of them. There will be small moments. Moments when you’re doing something so mundane you won’t even realize you’re in a moment. There will also be big moments. Life-changing ones. And all these moments are precious, because any moment may be our last. They can linger, but other times they’re fleeting. And yet, so much can be done in a moment: you can change a mind, you can save a life, and you can even fall in love. Cherish the moments you have, and don’t waste the opportunities at creating new moments. 

photo by Oscar Swinks

What inspires me, what drives me, are these magical moments. I want them, and I want those around me to have them. 

5. I anticipate your response to this one to be a good one, given that you’re a DJ; if you could choose one song as you ‘theme song’ what would it be and why?

Good question! Right now, I’m really transfixed with the sounds coming out of the melodic house scene. The mix of emotional, uplifting deep house with the moodier vibes of progressive house/techno is my bag. Artists that come to mind are Lane 8, Jeremy Olander, ARTBAT, Mononoid, Ocula, Undercatt, Monolink, Cristoph, and Oliver Koletzki, to name a few. Favourite labels include Anjunadeep, Vivrant, This Never Happened, Still Vor Talent, Last Night On Earth, and Diynamic. 

Hmmm, it looks like I sidestepped the question! I try not to get caught up on just one song for too long, but since I have to pick, right now I’m really feeling Lane 8 ft. RBBTS – Visions (Ocula Remix). It’s pure bliss, and sonically sums up how it feels when that first ray of sunshine hits your face after a long night. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s true!

6. Remote work life isn’t a life meant for everyone. Walk me through a day in the life of a remote worker.

Remote life is all about self-discipline and self-dedication; if you don’t want to get work done, then the work won’t get done. It can be very easy to get distracted, and before you know it, the day is over and you haven’t accomplished anything. Having a routine and a to-do list is extremely important. I will typically have my entire week planned out in advance, everything from work, errands, social activities, and creative time. 

During the day, I spend my time working and writing for my current clients. In the afternoon I spend my time creative writing, reading, finding new music for my electronic music blog/DJ sets, and looking for new work clients. I lead an active social life and am an avid foodie/entertainment junkie, so in the evenings you’ll often find me out in the city.

7. Since today is #TMITuesday can you tell the readers something about you that they may not already know?

I landed my first paid writing gig in 2012 by randomly replying to a CraigsList ad after being fired from a restaurant. In school, I never gave serious thought to being a full-time writer. I enjoyed writing and was good at it, but I didn’t really think I could make a career out of it. Outside of writing novels and screenplays, I didn’t even know you could make a living from it. And yet here I am, nearly eight years later, still chugging along. It’s been a wild ride, to say the least. 

8. If you could collab with one artist (writing, or musically) on a project, who would it be, and what would you create?

In my opinion, the creative process is (or at least can be) a solitary one, in the sense that I want my own projects to stand on their own. For me, it’s less about collaboration than it is inspiration. Given that my inspirations and idols are all leaps and bounds ahead of me, I think learning from these talented artists and creatives would be my real dream project.

Music – Olafur Arnalds. He’s an Icelandic multi-instrumentalist and producer that mixes strings and piano with loops and beats to make everything from ambient/electronic to atmospheric pop. He has this incredible ability to craft songs that are both melancholic and optimistic at the same time. I’d love to sit in a recording/production sessions with him and pick his brain.

Writing – Brandon Sanderson. He’s isn’t anywhere close to being my favourite fiction author–or even my favourite Fantasy/Sci-Fi author–but he is an author that I have a huge amount of respect for. He somehow finds the time and motivation to balance putting out multiple novels a year, running a weekly writing podcast, teaching creative writing at a university, touring, and maintaining a massive, multiple-book, multiple series-wide fictional universe. All the while, he remains in constant contact with fans, providing status updates, new ideas, and answering questions. In a sense, he’s the opposite of George RR Martin. I want to sit him down and ask him, “How do you do it?! Teach me!”

9. Okay, it’s about time you create the ultimate Jesse playlist to share, what could I find on that list?

Something to make you smile, something to make you cry, something to make you fall in love, something to make you fall out of love, something to lose yourself on a dancefloor to, something to fuck to, something to sing your heart out to, something for the deepest dark of night, and something for when the sun first comes up.

10. What’s next for you Jesse?

I can’t believe we’re already more than halfway done 2019! For the rest of the year, I’m focusing my time on expanding my writing/content marketing consultancy, Champagne Consulting (shameless plug lol), finishing the first draft of my debut novel (fingers crossed!), traveling to Burning Man with Heavy Meta, DJing a few very interesting events, staying active/healthy, seeing more of the world, and exploring new opportunities, relationships, and adventures. ❤ 

Toronto Is Being Invaded By Mutant Vehicles This Weekend

Over the last two years a lot on Sterling Road in Toronto has been transformed into a smaller version of Burning Man. Cultivating all the art, culture, music, and good vibes of the thing in the desert.

This weekend, for the last time, the event returns. With more art cars and funky tunes. Described by Heavy Meta Entertainment the event will:

“Heavy Meta + The Ark Car present: Metaverse // The final Sterling Lot party. An art car and music experience.

Save the date: July 27th 2019

FEATURING:
+ Heavy Meta. The Ark Car. Tarna. The Anglerfish.
+ Art installations.
+ Fire. Lots of fire.
+ Art buses: TTZ and The Bubble Bus
+ Interactive rides.
+ A chill plounge.
+ Food vendors.

We have once more secured the massive, tree-lined outdoor space in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood for the final time. Come say goodbye to our “playa in the city” before it transforms to the next phase of its life. All is ephemeral.

MUSICAL GUESTS:
RICHARD BROOKS
BEN CORMIER
MATT VON WILDE
STEINTOLOGY
SUBTLE PLANES
TICKY TY

Where past and present collide in a fiery explosion. Where the future is shaped by lightning and steel. Where dreams are sewn with metallic threads and flames burn bright into the night. Come bear witness to the spawn of magic and machinery through the manifestation of the monolithic fire-breathing beast called Heavy Meta.

This is our final fundraiser before we set off to represent our city and country at Burning Man.

19+ Recommended / Accompanied minors allowed with a ticket.”

There are rumors of an afterparty for this insane event too. The event page on Facebook has lots of last minute tickets, outfit inspiration threads, and info about the installations.

Tickets are still available for the event, and you can use code NIKKI at checkout to save on yours.


Toronto Is Getting A New Music Festival Next Month That Will Make Your Booty Shake

Toronto’s dance music community brightened up when Dj’s metime and Danny Thrax brought EveryBody move to Round in Kensington Market.
This Summer, the team behind the inclusive dance parties is bringing the city a new party. Check out this message from them:

“We can’t keep it a secret any longer…. WE’RE THROWING A FESTIVAL!

🎉That’s right, your favourite monthly dance party is taking EveryBody Outside for a day festival, picnic and community social in a park.

Image result for dancing gif

🌈From family-friendly afternoon wiggles to sultry sunset vibes making way for a twinkling summer night, we’ll dance in the sunshine with grass between our toes, lay out picnic blankets, shop local artists and listen to sweet house music wafting across Lake Ontario.

🎈 It’s also our favourite bass witch me time‘s birthday – come help us celebrate in style!

EveryBody is by the community, for the community – and we need your support to bring this festival to life.

Click here to claim your wristband: https://igg.me/at/everybodyoutside

This New Heavy Meta Mix Is The Soundtrack To Your Week, You’re Welcome

Perhaps I’m a little bias with my love for Canada’s largest art car, and sound stage Heavy Meta. Their latest podcast dropped last week with a set from one of their resident DJs, Jesse Champagne. The mix is a beautiful and soulful blend of beats that will perfectly navigate your mind into a state of happiness. And your body to a state of dancing.

You may now remain shocked that this was not an Ariana Grande post.

#TMITuesday: 10 Questions With DJ Jackie Spade

It seems like everyone is a DJ nowadays but not everybody is a GOOD DJ like this week’s treasure of a feature. Jackie Spade can be found helping create Toronto’s newest art car Tarna, dropping tracks at Coda, and if you know her in your g*ddamn heart. With unmistakeable enigmatic energy behind the decks, I had to chat with this babe about music, Tarna, and get the lowdown on some celebrity crushes in an all-new #TMITuesday. Oh, and today is her birthday.

1. Let’s start basic, how did you get your music career started?

I started off playing the keyboard when I was 11, I was taught by my sister. 
And then guitar, drums and bass at 13. 
I had a passion for electronic music at 11 years old. Tiesto and Armin were my boys! I used to tape Tiesto tracks off the radio and I had two tape players I would press play on at the same time to try to play them back and beatmatch them haha. 
My actual start came in 2006 when I met my ride or die bestie in Montreal and she taught me on her CDJ 200s. 

2. On that note, who is your biggest influence?

In my personal life, my bestie, who is Dani Drops, 1/2 of the DJ duo Head Nodders from Montreal.
In terms of established artists I look up to, my sound has come from my Carlo Lio and Nathan Barato influence. That started back in 2009. 
These days I am influenced by the left field techno sound, Artists like Jeff Mills. are a huge inspiration. I like to keep my music steady and dancey with elements of surprise and odd vocals as opposed to singing. I draw my minimal vibe from the influence of DJs like Akiko Kiyama and the Romanian minimal scene. Arapu and Barac have taught me how to add the dance vibe to minimal sets/tracks. 
I am also very heavily influenced simply by spaces. The large, heavy sound I tend to veer towards these days is inspired by sprawling industrial spaces, run-down warehouses and lofts of Montreal, where I grew up, and Toronto where I am now. Something about hollow, metallic, vast, dark sounds has always
appealed to me. When I’m putting together a set, if the event is in an appropriate kind of industrial space, I will cater my selection to the venue.

3. Since today is #TMITuesday can you tell the readers something they may not already know about you? Any hidden talents or guilty pleasures?
Many.
No joke here. So…..this is slightly embarrassing but I’m not really one to care about embarrassment. I really, REALLY love stingrays. 
Like.
The sight of them makes me cry on the spot. I discovered this when my partner and I visited the aquarium. They have a section called the ray bay with all different kinds of rays. It’s dimly lit with soft music and a few different tanks. And I had never seen one in person, never even thought they were that interesting.
But something about those f*cking rays….. I sat there for about an hour like actually crying. My partner had to come back and get me and was like what is going on hahaha. 
I’m tearing up right now. And if I ever tell anyone this story in person my voice gets all shaky. Maybe I was a stingray in a past life or something. Hahaha.

4. The Toronto music scene is a weird one, how does it compare to your home spot Montreal?
Oufff that’s always a tough loaded question for me and can be incredibly controversial…
When I first moved here I didn’t appreciate the Toronto scene as much as I do now.
I feel like there is a solid INDUSTRY in Toronto. 
In Montreal, the scene is more of a culture that is embedded in everyone’s daily lives. Its less work hard/play hard there like it is in Toronto. I’m talking patrons, not the industry professionals. 
Toronto you usually go home by 7. Montreal your night starts at 1/2 In my experience. It can be a much less packaged and curated experience in Montreal much more of the time. Its really rare I’ve ended up playing sweaty small basement after-hours parties in Toronto till noon the next day like we used to in MTL. 
For me, the real magic happens after 6am. I miss that and don’t find that in Toronto very often. I don’t believe it is because the scene is bad. I believe it is because the people that run the city put so many restrictions on us. 
I have however found, to my delight that the crowds in Toronto are older in general. Which I find makes the scene more sustainable, or is at least is indicative of sustainability.
The thing I love most about TO and I find you don’t get in MTL as much is how much people dress up. Every bigger party or warehouse party you’ll see people go all out with costumes. There is a bigger burner culture here and I think that helps. It gives these parties a free-spirited rave like atmosphere which I thought was lost in the 90s or at bigger festivals before I came here. You really feel the unity of the community at events like that. 


5. This past year of 2018 has been a big one for you musically, tell me about your highlight gig, what made it so special? 

Wow so many. Ugh. 
The highlight, however, was definitely my first time at Coda. I have been going there for the past 5 years, and footwork before that since 2008.
The first time I played was this summer. They booked me for an opening gig. When I walked in I wasn’t nervous, said hi to all the staff that I’ve known for ages, and felt like I just came home. 
I was informed to be ready to close at the end of the night for a bit if the headliner got tired. and I agreed. 
So soon after I finish my set the promoter comes up to me and is like so you’re on again 3-5. I was like WHAT I get 2 more hours! Yay! And he was like truthfully, we’ve been wanting to have you here for a long time and really just want to party with you and hear your stuff. 
I’ve never been so touched or felt more welcomed into a community. I was so relaxed and excited and ended up playing 4 of the 7 hours of the night. I got a lot of “WHO THE F*CK ARE YOUUUs” and it felt great to break out into the core of the scene here in Toronto, at a club that I can play my true sound at, which is recognized on a global scale. What a magical night. 


6. Of course, 2018 is now over, what are some of your 2019 goals? 

I have a couple gig goals/place I want to play in Canada that I won’t mention here. I’m still courting them. Haha. 
I’m looking to change my set up this year. I have always wanted to play a more hybrid style kind of set. I’m a very no-frills kind of DJ, no effects and minimal tweaks of tracks but I’m interested in trying out some new gear that will allow me some freedom without taking away from the flow of my regular djing.


7. I ask everyone this question but I’m really hyped on what your answer will be; if you could choose one song to be your ‘theme song’ what would it be and why?


8. You’re involved in Toronto’s growing art car community, how have you helped Heavy Meta, and Tarna, and how have they helped you?

Heavy Meta and Tarna operate out of the 4tress workshop in Toronto, When I can get the time away from my day job and DJ commitments I head over to the shop and cut and bang metal. I’m an aircraft assembler by trade, so some of those skills are transferrable. 
Heavy Meta brought me along to the Elements festival in New York and Burning Man as well. They had me play on the dragon for my first international gigs. I have played for them a few times in Toronto and they run pretty large events. so having that exposure locally has been a great help as well. 
I have played a couple Tarna events as well, and to be honest, that crew and scene have helped me remember to have fun while I’m playing, dress up, throw around glitter and not take myself as seriously as I do in a dark techno club for example. I get to have a professional musician experience as well as whimsical enjoyment of a party. 
I can’t even count how many amazing people I’ve met and friends I’ve made along the way with these crews. they have changed my life and the way I connect with people, I am truly grateful for all of them and incredibly excited to go back to Burning Man with Tarna this year.


9. I mean, this is essentially a pop culture website so I’m going to need to know your top 3 celebrity crushes:

Ashley Graham
Cardi B
Lady Gaga
Not sorry.


Image result for cardi b GIF

10. What’s next for you?

Well, I’m not one for sitting in front of a computer and tinkering. So I’m looking to get into drum machines and hardware-based production tools. I’ve felt newly inspired lately, and plan on getting that venture started before gigs get busy again in the summer.