An Exclusive Interview with Animal Sun

Animal Sun, made up of brothers Steven Blake and Will Alton, are bursting onto the indie music scene. Formed in 2015, the band was named after their close friend James Sun, who tragically passed away in 2011. Animal Sun’s debut EP, “Beginnings,” released in July of this year, showcases the band’s soulful sound, pulling inspiration from artists like The Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins and The 1975.

The guys are currently prepping to perform at the iconic Peppermint Club in West Hollywood, CA on October 26th. In other exciting news, Steven and Will were recently notified that they are on the official ballot for the Grammy Awards for the following categories: Song of The Year – “Girl in Blue,” Record of The Year – “Girl in Blue,” & Best Pop Duo or Group Performance – Animal Sun, “Girl in Blue.”

I caught up with lead singer Steven Blake and chatted with him about their first music video, their fans, working with Grammy award-winning engineer Robert Margouleff, and more.

Listen below!


Find Animal Sun:




HOW TO: Create a Music Time Capsule

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLike I’ve said so many times before on my blog, music/songs can represent memories. Listening to a specific song can bring back so many good memories from various times in your life!

For this post, I decided to do a something a little different. I’m a very sentimental person, and I also absolutely love time capsules. I have so many hidden around my house–one from kindergarten that I’m supposed to open when I graduate from college, one for when I graduate from high school, and one I’m set to open in just a few weeks. Because I love time capsules so much, I decided to combine my love of memorabilia with my passion for music & its power to spark memories.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to create your very own music time capsule. You can decide to open it whenever you want–during a major life milestone, next year, whatever. When you open this time capsule, it will help you remember the music you loved and the memories that you made because of it. It makes your memories a bit more tangible, and is super fun to hide, then discover later. Read on to find out how you can fossilize your favorite artists and albums.

THE IDEA: If you’ve never made a time capsule before, the idea is to find a box or some sort of container, and fill it with significant objects that will spark memories when you open it years later. Ideally, you are supposed forget what’s in the box until you open it. Decide on a specific date or a certain year that you would like to open it, and mark it on the outside, then HIDE IT. Don’t open it, touch it, or peek until your target date.

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9 ideas of what to put inside:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset1. Tickets from past concerts.

Collect tickets from a few (or one) of the best concerts you’ve attended. On the back, write who went to the concert with you. That way, you can call your friend and reminisce about that perfect night after you open your capsule.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset2. Concert & festival bracelets.

These are so much fun to look at years later. Try to save them instead of throwing them away after the concert/festival you attended. I kept my V.I.P. bracelet from when I met The Wanted.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset3. A lotion or small lip gloss that you wore the night of your favorite concert.

Scent evokes strong memories. One sniff of a perfume that you wore the night you met your favorite band will transport you right back to the moment you finally hugged them.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset4. Pictures, pictures, pictures!

Throw in pictures you snapped of your favorite singer on stage, at meet-and-greets, and of you and your friends after/during concerts. One thing that’s super fun to include: Pictures of your reactions after a concert, or after meeting your favorite band/singer. Make it habit to snap a picture of you and your friends after each concert–you’ll have genuine smiles and you’ll capture the excitement of the night on camera. (In the picture below, on the right, you will see a picture of my friend and me after we met Ed Sheeran. We were a little excited…)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset5. Buttons, stickers, articles and other mementos.

Cut out an article of an interview or photo shoot with favorite singer, and include it in your time capsule. You’ll love reading it years later, and it will help you remember why you loved that particular artist so much. Stickers, buttons and notes are always fun to look at, too.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset6. Albums, album booklets, or a flash drive.

In 10 years, or whenever you decide to open this time capsule, the world may not be using CDs anymore. Putting your favorite album on a flash drive is probably good idea. If you want, though, go ahead and include a whole CD (if you can fit it inside).

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset7. Fan letters.

Make a point to scan and save letters you write to your favorite band member (before you give them away). Or you still have a letter for your fave that you hope to give them one day, consider putting it in your time capsule. (Obviously if you end up meeting the artist/band, you can still take it out and give it to them.) I scanned the letters I gave to The Wanted when I met them, and it’s fun (if a bit cringe-worthy) to read them now. 🙂

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8. A description of your favorite concert, or concert moment.

Write out your favorite concert moment, then read it out loud to someone who went to the concert with you when you take it out of your time capsule years later. Even if you’re not much of a writer, jot down some bullet points and key moments you want to remember.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset9. Tweets.

You know those embarrassing, adoring tweets you’ve sent to your favorite singers? Print them out! Have you ever gotten a reply? Print it out! You will LOVE seeing them years later when you open your time capsule. Plus, who knows if we will even have Twitter in the future? Your tweets will seem so “retro”!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Tweet me pictures of YOUR music time capsules! (@sophersc)

HOW TO: Meet Your Favorite Bands & Singers (Part 2)

imageMeeting my favorite band, The Wanted, in April

Fake it ‘till you make it. Meeting your favorite band/singer can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. When you meet them, breathe. They’re just people. (That mean a lot to you!) Fake being outgoing if you’re a little shy—smile, ask them questions, (ex: How do you like my city? What did you do today? Etc.) and most importantly: be assertive (but not rude). If you want a selfie, ask for one. If you want a hug, ask for one. Thank them for taking time to meet you, and be happy—because you just met your favorite artist!

When taking a picture with your fave: Although this can be nerve-racking, try to stay calm. Smile, and make sure you take a minute to put your arm around your fave for the picture. Meet & greet pictures where the artist and fan are just standing next to each other are awkward, so you want to avoid that. Not sure what kind of meet and greet picture you want? A normal one of you smiling with the band is always great, but if you’re looking to get creative with your picture, check out the two pictures below for ideas!

heffron driveWhen fans Miranda & Katy met Heffron Drive, they hugged each of the guys in the picture. Too cute!


Raleigh went for a fun, silly picture when she met American Authors. If you’re brave enough to ask for a picture like this, it is definitely one you will treasure forever!

If things don’t work out the way you wanted when trying to meet your favorite band or singer:

Don’t give up! Whether you didn’t meet the band, or you did, but you were too star-struck to tell them how much you love them, it’s okay. Stay positive and think about the fact that you actually met them. When I met Ed Sheeran, I barely squeaked out a thank you. I was in shock, haha. Afterwards, I was a bit disappointed I hadn’t said more to him, but I remembered how lucky I was to even meet him, and I felt better. There is always a possibility you will meet the artist again, or if you haven’t met them yet, and you’re determined to, you will. Staying positive is key!

 Don’t forget to read Part 1 of this post if you haven’t already!

Tweet me HERE about your meet and greet experiences! I want to hear all of the crazy stories. I will always tweet you back! 🙂

HOW TO: Meet Your Favorite Bands & Singers (Part 1)

imageMy two fangirl best friends waiting outside of our favorite band’s tour bus!

When an artist I love makes a trip to my city, I try my very best to meet them. I love being able to show them how much I appreciate their music, and it’s so much fun to see them in real life. If your favorite band or singer is coming to your city and you are determined to meet them, find out how you can with these tips and secrets. (Results may vary!)

3255575238_64f2e5bb08_oUse Twitter. This is my main tool when I’m trying to meet an artist. Follow the band on Twitter that you’re trying to meet, and check their page through out the day. If you’re lucky and the artist tends to tweet a lot, you might be able to figure out where they currently are in your city, and you’ll know where to go. They may tweet a picture of them eating at a restaurant you are familiar with, (I know, this sounds like borderline stalking…), or simply a picture of them outside the venue they’re performing in. Also, search Twitter for keywords when you’re trying to find the band you want to meet. Example: Search “Ellie Goulding Chicago, Illinois,” on the Twitter search page. People who may have met her earlier that day (or even a few minutes ago) may pop up, in which case you can tweet them and ask where they found Ellie. You may also find people tweeting information about where she might be later.

(Twitter photo by keiyac)

TIP: Although other people tweeting info is super helpful, try to avoid doing the same. Less of a crowd=more time for you to talk to your fave.

1377197_541694822569731_102313675_nWait outside the venue, and spot the tour buses. The best time meet a singer or band outside the venue is before a concert. The artist won’t be as tired, and things won’t be as hectic—most people wait for the artist after the show, not before, so there could be less people. If you spot the artist, make sure you call out to them (politely!) by name. They might come over and take some selfies with you if they see you’re passionate about meeting them. (Left picture: Colton Ruldolph from Midnight Red & I outside of a concert venue.)

Finding the tour buses is really helpful if you can manage it. The artist will most likely be hanging out around it, so you’ll have a good chance of meeting them.

TIP: If there is a rope or barrier around the tour bus, don’t cross it. You don’t want to get kicked out by security. (I’ve had personal experience with this, but didn’t get kicked out haha–I was just really determined to meet The Wanted…)

imageI met Nathan Sykes from The Wanted outside of their tour bus!

FAQ: Should I try to meet bands and singers in airports? Some artists are okay with you meeting them in airports after they’ve gotten off a flight (5SOS, The Wanted, & Demi Lovato to name a few), but some aren’t. They’re tired and just want to get to their hotels, so give them space. If you meet any singer at an airport, make sure you ask before trying to get a picture with them. I’ve heard about situations where an artist will get irritated with fans who immediately assume they will take a picture with them without asking.


Follow the fangirls. If you spot other fans who look like they know what they’re doing in terms of trying to meet (*cough* or stalk) an artist, watch and listen to them. They usually know where to go. It may help to befriend them, but don’t push it. Fangirls are determined when it comes to meeting their faves, and they DON’T want to be used.

Enter in contests. You know those radio contests you think you’ll never win—the ones where they give away chances to meet a band or singer? Here’s a big secret: you can win. Through these types of contests, fans meet their favorite bands and singers. If you hear about this type of contest and you like the artist, ENTER IN IT! You never know what might happen unless you try.

 166740_454171931322021_2022522688_nMy friend & I met Ed Sheeran through a radio contest in 2013.

Stay tuned for PART 2, where I will give some tips on what to do and say when you meet an artist you love!


HOW TO: Get Your Favorite Singer To Follow/Tweet You

Bsh8DFlCcAAT8SYThe most frustrating thing about being a dedicated fan of a band or singer: not being able to tell to them how much they mean to you. That’s where Twitter comes in handy! In our generation, we are very lucky to have Twitter so we shower our favorite singers with tweets of adoration and support. But because so many fans are doing this, it can be very difficult to get your favorite singer to notice your tweets to them. Their mentions are flooded with fans, and tweeting them and getting no reply or follow back can leave you feeling frustrated and somewhat hopeless.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from lack-of-tweets-from-your-favorite-singer-or-band-syndrome (haha, just kidding), and I’m here to help! I’ve complied a list of a couple of things you can do to increase your chances of getting noticed by your faves. I also asked my friend and fellow fangirl, Karen Le, for some of her tips and tricks, since she gets tweeted/followed by her favorite singers quite frequently. So don’t lose hope of getting noticed by your fave–read on!

Don’t spam. Copying and pasting the same message and sending it to your favorite singer or band on Twitter (Example: “hi, my name is Sophie. Please follow me,” over and over again) may seem like a good idea, but it’s not as effective as you may think. Celebrities are people too–they get annoyed when people spam them.

Karen says, “Spamming works occasionally…and by occasionally I mean hardly ever! Sure, it may catch your fave’s attention, but they probably won’t appreciate being flooded by 100 x number spam. Instead, simple tweets that you send every 2-3 minutes are fine. If the singer is looking at their timeline, chances are they’ll prefer to respond to that rather than spam.”

BsYKovSIcAASj2zBe funny! Sending a tweet about how much you adore your favorite singer is great, but don’t spend all your time tweeting them the same old thing! (Plus, they get that a lot.) Mix it up a bit; say something witty, tell a joke, or attach a silly picture they might enjoy. (Then, sneak in the “ILY!” at the end of the tweet!) You might get a super funny or sweet reply back! Karen agrees: “people on Twitter sometimes sound like robots after a while of repeating the same thing that everyone else is saying. I’ve had luck getting a follow or a tweet back when I send something cheeky. Tweet about something your fave is interested in–they’ll be prompted to reply!”

nath karen

Karen got a reply from Nathan with this cute tweet to him!

Tweet them something you made. Bands and singers are so touched when you take time out of your day to create something for them or about them. Whether that’s a drawing you created of them, a bracelet with their name on it, or simply a collage, tweet them a picture of it! Recently, I created this small collage (below) and message for one of my favorite singers, Nathan Sykes. I tweeted it to him a few times (but didn’t spam) and an hour later, he surprised me with a follow!

BsZGLM7CIAAZ4mgnath follow








Help your friends and others who are looking to be noticed. First of all, this is good fangirl karma. If you help others, you have more of a chance of them helping you in the future. Simply tweeting the singer someone’s username a few times, retweeting someone trying to get noticed, or direct messaging (if the singer follows you) them to tweet one of your friends is an easy way for you to help fellow fans out. Karen says, “If you help other people out, they’ll definitely help you out at some point. After all, it’s those people and your friends that you fangirl with once you finally get that tweet or follow from your favorite singer!”

Have any more tips about getting a tweet/follow from your fave band or singer? Share them with me below!

Soundtrack To My Summer 2014

Songs have the power to bring back memories of a specific moment, season, or time in your life. Below is a list of songs that I know will remind me of summer 2014. Click below and enjoy!

The_1975_debut_album_cover   lily-allen-its-not-you-its-me-cd-cover-album-art 12232044126_2323d8d952_b 

                                                                         Tori Kelly (Photo by Justin Higuchi)

Ed Sheeran (From his new album X):

I’m A MessBloodstreamThinking Out LoudTenerife SeaAll Of The Stars

IMG_6434   ed-sheeran-x-410

                                             Ed Sheeran October 2013

  The 1975: Robbers*MenswearChocolateGirls

Tori Kelly: Paper HeartsDear No One

Lily Allen: Who’d Have Known


       Kodaline (Photo by Kathi Rudminat)

Kodaline: All I Want

Sam Smith: Stay With Me

Bgw-gCsCQAIN9VS-353x   sam-smith-stay-with-me-album-cover-636-380   7391547178_e2a128a788_b 

                                                         Grouplove (Photo by Jared Polin)                                                             

Bleachers: I Wanna Get Better

Grouplove: Let Me In

5 Seconds of Summer: Amnesia, Don’t Stop


HOW TO: Have the best concert experience EVER (Part 3)

What to do…

During the concert


If possible, skip the bag check. Whether you decide to do this or not depends on how much you want to be first or second row. If you have a large bag or coat that is mandatory to check, by all means, check it. You don’t want to be lugging that around with you during the show, plus it might irritate the people around you. But if you can avoid taking the extra time to check your bags, you’ll have a better chance of getting to the front. People tend to rush toward the stage once they’re past the ticket checker, and if you’re busy checking your bags, they’re getting front row. When I’m going to a concert that’s an artist I love, I tie things around my waist, stuff things in my purse, or hold anything I can. Getting as close as possible to the stage is always my main priority.

Wear earplugs. Especially if you’re toward the front of the stage, you’ll hear the music more clearly if you have earplugs in. It will also help with the post-concert ringing in your ears. I went to a concert in December without earplugs, and I could hardly make out what the artists were singing. I bring them to every concert now! (Photo by Dirk Haun)

Enjoy the show—don’t record it. Instead of videotaping or live-tweeting the entire concert, put your phone and camera away and enjoy the show. If your favorite song comes on, or the singer does something funny that you feel you have to catch on tape, record a small clip, but don’t spend too much time doing this. Remember: almost always, you can find footage of the concert on YouTube afterward.


Right: A fan recording a ZZ Ward concert in September 2013

TIP: Forgot your camera? Your phone’s camera quality isn’t that great? Check the venue’s Facebook page. Sometimes they have photo albums of previous shows. If you can’t find much, try checking out the venue’s account on Instagram. Also, search for the venue’s name or the date of the concert in the Instagram hashtags.

If you get to the front row, make friends with the security guard(s). If you’re lucky enough to get front row at a concert, get friendly with the bodyguard chilling by front of the stage. (He’s probably bored anyway.) You never know how this could benefit you later.

When I saw The Wanted in April, I was front row. While waiting for the show to start, I joked around with the security guard standing in front of the stage. He was taking people’s phones and snapping photos of the stage and the crowd for people who asked him to. Since there were so many teenage girls there, a lot of the phones he was given were pink and polka dotted. I was laughing, asking if they belonged to him. He smirked. “No!” he would say. At one point, he was handed a phone with a teddy bear case. He walked over to me and said, “This is my phone,” smiling.

10292149_645774238828455_4007444609373627672_n Later, I was chosen by Tom Parker from The Wanted to join him on stage as his Heart Vacancy Girl (For those of you who aren’t huge fans of The Wanted: Being a Heart Vacancy Girl is the equivalent to Justin Bieber’s One Less Lonely Girl. The boys of The Wanted choose 5 girls from the audience to join them on stage and sing to. I’m a superfan of The Wanted, so this was an absolute dream come true for me!) When I was chosen, I was freaking out. I was so excited, but I was stuck behind the barrier that separated me from the stage. I didn’t know how to get out onto the stage. That’s when the security guard I had made friends with earlier came over to me, holding his arms out. “Come here. I’ll lift you over.” He did, and helped me up onto the stage. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have been a Heart Vacancy Girl. I thanked him lots after the show. (See a picture of us together on the left.)

Obviously this is a rare situation; not a lot of bands do this, so security guards don’t always have this opportunity. But becoming friends with the security guard at a concert could benefit you in other ways; sometimes they give out water bottles to people in the first few rows, or lift fans out of  the mosh pits for air when they’re feeling faint.


Tom Parker and me on stage!

Talk to the fans around you. You know that excited feeling you get when you find out someone likes the same band as you? When you’re at a concert, you’re in a room full of people who like the same band or singer as you. Take advantage of this. You’re all there for the same reason! Talk to the fans around you—it makes it more fun as you’re waiting for the show to start, and you may hear some crazy stories about past concerts they’ve been to. If you use Twitter, ask people you meet for their usernames. Fans you meet could tweet about the artist you both like when they’re coming back to your town, and you’ll hear about it first if you’re in touch.

IMG_6364If you’re the type of person who follows fans of your favorite band from around your area on Twitter, you may even run into one of your online friends at a show. Once when I was at a concert, I tweeted a picture of the stage. A few minutes later, a girl shouted into the crowd: “Is there a ‘SophersC’ (my Twitter username) in the room?” I raised my hand and waved at her. “That’s me!” I said. She grinned. “We follow each other on Twitter. I just saw your picture of the stage! Nice to meet you,” she said. We still talk online today.


Keep track of your friends. Try to stick with the friends you came to the show with as best you can. It’s a lot easier when the show ends if you already know where your friends are—you can get out faster, before the huge mob pushes toward the exit. Not only this, but obviously it’s more fun when you can enjoy a concert with your best friends. Take this opportunity to hardcore fangirl together when your favorite song comes on—no one’s going to judge you here!