Interview: Electro-Post-Punk band ‘Phantom Radio’ to release new single.

Teesside’s electro-post-punk pioneers, Phantom Radio, have been showcasing their unique take on alternative music in gigs around the North East for a while now. They might not be a band on your musical radar yet, but they’re definitely one to check out as they get set to release their newest single ‘Kings of the Town’ this month.  The band consists of Mike (guitar and vocals), Harry (guitarist), Lee (bass and backing vocals), and Tom (synths and production). I caught up with the band to chat about their upcoming projects.

 

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From Left to right: Lee (bass), Mike (guitar and vocals), Tom (synth). Image taken by: Mark Cartwright.

 

How would you describe your music?

Mike (M): “We call it electro post punk, it’s basically post punk but we haven’t got a drummer!”

Tom (T): “Yeah, we haven’t got a drummer but we do have a synth! That’s what makes our sound different to normal post-punk.”

 

How did you get into this?

M: “I’ve been in bands for ages. I’ve always played in rock bands, but I just got sick of it. There’s only so much heavy guitar you can do and then you just start to feel like you’ve done it all.”

Lee (L): “There’s only so many copyright Led Zeppelin riffs that you can do!”

M: “So I’m doing something else now and I’ve roped these two into it. They’ve never played in a band before.”

L: “I was just playing music in my room for about 6 years. I had no mates that would play in bands and I saw Mike was in a band. None of my friends wanted to play with me but Mike did, so I thanked him for that and now we’re in a band!”

T: “You sound like a 6 year old!”

L: “ I only knew about 3 songs but I was so eager to play! When I joined Mike he didn’t know how good or bad I was, so I just played it off like I knew everything.”

 

You played at Middlesbrough Theatre (Toft House) a few months ago, how was that?

L: “It was like a bunch of parents had come to support their teenage son at his first gig.”

M: “It was all acoustic artists but we were this one loud rock band that was on first. It was mental! Everyone there was definitely older than 40 and probably didn’t want us on! My favourite thing about this band is we fuck shit up and annoy everyone. The secret to all great art is that half the people have to love it and half the people have to hate it, and that’s definitely what we are!”

T: “It’s true, you get this sort of mixed bag.”

M: “If everyone likes it then you’re not pushing the boundaries.”

L: “Yeah, I like Iggy Pop but that sort of music is just too common. We’re something different.”

 

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Phantom Radio’s logo

 

Do you have any artists that inspire you?

T: “The Beatle Barkers.”

L: “Oh god!”

M: “Go on Tom, explain what this is! You’ve been waiting to talk about this since the start!”

T: “The Beetle Barkers are a dog cover band of The Beatles and they just bark all the music!”

There’s a parrot metal band that exists too!

M: “There is! I remember them.”

T: “Is there? See, it’s not so silly now!”

M: “I like Smashing Pumpkins, and Peter Murphy from the band Bauhaus.”

I noticed your Bauhaus T-shirt when you walked in! Great choice!

M: “Thanks, I like those sort of goth bands.”

L: “My inspiration is probably Tool, and maybe…I dunno…Scissor Sisters!”

M: “Lee has never mentioned them until now!”

L: “Well I’ve liked them for about 5 years and I don’t know why I’ve said this now but it’s out there for the world to know.”

M: “So the past 5 years have been a waste, now we’re just going to become a Scissor Sisters tribute band!”

 

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Mike (lead vocals and guitar). Photo taken by Mark Cartwright.

 

Is there anybody you’d love to perform with?

T: “Michael Jackson…post-death…”

L: “I have a few friends in bands, so I’d like to make a super-group and go on tour.”

M: “I’m not making a super-group with any of them! It would be the worst band ever…electro, metal, 70’s, punk music.”

T: “Yeah, there’d end up being emo stuff in there as well!”

M: “Yeah, sorry to crush your dream Lee but that’s not going to happen.

The problem is everyone I like I’ve probably already ripped them off, so if I played with them then they’d know! It’d be a disaster! I think we’ve got to be unrealistic and just pick the biggest possible band…”

L: “AC/DC”

M: “I think I’ll just agree with Michael Jackson. Final answer.”

T: “Final Answer? Are you locking that in?”

 

Is there anything you hope the audience takes away from your music?

T: “I just hope they enjoy it really.”

M: “I hope people see us and think that they don’t have to go and see rubbish indie bands all the time. There’s other bands they can see.”

L: “Yes, let’s just antagonise more people!”

M: “I hope they’ll go to smaller gigs where there’s more interesting stuff on.”

L: “Raw talent!”

M: “Yeah, people need to go see some original stuff rather than all these Oasis and Arctic Monkey tribute bands that play all the big gigs round here.”

 

What are your upcoming projects?

M: “We have a single coming out!”

T: “Yes, lets get a massive hype train going for this!”

M: “Well then, it’s going to be the best song ever! Keep an eye on our Facebook page. We’re making this ridiculously ambitious music video. We thought it was going to be doable but it turns out we don’t have as much free time as we planned, but we’ll get it done! These things just take time.

We have this upcoming Goth City Festival this October in Leeds too. It’ll just be a load of gigs in a row and I think we’re playing on the first day. There’s a lot of industrial type bands playing there.”

 

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What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

L: “Working with Tom!”

M: “Organising everything! The music is the fun part, but then it’s trying to find time for everyone to practice together and getting everyone to the gigs. Also, you get constant rejection from promoters. I’ll be sending out about 40 messages and only 20 people will reply. You kind of pay the price being a niche band because promoters don’t know what to do with you.”

 

 Is there anything you want to change about the music industry?

T: “Make us huge!”

M: “You have to be making pop music to get anywhere in this industry really. Promoters used to sign people just for liking their music, but now you have to already have an established following.”

L: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

M: “You pretty much have to do everything yourself now.”

 

Do you have any plans or hopes for the future?

T: “I think we’ll be recording more.”

M: “The traditional way of being in a band was to play a ton of gigs and then eventually you’d get noticed, but it doesn’t work like that anymore. People just stay inside, so you need to have more recordings, music videos and work on promoting your social media. Then you’ll get better gigs off the back of that.

So we’ll be working on more music videos and then if that works out we should hopefully get bigger and better gigs.”

 

Phantom Radio’s single ‘Kings of the Town’ is set to release this month (23rd August). To keep up to date with their music and find out more about their upcoming gigs, you can follow their Facebook at Facebook.com/PhantomRadio. 

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The Ultimate Online Goth Shop List

Over the years I’ve been compiling a list of online goth shops that I browse or buy from. I thought I’d share my list with you as it could come in useful for finding goth clothing if you’re interested.

Baring mind I’m from the UK so many foreign companies may not be on here or I may have removed them due to the pricing. For example, I removed Dollskill from this list because I got massive shipping charges from customs. Also, I don’t have some specific brand websites on here, for example ‘Hell Bunny’, because that brand could be found in a shop with a UK web address such as ‘Kate’s Clothing’.

I’ll continue to update this list as and when I find new stores. I also have a list of stores on Etsy that I follow if you’d like me to share this.

The (/) means I personally have shopped there before and was satisfied with the service.

Clothing stores:
The gothic shop /
Rebels Market /
Kate’s Clothing /
kinky angel clothing /
Killstar /
Punk rave /
EMP /
Attitude /
Disturbia /
Draculaclothing
Gothic Clothing
sohos
pulp
phaze
DevilNight
spiral direct
the gothic catwalk
Bella Muerte
Wings In The Night
Grindstore
beadesaurus
black candy fashion
gothic style
goth world
Black Rose

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Pastel/Lolita clothing:
peilieeshop
wetprincessapparel
mingalondon
Incontrolclothing/
Youvimi

Fetish clothing:
Honour /
Altpanties
Maryjanelingerie

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‘Normal’ stores:
Forever 21
Dresslink
Wholesalebuying
Nasty Dress
Shopmissa
ASOS /
H&M /
New Look /
everything5pounds /
Boohoo /

Missguided

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Jewellery:
Alchemy gothic
Heartsandgemsjewellery
punky pins
Black Moon shop
Mysticumluna
Element 18 on Storenvy
junk jewels
cheap frills
cherry loco
Shopkadabra
Until Death Inc. (Engagement and wedding rings)
Empty Casket

Corsets:
corset story /
Corsetdeal
Burleska

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Footwear:
Gothicshoecompany (doesn’t seem to be available anymore, but you can find them on places like Ebay)
Alternative footwear
FootwearFetish
New rock boots uk

Koi Footwear

Wigs:
Wigaholics

Coloured contacts lenses:
Honeycolor
Pinkyparadise /

Fangs:
customfangs.webs.com/buyteethfangs.htm

Makeup:
Stargazer
kat von d
Jeffery star
manic panic
Glambot
cryptic cosmetics
Cutecosmetics
Aliexpress (I’ve been told they do fake copies of large brands for cheap and often good quality copies of expensive makeup)

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Miscellaneous:

Ebay /

Amazon /

Etsy /

Aliexpress

Storenvy

If you have any recommendations for online goth shops or maybe you have a favourite store from this list then let me know in the comments.

The Everyday Alternative’s Webpage Makeover

Some of you may have noticed that The Everyday Alternative had been inactive for a little while.

But hopefully my return has been worth the wait because I’ve been working hard to redecorate the webpage!

Gone are the days of the slime green theme and Halloween vibes. After-all goth is everyday not just for Halloween.

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The original webpage

I wanted to create something a little more sophisticated that aligned more with who I am and what the goth subculture.

I’ve created an original banner and logo to go with our new black and white theme. As well as this, the new page should be a lot easier for you to navigate.

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The brand new design!

I’ll be back writing articles for you all with a few overdue gig reviews on their way and some fresh new content to go with our brand new design.

Be sure to let me know what you think about the changes in the comments below.

Goth is Goth: Does it need additional labels?

Nowadays everyone is so concerned with putting things into a boxes. They want everything to be categorised, including goth.

You have to understand this is a subculture and ‘goth’ is basically an umbrella term. It is a category all by its itty-bitty lonesome and it doesn’t need to be broken down further.

It’s so hard to keep track, you have: ‘gothic lolita’, ‘nu goth’, ‘trad goth’, ‘romantic goth’, ‘Victorian goth’, and erm…’bubble goth’…whatever that is.

There is this mindset that your whole identity is tied to the style you choose and you HAVE to choose.

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And this is just a few…

If you happen to own a belle-sleeve lace gown and a few chokers then that’s it, you’re romantic goth! That is your identity! You may choose no other style!

Now this concept is a very dangerous way of thinking.

You’re breaking something down that’s already been broken down for you.

Goth is a subculture, it is a category by itself.

When you’re shunting things into all these little boxes you’re causing an unnecessary divide.

Goth is already a small and often misunderstood subculture, so the last thing we need is to be creating divides amongst ourselves.

Let’s look back a little further into the 80’s when goths didn’t even know what they were. They were a new subculture rising out of the punk scene. They just wanted to listen to the music they liked, dress up, and have fun in the clubs. There were no rules, there were no exclusions, and there were no guidelines to follow.

The standard goth didn’t fit into any category other than ‘goth’. They weren’t ‘trad’ or ‘Batcave’, but they were very unmistakably goth.

This doesn’t mean there wasn’t a wide array of different styles of clothing, it just didn’t define us. It was simply just a part of your wardrobe.

‘Labels are for clothes, NOT people.’

There was a time when I refused to call myself a goth. I was afraid that if I adopted the label then I’d be put into a box that would limit me. I believed I couldn’t claim to be goth but then listen to Katy Perry and wear colour because it would present an opportunity for elitists to start up the whole ‘gother than thou’ dispute. Categorising people through stereotypes can be bad enough without making those categories even smaller.

If you were to go through my wardrobe you’d find pieces that you would deem nu goth, post-apocalyptic, trad goth, Victorian goth, fetish goth. Just because one day I decide to pull out a fishnet top and tease my hair this doesn’t automatically make me trad goth. It just means I’m exploring one of the many fashions relating to my subculture.

But honestly dressing to the extreme everyday would just be tiring. Usually I just chuck on a pair of skinny jeans and a band t-shirt, does this stop someone being goth? No. You don’t have to wear makeup, dye your hair black, and live in black clothing to be goth. This is just a stereotype, goth is mostly about the music and having an interest in the culture anyway. You’re style doesn’t define who you are.

There’s nothing wrong with using descriptive terms to find a pair of boots or a dress online. Labels are great for describing the fashion itself. However, that’s probably where you should draw a line.

If you’re a goth then you’re a goth, there’s no need to bust it up into a million fragments and add additional labels.

Echo & The Bunnymen gig @ The Sage, Newcastle – Review

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Photo from: post-punk.com

Echo & the Bunnymen are a new-wave, post-punk band who enjoyed success in the 80s with hits like ‘Lips like Sugar’ and ‘Seven Seas’. They achieved significant success in 1983 with their first UK top 10 single ‘The Cutter’ which climbed to number 8 in the chart. Their 1984 album ‘Ocean’s Rain’ reached number 4 and is still regarded today as their landmark album. For lovers of bands like Joy Division, The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees this will be right up your alley.

Fans of popular television series such as ‘Stranger Things’  may already be familiar with their haunting single ‘Nocturnal Me’ which plays over episode 5’s closing credits in the first season. As well as ‘My Kingdom’ and ‘The Killing Moon’ which featured on the much discussed teen-drama ‘13 Reasons Why’.

Echo & the Bunnymen returned to stages across the world to play their orchestral re-workings of classic songs for the first time in anticipation for the release of their new LP ‘The Stars, The Ocean & The Moon’.  I was eager to hear them live for the first time.

The band is in their 40th year since forming. Nothing lasts forever but the Scouse indie icons are having a good crack at trying. They are now comprised of lead singer Ian McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson

On 30th May, I hopped on a train to The Sage, Gateshead. The venue is an architectural jewel along the south bank of the Tyne. I was impressed by the sheer beauty of its design and quality of its acoustics – the venue was perfectly suited for hosting Echo & The Bunnymen.

Opening the night’s proceedings was ENATION. I hadn’t heard of the band before the gig so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was clear the audience were only there to see Echo & the Bunnymen as the majority decided to stand out in the foyer having a drink. It was a very small turnout to their performance which seemed a little unfair that they hadn’t been given their chance to shine. However, I think the audience missed out big time because Jonathon Jackson’s singing alone had me hooked. It’s not often that a support act catches my attention, but I genuinely found their music engaging and have been listening to their music since.

The trio dressed in matching burgundy suits (goodness how they lasted under the heat of the stage lights) for their 45 minute set.

As the hall started to fill up, I noticed I was probably one of the youngest people there. It wasn’t a surprise to me since my music taste does seem to align with that of my Dad’s generation. I was a little concerned that the atmosphere wouldn’t be quite as lively as I’m accustomed to, especially given the fact that an all-seated venue isn’t great for a bit of a boogie.

There was a short interval in which the orchestra played a few songs, before Echo & the Bunnymen strolled out onto the stage to play their 18 song set. Their frontman, Ian McCulloch, was dressed in his leather jacket and wearing a pair of jet-black shades inside like he was the coolest rocker in the building.

For the first two thirds of the set, the crowd was stationary, with only a few people braving a dance in their seats or at the sidelines. But when the setlist reached their popular classics, such as ‘Seven Seas’, the audience begun to loosen up and soon the whole crowd was up on their feet.

McCulloch’s voice isn’t the same as it used to be, coming across as more gravelly than in the past, but he seemed to have adapted his techniques to play to his strengths.

The band played old hits such as ‘Bedbugs and Ballyhoo’ and ‘Bring On The Dancing Horses’, each rearranged to include the lush string quartet.

They finished their main set with a powerful rendition of ‘The Cutter’, which left he crowd wanting more.

The connection of McCulloch with the audience was fantastic, as they seemed more like old friends. The crowd playfully heckled the band. Although at one point the frontman was forced to interrupt a song to blunty tell someone in the front row to “shut the f**k up”. However, I found his frank attitude to be humourous and showed that after all his time doing this his personality has stayed unvarnished and grounded.

The highlight for me was their second encore in which they played a slower, piano-driven, acoustic version of ‘Killing Moon’. It was beautifully intricate and majestic as the room was lit up with lights like stars and McCullough voice hauntingly echoed in my ears. For all their years doing this, they haven’t lost their edge.

Overall, I had an amazing night and enjoyed being immersed in such a positive atmosphere. The visual effects were impressive with strobes, lasers and even fairylights and gothic chandeliers set up on the stage.

Echo & The Bunnymen’s new album ‘The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon’ will be released on the 5th October. You can preorder from the bands online store at: https://bunnymen.tmstor.es/

RIP to Steve Coy drummer/guitarist for Dead Or Alive

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Steve Coy

Steve Coy has died aged 56 (1962-2018).

He was the drummer/guitarist for the new wave, synthpop band Dead or Alive from 1982. Playing in their greatest hit ‘That’s The Way (I Like It)’.

Dead Or Alive had hit singles like ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’.

Their lead singer Pete Burns died back in 2016 of a heart attack.

Steve Coy will be dearly missed.

Pale Waves gig @ The Westgarth Social Club – review

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Pale Waves. Photo by Dean Chalkley

Pale Waves are a four-piece band, hailing from Manchester, mentored by the highly revered indie-rock band The 1975. I remember when I first discovered Pale Waves’ music; I was listening to 80’s new wave bands like The Cure on YouTube when I saw the thumbnail for their song “Television Romance” as a recommended video. The picture was of a woman with short black hair, dark grungy makeup and gothic attire (which I later learnt was the lead singer, Heather Baron Gracie). I prayed that their music would be just as captivating as their style.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but felt that it was safe to assume that their music would be slow, melancholy dark wave, similar to that of bands like Lebanon Hanover. Instead what I heard was something completely different. I was beguiled by how they had blended dark atmospherics with pure synth pop. Pale Waves are clearly the sort of band who delight in subverting expectations.

I was surprised to hear their announcement of the ‘DIY Class of 2018 Tour’ so early on. At the time of the announcement they had only released three songs: ‘New Year’s Eve’, ‘Television Romance’ and ‘There’s a Honey’. It seemed like a risky move to go on tour before releasing the full album ‘All the Things I Never Said’, however, I could tell from those three songs alone that I was going to like whatever else they produced so I bought myself a ticket.

Given the sudden surge in their popularity with the release of ‘Television Romance’ gaining them over 4 million views on YouTube, I was surprised and extremely excited to hear they were coming to a small, local venue: The Westgarth Social Club.

On the day of the concert I bagged myself a spot at the very front of the stage on the left-hand side so I would be directly in front of their keyboardist/guitarist Hugo Silvani. The full line-up for that night was Bloxx, Our Girl, and headliners Pale Waves, with all three of the bands being fronted by women.

 

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Pale Waves on stage. Photo by Janine Lewis

Bloxx kicked off the evening’s proceedings including a mix of released and unreleased music in their set. Standouts from this band were their angst-filled song ‘Coke’ and exuberant ‘Your Boyfriend’. Their latest single ‘Novocain’ even had people dancing. This was impressive for any support act as I’ve often seen situations where the bands are booed from the stage. It was a pleasant change to see a crowd enjoying a lesser-known band so much.

Brighton rock band, Our Girl, were up next and opened their set with ‘Being Around’. I have to admit I thought they were extremely talented and I thoroughly enjoyed the lead singer Soph Nathan’s hypnotic and heartfelt vocals. After this second stellar act the stage was prepared for the band we had all been waiting for – Pale Waves!

I was in awe of Heather Baron Gracie’s outfit, she was sporting a leather jacket, blue checked trousers and creeper shoes, and played what looked like an almost coffin-shaped guitar. The audience also seemed to be in deep admiration of her.

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Pale Waves lead, Heather Baron Gracie. Photo by Janine Lewis

Ciara Doran’s punchy snare leads us into their debut single ‘Television Romance’ as the opener, occasionally drowned out by the rapturous audience as everyone sang along. This was followed by their upbeat number ‘The Tide’. Although this track had only been released a couple of weeks prior to the gig everyone knew it well from their older demo before it was reinvented with more catchy, twinkly riffs for their EP.

The fans couldn’t get enough of Heather’s eye-rolls and puppet-like vogueing but there is still a freshness and vulnerability to her. Her vocals soar over the power ballad ‘My Obsession’. This was my favourite song from their set; its emotional lyrics cut deep. The song deals with the darker aspects of love using romantic, yearning lyrics like ‘You’ll always be my favourite obsession’ and ‘I’ll die by your side if you want me to’. The song felt honest, reflective and endearingly open. Their recent single ‘New Year’s Eve’ is an earworm of a melody capturing the teenage naivety and angst of an overhyped party.

Pale Waves ended the night with their final track ‘There’s a Honey’. This track pretty much sums up Pale Waves sound: dreamy synths, cheery nostalgic guitar and a bouncy bassline. At this point the whole crowd was jumping along, and I was wary that being on the second floor in a room this packed might result in the whole floor caving in under us. Luckily it managed to withstand the craziness of the crowd.

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Photo by Janine Lewis

I felt like the show didn’t last nearly as long as I had wanted it to. Before the crowd left all the bands were kind enough to greet everyone. I was one of the first to rush over to Pale Waves to ask for a picture with them before a long queue formed across the entire room as people waited to meet them. I was pleased to find the bands were engaging with the audience as it’s accustomed for artists to rush off after their set to avoid being swamped by fans. It was clear these people were still extremely down-to-earth and grateful for the support they were receiving. By the end of the night I was exhausted, ears-ringing, but on a high from the amazing performances.

It’s easy to get lost in the dreamlike sound of Pale Waves yet the lyrical openness packs a punch. There is nostalgia running throughout every song and clearly driven influences from 1980s artists like The Cure with a modern twist- the result is mesmerising. In a live setting they are just as intriguing with their black-clad appearances contradicting their dance-friendly sound; it’s an intricate blend of happy and sad. It’s definitely the right time to be making funky, eighties inspired indie-pop.

My Experience: Dyeing and Maintaining Black Hair

First off, I apologise for the lack of posts this past month. If you follow my Instagram you may already be aware that I have been very busy this month attending parties, events such as Steampunk weekend and The Circus of Horrors, and going to gigs like Pale Waves and The Xcerts. I still have more trips planned and other concerts coming up as March approaches, but I do hope to share some of these experiences with you all on my blog.

Anyway, in this post I wanted to talk you all through my experience with dyeing my hair black, as I know when I first started dyeing my hair (about 2 years ago) I was very nervous that something might go wrong. I had to ask someone who was experienced with box dyes about how to get the best results. I wanted to share my experience with you all, in the hopes I help some people who are planning on using box dyes for the first time.

As a child I always wanted black hair, even before the whole goth-thing began. I know black hair is a very popular colour amongst goths, but remember, you don’t have to dye your hair black to be goth, don’t let people tell you otherwise!

Before I begin I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way a professional or expert on this. This is purely my own experience and for other people it may be different, if you have any concerns or problems through your hair dyeing process, then you are best asking questions to a qualified hairdresser who knows what they are doing.

So I’m going to take a look back at the questions I asked when I was first beginning dyeing my hair and the answers that I have now through my experience.

Which hair dye should I use?

I personally use box dyes because they are cheaper and faster than attending a hairdresser. I have always used Clairol Nice ‘N Easy (Black 83) in demi-permanent, as this has always worked for me. My hair was originally a light brown colour and I find that this covers it.

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Clairol Nice ‘N Easy Demi-Permanent in Black 83 (I thik I should also mention this blog post is not sponsored).

Now this bit is important for me; I use demi-permanent, (not semi-permanent or permanent dye). I didn’t use semi-permanent, because I didn’t want it to wash out quickly. I don’t use permanent, because the dye penetrates more layers of your hair and is therefore more damaging.

The box I use of demi-permanent says that the colour will wash out in ’24 washes’. In my experience this is not the case (so if you want a temporary colour that will wash out, don’t use this!). The colour remains in my hair until my roots have grown out again, and by that time I am re-dyeing it again to cover up my roots anyway.

How do I prepare for dyeing my hair?

  1. Don’t have hair products in your hair, e.g. hairspray, dry shampoo, and so on. You don’t want to risk anything making your hair patchy.
  2. Don’t wash you hair right before you dye it, leave your hair 2-3 days if you can, so the natural oils will protect your scalp.
  3. Dyeing hair can get messy! Be prepared with a wet cloth in case you get any dye on your skin so you can wipe it off straight away. Alternatively, if you put Vaseline round the edge of your hairline this stops the dye getting on your skin. Although usually I find any dye on your skin will wash off in the shower anyway.
  4. Don’t wear your favourite clothes and preferably have a shower cap so that you can put it over your hair while you wait for the dye to work.
  5. Wear gloves so you don’t get it all over your hands, the box dyes come with a pair in the instructions.
  6.  Always do a patch test a few days beforehand, so that you know you aren’t allergic to the dye.
  7. Always read the instructions in the box.
  8. Preferably don’t use a white or fancy towel to dry your hair afterwards.

Should I cut my hair before or after I dye it?

Cut it afterwards. Don’t worry, you won’t see the natural colour on the tips of your hair because your hairs are too fine for that. After dyeing your hair, it can get damaged so getting it cut can give it the revitalising it needs. Every time you dye your hair, the tips are getting more and more dye into the layers, so the tips are more damaged. If you get regular trims this will maintain the health of your hair and avoid split ends.

I’ve heard people say they left the dye on for several hours or overnight? Should I do this?

Definitely not. The instructions are there for a reason. You shouldn’t need to leave the dye on for longer than the instructions say. If this is the case then the dye isn’t very good. The longer you leave it on the more chance you have of getting an allergic reaction, burns or hair damage. The dye I use says to leave it on for 15 minutes then rinse immediately. I do this and it has always worked.

Will I need more than one box to cover my hair?

When I first dyed my hair, I had very long hair and I only needed one box of dye. One box should be enough. However, my hair is very thin and fine. If you have thicker or super long hair and are worried about it not covering all your hair, it won’t harm to grab two boxes just in case.

How do I care for my hair after I have dyed it?

After rinsing out the dye use the conditioner that comes in the box. I know people who just throw that away, but it really helps. My hair always feels very brittle after putting the dye on it and using the conditioner helps it feel strong and healthy again. I leave it to soak into my hair for 5 minutes.

After dying my hair I try to avoid washing it or using shampoo on it for a few days. However, I will always use conditioner when washing my hair.

I use shampoo and conditioner which says it is ‘colour revitalising’. This is supposed to protect and maintain the colour in your hair.

I also always use heat protection before blow-drying, straightening, crimping or curling my hair.

Note: Hairspray will pull out the colour of your hair, you will notice that more dye comes out in the shower if you have used hairspray. However, it’s never been to the extent that you can see the natural colour through it again. But I tend to only use hairspray when I am crimping or curling my hair.

When should I re-dye my roots?

I leave my hair to grow a good 3-4 cm approximately. This is probably around a month and a half to 2 months of growth before I dye it again. I don’t want to dye it too frequently because I don’t want to risk damage. You can buy root covering sprays for the days you feel you need to cover over your roots. I bought ‘L’Oreal Magic Retouch Black root touch up’ while it was in the sale. I tend to only use this to cover my roots on special occasions or events where I want to look my best, as I feel this stuff is rather pricey for what it is. (It’s more expensive than the dye itself!). However, it does the trick of being a temporary solution until I re-dye my hair.

What do I do when it is time to re-dye my roots?

It is recommended to always test the dye before you redye your hair in case you develop an allergic reaction, especially if you choose to switch brand.

I personally stick to the same dye. Why fix what’s not broken?

You should only need one box, as you only need to cover your roots. The rest of your hair should still be covered as it usually hasn’t washed out.

I start by applying the dye to my roots first. Then, when I have finished I will continue to apply it into the lengths and tips of my hair.

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Just throwing in a photo of my fave lady when she had her black hair, the stunning Katy Perry 

That’s it for my experience with black hair, I have yet to try any other colours.

The first two times I dyed my hair I had my mother apply it to make sure I didn’t miss any spots and that it wasn’t patchy.

After that I find with practise I am able to dye my hair myself with ease and don’t have any problems with missing a spots or patchiness.

However, remember that hair dye comes with risks and I would say wait until you are 16+ years old before you attempt to permanently dye your full head of hair.

Dyeing hair is great for expressing yourself and I personally feel a lot happier and more myself with my black hair, so if it is something you want to do then definitely go for it.

Planning A Gothic Valentine’s Day

It’s that dreaded time of year again. All the decorations are pink, sweets and chocolates are overpriced, and sappy gifts fill the stores. I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day, in fact I thought we should petition to have it replaced with a second Halloween.

If you are anything like me, the cliche traditions might put you off celebrating, however, just because you prefer the darker things in life doesn’t mean you and your significant other should avoid the day entirely.

I personally get through this holiday by imagining the hearts everywhere are those of my victims, and renaming the day ‘Frankentine’s Day’. Imagining everything to be spookier than what it is helps me cope with the sickly sweet decor and lovey-dovey themes that surround this day.
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There are a number of ways to celebrate this holiday that don’t include red roses and heart-shaped balloons. Here are a few ways to make your Valentine’s Day more gothic.

Cards:

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If you are willing to plan ahead and order early, then it is surprisingly easy to find spooky and gothic Valentine’s cards online. They often have some creepy-cute quotes on them and the images are far less generic than everything else in the regular card shops. You can usually find Valentine’s cards on gothic online stores at this time or by simply searching the internet, however, I think one of the best brands for gothic cards are Nightmoth.

Plushies:

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If your are still wanting to get a cute gift, you can often find left-over Halloween teddies in some stores, e.g. TY Halloween collection. You could always search online, there are often collections of zombie teddies or maybe search for brands like: Skelanimals or Gloomy Bear.

Chocolates:

If you still want to stick to ‘traditional’ gifts like chocolates, you can add a spooky twist by getting an anatomy heart, skull chocolates or gothic themed boxes. Again, the internet is your best friend for items like these, I tend to find that buying unusual and quirky gifts is a lot easier online.

Flowers:

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I’ve never been one for flowers, but I can’t deny the beauty of black roses. You could buy a single rose or a whole bunch, and depending how much you want to pay you can buy them real or fake. They would be perfect as a gift or just as decoration if you plan on having a quiet dinner at home.

Candles:

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Want some mood lighting? Candles are perfect for creating a romantic setting. You could just buy your bog-standard plain candles or get some red or black taper candles. If you want to be extra decorative then skull candles would be perfect (these would also be an amazing gift).

Drinks:

If you’re planning to have a quiet dinner at home, why not get creative with your food and drinks? You could put drinks in these cute ‘love potion’ bottles, or create a vampire theme with bottles filled with ‘blood’.

Jewellery:

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A heart locket is a sweet way to show your love and is a perfect sentimental gift. You could also opt for other designs such as a coffin or book locket.

Clothing:

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Valentine’s day is also great for fetish goth fashion as stores stock up on kink and BDSM inspired clothing. Great just for some fun on Valentine’s or for use all year round. The majority of gothic clothing stores will have this style clothing for sale everyday, however, you might be able to find it cheaper in other stores round Valentine’s day. I recommend checking out the online store, Kinky Angel, they do a lot of alternative clothing, as well as leather and PVC pieces and other gothic Valentine’s gifts.

Activities:

Deciding what to do to celebrate can be difficult, you might have already booked a table at your favourite restaurant. But if not here are some activities to consider: strolling through a cemetery or graveyard picnic, horror movie night, ghost tour, stay in a haunted hotel.

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Alternatively, if you are single, invite your single friends over and have an anti-Valentine’s party, hex your ex or do a Friends inspired ‘boyfriend bonfire‘.

Happy Frankentein’s Day!

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