An Interview with Ashley Lawless

 

Ashley Lawless, a Canadian YouTuber and musician from Toronto has recently partnered up with Lonely Kids Club to help spread our values and become one of our voices overseas to her 90k and still counting YouTube subscribers. We recently had a conversation with her about how she got to where she currently is, her influences, her upcoming self-released EP and what she loves about being part of the LKC family as well as many more questions.

Ashley wearing the Tent T-shirt

LKC: So Ashley, you are mostly known for your covers on YouTube, how long ago did you get started and what made you decide that you wanted to start posting your covers and songs on YouTube?

Ashley: My mom always pushed me to sing and ‘share my gifts with the world’ but I was far too shy growing up. When I was in highschool Justin Bieber was blowing up and I saw that YouTube was becoming a booming platform where people of all ages and kinds of talent were able to share themselves. I decided to give it a shot because it was the only way I felt comfortable sharing, so I started making covers when I was about 16. Slowly but surely I gained quite the following and I still can’t believe I’m almost at 100,000!

LKC: When did you know that you wanted to become a musician? Were you doing anything else besides this?

Ashley: They ask you at such a young age what you want to be when you grow up… doctor, lawyer, teacher, astronaut. By the age of 10 I knew I wanted to someday be in a band and go on tour. It was always a dream of mine. Life caught up to me and I ended up pushing that dream to the background and went to university and graduated with a communications degree. Throughout that whole time I always felt in the back of my mind that school wasn’t for me and I should pursue music, but I ignored those thoughts to try to make my parents happy. I worked full time at an architecture firm for about a year but I realized I wasn’t happy. I decided enough was enough, I wasn’t getting any younger and I couldn’t die knowing I didn’t try. So here I am, it’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally here and I’m so happy to see the amount of people who are supporting me.

LKC: Is there anyone that inspires you? Like any musical influences, if so what do you like about them?

Ashley: I would say throughout high school, LIGHTS and Justin Bieber were my biggest inspirations at the time. Simply because I liked the way their music made me feel, they’re both Canadian, play guitar, and they also made cover videos on YouTube. They’re the reason I started making covers too. Hayley Kiyoko was a very important figure in my life because she opened doors for the LGBTQ+ community. She was the first artist I felt connected with on a deeper level because of my struggle with my sexuality and wanting to be my authentic self for so long. At this time there is so much music being created and so much that I like, I grab inspiration from everywhere!

LKC: How did you hear about Lonely Kids Club and what do you like about the brand?

Ashley: A few months ago I had a Skype call with one of my fans who had been supporting me through my Patreon funding page. The idea was to have a 15 minute call to say hello and get to know my supporters a little bit more. We ended up talking for over an hour – it was like we were already friends – we’ve been talking ever since. She told me about LKC and suggested the idea to collaborate. I love how the brand is passionate about gender diversity, local production, and spreading awareness about mental health. I find that the brand is honest. And I like that they make references to some of my favourite childhood TV shows and video games – very nostalgic.

LKC: Has there been any highlights in your journey as a musician?

Ashley: I’ve had a couple cool moments, but the cherry on top has gotta be the time Hayley Kiyoko watched my cover and reacted to it. She mentioned seeing my covers around before, and I died a little haha. Another moment is when I did an online performance and chatted with the band Hedley, that was super cool too.

LKC: How do you come up with songs to write and sing about?

Ashley: Normally I’ll write lyrics when I’m feeling intense emotions. I’ll record a voice note, a line or two. Sometimes I even try to think back to a time where I went through something significant, and really meditate and imagine the feelings I experienced. So far the songs that seem easiest to write about are when I feel heartbroken, when i’ve lost someone important to me.

LKC: How many instruments can you use and are there any that you would like to learn?

Ashley: I can play the guitar and the ukulele. I’ve also been playing the bass here and there. I would love to learn the piano and the drums!

LKC: How important is self care and mental health to you?

Ashley: I think self care and mental health is so important. Caring for yourself in general – physical health is improved by exercising and eating, right? Well with mental health we have to have the same idea. The mind and the body are connected, so if we aren’t thinking well or feeling good about ourselves mentally, our physical health suffers, and vice versa. I think with the prevalence of social media we can find ourselves trapped comparing our lives to others, striving for better, never feeling truly satisfied with what we have. We are our own worst critics and I believe it is important for us to talk to ourselves with the same care as we do our best friends.

LKC: You are an independent and unsigned musician, how do you manage to balance this all out? Especially with trying to release your first EP?

Ashley: (Sabrina Lee. LOL) uhmm it’s really really tough.There are so many things I’m learning on the fly that come along with making an EP that I didn’t know I’d have to stress out about -setting up my own website, posting enough on Instagram, YouTube, going to photoshoots and thinking about lighting, poses, aesthetic for that photoshoot, designing merchandise, planning where to get the merchandise from, how to ship my packages to different parts of the world, performing live, etc. etc. Working with producers over the Internet is probably one of the hardest things that I’ve had to deal with because it’s unpredictable and it’s hard to communicate when you’re not actually in the studio. I think it’s definitely a learning process that hopefully will become easier the more I do it. It’s all very exciting and stressful all at the same time.

LKC: Do you have any tips for anyone that is interested in becoming a YouTuber or a musician?

Ashley: Gain inspiration, but don’t try to imitate. Do what you like and that passion will attract people to you naturally. I think we get really caught up in trying to be “the best” and we paralyze ourselves trying to look and sound like somebody else. We forget that our uniqueness is what separates us from the rest. I think we’re allowed to become whoever we want through our music, so I think it’s even a place where we’re allowed to express a part of ourselves that we’ve hidden from society.

LKC: You are from Toronto, Canada. Are there any places you would recommend for any people that haven’t been and why?

Ashley: Kensington Market has got a great vibe. Such an array of food and little shops. You’re bound to see something that catches your eye. Queen Street West is pretty known for its music and fashion scene, as well as performing and visual arts. In the summer time I’d suggest checking out Center Island – you take a ferry to reach it and spend a whole day there. You can picnic, bring your bikes or dogs, hang out at the beach.. It’s really chill. The ferry ride back at night is beautiful with all the city lights.

LKC: What do you know about Australia? Any plans to come to Sydney, Australia soon and if so, what places are you most looking forward to checking out?

Ashley: To be quite honest, not much! I know that I’ve wanted to visit Australia since I was a kid.The accent and slang fascinates me. Honestly I just really wanna see all the animals that I’m not used to seeing around here! I love animals. QUOKKAS, ROOS, and KOALAS!

LKC: Lastly, if you could pass on some advice for the next generation, what would it be?

Ashley: Take a moment once a day for yourself, even just for a 5 minutes to decompress and breathe. It’s easy to get off balance in our busy ever-moving lives. Count the things that you do have and you’ll be surprised to see how much we forget to be grateful for. Think about the things that make you happy, the things that bring you joy. Prioritize them and give your time to those things. When we find our passion, it can inspire others to find theirs someday. Money and materials don’t make us happy, it’s the way people come to experience things together and the relationships we build that make life worth living.

 

– Sabrina Lee

A Shitty Story

 

I woke up and went to take my morning dump and found that my dogs had unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper and then peed all over it. So I tried flushing it down and it got stuck. For whatever reason I decided my next move should then be use the toilet (I just woke up in my defence) so then the toilet was clogged and full of my 💩. Fuck. So instead of leaving it at that, I panicked and kept flushing over and over until the toilet started leaking all over the bathroom floor until I realised I need to stop doing things. Probably should have realised sooner. So I went to Coles and grabbed heavy duty gloves and floor cleaner and scooped everything out, pulled out the toilet roll, disposed of it and then wiped down the floor. Now everything is right with the world again but goddamn I could not have played that situation worse. Ah well. You shit and you learn.

 

– Warwick

What I wear

 

Have you ever wanted to call me up, and ask “Hey.. what are you wearing?” but felt like that could be inappropriate because we don’t know each other and you found my number written inside a bathroom cubicle? Well not to fear! I figure as the collaborative designer of all the clothes, it’d be cool to let you know what I wear day-to-day. As it’s winter, I’ll run you through my winter wardrobe essentials, which prevent me freezing to a cold, cold death.

Assuming I’m wearing my jeans fresh off my floor, along with my sneakers (with orthotics carefully replaced as my dogs chew them when left in the sneakers), I’ll probably start off with whichever socks I can find to warm my cold toesies. I like to roll up my jeans cuffs and let some bright socks pop through, so lately I’ve been rotating pairs of Mario Sloth Socks and Kirby Sloth Socks sometimes I wear one of each because I’m a weirdo. I also love that feel when I lift my leg up over my knee and someone notices and compliments me because it briefly validates my existence.

Next I’ll chuck on a T-shirt. I exclusively wear T-shirts every single day unless I have to go to some formal event where I’ll get in trouble otherwise. Lately I’ve been wearing the 8-Bit Louie Long Sleeve because it’s been crazy cold in Sydney and I have to wake up at like 6AM to walk my puppies or they’ll punish me by peeing and shitting all over my room. So it’s a plus to have a long-sleeve and it’s also softer than the usual tee.

Then we get to the hoodie layer. This one is critical. I have a seamless rotation of the Campus Hoodie, Sloth Head Hoodie, and Girlfriend Hoodie that I’ll rotate between daily because hoodies are the comfiest, snuggest clothing item in existence. Plus when I’m confused or stressed I can lift the hood over my head and pull down the drawstrings, which is weirdly relaxing for some reason. Lastly, the front pouch is convenient to carry my morning sandwich as my other hands will be carrying a leash and/or coffee.

Now it’s time to complete the look. You know i’m all about that black jacket lifestyle. So we do one final layer with the Just Chill Denim Jacket in black or Unique Bleach if I’m wearing black pants and then push the hood back over the collar. It actually looks really well styled together, like you’re some sort of stylish person who blogs about street-wear and gives condescending looks to people on the street. But for real, it’s a really solid look that’s also super warm and versatile. You can strip back the hoodie and everything still looks really nice together, and if you’re going out after work etc you can withstand some super cold days with the combo.

I hope you’ve enjoyed what might be the only ever blog post I make here that’s actually about fashion. It only took 8 years but we got there.

– Warwick

Travis’ 21st Speech

 

Travis, you are now 21. Wow. I still remember those days you were jumping around doing parkour whenever we walked anywhere and I was very close to buying you a leash. That time you jumped off a house in the park was pretty sick tho. I’m so proud of how much you’ve achieved in Architecture, er I mean Business & Innovation. Oh wait sorry I mean your new course in Communications, which I’m sure you’ll love next semester.
 
You’re really becoming an adult. More and more often, I find the toilet flushed when you’re staying over, and the lights turned off in the rooms you’ve used. This truly is a testament to how much you’ve grown in these years. I also no longer fear about leaving T-shirts near you, as in the past you have used them to relieve yourself. You can keep my GRMM shirt.
 
I spent the better part of my life trying my best to be a parent for you. I had a lot of fun with this though. When enrolling you for school or picking you up from things I’d always tell the gossipy parents who stared at me that I was a young father and made up dumb stories which I found very fun. My parent highlight, however, was when you dyed your hair pink and your principal wanted to expel you. So I came marching in, gave this whole spiel about expressing your creativity and you trying to figure out who you are and we left minutes later. We agreed to dye your hair back again. I felt like we were in a goddamn movie tho.
 
Over the years I’ve gotten to see what an amazing person you are, and your core values really solidify. You’ve always believed in me, and I’ve always appreciated that.
 
Thanks for always schlepping over to model for me, listening to all my beats, listening to me talk about LKC every 15 minutes and most of all for being my bro.
 
Because its a 21st speech, here’s a photo of us from last year with our mum and nan x
 
<3 Warwick

Louie

I still find myself thinking about Louie a lot. I’m trying to stay productive through the feels. This has resulted in an increased artwork output of Louie themed designs. Art can be so therapeutic. I’ve been posting a lot of it on FB and Insta lately because it’s nice to share and I don’t think I’ll be using it for any other purpose. I just like it existing.

I think with time my heart is healing but the main thing that gets me now is when I bump into Louie’s old friends around town. Or sometimes my old friends. The lady at my sandwich shop I go most mornings asked where my little friend had been. I had to explain an abbreviated version and even with our slight language barrier, her mood just dropped completely and she quietly said “sorry” before I headed off.

The very worst one of those sitches happened to me this week. I was on my way for a meeting, and realised I forgot my laptop. So went back home and as I opened the door my two new pups Flash and Felix bolted out. Turns out I forgot to properly close the makeshift barrier in the living room. So I ran out after them (we live near a main road) and got lil’ felix first because he’s like 1.5kg and then using some Snake stealth slowly got to flash who’s much more of a wildcard. We locked eyes, and for the first time in my whole life I showed a reaction time faster than 3 minutes and caught him on the ground. It reminded me a lot of that mario 64 sequence where you have to catch that rabbit who stole your hat or whatever.

As I stood up with them both in hand, in front of me was no other than Notty, Louie’s best friend who is a pug Louie was deeply in love with (Not even joking). Whenever they met up it was this whole scene of them rolling around and zooming and licking and Louie squeaking. Louie never did it with any other dog. I legit think they were gay lovers. Which was dope.

Anyway, I hadn’t seen him or his parents in months and was now carrying two new papillon puppies so had to introduce them, and at the same time explain what happened to Louie and his passing. Their parents then looked down, and slowly told Notty “you won’t be able to see your friend Louie anymore” and Notty kept shuffling about. I couldn’t help but feel grateful about how dogs absorb that sort of information. I wish I could do that sometimes.

Anyway I rushed back inside, secured the dogs again, and cancelled my meeting. Self care.

– Warwick

Sports

 

I hate sports. Anything that forces me to use any sort of coordination or athleticism brings back terrifying memories. I couldn’t even summersault when I was in primary school. To avoid having to, I told everyone the gym teacher made us do it because he was some sort of pedophile. Unfortunately, this strategy couldn’t work on my dad, who forced me to start playing soccer when I was five. For eight years. Urgh. My highlight was when it was raining and I heard those magic words “Looks like you won’t be playing today” and I could go back to playing video games and ignoring other children. In the eight years I had to play soccer, I never got past my fear of the ball when it was moving. Thing was like the size of my head. So for eight years I ran up and down the field like a puppy chasing people but never actually doing anything. Other parents must have been so confused. Anyway the point is sport sucks. One of the highlights of growing up is there’s less potential for balls to come flying at your face. I guess that really depends on the person though.

 

– Warwick

Dylan Reviews Chungus

 

Hello Games has graced us with the greatest game of the year (read: life), with
their immaculate genre bending game “Big Chungus”. What is there to say about
this gaming experience that hasn’t already been said by other publications?
What really drives “Big Chungus” in a different direction to other games is the way
the devs have managed to blend the RPG elements, fighting mechanics and the
intuitive yet difficult to master racing scenarios. So you can imagine Cecil’s
excitement when he got the opportunity to test out the updated Humongous
Chungus deluxe edition.  Which is currently available here.

This updated version includes not only the two bonus characters (watch out for
Stretched Out Garfield’s finisher) but also boasts an expanded cut of the raunchy
story plus side quests that give the player a chance to try out the new characters.
The soundtrack has also been subject to a few change ups, with several new tracks
breaking into the scene.

Obviously we can’t get too far into the review without revealing one of the many
jaw dropping, belly sloshing laugh moments or the tear stealing emotional scenes
so we will just skip straight to the review.

Pros:
– Balanced combat system with enemies that become increasingly difficult as
Chungus levels up.
– Players feel genuinely rewarded as they unlock bonus characters, content and
easter eggs.
– That Dio cameo.
– Soundtrack is well orchestrated to reflect the mood of the levels and CGs.
– Special moves have doubled in number.
– The Lonely Kids Club shirt that arrived with our copy fit perfectly.

Cons:
– Minor bugs, nothing game breaking at least.
– Tutorial went on for too long, though this is to expected to learn the diverse and
expansive mechanics.
– The underwater levels dragged on too long.
– Not enough hat options.

All in all, a very fun gaming experience that will keep you entertained for a long
time with how replayable it is.

9.6/10.

 

– Dylan Lewellin

Haters Gonna Hate

 

This is a design I made with a dude in the UK over email about 8 years ago when I still had a hotmail address:

At the time I was copping with so much heat because I was in the process of dropping out of uni to launch this clothing brand. I was getting told by many people what a mistake it was and how I’d end up on the street so I decided to channel those feels into a design.

It still resonates with me a lot, and part of me feels like whenever anyone takes a chance or risk on something that strays from the usual path, sometimes the response is of negativity rather than support. And I think that comes from a place of fear. But never let anyone else’s thoughts on what you’re doing hinder you pursing your dreams. Trust yourself. You’ll probs end up regretting not trying a lot more than if you do try and it doesn’t work out, which you learn and grow from.

As I wrote back to the first piece of hate mail I received when I tried contacting boutiques to stock my clothing:  “haters gonna hate.” 

–  Warwick

Boofhead

 
I saw my papa for lunch today and I asked him how his day was but he changed the conversation and pointed out that I look like I have a big head when I wear my cap. I do have a big head, I think. One time when I was in year 8 or 9 I was sitting in the front row of class and a guy behind me commented that he couldn’t see the whiteboard cos of my big head. lmao. He then said I was a “boofhead” which was my first experience with a word that i’ve since come to love.
 
I did have a massive Jewfro in his defence. It made my head look a bit like a microphone. At the time I felt such a high level of anxiety and freaked out, but I got a haircut that arvo and felt better. Now I just find the whole thing funny tho – I was wondering around with this “Screech from Saved By The Bell” aesthetic down pat without even knowing it. I wish a bell saved me in that fkn moment back in class, though – was stuck there with my boofhead for another hour lmao.
 
– Warwick

How I got into making T-shirts (Part 1)

 

I used to go to these internet cafes every weekend with a friend and play games instead of studying or having real social interactions with other people. I was hella into Counter Strike and Warcraft / DOTA. I sucked tho. Anyway while I was in that hood I saw a printing place that let you make your own tees. So first thing I did was get a green tee from Target and print “ZOMG WTF?!?!1” and it became a whole conversation point for me. For anyone under 25 I swear it used to be a whole thing. I’m fkn old.

So I kept printing more weird things on target tees but didn’t think they were very good so started buying tees from weird obscure websites to sort of make it my vibe. It made me feel more comfortable around other people I think. It also got me really into the idea of making my own clothes and after a bit of research I found those print-your-own-tee sites and started making strange band t-shirts for my music project that no one knew existed to give out / sell to people.

PS I found a photo of me wearing the tee on Myspace lmao:


(We were called Huge Spider Pirates)

 

– Warwick