Performing today at LOVE FROM HOME FEST, music artist Disco Shrine, is set to make her debut on NAKID! As part of our ongoing coverage all weekend, we sat down to interview each of our guests beginning with Recent Wife!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your story. How did your background and culture shape you and what creative expression means to you and why?
Hey, I’m Disco Shrine. I’m a first generation Persian American borned and raised in the valley. Growing up in LA I was always surrounded by so many different people and cultures. I think it really helped open my eyes at a young age to embrace people’s differences and to be proud of where I came from. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I finally sat my parents down and learned more about my family’s past and all of the obstacles they overcame after the Iranian Revolution. Hearing about what they had to go through and everything and everyone they had to leave behind for a chance at a better future struck such a huge chord with me and really just made me appreciate living in a country where I have so much freedom. I ended up going into the studio a few days later and wrote my debut single ‘Up In The Air’ inspired by their immigration story. Being first generation is such a huge part of who I am. I try and never take for granted all of the opportunities that I might not have had if I grew up in Iran, and it’s definitely something that inspires my creative expression. To celebrate the release of Up In The Air, I curated a series of pop up events in unconventional locations that are commonly immigrant run/owned/used such as Laundromats, Barber Shops, and Mattress Stores to advocate for immigrant rights.
Artistic expression is beauty in humanity, a way of releasing one’s self from within – was music something that called to you over time more than other artistic avenues or did you just know at some point?
It definitely called to me. I was always a music lover and would go to concerts, festivals, and local shows all the time, but I never really thought I could play music. But in High School I became obsessed with indie folk music like Fleet Foxes and The Shins and so I started learning how to play guitar and banjo. I started off making horrible, sad folk songs about the sun and the moon, but eventually music just became my therapy. Whenever I was sad or happy or angsty, I would take it out on my guitar; no matter what other hobbies or interests I picked up, music was always the one that stayed.
What was it like growing up in and around LA for you? How has that shaped your found talent musically?
LA is the shit. I feel like a lot of people that grow up here end up hating it or leaving, but I always loved LA. Growing up here was just so much fun. It’s literally a city filled with dreamers from all over the world with so many different talents, people, and perspectives. Whatever art you want to pursue, there’s an avenue for you to pursue it here. Music is always what I gravitated towards, and LA is the perfect place to be for that.
How has your music process and writing changed from when you started, and what things do you focus on most with respect to your brand or image and music that make up you as a music artist?
I feel like my music process is constantly evolving and I’m constantly becoming a better writer, but I used to just write alone and something I’ve done a lot more of lately is write and collaborate with other artists. Making music with other people is really fun and helps you get out of your comfort zone so you can also grow and just get better. As far as branding, I’m super into fashion and aesthetic. Whenever I finish a song, I always have a color scheme or general idea for what that song might look like visually. So it’s really fun for me to bring that to fruition when I release a song, but I don’t like to limit myself to a specific style/aesthetic. My taste and interests are constantly evolving and I want to be able to evolve my art with it. But lately it’s been a lot of rhinestones and a lot of cowboy hats.
How has COVID-19 affected you & your family personally and your community during this period of lockdown?
The art community is definitely hurting. I’ve had so many friends cancel tours, lose their jobs, etc… I personally lost a lot of DJ gigs and event work I had lined up. But in some ways it’s also thriving. Lock a bunch of artists up in their rooms for weeks and they’re bound to create something cool. It’s definitely a beautiful thing to see how creative people are becoming in the form of new songs, videos, IG lives. People feel so free to create without judgement right now and try new avenues of expression they might not have tried before. It’s definitely a weird juxtaposition with what’s happening in the world. But I guess there can be beauty in chaos.
What have you been doing during the lockdown to stay sane?
I’ve been doing everything. I’ve been doing Facetime workout sessions with my friends, learning how to cook more Persian food, writing a lot of sad piano quarantine songs, I signed up for this cool course that Yale is offering for free called The Science of Wellbeing, I’ve been reading a lot, and have basically been trying to keep busy and work on all of the things I always said I never had time for before.
If you had to take one person alive or dead into quarantine lockdown with you for 30 days and you only got one object to take with you what would it be and who would you pick?
My sister cuz she’s my bestie and my laptop cuz I can do everything on it.
What’s the first thing you wanna do or go to when the lockdown ends, what do you miss most?
I want to travel the world!! I’ve been following a bunch of travel accounts on IG lately and seeing all of the beautiful places around the world has made me so nostalgic for traveling. I just want to buy a one way ticket to Europe. I really miss performing live. Setting up this livestream show made me realize how much I miss performing on a stage in front of people with lights blinding you. I want to go back to that <3
What new music do you have on the horizon?
So much new music!!!! I’m sooo excited. I’ve been working on mixing an EP during quarantine so hopefully new music will be out soon. <3
What’s your spirit animal?
Meeko from Pocahontas.
What’s your favorite thing about making music and playing music live?
It’s so therapeutic. When you’re going through something, you can just put all of that energy into a song and feel like a weight was lifted off your shoulders. It’s also soo amazing to be able to write something for you but have other people relate to it or be moved by it or dance to it. That’s the best feeling ever.
What’s the hardest thing about being a musician?
Probably putting yourself out there so much. I think people think musicians are naturally confident and don’t care what people think about them, but a lot of the time that’s not the case. Making music and putting it out for the world can make you feel really vulnerable and rejection is the scariest feeling.
How do you think the DYI movement through social media and internet in general has changed the industry and changed the way musical artists like yourself get discovered and reach new fans? What’s that kind of personal ability to directly connect to your fans meant to you as an artist and during this time? How do you think this event in history will change the internet and how we interact socially whether it be music or art or just in general?
I think the internet has definitely made it easier for artists to express themselves and connect directly with their fans. A lot of music doesn’t fit into that mainstream mold, but on the internet it doesn’t matter. There can be huge crowds of people who can relate. It’s also an amazing platform because you can reach so many people that you normally wouldn’t be able to. Whenever I get a message or email from someone telling me how my music affected their life in someway: that’s just the best feeling. It definitely makes me feel heard and like I can make even a small difference in people’s lives. Especially now when people are going through hard times. I think the best thing we can do if we have a platform is use it to help people. It’s also cool when you can do creative collaborations with different companies where you see your music being used and reinterpreted in ways you would have never imagined when you wrote it. I feel like I’ve been able to connect with so many different musicians, visual artists, and creatives from all around the world just through Instagram and a lot of the times those friendships go from being URL to IRL.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists and those out there having a hard time during this lockdown?
Always remember to just stay true to yourself and not to be discouraged by people who don’t believe in you. Not everyone will like your art, but there will be people out there that do. You just gotta remember to create your own path and people will follow. I know a lot of people are having a hard time during lockdown right now. I think the best thing to remember is that we’re all in this together. Although it’s hard, there are so many people that can relate to what you’re going through, so you gotta remember that you’re not alone in this. Everyone processes things differently. The best thing we can do is try to be compassionate and to be there for eachother. A quick text can go a long way.
Thank you for joining us and check out LOVE FROM HOME FEST today starting at 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST!!