We’re living in a challenging time. Having to deal with isolation, quarantine and social distancing has led each one of us to take a hard look at our own lives, habits and goals. It’s as if we were stranded on a desert island with our own thoughts, and God knows that’s not the most welcome guest. Especially when you’re an artist. Being alone with your thoughts and an endless stream of uneventful days could either lead an artist to the greatest breakthrough or their career or introduce them to the most dreadful writer’s block ever.
We spoke with Trinidadian-American artist TRISHES, who wields introspection as her artistic weapon and employs all kinds of different forms of arts into her act as well as being a committed activist. We asked her about her artistic persona and her struggle dealing with self isolation.
You mix up a lot of different types of art. Can you elaborate on your artistic persona?
TRISHES: TRISHES represents sort of the Freudian constructs of self: the primal self, the spiritual self, and the conscious self. I use different vocal effects and vocal looping to let each of these selves have a voice in real space. The live show incorporates a lot of movement, spoken word and the overall project incorporates a lot of visual art.
Is there any particular reason why you did that?
TRISHES: I guess my process is sort of thinking about a concept that I feel like I am called to speak on. I read and write poems and essays about it and the song is the final result. I found that for me the best way I can flesh out the core concept of the song is through different art forms.
What is a Trishes live show like?
TRISHES: My last show had a lot of looping and vocal effects. There is movement to it, not full dance numbers but there’s definitely choreography. I also host these art pop ups where you take a tour through the album and there are visual art pieces for each song. It’s like a guided museum tour but through my mind essentially.
My last album, Ego, was a five song record based off of five concepts and for each of the concepts I had different visual artists from different cities contribute art that they felt represented the relationship their communities had with that idea.
What were the different concepts?
TRISHES: Ego is the conscious self and was focused on government, language, self awareness, creativity, and money. But now I released Gaslight, which is the prelude to my next full length record.
Will it still incorporate different concepts?
TRISHES: Yeah, I am really concept driven. I like to take anthropology classes, philosophy classes. I just want to talk about things that I feel like I am uniquely positioned to speak on. It is generally in the realm of sociology and human experience.
Do you think this kind of approach helped you build a meaningful relationship with your fans?
TRISHES: Absolutely. Doing art pop ups and involving community members allows me to get to know people in different communities on a way deeper level. The various forms of art kept adding on as I lived my life. I didn’t need to restrict myself to one medium, the more I dove into these ideas the more I really wanted to speak on them more elaborately and that’s when I started embracing different forms of art
How have you been dealing with quarantine and the many uprisings throughout the Country?
TRISHES: I think something like a pandemic challenges all aspects of society and makes us realize that there are constructs that we’ve built and exist because we allow them to exist. I think the Black Lives Matter movement is becoming stronger and stronger partially because more people are realizing that we are participating in these structures that we no longer want to participate in.
The pandemic has fractured our system. There is a story of these two fish talking and one fish says: “how’s the water today?” and the other fish says “what’s water?”. There’s all of these things we feel are real but they aren’t, like money. We’re noticing problems and issues with the system and It’s partially because people have the time and resources to think of these things.
What is the world going to look like in a year or so, if you would make a prediction. How do you think you or an artist in general would fit into that new reality?
TRISHES: I hope we could be more community focused. I hope that I will be more community focused. There are so many things I could be doing on a local level to make serious change. You’re thinking about all of these big things which is good and important but why aren’t you thinking about your community and how much you can be helping your community?
Tell me about Gaslight.
TRISHES: Caffeine and Gaslight were songs I had that didn’t fit into the previous record because they’re love songs. I don’t write many romantic songs. It happens out of an overflow of emotions when it just has to happen. Gaslight I wrote three years ago and recorded two years ago with my friend Andy in the UK in this studio he built in his shed outside of his parents house. It was winter and it was freezing. It was so much fun and I felt like this song really needed a video because there was so much push and pull in it.
What’s happening now, what are your plans?
TRISHES: I have a couple other singles I’m gonna be releasing in between the main 3 projects. My album is done and I started working sort of spiritually and intellectually on Superego with my friend Micheal Gungor. He’s a phenomenal genius musician and we started working on some awesome stuff. We’re just feeling out where we’re at later this year before the next album.
Check out Gaslight here: