Get to know the indie/electro pop artist Disco Shrine, whose music is fun and guaranteed to make you dance! As her newest single comes out today, we caught up to talk about what’s next for her, including new music videos and a new EP due near the end of the year.
Iuliana: Hey Jessica! How are you? Before delving into details, I have to ask the cliché question at the moment: how’ve you been spending your time indoors?
DS: Hey hey. I’ve honestly just been focusing on making and finishing up music, staying creative, and making a lot of art. I’m releasing my debut EP xoxo, disco in September and focusing on that has been the main thing keeping me sane during lockdown.
Iuliana: What was your reaction when the pandemic first started to shut down gigs and industry revenue?
DS: I was so sad. March was going to be a really busy and fun month for me with shows and events and suddenly everything got cancelled. It has been nice to take a break and to also prioritize my values and what’s important in life. My heart definitely goes out to all the families of people who were negatively affected by Corona.
Iuliana: Could you give us a rundown on how you first became involved in music? What’s your story? Is there anyone in particular that has inspired you to make music?
DS: I started making folk music on guitar and banjo when I was 16 and after college I experimented with electronic pop music and DJIng and eventually started Disco Shrine. I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley with Persian Immigrant parents and my first single was about their journey coming to America and starting a new life after the Iranian Revolution.
Iuliana: You describe yourself as a “Persian Barbie”, right? Where did that label come from?
DS: When I dyed my hair blonde, I sort of got this stereotype of being a Persian Barbie pop star, so I just kind of leaned into it and it stuck. I would say it’s my bougeos alter-ego.
Iuliana: Jessica, how would you describe the music that you typically create?
DS: I would describe it as ever evolving. I love making dance pop music but sometimes I like experimenting with different vibes. I still have that folk singer songwriter in me and that comes out when I make music on my own and sometimes, in the case of my new single Future Memories, I want to be a little more punk pop. I think the amazing thing about being an artist right now is that you don’t have to pick one genre. You can switch back and forth and that’s okay. But at the end of the day, the DJ in me always goes for more upbeat music that you can dance to.
Iuliana: Now that we are in the middle of the year, how do you think 2020 has so far treated you? What’s been a highlight of your music career lately?
DS: 2020 has definitely been rough for a lot of people myself included. Everything is so uncertain. I do feel grateful for the time it’s given me. I’ve really been able to focus on all of the things I want to do and get my new music out. It’s all very bittersweet, but when things are this turbulent in life, that usually means change is bound to happen in one way or another. Hopefully it’ll be a good change. Time will tell.
Iuliana: As an artist, what has it been like seeing the global music industry immediately come together with all these virtual projects during this time?
DS: It’s been so amazing seeing everybody rally and get really creative with shows and virtual events. I honestly feel like I’ve been able maintain a sense of community and also build new communities through virtual DJ sets and parties. For now, it’s great. Hopefully it doesn’t last too long though because I miss performing so much and DJing at parties :(
Iuliana: It seems that the arts and music are the first to come together to help out the community during challenging times like this. How do you consider this symbiosis to be so?
DS: I think there’s already such a huge sense of community in art industries because they’re really tough industries that require a lot of teamwork and support so when things get bad I think it’s almost like second nature to reach out to your community and be active together. Also, those industries are so expressive. Everybody is so passionate and cares a lot so it’s only natural that it would translate.
Iuliana: Do you think this pandemic will shift the way that the live music industry will operate in any way? Or will it have a lasting effect overall on the music industry?
DS: YES YES YES. It already has in so many ways. Vital independent venues are closing left and right. It’s hard to say what will happen, but unfortunately I think a lot of the smaller venues might close which means venues owned by big promotion companies will be the only ones left and therefore bigger artists might become prioritized as opposed to independent artists. Independent artists might find it a lot harder to play live shows. Events in general will definitely take a hit.
Iuliana: What is the inspiration of your latest single “Future Memories”? What does this track mean to you?
DS: Future Memories is a song I wrote in December after becoming really infatuated by this person I was dating. We hadn’t known each other for a long time but we instantly clicked and so this song is about falling for someone you don’t know and imagining all of the future memories you could create together. It’s the first track off of my debut EP “xoxo, disco” coming out in Sept.
Iuliana: What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a creative career?
DS: Educate yourself on the business side of things first. Once you find a way to make it sustainable, you’ll have a lot more freedom to do the fun stuff.
Iuliana: Last but not least, are there any future projects that you would like to let our readers know?
DS: Check out my new single and music video for Future Memories out now! And keep an eye out in August for another single plus my EP in September <3