words by Shabnam Ferdowsi
I'm leaving Los Angeles in a little while (timeframe undetermined, but I'm hoping by August at the latest). My departure may seem provoked by my recent trip to Europe in December, but the trip only re-ignited my desire to leave by helping me realize that I actually have something to say, and something to believe in.
I was in Scotland and Ireland for a total of 3 weeks, during which time I met with 8 bands, shot them, talked to them, learned so much about their music scenes, their approach to making music, and became hyper-aware of what I'm doing with Beating Lights. I honestly didn't think I was going to be affected by this trip to this extent; I thought it would be fun, it would be cool, but I'd come back to my regular, aimless grind of creating with no purpose, to no end.
I've been back for over a month and I've had a lot of time to sit in my room , stare at my bedroom walls, and realize where I and Beating Lights stand in the scene and what I need to do now.
I'm leaving in a little while, and I have some things I want to leave you with, Los Angeles:
1. Local & Independent Music Matter - People seemed to care so much more about independent music the second you step outside LA. In Northern California I witnessed one the most attentive audiences when my friend was playing at a coffee shop. 40 people who had never heard of her music before gave her their full attention, and proceeded to buy her music after the show. In Ireland, people walk into pubs every night for the simple joy of discovering new local music, packing every pub in town every night. Independent music matters because it's honest, it's real, and for the most part the only people behind the music are the artists themselves. They depend on their local scenes for support, because if you can't depend on your own community, then who the heck can you depend on?
2. Make Real Friends.- I'm trying to build a community of musicians, music lovers and artists. I want to foster real connections and create a collective of individuals held together by a few similar wavelengths. Most importantly though, a community supports itself. We need to care about one another, support one another's endeavors, create together, and simply be real friends. There's a back and forth relationship within a community, one that I'm having a hard time finding or seeing here in LA. Moreover though, under Beating Lights, we need to be one, and I've realized we haven't totally been.
3. "You don't need to sell out stadiums to have an effect". - Wise words spoken by one the musicians I met in Scotland, a mentality that I didn't realize I was already in the process of following. You don't need to play at Staples Center to make good music, you don't need the Facebook likes or Twitter followers to prove anything, and you don't need to get onto iTunes' Top 10 to make it. It's the Do It Yourself attitude that struck me so hard in the heart while I was abroad, putting my approach to Beating Lights into words, and giving me something to believe in. We can put on shows in the forest, we can put on shows in my bedroom. You can crowdfund your tour, you can book your own shows. You don't need to be able to sell your music to prove it's good. That's the idea I believe in, and that's where Beating Lights stands in the music scene. Believe in it or not, it's all good. People are different, and we approach art and life differently (it would be rather lame if we were all the same).
Realizing all this has given me purpose. I'm not just making videos and putting on events for the fun of it. I have something to stay and you better believe I'm going to say it and find a way to get people to hear it before I leave.
Until then though, until I do leave, I'm still here, and hope you stick around for the adventures too.
Let's see what we can do together to make all this happen.
Hope to see you around,
// Founder, Beating Lights//