Our "Heartbeats" features aim to showcase the creative minds behind passionate projects in the fields of music and all other artforms. 

words and photo by Shabnam Ferdowsi

What: 65ETICA, a clothing line and artist collective.

Who: Michael Becker and crew

Michael Becker, a sophomore Design and Media Arts major at UCLA, grew up in St Louis, MO within artist communities that embraced a DIY atmosphere. Moving away and onto college, he and his friends began running into road bumps and dead ends in terms of creative culture.

It was basically a process of saying: well instead of waiting for the right A&R to walk in through the door, for the right gallerist, for the right connection,  we're just going to come together and do this ourselves and make it out of nothing.

The clothing line is just a starting point that  has created a group of artists in various cities around the US, with its main hub here in LA. The line creates the profit that funds their passions for their individual arts. It's a brand that doesn't offer a lifestyle, but a a brandless product turning the whole notion of branding on its head (and maybe even giving it a subtle middle-finger?). 

 "We want your money" is what they tell you upfront, because honesty and transparency is what they're all about. By buying into 65ETICA, you're not buying into a lifestyle like most brands preach, but rather supporting a collective of artists who each individually care deeply about their crafts. 

Think of it as a clothing company that operates like a record label. The idea is that 65ETICA is a machine that exists solely for the purpose of making money. It's a business, that's what it is. But that is only to protect our interests.The only reason why we care enough about our individual art to protect it to come into this world of PR and branding is to keep sacred the stuff that we are about  so our artists don't have to feel like they're pouring themselves out on social media, compromising their integrity and craft. Instead we can all come together under this umbrella of 65ETICA and create that machine to protect our interests.

They're a group of artists who support one another and engage with the creative worlds around them. Young, passionate, and determined. Not to mention they're headed to Hong Kong this summer to make more waves! I'm so happy I connected with these guys, and can't wait to see what more waves they can make, what more scenes they can cause. 


Website // Facebook  // Twitter

HEARTBEATS #5: The Paper Mixtape

Our "Heartbeats" features aim to showcase the creative minds behind passionate projects in the fields of music and all other artforms. 

words and photo by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Who: Morgan Cadigan

What: The Paper Mixtape, an arts and culture magazine at UCLA

Meet Morgan Cadigan, sophomore Art History student at UCLA, Founder and Creative Director of the newly established Paper Mixtape, and all around #girlboss.

Originally from the Seattle area, Morgan began her ventures into publishing for her senior project in her last month of high school. She created seeMag for that purpose, where she featured and showcased local artists and their artworks. Shortly after arriving at UCLA, Morgan decided to bring her project to LA, and began building a team of passionate staff members around it. Currently in its first semester as an official student organization at UCLA, the team consists of writers and photographers who venture out into different LA communities, meeting with artists, and showcasing their work. 

Why "the paper mixtape"? The magazine is like a mixtape, where the writers and editors curate their favorite artists to share with you. 

Their first issue is expected to be published in May and I know these guys will be making waves no doubt. I'm also personally so excited I got to meet another passionate creative who cares about local arts. 


Website // Facebook // Instagram

HEARTBEATS#4: Todo Se Mueve

Our "Heartbeats" features aim to showcase the creative minds behind passionate projects in the fields of music and all other artforms. 

words and photo by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Who: Sheida Mohammad

What: Todo Se Mueve (Everything Moves)

Todo Se Mueve  began as most passion projects seem to do as a simple hobby.  Having a lot of musician friends, Sheida began booking shows around the LA area a couple years ago. At the end of 2013, she put on a show at the Witzend, calling it “Todo Se Mueve in Venice". From there the title just stuck.
Presenting a few shows here and there she got the attention of the people at Touch Vinyl and so began the start of a beautiful collaboration. Since April 2014, Todo Se Mueve has been taking lead on the Untouched Music Series: free shows featuring local artists every Friday night for a month. Currently in its fourth installment, the events draw out a dedicated local community and bring music to a rather quiet Westside. 
Todo Se Mueve currently functions as a not for profit entity very similar to Beating Lights' current state of life. The simple satisfaction of bringing people together through music and hoping connections and collaborations spark is what keeps Sheida going. 

The Untouched Music Series this month has 3 shows left, so make sure you check it out!


Facebook // Twitter

HEARTBEATS #3: Common Records

Our "Heartbeats" features aim to showcase the creative minds behind passionate projects in the fields of music and all other artforms. 

words and photo by Shabnam Ferdowsi

IMG_8197 copycommon.jpg


What: Common Records

Who: Andrew Pearson (and friends)

Where: Edinburgh,Scotland, UK

In their own words, Common Records is  "an independent-sub-micro-DIY" Scottish record label. Founded by Andrew Pearson around two years ago, the label has turned into a collective of incredibly talented musicians from different cities and small towns across Scotland. 

During my trip across the pond, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Andrew in St Andrews (where he's in his last year of university) along with a couple other musicians (also his good friends) under the Common roster. 

When it comes to running the mechanics of the label, from tasks such as getting the album cover graphics, printing physical copies and sending releases out for press, Andrew runs the show mostly on his own. Interesting fact though: he's not making a dime off it. Any money made goes straight back into running the label, and in the end it's more of a hobby (read:passion) than a living (read: financial gain). Surely he must make enough to pay the photographers, audio engineers and other contributors to the various projects right? Not quite. The Common Records community is run on the simple desires of creating the perfect work of art in a collective effort. It's a group of friends and friends of friends doing favors for one another, in the simple desire on collaborating on a passionate work of art. 

Over the past two years, the roster has grown from Andrew's own circle in Fife and Edinburgh further into the musical city of Glasgow, and smaller towns such as Perth,  and now reaches into different corners of the country. Together, the artists play shows, throw house parties, produce videos and generally support one another in their art-making. 

Common Records' main aim is a simple one: to create a supportive community of artists and help them produce and release the best work they can. And from what I've seen, they've hit the spot quite perfectly. 

I feel so lucky  to have stumbled onto Andrew's music before I got to the UK. His label, his collective  and the work of the artists within his community restore my faith in my own Beating Lights project and how I want to partake in the music scene.

"You don't need to sell out stadiums to have an effect" - Hamish James Hawk (a Common artist) put it quite perfectly I'd say. 

To listen to all the Common Records releases, head over to their Bandcamp and show them some love! It's independent Scottish music at its finest. 

HEARTBEATS #2: Backseat Beats

words and photo by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Who: Shadi Amirieh

What: Backseat Beats

Picture this: 

There's a baby in their carseat in the back, and Mom is driving up front. She puts in her favorite CD from her 80's pop collection and within seconds, the baby is bouncing to the beat. This is one of the first instances where babies hear music: in the backseat of the car.

Shadi Amirieh is a recent UCLA graduate with a passion for music, movement and education. A few months before getting her Bachelor of Arts, she began thinking of ways she's be able to combine her interests into one entrepreneurial endeavor. Having taken piano lessons and various dance classes since before elementary school, the idea for Backseat Beats quickly became an obvious one and by the time she finished school in June, the company was up and running. 

Backseat Beats offers a wide array of services geared toward the intersection of music, movement and self-development for children ages four and up. From dance fitness birthday parties, to Mommy and Me classes, to private lessons, the Backseat team promotes a healthy and fun environment  to grow both physically. They even offer character birthday parties, where Disney's "Elsa" has become a customer favorite!

Although it remains mostly a one-man show run by Shadi herself, she's built a network of talented musicians and dancers who've helped her create the Backseat Beats brand and reputation around the LA area.

If you'd like to connect with Shadi Amirieh to become a part of the team or would like to hire Backseat Beats for their services, contact them here!

Connect with Backseat Beats on Facebook 


words and photos by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Introducing a new series... Heartbeats: Portraits of the Passionate Heart.  

There are a lot of cool things going on around us, and this series will shine a [beating] light (see what I did there?!) on the faces behind the various passion projects we'll be featuring. 

We're so excited to get the show started!

Who: AJ Frydman and Harris Mayersohn

What: Prom Night,  a bi-weekly stand up show featuring some of the best comics around held at Nature's Brew in Downtown Los Angeles.

If you've ever been to a stand-up comedy show before, you know it takes a lot of resilience to get on that stage. Crowds can range from super energetic and responsive to just downright apathetic, and it takes a certain amount of dedication, and rather, passion, to keep getting back up there. 

AJ Frydman and Harris Mayersohn, respectively current student and alumni of USC's School of Cinematic Arts, have been hosting a  bi-weekly stand-up show at a local coffee shop since this past February. Every show, they curate a line-up of talented, local comedians, while bringing their own bits to the table every now and then. It's not easy with a crowd of students whose opinions and tolerance levels you can't predict, whose sense of humor you can't quite gauge, and night classes that prevent some friends from making it out.

I met up with them before their last show on October 23rd to chat for a bit. As I got there about an hour before showtime, they were only just talking about what their intro would look like. Procrastination seems to be a part of their process, and personally I think it's working! Improvisation is what makes stand-up performers stand out (not to be redundant), and as the two put it, there's no way to practice than by throwing yourself into it. 

It's a no-pressure space, and the hosts often try  new bits between acts, or occasionally taking their own set-times. Depending on the crowd, any bit is a hit or miss...And if it's a miss, AJ loves the failure, Harris hates it. But like I said, no pressure! They just hand it back over to the next comedian if everything really hits the ground. 

Every show is different than the last because every crowd is different, and every line-up is different. I've been a few times at this point and I've only ever had a good time. Who doesn't like to laugh, right?! The comedians are hilarious, and it's always fun seeing what AJ and Harris come up with something new.  Sure, sometimes I don't get the jokes, sometimes I can feel the crowd cringing at the raunchier bits, but that should be expected: we don't all have the same sense of humor.

As Harris put it perfectly, "you just gotta suck" sometimes to see what does and doesn't work. And the way I see it, not getting a laugh or two is part of the whole process. Like writing a blog post and getting no reads, or releasing a video and getting a measly 15 views... 

Not trying at all would be true failure.

PROM Nights happen every other Thursday night in Downtown LA,  so make sure you like their Facebook page to stay updated!