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TRISHES: Blending Activism and Art to reflect our Humanity

26 July 2021

TRISHES – Photo Credit: Alejandra Ocampo

Writer Credit: Amanda Carungi

TRISHES is a project by Trinidadian native Trish Hosein that explores the works of Sigmund Freud’s main ideas of the self (The Id, Super Ego, and Ego).

Through spoken word, vocal effects, and live looping, Hosein gives each separate self a voice at her concerts. She brings the internal to the surface and seamlessly blends her activism with her art. Her live shows are fleshed out by catchy hip-hop beats and entrancing pop hooks that highlight her original and engaging songwriting.

Hosein began touring around the US and overseas after graduating from Berklee College of Music. She’s performed at festivals like Linda Perry’s Rock-N-Relief, Cannabis Cup, SXSW, CMW, Tune-In Tel Aviv, Women’s Redrock Festival, and was recently featured by MTV/VH1 India this year for their World Music Day: Lift Up. She made her directorial debut last year with her music video for “Gaslight,” which premiered on NPR’s All Things Considered.

TRISHES upcoming album, The Id, is a full-length follow-up to the 2019 multimedia EP, EGO.

Her music holds a mirror up to our human experiences and the constructs that define yet separate us from our humanity while also commenting on our current cultural and political landscape.

Hosein joined me via Zoom from her home in Los Angeles to talk about her upcoming album, her process for creating a music video amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and her love for looping.

The Id is concerned with “fear, shame, anger, violence, and the things our subconscious builds when we’re not nurturing our inner child.” – what are ways you nurture your own inner child?

“I think that in development of this project was a big part of how I started to sort out what was going on internally with myself. Just having the space and the resources to put all these conflicting thoughts into real space and have them have their own voice and their own sound was helpful for me to just sort out what was happening in my head.”

“Most people aren’t sitting down trying to figure out what is going on internally because it can be really difficult, so my art is a really big part of that and a big part of what I’m thinking or feeling. I also practice meditation because it kinda does a similar thing where you can get past just the sort of bullshit layers of what’s happening consciously in your world and in your mind and just get to a place where you can understand. Recently I also started EMDR therapy which has been really interesting to really deep dive into certain events from my past and think, ‘I know what you were thinking consciously, but what was happening inside of you while this was going on that you weren’t aware of?’”

Did you find that happening with your upcoming album? Is The Id an album where that subconscious is coming to light more so than what’s at the surface level?

“The goal of this album is to be able to let the Id – let my Id – say whatever it needed to say. The artistic goal – was ‘what does this part of me need to say? What does this part of me need to hear?’ It was really interesting because I wrote all of these songs, and I didn’t really understand what it all meant until I was able to look back and relisten to them.”

“With the single I just released, “Venom,” I didn’t understand what it meant until years later. It was really revealing the more mature and more intuitive with myself I got; I was like, ‘oh this is what that song is about.’ That happened with honestly everything I’ve ever written that came from a deep and real place and then I had to go on some sort of journey with myself to write, I look back and have been like ‘whoa, oh I understand something about myself that I didn’t when I was writing it.’ But that’s the beauty of art – you can often express things that you don’t consciously understand yet.”

You created the music video for “Gaslight” last year during the pandemic and did so remotely – how did that project come to pass? What was the process? How has it differed from other videos that you’ve shot?

“It was so much fun and it honestly saved my sanity. I worked with Kalbe Isaacson who choreographed both the “Saraswati” and “Hydra” videos. Right before the pandemic I met Friidom Dunn at an art space where we both performed, and I thought he was so brilliant.”

“I had the general concept of what I wanted to do with “Gaslight” and I thought that where we were in isolation was kinda ideal to really convey these emotions. Emotions like being gaslit by our government, but also being in the confines of our spaces and really having to deal with our feelings a little bit more. So, I asked Kalbe and Friidom if they were interested in doing a project with me. We got on a couple zoom calls – the first we laid out the progression of the story and then the second time was more into the choreography. Kalbe filmed the choreography for us and then I made a shot list.”

“Everyone filmed everything in their own spaces and then sent me all the footage and then I edited it together. I was super-proud of it, and I needed that project at the time, but also, it’s also exactly how it should have been.”

It speaks to Friidom and Kalbe’s talent but also yours as well because I had no idea you had edited the piece!

“Yeah, I really enjoy video editing. I also edited the “Saraswati” video, which was in a similar open space like “Gaslight” The next music video that’s coming out for the album is for ‘Big Sunglasses’ and Jessica Lorenzo directed and edited the piece, but she also sent me a cut and we did the second cut together. I love video editing. I don’t have the equipment or skillset to handle the huge files it takes to put together such a big production like “Big Sunglasses,” but it was great to still be a part of the process.”

You’re sharing some awesome loop covers on your Instagram – how do you pick which songs you’ll work on and what is that process like?

“Short form videos are everything right now. I was thinking how I can be relevant in this space. I’m not a pointing to words/dancing person when it comes to making videos…the last couple of weeks I was going through top hits, but today I filmed a few more and I looked at ‘best summer songs.’ Usually, since they’re so short, I’m looking for an instrumental motif because that’s what makes it fun for me. Today I did ‘Boys of Summer’ and ‘Island in the Sun’ which were super easy because you can sing it once and then layer it over and over. So, I’m mostly looking at what are the motifs that people will recognize and appreciate.”

I love them because I don’t know the first thing about how to loop – I just sit there until the end and can’t believe you can make an entire song and just use yourself!

“Oh, it’s really fun – that’s why I love looping, I really do. It’s so therapeutic to me in so many ways. I get to use these voices and then you hear them in this space, and it makes it real. The other thing is that once those voices are building and the layers build it starts to feel very powerful because you’re like ‘oh, I can make this.’ It makes you feel magical.”

Do you have a favorite song off your upcoming album?

“I think “Big Sunglasses,” my next single, is my favorite track. The production is just so cool as a record. That’s my favorite record. But my favorite song…I think “Animal,” the first song on the album, is probably my favorite song. It’s the thesis statement of the whole project. I probably start every show with it. It was the beginning of me starting to understand things about myself and my understanding of the world. It’s a song that holds a special place for me but is also the song that really started this whole project.”

You played live for Linda Perry’s Rock-n-Relief concert this year – can you tell us more about that experience?

“I feel really lucky that they chose me to perform. I hadn’t played live in forever. I’m a big fan of Linda Perry and Kat Corbett who was hosting. It was amazing to be on stage, I love being on stage, and to be a part of such a cool lineup was really awesome. I had the best time. Everyone was so nice, and it was nice to work with a sound guy again and experience all of the amazing things about performing live. I miss it!”

Speaking of performing live, where can fans see you perform next? Will you be touring this year?

“I definitely want to. I’ve been gaining my bearings on what the world looks like right now. We have mask mandates again in Los Angeles and I still feel really shaky and unstable. If I book a tour, is that going to happen, you know? I would really like to start performing again – maybe at the end of August? I’m still feeling it out.”


Stream “Venom” on SPOTIFY

TRISHES debut album The Id releases on October 22nd and is available for pre-save on SPOTIFY and iTUNES