Editorials

Independent, but not alone.

May 30th, 2015

Article written by Unraveled Founder, Farida Amar

Los Angeles, CA — Unraveled is made of real people. People who have not only groundbreaking experimental ideas and schemes up their sleeves, but who also have feelings, needs, and sensitivities to each other and the world which surrounds them. They make mind-opening, ear-bending work, but they also need hugs. I am one of them and often feel the need to take a step back and say, “I love you, you inspire me, and thank you.” This is one of those moments.

Since moving to Los Angeles I have met a more diverse spectrum of people than in any other city (and I’ve moved a LOT). LA is just the kind of place where you see old ladies in pink tutus walking their rottweiler down the street or young kids chasing bubbles outside a palm reading shop on a regular basis. I’ve made friends and enemies here, sat on the City Council here, built a brand and a life here. I’ve met more sober people in clubs and more addicts in business meetings than I can count. It truly astounds me the spectrum of the unexpected in this city of Lost Angels.

Over the past two years, patterns have inevitably emerged. The most prominent being obsessive cravings for fame. It seems almost universal here and it saddens me to think about how many want it and how few achieve it. I have had more opportunities to sell out here than ever before in my life. And when I walk away from the offers on the table because Unraveled is simply not for sale, everyone seems completely dumbfounded. Their faces read: “How? What? Why? Who do you think you are to say “no” to us?” “I am Farida, and this is Unraveled, and fame is just another word for commercialism, and fuck you,” I think loudly.

I’ve also been asked too many times why I’m not starting a record label or an artist management agency or an ad or design firm or why I don’t want to attend meetings with people like that to “see what they can do for me.” I’ve had people ask to be paid for introducing me to their friends. People name dropping a few too many times before I’ve even gotten a word our edgewise. The kind of people I wouldn’t want to see again. I’ve had people show their desperation time and time again. And it breaks my heart. I find myself saying “no, thank you” with a smile more often than I’d like. I have memorized template rejection letters to send on the fly. There is definitely a disparity between the famous and want to be famous crowd hustling the industry for every cent and broke by choice independent artists who have emerged as my heroes.

You, Unraveled Artists, are unique. You have integrity. You have yourselves, your ideas, your talents, your stories, your own time and space. You build sanctuary from everyday routine and societal expectations. You tell me “it’s okay, you’re okay, we’re all going to get through this together” without speaking a word. You ground me and make my work in search of basic human truths worth pursuing and for this I am eternally grateful.

I’d like to take a minute to acknowledge a few Unraveled Artists who have made my life worth living over the past weeks.

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Hil Jaeger — Hil performed a show with Carl Madison Burgin for their latest music project Firm Tap at Cal Arts on May 14th, 2015. This was a thesis show required for her recent graduation as the only female graduate in Music Technology. I forced myself to take my first break all day from finishing the BCGs installation and drove an hour in thunder and rain on the LA freeways to make it in the nick ‘o time. When I arrived I was tired, soaking wet, hungry, and staring at my clock because I had to get back to finish sewing BCGs flags for the show the next day. Then the show started and I was immediately transported into a dimension where there was no pending deadline, no depth perception, no outside world. Firm Tap is a must see, especially if you are frazzled. It will throw you completely off and bring you back to the center, ground you, then blow you away again. You will feel first like you’ve been hit by a wind storm, then as if you are an object caught in said wind storm, then that you are the wind itself, and finally morph into a sound wave running through the custom built microphone Hil uses for howling into the depths of your soul. If I’m not making any sense, go to a Firm Tap show, and then read this paragraph again. See a video of this show here. (photo credit: Farida Amar)

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The Heavns — The Heavns, more lovingly referred to as Vid, has recently relocated to Los Angeles from Tijuana by way of San Diego. As soon as he arrived he made it a priority to go to as many Unraveled Artist’s shows as possible. And he did. He started accompanying me every. single. night. for weeks to 3-4 shows each night usually ending with late night tacos and hard alcohol on my porch until literally 8AM. The conversations were entirely composed of debriefs on what we had just experienced. He was not just going to shows, he was digesting, absorbing, and feeding on every second of inspiration. He can find beauty everywhere, he questions everything. With a thick book in one hand and a flask in the other, he seems to never sleep. He began coming over earlier and bringing his guitars and amps and always his Sister (Ruby Clouds) by his side. The inseparable duo began jamming on the porch and serenading us while we all sat listening, completely exhausted from trying to keep up with them. All Vid wants to do is make music with anyone and everyone all the time. He wants to see music, hear music, feel music, dream of music, and then make more of it. Literally nothing else matters to him, and for that I am thankful and excited to see what new songs and projects he releases in our little big city over the next few months. (photo credit: Genevieve Munroe)

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Isabella Clarke — Bella is not only an Unraveled Visual Artist and stellar photographer she is also one of my closest friends, my roommate, and co-conspirator in both life and death. Bella has recently fallen in love for the first time and has miraculously become even more focused on her work. I think love has the reverse effect on her. I’m still taking notes and trying to learn how she makes that work. She is the kind of person who only works because of her excitement for other people. She momentarily falls in love with everyone she photographs, she is highly emotional and ever present within her own heart and mind… even if no one else understands it! She is stubborn about her standards and her boundaries and for that I am thankful. She has begun using me as a subject / muse for her most restless moments and has taken some very raw and honest images of me over the past weeks. Knowing her is an honor and standing in front of her camera is one of the places where I feel the most safe in this world. Thank you Bella, for loving you and loving me, and for staying true and plotting adventures. And also for waking up in the middle of the night without getting upset when I think my dog is dying or have to sage my room because I had nightmares. I love you. (photo credit: Farida Amar)

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Cruiiix — Cruiiix, pronounced “crux,” also known as Francisco Hernandez or Frank or as I call him, Frankie, is a newfound and profound friend. Everything he creates is an instant new addiction of mine, making me hands down his #1 fan. His fearlessness and confidence allow him to act as a medium, channeling spirits, energies, instincts and feelings into sound. Constructing complex beats and tracks from scratch that span trap, hip hop, funk, soul, electronic, ambient, rock, punk rock, and metal seems to come natural to him. I find myself playing his music and even his works in progress on repeat almost every single day. When he sends me new things to listen to I forget to breathe and just as I think I might suffocate the song transitions and instructs me… “breathe NOW.” He recently sent me a song he was working on and I played it in my car while driving and ended up lost in the wrong direction on the 5 fwy somewhere outside of LA. His talent is at the very least all consuming and entirely distracting.I’d like to continue discovering and developing these kinds of connections, manifest by, through and from each of you with one another. Every Unraveled Artist is beautiful in their own way and I believe that together we are stronger than we are alone. Find each other, do shows together, eat breakfast together, sleep on each other’s couches, go on adventures. In a world full of sharks, mistakes, disappointments, and bullshit, your light shines bright and helps guide the way. Towards what I’m not sure; but I’m excited to find out, together. (photo credit: Farida Amar)

Featured image (top) of Farida Amar from the Groundlings Series shot by Isabella Clarke.

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