Music is just one color on TRISHES’ palette. For the Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and multimedia artist (real name Trish Hosein), spoken word, dance, makeup, visual art, and other visualized elements are fused by the artist and activist to get her messages across on the new album The Id.
On The Id, co-produced with Hakan Mavruk, the Trinidadian-American artist explores the ingrown mentality spurring most global and societal conflicts, her own tribulations and confusion, and the darker centers and corners of the psyche, all wrapped around a mixed around different mediums, manipulated vocals and sounds, and echoes of words that sting in their delicacy.
“I believe that all societal and global conflict begins from individual internal turmoil,” says TRISHES, “and that examining those inner struggles is an essential part of affecting change.”
Using her art to fuel her activism—and vice versa—TRISHES doesn’t leave any talent untouched and has been hands-on in her advocacy, volunteering and performing at the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, working with Crooked Media and the Progressive Turnout Project, and writing political pieces for publications like Brown Girl Magazine, Valley Doll Magazine, and Talkhouse.
Throughout The Id, TRISHES’ identity is clear. All vignettes delve into the things people don’t want to talk about, but should, mixing multiple media and beats from the frenetic 26-second “Intro” into the Avant pop of “Animal,” a song TRISHES calls her “thesis statement” on the more animalistic and spiritual sides of humanity and into “Big Sunglasses,” her diatribe on the figments of one’s more dangerous imagination once consumed by the social media world. The Id unleashes more fixating beats on the liberating “Instant Gratification,” and self-reflective “Mine Would Be You.”
Addressing discrimination—something TRISHES faced during her childhood—“Venom” stirs around chants inspired by her South Asian roots and lusciously biting vocals—I was born in the year of the snake / I was born in the month of the scorpion / And you wonder why it stings.
“Venom details the rage I felt growing up as the daughter of immigrants and a woman of color, but did not understand why,” says TRISHES of the track. “As I’ve become more consciously aware of how larger societal power dynamics play out in interpersonal relationships, I now understand that anger resulted from the microaggressions and inequality I was experiencing daily.”
A one-woman show, TRISHES looped all of the 16 tracks on The Id from scratch at her home studio “looping station.” TRISHES also accompanied the release of the album with three music videos, shot in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Nabi Musa, just east of Jerusalem, and 10 original art pieces she drew by Sharpie using her signature stippling style.
Continuously in motion, and creating, TRISHES has been nominated for Best Music Video at the South Asian Film Festival for two consecutive years—including a nomination for her music video “Gaslight,” her visual art was featured in the Adidas “Nite Jogger” campaign.
“Police brutality, gun violence, nationalism, colonialism, capitalism—all of it comes down to this thing—this suppression of fear and shame that forms this dark ball in the core of us,” says TRISHES of the album. “If we refuse to let it out it disguises itself so much so that when it finally emerges we can’t recognize it. This thing: ‘the Id.’”
Upon the release of The Id, TRISHES share how looping and effects mimic what’s in her mind, the evolvement of songs over time, and finding the purpose of it all.
American Songwriter: Tell me how The Id started piecing together for you. Were some of the songs/spoken words older, or mostly new?
TRISHES: It’s really a combination of old and new pieces, or really older pieces in a newer framework. I actually started this album before my 2019 EP Ego, but I didn’t feel like our collective consciousness was in a place where it could be received the way I wanted it to, and I don’t think I actually fully understood my purpose or the purpose of the collection. A few months before the pandemic started, I felt our awareness as a society was changing, becoming more internally observant and observant of the structures that we live in. I think the pandemic really catalyzed this shift, and as things started opening again, I felt in my gut that it was the time to release this album.
AS: In using visual art, in what ways is it an extension of the overall message(s) in your music, spoken word, etc.?
T: I think of my songs as the thesis statements of conclusions I’ve come to, and the artwork as their supporting references. For “Big Sunglasses” for example, I didn’t get to touch on the internet and social media as a form of anonymity in the lyrics, but I got to show that through the album art.
AS: Musically/sonically, you’re implementing so many elements—and all on your own. Tell me more about your DIY process and how it all comes together for you.
T: Most of my songs are written really intentionally. I usually start with what concept I want to speak on, something that I feel like I’m uniquely positioned to talk about. Then I research it, write essays or poetry or whatever I need to do to sort out my thoughts on it, and finally, I write a song that summarizes my feelings. I occasionally write on piano but usually, I write songs with my loop station and effects processor because I think it mimics the way my mind thinks best. So the loop arrangement and songwriting is done simultaneously most of the time. The first thing we’ll record is that live looping arrangement and then build on top of that.
AS: The past year or more has been chaotic, unjust, and uncertain. How did these recent social and political events direct or shift the meaning of the songs on the album?
T: I think the last couple of years really refined my understanding of the purpose of this al- bum. A lot of these songs I wrote without understanding the structural and historical context of my thoughts and feelings. For example, I thought “Venom” was a song about being angry, but it was actually a song about how anger is projected onto me as a woman of color. “Big Sunglasses” is a song about anonymity, but in today’s context now I feel like that applies directly and most urgently to social media and its proliferation of misinformation and nationalism.
AS: The Id is multi-layered in song, spoken word, external sounds, and other elements, but what is it that threads these 16 pieces together on the album lyrically?
T: The Id is an album about looking at the parts of ourselves that are difficult to look at—the wounds, the shame, the fear, the anger. I think that all external conflict begins with in- eternal conflict. The implicit bias that upholds police brutality, the greed that spurred colonialism, the fear that is the foundation of white supremacy. This is what happens in the dark corners of our mind and soul when we suppress and ignore the things we don’t want to feel. It festers. All 16 of the tracks come together to encourage us to look at these things.