Celebrating the styles and sounds of Sankaran

Out of the blur with Sankaran; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Out of the blur with Sankaran; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Performing as part of the 2019 edition of the APAHM Phase showcases that celebrates the rising influential talents of multidisciplinary Asian American artistry; we present a listen to the latest album Interesting Times from Sankaran who play May 15 in LA at the Silverlake Lounge as part of the festival. Based out of Echo Park/Moorpark, Jasmine Sankaran, Tristan Starr, Kevin Nash and Avi Ballo make a hopeful noise that is steeped in the strange and surreal reality that mirrors today’s topsy-turvy times (offering something of a sincere survival guide and a commiserating shoulder you can lean on).

Interesting Times kicks off with the title track that offers a send-up of our fractured state of the union, to the pensive perspectives of nostalgia on "Younger" that contrasts the good ol' days with the more complicated events of growing up in our current era. Quandaries over the search for satisfaction are expressed on "Contentment", to statements of independence and rising above the patriarchy on "Cactus", right before poking fun at the Reagan administration sanctioned "Trickle Down Economics". Modern life muddles are further dissected on "The Monday Side", that takes the paradigm of street-cleaning curbside conflicts to illustrate a larger working class struggle, keeping that proletariat spirit flying high on "Communist Synthesizer" and then tackling the repackaged content found in the social media scrolling pits of confusions on "Secondhand Sources". Meditative moments of thoughtful wonder are found on the melancholy strings of "Rising Tide Lullaby", to taking on the attitudes of a certain J. D. Salinger character on the anthem of unleashed angst, "Holden Caulfield (The Complaining Song)", before completing the album cycle with a song that sings truth to the cis male hegemon hierarchies of global authority on the empowering "Master of the Universe". Sankaran sews together enlightened audio arts full of meaning, inconvenient truths and inspirations as Interesting Times is a proactive call to participate in creating more conscious communities (both locally and globally).

Jasmine Sankaran shared some thoughts on their APAHM Phase experience and why it's a necessary event for the community:

As a band we try to write songs that are fun to listen but also have some message. As a songwriter I try to connect to my audience by sharing my experiences,  invoking something larger through moments, details, specifics. For me it's about writing the songs I need at the time, externalizing that fear or frustration and transforming it into something that feels honest, real and valid. Wherever we take a song musically; it's important that we stay true to the core emotion that it sprang from.

When I first came across moonroom's APAHM Phase showcases, I was afraid it was going to be another one of those gimmicky things, sort of like how female is not a genre, Asian-American is not a genre, how is this really going to benefit us as a band? I'm happy to report that these showcases have deepened my connection to the music scene, to other Asian-American artists and has instilled so much confidence in my identity as a performer. It's so scary approaching a music scene I've admired all my life, seeing how white and how male it is, and finding the courage to be like, I am a brown Asian girl, my family doesn't have connections to the industry, this is not what was expected of me, I just fucking love to do this and I am going to share a stage with you. I have had so many great experiences with APAHM Phase, performing and meeting people; it's something that affects my band year-round.

Listen to more from Sankaran via Spotify.

Catch Sankaran partaking in the #APAHM PHASE, May 15 at Silverlake Lounge with Nadu, Shiro, and Shunkan.

moonroom’s #APAHM Phase 3, an AAPI alternative arts series, returns for its 3rd year of showcases highlighting AAPI indie artists and AAPI-fronted bands across Southern California in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May and the summer months. This year’s theme is 'Confluence' as we look to continue improving and reconstructing representation of Asian Americans in Western culture. Over the last 2 seasons, more than 80 AAPI artists across 20+ showcases have participated during May and the summer months. 2019 looks to increase that number with an even more diverse slate of programmers and events. For more insight on #APAHM Phase 3, visit @moonroomie.

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