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Kohinoorgasm



LA-based Kohinoorgasm weaves defiant statements and uplifting messages from higher selves into meditative soundscapes, while simultaneously advocating for music workers’ rights.  
The DIY educator-producer-engineer unapologetically speaks truth to power, i.e. her track War Empire, in which she expresses, Wouldn’t pay a dime / to a war empire/ where she confronts abuse of power, anti-imperialism, and emotional burnout.

Her use of both English and Hindi lyricism packed with emotion, reflect her heritage’s influence to her art and her commitment to the POC community.
She hosts a monthly radio show on Dublab, ‘People’s Portal’, exclusively dedicated to highlighting the music of independent, underground working class musicians. The segment also strives to showcase grassroots initiatives - engaging in dialogue between Kohinoorgasm, a local musician and a local activist.

In conversation with the artist, we discuss balancing her multisciplinary practices, her visions as a member of UMAW, and much more!


* In between sound engineering, music production, educating, and organizing, (even hosting free virtual workshops for aspiring music producers!) How do you balance it all?


Kohinoorgasm: It is a lot! And I thank you for recognizing that. I am generally quite busy, and it has been an ongoing struggle since a young age to time manage all my obligations and interests. I think a lot of people who have internalized capitalism’s messages about productivity and worth struggle to really understand what activities actually serve us, where our efforts are most effective as well as most appreciated, and how to assess our commitments and opportunities accordingly. I am proud to be in a place where most of the projects I am apart of feel very mutually beneficial and energetically reciprocal. Additionally, I have lots of tangible boundaries I set that keep my physical and mental health a top priority. For instance, I like to wake up early and get work done during daylight hours, but I also don’t allow myself to work past 7pm on weeknights or noon on weekends. I also like to take lots of breaks throughout the day, make sure I get sun and three meals, stretch, go to therapy, and stuff like that. It is a balancing act!


* You completed a workshop for Fem Synth Lab discussing the history of music organizers. What was this experience like? What did you learn?


Kohinoorgasm: I loved crafting this workshop! I taught it at Fem Synth Lab, and I also taught it at California Institute of the Arts during their Winter Session. Between those two experiences, I learned how different it is to teach this course to aspiring musicians who are actively pursuing a career in music at an elite, private art school versus to a group of artists who have varying relationships to their craft, music professionalism, and education. Not everyone sees themselves as a music worker, because not everyone has the resources to recover from the imposter syndrome that comes with identifying as a musician in the first place. Also, music work really looks different for everyone in an industry that has so many freelancers who work in such varying capacities. Conversely, lots of music workers who have access to academia come from immense class privilege and intergenerational access to the upper echelons of the music industry. In a highly competitive field where individualism is the backbone of the journey to stardom, some music workers may not understand the point in allying with a labor collective or of not being the star of a movement.

I also learned that there’s such a long way to go in labor organizing within the music industry. Music workers really had to start from scratch in the early 1900s securing basic standards for fair pay and working conditions. As music technology and career options continue to change, we find ourselves renegotiating basic terms with every evolution, and it’s so unfair that our needs are the last to be addressed, if addressed at all. This is because music workers at the lowest economic strata are never involved in major industry decisions, so what I hoped for in these workshops was to support music workers and listeners alike in understanding how industry bosses and corporations abuse music workers and how collectivizing can be a vehicle for us to reclaim power in our field.


* What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while advocating for equality and the fall of capitalism?


Kohinoorgasm: My family.


* As co-founder of Union of Musicians And Allied Workers, (@weareumaw) where do you envision the organization in 5 years?


Kohinoorgasm: The organization is not as important to me as the people. I hope in five years anyone who has ever been a part of or inspired by UMAW is in a position where they are receiving fair pay amidst fair working conditions. I hope that all of our work is engaged in some type of solidarity economy, so that we can hopefully be a step closer to abolishing capitalism. I hope that we have more structure to fearlessly hold exploiters and abusers in the industry accountable as a collective. I hope that we have more structures for addressing anti-Blackness in the music industry, especially in a way that shifts that labor away from Black music workers and listeners.


* In your recent conversation with NAVEL, you mentioned how policing intersects with music, could you elaborate on that?


Kohinoorgasm: Yes, the Police Abolition Committee at UMAW has actually created a document diving further into this! Here it is:
Link ︎︎︎https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s4FdPNfpdx3X0bLgKEckA46n3h3dGWHpn6AVTEGaGBM/view


* lunar de líquido symbolizes a disengagement with any characteristics you were born with, that no longer resonate with you. Is there something that was given to you that you no longer take as your own?


Kohinoorgasm: So many things!


* On your song, ‘Exhausted’ you express corporate-induced burnout and the effect it has on your artistry. It isn't discussed enough how these jobs can literally deprive us of our creative energy. What are some practices that you exercise to reset yours?


Kohinoorgasm: Our creative energy is so sacred! I preserve mine by only working with people I trust, practicing responsible time management like I mentioned previously, channeling play versus work when I sit down to make art, staying in touch with my extended creative community, having difficult and deep conversations with my loved ones, having playful encounters with my loved ones, being open to change, being open to failure, distinguishing inspiration and appreciation, trying new things, and trying not to be so hard on myself.
    

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