PHOTOGRAPHY DANNY LIM @dannny.lim
INTERVIEW BECK DIAZ @hypebeck
GROOMER KYO SUDO @kyo_sud @lateliernyc
THANK YOU TO @cafestudionyc
We know that your latest project, atlas, was all friend run and produced. Can you talk about your community and what they mean to you?
As I believe that identity should be ever evolving, I also believe the same applies for my sense of community. Being around good people can really lift both my perception and sense of myself. When I started to show out, I felt a newness in so many facets of what I am which I attribute to my community. I think loyalty and good energy in your circle is key.
Aside from the friendships and bonds you’ve built, can you talk about your home life? We know you just recently came out to your mom before dropping this album, how was that experience?
So I was raised by a house of five women and it was a pretty standard at home life, lots of love. I think a lot of those aspects and feminine energies that I was around impacted my writing process and so many other facets of my identity today. Coming out to my mom was a really big moment for me because I felt a false transparency with her up until that point. I felt like once I had started to receive this love from my music like, It gave me the confidence to allow my mom and the world into that part of my life.
What does identity mean to you? Is it gender, the people you surround yourself with, where you grew up, more, less, all of it?
I think identity has always been a medium of expression for me, it’s importance contrasts my belief in structures like gender and labels. I think the world is moving in a direction away from those things and I hope to contribute to that.
On a lighter note, we’ve noticed that your look changes quite often. Is there a process that goes on behind the changing looks of Araya?
It seems like at both extreme highs and lows is when I feel most drawn to this re-imagining of myself. The cause can be depressing, celebratory or meaningless. But with my look, I’m extremely open to change.
What does beauty mean to you? Is it a hair color, the sound of a song, feeling accepted?
Beauty is versatility. You can express the many facets of what you are through beauty, beauty can catalyze transformation and help us arrive sooner at a progressed version of ourselves. I’ve never resented beauty; I just wanna be beautiful, make people feel beautiful and make beautiful things.
You are not just strictly music, what kind of artistic background do you hail from and what form of art feels the oldest to you?
I think there is so much art in being a spectator of this world. At such a young age we make these artful intuitions and choices that generate this sort of identity. I think that concept has played a huge part in my artistic background. I really don’t shy away from things that allow me to breathe my existence into this world.
We’ve heard that your music career was built from your last semester school project, can you talk about your college experience and how you eventually found yourself?
College was great, I met so many talented creatives and people that now play a huge role in all the shit we’ve been doing. I always wanted to come to class. I think both submitting to and going against the structure of school helped me come to a lot of conclusions regarding my social and artistic preferences. I don’t know exactly who I am. I just try to be honest with what I like and what I don’t. I allow my tastes to bleed into most parts of my life and have an overall relative admiration for things, people, myself. I think it’s most important to always be a student and try to learn as much as you can. Once you start to claim that you’ve figured yourself out, I feel like you’ve actually stalled your own evolution as a person and for your understandings in general
Tell us about atlas, where the name and album came from.
Atlas is referencing a few things. I think foremost, I am primarily referencing Atlas as sort of a map of self discovery in which pivotal moments were reflected upon and helped me further my understanding of the world and the people around me. Verbally, I was extremely inspired by greek mythology and how it references this relationship between the Greek legend of Titan Atlas and his daughter Calypso.
This album pushes the boundaries of what a proper “artist” should be in a proper “genre” What are you hoping to do with your next project?
I hope we can just live and learn on this journey wherever it goes. We want it to be unexpected, maybe provocative, but still feel good.
If there was one takeaway you could place into each readers mind from this interview , what would it be?
I think a life led by an open heart and an open mind can really contribute to a more beautiful experience on this earth. Feel everything as much as you can.