The rising Trinidadian-American artist defies genre-based limitations with her brand new concept album
TRISHES defies limiting herself to just one medium. She is a Trinidadian-American artist who combines her talents for visual art, spoken word poetry, music, songwriting, and activism, into an introspective new project centered around the Freudian “construct of self.”
Her first full-length LP, The ID, tackles the concept of the “unconscious self” through a rather unconventional and reflective lens, giving audiences an up-close and personal look into her artistic process.
“TRISHES is supposed to represent the different aspects of myself,” Trish Hosein, the brains behind the project, said in a video interview from her home in Los Angeles. “It’s the ID, ego, superego… all of the different Trishes.”
VIDEO: TRISHES “Shelves”
Prior to this, she released an EP entitled, EGO, which she said focused more on the conscious self and the societal structures humanity creates that tend to separate us from our “primal self,” which is the topic she delves into further on her new full-length LP.
“I think I have my own definitions of these constructs. It’s not because I think Freud’s theories are correct or accurate, I just think they are this cultural framework and this cultural mythology that we pull these ideas from,” Hosein said. “I think my album is more about our subconscious suppression of feelings, mostly shame, and fear about what happens when we suppress those things and how they manifest when we don’t deal with them.”
Her thought-provoking concept art has taken her all across the globe to different music and arts festivals including SXSW, CMW, Women’s Redrock Festival, Tune in Tel Aviv, and Linda Perry’s Rock N Relief. However, even with the continued success of her music career, she refuses to allow herself to be limited to just one outlet.
“I realized what you do in your life, isn’t your purpose in life. What you do is just sort of the means to an end. Once that clicked for me, I realized that I just wanted to express these ideas in as many ways as possible,” she said.
Her visual artwork has also been featured as part of the Adidas “Nite Jogger” campaign and she was nominated for Best Music Video at the South Asian Film Festival two years in a row, including one nomination for her directorial debut, “Gaslight.”
VIDEO: TRISHES “Gaslight”
And it doesn’t just stop there. Her passion for racial justice and immigration have also led her to work on campaigns for Crooked Media and the Progressive Turnout Project, as well as volunteer work for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in 2020. She has also written political pieces for publications such as Talkhouse, Brown Girl Magazine, and Valley Doll Magazine, and on December 4, will give her first TEDx Talk.
“I think having multiple outlets doesn’t actually make you less competent at any of them. It actually just feeds your creativity in a way. I think it’s really freeing to be able to express myself in different ways,” she said. “Over the lockdown, I didn’t really connect with music. I didn’t write much music. I think music, for me, requires a certain amount of conscious understanding of my thoughts and feelings and I think that at that time, I wasn’t in a place where I really understood those things yet.”
Instead, she began stippling with a fine-tip Sharpie. She said the process of drawing thousands of tiny dots provided her with opportunities to both reflect and meditate over the course of the pandemic. Included with the album are 10 of these original pieces and three new cinematic music videos which were shot in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Nabi Musa.
We had the chance to talk with Trish about all this stuff and more in the interview below. The ID is in stores now.
How did COVID-19 impact your musical process?
I’m not sure it affected my musical process. I just didn’t have it in me. It felt very small. If I can’t attach my music to a greater good, it just feels very small and with everything that was happening, I didn’t feel equipped to be helpful in that way.
I just really didn’t do much music through that time and then, when we started getting out of that a little bit more, I started getting back into it more, but mostly, I got to dive into art and activism a little more.
I was protesting like every day over the summer of 2020. That just felt like where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing.
How did you become an activist? How do you feel it impacts your art?
I think my life is inherently political. I don’t think you can be a woman of color in America without having your life be inherently political. Even if you don’t want it to be, that is something that is really pushed on you because that’s like the structure you live in. So I don’t think it was anything that I ever got into per se, but rather, increased my understanding through time.
I was thinking about this the other day because there was a man, who just a few days ago was killed by the death penalty. And I was thinking about how that was one of the first things I was passionate about when I was a kid. I was like, ‘this does not add up. This does not make any sense.’ I think it’s just something I’ve always been really, really passionate about.
A few years ago I started helping resettle Afghan refugees. So, I got more involved back when there was an influx of Syrian refugees, that’s when I was like, ‘I really should do something about this.
In regards to police brutality and law enforcement reform, Tamir Rice was the first thing that really hit me. And then I think Philando Castile was the thing that made me become more active in advocating change. I’m pretty sure I witnessed that as it unfolded on Facebook Live.
I didn’t eat for like a day and a half. I was so sick. I don’t even know if I would call myself an activist because there are people out there doing very real work and I’m just kind of showing up and hopefully using whatever small amount of influence I have to be part of those movements. It’s definitely in everything I do and in everything I make because it’s everything else seems very small to me.
VIDEO: TRISHES performs “Sunglasses” at the School Night!
What led you to work on the Bernie Sanders campaign?
I volunteered with the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016 and 2019. I just really believe in progressive values. I did a lot of on-the-ground canvassing word and I also performed at a fundraiser with Bernie Sanders and School Night!, which is a showcase that is out here in Los Angeles. I really just did a lot of knocking on doors.”
What is the story behind your first single, “Venom?”
“Venom” is a really interesting one because it’s one of those things where I wrote it but it wasn’t until afterward that I understood what the song was about. I think I’m very honest and I stand up for things I believe in and I am very vocal about things I believe in.
My whole life I have been told by mainly white people and white men that I am angry, which is something that I sort of internalized and would make excuses for. And then looking back, I realized I’m actually not angry. I’m actually a very joyful person that understands the flawed world that I live in and I guess for some people it is hard for them to understand that other people can understand how flawed things are and still be happy.
VIDEO: TRISHES perform “Venom” on Caffeine.tv
It’s just like these comments that I get all the time on the internet. Anytime I talk about anything online and it gets far enough to reach random people, they will say to me ‘It must be tiring to be so angry all the time.’ And I’m not.
But I think that’s a characteristic that’s imposed on women of color all the time. So ‘Venom’ is about that. ‘Venom’ is just about the idea that I have a right to be angry, but also that I’m not angry.
Her debut album, The ID, features 16 original tracks including “Big Sunglasses,” “Animal,” and “Instant Gratification,” which were co-produced by Hosein and her longtime friend, Hakan Mavruk, aka “Hawk.”
To celebrate her full-length debut, she recently performed at the official West Coast album release party at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on Oct. 25, and will be headed to the East Coast for a performance at an art gallery in New York City on Nov. 5.