TurnOntheACApr 14, 2021
Season 3, Episode 5: Maral – Mixtape Love Language, Samples of Home, and Meaningful Exchanges
Over the past several years, Maral has been building a broad discography of club music that blends raw digital samples and sounds with textures of Iranian folk music. In this episode, Anna & Alex talk to Maral about her childhood in the States and in Iran, how she began DJing at college house parties in Virginia, and how she uses her positionality as an artist to build meaningful collaborations with the trailblazing artists of today.
Maral hosts a monthly show on Dublab, has an exciting tour schedule lined up for the rest of 2023 (including opening for legends Panda Bear and Sonic Boom!), and her latest single “‘Setar Rock” just dropped this week. You can hear all of the details in the episode.
Season 3, Episode 4: REHMA – Glam Pop, Cultural Fusion, and Brown Girl Magic
REHMA is a fierce and introspective LA-based artist blending lush arching vocals, R&B beats, and lyrics that communicate her experience as a Pakistani-American woman in music. She first collaborated with Anna and Alex last summer as a performer at TurnOnTheAC’s event, Summer Sauce, and now she’s back for more.
In this episode, the three muse over the balance of "moody" and "booty" qualities in contemporary sounds and the brilliant makers behind the music who have influenced REHMA over the years. She discusses what it was like navigating the creative process with other artists remotely throughout the pandemic, the joys and pressures that come with repping for her community, and her forthcoming project born out of real conversations with women, set to drop any day now.
But first Anna & Alex share some of their heavy music rotation selects for the fast approaching summer...
Season 3, Episode 3: Synead – Expansion, Abundance, and The Spice of Life
Alex first saw Synead doing a cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” at a Paramount artist showcase for rising Black musicians, and it was love at first listen. In this episode, Alex and Anna interview Synead about what it means to be a musician in New York today, how she infuses her music with her life experiences and Trini heritage, and some of the many ways she’s found outlets for expression.
Synead also tells us all about her most recent EP titled The Pum Pum Room, which was inspired by her experience working a variety of service industry jobs and was released (Feb 3rd, 2023) in accordance with the auspicious alignment of the planets.
First, Alex and Anna question the value of dedicated “diversity” months in music and discuss recent karaoke experiences gone wrong.
Season 3 Episode 2: Harve – Silver Linings, Sounds of South London, and Finding a Voice Through Times of Transition
In this episode, Anna and Alex interview Harve, the “soultronic” artist and producer leading a new wave of queer music in South London. Harve discusses the artists that have influenced their sound (which carries intangible acoustic qualities of Joni Mitchell and Bon Iver in a lush electronic environment) and the people who have left a mark on their discography (from their mother who gave them their name and origin in music, to their partner who inspired their last single, “She’s So Kind”).
Harve reveals how finding their place in a community of creators, particularly non-binary creators, helped them find their new voice – more as a producer behind the scenes than a singer behind the mic. They have an exciting project due out soon, which includes collaborations with many in their circle, including former guest of TOTAC, Miso Extra!
Season 3 Episode 1: Junior Mesa – DIY Lord, Living without Fear, and Finding Goofballs with Good Hearts
We are so excited to welcome you back to another season of TurnOnTheAC!! It’s been a busy new year for many budding, multi-talented artists, and we’re thrilled to be your guide through the scene.
In this episode, Anna and Alex speak with Junior Mesa, the rising LA indie star blending psych-rock and pop with a pinch of everything else. His nuanced sound reflects his many years of making music (with humble beginnings in YouTube Dubstep) and the emotional complexity of navigating life and relationships in the 21st century.
Junior discusses the support systems that have gotten him through recent challenges, and how he translates distinct, heavy emotions into musical personas. These are reflected in his 2021 release, Cirque du Freak, but he has an exciting EP planned for Spring 2023, and a full-length project slated for the next year. Whether we’re streaming his music online or vibing at his next LA house show, we’re very excited to continue watching his inevitable growth. Check him out!
This episode was recorded in January 2023. Produced and edited by Anna Chang and Alex Coustar with assistant production and editing from Lucas Chen. Theme music composed by Max Ozer and Hugo De Castro-Abeger.
Season 2 Episode 6: Maddee - Season of Love, Döner Kebab & Soulful Seventies Pop
On this episode, Alex and Anna interview Maddee, a queer vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist out of Toronto. At the young age of 24, she drips honey sweet confidence while delivering authentic soul bearing grooves with an indie electronic twist. She discusses the self-produced album that is on its way to being born as a product of pandemic life, encapsulating a year of extreme highs and lows, love and loss. She shares her experience gaining inspiration from her queer peers and how coming out changed the course of her music, resulting in more honest lyrics and just saying what she means to say. Maddee has big Berlin plans, hot girl summer aspirations and we’re here for it all.
Season 2 Episode 5: Lily Rayne - Rhode Girl, Missy meets Mean Girls, and Sleeping on a Gem
On this episode, Alex and Anna interview Lily Rayne, an artist with an authentic sense of self which emanates through her musical style and presence. Hailing from the creative capitol of Providence, Rhode Island, she fuses traditional R&B/Hip Hop roots with ATL trap and adds her own personalized twist. Already gaining traction through taste making publications Billboard and Sleeping on Gems, she’s been recognized for her striking visualizers that accompany her projects. She talks to us about the balance between being a badass and showing a softer side, admiring the paths trail-blazed by the likes of Missy and Rihanna. At the same time, she grapples with the influence the digital space has on our lives, especially as a Gen Z and queer artist. Above all, Lily strives to create music for the eclectic masses, enjoy the journey, and make a return back to her home of Rhode Island to contribute her talents and further grow the community of creatives. Her debut album, Girl on Rhode, drops 6/29 - mark your calendars!
Season 2 Episode 4: Mei - Lunar Luck, Cosmic Birthdays, and Rebranding Brandt
On this episode, Alex and Anna interview Mei, an artist who has been embarking on a rebrand journey filled with emotion and excitement. Formally known as Brandt Orange, this transformation was sparked by the desire to be as authentic as possible by writing songs about his own personal experiences under his real name. Being born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago where he experienced a lack of Asian representation, over his formative years Mei was inducted into the world of music through Youtube, where he absorbed the talents of his heroes through watching covers on repeat and grew his guitar chops through trial and error. Now a master of his craft and based out of LA, Mei is pushing back on the the model-minority box Asian artists are often put into by proudly reclaiming his identity and giving himself permission to be "as creative and universe building as anybody else." You can find him @meijun.e.
Season 2 Episode 3: Jordan Hawkins - Fitted Fluidity, Stage Presence, and the Magic of the Nor-So-Cal Music Community
On this episode, Alex and Anna interview the R&B rockstar Jordan Hawkins, who can not only shred the guitar but croons with a voice like honey. Raised on YouTube and church choir, he draws inspiration from the string Gods themselves - Jimi Hendrix, Prince, and John Mayer. You can hear the cultivation of the amalgamation of sounds through his EP called Heart Don’t Stop while he continues to prove his musical growth in his recent release “Honey” with up and coming hip hop duo, EarthGang. Hailing originally from Greensborough, North Carolina, Jordan calls Los Angeles home, where he finds himself amongst his music community/family.
In our interview he mentions that the soulfulness never leaves his music and its his full voice quality that truly backs up this statement. Bringing avant-garde fluid fashion to the stage, we look forward to the return of his live performances at Philadelphia’s Roots Picnic 2022 festival. Keep your ears open and ready for the release of his three upcoming EPs - evoking emotions that will take you through the stages of love. You can find him anywhere @jordanhawkins.
Season 2 Episode 2: V.C.R. - Minnie Riperton, Memphis Roots, and the Angel Journey
On this episode, Alex & Anna interview the multi-instrumentalist and originator of “Cinematic Soul”, V.C.R. Also nicknamed V the Martian, her music takes you through an out of body experience with a blend of eclectic musical influences: from gospel, to soul, funk, and classical.
Brought up with symphony and bbq, this Tennessee native’s skill is recognized throughout the music community as she has fiddled in accompaniment with acts like Fiona Apple, Burna Boy, Yaya Bey, Pink Siifu, Tolliver, and Kid Cudi. As a self-identified extroverted introvert, V oscillates between quietly soaking up the wisdom and power of the creative women that came before, and outpouring her own truths through candid and comedic freestyles. While actualizing her dreams, V speaks to us about her mission to use her musical gifts to inspire those who don’t feel good enough. And we’re here to sit back and eat some popcorn as she unfolds her story to the world in her first full-length project: a long awaited self-produced EP which she’s dropping this summer. You can find her everywhere @vthemartian.
Season 2 Episode 1: Miso Extra - Bilingual Flair, Bending it like Beckham, and Building Taste
On this episode, Alex & Anna interview English, Japanese rapper, singer and producer, Miso Extra. Just like umami, the addictive fifth flavor that we all love so dearly, so is her music. As she so perfectly put it herself, it’s that flavor / sound that you can’t get enough of but also can’t quite put your finger on. With decadent n delicious production, Miso Extra is regaining and reclaiming her Asian identity through her ability to communicate in both English and Japanese.
She tells us, “If you use humor, or if you can disguise things in a way that people find accessible, they’re more likely to pay attention.” And people are definitely paying attention to her... played across the UK airwaves and around Japan, her nimble bangers have already arrived on the US scene and are sure to be unstoppable. Miso is reassuring listeners that it’s okay to hold multiple identities… in fact it’s actually a secret weapon and what makes for a person with great taste. You can find her everywhere @Miso Extra.
This episode was recorded in October 2021. Produced and edited by Alex Coustar and Anna Chang of TurnOntheAC.
Episode 7: Anjimile - Spirituality, Seizing Joy, and Being the Lion King Boy
On this episode, Alex & Anna interview Boston-based artist Anjimile! We discuss dancing through moments of beauty and pain, and attempt to define both religion and Zazu from the Lion King all in one sitting. On top of it all, Anjimile talks to us about his intention of being the example he never saw growing up: “a queer black guitar-toting singer who’s chillin in the indie sphere” while making people feel seen and accepted. You can find him everywhere @anjimile
Episode 6: Eileen Sho Ji - Recalibration, long term relations, and the Renaissance to come
On this episode, Alex & Anna interview fellow hapa and radiant songstress Eileen Sho Ji. We discuss the balancing act of early adulthood, some privileges and perils of being mixed race, and an aspirational power-couple Christmas album between Eileen and her partner Elujay one day. You can find her everywhere at @Eileen Sho Ji
**Episode fact check: Lady Gaga did not co-write Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe with Kendrick Lamar. She was slated to appear on the track but it was scrapped. Her version titled “LG Mix” was later released.
Episode 5: Unusual Demont - Angsty Dads, Hues, and Views of the Future
In this episode we chat with alternative R&B artist Unusual Demont. He paints emotion in expressive hues (literally when dabbling in visual arts and figuratively through his music); his favorite color falls somewhere between lavender and lilac which is possibly why he went with the overarching color “Purple” for the title of his latest single; and his essence is soothing and sweet like the slow burn of Alex’s bedside incense and Anna’s bathtub candles. But don’t underestimate him based off his easygoing energy, because at the precarious age of 21 he’s already checked off most of his life goals in the ~letter to future self~ he wrote just a few years back. Oh and fun fact - he turned down a Disney offer back in the day because he’s just that cool n self-assured! You can find him everywhere by searching @UnusualDemont.
Episode 4: Running on Everything - Jazz Business Caj, Being Objectified, and the Flavors we Save
On this episode, Alex & Anna interview Laila and Gabe of Running on Everything, the best friend dynamic duo, trained as jazz musicians who are currently putting out “high fi indie pop about honesty and making your dark feelings danceable.” We talk about the gender norms and expectations they felt growing up: for Laila fronting big bands and for Gabe through his time in ROTC, the anti-misogyny pop bangers they’e currently making, and the erasure of Asian women in the music industry. You’ll hear clips from two of their songs, one at the beginning of the episode and one at the end, so stick around! You can find their music everywhere by searching @RunningOnEverything.
Episode 3: King Isis - Scarification, gentrification, and all the sparkly moments along the journey towards self love + growth
On this episode, Alex & Anna interview King Isis, the tri-coastal (but truly Bay) based musical shapeshifter and "punk rock fairy death grrl." We talk mermaid scarifications, Bay Area gentrification, and self expression in its many forms. At the end of the episode, you'll hear a special preview of their new single "Sparkly", officially dropping April 16th. Find their music everywhere by searching @ItsKingIsis !
Episode 2: Dos Leches - Marching band, milk, and the genre of being genreless
On this episode, Alex & Anna interview Salvador and Alvaro from the El Paso originating musical duo Dos Leches. We talk marching band, milks + alternative milks, breakup binge eating, and the genre of being genreless (or as Alvaro puts it: "bicker pop"). At the end of the episode, you'll hear a preview of their new single "Loco." Find their music everywhere by searching @Dos Leches !
Episode 1: Alex & Anna - How many times can we use the adjective "amazing" in one sitting!?
Banchan, stinky feet, and Queen Gupta... all that and more in this episode introducing your co-hosts of TurnOntheAC! Alex & Anna discuss both personal and musical influences and talk intentions for this podcast + what is to come!
Listen to corresponding playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/dfvztijebnpvvx0cchvbtj7ms/playlist/6pKwBAbXENDJUxOrwgb3Id?si=UjF-EAx5QYSUoSwQTYFNOA
Check us out at: www.turnontheac.com
Follow on Instagram: @turnontheac
Monthly podcast elevating and amplifying the voices of underrepresented artists making powerful music. Hosted by Alex Coustar and Anna Chang. www.turnontheac.com