Conversations: Indigo District

Through his new project, Sepehr Rashidi is bringing RnB to the Vancouver scene.

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Tell me a little bit about yourself!

I am a third year marketing student at UBC and I have a pretty unique upbringing. I grew up in Iran, lived in Toronto for some years, and then found my way back to Vancouver.

 

Back to Vancouver?

When I first came from Iran I lived in Vancouver for one year, then in Toronto for a bunch of years then back to Vancouver for high school. I really want to go back to Toronto though.

 

What do you like about Toronto?

I feel like it’s the mindset of the young people as well. It’s more diverse, not diverse ethnically but diverse in what they are willing to tolerate. I was very involved with the indie scene in BC, doing session work, and a lot of my mentors are as well. And I feel like there is a lot of genre bias in BC relative to Toronto, where you can see a rap show and then two doors down a crazy rock show in one evening.

 

What is the genre bias in BC?

There are much fewer RnB artists.

 

How did you get into RnB?

I was playing session music for indie, funk, jazz, whatever I could play.

 

What is session music?

Someone has a project, all the music written, and they just need someone to play it live. It’s like a job, very stressful.

I realized after a while, the artists that really resonated with me were guys like Anderson Paak, James Blake, the Weeknd. While I wasn’t playing it, because I was in indie bands, I thought “why can’t I do a spinoff of that.” And that was the RnB direction. I like the idea of the RnB vocalist because they can talk about things that aren’t necessarily acceptable in an indie scene. 

 

What do you talk about in your songs?

I find I often write about certain settings in my life, certain moments, and I blast them into two songs. I was briefly homeless, for a couple of weeks in October first year.

 

What happened?

I was living at home, in Richmond, and a bunch of factors, mental health was definitely one, a bunch of different shit happened. I’m at the 99 bus loop it’s three in the morning and I’m  sleeping in the bus shelter. It was crazy, an insane time.

 

Wild!

Yah, that time, that couple of  months really informs a lot of the moods and imagery in my music. That “I’m seventeen, what the fuck is going on.” That definitely is a big lyrical thing, especially on my song Poland. It’s about being in that state but still being a business student and having to the business student things.

 

Will you try to combine music and marketing?

Somewhere in between. The way I see it, it’s a race between the two, that’s why Toronto is so appealing to me. During the daytime I can do marketing and in the nighttime I can do music. Ideally in 20-30 years I would be doing brand managing for Sony music or something like that, lofty.

 

Why the name “Indigo District”?
In second year I realized marketing is what I wanted to do and I wanted a platform to trial out ideas. To see how far I could take a seed of a brand, of an idea, and see how far I could push it. I really wanted to do some smooth silky, RnB, dark, moody, kind of stuff. I was brainstorming with my friend, and it was  a joke. “What if we took the most douchey words and put them together?” And we got Indigo District which really resonated with me.

 

What is a douchey name you didn’t go with?

Ah man, I don’t know. There were some names based off weird, psychedelic drugs that were twelve syllables long.

 

Glad you ended up with Indigo District. Is it just you?

It started off as me being a producer, a hiphop producer for Traffik. Then I realized I can learn to sing and I have ideas. It’s my project, but I do collaborate with other musicians. The very essence of what I do is collaboration. I think it’s pretty dumb to keep everything in house if you have these great opportunities at your fingertips

 

Do you have big projects for Indigo District?

Yah, I’m in the studio really redefining the sound and feel.

 

Where do you want it to go?

First of all it comes from me being a much more solid and confident songwriter and signer, so more of a vocal focus. I want to write two new singles that define the alt/RnB essence I am trying to get and an amalgamation of my influences which sound unique yet familiar. Basically I want to synthesize the indie and rock influences I have and put that into RnB.

 

What instruments make this sound?

I play keys, bass, guitar, sing, it’s an obsession you know. It’s not healthy, I don’t sleep much. The heart and soul of this project is the roads, the keyboard. Something about that instrument really sticks out to me, it’s the backbone.

 

Do you have a timeline?

I don’t know, maybe Spring 2018.

 

Do you have any advice for people?

I think the best way to get good at anything musically is to plan. I
n my life 30% of what I do is planning. When I write and practice I’m on the bus, on the 99, planning how I want my practice session or what I want Indigo District to look like in a month.

 

What is your ultimate goal?

My goal with this project is to introduce a lot of East Coast dark moody RnB sounds into the Vancouver sphere. That’s my ultimate goal.

 

Then you have to stay in Vancouver!

I’ll be here for a couple more years at least. I feel like it is hard to find people doing stuff similar to what I’m trying to do. Which is good in certain ways and really bad in certain ways. I feel like I have a very unique niche and something to contribute within the scene. And that’s why I’m really excited and putting so much into this project right now.

 

How do you imagine your audience listening to your music?

One of my biggest influences, River Tiber, has a quote where he says he “writes the soundtrack to a moment.” That’s my process exactly. It’s 1am and you have class the next day and you are by your keyboard thinking of a certain image you want to synthesize. So if I were to consume it, it would be a late night contemplative thing. It’s very nocturnal music. It’s moody, and distant, and jazz, but that’s important and genuine to who I am.

 

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