Shida Shahabi (Interview)
Today we’re listening to Shida Shahabi, a pianist and composer based in Stockholm. We previously recommended her in October. Shahabi was born in Sweden to Iranian parents who had fled the war with Iraq.1 Her early musical influences included the Persian pop her parents played, classical composers like Mozart and Tchaikovsky, and Western bands she saw on MTV (especially the Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine).2 Her new album, Living Circle, is one of our favorites of 2023 so far. It is a collection of slow-moving, tender compositions, many of which feature Swedish cellist Linnea Olsson. We’re also re-upping the two albums we recommended last time: the 2018 LP Homes and the 2019 EP Shifts. A brief interview with Shahabi follows the streaming links.
What has inspired you recently?
Maybe the season we are in now? Summer season makes me evaluate and reflect upon things in a way that I find challenging but also well needed.
The Bandcamp page for Living Circle mentions the plants you grow. What is the connection, if any, between the acts of making music and nurturing plants?
I haven’t really thought about the things that they might have in common. I guess both of the practices has some sort of directness, and both of them also have the potential of creating a deeper focus. You also get to create a relationship to objects/material and follow their process of growing until their full form? Don’t know, maybe it is not applicable on all plants/music practices…
How do you get into the right headspace to create music?
For me it is mostly about having simple routines and repeating things: A good amount of rest, some sort of movement practice, eating proper meals, and some stubbornness.
How did you decide to devote your life to music?
It has always been there as a go to-thing ever since I was very young. But the thoughts around doing it seriously felt very far away for a long time when I was younger. I guess I realised that the devotion and the will was there when I got the chance to explore and work with it professionally for the first time, this was back when I started doing freelance work as a musician during my university studies.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I am on my way into a summer break. When I come back from that, I will be preparing sets for some shows in Scandinavia + a UK tour in October. Other than that, I do hope to get some space to write new music.