Photo Credit: Adrian Pruett
From hearing wild stories about artists that defined an era as an assistant to working on her debut solo EP, ‘Version 1.27,’ Mindy has made creative strides over the years. Mindy is now building dynamic art installations, creating music, and has more on the horizon. We talked about all of the above and then some, like how she will tour with a bunny at home.
Kendra: When you started as an assistant, did you have solid plans in the back of your head to one day step on the other side of things and be an artist?
Mindy: I always maintained the goal of becoming a recording artist, but felt unqualified for many years. While working for Lior Goldenberg, I focused on learning as much as possible while supporting his production needs the best I could. Meeting Lior was like opening up a door to a completely new universe. He’s this incredibly unique, spiritual, grounded, technical mastermind. He’d tell me stories about how Alanis Morissette would arrive at their session after riding dolphins. I mean, it was wild to hear his stories of musicians who seemed like Greek myths to me. I always knew the goal was to come out with my own music, but it was a long and windy journey before I could.
Kendra: Because today you’re on the verge of your debut solo EP, ‘Version 1.27.’ Did you have any initial nerves heading into a solo record after working with Jeff Schroeder?
Mindy: I actually felt a lot of freedom in building my solo record. Because I helped build Night Dreamer, made music with Wam Dingis, and was always at the mercy of collaborations, it was empowering to build my own universe.
Working with Jeff taught me a lot about the technical aspects of music. The Smashing Pumpkins are an incredibly talented and professional crew when it comes to their performances and it was amazing to see how dedicated they are to the craft of production and performance. I take music a lot more seriously now.
Kendra: Now, you compared ‘Version 1.27’ to a night out with each track representing a new layer unfolding as the night went on. With that, where is your favorite place to spend a typical night in Los Angeles?
Mindy: I have too many favorite places around LA, to be honest! It depends on what kind of night I want to have. There are so many subcultures, music scenes, and art scenes around. I’m a bit of an experience-whore and love putting myself in new and unusual energies. I’d love to hang at an art opening at LA Louver, crash a house party, catch a show at the Echoplex or experience some alternate reality at my beloved Non Plus Ultra.
Kendra: Perhaps with your newly adopted rabbit, or performing somewhere. Which, speaking of…How do you feel LA will recover from over a year without live music?
Mindy: Ha! Yes, I’ve been trying to figure out how to tour with Snowball.
I really think live music’s going to come back with a vengeance. I expect lots of moshing, jumping, and screaming. We pretty much collectively went through a near-death experience so it’s time to prioritize the things in life that help us process all these nerves.
Kendra: It’s time to talk about “Am I Alive.” A beautifully captivating video! In many ways, it reminded me of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” with its social commentary on violence being right in front of you and being sidetracked. How important was it for you that these were the first images people saw from your debut?
Mindy: Wow, Childish Gambino’s video “This Is America” is beyond epic. Not sure my little video can compare at all, but the meaning and intention behind “Am I Alive” was definitely serious.
I struggle daily with this violent world. In an advanced society with so much technology, communication, and written history, why can’t our world’s leaders find ways to live peacefully? I just don’t understand violence much. Could be because I have mirror-sensory synaesthesia; pain physically shoots through me if I see anyone get hurt. I legit pray every day that a supreme mom comes down from heaven to spank all the violent people and give everyone timeouts until they’re ready to live in harmony.
I didn’t calculate my first video, to be completely honest. This song and the ideas behind it were so powerful inside me; it drove me as opposed to me driving it. I actually had an incredibly big gown hand sewn by my dear friend and stylist Jessica Kao. We picked up the Italian-made fabric together and she designed and sewed it all. I died a bit when I tried it on because it was so beautiful. But at 10pm before the video shoot of “Am I Alive,” the director Adrian Pruett and I had a serious conversation about the video’s intentions. I ended up wearing my regular street clothing for the video and it ultimately meant so much more. So in all reality, my ego-self wanted the most amazing gown, but the song called for something else. Ultimately, I’m super happy we were honest about what the video demanded. I’m learning more about how to be a pure vessel of intentional art.
Kendra: You’ve noted how you didn’t grow up with a lot of representation. Even today we’re still lacking well-rounded Asian characters in movies and on TV. Are you conscious of that when you perform, like how there could be an Asian kid in the crowd and you may be the first performer they’ve seen on a stage in that regard?
Mindy: It wasn’t until Trump was elected that I started considering my ethnicity more. It was really hard at times to accept the rising tide of elitism and racism in America some years ago. As a Korean American, I am a bit more aware now of how people could perceive me. But ultimately, when I’m on stage, I am completely focused on the moment, the space I share with the audience and the resonance that binds us.
Kendra: Lastly, it’s getting a little easier with the vaccine rollouts, but it’s still kind of hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Mindy: I’m focused on making more music, art, and touring. I have an art film that I’m scoring for the director and cinematographer Adrian Pruett. I also have Augmented Reality installations going up around LA right now. I plan to do more in other cities and then tour my music. There’s so much cool technology emerging and I want to build multi-dimensional experiences that share my vibrations in new ways.