Heedless is the solo musical project of Uvika Wahi. As well as recently beginning to explore her talents as a musician, she is writes about feminism and mental health via the ‘uncouth uncouth’ website. Musically, she has a very melodic take on left field electronica, drawing from a wide array of influences from techno to ambient to create a sound weaves between the experimental end of IDM and a populist dance floor sensibility. Read our interview here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s the story behind Heedless and how would you describe your sound? What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
Whenever I would experience something that moves me like a piece of great writing, a beautiful melody, a relentless beat, I’d instinctively want to contribute by making something of my own. I put off making music for the longest time, convinced that I wasn’t cut out for it having had no musical training. Stifling this urge had a lot to do with my general fear of sucking. One day, however, the epiphany that it’s not my responsibility to please everyone hit me like a truck. I realized this extended to the music I wanted to make, too – everyone needn’t like it. Only I do.
There’s no definite direction my sound’s taken yet, I think, although a few patterns are beginning to emerge. Slow burning progressions, percussion-heavy rhythms, understated embellishments in form of unlikely samples are all things that are recurring in the sounds I’m making. There’s also frequent messing about with the tempo.
You are very active in areas beside music – could you tell us a bit more about that? Do you feel your music impacts on them and vice versa?
I am and have always been heavily interested in identity politics. Since I love to write, I began publishing articles independently last year motivated by my need to present alternative narratives that challenge existing rhetorics. I’m also deeply invested in sustainable living, community building + outreach, and my current job requires me to meet and profile a host of interesting people committed to the idea of an improved world. I’m inspired by initiatives these people are taking to affect positive change on everything around them, without bitterness and reproach. I approach making music basically the same way I do writing and everything else, one step at a time and without the conviction that only my point of view is the correct one and that’s OK. I live my life with a perspective that evolves constantly, so I hope my sound does, too.
In your bio, you say you’ve not been making music for very long yet it has a very mature and polished sound to it. How do you find the actual process of creating music? What’s your method of creating a track?
Haha, thank you! I honestly don’t share the same sentiment, seeing how every time I replay one of my songs I can find about a thousand things off with it and another thousand things I could do better. I guess that’s an affliction I share with everyone ever. We are so conditioned to be hard on ourselves. I find a lot of joy in the mistakes, though. I like the little screw-ups. They are the musical equivalent of scars, you know?
The first song I made was to explore the idea of harnessing a hypomanic episode. It worked, at least for the length of time it took for me to create it. I made ‘Twenty Eight’ when I sensed the onset of a depressive episode (which is why it sounds more… subterranean than the previous two). Both of these states of mind reflect in these songs, I think. The first one is more vibrant, and ‘Twenty Eight’ more austere, even somber.
Most of my songs are made over the course of a day or two, sometimes on a train, sometimes during anxiety-riddled sleepless nights. I record sounds I find interesting using my phone’s humble sound recorder. These samples lie in it for a while, until I feel the threat of either type of episode looming. Then it’s time to sit down and use the process of making music as a form of meditation, to stabilize moods and functioning. It probably all sounds very flower-childlike in a way, but it works for me. I’ll take it.
There’s a real experimental feel to some of your tracks, yet they also sound accessible. Do you find it easy to keep a balance?
I’ve never been one to consider this aspect of music. Being needlessly esoteric or working towards being ‘on-brand’ aren’t things I can afford, honestly; which is fine, because I don’t consider either to be of much import. I use free tools (mainly Garage Band and Audacity), along with a battered Asus netbook, and headphones to do what I do. I use whatever limited free time I have, what with my regular job plus the focus on Uncouth Uncouth, for the same.
It’s important that my music is representative of me, yes, but not more important than it is to just make it.
What’s next on the horizon for Heedless and you personally – any performances or releases lined up?
There will definitely be more music, and hopefully, detailed (or not) accounts of how the process of creating things is helping me with my mental illness. For now, I’m focused on simply rehabilitating myself using music as a tool. In that way, among many others, I’m grateful for having it at my disposal.