Q&A with SARAH NEGAHDARI
by LOGAN BRENDT
photos by Zoe-Ruth Erwin
Sarah Negahdari is currently on tour playing bass for Silversun Pickups (she’s been filling in for bassist Nikki Monninger who’s on maternity leave). Normally, Negahdari is the guitarist and singer of The Happy Hollows and also makes buoyant noise with her solo project, Pisces. Embodying what a female fronting a rock band should be, she has a sweet voice with a fervent guitar technique and an enchanting personality. Receiving well deserved praise for every project she’s involved in, you may also remember The Happy Hollows song, “High Wire”, in a commercial for Samsung Mobile.
As you read the Q&A with Sarah Negahdari, listen to “Endless”, a new song from the upcoming 2013 album release by The Happy Hollows.
The CIX: Since you’re now on tour with Silversun Pickups, how has it been adjusting to the dynamics of the band?
Sarah Negahdari: Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a group of sweeter guys to be with than Silversun. I am the luckiest girl in the world. They all treat me very well, and make every step comfortable and fun for me. Not only is the band super sweet, the entire crew traveling with us is super sweet. I was initially very nervous about being the only female living on a bus with eleven males, but I lucked out with this batch of guys. They are all amazing and I’m having an incredible time.
What is more of a transcendental experience for you, writing new music (with The Happy Hollows/Pisces) or playing live?
They can both be transcendental, but I think writing is a bit more enlightening for me. The moment when I first hear a song forming, or when we are all playing together and a song starts forming, is the most blissful experience ever.
I notice that you do the art for the flyers. Does music inspire your art, or does art inspire your sound?
What an interesting question! I never thought about that, but most definitely it goes both ways. Almost all of my songs start because I observe a movie or a piece of art that makes me want to run to my guitar and write a song. For instance, I was at the Getty museum, and I saw an old photo of women soldiers in Cuba, and out of nowhere I heard a song in my head. This happens all of the time. I run to the bathroom wherever I am and record the melody into my phone. Many times after we have written or recorded our songs, I will feel super inspired to paint something based on the music. So it goes both ways.
Out of all the lyrics that you’ve written, do you have a favorite one?
That’s a tough one! Most of the time I just hear the lyrics to the song, as if it’s already written, so nothing feels like it is even totally mine. I guess if I had to pick a favorite, I do love the lyrics to my Pisces song called “Paint a Rocket”. I heard “This is my way around the world / I draw in circles you draw in lines” when I started the song. That sentence means a lot to me. It’s a metaphor for how I feel in the world sometimes, especially how I feel as a woman in this world. [Laughs.]
How different do you feel your solo project Pisces is from The Happy Hollows?
Pisces is super different from Happy Hollows. My Pisces songs come from the moon, and my Happy Hollows songs come from the sun. My Pisces songs are much more feminine, reverby, layered, folkier, softer, more mystical and sweet in nature. I wanted my record to sound like the inside of a seashell. I want Happy Hollows to sound like a rocket ship. They are just totally opposite sides of me that I love to express equally.
So far, what’s been the highlight playing with Silversun Pickups?
There are way too many highlights to just pick one. I love that I now play bass. I had only ever played guitar before Brian [lead singer and guitarist of SSPU] asked me to fill in, and I love it! I love the shows, their fans, and all the people I have met. I love the post show dance parties on the bus as we drive to the next city and I love the band and the crew. They are the biggest highlight, if I had to pick just one.