In 2021, we enjoyed listening to Sha Rivari perform as part of the Coma Cat band. We are excited to announce that Sha will join us for our upcoming event at Saughton Park on May 28, 2023. In this blog interview, Sha shares insights about herself, and the music scene in Edinburgh and offers valuable advice to aspiring musicians. This is a must-read for all music enthusiasts.
Photo by Deborah Mullen.
1. Who is Sha Rivari? How did it all begin?
Sha Rivari is a one-person band based in Edinburgh who plays a mix of synth punk and garage rock. The project started out in 2020 during lockdown because I couldn't play with my band Coma Cat. I was hiding from the virus in my parents' basement with a guitar and had written some songs. I wanted to add something to the guitar and vocals so I used some buckets and a small table to stomp on while I was playing. It was very raw and punk. Eventually I upgraded to a proper bass drum and a foot snare, then a hi-hat. After lockdown I played a few shows like that but realised that I didn't quite have the skills to pull it all off simultaneously. At the same time I was really getting into synthesizer sounds and had been given a MIDI keyboard. So I swapped out the foot drums for backing tracks and played the keyboard or guitar alongside them. It's been a steep learning curve but it has opened up a whole new world of sounds and possibilities to me.
2. Tell us about your latest record.
I just released my EP Arrows and had a fantastic release party at Leith Depot with my pals Thundermoon, Super Burner and Auntie Vicious (These are all bands your readers should definitely check out!). Arrows was produced, recorded and mixed by myself. It was a long, sometimes arduous and frustrating but ultimately rewarding process. Musically it marks my transition from garage rock to synth punk, with two of the four tracks being older, guitar-driven ones that I used to play with the foot-drums-guitar outfit and two more synth-heavy ones. I want to keep both styles going and I'm still trying to combine them more effectively, maybe it will turn into something else altogether. Who knows, I'm excited to see where it all takes me. You can check out Arrows via my Linktree: https://linktr.ee/sha_rivari
3. What do you like about the Edinburgh music scene?
I love the music community that I’m in where everyone is so encouraging and supportive. I’m not an outgoing person with lots of social contacts so I didn’t expect a huge number of people to turn up for my launch night – but we sold out! I felt humbled by the kindness I was shown and to see people enjoy the music made me so happy.
4. Where do you see yourself musically in 5 years?
Hopefully I will have grown as a musician, written some cool songs, honed my production skills and burst out of my bubble a bit. I will have been on a small tour and supported some cool bands, made some exciting connections.
5. Can you recommend any organisations that help musicians/any that you receive help or advice from?
Girls Rock School Edinburgh is the organisation that made me start a band back in 2018 - my first band at the age of 34! It is a brilliant network that offers free courses in guitar, bass, drums and vocals to women, nonbinary people and transmen. They do a showcase of new bands formed out of people from the classes twice a year. The next one is on 10 June, well worth checking out. I also highly recommend the free short courses offered by the Academy of Music and Sound Scotland (AMS). In fact, I'm doing one right now on sound design. Anyone 14+ and resident in Scotland can attend and I highly recommend them.
6. Who inspires you?
I'm inspired by artists with a strong DIY ethic who follow their passion with confidence and create their own opportunities. Those who let nobody else dictate their path but at the same time stay open to changing direction where it feels right. Artists who take what they do seriously but are aware of their limitations and retain a certain lightheartedness and playfulness in what they do.
Find your people, support one another and don't listen to those who try to keep you down.
7. What advice would you give a musician at the start of the road?
Go for it, don't wait around. It's about self-expression, not about being 'good' at it. Find your people, support one another and don't listen to those who try to keep you down.