You know when you fall asleep to music playing but then the playlist changes and some hard EDM blasts and wakes you up in a frenzy and you’re not sure where you are? That’s how Blood Culture’s new single “Beneath The Moon & Me” starts. as it weaves itself between light dreamy vocals, airy instruments and hectic loud dance music. That’s exactly what he wants us to explore. The light and the dark. The self and the shadow.
The once seemingly anonymous musician, Blood Cultures, is has been slowly leaking his Pakistani-American heritage to advocate for representation. But we could see him in his music before and we’re happy to follow his journey. The iconic photo of him covered in a burka and suit side by side are etched into our minds. The imagery and music Blood Cultures makes for us is a trail of secrets that keeps us wondering and observing and learning. He is most definitely one to watch. We got to talk to the multi-talented musician about hailing from New Jersey, writing “Beneath The Moon & Me,” and the inspiration behind the music video.
Walk me through a day in your life
I’m a night owl, so I usually rise in the afternoon and end up sleeping in the early hours of the morning. I try to start everyday with the same routine: drinking as much water as humanly possible, getting dressed, meditation, and coffee before starting work which varies pretty significantly on a day to day basis. I spend a lot of time isolated, which started due to COVID mostly, but I prefer it now.
What’s the scene in New Jersey like?
From what I remember, it’s kids in hardcore bands, dads in dad rock bands, and of course the jersey shore club scene. There’s not really much of an indie scene besides maybe some college bands, but even then, the bands that are “serious” and the people that are interested in those bands end up in Brooklyn and Manhattan where there is already an established scene for them. That’s sort of the blessing and curse of growing up so close to New York City. You have so many opportunities outside of your state, but then the place that you started from never really blossoms into anything more. The place that you grew up never really changes. It’s sort of like infertile ground for creativity, but I think that just makes you want to try harder to find your place, to make your sound and prove yourself. I think that’s why I have such a fond place in my heart for New Jersey. All this to say, I live in Brooklyn now.
What inspired you to write “Beneath the Moon & Me?” How long did it take to finish?
Carl Jung! His philosophies are really the driving force of the “why” of this next phase of the project which is all about change through self acceptance. Specifically, his concept of the shadow, which is sort of the hidden dark side of yourself, the secrets you keep about yourself in the basement of your mind. The song is about confronting your own shadow in order to accept yourself as a whole: The light and the dark – we need to acknowledge that those things are what make us who we are, even if we are ashamed of them. It fully encapsulates the thesis of the phase that we’re in right now, so it was a pretty breezy writing process. I normally second guess and question everything I write, but this one I felt sure of on the first draft – so maybe a couple of hours. Lyrically, It might have been the quickest song I’ve ever written.
Tell me about the collaboration in making the video? Where did you come up with this concept?
Normally Blood Cultures is a very insular project, usually creating all the music, writing, production, visuals, etc. in house or in our tight circle, but to follow through with the themes of change, I wanted to have a more collaborative approach to all of it: in terms of the music, I showed the songs to as many people as possible and got as much feedback as I could before finalizing anything. Similarly, I wanted to open the doors to other visual collaborators and let them do their own thing rather than be involved as I’ve been in the past. Sam Kristofski is a phenomenal director who I’ve been a big fan of for quite some time, so I was very happy to have him work with us on this. I just let him create the video that he wanted to make and what it meant to him. The concept is his entirely and I think it’s unlike any of his other works.
What do you put on when you need to hype yourself up? What do you listen to when you’re winding down?
To hype myself up, I usually listen to some Baha men (deep cuts only). To wind down: Party Rock Anthem, obviously! But more seriously, I don’t really listen to music to wind down, it’s hard for me to not get invested in music if it’s playing, so it’s kind of distracting if I’m trying to focus on coming down. I guess all music kind of gets me hyped, even if I don’t like it, It’s hard for me to try to not understand it. To wind down, I try to practice sometimes listening to nothing: the sound of the street, the dog barking outside, the refrigerator humming – the music of reality! It’s refreshing sometimes to not always be entertained and see what is actually there, that we’ve been conditioned to ignore. It’s reality, but sometimes, if you don’t remind yourself, you can forget it’s there.
What are you looking forward to?
The next full moon.
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photos / courtesy of artist
story / Vogue Giambri