A Farewell to Minneapolis Interview with Ari Herstand: Part 4
Mike: With the big move to California, you’ve got a lot in store out there. You’ve probably made plenty of connections already, but tell me a little bit of what you’ve got in store for your future heading out to LA, and really making the “Ari Herstand” brand expand there.
Ari: I feel like where I’m at as a musician, as an artist, that I need to find new challenges. I’ve expressed my love for Minneapolis music at length, and I now feel completely comfortable with all these musicians here—which is great—but I need new challenges. I want to find a community that hones in on what I’m doing; my kind of music. It’s taken me 5-6 years to figure out what kind of music I am doing, and I’m still figuring that out.
But I feel I’m as close as ever right now to developing my sound, and I need to surround myself with other musicians that have similar intentions and similar musical styles as I do. As much as I love White Light Riot, it’s pretty far from the style of music that I’m creating. So as much as I love those guys and their music, I want to surround myself with other singer/songwriters that challenge me as a songwriter and an artist. Who push me to become better, to become great. And not saying that people here don’t push me. The diversity here in the Minneapolis community is the reason that I have grown into the musician and songwriter that I am.
But now I need a change of scenery; I need a change of community. As difficult as that is going to be for me to leave this incredibly supportive community of friends and musicians, I feel like it’s time. It’s definitely the right time for me to develop as an artist. Many bands and musicians get so comfortable in their own community that they just don’t push themselves to become better than what is great in their own community, if that makes any sense. I don’t want to just be a great Minneapolis artist; I want to be a great artist. I want to be a great musician, a great songwriter. I’m not saying that I am a great Minneapolis artist now, but I just think that if I’m going to continue to push myself, I need to continue to challenge myself with new experiences, new surroundings, and new people.
So yes, my main goal in moving out to LA is to develop my songwriting and develop as an all-around artist. I want to work with songwriters that I’ve already met out there and other people within that community; people in the industry as well. Yeah, as an artist, we don’t really like to talk about any goals other than artistic goals. But at the end of the day, do I want to become an incredible songwriter, a great musician, and make a phenomenal album for me and my mother to hear? No, I would love my music to be heard by the world. Yes, I would need some help getting my music out to the world, and LA is a great place for that and there are a lot of great people that can help me share my music.
I create music because I love creating music, not because I’m writing for anyone else. But at the same time, as much as I love writing and performing music, I would like to share that music. I would like to share that experience, my songs with people, and would like people to share those emotions with me. Or to be brought to a heightened spiritual level from just listening to music the way that I am when I listen to, create, or write music.
Despite what most people might think, I’m not going to LA with the sole intention of “making it big” or becoming famous. I don’t care to become famous. It’s unfortunate—or fortunate depending on the way you look at it—that the more success you have as a musician, the more famous you become. I would be completely happy making a comfortable living sharing and playing my music for the world without being personally famous. I’m not as attracted to fame as other people are, and I’m not going to LA to become famous. I’m going to LA to become a better artist so I can get my music out there, and I think this is the right community.
I’ve been there now twice, and yeah the proximity to the industry is a perk. I’ve found an incredible artistic community, but I think it’s because the industry is out there that so many incredible artists have gravitated to LA and why they have such an incredible scene. But if I visited Atlanta, Georgia and found that there were as many incredible artists that I found in LA when I visited, maybe that would’ve gone into my decision-making. But really, I’m killing two birds with one stone here. I’m going because I feel it’s the perfect place where I can challenge myself as an artist, and the industry is right next door. When I have something that I’m ready to share with the world, I just walk down the street and say hey, here it is, let’s do this.