From: Interlude Magazine [download]
Date: January 2007


Interview by Michael Villegas
Photographed by Eddie Avila


WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN HER\ In Vons, instead of Ralphs, scoping out the banana syrup. She's a local singer in L.A. who plays various mini venues around town. Creator of 3 albums: All Girl Band, To the Bone, and Entropy 29.

WHY WE LIKE HER\ There are those musicians that capture your attention from the moment they begin to sing and then there are those that need time to lure you in. Give Terami the time, and she'll draw you in. Finding Terami came as a pleasant surprise. She's just one of those singers you discover by happenstance. She's subtle, a bit dark... with more going for her than she may admit. Just take a look in those eyes.

EXTRA POINTS\ One night her music struck a chord and put me on the verge of tears. I had a rough few months prior to seeing her. To infuse me with that kind of emotion deserves mentioning. I don't know what else qualifies.

HER BEST SO FAR\ The Beast Inside, Memory Picture, Sideline Junkies, The Breathing, Stained, and ... Timberline.

THE INTERVIEW\ After meeting up at a coffee shop, Terami and I headed out to a nearby park. Still early in the day, with a few people around, we made our way to a shady spot under a tree. This is my first time... interviewing someone for Interlude... and I was a little nervous... about the whole thing. Maybe, I should have taped the conversation we had in the car.

THE PHOTOSHOOT\ We meet up at Eddie's (the photographer) place. We had already talked about the locations and ideas he had in mind before Terami showed up with an arm full of clothes. After several outfit, background, and location changes we called it a day.

This is Terami Hirsch's Interlude...

Michael: I was thinking of a good opener question and I had to recruit some people to help me out and I had some but I lost the paper I had before.
Terami: You gotta wing it.

Michael: Alright, um... how do you want your fans to see you or more imporantly how would you like to be described to new listeners or current listeners?
Terami: I don't know. I guess, my whole life sorta revolves around making music and trying to find inspiration where I see it and I would like people to be excited by that. Like, excited by somebody who's actually trying to find something, you know? I don't think people get inspired because somebody writes the perfect pop song or even has the perfect lyric that just explains something just right. I think people respond to a mood that an artist has, you know, like that they're excited. That they're a good artist to dance to or a good artist to really discover yourself with. And that's kinda the artist I want to be. Something that somebody can listen to and learn something about themselves and so, I don't know, a little bit more cerebral and emotional.

Michael: It's more about just making the music and making it understood...
Terami: Making the music is my whole think ok? Anybody who talks to me for five minutes they'll get this. Music is the same thing as anything that anybody cares about. It's not about the actual album, it's not about the listener, it's not about anthing other than "I'm just having a process." It's that simple. It's the same thing as somebody who draws. People love to hang it on their walls and it means something to them but that's an artifact of the process of drawing. I don't know if that makes sense.

Michael: Yeah, it does.
Terami: I mean I have songs that I'm really proud of, albums that I'm proud of, shows that I'm proud of but that's just like the icing. The real thing is the process and you can have a process if you're not a musician, if you're not an artist of any kind. If you're a lawyer you have a process of I want people to discover their own process and that's all I'm thinking.

Michael: How do you feel about singers that don't write their own songs?
Terami: They're singers.

Michael: Rather than song writers.
Terami: Yeah, it's just a different thing. I don't think people understand that. People think "Oh, well you're less of an artist." That's pretty know? They're singers.

Michael: Ok, I agree. It wasn't one of mine.
Terami: No, no, no! There's nothing wrong with asking that. Granted, this was a few years ago but they were asking me about Britney Spears and people like that. I'm just like, "She doesn't do what I do. I can't judge what she does. It's a different kind of entertainment."

Michael: Ok, Ok.
Terami: Yeah, it's a fair question.

Michael: I see a lot of other artists coming to shows and supporting other indie artists. I see there's a lot of that, you know, trying to help each other out. Or even being friends with different artists. What's your take on that?
Terami: Oh, that's the best thing in the world. That's the best thing. I was hanging out a few months ago with Kat Parsons. We went on a hike in the Hollywood Hills and we're talking about something that I can't talk with most people I encounter about music. I can't be honest and I can't say like, "Dude, do you know what really sucks? When nobody comes to your show?" My friends would be like, "Awww...yeah, no that's bad." But Kat Parsons would be like, "Yeah, dude, I know that SUCKS!" And we talk about issues that are abnormal for most people. I can meet just about any artist, especially locally, and they just get it. They get what my life is about because their life is about that too. And our life is not about fame and it's not about making lots of money or being a rock star. It's about struggling just to do what it is that you love to do and trying to get it to as many people as possible and running out of money as you're doing it. Ya know? And so when those artists come to a show or I go to one of their shows I get it. It's like, I support you, I get it, and this is good. You kind of have a community.

Michael: I'm starting to ge that whole connection too. Just being a part of a magazine where it's kind of like, how do you get it to as many people as you can? When you have fans and when you have people that love it or love what you're doing or you get the response from artists, like yourself, it's like alright... I'm gonna keep on trying to do this.
Terami: Because you're a part of something. It's a really cool thing. People always ask, "Is there a lot of competition?" And there shouldn't be. There might be. But I don't participate in that kind of thing. It's too depressing and it's so unnecessary. I find that most artists are willing to not feel competitive. Nobody wants to feel competitive. You wanna share fans. Like, I go to Charlotte's show and I will sit at a table with a huge number of people who I know go to my shows. Everyone shares fans. You kind of share everything if you want to and it's cool.

Michael: This one is from my sister. What was your dream when you were growing up? What did you wanna do and are you doing it or not?
Terami: I wanted to be an actress. Yeah. And I did that. I did musical theatre in Burbank. I was the youngest member in the Burbank Civic Light Opera. I had to audition by singing and all that. It kind of connected my music thing. So I did all that and then I was discovered by a manager from doing that and then I ended up acting and doing some public service announcements and some little TV things and then I did a couple of feature films. Then I decided to go to college and do something else. So I got to do it a little bit and pretty much decided I wanted to do it for the wrong reasons. I wanted to do it because I wanted everyone to look at me and think, "Aren't I cute? Aren't I amazing?" (Laughter erupts). It's completely unlike the music thing. That might sound confusing because I'm still onstage but it's totally different because the music thing is a process. Nobody knows who I am. Nobody thinks I'm cute and adorable. I just do it because it's a process.

Michael: What is your next bold move to get your music out there?
Terami: Oh no! I don't know. I just don't think like that. I have a couple things that I'm gonna try to do. See, I find when I talk about them I never do them. But there are a couple things that I would like to do. But, I don't know. It's awful, it's bad. It's not a priority for me. I mean, this is how hardcore I am about this process thing. That's how little it matters to me. I want people to love what I do. I do want people to be exposed to it. It's not that it's a private thing. But I have a really hard time wrapping my head around that being a goal. My goal is to better express mysepf through music. That is my goal. So my big bold move, really, is I've been writing two songs a week. I've been downloading all of those songs which I've never done before. I'm pretty prolific but I'm still a slow writer. So I'm challenging myself creatively. I'm reading more. I'm trying to do things that are delightful to me. I'll go to theatre and it has nothing to do with getting my music out there but it has everything to do with improving my sense of purpose. That's the most important thing to me which is not a rock star thing to say.

Michael: That's alright. We're not about rock stars. Hahaha! Ok, so... read any good books lately?
Terami: I did. I read a book called The Coma. I'm totally blanking out on the name of the author. It's a really good book about a guy who's in a coma and he thinks that he's not and then he realizes that he is and he tries to get out of the coma. It's a short book. I read it in two hours. It's like a novella. It's a brilliant description of sleep and self and who you are. If you're not yourself, if you weren't in your body... does your body talk to yourself? It was really, really interesting and fun to read. I'm also reading The Brothers Karamazov. Dostoevsky. Yeah. That one is a little bit slower. That's a big one.

Michael: Him and Tolstoy I haven't even tried to get into.
Terami: I haven't done Tolstoy, I have to admit. I can't believe how many families are out and about and moving at 8:20 am!

Michael: I think they normally do that.
Terami: Do they?

Michael: I think so.
Terami: Because when I tell people that I get up early they're like, "Oh my God! Well, I can meet you at 10:30... I guess." So I just thought everybody slept in until 9 or 10. Well, good for them.

Michael: Normally on the weekends I like to sleep in if I can. Waking up at 6 am everyday is kind like ehhhh.
Terami: Yeah, I got shit to do man. I can't be sleeping in.

Michael: Yeah, the day feels a lot longer when you wake up at like 6 or 7. By 5 you're like, "I got a lot done."
Terami: We get up at 3:30 am and we start our day like that. By 9 am I'm punchin' more hours. It's awesome! But we go to bed by like 8 pm.

Michael: If you could open for any artist who would it be?
Terami: Uhhhh... well, it would be a terrible match but my dream would be to play with Paul Simon. That would be a terrible match though. That would not be a good show. Paul Simon would be excellent. Kate Bush would be excellent. But I'm not saying that it would be good.

Michael: But if you could...
Terami: Yeah, yeah... if I could, yeah sure. Absolutely! I had somebody email me the other day saying that a friend of hers was in a band opening for Paul Simon on the first leg of his next tour. I thought that was pretty cool. I think in terms of a good show, one that might work, would be somebody like Imogen Heap. I would love to open for her. I was trying to open for her, a while ago, at The Hotel Café. I was trying. I was trying.

Michael: I was gonna ask you about something like All Girl Band where Katie said the recording process took a few days. In between that I know you were playing songs. When I started listening to you it took you like two years to get it out.
Terami: Yeah, it took me three days to record my first album and three years to record my last album. Mmhmmm. Do you want to know why?

Michael: Yeah.
Terami: Well, All Girl Band... I wasn't planning on recording that album. I was working with the producer and I was really, really frustrated with what he was doing because I would play and record something and come back the next day and he'd re-track my piano. He didn't like how I played piano. So... I was really very, very frustrated. He liked my songs and that was about it. And so I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to record or anything but we had this digital 8-track. I was like, ok I'll just do it and I didn't do it. It just sat there. I didn't do it. I just felt really crappy about the whole thing. I felt really bad. I read a book about Andy Kaufman and I just loved how he could do whatever with his life. He would just be like, I'm gonna do this and I'm gonna do that and would just do it. It wasn't a big heavy conversation with himself. It was just... I'm gonna wash dishes. What's that like? And he would become a dishwasher even though he's a star. And I just thought, yeah. I mean I had a day job and I thought there's no reason I can't do an album. So I took a three-day weekend and recorded a bunch of songs I had and just did it and put it out. I was like, why not? Ummm... and you can't do that. Once you are exposed, because the internet was sort of a new thing for me, and once I actually did have fans that recognized my songs and came to my shows it freaked me out. It really did. Then I became really self-conscious. Now I'm trying to return to a place of not thinking about the audience and just thinking about that moment when I'm recording and when I'm doing it. That's why it took three years because I was a little constipated. Being self-conscious is the most useless thing because nobody cares.

Michael: Yeah, oh, I know.
Terami: You know what I mean? It's gonna offend so many people if I do an extra bridge and people are gonna freak out. And you do it and nobody cares. It's like, I spent three years making this album and it's so beautiful. Nobody cares. They don't and so you gotta stop caring. I'm telling that to myself... haha... stop caring.

Michael: What's a question you've never been asked before or would like to have been asked?
Terami: Does it have to pertain to music?

Michael: No.
Terami: Ok... I had an irrational fear. I can tell you that growing up I was terrified of everything. I'm an irrational, fearful person. I was afraid to drive in a car. I was terrified of a stick shift car. I was terrified of putting gasoline in my car and I'm not joking. So a question that somebody could ask me would be, "What stupid thing ever held you back that you've overcome?" I would say it's really irrational fears like as a teenager. I was afraid, when I started making music, that I couldn't do shows because I didn't know how to hook up my keyboard. It's three cables! It's like a cable left, a cabe to the foot pedal and you have a cable to the outlet so you get power. I was terrified of that! Yes, I have overcome many mountainous obstacles... haha... and I think everybody thinks that if you can do something that you must be bold and I know a lot of people, actually, who come to my shows and people who email me that I've never met that have a lot of fears. I get a lot of emails from people who are worried, a lot of them are younger and in high school, and they're afraid sometimes of legitimate things and sometimes they're just insecure. And they think that not everybody is and everybody is, really.

Michael: I kinda have that too. That fear of getting the job. Could I do that? When I started taking classes with machines, to work at the machine shop, I was thinking... Can I actually go to a shop and actually do this? Could I make that part exactly the way they need and it won't mess up or blow up? And I finally started doing it and then it was like, ok, I know what I'm doing and I can make a good part and turn it in on time and get everything done.
Terami: I think a lot of people think that confidence and the ability to do something comes from just being confident. Some people are confident and some people aren't. Some people think, "If I had been doing it for a really long time then I would be confident but I haven't so I'm not." And the fact is, is that confidence is totally make-believe. You know... you just have to tell yourself... Ok, I'm just gonna do this and see what happens. And then you do it and after a period of time you don't know when you stopped being afraid but all of a sudden you realize I haven't thought about... Am I worried that I'm gonna make a bad part? You stop being afraid. I don't remember when I started being able to put gasoline in my car. I'm not joking... haha! But at some point I was no longer afraid of that process. I was afraid to pick up the telephone. I was afraid to pick up the mail. I had issues... I was medicated for this... haha. But... umm... yeah after a certain period of time... I mean, everybody is afraid on some level to do even stupid things. I totally hear you about the job thing.

Michael: That's why I was like... I'm gonna keep on going to school... because I had the option of either working or going to school. So, ok, I'll keep going to school. I took a lot of community college classes for like seven years... and now I have two jobs... I kind of have three actually. So I think it's a little too much right now but I like them all and they're fun... stressful and boring sometimes but I like them.
Terami: I was reading this article about finding purpose and I feel like that's kind of the key to everything. If you think about any one little thing it can be very terrifying. It can be a very little thing or it can be a very big thing. Going and becoming a doctor you're like... oh my God... I might kill people if I become a doctor. That's a big responsibility. Or becoming an airline pilot or something like that. You can be really afraid of it. But if you focus on a purpose... something bigger than that hting, more imporant than that thing then that thing is just gonna facilitate a purpose and then you don't get stuck in that place. You're actually able to move forward and feel satisfied with what you do regardless of if you're a millionaire because you're doing this thing. Or do you feel good because you're creating something that other people can use? Maybe you're doing better than other people are doing or you're getting some sort of satisfaction greatern than the manual just doing it. So yeah... it's good to overcome.

Michael: Yeah. So far, so good. You know I was trying to get out of this interview? I was trying to find someone else to do it until the last moment.
Terami: Why?

Michael: Because, you know, it was one of those fears. Could I do it? It's not something I normally do. How would it come out? How is that gonna work? So two weeks ago I was at a friend's house for the fourth of July and I'm sitting there and Libbie Schrader was there. So I started talking to her and I kept on thinking maybe I can get her and maybe I can do a double feature like I was thinking before and then I was like, "No... I'm gonna do it myself." I don't wanna get any more people involved in my little project here. Haha... and we'll see how that turns out.
Terami: Is it alright? Are you doing alright?

Michael: I'm doing alright, yeah, doing alright.
Terami: Good, good... yeah... I understand, it's hard to do something you've never done before. It's hard. I know. See... Libbie is another good example of a good artist. I actually was a fan of hers before I met her. I heard War on Science and I really liked it. Then I bought her album and I really loved her voice. I did a show where I opened, then Charlotte then I wanna say Libbie and then Kat Parsons. I was friends with Charlotte and Kat but I didn't know Libbie other than her music. I was so nervous to meet her. Actually, no, I went to Kat Parsons' show a year before that and Marina was in line and she and I were talking and Libbie was there and they were talking and I was too nervous to talk to Libbie. And Marina was like, "You know Libbie right?" And I said, "Nooo... I've never met Libbie before but I'm too scared to talk to herrrrr." Haha... And then, Libbie and I don't know each other very well. We've never hung out but I see her at shows and she's been to some of my shows and we went to Kat's birthday party last year at hte roller skating rink. So now she's like a bud. Not a big bud... she's like a mini bud... haha!

Michael: Yeah... I was gonna approach her. I thought about having het before but it was one of those things that I just never did. It was at that show with you, Charlotte... it was like a year ago?
Terami: Yeah, yeah... it was in June of last year... June 22nd or something like that.

Michael: Actually, that is the date.
Terami: That was fun. I loved opening for Charlotte.

Michael: I think that's it.
Terami: Yeah, you got it all?

Michael: You know what? I think I do. Ok, last one... In a future issue of Interlude who would you like to interview?
Terami: Who would I like to interview?

Michael: Yeah.
Terami: I want to interview Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls.

Michael: I'm a fan of theirs. I would love to have them in the magazine.
Terami: I have dreams of Amanda Palmer. I leave it at that. Haha!

To learn more about Terami, hear clips from her latest album Entropy 29, purchase her music on the Music section under shop. Find out about her next performance. Visit her website at