Jasleen Dhindsa is a UK based writer who runs music blog thnksfrthrvw. She interns at Guildford music venue The Boileroom and writes for various music publications reviewing releases and interviewing artists. Here she tells us about her experience in the music industry and how she first got started.
DE: Can you describe yourself in under 50 words?
J: My name’s Jasleen and I’m a PR Intern, BSc Sociology student and freelance writer. I’d describe myself as creative, individual and outspoken. My favourite things in life are music, make-up and intelligent conversation!
DE: How did you first get into music journalism?
J: Well since I was a kid I was interested in writing stories, I would make my own comic strips and had about 20 A4 books full of them. My relationship with music (despite not being able to play) was also something that’s been with me since childhood. My sister suggested one day that I should start a portfolio just as somewhere to store all the opinions I had on all the music I listened
to. It just transpired from there, and now I have had my own blog for nearly 4 years, as well as writing for other publications.
DE: Can you tell us about thnksfrthrvw and any problems you faced when starting your own publication?
J: So thnksfrthrvw is my blog, covering reviews, interviews and handmade interactive zines, as well as anything else I or my amazing team of writers thinks is cool. I haven’t faced any problems at all really with starting my own blog, it’s still on a tumblr URL because I want it to remain a very relaxed, independent and DIY thing, I think that’s also why I haven’t run into any issues. The only problems I have faced come when you give someone a review that they perhaps weren’t expecting. Though how long my blog has been around, and the reputation it’s built stands against the things bitter people have said about it and me.
DE: Who are your favourite artists you’ve interviewed?
J: I really loved interviewing Lelah from Tacocat. It was the second over the phone interview I ever did, and we ended up chatting for an hour. It was like talking to an old friend! She also gave me a shoutout when she spotted me in the crowd at their London show last year which was awesome. Also interviewing Joel Madden from Good Charlotte and Josh Franceschi from You Me At Six – those were pretty awesome. It was just surreal talking to these men that really defined the soundtrack of my early teens. Interviewing Joel was weird because he started talking about how him and Matt from A7X are family friends – it was weird for me because A7X were such a huge part of my life when I was about 14 to 16.
DE: Would you agree that music can feel like a “boy’s club”?
J: Yes and no. While representation of gender in the music industry is something that needs to be improved, especially in big festival line-ups where representation is needed in platforms that huge, I feel as though sometimes the argument is best dealt with by basically “sticking it to the man” and proving yourself by being steadfast and not letting that stuff affect you. Maybe I don’t see it as much because I am a very empowered and confident female. I feel as though when I was more involved in metal scenes, it was more of a problem, but now I’m more involved in alternative scenes with varied genres, people seem to respect girls more because it is a “boys club” normally. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But that’s not to say I don’t feel uncomfortable when I’ve had a few drinks and I’m talking to my favourite bands before or after a show because I don’t want people to think I’m a “groupie” (which is what I get all the time when I go to my boyfriend’s gigs!) I also still get uncomfortable posting in music forums and going to gigs by myself where the majority are men – maybe this is because of how girls have been conditioned by society from birth.
DE: Have there been any times people have underestimated or treated you differently based on your gender/appearance?
J: I have had the groupie stereotype stuck to me a few times but not enough for me to get bugged by it. In terms of my appearance, yes I guess so because I am an Indian girl with piercings and an undercut, wearing bright makeup going to a rock show. In the conversations I’ve had with people I feel like they think I’m rebelling and assume all my relatives wear saris 24/7. But I’ve pretty much always been like this and have had a relatively relaxed upbringing, and am fortunate that my parents like me the way I am (even if I did shave off half my hair with a leg razor and dyed it green when I was 18).
DE: Do you have any advice you’d give to girls wanting to get involved in music?
J: Do it! Nothing’s stopping you! You’ll meet some incredible people along the way and really find yourself in doing what you love. Also there’s nothing better than free shows and meeting your favourite bands too haha! Stay true to yourself too, it’s so important. In an industry that is full of posers, you’ve got to remain true to what you like, what you stand for and believe in otherwise what’s the point? I’ve had so many chances to change my mind on something just to please someone else, but I’ve always remained honest and constructive in what I do. This will make you stand out and will make people want to work with you if you’re being 100% you and not someone you aren’t. People really respect authenticity and honesty, and it’s easy to spot the fakers. Also, musicians aren’t superior, godly beings too. They’re just normal people who happen to be really good at playing music (and may look really hot doing it too, but who wouldn’t?) At the end of the day, they probably also enjoy a nice cup of tea, shitty TV and a fuzzy socks just like everyone else!
DE: What’s it like interning for The Boileroom?
J: It’s been amazing! It’s honestly been so much more than I could have imagined. Going from doing all my music industry experience from the comfort of my own home and at gigs, to an actual office environment working with other people – it’s really been invaluable, I won’t be so hopeless now when I actually get a job after I graduate! They really push me to go outside of my comfort zone too, I’ve achieved some little things that I’m really proud of, and it’s so great working with people that I can call my friends. It’s also good working with people that won’t look at you weirdly if you talk about some obscure band. That’s been really cool.
DE: Can you tell us about the most exciting opportunity you’ve had working for various publications?
J: Interviewing some of my favourite bands for sure: Tacocat, You Me At Six, Korn, Bleached, PWR BTTM, Decade…the list goes on!
Also getting press for festivals through my own blog has been really cool and is really a reminder of how well things are going.
DE: What are your future plans for thnksfrthrvw?
J: Just keep going with it really! I would like it to maybe become a showcase thing at a venue in Brighton or something like that where there are a lot of local bands, but this would be years into the future. I just really love what my blog does for upcoming and local bands, and I really don’t want to ever deter from that. It was only last year that I came up with the regular bi-monthly interactive zines, after hand-making and scanning them in for years before. I didn’t plan that, I just do what I love and what feels right, so who knows what the future holds?
DE: What are your top 3 albums that we should be listening to?
J: The new Decade album Pleasantries is incredible, it’s such a perfect poppy British alt rock album I can’t fault it. The new Bruno Mars record 24K Magic is so smooth, 80s, and funky it’s genius. It puts me in such a good mood and I bet it sounds incredible on vinyl. Also, I’ve only just discovered Babes In Toyland too (don’t hate me). I’m in love with them and so wish that I could be in a band like that, I love the way Kat Bjelland sings with such a raw mix of masculine femininity – it makes me so mad that I can’t sing like that! I’m currently obsessed with He’s My Thing and Sweet ’69, I can’t pick an album!
DE: Have you got a favourite feel-good tune?
J: It took me ages to think of something, but I’d have to say Scheibe by Lady Gaga. It’s so full power and so techno and synthy, it can’t not make you feel good! I love the empowering feminist message behind it too – she doesn’t really sing German in the song which I didn’t realise for ages!
DE: Anything else you’d like to add?
J: Thnksfrthrvw’s latest zine is out now – click here to read it!
Jasleen Dhindsa is the founder and editor of thnksfrthrvw which you can read by clicking here. Whilst studying for a BSc in Sociology she also writes for DORK and UPSET mag – read her work here and here. You can also follow her on twitter here.