3 Questions with Leesh & Nishkosheh
Leesh - a chicago-transplant by way of buffalo - is the founder of both Daisychain and Sequencer, two resources showcasing some preeminent talent in dance music in the midwest and beyond. Nishkosheh - another new chicagoan - has worked tirelessly for women and non-binary dj’s through the Portland-based non-profit and gallery s1 and co-learning collective formerly known as ‘the the women’s beat league.’
Both artists are recent participants of the Walking and Falling mentorship series, started in March of 2017.
one. is there a moment in time (art project, a certain teacher, etc.) when you knew that creating was going to be your life’s work? if so, can you describe that (memory, feeling, thought) for us?
Leesh: I've honestly been creating ever since I was small, so I'm not sure there was a specific moment. I always kept journals, started my own little businesses, cut words out of magazines to collage on my wall, crafted jewelry, made mix CDs for friends. As I got older my creative projects became more guided and serious. When it comes to this specific path I am on now in music (DJing, Daisychain, Sequencer), the moment that comes to mind was at Industry Brunch 2016 in Detroit when Sam (Sassmouth) asked me to stick around to see her friend Christina Chatfield perform. I could hardly even move my legs anymore because I stayed at Tangent straight through No Way Back through the entire day. At the time I was in a really dark place and my confidence was next to nothing. But Sam told me she really believed in me, and everything I was doing with Sequencer. Then Christina started playing - I pretty much ran to the speaker and I had a moment in front of that soundsystem when I kind of feel like I crossed the threshold into my future.
Nishkosheh: Creating probably isn’t my life’s work, and I don’t think I’ll ever know what is. I have relieved myself of any unnecessary pressure as a creative to define myself by what I produce.
two. how does where you are (personally, geographically, historically, etc.) impact the work you create? how does chicago factor into that equation, if at all?
Leesh: Personally I am finally in a place where I feel okay with myself. For a long time being creative was my refuge from the panic hellscape I felt like I was trapped in. Since breaking that negative mental cycle, creating is just as beautiful but in an entirely new way. Now I create fueled by gratitude and love of life, with all the ups and downs. My work is impacted geographically in that I have a love affair with rust belt cities. There's something about that grind, the tight-knit environment, the industrial landscape often taken over by the natural world that just really makes my heart feel full.
Nishkosheh: I just moved to Chicago about 3 months ago. I think it’s easy to hear anxiety and unrest in music, tension is easy to pick up on. While I have already met many supportive and amazing individuals in my short time here, I think physical geography is less influential on me than my mental geography.
three. what is the role of the artist in today’s world, for you?
Leesh: In today's world, I think artists are saviors. Aren't they always? Music saves me every single day. On the dancefloor. Walking to the train. Running. Sitting alone in my room while I think. DJs and producers provide a space for us to work through it; even if we're fighting ourselves we are given this amazing place to laugh, cry, and get disrupted enough that we are able to hop back on the groove of life. We meet others that are dealing with all of the same things on the floor, but we talk about it through dancing. I just love it so much!
Nishkosheh: As an artist and beyond as a human, my values are to be honest and real and my duty is to stay true to my values. I can’t wax poetic about what any other artist should be doing, because creativity is such a personal endeavour.