Beyond the bright lights, the spectacle of lasers, and the pulpit of the DJ booth, there’s an enigmatic mystery emanating from within the culture of L.A.’s vibrant electronic dance music scene. Explore it with us in eye-opening bursts as we put the city’s finest electronic music producers under the microscope to better understand their greatness in addition to their contributions to the industry in our new, electronic music-dedicated series, “Not Another DJ.”
When Iranian-American Sarah Shivarani moved to Los Angeles to attend Cal State Northridge as a music studies major in 2008, she knew her destiny was tied to beats. What she didn’t know was how the scene in the city would trigger an exploding interest in genres spanning from bass, trap and hip-hop all the way to ecstatic dance.
Diving into the deep end on arrival at a breakneck pace, Shivarani’s distinctively genre-defying Persian sound landed her residencies at landmark venues like The Roxy, The Viper Room, The House of Blues, The Ace Hotel and Low End Theory. Before long her music was everywhere from Coachella to Burning Man. Her success proved that in addition to packing the quality chops required to crush big festival stages, she could also casually go from iconic club to urban underground and back again.
Over time, the cost of her hard-fought and lightning-fast success took a toll on Shiva’s health. Eventually, she found herself battling two separate autoimmune diseases that her career stress compounded. Instead of battling these with western medicines, she also nourished her own healing process with a meditation practice. It worked so well she decided to share it as a new pop-up series called ‘Return to Sound’. “It’s not about me.” Shivarani told the L.A. Weekly while eyeballing the menu at Sage Organic Vegan Bistro in Echo Park. “At Return to Sound, the healing is the star of the show.”
With a colossal first few chapters in a story that has only begun unfolding, Shivarani has made helping others through music her mission in life. “Music has allowed me to shift my health, and it has been a catalyst for my healing, so I want to share that now.” Shivarani said with a steely look in her eyes. “But I still have my dark side.”