How has your stance on issues in your community influenced your music and growth as an artist?
Vaughn (she/her): My stance on issues in my community has definitely influenced our music and growth. We always want to bring messages to our community that resonate, that reflect collectively what we are going through because we view music as medicine. If I'm feeling something strongly, chances are so is my community. We create this music to give our community a voice and to heighten the spiritual bond we have.
Dre (he/him): One thing that I can say for sure is that being tapped into such a strong artistic community has helped to bring certain issues to light that I may not have even become aware of otherwise. I think that a very important and often overlooked role that artists should provide to their community is being a spark of inspiration to question everything. It's important to let the music take you to that restorative, healing, spiritual, pleasant escape-from-the-hardships-of-life type of place, but I think it's also important for it to challenge the way you think about things and to push you out of your comfort zone sometimes. If we are going to actually make some progress as a society at large and stop ending up with the same recurring problems, I think we've come to a point where we need to start paying more attention to the people with the wildest imaginations.
What has been the biggest community resource that has shaped your viewpoints and who you are today?
Vaughn: The Portland collective Young Gifted and Black/Brown has been one of the most dynamic and loving resources! They work to not only give Black and Brown folks visibility, but also power! Their curated events feature activations that make you feel at home and supported because our culture is celebrated. These events allow Black and Brown folks to see their reflection which is vital for our self-preservation. A lot of our early shows were sets at YGB events and we are forever grateful.
Dre: Young Gifted and Black/Brown is a big one. Another huge influence for me is a community called Deep Under Ground, which is how I met a ton of brilliant artists in the community who have helped and inspired me. One of the great things that I've found out about the artistic community here is that people are generally more supportive and collaborative with each other than they are competitive or territorial. I think that's something that is fundamental to both creating good art and to building a strong community.