Not Giving A Shit: An Interview With Dhruhi Shah

Not Giving A Shit: An Interview With Dhruhi Shah

Dhruhi Shah is an Ottawa based hardcore musician from Calgary. She is the main vocalist for the native Calgary band Lung Cancer, check them out on bandcamp to listen to a sample of their upcoming S/T record.

As the punk community is a predominantly male centered space it is seen as shocking that Dhruhi would be such a brilliant addition to this art form. She overcomes this stigma with an extremely divine calmness and determination to her art.

“They’ve inspired a lot in me about not giving a shit (pardon my language) about the different perceptions people might have of me as a female and as someone who is racialized.”

Dhruhi is a jaw dropping vocalist who is insanely impressive and talented, an inspiration for female artists within this genre. She has completed a mini tour with the band and gained a substantial following in the process. Dhruhi continues to define new limits for female artists within music.

Dhruhi Shah

What inspired you to get into hardcore/ punk music?

I had been going to punk shows for a few years and had seen my friends play in really sweet bands and always admired it. When one of my best friends asked if I wanted to do vocals for a band, I thought I might as well try.

What are your top 5 favourite songs right now?

(In no particular order):

Sparks – Beach House
Fiend – Alaskan
Trap Queen- Fetty Wap
San Francisco – I Hate Sex
Careful Creators – Summering

Are there any femme musicians that have inspired you? If so, what have you learned from these famous ladies?

The two most glaring right now are probably Mitski and Nicki Minaj. They’ve inspired a lot in me about not giving a shit (pardon my language) about the different perceptions people might have of me as a female and as someone who is racialized. There are also a ton of people (basically anyone I have met that identifies as female) from the Calgary and Edmonton music scenes that are constantly inspiring me to be more confident in music and other aspects of my life.

As a womyn in punk have you faced any hurdles in pursuing music within this industry?

Honestly, I am incredibly lucky in that me and my bandmates have the most wonderful connections in order to make sure we all feel the safest possible pursuing music. There have been few hurdles in that we have to be careful about the people we play with and promoters we book with. I see a rise in females and gender-fluid people coming to shows but it’s still always kind of weird playing for audiences that are mostly male. I’ve also noticed that I often have to put in an effort to be extroverted at shows before and after playing, or just generally attending, otherwise I’m seen as ‘stuck up,’ by a lot of people who don’t know me. There’s also just been undertones of sexism like “wow I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw you go up, but your vocals were surprisingly good.”

What was your most memorable moment while performing and pursuing music?

Our mini tour over summer 2015 in general was amazing. Playing Clint’s House and hanging out with Wormwood through Saskatchewan was so fun. The most memorable moment while playing music was probably seeing all of our friends in Regina moshing and having a TIME during our set. Being surrounded with friends who enjoy our music was just a really good feeling.

As a womyn in the music industry, what is the most important problem to eradicate within the industry?

Objectification of womyn, safe venues, lack of popular artists within the LGBQT+ community, etc.
Well, I really can’t say any one of these issues is more important than the other. One thing I’m trying to advocate more for is safe, accessible, all ages shows. Safe shows in terms of not only the literal physical venue but the people there as well. Accessible in terms of cost of the show, non-gendered washrooms, and wheelchair access. All ages speaks for itself. How are we going to see more people continuing the music scene and creating bands if we’re being exclusive of minors? 18+ people, you can go without alcohol for a night or bear to stand in the designated area if you’re so set on it.

Who is your biggest fan and most loyal supporter?

I really don’t know who my biggest fan is! As for supporters in music, my own bandmates Ethan and Will have been so supportive and wonderful since..always.

If you had advice for any emerging artists in the city what would it be?

This is corny but it doesn’t matter how many people show up to your shows, as long as you’re having fun.

Are there any resources for femme artists that you can suggest?

Your human connections are probably the best resources you have…so like me I guess and anyone I’m associated with are now your resources too! Not Enough Fest Edmonton also has a pretty cool network of people although its city specific.

What are you most passionate about in terms of hobbies? Is there a reason you feel so connected to them?

I’m not trying to hype myself up to be Mother Teresa or anything but I actually love volunteering. I guess it’s how much I learn in any sort of organization I become involved with and the connections I develop with people from service users to staff that really resonates with me.

Tell me a little about yourself, what are you hoping for your future? What have you accomplished in the arts so far?

So far we’ve accomplished a mini tour, a bunch of other shows in Calgary (including playing with ISKRA twice), a shirt which was really successful, and a split with Japan based Sete Star Sept. I’m hoping to tour again eventually and releasing our split with Cold Lungs soon will be cool. Releasing something on vinyl would also be sweet!

Keep up with Dhruhi’s kick butt band on social media!