conversations with bianca

Shanti Wintergate

Shanti Wintergate is one of my favourite ladies ever (she’s right up there with my other fav inspiring punk/hc first ladies Melissa Koller, Mei-Ling Koller & Heidi Minx). She’s a musician/actress/writer.

Where about’s in the world are you now and what’s happening there?

Well, at the moment I’m on a little tour in the NYC area. I’m in New Jersey, USA, It’s snowing outside, making everything have a pretty layer of white all around. I have 5 shows scheduled in the area over the next week. It’s been a lot of fun.

What’s life been like for Shanti lately?

Lately I’ve come to the realization that I have always been fastinated by science.

Did you make any New Year resolutions?

I try to live my life remembering that everyDAY is a new moment and to treat it as such. I try to remember to live in the moment as much as possible, and do what it takes to enjoy and see the best in every moment. I do have goals, but they’re more oriented to the self like, “do what it takes in each moment to stay centered within myself’. Now, I don’t always master this, but it could be considered a constant newDAY resolution.

What do you want the world to know about Shanti?

That’s a little bit of a tricky question for me, I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be a trick question, but here it goes… The word “WANT” to me has a meaning of “desire”. And that get’s me into trouble most of the time. I know I might be reading into the question too deeply or whatever, but I try to stay away from WANTING anything from the world. It always ends up leading to disappointment because I really don’t have control of what “the world” knows or thinks or does. I only have this kind of control over myself. Now to rephrase this. If there’s anything I WANT its to always be true to myself and not worry about what anyone may think or know about me. Whether the world knows this or not, is up to “the world”, not me.

Who or what inspires you?

I like to think that EVERYTHING inspires me, and I mean everything…. Positive or Negative. People inspire me, nature inspires me, emotion inspires me. I know when I’m not inspired by the simple things in life, that I’m doing something wrong. It happens, I’m not always inspired by everything, but I strive to be and I’m always happier when I am.

Are you more of a finger painting type of musician or a paint-by-numbers type of musician?
I think I’m a little bit of both. I think of finger painting as structureless (is that a word?) or more free-form. In the begining stages when a song comes to me, I let it flow out as it comes without binding it to some form. Then I guess, I kind of structure it after and only if it feels right.Sometimes too much “mind” is involved when I try to “paint by numbers” and I always end up disliking the song because it loses the emotion and heart. Most of the time it just sounds like I’m “trying to write a song” I swear, everytime I TRY to write a song it’s always missing something, so I’ve given up and I just let the songs flow rather than forcing them.

A little while back you released the album, “This Moment” are you looking to record and release anything new in 2005?

Yes, as a matter of fact I’ve got a lot of new songs that I’m looking forward to recording. I don’t know when they might be released as of yet, so you’ll have to stay tuned.
You’ve been working with hio-hop group, The Lordz Of Brooklyn, can you tell me about that?
Yes, I met them on the Warped Tour and they asked me to sing a hook to one of their songs. It was a song that they had never performed live before because it was so near and dear to their hearts. The song was called “Momma’s Boy” and it was written about their mother and little sister who was killed in a hit and run. So, feeling honored that they asked me and trusted me to sing it with them we performed it everyday after that. People really seemed to respond to that song inparticular. Later after the Warped Tour was over, they had asked me to head into the studio with them and re-record Momma’s Boy and a few other new songs with them. So I spent the next few weeks after the tour in Brooklyn, writing and recording with them.

And you were also on Warped Tour last year. Tell me about your Warped experience? Do you have any good gossip or tales for me?

Hmmmm. I’m bound by the code of The Warped Tour… Nahh, just kiddidng. Warped tour is quite an experience in itself. It’s a long, fast-paced, tour and it’s not for the weak. You’re subjected to the elements and you never know what the next day might bring. It was an adventure for me, and what made it even better was that my husband Greg was also on the tour. It’s always great because you’re exposed to so many kids that may have never heard of you, but it is like a crazy Carnival.

You play both acoustic sets and plugged in sets, do you have a preference?

I like each in their own way. This short tour that I’m on right now has been fun because it’s kind of a combination of acoustic and plugged in at the same time. I’m playing acoustic guitar, but I’m playing with a drummer, and a lead guitar player. Acoustic is great, and I guess I feel more comfortable in an acoustic setting, but plugged in sets are LOTS of fun too. You get to dance around and play loud and knock stuff over. I guess I could dance around and knock stuff over in an acoustic set…… hey, that’s a great idea!!! haha..

Do you ever get nervous before shows?

Yeah, sometimes. I think it’s just a normal body reaction. I don’t know if it’s in a typical way, but I feel my mouth gets a little dry, and I have a little shortness of breath sometimes. I just try to relax into it. I know I have nothing to be nervous about, so I try my best to control it. Sometimes I stretch, or just take deep breaths. It usually happens more often when I’m performing alone on stage. It’s usually gone after the first song, or the first half of the first song.

Do you feel that being a female has helped or hinder your musical career?

Do I really have a musical career!!! Whoa, that’s awsome news! just kidding… you know I don’t really know. I haven’t run into anyone that’s like, “whoa, you’re a girl, that sucks” but I have heard “whoa, you’re a girl and you kinda rock!” so having said that…….I still don’t really know. What I hear is that in the Mainstream music business it IS Hard to be a female and be taken seriously in the Rock and Roll genre. Because in a way they are always trying to “pop-ify” girls. But I guess I don’t take this Rock and Roll biz to seriously and I didn’t really rely on the Mainstream Music Business to put out my music. I just did it myself so, I didn’t really have to answer to anyone.

Besides music, you’re also doing a clothing line? Can you fill me in on that?

Once upon a time there was a girl named Shanti, and she had a bunch of mens concert t-shirts. Now Shanti was a fairly shaply little lady and these Mens shirts just ended up making her look like she was wearing a potato sack. So one day she took a pair of scissors and cut these t-shirts into a secret flattering shape and sewed them back together. The result: A cool vintage t-shirt, or a tshirt from your favorite band that actually looks good and is comfortable at the same time! Shanti was so happy that she started wearing her shirts all the time, and soon girls of all ages wanted to know where they could find one. And that was the begining of Shanti Shirts. — It’s a true story, and I started out making them for friends and now I’m selling them in some boutiques in Los Angeles. Soon I’ll be selling them online too. A lot of girls have told me that Shanti Shirts have become their favorite shirts, so that’s fun.

Do you ever have a lull in your creativity? How do you work through it?

All the time!!! I used to get frustrated at it, but that didn’t help anything and it certainly didn’t help my creativity flow again. I just let myself have a lull. Sometimes I won’t pick up my guitar for weeks, and sometimes I’ll write 5 songs in a day. I try to be patient with myself, and stay open. It isn’t always easy, but I know it’s how it works with me. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, so I don’t. I try to listen to my body and sometimes I feel like it’s the “calm before the storm” and I should enjoy it. Maybe I’m resting up for a big burst of creativity that’s approaching, there’s no reason to fight that. If I’m happy staying in bed and watching movies all day, I’ll do it. If I feel like taking a hike in the hills one day and sitting and watching the leaves blow in the wind, I’ll do it!! There’s a difference with being Lazy, and just not being in the creative flow. You can’t force creativity.

I think our society really has programmed us to think that we have to be busy “doing” things all the time, or we’re “wasting” time. I think “wasting” time is always doing something that you HATE. Of course we all need to do certain things that we don’t always like, but that’s a different story.

Your husband is Greg from The Bouncing Souls, do you sometimes feel that because of that you have to work even harder to prove yourself to people?

Sometimes I let my mind go there, but what do I have to PROVE anyways? A BIG FAT PILE of NOTHING!!! When I think about that, I just take myself back to my truth. I’ve been a musician/artist/believer my whole life. I’ve only known Greg for 7 of those years…… People can think what they want to think. It’s too bad, but I can’t really do much about it.

How much do you let critics opinions of your work affect you?

I think artists are sensitive people. I think we have to be in order to create our art with such feeling and heart. No one wants to be judged in a negative way, especially about something that comes from deep in their hearts and souls. So of course as much as I don’t want it to effect me, it does even if only in a small way. I usually get over it fairly quick, and laugh about it later. I believe true artists are motivated onlyby the unyeilding desire to CREATE and EXPRESS, nothing more, nothing less. I don’t think anyone has a right to judge that. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people will like it, some people won’t. It’s hard to not take it personally sometimes, but I just have to remember that plain and simple fact. I also have to watch that I don’t believe all of the “great” stuff people say about meeither. I think that can be just as damaging sometimes. Like I said before, I try to stay as even as possible and remember that. People are not going to stop having opinions, so I better get used to not caring what they are!!

What’s the strangest situation in which you’ve heard one of your songs?

This one time at band camp…. nah just kidding. I don’t think I have one of these stories yet. I was going to make up this elaborate story of lies, but I stopped myself because they were kinda lame and not very funny.

What do you think is important in life?

Light Beer, MULLETS, fast cars, and chicks. (I wish I could say that with a straight face) but really, as boring as I am I’ve gotta put my real answer now…. Bare with me. Being true to your heart and gut fellings about things. I also think that the relationships we create and how we maintain them is important in life said so simply by the beatles… All we need is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Oh yeah and 3 servings of veggies a day, plenty of water, and rest.

Why do you want to do what you do?

There you go again with the “want” questions. You’re just trying to trick me all over the place aren’t you…. hahahahaha. What do I DO again????? I try my best to not DO anything. See if you can follow this…. “It” just “Does” and I hang on for the ride.

Anything to add?

A bunch of zeros is just a bunch of nothing, until you add a one. see look ……….
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000= nothing
10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000= alot of something.

To check out more of this lovely: http://www.shantimusic.com/