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Meet Sarah Negahdari of Happy Hollows and Pisces in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Negahdari.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in a very eclectic, musical, and quirky family. My mom was a mystical Northern Californian who loved to play drums. My father was a computer engineer from Iran. My mom had three drum kits, and she kept one of them in my room. My mom tried to give me lessons on the drums, but I realized around age 13 that what I really wanted to do was to write my own songs.

One day, when I was 13 years old, my mom came home with an incredibly beautiful classical guitar she had found at a garage sale. Inside the guitar case was a huge stack of sheet music from artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Nirvana. I will never forget that glorious day. I put my hands on a guitar for the first time, and it felt like magic. I instantly fell in love with it.

I remember racing home from school every day to play my guitar. I would write my own songs and sing and play for hours. After high school, I moved to L.A. and started my own band, Happy Hollows. I met Charlie Mahoney, and he joined Happy Hollows on the bass and synth.

Charlie and I have written songs and played together for years, mostly in Silverlake and Echo Park. We have had a few lineup changes to Happy Hollows throughout the years, but Charlie and I have always stayed intact. Our current lineup is amazing, with Scott Munro on lead guitar and Glenn Fryatt on drums. Although we mostly play in Los Angeles, we have toured the US many times, as well as the UK and Japan. The boys of Happy Hollows also play on my live shows for my solo folk project, Pisces.

I mainly play guitar and sing, but I also love playing bass guitar. I was invited to be the touring bassist for Silversun Pickups third album, which was an incredible experience I will never forget.

We are currently recording new Happy Hollows songs, as well as new Pisces songs!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a seriously twisty and wild road! This industry can really take so much out of a person, mentally, energetically, and spiritually. Being an artist is really not an easy path to take. That being said, it can also be so incredible and thrilling! The most unexpected and magical things have happened to me along the way. Being a musician truly has not been an easy path, but at least it hasn’t been boring! A smooth road would be too calm for me, anyway. I like the unexpected wild twists and turns!

Please tell us about Happy Hollows and Pisces.
As a musician, I think I am known for playing guitar well, and for being very quirky and passionate on stage. I play guitar my own unique way, by sometimes tapping my fingers on the strings, or by plucking them really fast and rhythmically.

As a small business owner, I am most proud that despite being on various labels, both of my bands own all of our music and publishing. I am proud that Happy Hollows are still making music, more than ten years after forming. I am proud of the three albums we have made and of the one we are making right now.

As an artist, I am probably most proud of my first Pisces album. That album is very precious to me and feels most like my soul expressing itself.

I am proud to have toured the world and played on stages I could have only dreamt of playing as a child.

I am proud of my band of amazing guys, who I adore making music with, and love hanging out with. I’m very lucky to have them.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory is of creating and performing a musical in my bedroom with my best friend, Heather. We were eight years old, and we made an epic musical for the neighborhood kids that we performed in my room. The premise of the musical was that I was a stuffed animal dog who magically came to life, in order to help Heather survive the trials and tribulations of elementary school.

No one in the neighborhood liked our musical. We, however, liked it so much that we made 42 “episodes” of it. We would create the story outline and the songs and then go door to door telling the kids in the neighborhood to come to the show. Once they were all seated on my bed, we would basically improvise the entire show, and end it once the kids couldn’t sit still and endure it any longer.

We knew our musical was pretty bad, but we had so much fun doing it! We didn’t care that we were the laughing stock of the neighborhood, it was just so blissful to be so imaginative and expressive!

The experience really paved the way for me as an artist to not care too much what people think and just express myself for the pure joy of it!

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Image Credit:
Milo Powley, Eric Kelly, Lyle Ratliff, Alyssa Ceballos

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