Madame Gandhi: The Future is Female
Producer Kiran Gandhi’s new record
explores “three-dimensional femininity”
From running the 2015 London Marathon on her period, free-bleeding the entire way, to writing an EP that decimates patriarchy, Indian-American producer and activist Kiran Gandhi proves personal is indeed the political.
Gandhi’s music ( a collaboration with sound designer Alexia Riner) under the moniker of Madame Gandhi is a mesh of complex lyricism and immersive fusion of electronic music and rap. With track titles that include “The Future is Female” and themes that circulate around feminism, love and politics, her new record Voices is about what Gandhi calls ‘three-dimensional femininity.’ “We are taught to be quiet about our emotions, hide them away, be very secretive about when we’re happy or sad,” she says over the phone from Los Angeles. “Being female and being strong doesn’t mean you don’t talk about your emotions, and it also doesn’t mean that you act stronger than you are.”
What would you say is the track that best defines Voices?
I guess my gut instinct is to say “Moon in the Sky” because it’s the most neutral. It has elements of vulnerability in it but elements of power and finding strength. It also has a lot of the design that is part of the Madame Gandhi sound—the electronics, sitar and the percussion—but I think the record is really about what I call the three-dimensional femininity. The media, social construction are the by-products of colonialism here in America and over there in India. In movies the girls always play really two dimensional characters; they’re not representative of our day to day experiences as women. All of the five songs really fit together to show a more three-dimensional experience.
This year the world saw so many musicians campaigning for Hillary Clinton and fighting against a Donald Trump presidency. Considering the results, did you ever have a moment where you questioned the power of music?
I did feel a loss of hope because it felt like everybody I knew was voting for Hillary and you don’t see any artists campaigning for Trump, so I thought it was a no-brainer. A lot of my fans said that Voices may not have been the anthem that got everyone to vote for Hillary, but it’s certainly a healing album, an album of hope. And so interestingly, the role of the album shifted. In that way, music has its flexibility. I don’t think being mad is productive. What I hope is this Trump presidency generates the ability for each of us to not be mad at each other and for those who have privilege to unpack and question it and be open to the fact that someone may not have what you have.
Do you think that your popularity as London marathon’s free-bleeding runner ever overshadows your music or gives it a boost?
I think it kind of shows people that you have freedom to express yourself in whatever way feels right to you at the time. I’d like to think that these two things that are notches on my belt give me the credibility and the tools that I need to be able to make the best music that celebrates and elevates the female voice.
Watch the video for Madame Gandhi’s track “Her”: