Interview with MANIACDREA 🔥
MANIACDREA (née Drea) is a Peruvian/Argentinian artist and producer and 1/3 of NY based music collective M.A.N.I.A.C. (Mental Alienation Nourishes Intelligence and Creativity). She describes her music as “dream-hop,” the lovechild of Dream Pop and Trip Hop and her personal style as bohemian-chic from outer space. In this interview we discuss her creative endeavors with M.A.N.I.A.C., alienation and her identity as a queer latina.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and about M.A.N.I.A.C.? What is the story behind it?
My name is Drea. I go by my artist name MANIACDREA. I’m a 23 year old QPOC currently living in Hawaii. I’m 1/3 of a music collective based out of NYC called M.A.N.I.A.C., which stands for Mental Alienation Nourishes Intelligence and Creativity. M.A.N.I.A.C. is really an entity - but as a music collective, it consists of myself, MAGIC X and 3MILI0. The entity came to existence in 2010 when MAGIC X and I were hanging out at my mothers’ house, talking about the latest MGMT record and our overall love of music when we suddenly asked ourselves, “Why not make our own?”. We would already spend most nights bringing each other new mixtapes we’d each put together consisting of our favorite songs by our favorite artists, we’d even categorize them by themes, create our own artwork for them- the whole 9 yards! We’d put these mixes together and listen to them until the sun came up, focusing on each sound; the wavelengths, the vibrations, the emotions. It was a very spiritual thing to us, listening to music together. So we agreed we’d create these magical sounds together and shared the news with 3MILI0, and our friends. We then put all of our music equipment together (keyboards, mixers, monitors, drum machines, drum kits, guitars)- built a booth to record vocals and set up in an empty bedroom at MAGICS’ parents’ house until we saved enough money to rent out our own studio space two years later. We chose the name “MANIAC” after the song by Kid Cudi, which has samples of the song “The Strangers” by St. Vincent, who is one of my all-time favorites. We just took the name one step further by turning each letter into an acronym to spell out a mantra that the three of us live by- alienating ourselves from the false identifications of our minds and society so that we can truly be free and access our creativity and intelligence in their full potential.
Has your identity as a latina influenced your creative endeavors? If so, how?
My identity as a Latina does influence my creative endeavors but not in an obvious or intentional way. In my opinion, more subconsciously. It is a part of what my DNA is composed of so whatever I create will have that in its DNA and essence as well, no matter how much or how little it is apparent from an outside perspective- it is there.
You’ve said you hope to be an inspiration to everyone who has ever felt “trapped in their mind” and felt alienated from their true inner Being. Do you have any words of advice for all the young people out there feeling the effects of this?
I’d just want young people to know that you don’t have to believe everything you think in your mind. Sometimes your mind can be your worst enemy, and it can be easy for it to run your life, constantly being lost in thought. The mind is a tool, when you need it- use it, when you don’t- leave it be. What is really important is for you to be conscious of the Now; not to interpret it or compare it or judge it, but to feel it deep within your inner Being. When you truly put all of your attention in the Now and accept it for what it is, Life flows smoothly. Positivity flows naturally to you through frequencies that your Being is radiating from within, more Light continues to flow into your Light. Darkness cannot survive in the light.
What are your thoughts on being alienated from society because of race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality and/or class? Have you ever faced any issues due to any of these social identities? How did you overcome them?
Society is a collective human psyche that is run by the Egoic-mind; constantly judging, interpreting, comparing, mainly due to the fact that most people are living in Fear. Basically, anything/anyone “different” in the eyes of society is threatening! I’m a QPOC, I came out when I was 15 years old. High school was fucking brutal, teens were fucking mean! But my generation was slowly transforming during that time, I mean now MOST people my age are at least semi open minded and gaining consciousness, which is phenomenal! But back then, being a gay woman was considered a fad, a trend, and kids my age only knew about homosexuality through MTV and shows like Tila Tequilla! No one really understood how fucking hard it was to be young and gay- unless you were young and gay. You know, it was tough but music truly was and still is my savior. I started going to concerts to see live bands and act at a young age, started reading music magazines like Under the Radar, Filter, collecting CDs, all those. It began to be my life. It created a world where it wasn’t held against you for being different.
How do you feel about your latina identity? What does Latinidad mean to you?
It is absolutely something sacred to me, and I associate my Latina identity with being raised and surrounded by strong, opinionated women my entire life. From my mother to my Tias, to my Abuelita- who just passed away at the age of 95- all strong women who taught me how to truly value myself as a woman. I’m just grateful to and for them, especially for my Abuelita. She’s the very reason for my existence! When I think about my identity as a Latina, I think of her, and I thank her.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are simple; travel more, create more art, spread more love.