Discover / / 23.01.17


Arielle Herman was studying neuroscience when she started producing music. Now, via her experimental productions, she toys with her own psyche.

Explaining her decision to drop out of college to pursue a career in music, Arielle Herman, aka QUALIATIK, says that it was like “this sense of gravity that felt totally out of my control – I knew I had to give in and listen to it”. The Brooklyn-based producer, singer, songwriter and new media artist was in her junior year of a neuroscience degree when she began producing music, and by the end of the year had turned down ten paid lab positions to move to NYC with only a backpack and her new-found passion. Despite spending the next six months couch-surfing whilst working on her music in coffee shops, her decision seems to have paid off: she’s already performed with legendary footwork producer RP Boo at VIA Festival and supported Drake, Anderson .Paak and Kelela at SXSW’s Fader Fort earlier this year.

Her musical debut Physicality sees the artist toying with her own psyche. The video was directed, produced and funded by Herman herself, and was filmed outside on a mountain in Texas in 41-degree weather where her make-up was melting off her face – an experience that mirrors the record’s sound. Although the song and the video were created a year apart, she says that they are “ultimately related because they both deal with struggles with self-doubt and self-sabotage. The main question that fuelled the song writing was essentially, “am I delusional?” and I guess the video was about the next step in the process as an artist – you are still questioning the validity of your decision and the validity of your own artistry, and your own intuitions into who you are as a person”.

Her musical output so far is best described as something you’d hear in a fever dream: ethereal, psychedelic and tinged with purple. A friend once told me my music “makes them want to crawl up inside their head and figure out all their deepest, darkest secrets, but do it while dancing” she tells me over email, “I want people to learn more about themselves, gain an appreciation for the beauty of their own minds, and not be afraid to confront difficult realities within themselves”. She lists ambient music, experimental electronic from 2012, progressive rock and the A*Teens as musical inspirations, but in a wider sense is inspired by “the human mind, and the cinematic worlds we feel when we’re living in intense emotion. There’s a color to those worlds, a form, a sound, a feeling, and all of that is what I hope to capture or illuminate in my work.”