Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan

SURFING SOUND WAVES | VENICE BEACH

Posted on October 22, 2017 by Trace

IRINA LIAKH | SURFING SOUND WAVES
V E N I C E  B E A C H

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Mo Summers

  Things to know about 
I R I N A  L I A K H 

LIVES: Venice Beach, California

PASSION: Founder and curator of SURFING SOUND WAVES a platform for online music discovery. And SOULFIRE, a blog of inspiring stories about artists, social entrepreneurs, activists and fundraising for causes I’m passionate about.

WHAT IS SURFING SOUND WAVES: Surfing Sound Waves brings extensive coverage for both indie and pop music, giving voice to the best emerging artists and celebrating established musicians across all genres.

SUNDAY RITUAL: Sunday is a beach day! Always

BEST THING ABOUT VENICE: Meeting really inspiring people every single day.

WORST THING: Parking is a struggle no matter what time of the year it is, haha!

FAVOURITE ROAD TRIP: From Venice to Sedona, AZ. Sedona is my happy place and one of my favorite cities in the US.

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan HC: Tell us about your relationship with the ocean. How does the ocean inspire you?

IRINA: There is absolutely no doubt that I am wholeheartedly in love with the ocean. It is my happy place, my quiet place. I fell in love with surfing. I’m still learning and being in the water, being in the ocean, in general is amazing.
I remember going through times in my life when it all felt so unbearable, 
and then how quickly that feeling went away when I was paddling and just smiling because of how happy I felt.
I love coming out to the beach at sunset and just sitting by the water, listening to music or meditation tunes and watching people surf.

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan HC: How is it living and working near the Venice Boardwalk?

IRINA: Oh my. It is FUN to say the least. I’ve been living here, half a block from the boardwalk for more than six years and I feel like this place is a big part of why I decided to stick around in LA, even though some years were a complete rollercoaster and I was on the verge of giving up and moving elsewhere.
And even though this place is kinda crazy, it definitely kept me sane! I’m very happy here and being able to be so close to the ocean makes me feel so blessed.
The community here has changed a lot, even in the past few years making Venice now, a trendy tech place.
Still with loads of artists, surfers, and creative laidback people, but more and more tech and business vibes for sure. Recently I’ve been living and working between two places – Venice and Las Vegas, so it’s been quite an interesting combination.

HC: What’s something only a Venice local would know? 

IRINA: Venice Beachhead is this cool local newspaper; publishing Venice News since 1968!
It’s not only the oldest free publication in the country, but also one of the last underground papers still in existence.
They have all of the old issues on their website dating back to the first one in December 1968, and it’s really cool to read and learn what Venice was like back then!

HC: Tell us about Surfing Sound Waves. How was it dreamed into existence? And how did it become such a hit on Social Media?

IRINA: I’ve always been blogging, starting with Livejournal where I shared some inspiration, music and life events. When Facebook and Twitter came along I started sharing stuff there and then transitioned to Instagram.
A few years ago, I decided to launch my own art website and started interviewing artists and sharing their stories. Down the road I realized that because music is what I’m most passionate about, I should just focus on it and that’s how Surfing Sound Waves was born.
Now it’s become a platform for online music discovery. I cover music that personally inspires me, interview amazing artists and highlight new music daily on Instagram.
The audience has been growing, I get so much feedback, playlist requests and it’s been an amazing journey connecting with people from all over the world including some really amazing artists.

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan

HC: How do you discover the musical talent featured on your web and social channels? They seem to come from all corners of the globe. Whats your secret to uncovering new, untapped talent? 

IRINA: It makes me so happy that I have a chance to turn my passion of sharing music into a source that helps bring music to the masses.
It’s all about genuine connection to the songs I share. My music choices are completely intuitive and natural and there is no concept or plan behind it.
I listen to so much new music [mostly on Soundcloud, as well as Spotify, Apple Music, Beats 1 radio] and feature every song that touches me and every artist I like.
I receive music submissions and pitches from artists and record labels and go through all of them.
When I find something I really love, I’m willing to go all-out to support them.
Some artists have had my support for years and I will continue supporting them in every way I can because I truly believe that their music needs to be heard.
I think I’ve got a good sense of the special ones!

HC: Who are your favourite musicians you’ve discovered and continue to listen to now?

IRINA: Benjamin Clementine, Harrison Storm, Sofi de la Torre, Charlotte Cardin, Jorja Smith, Gallant, Kwabs and so many more!

HC: IRINA’S SURFING SOUND WAVES X THE HANDSOME COLLECTIVE SOUNDCLOUD PLAYLIST:

Listen to a selection of Irina’s current favourite artists, created on Soundcloud especially for The Handsome Collective, and you! [if viewing via smartphone: press ‘Listen in browser’]

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan HC: In your experience, how do ‘active music listeners’ consume and discover new music? Why are music blogs still important for the music business?

IRINA: The audience that used to hang out on music blogs definitely transitioned over to the major streaming services and social media.
That’s why Surfing Sound Waves is absolutely Social Media driven – Instagram first and then it goes to the website.
I do create Spotify and Soundcloud playlists for the audience to enjoy all the music being shared on Instagram and the website. Spotify and Apple Music are getting better and better at highlighting new music and it’s definitely where everyone is now.

I think a lot of power still lies in the hands of bloggers and Hype Machine. A&R folks at major labels are still keeping an eye on the blogs.
Music blogs will definitely not make you famous overnight, but they will get your music in front of the right people and help build a fan base on social media.
 Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan

HC: What do you consider to be some of the pain points of receiving pitches from artists?

IRINA: I receive hundreds of emails, and the biggest thing that makes me pass on featuring an artist on the website is lack of media photos.
It sounds funny, but a lot of artists don’t have anything. They start promoting a single, but photos or even artwork in good quality is nowhere to be found.
Sometimes when I find an artist myself and they have nothing available, I email them or their managers and try to request material, but if this doesn’t work, I just skip them and move on. Most of the time I put it up on Instagram anyway, but skip doing any features.

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan HC: What inspires you and pushes you to keep creating?

IRINA: I love music. It inspires me and is such a huge part of my life. Even before Surfing Sound Waves, I was constantly searching for new artists, trying to spread the word on discoveries however I could.
Surfing Sound Waves allows me to feel a real connection with the people who follow and read – the people who are excited about the same things that I am, and the artists I discover and get to work with. This year I worked with some major record labels and their artists. Being acknowledged by them as an important music source was a huge milestone.
But obviously I’m much more passionate about discovering emerging un-signed acts and featuring them, and seeing them blow up later. Their success makes me so happy.
And if this exposure helps bring their music to the audience and possibly get them signed – that’s even better!
Helping people find their next favorite music is super cool to me too.
As for inspiration, there is inspiration everywhere, right?
I am constantly inspired and motivated by amazing people being super passionate and finding happiness, doing whatever it is in their heart and soul that is driving them.
LA is a special place, the concentration of people pursuing their dreams is wild and inspiring.

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan

HC: Tell us about your other passion project, Soulfire?

IRINA: I’ve been very passionate about non-profit, social entrepreneurship and any creative projects that make an impact. I support various local organizations and volunteer a lot.
I launched the Soulfire.la project as part of my blog to be able to share inspiring stories of artists, social entrepreneurs, activists and fundraise for causes I’m passionate about.
The idea behind Soulfire is to start a conversation and create a community of like-minded people.
One of my biggest dreams is to be able to build schools all over the world and to support various music programs at inner-city schools. That’s another reason for building a social media community – to be able to talk about important things.

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan

HC: Can you share something about yourself that people might not know?

IRINA: That’s gonna be hard as I share so much on social media, haha but I guess here are a few things:
– I write poetry [but I’m still working on being comfortable with sharing publicly]
– I love skydiving and dream of doing an Accelerated Freefall Skydive Training Course [hopefully soon!]
– AND I’m a huge Harry Potter fan!

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | The Handsome Collective | Photo by Olivia Doan

HC: Goals, aspirations, hopes for 2018:

IRINA: I really want to finally launch an app to share more music and inspiring stories and start a fundraising campaign for the causes I’m passionate about.
One of the biggest goals I have, is to start hosting music showcases in LA.
And I definitely want to be traveling more next year! So many inspiring places to visit. I can’t wait!

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | Venice Beach | The Handsome CollectiveVENICE BEACH SUNSET

Irina’s Venice Beach Top 7:

1. Gjusta, Gjelina and The Butcher’s Daughter – favorite places for breakfast and dinner

2. Menotti’s Coffee Stop – for the best coffee

3. TOMS on Abbot Kinney – coffee shop, hangout/meeting spot, and Toms store, all in one

4. Salt & Straw – best ice-cream ever!

5. Venice Ale House – perfect spot on the boardwalk. Make sure to order Skate of Beers, they will roll out some awesome beer samplers for you on a skateboard!

6. Hotel Erwin Rooftop bar – perfect sunset views

7. Learn to Surf LA – best surf school

Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | Venice Beach | The Handsome Collective

 VENICE BEACH LA

—  Not So Ordinary Citizens Interview  —
by Tracee Annetts

photo credits: all images of Irina by Olivia Doan
except second image by Mo Summers
Images of Venice Beach via Irina

Keep in touch with IRINA LIAKH

↱ Instagram: @irinaliakh + @surfingsoundwaves

↱ Twitter: @irinaliakh + @surfsoundwaves

↱  Web: www.surfingsoundwaves.com

↱  Soulfire blog: soulfire.la

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 Irina Liakh | Surfing Sound Waves | Venice Beach | The Handsome Collective VENICE BEACH BY NIGHT

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Robert October 23, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    awesome story luved reading it!

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