Majors: Ethics, History & Public Policy and Professional Writing
Advisers: Tim Haggerty and Scott Sandage
Read Dhruva's blog
Do DIY: A Documentary About the Pittsburgh Music Scene
My project is a documentary film that focuses on the do it yourself (DIY) music scene in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh DIY music scene is an active community run entirely by college-age youth through underground volunteer efforts. DIY shows are run throughout the city at unconventional venues weekly, including private houses, shops, warehouses and nearly any space that can accommodate an act and an audience. Volunteers utilize social media and traditional marketing methods to book shows, promote them and run them at a surprisingly organized level.
I aim to shed more light on the history of how the DIY music scene developed as response to changing demographics in areas like Oakland, Shadyside and Lawrenceville, with the re-emergence of a young adult culture in Pittsburgh and the need for creative outlets. I also argue that DIY music scenes nationally serve as important cultural markers of how music is created, heard and distributed.
For this project, I wanted to create a more vivid way of capturing the local sounds and voices of the people who run the DIY music scene. I chose film because I believe it would be the best way to bring all these different characters to life for an audience. My film can create discourse about the importance of supporting local music while documenting larger changes in how music is being heard.
Music has always been my passion. From a young age, I was enamored with its undeniable universality in connecting cultures. Growing up as a first generation Indian-American, music was the first way I could connect with my parent’s South Indian culture and tradition. This ability for music to connect me to others only grew as I began to pick up instruments like guitar, piano and drums. Listening to my favorite albums, I was able to transport myself into other cultures and understand the struggles of artists who put their souls into their songs. Music was the medium where I could communicate myself best, and create the most genuine form of myself artistically. Simply put, music has fundamentally changed my perception of the world, my experiences and my life.
Outside of school, I am heavily involved in the Pittsburgh music scene. I play in several bands, including Eastend Mile and Manic Soul, while also working as a booking agent in the area. I am incredibly excited to intertwine my academic and creative skills to create this project!