Interview | NYIKO

LA based artist NYIKO has released his Halloween tinged single 'Ghost In Your Dreams' via Trailing Twelve Records.

Photo Credit: Niles Gregory


Just in time for the spooky season, NYIKO explores the insidious nature of memory and past relationships with his latest single. In keeping with the song’s nostalgic theme, NYIKO imprints sonic slivers of yesteryear onto more contemporary rock structures. 


NYIKO had this to share about the release:


"Love shows up when we least expect it. When it does, we may not even be ready for it. That is both the beauty and pain of love. In some ways, the memories of our lovers become the ghosts in our lives - a scent, a sound, or an energy that recalls that special person or time."

We recently had a chat with NYIKO which you can read below..


What and/or who inspired you to create music?

"As a kid, I was obsessed with hip-hop and rappers like A Tribe Called Quest, 2Pac, and Busta Rhymes. I then began playing piano and writing my own material after hearing artists like Ben Folds, Keith Jarret, and Something Corporate. At this stage, I’m most immediately inspired by bands from the British New Wave and Post-Punk era. Ultimately my music explores themes of love, relationships, society, and personal growth."


This Pandemic has been hard on us all, and especially hard on the creative industries. How has the time been for you and your work?

"At the beginning of February, before any mention of the stay-at-home order, I ruptured a disk in my lower back and had to have back surgery. Luckily I was able to get the surgery the day before the stay-at-home order came into effect, so I’ve been able to use a lot of this time to focus on recovery and physical therapy. I’ve been doing a few livestream performances as well as virtual writing sessions. I definitely miss playing shows and collaborating in person."


How tough has it been not doing live events? 

"Playing live shows is and was one of my favorite things to do as an artist. Practicing with the live band built a sense of comrade around the songs and gave them a new energy. With the pandemic hitting, it’s been tough to stay in touch with the bandmates. Our drummer is in the process of moving out of California indefinitely, so that has been a bummer too. On the bright side, I’ve had a lot more time to write and produce without the need to devote hours to band practice and show promotion."


Your recent track 'Call The Boys' is amazing! Can you say what the song is about and what inspired you to make it?

"After what felt like an endless stream of school shootings in 2018, I was finding difficulty in forming words around how I felt. I read an op-ed written by Michael Ian Black called 'The Kids Are Not Alright' and it managed to consolidate a lot of the thoughts I was having. It expressed the notion that much of the violence in our country is a direct result of the internal suffering and insecurity in men. Suffering and confusion caused by an outdated and dangerous model of masculinity. I wrote 'Call The Boys' as a call to action to set examples of masculinity that champion empathy, self-love, and respect. In doing so, I believe we could transform the way our society functions."


Your latest EP 'Crush' in which you collaborated with The White Electric is quite an emotional journey. What inspired you to create this?

"Back in 2017, Dan aka The White Electric, posted a beat on his Instagram story and I DM’d him. He asked if I wanted to sing on it and that song became “In The Middle.” The track went on to be featured by Heard Well and signed to Sony / ATV for publishing. That got us energized to keep the collaborations going and so when we decided to write the full EP. The songs on the EP were inspired by the various stages of intimacy. The songs are a culmination of the thoughts that cross our minds when we’re falling in love."


As well as being an artist you're also a record producer, label owner, visual artist and actor. How do you balance all of this? Do you have any priorities?

"I definitely keep my plate full. These are my passions so it only sometimes feels like work. That said, I have to stay very organized. My most-used apps are Reminders, Notes, and Voice Memos. I’d say my time is equally split between my artist project, production, and label duties. My visual art takes on several forms, including designing artwork for myself and many of the label artists. Acting is something that has taken a backseat, but I have a few projects that I hope to eventually get back into."


You released your first EP 'You Know I Loved It' on Spotify 4 years ago, how have you developed since then as an artist?

"I’ve become a better listener and collaborator, while at the same time developing my independence and production acumen. I’ve expanded my writing and production styles and have found new influences and modes of approach. I believe my sound has been refined and most closely reflects my goals as an artist."


Where do you see your career in, say, 5 years time?

"I’m a big believer in manifesting one’s own future, so here we go. In five years, I will have a platinum record and a grammy award."


What effect do you hope your music has on listeners after they listen to you?

"My favourite songs make me feel something, whether it’s happy, sad, excited, or relaxed. I hope that my music has that same effect. That’s the first part, secondly, I hope that my listeners get inspired by the content - whether that’s telling someone their true feelings, thoughtfully discussing gender roles, or simply rocking out. And finally, I hope my music allows for people from all walks of life to feel seen and heard."


And finally, what's next for NYIKO?

"There’s an album on the way and it’s called 'Honesty'. Be on the lookout because it’s my favorite thing that I’ve ever made."

Listen to 'Ghost In Your Dreams' HERE Instagram: @_nyiko_

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