INTERVIEW: Mikky Ekko

Mikky Ekko‘s done alright for himself, hasn’t he? A collaboration with Rihanna, and… well, to be honest that’s probably enough of a recommendation for your CV but he does boast of strong work with the likes of Giorgio MoroderChris Malinchak and Active Child too. So what makes Mik tick? We sat down with him ahead of his London show to find out… 

You’re about to perform in London. How do you cope before the show?

I mean, I always get nervous about playing places I’ve never been, but I heard that [Water Rats] is where FKA Twigs did her first show so that’s fun. I always have one shot of tequila and have to huddle with the band – we do this thing where we start a sentence and then each person says one word of the sentence, by the time it comes round. It has to be finished. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in London, and Wales –  I wrote almost half the album here.

So, Time is finally here – how do you feel about your debut?

I mean, I’m just ecstatic its finally out. One of my favourite things to do is play live and it was depressing to be playing so many shows and doing support when you don’t have an album out. Its hard to justify sometimes going out playing these songs, as much as you love it, when you can’t give people something to take home that’s physical – so its cool to be bridging that gap.

Making your debut is never going to be easy, especially with pedigree like yours. How did you find the process?

To start, I wrote 250 songs for the album – roughly and it was a conscious decision I made to keep the album as diverse as it is. There were a few things I wanted to do with the album and that was keep it as diverse as the stuff I listen to and like singing and to keep it vulnerable enough to give people a window of who I am as an artist.

As well as your own album, you have a release with our Giorgio Moroder; how was that experience? And are there any similar surprises coming?

Gosh, its hard to say because I’ve always got stuff in the works but I’m always nervous to talk about it before its actually out. I’m working on more hip-hop stuff I can say. I’ve been back in Stansmore Town with Clams [Casino] and they’re more hip-hop guys that are finding our stuff.

The way I tend to work is though I’ll write with a lot of people but I always write for me – sometimes we’ll find the song is right for me, or sometimes I’m writing from a place that really connects with the artist. With Giorgio and this song, I knew it wasn’t quite right for the album and then I randomly got a call from a manager saying Giorgio was interested, so if I have the opportunity to work with a legend…!

Tell us about Pressure Pills, why did it make only the UK release?

Hmm… I had a rough time figuring it out where it went. I was having a lot of trouble sequencing the final LP and that for me, is an important vibe, it’s partly how I like to produce. It’s a 50/50 to how me and Clams both work.

Tell us what you’ve got planned for this year then….

There’s a few festivals, I’ll be back here to do some touring in September and I’m really stoked to do that because I haven’t been to the UK since last Spring I think – I really do love the UK, I’ve a lot of friends in London. But my focus this year, to the end is just touring, being able to go play in front of bands, connecting with people.

Look at this, we have a few time-based questions for you. So, day or night?

Night.

Does this mean you’re/you’re not a morning person?

No, I just prefer the quiet – its easier for me to focus when people aren’t around.

Are you likely to be 10 minutes late or 20 minutes early?

Gotta admit, ten minutes late… (laughs)

Given the chance, would you rather go forward or back in time? Where/when?

Forwards, for sure – twenty years, see how I’m ageing.

We gave your Instagram a stalk lately. And we have to ask, have you always been a Britney fan?

(Screams) I haven’t, I haven’t! We were in Vegas and my MD is British and there was a bunch of there for the Rock In Rio Festival. We saw that Britney has a residency there and we went for it… in all its Britney glory.

Don’t worry Mikky, we won’t judge you for Britney. But actual inspirations, then – musically or otherwise?

Too many to name really but recently I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop; Run The Jewels. Kendrick‘s new album I think is really well set – Drake, too. Those guys are pretty tried and true. And some designers, too. I got to hang out for the first time at Fashion Week in London this year – I got to see a lot of the men’s shows like Burberry. And I’ve always been a fan of Yoji Yamamoto.

Any of those mentioned your ideal collaboration?

You know, I feel like I jinx myself when I name people I work with but I’m so grateful for everyone I’ve with so far. Like, I love Drake and Kendrick but I haven’t worked with them… yet! But it’ll be good to see where Vince Staples’ next album lands – or at least mixtape – but I think he’s a real strong rapper.

What should we know about Mikky Ekko that we don’t know already?

I would say if you feel like you know the album – then you know me. But I don’t think you have to think too much about it. I would say I treat everyone like family so if you connect with the album, I feel we’ll get along.

David Yates

Time by Mikky Ekko can be ordered here.

 

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