NYIKO for The Meadow
interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)
interviewee: Haneri (@_nyiko_)
NYIKO (“nee-koh”) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, label owner, visual artist, and actor based out of Los Angeles, California. They have released synth-pop, new wave, post-punk, and hip-hop projects with Disney, Amazon, Sony/ATV, Heard Well, Trailing Twelve, and more.
Keeping in line with his recent slate of nostalgic synth-pop, NYIKO pays homage to his influences while pushing sonic and thematic boundaries. His latest single “Call The Boys” is a proclamation to dismantle toxic masculinity wrapped up in shimming guitars and confident post-punk production.
Nyiko shares a fear...
I prescribe to the philosophy that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is the product of our thoughts - a reaction to what is unknown or out of our control. We may not have control over the thoughts that enter our minds, but what we can control is the amount of power we give to those thoughts.
* in relevance to our issue #2 FEAR
t h e i n t e r v i e w
1. Please start with a little introduction about yourself!
My name is Nyiko. I grew up in New England and moved to Los Angeles in 2015. I’ve been making
music and art for the majority of my life. I also run a label called Trailing Twelve Records.
2. What genre would you say your music belongs to?
Over the years I’ve made music in many genres, but for the NYIKO project, I’ve been cheekily
using the term ‘warm posh’ to describe the sound. It mostly lives in the spaces between post-
punk, new wave, and synth-pop.
3. What is the story behind your musical journey and Trailing Twelve Records?
I started the label by necessity when I was self-releasing my first-ever vinyl pressing. I wanted to
make it look legitimate by having a label printed on the sleeve. From there, it became a sort of
self-fulfilling prophecy. I learned how to get proper distribution, sync & radio representation,
press, etc, and bands started reaching out about releasing through the label. I’m really proud of
the roster and how organically it’s grown.
4. And how has your journey been so far?
My journey has had a lot of ups and downs, but the ups have been really special. Since moving to
LA, I’ve connected and collaborated with people that have helped me grow as an artist, producer,
and label owner.
5. After your lovely feature in our first issue GLOW with your song “GLOW”, I am now in love
with your latest song, “Call the Boys”! Tell us what this song means to you!
Thanks for the kind words. That means a lot. I wrote the song as a sort of proclamation to
dismantle the toxic masculinity that is permeating the lives of young men in the US. I believe that
much of the violence in our country is a manifestation of internal suffering and insecurity in men.
Setting an example of masculinity that champions empathy, self-love, and respect could transform
the way our society functions,
6. Do share more about the making of the song AND the photo shoot for the cover!
I wrote the song in 2018 after what felt like endless reports of school shootings. I read an op-ed
written by Michael Ian Black called The Kids Are Not Alright and it inspired me to put what I wasfeeling into lyrics. Once I completed the demo, I shared it with my friend and collaborator Niles
Gregory. He played the guitar parts and added some of his own flair.
Maggie Toth is and\ old friend from college and they were in LA for one of their tour dates with
Vagabon. I was working on the track the day they were in town and it was a no-brainer to ask if
they would play the bass part. Similarly, they tracked the bass part that was in the demo but
made it so much better.
The photo we used for the cover was from a big photo shoot I did with Niles. We found this
amazing spot in the Sierra Pelona Mountains in northern Los Angeles County. I had been wanting
to use the photo for something special and this song seemed to be the perfect fit.
A little something from NYIKO!
7. Is there a theme that is generally set in your music, maybe without even realizing it?
Ultimately my music explores themes of love, relationships, society, and personal growth.
8. What is your creative process?
My writing process varies from song to song, but I would say that the majority of my songs begin
with a single vocal refrain that I quickly record as a voice memo. I usually then build
instrumentation around that refrain until there’s enough music to guide the rest of the
9. Who is your musical inspiration?
My influences are constantly evolving from project to project, but I’d say these are the first ones
that come to mind in order of earliest to most recent influences - A Tribe Called Quest, Paul
Simon, Ben Folds, The Cure, Tegan and Sara, and The Postal Service.
10. Any tips from your experience for our musicians out here?
Keep creating and sharing your art. It’s so important to use your talents to express yourself. As a
musician, there can be a lot of bumps in the road but focus on the positives and the joy you get
from creating. Also, no matter how successful you become, always be kind.
11. Is there anything you would like to say about the current stresses all around world?
If you have the privilege and ability, I’d urge folks to turn off their phones at night and wait to
check social media for at least 20 minutes after waking up. The news and social media can be
really overwhelming right now, so it’s important to create some space for yourself. Also, please
vote, not just in the general election but in all your local elections.
12. So, what should we expect next, in the near future?
I have a full-length album coming out early 2021. It’s called Honesty and it’s my favorite thing that
I’ve ever made.
13. How do we gain access to your music?
You must travel to a large foggy bridge. You will be greeted by a warlock and asked to solve a
series of riddles. If you answer all of the riddles correctly, you will receive access to all of my music
by way of a cochlear implant. Otherwise, you can go on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, or
anywhere else you normally listen to music.