Who is Mikky Ekko? Is he your alter ego?
Mikky Ekko is a name that summarizes an idea. It’s a place I go to write – a headspace, rather than an alter ego. I’m very introspective, but I know my extrovert balance is important so I try not to let things stay serious all the time. Extremes feel natural to me. I’ve increased my overall headspace awareness and can switch gears faster when I need change. This keeps me from blowing out one extreme for too long and turning into a total hermit.
How would you sum up your sound?
I like to think of it as sound collage. If you made me pick genre words I’d say heavy-alt/pop.
Who would we put you next to in our iTunes library?
Hopefully a group like Little Dragon or Lykke Li. Their voices ruin me. I love listening to girls sing, so if I were in your library, that’s where I’d want to be.
How did you get into music as a career?
(Laughs) I’m still trying to figure that one out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as a career. It’s really the only thing I know. Learning the business came second, but the music has always been first for me and I think that speaks to people. When people see you are truly passionate and additionally take extra time to understand the business, it puts them at ease. I mean, at the end of the day I can’t imagine doing anything else. That’s how it has to be.
Did working with hip hop producer Clams Casino seem like an odd match at first?
No. That was actually a mutual decision. We both respected the other’s space and got together in LA to chill at a studio. We just wanted to get to know each other. We talked about creative processes and how we make art. We’ve become really good friends since then, and it’s exciting to have such a good friend who is also a collaborator.
How did you end of collaborating with Rihanna on her new album?
I built the track away from her and then went to meet her in LA. She is incredibly sweet and her team moves at a thousand miles an hour. Their work pace blew me away. Rihanna and I spoke about the song and I took the track home to make the final adjustments. I sent the track back and she put her final vocal on it. It sounds amazing now.
Did that change your life?
It’s changing my life, that’s for sure. It’s easy to wonder if anything you’re writing is any good. There were times when I looked at every song I’d ever written and thought, this is all garbage. Ultimately it came as a huge sign that I wasn’t crazy! It reminds me that you never know who is going to connect with what you’re writing and that success and failure is relative. I don’t want to hide behind my songs, I want them to release me from my self.
What can we expect from your debut album?
I can tell you what not to expect. Bagpipes. There will not be any bagpipes on this record.
What are your plans for the next few months?
Finishing the record is priority. I’m taking a week or so to go home to Nashville and regroup. Then back to work!