photographs, songs, and small crowds of words by nika aila states
i make music: red steppes/totonoko
Install Theme
rosie rose matheson

rosie rose matheson

rich vreeland

rich vreeland

It’s going to be a real party.

It’s going to be a real party.

I took a few shots of Trevor Hill Bahnson for his upcoming release. Love this dude.

TOTONOKO - Zebediah

This video - the second from TOTONOKO, the collaboration between myself and my partner Mateo Lugo - was shot, edited, composited, super-colored and totally rocked by Peter Earl McCollough. I met Peter a few years ago through tumblr (thanks in great part to Lolo), and when he offered to make us something, we were understandably very excited. We shot some of this footage in Pt. Reyes and Inverness, in one of the most beautiful regions of California. The rest Peter pulled from some kind of creative ether I can’t quite quantify. We let him go wild, and wild he went. 

I’m very grateful to have met so many talented people through tumblr, grateful for splendor of the places so easily accessed here in the bay, the time to make things, the space to share them. 

As a duo we keep revisiting the concept of home, but this song in particular is about that great current that’s always waiting to take you back to the ones you want to keep close. It’s very easy to be inspired when you find yourself surrounded again and again with people so good at what they do. Thanks for that, everyone.

TOTONOKO - Overgrown

If you’ve followed this blog in the last year or so, you may have caught references to an elusive EP I was making for TOTONOKO, the collaboration between myself and Mateo Lugo. Here is some firm evidence that the thing exists, and can someday soon be yours.

TOTONOKO’s first video release, made with our friend Shiran Eliaserov (dancer, choreographer, and video artist), was filmed here in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Berlin, and at the Dead Sea in Israel. Shiran and I share cinematography credits, and Mateo, Shiran and I all make appearances. 

This video and its source material were a labor of love. Mateo and I live and work together, and our relationship is inextricably linked to music, but besides that we’ve been lucky enough to claim the invaluable resource of good friendship, with each other and with people like Shiran Eliaserov and Daniel Wright, who helped us with the EP. It was recorded in Silverlake (in Los Angeles) and its surrounding environs, and includes the chatter of Venice Beach, the neighborhood birds, and the roofers in the canyon behind Dan’s cabin. The songs are mostly about magic of both familiar and outlandish kinds: your well-loved ones, a mountain from which to see, and bargains with sparrows. Making it was transformative for me, and my one great hope is that it goes out there and changes something for someone else.

Overgrown is currently available for download at Bandcamp. You can also pre-order the EP, which is set for release on August 16th, 2014.

I made a red steppes record at Tiny Telephone this year, off and on from the end of March to the end of June. It was difficult, and I was probably doubly difficult, so I feel very grateful to everyone who contributed. These guys are all wonderful musicians and lovely people.