as mentioned in the previous interview, the minute Ciscandra and Roy – known to tens of thousands as Nostalghia – walked in the door of my friend’s apartment in West Los Angeles, I knew they were put here to be one of those bright, bright stars that keep us up at night thinking about everything.
in fact, I even called it -’The Next Big Thing’, I believe I wrote.
and 15 months later, they are.
so amazing have they both become [were always amazing, but somehow became even more so], that I’m cutting this South America trip short by a few weeks, just so I can see them perform on March 16th. if you’re anywhere in/around the area, it’s a show not to be missed.
in fact, I’m going to structure this interview a bit out of order so you can see what I’m talking about… this – their debut video. and oh my god, will it give you chills.
as soon as I saw this, I begged them for another interview:
right – before we get to anything else, let’s talk about what went on with your mother earlier on in the year [it was your mother, correct? if father, 1000 apologies, I just remember seeing the post]…
Ciscandra: Mother/Father, same thing. But for technicalities sake, Father. He’s been battling Lymphoma most of my life, quite a trooper. He is currently and OFFICIALLY Cancer free, which is incredibly remarkable and exciting for my family. Experimental drugs, I suppose sometimes they come through, but really, I think it’s based in mindset. He stays positive, it doesn’t weigh him down. I love him for that, I admire it.
did this affect any of your writing, music, art? his battle with it… his beating it?
Ciscandra: I would assume so. It produced fear. Fear makes me uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable makes me write.
Nostalghia – Drug Lord
okay, soooooo – how do I put this other than saying: what a fucking year for you all! take us through it… however you want to. the ups the downs, what it’s like to actually make it as a band. I mean, from 200 fans on Facebook to 20,000+? seriously…
Ciscandra: At this point, I’m so tunnel vision, I don’t even know what my definition of “making it” is. I mean, I know what I want, it’s pretty simple and defined, but, my premonition is that, when I get there, I’ll be onto the next. I do try my best to digest the landmarks, feel them/taste them/love them, but, I’ve got too much to do to drink a mimosa. I suppose gin is a better shot to the heart, if you’ve got to shoot. But. Okay. You’ve caught me. YES, I’m fucking excited. AHHHHHH!
Roy: It’s interesting really, it can be difficult sometimes to take in small victories. It feels most of the time that we have simply kicked the can further down the road. But when you look back at where it all began, you (and the can) are a long way from the start line. It’s definitely been an exciting year. A lot more ups than downs. But I hadn’t realized that we “made it” until you asked me how it feels… It makes me feel like it’s time to kick the can again.
but, c’mon – this many fans. the live show response. interviews from all over. a play on KCRW… there had to have been a moment when you looked over at each other and said ‘fuck… we’ve really done something here.’
Roy: Well, we are very encouraged by the reactions we have been getting, yes. And we have toasted a few moments with a glass of wine or two. But really, we feel like we are just getting started.
let’s talk about your best show this past year – which one would it be?
Ciscandra: The last two. I like to touch the audience, literally, shoulder to shoulder. Sometimes, I stand beside them, and sing with them, at the band. It’s ironic, it feels wholesome, it might even be uncomfortable.
Roy: Probably the last one, or the next one… depending on how you look at it. We are always trying to make our live shows better and a more engulfing experience. We have been a lot more selective of locations lately….art galleries, creative spaces and outdoors. Ciscandra likes to (or more accurately, needs to) feel connected to the crowd. Places where she can walk into the audience are best. She will often ask the crowd to come join her on stage. Those moments are magical.
when you do walk into a crowd, are you giving? or are you getting? I mean… it’s not a James Taylor show where everyone knows the words and stuff. yours is haunting gorgeous poetry, your words are ones we wish we could write, but can’t. Roy’s music is the kind we wish we could play, but are unable… so where’s the connection? do they feel you? do you need them?
Ciscandra: Both. It’s cyclical. A good show understands the benefit of circular energy. If I’m constantly giving to a deadened crowd, my frequency will eventually, naturally drop. All art is a two-way street. The receiver can be a friend, or an enemy, but not a sleeping giant. For Los Angeles, I’m relatively surprised how many attentive eyes we have gotten, as I think most are looking to forget rather than re-member.
Roy: It feels amazing at live shows. When we are in the studio writing, typically Ciscandra will show me a new song she wrote, then together we will obsessively orchestrate the instrumentation, paying close attention to every detail. During that process we are in a vacuum, a creative bubble. All that goes away at live shows. At really good shows, it feels as if everyone in the room is connected and breathing as one.
Nostalghia – Homeostasis Got My Gun
your and Roy’s minds work differently than others…. than most, actually. so does suddenly having a shit-ton of people singing along to the words inside your head freak you out a bit? or is it cathartic?
Ciscandra: Solid blend of the two; trance-like AND freaky as shit. Funny Story: A few gigs ago, a rapper (not just any rapper, I’m talkin’ down and dirty, nitty gritty, hoes in different area codes, sort of rapper) was singing the words to “You + I” [authors note - one of my favorites] front row and center, proud and pure. I can’t remember if it made me cry, or drink Tequila.
your audience must be – has to be – one of the most diverse around. who/what did you see at your last show… besides the gangsta?
Ciscandra: It’s hard for me to see specific people when I play. I see an amoeba, a very colorful amoeba.
let’s get back to FB for a second – how important has social media been in your alls ridiculously fast rise?
Roy: What’s great about Facebook is that it is exponential. If you are doing something that people like, they tell others about you, and they tell others… and you end up connecting with a lot of people that you never could on your own without it. But like MySpace, it most likely will not be around forever. So it is important not to come to depend on social media as your only way to connect to your fans. But, yes. It has helped a lot. Dare I say… I Like it… ehhh, sorry….
take us through a day of Cisandra’s. and then take us through a day of Roy’s.
Ciscandra: Solitude, Coffee, Garlic Capsules, Vegan Cheese, Staring out my window, Thinking, Staring at shampoo bottles, Writing, Weird-ing myself out, Somehow magically cutting myself, Rubbing Alcohol, Piano, Guitar, Playing too hard on the guitar bleeding again, More Rubbing Alcohol, Thinking, Talking to people I don’t know and will never know, More Vegan Cheese, Making faces at myself while staring at my window, Writing, Realizing I don’t have a retirement plan, Not caring that I don’t have a retirement plan, Gin.
Roy: Wake up, Shower, Coffee, Listen to yesterday’s recordings, Delete what sounds bad, Work on what sounds good, Eat some veggies, Back to the recording studio, Then to the rehearsal studio for obsessive programming, Rehearse, Back to the recording studio, Listen to today’s recordings, Delete what sounds bad, Work on what sounds good, Wine.
nice. okay – there’s also a rumor of a few things… 1] Budapest this summer and 2] something about Nostalghia – The Opera?!
Roy: Yes, I heard that rumor too! heh. There are talks of a summer-long “cirque” style theater show in Budapest called “Nostalghia”. We would perform the show in one of the government theaters 5 or 6 nights a week. …(insert can kick here.)
Ciscandra: *zips mouth* *winks*
oh, now – c’mon. that’s mean. let’s at least theorize here… if – if – there was to be a Nostalghia-val [I've patented that, btw - big bucks], what would be going on there? performing art? snake healers? and a ton of elephants?
Ciscandra: Think Salvador Dali, meets Tim Burton, falls in love, procreates, births Alexander Mcqueen, fin. It’s a love story, aren’t they all?
okay – to the video. how in the world did you find a director who could almost see inside your alls heads? this guy seems to have known you both since birth.
Ciscandra: Roy knew John through a shared circle of people. He came to a few shows, was into it, made an offering (no animals were harmed), and within two days we shot it. It was a charm to work with him, a professional without a doubt. We may be collaborating on a second one in the not so distant future, if it’s in the stars.
I can promise that I’m not the only one who wanted to see it go on for another 5 minutes… kudos to John. let’s talk about ‘making the video’, as there’s some pretty funky scenes, outfits, effects…
Roy: I got to rub motor-oil saturated dirt from the parking lot of a downtown Los Angeles warehouse all over me. Good times!
Ciscandra: Designer Maggie Barry and I collaborated on one outfit, the other of which I put together myself the night before.
you all are always talking about what’s next, evolving, etc. any hints about the next video? ideas? secrets? and if you haven’t already been approached to score a film, that can’t be too far away, can it? one look at your website tells us while we might not know where you’re headed, it’s definitely going somewhere far…
Ciscandra: Truly we haven’t budded any thoughts on the next, yet. I would like to create something in simplicity, less elaborate, a bit more raw. I think it’s good to have a blend of both. Elaborate is great, but if you can’t strip it down to the bare bone, you aren’t working with much. I would assume we would choose a more “precious” song. That’s what they call them. Precious. I never knew I was precious.
Nostalghia – Sue, I Cide With You
best compliment you’ve gotten in the past few months?
Ciscandra: From my mother. She told me she now accepts that I’ll never properly close the Orange Juice bottle. I believe she even called it “cute.” If you knew how serious she was about closing bottles, you would understand the greatness of this. I suppose I’m going to have to let go of my teenage angst now, I’ll miss you hormonal imbalance.
tell us about this upcoming show. details. location. etc.
Ciscandra: March 16th! I’m excited about this one. We will be transforming the space. The place itself is already incredible though, HM 157 in Los Angeles. They deem it the “Church Of Fashion,” it’s a historical house, pitted, and made into a beautiful venue.
where do you stand on people taking videos, audio at a live show?
Ciscandra: I, personally, don’t like it much. I think it is more important to experience the show, through your own lens. Live video really can’t capture that. And photo snapping takes me out. But, with that said, I would never get angry at an audience member for partaking in the natural progression of technology. I’d just ask that they don’t spent the entire show doing so.
what can people expect to take away from it?
Ciscandra: My soul. Please somebody take it.
let’s talk about your and Roy’s art – is it music or this that is your escape? do they work together? or are they separate pieces of you?
Ciscandra: I paint when I have nothing to say. There is an art to shutting up.
Roy: I’m actually colorblind. But for some reason I find myself painting on occasion. I really have no idea what other people see when they look at my paintings. But that’s not really the point, is it?
and what can we expect from Nostalghia this year?
Ciscandra: No expectations, you’re going to give me a panic attack. Just hopes. Hope that this album we are working on comes out in 2012. Hope that I am forever indebted to give you all of me, always, raw, ugly, pretty, and real. Hope that a large tour is in place, to share moments with muted audiences, perfect compilations of silence and sound. Hope that I find my keys, so I can safely return to the mother ship. And then take all that hoping, and turn it into belief. Belief is a beautiful thing, you know.
well, kids – I know you’re busy. thanks for taking the time. this time next year [let's make this a thing, shall we? our once-a-year catch-up]. I have no doubt though that by then, I’ll be speaking to your publicist. but having met you both, drank with you both, followed you both, and listened to your album many, many times on many, many long bus rides around South America, I just want to tell you how proud I am. and how excited I am to see you all next week in LA!
Ciscandra: Thank you! We love you Aric! Oh and, I want to read your book, where can I get a copy?
Roy: Thank you Aric. Cheers!
you betcha. shall bring a book with me to LA… see you in a week!