2021 is already shaping up to be a renaissance of sorts within the music industry! With the New Year comes spotlights on new music releases. Today we are highlighting lo-fi artist Kenny Nishikawa of San Jose, California.
You may have seen Kenny rocking the bass for Vana Liya or maybe you’ve seen him behind the scenes at a local Expendables show.
He has racked up quite the experience in the music industry to date, all the while coming into his own. His debut EP West River dropped on Jan 12th, incorporating elements of hip hop, jazz, electronica and alt rock. We caught up with Kenny to chat a bit about what comes next!
How did you get to where you are now in your career? What is your background in music and the industry?
- KN: Thanks for having me! Growing up, I’ve played in a bunch of different bands in the Bay Area and I really fell in love with making beats/producing music. In 2019, I started touring and working for The Expendables, learning the different aspects of the music industry and show production. Through them, I met Vana Liya and started playing bass and touring with her band.
Since you are both a musician and working behind the scenes, what skill do you think has been most helpful in adapting to all environments?
- Being easy to work with has really helped me the most. It’s introduced me to many amazing musicians and has really opened up a lot of opportunities for me. Check your ego at the door, work hard and good things happen.
What has been your favorite music memory touring with Vana Liya… The Expendables?
- Oh man, too many good times on Expendables tours! My favorite memory with Vana so far was doing a livestream in San Diego with her, Pepper and the rest of LAW Records. Dang, this question really makes me miss playing shows and touring.
Let’s talk about your new EP. What made you decide to go the instrumental route?
- I wanted a way to put out my own music and beats, aside from the projects and songs I work on with other artists. You can expect it all from me, though, in 2021 — full songs, remixes, collaborations and MORE beats!
What did the creative process look like for you in creating this album?
- For me, each song starts off with an inspiring sound, riff or sample. It might be a cool synth sound or guitar tone I really like, then I’ll keep building on top of it. I love locking myself up in the studio and making beats all day — that’s the fun part.
- Also, creating music with the homies is a big part of the process. Eli Reskow from Vana Liya’s band and Raul Bianchi from The Expendables both added lead guitar over a few of the tracks. My bro Rey Resurreccion played keys and helped me with production. I’m super excited for everyone to hear the album and look forward to hopefully getting back to playing shows soon!
Purchase or stream ‘West River’ EP: