As part of his current North American tour, alternative-pop vocalist and songwriter Mikky Ekko will make his way to Toronto’s The Mod Club this Saturday the 17th. While at his hotel in Portland, AMBY recently gave Ekko a ring ahead of the show. Enjoy our exclusive interview below as we discuss his favourite cities, collaboration wish list, loving meet and greets, top secret new music, and that time a fan created a rap for him. All tour dates for the 2015 Time Tour can be found here.
AMBY: Mikky! Welcome to AMBY.
Mikky Ekko: What’s up, Alicia? How are you?
AMBY: I’m great, thanks. How are you doing?
Mikky Ekko: I’m great, great, great.
AMBY: I’m very glad we could make this chat happen as we’re big fans of yours at AMBY.
Mikky Ekko: Oh nice! Chill [laughs]. That’s great. I’m glad we were able to make time.
AMBY: So you’re currently on the 2015 Time Tour. Where does our interview find you today?
Mikky Ekko: In Portland at our hotel.
AMBY: Have you had any time to explore the city yet or have you just arrived?
Mikky Ekko: I’ve been to Portland a couple of times, so I’m familiar with the city. I know they’ve got Uber now which they’ve been fighting for a while, but for people who aren’t from Portland, it’s really helpful to get around. I really like Portland a lot, honestly.
AMBY: Are there any forthcoming cities that you look forward to playing or re-visiting?
Mikky Ekko: I’m excited to play all of them. I always love playing New York because I feel like we have so many return fans there. I also love playing Minneapolis because it always feels like it’s out in the middle of nowhere on tour, which it’s not, but at the end of the day I think there’s such a supportive fanbase up there. I’ve always had such a good turnout there.
AMBY: Before North America, you played some shows throughout Paris, Oslo, and Munich which looked like a lot of fun from the shots I saw on your Instagram. What was the experience like of playing shows there? Do you find any differences when comparing the North American crowds to those ones?
Mikky Ekko: Well, they speak a lot more German for sure.
AMBY and Mikky Ekko: [laughs]
AMBY: Good one.
Mikky Ekko: Other than that… It was interesting because I played a few festivals and then I played a few headlining shows. It was amazing to see so many people come out at a place I’ve never played. I think that’s what’s really exciting – to see how supportive the community is in Germany. It was interesting because I only speak a tiny, tiny bit of German from when I was a kid and my aunts used to speak German… It’s crazy. It was really cool.
AMBY: You’re doing a lot of meet and greets on this tour, which is great to see. How have those been going?
Mikky Ekko: Awesome. I do that shit because I love it. It’s important because it’s one of the first times you go out to connect to the people who show up to support you. There’s nothing more important than family on the road because that’s what keeps you grounded.
AMBY: Meet and greets are of course about the fans. What’s one of your most memorable fan encounters?
Mikky Ekko: [laughs] Well, I had one fan who came up to me in after we played a festival who came up with a whole rap that he’d written for me.
AMBY: No way. An entire rap? Was it any good?
Mikky Ekko: It basically went on for a minute and it was actually a decent rap. It was basically the last thing I was expecting in Germany.
AMBY and Mikky Ekko: [laughs]
Mikky Ekko: That was pretty interesting. The other thing is how there are all of these people who have created other Instagram or Twitter accounts to help promote. For me, getting to meet the people who really help support your stuff is so cool.
AMBY: Being that it’s the Time Tour that you’re on, we must discuss your debut record. There were a lot of fantastic co-writers on Time, ranging from Benny Blanco to Fraser T Smith. Who would you love to team up with in the future to write a song with?
Mikky Ekko: Ohhhh that’s so hard for me. I think maybe a hip-hop artist or something a little more obscure. I’ve had Brian Eno on my wish list. I kind of keep a running wish list which has Brian Eno, Vince Staples, Vince Staples, Drake. I really love what they do. There are so many really awesome girl singers out right now, too, so it’s so hard for me to choose.
AMBY: I know how you’re always creating. Being that Time was released back in January, have you started writing or conceptualizing material for a new record?
Mikky Ekko: Yes. But I can’t talk about that right now…
AMBY: It’s still at the hush hush stage?
AMBY and Mikky Ekko: [laughs]
AMBY: Okay, I won’t pull any teeth!
Mikky Ekko: It’s top secret.
AMBY: That’s exciting at least. That’s good news.
Mikky Ekko: For me, it just never stops, you know? It’s about pushing ahead all of the time.
AMBY: I remember listening to the record when it first came out, and the songs were really poetic when it came to the lyrics. Songs like Watch Me Rise and Burning Doves are more like really lovely stories. Did you look at songwriting in that sense?
Mikky Ekko: I don’t consciously try to make it more poetic, but I do try to find a very specific space. For me, that space is somewhere between the abstract and the real. The lyrics are almost secondary to a feeling that I get and I think, for the most part, they end up being coming once I start singing to a vibe. It’s basically like creating a space – I know, I’m I jumping all over the place here! – like how a bat uses sonar to figure out where it is and what’s in front of it. I do a very similar thing when I’m trying to find a particular emotional space, and when I think that I’ve found that, that’s where the words end up taking shape whether it’s the forest, the beach, or an isolated room. I really try to get the production and lyrics right for that feeling.
AMBY: Going into this interview, our readers wanted to know a bit more about the man behind the music. When not touring, writing, or performing – what hobbies do you enjoy partaking in?
Mikky Ekko: I like soccer and I really like to run. When we get to a new city, I like to go out for a run in the mornings. A lot of the time, I try to buy a new album or pull something off Spotify. I try to listen to new music. Other than that, I’m honestly working on new music [laughs].
AMBY: That’s awesome and just about wraps everything up! I can’t wait to hear some new tracks from you. Thanks for the interview today.
Mikky Ekko: I love it. Thank you and speak soon.
Thank you Mikky Ekko, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout