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Heart-to-heart with kikomori: From Classical Roots to Digital Beats

Kikomori’s journey in music is a tapestry woven with early exposure to legendary artists, a decade of classical piano training, a serendipitous discovery of music production, and a relentless pursuit of his passion despite numerous challenges.

With a unique sound that blends R&B, electronic music, bedroom pop, and even influences from video game soundtracks, kikomori explores themes of digital life’s effects, loneliness, and nostalgia.

In today’s heart-to-heart interview, we have the privilege of delving into the musical world of kikomori, a rising indie artist who has just released a captivating new song, “Go Home,” in collaboration with Sala.

Heart-to-heart with kikomori: From Classical Roots to Digital Beats

Heart-to heart with kikomori
Heart-to heart with kikomori

From his initial foray into music inspired by the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Peter Gabriel, to creating viral mixtapes that garnered significant attention on SoundCloud, kikomori’s story is a testament to the transformative power of music and the importance of perseverance.

馃寘Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in music?

I’ve been exposed to music ever since I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of listening to Ryuichi Sakamoto and Peter Gabriel. When I turned 5, my parents signed me up for piano lessons, and I ended up studying classical piano for around 10 years, 3 of those at the Conservatory of Lisbon.

This was followed by a very long hiatus, in which I stopped playing piano completely and learned guitar for a while, but focused mainly on school and later, finishing college. After getting my bachelor’s degree in Biology (which has been gathering dust for the past decade) I decided to study piano again, focusing more on Jazz. While doing this, I created a mixtape of sorts, using acapella raps from the Netflix show Devilman Crybaby(2018) which had just come out. This was my first attempt at music production, which I had discovered by accident as an attempt to create content for YouTube and Facebook at the time, but I fell in love with it.

The first track from this mixtape ended up getting over 100.000 streams on SoundCloud, and thousands of shares on Facebook. After discovering the world of music production, I decided to go study at the Abbey Road Institute (in Amsterdam), where I honed my skills and learned most of what I know today about producing, mixing, and mastering music.

馃幎 How would you describe your musical style and the themes you explore in your music?

My musical style is influenced by many genres (and honestly whatever I’m into while creating music), but if I had to choose, I’d say it’s usually a mix of R&B, electronic music, and maybe bedroom pop (?). I’m also influenced by City Pop and have made a few hyperpop tracks, but that’s mostly it.

Besides that, I listen to a lot of videogame OSTs and I’d like to believe that some of that also transpires in my own work. The themes I explore in my music are usually around the effects of the digital world in our lives, loneliness, and nostalgia.

馃珎Is there a dream collaboration you would love to pursue in the future?

kikomori & Sala "Go Home".
kikomori & Sala “Go Home”.

There are a lot of dream collaborations that would kill me if they happened in real life. The ones that immediately come to mind are bo en, Porter Robinson, Kero Kero Bonito, Atarshii Gakkou, and Ginger Root.

鈿旓笍 What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your music career, and how did you overcome them?

Everything has been a huge challenge, but I’d say the hardest part was starting it. I started making music pretty late in my life, considering I started practicing it at 5. It took me 20 years to learn that I was always ready to create stuff, I didn’t need to learn more, practice more, or wait for the right moment to do stuff, those were all just mental blocks that I’d set up for myself.

Getting those 100k streams on SoundCloud while having no idea about what music production even was, definitely helped me understand that, and feeling more at ease about creating art and exposing myself.

馃 Is there anything you wish you had known when you first started as an indie artist?

It’s pretty much the same answer that I gave in the question above, but I wish I had known that I could just start making music without thinking too hard about the what-ifs.

I also wish I’d known just how much more there is to releasing music besides just making it. Being able to make music, and even mixing and mastering it is not enough, you need to know how to promote yourself, have very active social media accounts, have distinct visuals, and (if you don’t have a team) you also need to know how to edit video and how to correctly use targeted ads.

It involves a lot of time and money, and in my experience, I had to use most of both to get positive results. But I’m still learning how to do all that, so maybe my answer will change in a few years.

Heart-to-heart with kikomori: Lessons Learned

Cover Art for "Go Home" by kikomori and Sala. Artist: @jojodoboro (IG)
Cover Art for “Go Home” by kikomori and Sala. Artist: @jojodoboro (IG)

As our conversation with kikomori comes to a close, it’s clear that his journey in music is as inspiring as it is unique. From his classical piano beginnings to his unexpected discovery of music production, kikomori has continually reinvented himself and his sound.

If you want to be part of this musical journey, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Follow @kikomori to stay updated on his musical adventures and future projects.
  2. Don’t miss out on “Go Home” and experience the captivating blend of genres and heartfelt themes that define his work.
  3. Dive into kikomori’s world, and let his music take you on a nostalgic and introspective journey.

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