As a music blogger, you build a lot of relationships with various artists around the world. Worst case scenario, you heavily fuck with one of their tracks but lay them down easy on the other submissions. Best case scenario, you're addicted and play every new track said artist sends you on repeat. MIKNNA was my best of cases. Last month the boys released their last sneak peak of the EP titled, "302". Today they have released 50 | 50 (Side A) EARMILK is here to deliver part 2 of the interview. Last summer we met at a bar in Santa Monica where we discussed MIKNNA's coming project and how it's truly a collaborative effort between all creatively stimulating members of their collective, NANA LIFESTYLE.
They initially opened up to me about 50 | 50 and the root of their project title.
Ken Nana: When you work with a new artist you don’t think about a lot of the business things as well. The reality is, when you’re working with different artist you have someone writing the song and the hook and producing the beat and how do you measure the worth? What percentage does that count for? So we really make it for the art and for the ego of the song. We said let's do it for the art and we’ll call it 50/50. We both put in the same amount of effort. In the room you feel it. If either of us feel a melody or a lyric we always talk about this back and forth. And with that you can’t calculate who put in what effort cause its so collaborative.
They further discuss the importance of feeling safe and comfortable inside your vulnerability. The whole crew involved in NANA Lifestyle really pushes creative limits with each other while also supporting each other's backbones. Sean Nana, Ken's brother, is responsible for the photography and a lot of the visual effects produced for MIKNNA.
Sean Nana: "We work collectively on shared goals and the main vehicle is the music. Everyone we fuck with believes in MIKNNA and the creativity behind it. I feel a lot of the creative behind it visualizes what they hear. Its inspiring."
Sure, the music is the main driving focus. But NANA Lifestyle is really a creative & collaborative community for all types of visions but it's also all for a greater good.
Ken Nana: People know we have the resources to make that vision come to life. We do everything from video to photography to visual to design. It’s cool to bring in all types of artists that aren’t doing just music but are really passionate and driven by their own craft.
Sean Nana: With the small amount of revenue we do make, we make sure it all goes into creating our project and supporting music programs in LA unified school district. How do we take what we do and make it align with everything we believe in? There is a bigger picture.
With all the creativity in the collective – it's important to keep the ying & yang and balance the business side. And that where Perry comes in.
Perry: I first moved to LA to become a musician. But I think it was just I watched how these two really connected and created something that was different. My head is very close to the ground when I hear new music. So I heard their first couple records and now I was like wow I really got something to sell. Managers really got to hustle to sell their artist shit. Them two together, I was like lets take this and let’s run with it.
And god damn have they ran. As Sean Nana has said, the crew really aims to hit all your senses, "We want to create experiences that aren’t just auditory, but visual as well."
As an pre-cursor to the album – Mike B whet our auditory appetite for the project.
Mike B: MIKNNA has the project 50/50 (All Seasons) with parenthesis and people don’t get it yet. It all comes from the creative team. Sean likes taking photos of the different elements and nature and what not. We came up with the project 50/50 in a bar and we said we are going to make some waves and it’s going to be split 50/50 but on top of that – it correlated with the music without us knowing. So a lot of these songs have seasonal elements, some are colder some are wavier. Every track serves a purpose within the cycle: so 50/50 embodies the seasonal elements you need in your eco system to keep it going but also represent balance. As generic as that may seem, you can’t have too much of anything. You need just the right amount of everything.
Ness, 302 and Trinity Ave were all previously released bangers that gave us tastes of the project but now MIKNNA has released the full project with flavor bursting feels. "Can't Hold You" is one of the colder tracks on the EP – when you listen you got that thizz face on, like when you hear a dirty track and look at your homies like "ayyeeee this filthy". But then the hook comes in and it's soothing as fuck. So basically the track starts off as a couple of ice cubes chillin (see what I did there?) until the chorus comes through and acts as a boiling water that creates a dry ice until everything melts into a warm water. Ken Nana lays down some analog spacey synths on "Abbot Kinney" to accompany Mike B vocals – which are more prevalent than rapping on this cut. "Euphoria" acts as a fierce finale for the project. Featuring vocals from Oakland based artist, Atosa – the track takes you on a dreamy angelic ride through space. And this is only Side A, can't even image what they are going to deliver with Side B.
Don't sleep on these dudes – you're going to regret it when all the homies singing along while you're taking a nap.