A young man from Boyle Heights, California sits down with OneEDM and welcomes us into the mind of NKRIOT. Kristopher Escajeda is an innovator, a pioneer, an inventor, a producer, a musician, and a singer-songwriter who’s passion climbs the mountain of success. To Kris, it’s not just about him, it’s about the collective and we were lucky enough to hear the story behind the vision and concept of NKRIOT.
OneEDM: You have your own label, NKRIOT Productions. Can you please tell us a little about that and what are some long-term goals you have for it?
NKRIOT: Its more of a production company than a label. I’ll tell you how it all started. I basically shelved five albums in two years all with ten songs each. Five albums in two years were shelved because every album that I made I tried to pitch it to a label but all they wanted to do was destroy it, take it apart and redo it with different producers and someone who sings “better”. They were interested but didn’t touch any of my work because of the lack of likes and followers I had on social media. After 15/16 years of creating music on my own, I became frustrated and decided to put it out on my own label. I see myself as more a think tank when it comes to building and doing stuff for others, so it became more of a production company than a label. For example, a band I’m producing called Dream Clinic works with NKRIOT productions. We are working with them on all their material from music videos, photo shoots, and albums. This company is here to help other artists not just myself. They own everything, I don’t want anything from it but to help. Who knows where it’ll go, maybe it’ll be a big company someday. It’s more about helping out and building a big community.
OneEDM: Please tell us about how you got involved in Art Battle?
NKRIOT: Not only am I very full force in my music, I am a full force networker. I wanted to be apart of something bigger than myself. I know this curator working for the KGB Gallery named Juan Rodriquez, through him I was introduced to Natalie Gonzalez who introduced me to Jeff Hamilton who through a party which I wasn’t planning on going to but decided to go anyway. I was talking to someone at the party and the subject of doing something bigger than yourself came up which is exactly my whole point in what I do ( something to inspire and help the youth out there). I eventually was introduced to Craig and Simon who run Art Battle. I invited them to one of my shows and the rest was history.
OneEDM: You are talented not only in music but in your technical skills. For example, “The Riot Lab” which you constructed yourself. Have you ever considered maybe later down the road, releasing production and stage equipment designed by yourself?
NKRIOT: We’re working on that right now. I’m teaming up with a very talented individual named Carlos Sanchez. He’s a nerd just like me and has a very lovely family. He messaged me on Facebook to play at his wife’s party, we talked and I told him, dude lets put something together and start building hardware. What I want to do is build hardware that lasts. If it breaks down you would download the PDF instructions, we send you the parts to fix it and you do it yourself. Its all in the works and the sampler we are building now is a prototype coming out in about six or seven months.
OneEDM: You’re all about creativity, what advice would you give someone who is struggling to tap into their creativity and really manifest their dreams like you have?
NKRIOT: Well first I would ask, why are you struggling to manifest? What is holding you back? Why do you feel scared? You have to find what you’re good at, master it and see how you can incorporate it into something you want to do. If you’re struggling or broke it doesn’t matter, what do you have access to? Look at your surroundings, don’t let a lack of resources hold you back.
OneEDM: Your next album is due later this year and the first single is “Shogun 8.0” due March 2nd. Can you give us some details about that?
NKRIOT: The album is called Virtual Climax Recording “VCR”, We are in the works of doing our album EP release in May as a 3D ballet performance.
OneEDM: Nkriot and Kris, how are they alike how do they differ? Is the mental structure and spirit of Nkriot the true essence of Kris?
NKRIOT: Yeah, yeah. There’s a lot of mixed emotions of individuals trying to split the two but I really feel like NKRIOT is my true nature. I really do. It took a long time to be connected to that individual.
OneEDM: Please tell us about your first performance at the Linkedin HQ in NYC!
NKRIOT: One of the songs I will play at Art Battle was finished, mixed and mastered on the plane to New York. When we landed I thought, wow I’m in New York, I have been waiting all my life to get here. When I got there it felt like home. It’s so diverse and everyone is on point, and aggressive, and moving, and that’s me. When I went to the Linkedin HQ, it was an amazing facility, the people were amazing and the individuals who really grasp what I’m doing really appreciate it. We ended up staying the rest of the weekend and got the full experience of New York from clubs and restaurants. I almost stood there permanently, I told my manager I wasn’t gonna fly back haha.
OneEDM: Give us your definition of a true pioneer?
NKRIOT: Someone that never gives up, someone who is always moving forward and never looking back. Someone who’s not afraid of mistakes and not afraid of failure. Failure is key to success because when you fail and when you fall you learn how to fall. Someone who does something no one has seen before. Somone who pushes the envelope and who inspires others to be more inspired than the time you were inspired to be doing what you’re doing. Don’t create you as the idol, create the idea as the idol. Praise the idea and the concept.
OneEDM: Do you have any affirmations that you say to yourself regularly?
NKRIOT: “We can do this”. When I am feeling alone I talk to GOD or my creator.
OneEDM: Your song “American Dream” has a line from the movie “My Dinner with Andre”. Can you share your views on modern living in our culture and do you think the chase for the American dream has created robotic slaves out of us?
NKRIOT: The whole concept behind NKRIOT is to humanize the robot. He’s a robot but he’s being intimate and emotional with his audience. The American dream is in regards to my father being in the military and myself being born during the Regan years, with vaccinations and me and my mother’s opinion on how harmful they are. Basically, we all work and work in this system but none of it is making us happy just robots.
OneEDM: Who is your biggest support system? Who do you go to for advice? Who’s your rock?
NKRIOT: My grandparents. To decompress and have conversations, it would be them. Thier old school but with a young mentality. I can talk to them, they get me, they understand me. They love and appreciate me. They tell me out of all the kids in the family and how I’m the only one that stuck to what they wanted to do. When I took them to see the ten-story billboard, they got emotional and started crying. It was beautiful.
OneEDM: What is one of your favorite parts of “The Riot Lab”, which particular feature on it do you enjoy executing the most ?!
NKRIOT: The Arpeggiator and the reverb pump. I really like that because it really captivates the whole monotonous rhythm and “flow” that I have in my life. Its moving forward but repetitive. I’m relentless, I’m on repeat but moving forward like the universe. What it’s developing into and what I really want is this progressive avant-garde symphonic synthetic orchestra touch to it.
OneEDM: How does it feel receiving support from locals and fellow artists, especially after what you have done for the community, receiving love from them must feel good no?
NKRIOT: It’s nice, for a while the people whom I wanted their acknowledgment and support weren’t giving any. Now they are seeing how awesome our work is and that feels great. I feel it’s a good thing that they weren’t always supportive because I don’t ever want to feel comfortable. I always want to be on my toes and feel uneasy because it puts me in survival mode which allows me to produce more. I don’t like things given to me I like to work on it, you’re more appreciative of things that you earn.
OneEDM: Since you compose your music on acoustic instruments first, before heading into production, is there a potential to see a Nkriot ballad?
NKRIOT: I have thousands of songs in acoustic. I like them a lot acoustically too. I would love to do an all string or acoustic album with a choir so that’s the goal.
OneEDM: Do you have any dream collaborations?
NKRIOT: I really want to jam with DeadMau5. The more research I do on him I learn how he doesn’t care what anybody says, he’s so cutting edge. His whole “I’m gonna do me” mentality I really identify with. Also, Michael Mcdonald, I would also like to tap into Stevie Wonders stems and remix them or have the opportunity to do remixes of Marvin Gaye stuff. Mike Snow as well. There is a list that I have. My ultimate dream would be to have Jeff Goldblum do some dialogue on one of my tracks. Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Michael J Fox and Howard the Duck are all inspirations that motivated me and got me to be the entity that I am today.
OneEDM: What is the key to a successful performance? Losing control or having all of it?
NKRIOT: When I get on stage and perform I feel like I don’t have control. It just happens, you gotta just trust it.
A unique and heartfelt artist in the electronic music scene with more to offer than any current musician out there. NKRIOT has a major arsenal of robotic-soul in store for the future and here at OneEDM we couldn’t be any more ready for it.
A special thank you to NKRIOT and Marisha Weikart for their much appreciated time.
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