INTERVIEWS

MIKNNA Festival Debut Interview: Global Dance Festival 2017

Born and bred in Los Angeles, the up-and-coming electro-soul duo, Miknna debuted their first festival appearance at Denver’s biggest summer EDM event, Global Dance Festival 2017. The duo comprised of vocalist, Mike B. and multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Ken Nana, are making waves in the electronic music scene with their unique, R&B, electronic style. Their first collaborative EP 50|50 (Side A) has grasped the attention of millions after its premiere on Mass Appeal and they have since been named the “Forefront of a New Movement.”

We had the pleasure of sitting down with MIKNNA after their staggering performance on the Tundra stage to hear a little more about their upcoming tour and what’s in store for these revolutionary artists.

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OneEDM: So you just got off the stage- What a great performance! Is this your first time performing in Colorado?

MIKNNA: We performed at CU Boulder, for an Asian Organization who wanted to book us. So being, Colorado, of course, we wanted to go check it out. The show was in a big field and we played to like 10 people, but we still killed it, it was a great time. 

OneEDM: Well you obviously got some fans in Colorado because now you’re back! And I saw that this was your first festival appearance too? How was the experience playing at your first festival at Global?

Mike: It is very new, scary and nerve racking, but it is definitely exciting 

Ken: Yes, it is new territory for us. We are excited to just be able to get out of LA. We have done three shows in LA so far and one show in Stockholm.

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OneEDM: Wow, Sweden?

Mike: Yeah, we got booked in Sweden two months after our new song dropped and now we are here, this being our first official stop on our 50|50 tour. 

OneEDM: Where does the name “50|50” come from and what does this tour mean to you?

Mike: 50|50 is our first project together, it’s an EP, called 50|50 (Side A). When we originally started making music, we didn’t have the intention of working together as a duo. We were just working on music because Ken had amazing production and he thought I was dope too. And from that, we started making a few records that sounded completely different from our usual styles. It hit us one day as we were sitting in a bar and we just decided that whatever we do from here on out we are going to split it 50|50. 

Ken: It allows us to really get rid of all ego in the music. It doesn’t matter how much I contribute or how much he contributes and what we do at the end of the day, we just wanted the music to be the best product and the biggest ego in the room. So 50|50 is more of a philosophy and balance. 

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OneEDM: So I noticed that your alias is also split 50|50 as well. Did that just click with you guys too?

Ken: We went through so many corny names, we won’t even tell you what some of those names were. But we through it all on a big white board and fit together what made sense. and Miknna just kind of stuck.

 Mike: And to add to that we googled Miknna, and in urban dictionary, “Miknna” is the baddest chick in the room. And also Terrance McKenna who experimented a lot with spiritual drugs and philosophy which we thought was fitting.

OneEDM: So you are both from Los Angeles. Would you say that the Los Angeles music culture has influenced your music?

Ken: Both of us were born and raised in LA and that LA culture has a huge influence on us from all types of genres. It’s not just hip-hop or R&B or electronic it has everything. So growing up in LA really shaped our sounds. I think the biggest influences that we kind of connected on was in the early 2000s/late 90s like Nelly, Pharrell mixed with a little bit of Daft Punk, Jay Z, Little Dragon.

Mike: and Michael Jackson. 

Ken: I grew up playing classic rock with my dad as well so we pulled all of these influences from different areas and Mike also brought new things to the table that I wasn’t familiar with.

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OneEDM: So you guys are like Yin and Yang, you seem to compliment each other so well.

Ken: It’s that 50|50 

OneEDM: 2017 being a real break out year for Miknna, what are your goals moving forward? Any dream venues? Collaborations?

Mike: Red Rocks for sure, that is definitely a goal of ours. Also Coachella, Glastonbury, and more California festivals.

Ken: And again, doing shows is still new to us, so we are still kind of learning what we are in to. We are hermits when it comes to being social and we spend a lot of time in the studio. All of our creative energy is balled up inside so it’s cool we have the opportunity to get out and experience playing shows.

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OneEDM: I also read that your first headlining show is coming up in a couple weeks to kick off your 50-50 tour. Is there a particular stop on your tour that you are looking forward to the most?

Mike: We have Moonrise festival in Baltimore that we are excited for and New York.

Ken: The biggest stop we are looking forward to is the Roxy in LA because that’s our homecoming show and we are going to bring out some special people and because it’s home we will have a lot of love there and we will have a bigger production.

OneEDM: We have a new style section on our site. Are there any particular brands are you repping as of late? 

Mike: Swap Meet out of LA!

OneEDM: How do you choose what you’re going to wear on stage?

Ken: I like going and finding weird vintage clothing. I try to find like vintage Hawaiian shirts or 90s style clothing. I just like to wear something that is visually stimulating. 

OneEDM: How would you describe your sound to people who have never heard electronic music before?

Ken: I would say our genre is Electro-soul. Everything is played out and there is feel to it. I’m not programming things and clicking buttons and sequencing, I am physically playing in real time. The biggest thing about Miknna is that even though we are using some electronic sounds, we keep the soul in the music. 

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OneEDM: Thank you so much for sitting down with OneEDM. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you guys! 

Robin Voegtle
the authorRobin Voegtle