Miki Fiki - "Stranger"

Miki Fiki

For those new to Nashville, planning on moving there, or just regular visitors, there is a really great organization called YEP Nashville. They have a Facebook group where musicians, songwriters, and people on the business side can network and connect. Check it out here. This is where I met Ted Hartog, lead vocalist, and keyboardist of Nashville based Hip/Pop band Miki Fiki. In late 2017, they released the single "Stranger," featured here. When I listen to this song, I hear a very cool funky, soulful, pop vibe. Ted's voice reminds me a little of Jamiroquai. A talented new band that formed in 2017, with a really diverse and fun sound. 

Miki Fiki is a DIY band playing in Nashville, and touring regionally. They are looking to connect with more regional bands to put together great shows. Within only their first year as a band, they've already been playing several shows in Nashville, and have expanded out regionally into Alabama, Virginia, and Ohio. Their goal is to connect with talented and like mineded DIY musicians to pair up with for upcoming shows, and to share their audiences with. Check out "Stranger," and the brief interview with Ted below. 

Go see shows, meet people, make stuff! 

What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?
It’s a song about the conflicting feeling of being the one to rip the rug out from under yourself. I wanted to be angry for feeling distant from friends I used to be close with, and I spend the whole song trying to convince myself that’s true. But the questioning in the chorus speaks to the deep-down knowing that it’s me, that the responsibility is on me. Defeating, but also hopeful that only I have to adjust to get back to where I want to be. 

Who are your musical influences? 
Ben Folds and The Avett Brothers guide me through the songwriting. Anderson .Paak, Terrace Martin, and BadBadNotGood guide us through some of the musicality. We all bring somewhat diverse musical tastes to the mix, so it’s not always clear right away who influences a song. 

Which books, documentaries, blogs, or podcasts do you share the most with other musicians? 
Logan and I listen to The Daily podcast and can often be found in public saying “have you listened to The Daily today?” to gauge friendships. I also try to share whatever information I glean from the Ted Radio Hour podcast with whoever I can find. Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” has also made the rounds. If you’ve got any good documentaries please let me know. 

If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone to help you with that? 
In terms of spreading our music, just tell your friends about us and like us on Facebook. The biggest thing we need help with right now is touring. We’re sending all the emails and getting decent responses, but we need help finding bands/artists active in their local scene. We’ve found a great group of friends who are passionate about what they do here in Nashville, and we’re desperate to find that elsewhere.

What’s your definition of making it? 
Making it for me is being financially independent playing music, and staying fulfilled by it. The bands I admire not only get to play music for a living, but they bring joy to their art every night. They have longevity, and I want to create and continue to mold something sustainable enough to be enjoyable for a long time. 

Connect with Miki Fiki:

Remedy Drive - "Sunlight on Her Face"

Remedy Drive .jpg

"Nashville based DIY Alternative Rock group, Remedy Drive releases a new music video for "Sunlight on Her Face" with a dream of freedom. This is the lead single off of their crowdfunded album "The North Star." Over the last four years, lead singer, David Zach spent months of his life undercover in redlight districts and brothels in Southeast Asia and South America finding evidence of human trafficking. Fans of Remedy Drive have raised over $250K for the nonprofit organization, Exodus Road, who are focused on rescue missions to save women from human trafficking, investigate, prosecute and arrest offenders of these crimes. The organization has already rescued 885 survivors and made 369 arrests. 

This album is Remedy Drive's 7th and 4th independent release. They raised over $37k via Kickstarter, completely independent, meaning with no label or management. Remedy Drive is the definition of DIY success in today's music business, and they're doing it with a positive message and a mission. Their goal is to inspire ordinary humans to live with a "dangerous unselfishness" such as Martin Luther King. T-Shirts and apparel for this new album and the upcoming tour have been made by girls who are survivors of human trafficking and have have been rescued. They are made in facilities focused on rehabilitation and restoration. 

We're excited to kick off this "NEW MUSIC DISCOVERY" series with an inspiring DIY artist, bearing a positive message to spread more love and kindness in the world. Watch this video for "Sunlight on Her Face" and share it with your friends. 

An interview with the band. 

What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?
I spend a lot of time volunteering with an abolitionist organization called The Exodus Road.  We do undercover work in brothels and red-light districts around the world to find evidence of sex trafficking.  We use that evidence to partner with local authorities to make raids, arrests and rescues.  I have met so many girls that are stuck in the sex trade.  I wanted to tell their story through melody. 

What advice would you give to a musician or songwriter just getting started in their career?
You have something so unique to offer the world.  Your voice is the only one there is.  No one else has it.  I spend a lot of time finding inspiration for song writing which means listening to a lot of music and reading and paying attention to the way other people phrase things.  But then I phrase things a certain way and I spend a lot of time putting notes together with space between them and I'm going to do that differently than anyone else.  And that's important.  Your artistic contribution to the world is unique so don't withhold it and don't underestimate it.  

What does the music industry need more of?
I love honesty in music.  Honest lyric but also honest melodies.  And honest production.  We need more humanity in the way we arrive at our beats and our synth lines.  I was watching some  Smashing Pumpkins from the 90s last night - the way Billy would just scream those notes out - he wasn't even hitting the note.  Neither did Eddie Vedder and neither does Brandon Flowers at times.  It hovers around the note.  And that's what makes it so compelling.  We need to get the sense from songs that we're reaching for something - not that we've arrived.  We can't strip our art of the longing.  

What’s your definition of making it?
I always thought making it would look a certain way.  What's the metric of success?  Steams, tickets sold, albums sold?  What did we set out do do when we picked up that guitar for the first time and plugged it in?  Was it about arenas and money?  There's a path towards that but it's not for all of us.  If that's how we design "making it" then it will determine what we write, who we write for and why we are making music.  But if the goal of "making it" is simply to put out great music for anyone who will hear it - music that will be part of someone's life - they'll listen to our songs when they've had a hard day or a great day.  They look to our songs for inspiration.  That's making it.  Sometimes that will lead to fame and fortune which should just be the icing on the cake.  Making music that is important and honest and moving - that's making it in my mind.  As a relatively obscure indie rock and roll band that's trying to fight slavery with our music - we've left labels, management and booking - we're able to pay the bills by touring and through the support of some very devoted fans - this is more than I ever dreamed of.  And I'm so thankful for it.  

Get in touch with Remedy Drive: