With dreamy tunes, and a unique, eclectic vibe; London based singer-songwriter Aiko is back with her latest project, a brand new 12 track album; Expiration Date. The album follows on from her two previous releases earlier this year, Down and Bad Influence; and brings us into a new era of Aiko’s musical journey and sound. Ahead of the album release, we sat down with the talented singer to chat about the record, her influences, and journey in music so far; as well as what’s to come. So keep on reading for our full conversation with Aiko!
TSU: For those who aren’t familiar; how would you best describe you and your music?
AIKO: Describing me and my music – I’d say I’m a blend of cultures and influences, I like writing about being alone, understanding yourself and everything, that gives me an emotional trigger. I’m a very energetic person, can be quite dramatic, but I’m also soft and I think that is often portrayed in my music. If I’d be a color, I’d either be a deep red or a royal blue.
TSU: Can you tell us a bit about your musical journey and how it began?
AIKO: I was always really close to music, I even have an old VHS tape where I point at myself and say “Now you sing, girl!”. But my actual music journey started when I was 15 and entered a music TV Show competition. It was my first time performing live in front of a large audience and doing it, I realised that this – performing and doing music is what I want to do in my life. Since then I started actively pursuing a musical career – 3 years later I released my first EP and since then it has been a fun ride! I was performing at many festivals, opening for some great musicians and traveling a lot.
TSU: Born in Moscow, raised in the Czech Republic and now London based; how would you say all these different cultures have influenced, and contributed, to your music and who you are as an artist?
AIKO: It’s honestly a blessing and a curse at the same time. I am happy to be a part of each culture in some way and have the opportunity to see it from the inside, on the other hand, there is this constant question of “What is really home?”. It became quite an important topic in my writing and just now, I finally came to the point where I am happy to belong to every place. Each place means something different to me and brings out a different side of me and I became a person to whom home isn’t necessarily a place somewhere, but rather a feeling within yourself. I think that also listening to music in different languages gives you a lot of inspiration and you can blend 3 different cultures into one.
TSU: You’re releasing your brand new album next month, congratulations! What can you tell us about the album, and the inspiration and creative process behind it?
AIKO: Thank you very much, I’m so excited! I chose the name “Expiration date” because I was going through a phase in my life when everything was changing and none of my old routines would really apply. The meaning behind the album is therefore that everything in our lives has an expiration date – be it a relationship, a good or bad situation, everything will end one day, life always unfolds. For that reason, we should enjoy it to the maximum, cherish every feeling we have, even the bad ones.
TSU: Prior to this, you released your latest single, Down, earlier this year, with a really sultry and addictive vibe. How did the instrumentation on the track come about?
AIKO: I’m really glad you like it! I wrote Down when I was really down. 🙂 Traveling a lot alone, so everything started feeling like an endless ride, that keeps on getting faster and that’s what I wanted to put in the song. The song is quiet in the beginning and escalates towards the end, which for me is when I get into the endlessly working state, sort of. I connected with Patrick James Pearson, we met up, discussed our ideas and he helped me make my ideas come to life.
TSU: Throwing it back to the beginning; you released your debut single, Tunnels, three years ago back in 2017. What was it about the track that made it stand out for you as your debut single? And how would you say you’ve changed or developed as an artist since then?
AIKO: Oh my, haha! At that time I was proud of the idea, it was one of the first tracks that I ever recorded and being quite a perfectionist, I decided to release it with the mindset of “You have to put something out someday, so why not with this one?”. But it’s quite funny, because the topics of my writing haven’t changed that much, I still write about solitude and existential topics, I’ve just improved in the ways I want to communicate my thoughts and stopped being afraid to open up about some feelings and emotions.
TSU: As well as your music, you also release some incredible visuals to go along with your tracks! Tell me a bit more about your creative process when it comes to music videos, and how you come up with the concepts?
AIKO: Thank you very much! When it comes to visuals, I always have a key idea of what I want the music video to be about, they are a visual way to express music – just like dancing and I think the writer knows best what the song is about and how he wants to enhance the idea when doing a music video. When I come with an idea, I then come to the director, we expand on the idea and brainstorm a bit and then make the magic happen!
TSU: So far, you haven’t had any collabs or features on your projects. Is this something we can expect on future projects? And are there any artists in particular you would love to collaborate with?
AIKO: That’s true, I guess it’s mostly because I haven’t really gotten around to it – I’ve collaborated with many producers, but when it comes to featuring someone on my track, I haven’t. But I’d absolutely love to work with some other artists! I just like to keep my lyrics and ideas to myself until I feel confident and good about it, so writing songs with other people can be quite tricky.
TSU: What is the most important thing you want people to take from your music?
AIKO: Honestly, I just want people to feel some emotions, find their own meanings in songs, attach memories to some of them, because that’s what music is made for. Other than that, don’t be afraid to be alone!
TSU: What is next for you, musically?
AIKO: Releasing the album, many festivals and concerts and actually getting back to writing and producing again, just at a slower pace!
Wonderful to chat to Aiko, make sure to give her brand new album a listen; and head over to her socials for more updates on the singer, her musical journey, and all her latest releases!