Nostalghia : Electroacoustic Post Apocalyptic Gypsy Punk and Magic Minus the Tricks ...Updated for 2014
This is an Interview with singer / writer Cisandra Nostalghia
" A good artist, dies for their art with every piece that is made, every song that is sung, every word that is spewed. A good artist is constantly dying, rebirthing, dying, rebirthing. Welcome to Post Apocalyptic Gypsy Punk." - Quote from the About description online for the band Nostalghia.
Where to begin when describing Nostalghia and their music. Nostalghia is a band, a duo, an up and coming group, the biggest unknown musicians in America, someone the big labels are going to wish they had signed one day, and my personal favorite experimental indie group of recent years. It is clear that there is still a vibrant spirit alive in the American subpop indie scene yet, Nostalghia proves it.
The primary members of Nostalghia in their studio work are the dynamic duo of Ciscandra Nostalghia and Roy Gnan.
Ciscandra Nostalghia does vocals, piano, gee-tar, harp, autoharp, chakra bowl, strange sounds, and musical arrangements. Roy Gnan does percussion, piano, accordion, glitch, strange sounds, and musical arrangements. Both are integrated with one another as artists, Roy does as much writing as Ciscandra, but they work as a consummate charismatic duo. They share the magic and fire as they create the music of their hearts.
They claim their alchemical formula to be as simple as their history : Mars+Philly+Craigslist+JackDaniels+ShittyChildhood+FuckTheSystem+HackedSoftware+HackPlaying+ButterfliesAssholes+IAmRobotHearMeGlitch = Nostalghia.
This references many insider jokes about the band coming together, such as Ciscandra and Roy meeting initially through Craigslist and what can be assumed is one of their favorite libations.
Nostalghia as a live band also includes Claire Courchene on cello and Blake Estrada on acoustic bass. The live band is an entity unto itself and their studio sound is dark with overtones of harmonic dissonance.
The band is named Nostalghia, after the queen of the demonwebs herself Ciscandra. Although she is a sorceress who shares her power on stage with her band members, she is shy about this fact. Nostalghia does describe the sound of the group very clearly, but she was not in favor of the band name initially. She actually opposed it altogether, but it was Roy who insisted on it. So Nostalghia was given its name formally.
Reviews of their live performances are rave across the board.
“This girl can sing beautifully. Her voice is really unique and pure, which is saying a lot these days. I think I have my new indie female crush. This music is very human. It has a pure quality that is unmatched by other artists. They self released their debut album I Am Robot, Hear Me Glitch last October. I immediately bought it after hearing the songs. It’s only a matter of time until these guys are snagged up by a record label who will eagerly re-release this beautiful album to the masses. I’m listening to the album as we speak, and I’m amazed at what I’m hearing, ” said reviewer Will Oliver of Nostalghia.
Despite all pretenses, Ciscandra Nostalghia is the front person for the band. Yet it is she and Roy Gnan that are the yin to each others yang musically, creatively and collaboratively. They are a unit and not a singularity.
When asked when she started writing music by Karma S. in the Acorn Newspaper she replied, " I think music started writing me. I suppose three years ago I began turning my hidden poetry and scribbles to sound."
When asked what her musical influences are by the same interviewer she said, " You, if you were to sing loudly without caring who was watching. I like anything raw; blood on a canvas, something I can feel."
When asked about the creative process between herself and Roy, Ciscandra says, " Songs come to me in ten minute spurts, and out of virtually nowhere a song is born. But I don’t like newborns, so Roy takes the wailing thing and runs with it. Then we collaboratively produce and arrange. He has the best ear for percussion I’ve ever heard. I mean really, he puts glitch together like it’s second nature."
You can hear the energy in everything they create.
Currently they have their full length CD " I Am Robot Hear Me Glitch " and their most recent EP " Cool For Chaos " available online for download or purchase. A mix of both these albums and other tracks can be found on Reverbnation and Soundcloud. The Soundcloud tracks are digital perfection to listen to. Plus there are a few tracks there that you cannot find elsewhere, but they are not for downloading.
When it comes to their releases, they are amazing to say the least. If anything the listener should be prepared to be challenged and not be looking for the same old sardonic musical formulas that they have heard. Nostalghia combines an extreme and unusual mix of neo-classical arrangments layered atop industrial artistry, laced together with the sensibilities of great synthetic punk rock. There is nothing normal or progressive about this group and their music is original to a flaw. They have their sound defined and are not looking to be grouped in with anyone else.
Reading through their interviews and such, they don't make reference to too many outside influence. P.J. Harvey is mentioned, but for the most part they are inspired by the massive energies of the universe and the ritualism their music invokes. This is true for both their live and recorded performances. I have not had the chance to see them live myself, but the press paints a picture of them as hypnotic and hardcore. They are performance artists without the trappings, they are fashionable without the runways, they are dark without the typical gothic handstamp, and more importantly they are about music made for the fans.
I like what Aric S. Queen says about them, " I’m not the first person to say it – just write it. everyone who hears them and then hears that they’re not already snapped up by a major label says the same thing… they’re going to be big. very, very big.”
Peter Swenson of CD Baby said this, “Within the first month of their album’s release, it’s quickly risen to the top sellers for their genre.”
This is what the Nostalghia website has to say about the band, " Recently self-releasing their album “I Am Robot Hear Me Glitch,” mixed and mastered by the legendary 3-time Grammy Award Winning Dave Way (the man behind the console of Fiona Apple, Macy Gray, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow, and many more) Nostalghia tugs at the seams of all that seems impossible, clearing a path with undeniably honest tunes. From the depths of the record, to the heights of a stage, Nostalghia embodies and presents the mystical movement of a string quartet, percussion pit, piano, accordion, harp, chakra bowl, and of course Ciscandra Nostalghia, her body a vessel/voice a tool, making it impossible for any eyeball/earlobe to look elsewhere. Made for a larger arena, Nostalghia impacts the audience with a raw and deeply human (all the forgotten feelings) explosion, creating an other-worldly energy all of their own, re-membering the source of which music spews. Magic, minus the tricks. "
This article is being updated in 2014. It is clear now, that the song 'Cool For Chaos' has become their first great anthem.
" To change the world is to change personal perspective.In the hue of humanity I speak from the depths of the ocean where the unknown is not to be feared, but to be trudged together. Hand in hand, heart in heart, soul in soul! When the lines of our palms, and the people we have been hold little To the people we will be! When together we fight the battle of the human condition, when together we fight our innate suspicions When together we fight for the veneration of the visions we collectively have of peace. And soon humanity is human once again, with beating hearts, and sweaty palms, and eye contact, and eye contact, and eye contact. " - from the song Anarchy by Nostalghia on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 5:13pm. Lyrics as posted in Nostalghia notes on Facebook. An example of the many great lyrics that come from this uprising band in the year 2012, and well beyond that.
Nostalghia claims no specific music genre, they prefer the label of Post Apocalyptic Gypsy F**king Punk. They may loosely be labeled Electroacoustic Experimental Indie, but even that is too conformist for what they really are. Nostalghia is new world alchemy put to the background track of their industrial Los Angeles roots. They are the modern American punk rock band and something more futuristic yet to evolve. It is clear that Nostalghia are headed for the stars with their musical trajectory, but who knows to what constellation. Still it is almost to be assumed that 2012 should be a very good year for Ciscandra Nostalghia, Roy Gnan and the fans that are following with loyalty in the grandstands.
Magic, minus the tricks indeed.