Artist Close-Up: An Interview With Shikobi – Hard Rock Heart With A Message

Shikobi is hard rock with a heart, and I had the pleasure to discuss with lead vocalists and brothers, Aaron and Luke Hession, how they define said heart. They aim to give rock a new edge through emotive vocals, brazen lyrics on social issues, and delicious fusions with Hip Hop. The combination of rhythms and words is like milk and honey to your ears. Hence, I was eager to discover what made these Australian brothers move to LA and strike it for the musical stars.

Diandra: You say that we need to address key social issues but there is a time to celebrate the lighter side of life. Do you believe can and should do both?
Aaron: Yeah, 100%. I think musicians use music to express what is in their heart at that time, and if what’s in you is politically based or socially based its going to come out. And I think if what drives you is just about living life and being happy then you can express that, as well.

Diandra: I agree. Yet, there are some that believe music/ musicians are not political enough or have lost their socially conscious edge, compared to the 60’s and 70’s. Meanwhile, others say that musicians get too involved. Do you think music has lost its social edge or needs it more?
Aaron: Umm, maybe. I think through the decades we have lost big, powerful bands that had those messages, but that can be the change of the music pop landscape. I think, in terms of the way we make music, I have to feel something about the topic. Otherwise, I won’t do it to the best of my ability or it won’t be a good song. So, I definitely create music about something I feel strongly.

Diandra: My reasoning for such political based questions is that you have your EP coming Pull The Trigger, with a similarly titled track about gun control This is one of the biggest, most sensitive times in America to have that discussion.
Aaron: When we wrote that song we did have any particular event fueling us, we just thought it was ludicrous how these things {acts of gun violence} are going to keep on happening. The song just sort of cam to us. It just came from the underline fact that these problems keep occurring because guns are so accessible to everyone, and when are going to make some political change about that.

Diandra: There seems to be an elaboration that you guys are not just hard rock but emotive rock. What is the difference?
Aaron: I don’t actually know that. I think its all subjective, and what is your opinion on what type of music it is. I think, for us, we are a hard rock band with some funk and Hip Hop influences too.
Luke: I agree with Aaron too that its all subjective. The physical groove part to it, is up to you, in terms, of how you move to the music. The emotive part of our music, for me, is that when, I close my eyes, I feel something. You know like, listening to the song’s soul when I’m hearing the music.

Diandra: What was the biggest cultural difference and similarity coming from Australia to the U.S. (L.A), in terms of the music scene.
Aaron: Probably the biggest difference, I would say, is the rich history L.A. has in live music. There are just so many venues and such an arts and culture scene here. I think that has been the biggest difference I have felt and encountered. The biggest similarity, I would say, is that, from all the countries’ we have traveled to, America and Australia are the same in terms of day to day living.

Diandra:  LA has such a wide landscape. In one corner you can find filthy rich Rodeo Drive and in another you can be find the poorest street. Does the varying world of LA inspire your musically?
Luke: Our songs are just about what flows out of us, at the time, and we grab a hold of something and turn it into a song. So its more about time then space for how we are influenced. But, there is no doubt that LA has, indirectly, inspired us in terms of location because all our influences come from the situations we are in. So there is no doubt that it has influenced our song-writing.

Diandra; You had a bit of a following in Australia, so I am curious to know what was your biggest motivation to kind being a “reboot” of your career in the States? 
Aaron: Where we lived in Australia, it really didn’t have a music scene, so we were traveling quite frequently just to play. So to really pursue our music we needed to pack up and move to the city. So a big move was imminent, and we thought, if we really have to pack and move everything, why not go to the music capital of the world.

Diandra: What would you say is the most exciting thing about being a “band on the rise”?
Aaron: We feel like this is the start of something, and it is a really exciting time. We just had our first single just come out, and our EP is going to come out too, and we’re in the process of making some videos for it.
Luke: Yeah, it’s an exciting to time for all of us collectively as a band and as individuals it’s a lot of firsts. We want it so much, and we are excited for what is to come. We have been doing the groundwork, and playing as many live shows as we can. We are just trying to ride it out as long as we can.

Diandra: What was the greatest advice you have ever received?  
Luke: Something that really stuck with me when I was a kid, and I’m sure that it came from me getting into trouble and doing stupid things and being judgmental of people. He said, “Pull the log out of your own eye before you worry about the splinters in others”. What it meant to me was don’t worry on picking on other people’s imperfections, just worry about getting yourself better. And that really relates to our music as well. Don’t try to compare yourself or criticize others, just try to be the best you can be.
Diandra: I really love that quote! I’m going to take it. (they laugh)

Diandra: What is a random fact about you?
Aaron: I was born in a tent in a hippie congression in the rainforest of Nimbin. We spent the first part of our life in this hippie commune surrounded by naked women playing guitars and singing by campfires.
Diandra: Now that is random, and explains why you guys went into music. (they laugh)

I just want to elaborate how kind these guys were and concise with their ideas. There answers were always to their point and emotion, which really impressed me. Moreover, their passion and drive for their music and rise in this industry is absolutely infectious. They want their dreams with every fiber of there being, and, after speaking with them, I want them to accomplish every single one of their dreams, as well. I swear, talent and heart is an amazing gift, and Shikobi has it.