Known for creating drippy and compelling visuals for brands such as Disney and Apple, Mishko continues to expand his creative repertoire into the music world. Inspired by the protests following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Mishko created Changing, a groovy track with a powerful message, reminding us not to let up and to keep fighting.
Along with the track, the video showcases a mix of his signature highly saturated and textured visuals plus some raw footage of Black Lives Matter protests throughout Los Angeles. We got an opportunity to chat with Mishko to learn more about his process and aspirations for the future.
You have been widely known as a visual artist, has music always been a world you wanted to explore?
Music has actually been my first love from the start! I grew up being dragged to all sorts of music festivals and hippy gatherings with my mom where they would jam out acoustic blues/swing/jazz/bluegrass until four in the morning. Too many times to count I’d be nestled up in her standup bass case like a giant sleeping bag. I got into digital art and design to make posters, shirts, album covers, etc. for my high school band! I wanted us to look like a touring act, not just another local band haha 🙂
How does the visual aspect of a song contribute to your process when making music?
I’ve learned as I’ve gone further into both that it’s all one and the same. Sound and color are just waves. We interpret them through the two different senses of hearing and sight, but it’s really the same source in the end. Realizing that has really opened up my production game. Layering is much the same in photoshop as it is in Logic or whatever production software you use. For example, in Photoshop I might have one layer that’s really crisp, and then I’ll overlay another layer of the same image at a lower opacity and blurred to give a soft glow that rounds out the atmosphere of the composition. I treat reverb and delay as kind of an auditory glow. All the effects and mixing techniques have so many direct parallels to crafting visuals.
The protest scenes are really powerful, did you shoot them yourself?
Yep, when shooting them I had no idea I’d end up using them for anything. I was just documenting some of the moments while in the thick of it. As soon as I wrote the song though, I knew that’s the story I needed to tell in the video. Living in downtown LA during 2020 definitely changed me forever.
Now that the protests have slowed down a bit in LA but police brutality is still very much active, how are you continuing to be an ally and supporting BIPOC?
Through my art/platform I’m continuing to try and remind people and push for change. The reality is we have such an inundation of new issues daily lately, it’s really hard to stay on top of it all. My focus is shifting towards the presidential election which I see as a hugely important moment for moving towards equality. I’m becoming less optimistic daily about how that will go down, but regardless, there’s still a lot of hope and light in the world. I have a lot of very long term plans to build a lowkey empire and then use that as a catalyst for change on a larger scale. For now, I’m just doing what I can through my social media presence. I’m going to do some shirt runs and donate the proceeds. Trying to push into those realms more and more as time goes on. I think awareness is key, but I don’t think performative activism helps anyone, so it’s key that we build up support for legislative and systemic changes.
In what ways has Instagram helped create a sense of community for you?
Growing up in a small logging town, all my dreams and goals felt like the last thing I’d be able to accomplish. With Instagram, I started being able to connect to people outside of my tiny bubble. I found a bunch of artists and we’d trade resources, photos, etc. and it felt really special. As Instagram has become more and more capitalistic, I feel that I’ve lost some of that, but I still stay in touch with many of those people. I’ve been finding thriving artist and producer communities on Twitter lately though!
Are there any artists you are currently inspired by?
My biggest inspirations are probably Donald Glover, Rihanna, Kendrick, and kind of Kanye but also it feels weird listing Kanye because he’s so Kanye. In terms of creative diversity, those four just blow me away. On a smaller scale, I’ve been really inspired watching Omar Apollo’s rise. I think him and his group he works with are really really killing it right now!
If you could invite one artist to feature on your upcoming EP who would it be?
Wow-what a question. I have a lot of artists I’d LOVE to work with, but most wouldn’t be the best fit for my EP haha. It would be amazing to have a feature from Anderson Paak though. His voice and flow are iconic!
You’ve done a great job of speaking on issues in America, what would you say to your fans and followers to make sure they understand the impact of their vote?
I’d say to watch what’s happening across the globe! We’ve seen democratic societies like the Philippines fall into autocratic rule within time frames of only 6 months! If you watch an overview of Hitler’s rise to power, near everything parallels what’s happening in the states right now. I don’t think it can be overstated how important it is to vote for state and local representatives that care about their constituents, not just a corporate paycheck slid under the back door. I’m honestly very nervous about the general election at this point, but regardless of the outcome, we HAVE to ensure that checks and balances are in place to balance out such blatant greed, violence, and paranoid narcissism that Trump has to offer.
You can watch Mishko’s Changing video here.
Connect with Mishko @mishko.co
Interviewed by Gustavo Oliver @g.0liver