In a world of blue, Ashnikko is making waves with her EP 'Hi, It's Me' as the latest bright young thing to break out with her explosive flows, streams, spits and 'take no shit' attitude.
Ashnikko is the polish remover here to strip the male-dominated music industry of its toxic masculinity and to show fuckboys the door. Trying to describe Ashnikko, and the music she creates is not an easy one. A melting pot of punk and hip-hop with the fun of pop into one amalgamation is Ashnikko’s special potion. Here to rightfully cause a little anarchy, Ashnikko truly doesn’t care what other people of her – but that’s not to say she doesn’t have a heart of gold.
Ashnikko’s latest EP ‘Hi, It’s Me’ is ultimately a break-up anthem that Ashnikko wrote for herself. We all know the drowning feeling that comes with a break-up, whether you instigated it or not. The exhausting tears and heartache that comes in waves day-to-day of feeling crushed by the sheer weight of your pain. The message behind ‘Hi, It’s Me’ is your future self telling you in the devasting present that you’ve simply got to do this. With the frenetic trap beats and ‘fuck you’ rhymes, Ashnikko’s powerful ability to waver between rap and belting leaves you somehow dancing along to the heartache – sometimes it’s the best thing to do.
Ashnikko’s journey on this planet has been one hell of a ride that would have broken many. But for Ashnikko, it has only made her stronger. Growing up in ultra-conservative suburban North Carolina, Ashnikko spent her childhood as an introvert only allowed to listen to country music and Slipknot every now and then by her parents. That alone would have been tough for any creative liberal kid. At 13, just as things were beginning to settle, Ashnikko was shipped off to Eastern Europe by her parents to study at state school – at first Estonia, then Lativa. Days spent alone doodling and dreaming of freeing herself of these chains, Ashnikko soon escaped to London with nowhere to stay but a burning passion to make her art. Nights spent wandering in and out of clubs, crashing on couches, and finally finding her creative tribe has shaped Ashnikko into the powerful being she is today.
Talking about ‘Hi, It’s Me’, Ashnikko tells me “It’s the first body of work I think I’m really proud of in its entirety. I think that’s because it comes from genuinely me, whereas in the past I was still finding my feet a little bit and trying to figure out who the fuck I am. I know that sounds cliché, but it such a long process to go through.”
A tale that comes from many creatives – the gruelling process of listening to your heart when it comes to making your art and redefining your craft, but then being pulled in different ways because of your youth and the sheer about of inspiration out there. “If anything, going through that journey has definitely given me more confidence. I’m so much more assured. This project definitely reflects that.” Ashnikko asserts.
“When I made the single ‘Hi, It’s Me’ from my EP,” Ash tells me, “I was going through some serious shit. I needed an outlet and it was either that or joining a flight club [laughs].” When it comes to the overall EP, whilst definitely being about a break-up, Ashnikko tells me that “anything I do will have a feminist message running through it. It’s just an overall part of my being. Most of my songs I write for myself first – to hype myself up. Even though this is about a break-up, the real meaning behind it is that I’m actually fine on my own. I can blossom on my own. That’s the message I wanted to get across.” Ashnikko tells me. “At a young age, we are taught that we need somebody to complete us, and even if you convince yourself that you don’t – you have to constantly remind yourself to undo the decades of conditioning and brainwashing we’ve been taught through movies, songs and the media.” So, ‘Hi, It’s Me’ is definitely a break-up anthem, but in the end, it’s really about self-love when you boil things down.
Always one to make her own path, Ashnikko believes that the fans have as much to do with that as the music. Previously, Ash put her number on a billboard for her fans to call as a hotline. “I really really want to be their friends,” Ash tells me about her connection with the people that love her music. “I feel like a lot of artists get to a certain point where they see their fanbase as one separate being. I don’t ever want to be like that. I don’t even want to call them fans – they’re my friends.”
Looking at Ashnikko’s eccentric and daring fashion sense completely matches the sound she has crafted. Right now, she’s defined by her almost Manga-like electric blue hair and mash-up of LA/Tokyo/London streetstyle. However, Ash tells me “God I have like a fashion crisis every day in front of my mirror [laughs]. I’ve tried every phase there is growing up, but I think with age there is a certain confidence that comes with knowing yourself and how you want to best show yourself off, but it’s an everchanging process.”
Within her years of making music, it’s already clear that Ashnikko is claiming what’s rightfully hers. Fellow rule-breakers and pop-music anarchists Brooke Candy and Charli XCX noticed the moves Ash was making and wanted to write with her. “Brooke just sent me a DM out of the blue saying that she wanted to work with me when she’s next in town. I was like… Oh my god!” Ashnikko tells me. “She wanted to write a whole project with me. Next thing she was in town and we got on so so well. She’s an amazing person to be around. We ended up writing eleven songs in four days… we were just in some zone I don’t even know. It was wild. I can’t wait for it to all come out it’s a fucking banger.”
It’s clear that Ashnikko’s trajectory is one set for the stars and she’s only getting started. Ash lets me know she’s working with all new producers and just surrounding herself with creative-minded individuals that connect with her on her level. It’s always nice to hear happiness in someone’s voice when they’re talking about where they’re at in life especially after walking through fire to get there. When I ask what she thinks she will be like when she’s 80 years-old she tells me “The only thing I’m sure of is that I’m gonna have a massive fucking closet. I’ll be the cool aunt – unbothered and fabulous in my faux fur [laughs].”
If there’s anything to take from this interview about Ashnikko is that she’s done with the bullshit, because she’s got herself and her music. Here’s to blue hair and flowering your own garden forever.