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Rising Stars: Meet Niki Skistimas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Niki Skistimas.

Hi Niki, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my passion for playing drums and find a way to make a living with music. I started playing drums pretty late in the game compared to most musicians. I began after my first year in college when I finally came to terms with the fact that nothing moved me more than music. It seemed to me that going into any more debt for schooling that I hated and didn’t really have a purpose or direction in, was a waste of time and energy. I wanted to learn how to play drums and I wanted to see the world so I thought, what better time than now!! I took a chance on myself and started taking private lessons in my home state of New Jersey. The second step on my newfound journey took me to New Orleans where I began to hone the skills that would become the backbone of my drumming. I couldn’t really see my life progressing the way I wanted it to by staying in the Big Easy, so I packed up my jeep and moved to Los Angeles, and here is where I have made my home. I worked any job that I could, played with every band that would have me, and even lived in my car at one point. I was determined to make my way and I knew it could only be here. Over the years I have lived in Hollywood, Hermosa Beach, Venice Beach, mid-city, and East LA and I now reside in North Hollywood. I have played in every dingy dive bar from here to Huntington Beach making my way into the rock and roll scene with various bands. I have done residencies at the Viper Room, the Kibitz Room as well as played all the legendary clubs in LA, and have taken the show on the road across 3 continents so far!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Is there such thing as a smooth road? In life, the potholes and the detours are the things that teach us the most about ourselves and our true path. As I mentioned, we have done almost everything ourselves up to this point. This requires that I wear many hats and consistently learn how to add new titles to my business card. The music business has changed a lot in recent years and navigating through it requires a certain level of adaptability and flexibility that many other fields of work do not have to worry about. There are a lot of shady players that one has to weave through and weed out which is how we wound up taking care of most everything on our own. It’s not always such a clear process, especially when your art is involved. I tend to be a person who gives everyone the benefit of a doubt and I have a lot of faith in humanity which has ended in heartbreak many a time, but I will never give up hope. I just chalk it up to experience and move on with the knowledge that I have learned that particular lesson and do not need to repeat it. For me, staying positive and letting go of the past is a constant choice I have to make in order to continue moving forward.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
KRASHKARMA is my band, my baby, my love, my business. It is a Rock/Metal duo like no other! I not only play drums but sing lead vocals along with my partner who shares the vocals and shreds a one-of-a-kind guitar/bass monster of an instrument that he created himself. Our larger-than-life sound is a testament to what just two people can do! We are known for our theatrical, high-energy stage show that set’s us apart from other bands. We do everything from the creation of the music to the booking of the shows and all the other elements in between. As with any self-made business, it takes 26 hours a day, all of our creative energy and then some to build a strong foundation on which to flourish. I am happy to say that we are going strong and gaining the momentum that we have worked so hard to achieve.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
I go to as many shows as I can around town. I love to find new artists, and support artists I love. At shows, there are usually like-minded people to talk to and chances are many are in the business on some level or another and that’s how you make connections and begin to build lasting relationships. Talk to and take notes from your peers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be sure to put yourself out there. Let people know who you are and what you do.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
-Concert Close Ups -John Payne productions -Erica Vincent Photos

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