Niki Skistimas

Niki Skistimas

I grew up in New Jersey listening to my parents record collection of mostly old country music and classic rock. My favorite thing to listen to was a Led Zepplin box set that my uncle gave me for Christmas, Beastie Boys and a Pink Floyd tape that I stole from my brother. Throughout high school, I lived in Missouri. Traveling to go see live concerts became my life obsession. Some of my favorites were 311, Incubus, Deftones, Helmet, Janes Addiction and Tool. Somewhere along the way, I decided that being a drummer was probably the coolest thing on earth I could do, so it began. The journey of broadening my musical spectrum to include jazz and funk began when I ventured down to New Orleans to study drums. It was a wonderful experience, but I always knew I was meant for the west coast.

Los Angeles is where I discovered my love for Punk rock. The first bands that I played live with were all basically LA punk bands. Ive played in several all girl groups including The Eyeshadows, The Blue Bonnets (featuring Kathy Valentine of the GoGo's) and many more over the years. After growing in style and notoriety, I signed to a major label with a Funk, Trip hop/pop band called "Animastik".

In 2009, I started my own band KRASHKARMA in which I sing and play drums in. We have released 3 studio albums and have toured in 3 continents so far. This is the project that gets most of my attention although I still get hired for drum workshops and tours with other artists. I also have an acoustic side project called Tres Locas that does covers in which I play my Luna cajon or a suitcase drum kit.

My set up:

ddrum Dios drum kit

Highhats- Paiste 14" Sound edge

Ride Paiste 22" Dark Metal Ride

3 Paiste Signature Fast Crash- 16", 17", 18"

China- Paiste 18" RUDE Wild China

Dw 9000 double kick pedal and High hat, Gibraltor Stealth racks

Luna Percussion:

Bamboo Cajon

1. Where are you from and where do you currently reside?

I am from Spotswood, NJ and currently live in Los Angeles, CA.

2. What musical influences did you have growing up?

My stepfather had a record player in our living room, so I would raid his collection of Led Zepplin, Queen, Waylon Jennings, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen. Meanwhile, in my circle of friends we were listening to Black Flag, Misfits, Beastie Boys, Wu Tang Clan and N.W.A. I was also a cheerleader, so I had my fair share of pop/dance music as well.

3. What inspired you to start making music or pick up an instrument? Was there a moment in time when you decided "this is what I want to do with my life"?

I knew I wanted to be a Rock Star when I saw my first concert at the age of 6. My parents took me with them to see Hank Williams Jr. He was a mad man on stage! The energy, the sound, the people going crazy- I fell instantly in love every aspect of live music. Before the drums chose me many years later, I had tried to get into learning the piano, guitar and bass all to no avail. It really was an "aha" moment when I sat behind a kit for the first time. However, my journey truly began with a Djembe and drum circle.

4. Describe your life in six words.

I live by 6G technology. Gratitude, Grounded, Growth, Giving, Global, Grace.

5. Pick your favorite social media platform and tell us why.

I lean towards Instagram because it's easy to find and connect with people with similar interests. It's easy to navigate and skips most of the drama that comes with many other platforms.

6. What role does music play in your life currently? What helps spark your creativity or motivation?

I am the singer and drummer in an Alternative Metal duo called KRASHKARMA. I also play in an acoustic cover song project called Tres Locas. I do collaborations with other artists in the studio or live when I have time, but KK takes up most of it at the moment. As far as sparking creativity, I find that just sitting with my instrument with an open mind allows me to start to flow and become inspired. I am motivated by the art of doing just that. It brings me peace and the power to get through the rest of life's craziness.

7. Why go with the Luna brand?

Luna has beautiful, quality instruments of all kinds that keep inspiring me to grow in this amazing musical journey I am on.

8. Which Luna instruments do you play now and what attracted you to these models?

I currently have a bamboo cajon that I am in love with. I tried out many of the other models and found that the crisp, defined tone that the bamboo brings to the table suites me the best. I am also embarking on a new journey of learning the Ukulele and have a Tattoo Mahogany concert one headed my way. It's a great looking instrument that I can't wait to take for a spin! Wish me luck!

9. If you could play alongside an artist living or deceased, who would it be and why?

I guess I will say Jim Morrison. He embodies the poet and the spirit of being "in the now" on stage. He's absolutely intoxicating as an artist... erotic, dark and twisted and totally unique for his time. I could think of several more artists that I would like to play with that are living, but this is my vibe right now, so there you go!

10. Which genre of music fits your playing style the most?

I play everything from funk to punk. As a drummer, I find inspiration in learning all types of music. There are great artists in every genre of music, and I intend to keep expanding my knowledge as long as I live.

11. What's on the horizon for you?

KRASHKARMA is very active at the moment. We are always doing something whether it be writing new tunes, recording, touring or making videos. I plan to keep that going strong and am always up for interesting side projects to keep the inspiration flowing!


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