By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Psychedelic folk rock/Americana artist Kendra & The Bunnies – led by singer/songwriter Kendra Muecke – has unveiled the music video for her new single called “NYKO, NYKO,” which features electric guitarist Marcus Rezak (Shred Is Dead, Katharsis) and percussionist Garrett Morris (The Higgs).
The first single off her third album ‘Of Thank You,’ it was inspired musically by traditional blues and the title from a license plate that Muecke saw leaving the airport that read “NYKO334” upon a return to Los Angeles from a trip to record in New York City, which spawned the idea of the New York Knock Out.
For ‘Of Thank You,’ she wanted to discuss America’s overall culture and find out who they were as a people, where they were founded on and where they go from here.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Muecke about “NYKO, NYKO” and more.
Music Bugle – How did you decide your artist name?
Kendra Muecke – I’m glad you asked this question. Kendra & The Bunnies stems from a few places – definitely from the symbolism of the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland.” I like to say this character is a metaphor for my anxiety, as the White Rabbit continually thinks that he is late, but in fact, the story begins with this character, so he is right on time. I am also very influenced by the band Jefferson Airplane. They have the infamous dreamy and almost haunting song, “White Rabbit.” This song has been really important to me since my teenage years. These two ideas are mixed with the imagery of Playboy bunnies. I happen to be blonde and bubbly and live in Los Angeles, California. I am a mix of these symbols – and so much more… a 60’s soul, who loves being a woman and yet, I am interested in uprooting and upgrading the presumed role of females in the industry. We are more than just the way we look in mini-skirts. We have voices, messages and power.
Music Bugle – What made you want to release “NYKO, NYKO” as a single?
Kendra Muecke – “NYKO, NYKO” really became a standout song for me throughout my livestream performances in 2020. I wrote the song around November 2019 and then, it just kind of sat in my songwriting journal for about four months. This year, I started to perform a lot of livestream performances due to the pandemic and I had the ability to workshop and elaborate on newer songs. “NYKO, NYKO” is one of the songs that has benefited from all this time at home. This also helped during the recording process, because I felt I knew the song so well and I knew the song wanted fiery electric guitar and low-key tribal-like percussions.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your particular genre?
Kendra Muecke – What excites me about psychedelic folk music is that it is so experimental! I can take my music in a variety of directions, play on unique instruments, program electronic beats and it’s still considered part of the genre… or I can strip down the songs to just acoustic or unplugged versions to expand on the folk-focus. This is great for mixing it up during gigs. I can do acoustic shows or shows with a full band. Folk is also very great for me because of its storytelling element. I love to paint a picture for the listener.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your third album ‘Of Thank You’?
Kendra Muecke – My newest upcoming album ‘Of Thank You’ is so dear to my heart. I have been meditating on some of the songs and lyrics for a couple years and was waiting for the right time to combine them all to form the album. The theme is definitely psychedelic Americana. It draws on the feelings of “Who are we as a people?’ — “What do we seek in our day-to-day lives?” — “What does it say about our community?” It’s perfect timing to release the album, right around when so much turmoil is going on in the world… We have a great opportunity to be united in spirit and celebrate humanity together.
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to chat one-on-one with one of your musical influences, who would you choose?
Kendra Muecke – Trey Anastasio from Phish. Exceptional songwriting, vast spiritual persona and immense music catalog… and John Mayer. I love the fact that John Mayer is now a part of the band Dead & Company. He bridges the Hollywood scene and jam band hippie scene, just like I do!
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder to stand out as a band these days?
Kendra Muecke – Both! I think the coolest thing about social media is that there are so many ways to get discovered and the audience of people to become fans is huge! The possibilities are endless! I have become like a marketing afficionado when it comes to social media. I am always reaching out to fans – to get to know them personally. It’s an artist’s market. Go strut your stuff out there!
Music Bugle – What would you call your proudest moment in your life so far?
Kendra Muecke – Wow! There are so many proud moments. A recent proud series of moments of mine – is continuing to stand up for myself. There are energetic patterns that reveal themselves to us throughout our lives and it is up to us to become aware of these things and make the adjustment we wish to see in our world. A couple other proud moments – graduating from Pepperdine University, studying at the Musicians Institute, publishing two books and releasing music. Here is one more that I sometimes get nervous to share – I am actively pursuing a life without alcohol. I have been sober from alcohol for almost two years. This was super tough to deal with during the pandemic and in fact, I had to take a sober date, but that’s okay. What is most important is that I am facing it head-on. I hope anyone suffering is able to hear this message and adjust if they need to.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
Kendra Muecke – A lot of what I do revolves around music and sound actually. You may be surprised to know that I am an initiated shamanic healer. The healing work I do involves various layers. There is the layer of auditory sound, movement, light, color and heart – to name a few.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Kendra Muecke – I have again awakened to the strength within myself and the strength of our communities. I have opened my eyes to a lot of potential in the world. I am excited to see where we go from here! A lot of this time, during the pandemic, I’ve been reaching out to fellow musicians, collaborating, writing/recording new songs and live-streaming. I think the live-streaming shows have built such a beautiful connection between the fan and the artist. We are experiencing a new age of media. It’s an exciting time to be creating!
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to go back to this past new Year’s Eve, what would you tell yourself about 2020?
Kendra Muecke – “Hey, Kendra! Get ready to grow! This is going to be an amazing year for you, but weird for the world. Stay close to family and friends. Read more than just headlines. Keep your arms and legs in the vehicle… Keep on trucking!”