The past few years for LA-based Nostalghia has been nothing short of meteoric. What was previously being mentioned in hushed tones amongst those in the know has now become excited shouts in every major music circle. But music seems to be only one of many things felt passionate – love and lifestyle being a few more. We sat down with lead singer/alien Ciscandra – currently in Mexico on their tour with 30 Seconds to Mars – for advice on how to live an alternative dietary life, without being, well, you know…annoying.
[Z Living] Let’s be honest. there are a lot of… aggressive vegans out there.
[Nostalghia] Indeed. There are a lot of aggressive people in general, with an aggressive approach to aggressive opinions. It’s when we start identifying with a label that we begin to pass judgment on those that don’t mirror it. We become the label, the label becomes our beating heart; an alternate approach would break it, shatter the glass, ruin the reflection. True wisdom holds no seat for onslaught because fear is not involved; there is no need for force when truth naturally resonates. And please understand that truth is ever-changing, and we are all free to feel out our own, and anyone that tells you THIS IS THE ONLY WAY has no concept of peace or persuasion. Subtlety is key, subtlety sways. Unfortunately, in relation to veganism, we have some very passionate people acting in the heat of passion. I understand. When I first learned about animal cruelty all I wanted was a megaphone and a hilltop. But it didn’t take me long to notice how many people were completely pissed with my approach. This is where PETA sadly fails to recognize their own ignorance. It’s a wonderful concept for an organization run by humans and their fancy imperfections, but I’m afraid it has done just as much damage to the label “Vegan,” as dogmatic religion has done to the word “God.” (Let me state that I feel no inherent negativity towards organized religion, I very much understand its placement and empathize with our quest for life in the name of death, but I can’t deny how much we as a society have watered down such a powerful, beautiful, enigmatic word. The God in you, and the God in me are crying). I am constantly growing, progressing, expanding, and if anyone taps me on the shoulder and says, “Hey, I like that choice you’ve made, but I don’t understand it,” I will be happy to explain why it works for me and why I chose it. I am vegan, because I have endless compassion for all walks of life, and I want to see us treat each other with an open heart. It can also be quite healthy, and yummy!
[Z Living] So, how would you introduce someone to it without being that person?
[Nostalghia] I do it daily. I simply live my truth. You’d be surprised how many people with questions and an open mind flock to someone living their truth. We are all energetic beings, with reactionary tendencies. I’ve researched a lot, I’ve found what works for me within my own moral compass, and I’m always happy to share it with those looking to listen. Ever since I let go of force, I have yet to collide with much animosity. I think it is incredibly important to understand that different humans digest information in different ways. What works for one, may not work for another. So when people do approach me, I try to understand their head space and heart space. The film that completely changed my perspective is titled “Earthlings.” It is now available for free on YouTube. Prior to watching this film my only understanding of veganism was through a girlfriend of mine who was hyper focused on being thin. This held no value to me. I tend not to make changes based on shallow pursuits (I’m sure I have at some point, and I’m not stating that the race to thin-dom makes you shallow), so the depth and emotional tug of this film really infected me. I never went back. But I did start reading anything I could find on the subject, and I came across a great book titled,“Eating Animals” by Jonathan Saffron Foer, which is written with complete candidness and relatability. It doesn’t delve into veganism, primarily vegetarianism, but it is certainly a great start, especially for people who feel they simply can’t WATCH the awful things that go on behind closed doors.
[Z Living] You’ve mentioned in other interviews that too many artists remember to take care of everything but their mind…
[Nostalghia] Well, I imagine so. I can certainly stand by that myself. As an artist you are constantly dying and rebirthing, unraveling the wrappers warping your mind. But to continually live in such a hostile environment (as the mind tends to reflect) can be incredibly draining on the body. I definitely go through periods of disillusion, and I never really know what day it is (let alone month, let alone year!). I’m lucky to have a great band mate and a few beautiful friends to help me along the way. I’m also lucky to be aware of the magic in life. It pulls me back. I’ve found that there is nothing silence and nature can’t heal. Plants hold the ultimate presence, and watching them is a meditation in itself.
[Z Living] So – the big question: how can one be an unpretentious vegan?
[Nostalghia] Easily. Love your morals. In deep love, there is no room for fear. Jump in. Live them. Don’t get caught up in ego. And have faith in humanity. This will give you no reason to strangle.
Nostalghia’s music is best described in palate form; a vulnerable outpour of elemental emotional landscape married to its cinema of sound, birthing what is now coined by fans as, “Post-apocalyptic gypsy punk.” Their single, “You and I” is out on iTunes, with the full album coming out March 3rd. They are playing the Soundwave Touring Festival alongside Placebo, Stone Temple Pilots, Green Day, Megadeath, Alice In Chains, Rob Zombie, Korn, AFI, and more.