“When I wrote ‘Rampages Eastward’ I was renting an old converted porch in East Oakland as a bedroom for $350 a month,” says Nika States, who makes music under the moniker Red Steppes. “It was barely 6’x8′ with walls made of barred windows, freezing at night and stifling as soon as the sun came up, and full of mold. One of my Craigslist roommates would have screaming fights with her married boyfriend at 4 in the morning, I was dropping out of school, and I’d just parted ways with both my first long-term partner and my first bandmate,” she reveals. “It was a pretty bad time, all around, but somehow that was really when I really fell in love with the East Bay – escaping my strange little greenhouse cage for all-night music gatherings and paddle-boats in the dark.”
It’s obvious that place plays an important role in Red Steppes’ work; “Rampages Eastward” appears on her forthcoming album A Mouth May Grow, out May 11th via Native Cat Recordings. Delicate fingerpicking calls to mind the rippling tranquility of the water which brought solace in a difficult time, as her Joni Mitchell-esque ethereal vocals provide an otherworldly quality to the music, like sunshine reflecting on the water, illuminating some, but not all, of what is underneath.
Without further ado, Mother Church Pew proudly presents “Rampages Eastward” by Red Steppes: