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ARTICLE ASHLEY SIMPSON

PHOTOGRAPHY CHAD PITMAN

STYLIST MARYAM MALAKPOUR

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NOSTALGHIA

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Makeup Kirin Bhatty (Starworks Artists)  Hair Dennis Gots (Jed Root Inc.)  Manicure Whitney Gibson using Chanel Photo assistants Alex Gay, Brad Liber, Chris Moore  Stylist assistant Catlin Myers Equipment rental Quixote  Retouching Velem  Location Mack Sennett Studios, Los Angeles  Catering Food+Lab

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NOSTALGHIA

PHOTOGRAPHY CHAD PITMAN
FASHION MARYAM MALAKPOUR
TEXT ASHLEY SIMPSON

FROM HER BOLD LOOK TO HER BEGUILING VOICE AND ETHEREAL GOTH-POP BALLADS, CISCANDRA NOSTALGHIA IS MAKING A HABIT (AND A CAREER) OF FOLLOWING WHERE HER SPIRIT TAKES HER

For 25-year-old singer-songwriter Ciscandra Nostalghia, getting kicked out of her conservative Russian and Persian parents’ home was “one of the greatest things” that could have happened. “It put me in a place of isolation, and I didn’t really have anything to rely on,” says the Los Angeles–based artist. “And when you don’t have anything to rely on, there is no sense of safety.” Ever the free spirit, Nostalghia moved into a piano room on her former university’s campus. “I was just in there, teaching myself how to play, for months,” she explains, adding that she picked up harp and guitar—and wrote her first gloom-swathed ballads—during those transformative days. The result of her immersive self-training is a brand of cinematic goth-pop that is as strangely atmospheric (she’s garnered more than a few Kate Bush and Björk comparisons) as it is haunting. Nostalghia dropped out of school (“One of the teachers I was really excited about told me I was too passionate for my own good, and I was like, Okay, I gotta get out of here”) and found a co-musician, Roy Gnan, after “posting a bitchy ad on Craigslist.” Now the two, along with touring cellist Adele Stein, perform as an avant garde trio, under Nostalghia’s name. Their art-rock shows—they opened for 30 Seconds to Mars on their last tour—have quickly attracted the masses. “It’s the three of us onstage and I’m going all out the entire time,” says Nostalghia, who cites Nirvana, Future Islands, and Death Grips as some of her favorite bands. “The beauty of playing live is, not only are you transforming an audience, but the audience is transforming you. So you leave the stage a new person and hopefully that new person is better—I guess it doesn’t matter, better, worse—but hopefully that new person is someone that you like. It’s healing for me, for sure. And people are perceptive, even if they don’t think that they are. Subconsciously they can sense when someone is giving you their gut.” 

The group has also released its first album, Chrysalis, which opens with a moodily, almost ceremonially subdued vocal saunter, and another release is already in the works. “I’m going to constantly change,” says Nostalghia. “Because status is fucking boring and there’s enough of that in this world.”

CHRYSALIS IS OUT NOW FROM 110 RECORDS

EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Kirin Bhatty (Starworks Artists)  Hair Dennis Gots (Jed Root Inc.)  Manicure Whitney Gibson using Chanel Photo assistants Alex Gay, Brad Liber, Chris Moore  Stylist assistant Catlin Myers Equipment rental Quixote  Retouching Velem  Location Mack Sennett Studios, Los Angeles  Catering Food+Lab

MORE TO LOVE

HBD NATASHA POLY BEST VIDEOS OF 2012: SSION GIRLS OF NOW: SKY FERREIRA COUTURE DIARIES
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