Listen to Avataria talk late blooming, gear-building and more on the 25 O'Clock Podcast - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Philly-area indie rocker Niki Flanly, better known onstage and on streaming services as Avataria, talked about her creative journey on the latest episode of Dan Drago’s Philly music podcast 25 O’Clock.

Avataria makes urgent and angular guitar music with an undeniable PJ Harvey influence, and in her conversation with Drago, she shares how — although she’s played guitar since she was a teen in the late 90s — she was something of a late bloomer when it comes to writing and performing.

“I’ve gone back and forth with the guitar and music over the years where I’ve had periods of time where I didn’t play, or didn’t have a guitar on me,” she says. “So it’s taken a long time to getting to where I actually wrote songs.” In a way, she saw it as a personal journey: “I wanted to prove to myself that I could write songs and wow I could remember them and play them in front of people and they might give me a tip dollar here and there. I think I’m just following the story and seeing where it goes.”

Even if she hasn’t always been center stage, Niki’s 9-to-5 over the years has had her working as a behind-the-scenes player, doing web design for music venues like World Cafe Live. She’s talk about a spike of creative productivity during the COVID lockdown — “I locked myself in the basement with drum loops and started cranking out stuff” — and she discusses her trans-Atlantic collaboration with UK producer Aubrey Whitfield, who she connected with online, worked with her on last year’s single “Homesick For You” and is also part of the album she’s releasing this year. “She’s great about tiny background sounds that seem to escape me.”

Drago and Avataria also talk about her unexpected pandemic hobby turned side hustle: effects pedal construction, something she stumbled on to when she learned to solder in order to fix a coffee grinder. We also hear a performance of “Easy” from 2020’s Head Over Heels EP; listen below, and find out more on Avataria’s Bandcamp.

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