Monday, March 1, 2010

EIC'S10Q'S w/Asobi Seksu

"..Shoegaze for the sweet tooth at heart..fuzzy guitars, cute vocals - sometimes English sometimes Japanese, lush/thick synths, and bouncy bass lines. I'm sure you've heard of them by now, if not you will eventually.."

Asobi Seksu
Lavish Saccharine Gaze

Asobi Seksu Bio:
Bearing a hyper-stylized and glitzy graphic design sense, a pretty and petite Japanese female singer who sings alternately in Japanese and English, and a band name with a hint of nod-and-a-wink naughtiness (it's claimed to be a Tokyo-based slang term that means "playful sex"), Asobi Seksu comes across like the latest Japanese import, the newest in a long line of ironic shibuya kei indie pop artists following Puffy AmiYumi, Cibo Matto, or Pizzicato Five. In fact, the quartet is based out of New York City, and besides the heavy Japanese pop influences, Asobi Seksu bears comparison both to the British shoegazer bands of the early '90s (My Bloody Valentine in particular) and to New York guitar noise acts ranging from Sonic Youth to Yo La Tengo.

Singer and keyboardist Yuki Chikudate, guitarist James Hanna, bassist Glenn Waldman, and drummer Keith Hopkin formed Asobi Seksu in late 2001, self-releasing their self-titled debut album the following year. Garnering a strong local buzz at a time when the New York club scene was hot again following the success of the Strokes and Interpol, Asobi Seksu came to the attention of the indie Friendly Fire Records, which reissued Asobi Seksu with new cover art in 2004. The album's single, "I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me," raised the band's college radio and online profile; that song and two others from the album, "Sooner" and "Walk on the Moon," were placed in the indie film In Between Days, which won a special jury prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

Before recording their second album, Asobi Seksu underwent a major personnel shift, with the core duo of Chikudate and Hanna replacing Waldman and Hopkins with new bassist Haji and drummer Mitch Spivak. Produced by hot New York indie producer/engineer Chris Zane (Human Television, Ambulance LTD, etc.), the more polished, multilayered Citrus was released to solid reviews in May 2006. At some point near the end of the nearly two years spent touring behind the album, Hanna had a revelation that led him to re-think the sound of the band, namely that he was sick and tired of the guitar sound the band had utilized up to then. For the next album, the band (then down to the core duo of Chikudate and Hanna) stripped back the layers of guitar noise and aimed for a more atmospheric and lush sound. Hush was released by new label Polyvinyl in February of 2009.

Hello, how are you?
Great, thanks! We're leaving for the west coast leg of our acoustic tour tomorrow. We're excited to play these shows and to the 70 degree weather! It's been such a cold winter so far in NYC.

What are you currently listening to?

Hmmm. today I listened to Aaliyah, Nobukazu Takemura, Hope Sandoval, and France Gall. Recently Beach House's Devotion came up on my shuffle and it was so beautiful.

Has anyone ever called you Mr. or Mrs. Seksu thinking that was your name rather than a title meaning “Playful Sex”?
Jokingly maybe! :)

Your recent acoustic album is titled “Rewolf” any specific reason for that?
Re-wolfing something sounded funny and mysterious. Serious and yet light. The concept of "Re-wolfing" mean to us getting reacquainted with something in a new way. Wolves are elusive, mysterious, even mythical animals, so I guess the song writing/music-making/being in a band process can sometimes feel that way too. It's also flower backwards!

You’ve been playing a few more acoustic sets recently, which do you prefer more a stripped down sound or loud vibrant layers like the ones found on your albums?
No, we're not looking to change our sound as a band, but it has been a really fun challenge putting this show together. It's nice to say we've learned a lot and have gotten to know each other more as a band during the process.

I like your idea to get money together for your upcoming European tour with White Lies, are you optimistic in reaching your goal of $7,500.00?
We reached it! Thank you everybody!

What’s next after the European tour?
After the acoustic tour we will go right into preparing for our next album. Planning on being in the studio this Spring.

What’s a song you wish you wrote?
What a cruel question- only because there are soooo many! Right now, I wish we wrote Celeste by Donovan. We covered it for an Amnesty International compilation. What a beautiful song. We love Donovan.

You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?

Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. I love this piece.

Are you living your dream?
Fuck yeah!

Thanx Yuki!

Asobi Seksu will be going back into the studio this Spring look for a new album on the horizon...

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