petite mort In this issueLa Premiére No.1 2003
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listen to Asobi Seksu:
Sooner.mp3
I'm Happy But You Don't....mp3
Taiyo.mp3

 

 

 

guitar, voclas: James Hanna keyboard, vocals: Yuki chikudate drums: keith Hopkin; bass: glenn Waldman

 

 


large photo at top by Jasper Coolidge www.jenyk.com
all others by Sean McCabe

 

 

 

'There's pop, there's noise, and there's sweetness."

 

 

 


http://www.asobiseksu.com

I met up with you all last year when I was working on arcadeproject.com, I remember you guys played almost weekly down in the LES. It's been a year, what's happened since then?
Yuki: We were playing too much and at the same (unnamed) venue. It was insane. In that same period we also played at a community center in Riverhead, LI right after a production of “Little Shop of Horrors”. We had to wait for the play to end! We literally played on stage with the set from the musical still behind us. We also got rid of our bass player. What a demented time it was for Asobi Seksu. Spinal Tap comes to mind… But, all of that stuff has motivated us. We decided to take some time off from playing out and regroup, focus, and fine-tune different aspects of the band. Most importantly, we’ve managed to keep a sense of humor through it all. Plus, as Keith said, things are going well these days.
Keith: Yeah, we were playing pretty frequently when you met us. There are a few great venues that have opened up on the LES recently that we want to start playing at again. It's hard to focus on performing and writing so we took a bit of a break and started writing some newer stuff and molding our sound more. Our LP is getting frequent college radio play and recently hit the CMJ Top 200. We've also had a member change on bass.

For those people who aren't familiar with you and your music, how would you describe yourselves?
Keith: There's pop, there's noise, and there's sweetness.
Yuki: Hopefully it sounds new and exciting. I think we’re getting better at it.

At one point I remembered wondering which direction Asobi Seksu would take: The J-pop angle (a lighter, fun music) or the guitar heavy on top indiscernible vocals MBV style?
James: We are trying to keep them both in tow but hopefully a little less compartmentalized. We haven’t written any songs in Japanese in a while, but I guess we just haven’t felt like it.
Yuki: I’d like to implement our love and influence of Japanese music into our songs now rather than having “Japanese” songs. We’ve tried to find a balanced way to keep both sides of the band and have it fit into our overall aesthetic
.Keith: We've definitely found a center between the two. We still have the fun and we still have the heavy guitars, but the origins may not be quite as obvious.

Are you still as indie as before? Booking, recording, and promoting your own music? (I did find out about you guys from a flyer posted at Other Music.
James: Well we’ve actually become a little less DIY. Our first album is going to be reissued on Friendly Fire Recordings and all our press and radio publicity is going to be handled by a certain pr company. We are also talking to booking agents so we have a little less work to do on the business end, which is always good. As far as flyers, they are all designed by Sean McCabe who does all of Interpol’s graphic design. Sean is also gonna be doing our album design, photos, website etc... he is a terrifically talented artist whose vision is surprisingly in tune with our own yet he still brings a new perspective into the mix. I can be a bit of a control freak so its sometimes hard for me to just put my trust in someone else’s tastes ..but I guess that’s the idea ...to surround yourself with people that see things in a similar way to help to do the things that you can’t do yourself.
Keith: With all that said I think we still try to stay involved as much as possible in the entire process. Sean McCabe is helping us redefining our visual aesthetic and so far he is doing an amazing job. You can see some of his posters on our website. Along with the reissuing of our first album on Friendly Fire Recordings, we're going to follow it up with a new LP that we're really excited about.

What contemporary musicians do you admire?
Keith: I've been really into Neil Halstead and Mojave 3 recently. There's something very intriguing about his songs.
Yuki: I love Tom Waits. How can one person be that good? He doesn’t even need any instruments to just blow you away. And as cheesy as it sounds I think it’s so cool that his wife Kathleen has made him better.
James: see my list below -those really are my current faves.

 

What was the last bargain bin CD you've guys have purchased?
Keith: Jonathan Fire Eater - Wolf Songs For Lambs. I had this cd stolen out of my car 2 years ago and couldn't find it anywhere after that. Recently the guy at Kim's Underground stuck his nose up at me and told me it was a "cold release" and they didn't have it. I ended up finding it at a local record shop on Long Island.
Yuki: The Church- Best of The Church -So what, guilty pleasure.
James: Mono-Take One More Step and You Die.

If you had to write a theme song for an visual artist alive or dead who would you choose, & why?
Keith: I’ll get back to you on that one.
James: Scoring a Jim Jarmusch movie… He is my favorite filmmaker and he always works with the best people from actors to musicians i.e. Roberto Benigni (pre “Life is Beautiful"), Tom Waits, the RZA, and Jon Lurie. He epitomizes this mid 80's uber New Yorkness (think Sonic Youth "Evol" meets tom waits "Rain Dogs") that I found intimidating and totally magnetic as a kid. But where Jim Jarmusch sets himself apart from any other "New York" film maker is that he is ultimately highly humanistic, down to earth and most importantly funny as hell!
Yuki: Robert Wilson because he always manages to create art layered with so much longing, pain, tension, beauty, etc. and present it in a visually simple and clean way. Plus, he’s anal. His attention to every detail is insane. I admire that in artists

Name 5 unique items you would find in your tour station wagon?
Keith: Golf balls, matches that haven't been used since I quit smoking 2 years ago, paid and unpaid parking tickets, amp knobs that somehow don't belong to any of us, extra anti-freeze, and motor oil.
James: Copies of Teen Vogue, Glamour, Us, Cosmo and Elle for Yuki.
Yuki: A light fixture filled with change, plenty of “tunes”, Keith’s candy bar wrappers, fuck you James -so what if I buy trashy magazines to pass the time?!, and a picture of my cat, Anthony.

What are you guys rocking to this winter?
Keith:
1. Mojave 3 - "Where Is The Love"
2. Interpol - "Obstacle 1"
3. Mogwai - "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong"
4. Pavement - "Here"
5. Sigur Ros - "njósnavélin"
6. The Walkmen - "We've Been Had"
7. American Analog Set - "Aaron and Maria"
8. Air - "Dirty Trip"
9. Aphex Twin - "Heliosphan"
10. Belle and Sebastian - "Like Dylan in the Movies"

Yuki:
1. Deerhoof “Holy Night Fever”
2. Deerhoof “Cooper”
3. Deerhoof “PandaPandaPanda”
4. Kahimi Karie “What is Blue?”
5. Cocteau Twins “Lorelei”
6. Tom Waits “All the World is Green”
7. The Stooges “1969”

James:
1. Mogwai "Rats of the Capitol" from HAPPY MUSIC FOR HAPPY PEOPLE.
The first time I saw Mogwai the bassist had an Entombed shirt on...when they go all epic noise metal- woah.
2. Ruins "Issighirudoh" from TSHOMBORGA.
Picking this song is pretty much arbitrary as all ruins songs are absolutely essential. Amazing amazing musicians! They never should be missed live. They are smart as fuck but still maintain a sense of humor.
3. Lightning Bolt "Assassins" from WONDERFUL RAINBOW.
Bass and drums, bass and drums, bass and drums. Makes me want to snort Ritalin.
4. Cocteau Twins "Sugar Hiccup" from TREASURE.
Summer nighttime music... Everything’s gonna be ok.
5. Skywave "Here She Comes" from BLISSCENT 2 COPLILATION.
The best and most original of the supposed neo-shoegazing scene. So poppy and noisy with a healthy JAMC jones they stand miles apart from the rest.
6. Acid Mothers Temple "Loved and Confused" from ELECTRIC HEAVYLAND.
Crazy Japanese noise/psych, they are so serious about this shit it scares me, truly bad vibes dude. Great for driving around Martha’s vineyard.
7. Slowdive "Allison" from SOUVLAKI.
8. Leonard Cohen "Suzanne" SONGS OF LEANORD COHEN.
A re-rediscovery. Songs with girls names in the title are good.
9. Deerhoof anything off APPLE O’.
Everyone’s new favorite "noise" band, but definitely worthy of all the attention. Cutesy and noisy with a definite Japanese sensibility.
10. Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions "On the Low" from BAVARIAN FRUIT BREAD.
Best album I’ve heard in a long time. Colm Occoisog and Hope Sandoval as perfect as it sounds on paper, now lets see about this MBV box set…X