Oooooh, here comes Japanese all-femme Thrill Jockey band OOIOO, playing Monday, March 26, alongside with Neung Phak at the Independent. Here's more of an e-mail interview with honchette Yoshimi (also of the Boredoms), translated by Hashim Bharoocha.
Guardian: How did this tour come about? OOIOO seems to rarely tour internationally.
Yoshimi: The tour came about simply because Thrill Jockey in the US also released Taiga, and I had a vague idea from about last year that I wanted to tour the US around March. There are three people with children in the band, so it is difficult to make arrangements with each of the mothers and their families to tour. I don't feel it is necessary to separate small children from their mothers just to tour. So we are taking our kids with us. We will also be taking either babysitters or the fathers with us and touring together. But there is no one in the US that wants to pay for additional family members, so it is difficult to work that out. We mostly have to pay for that ourselves.
G: How does OOIOO develop its songs?
Y: With all of our records including Taiga, first everyone except for me plays together live and we record that as a basic track. Then they add improvisation over that. Finally, the engineer and I use that material and construct a song out of it. During the process of recording the basic tracks, I often improvise and add overdubs of my guitar and other instruments. In the end, I use what everyone has played as material to create the song. We then mix it down and master it.
G: Does Japanese folk music play a big role in OOIOO's sound?
Y: I don't know much about traditional Japanese music. But I am influenced by the sounds of insects, the weather, and other things that are unique to Japan. I think that Japanese folk music originally came from being influenced by the unique natural characteristics of Japan.
G: Yoshimi, how has it been dividing your time between Boredoms and OOIOO?
Y: After the US tour of OOIOO, the Boredoms will be doing a double headliner tour with Sonic Youth in Japan, and after that the Boredoms are touring Europe, so we are very busy. A tremendous amount of rehearsing goes into the Boredoms, while OOIOO only does about one rehearsal before a tour, so it is difficult but that's how we balance the schedule. But the songs, the overall sound, and the histories of both bands are completely different. Do they sound the same to you?
G: What are you looking forward to doing on tour abroad?
Y: It's always fun to go to places you've never been to. But all the cities that we will be going to on this US tour, I have already been to before. I would like to go to Arizona, and I want to see the James Turrell crater.
G: What are your personal lives like now, apart from the band?
Y: I take my child to kindergarten, cook dinner for the family, clean the house, and relax at home. I also design clothing for a brand called Emerald Thirteen.
G: What is it like being in an all-girl band in Japan these days?
Y: Japanese audiences are very honest and wonderful. People that don't understand the music just stand there in a gaze, some people dance, and so there are different reactions that we get at the same time. We also get a very broad age range in our audiences, ranging from babies to elderly people.
I am not that conscious about being in an all-girl band. For this upcoming tour, we have a support member playing percussion and drums, so this ensemble will be twin percussion and drums. That percussionist is also female, which just happened by coincidence. When we perform in Japan, we also have one guy that is sometimes the turntablist in our band. Maybe we will have a guy in our band in the future - who knows.
OOIOO appears March 26, 8 p.m., $13-$15. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF. (415) 771-1421.
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