Since their pure DIY beginnings in 1981, Osaka, Japan’s Shonen Knife have been building a faithful following of music enthusiasts and the alternative rock elite. Their relentless journey secured the band’s place as one of the pioneer ambassadors of Japanese rock music and culture on the international stage.
In 2019 the trio charges ahead towards their fourth decade of international touring and recording with their nineteenth studio release Sweet Candy Power. The band features original members (and sisters) Naoko on Vocals and Guitar, Atsuko on Bass and Vocals and introduces their newest member, Risa, on Drums and Vocals. Their new album is homage 1960’s and 1970’s rock music. Naoko tells Hi Fi Way more about the album in a quick Q&A.
Congratulations on Sweet Candy Power, did this one feel like a labour of love?
Thank you so much! I think so. I hope people who listen to this album will be happy, I can be happy, too.
After twenty one albums does it get any easier?
I got used to for recording. Now I can record quickly than before. But writing lyrics is a bit hard. Especially writing in English, it’s difficult. I can put melody lines rapidly once the lyrics finished.
How do you think the Shonen Knife sound has changed?
First ten years, it was simple. Then it got more elaborated for the next ten years. Now we became more ROCK. Each member’s character for playing instruments are effective, too.
What’s your favourite song from the album and why?
I like Sweet Candy Power to play at shows. Our audience give us Candy call when we play it. It’s fun. I also like My Independent Country, too. I like 70’s Hard Rock style songs.
What has been the secret to keeping the band going for so long?
I never look back. I don’t have so much feeling of nostalgic. I always look forward. Actually I take all energy to cope with daily happenings regarding Shonen Knife.
Is there anything special planned for the band’s fortieth anniversary?
If our fans want something, we would like to do. We don’t have any special plans as of yet, though. What shall we do?
Do you enjoy touring just as much now as you did in the beginning?
When we started touring, I often did shopping because there many things which are new for me. But now I got used to. The enjoyment of the tour now is eating delicious foods.
Was it hard finding the right show to record before deciding on
recording Alive! In Osaka?
It was necessity. It should be in our hometown Osaka because we needed to bring our equipment for the video shooting. Also the deadline of Alive! In Osaka is limited and the show in Osaka was already decided. It was a good chance to record.
How much are you looking forward to touring Australia with Regurgitator and The Fauves?
We are looking forward to touring Australia. Atsuko and I knew Regurgitator from 1990’s and they are very good people. Our fans in Australia are cheerful and friendly. I can’t wait to play in Australia.
Does it feel more like a holiday than a tour for the band?
No, it doesn’t. I have to keep my tension and keep myself healthy during the the tour until all shows will be finished.
What’s the next challenge for Shonen Knife?
We have no plan so far. I’m lazy and it’s difficult to decide to do things by myself. But I’m doing my best for each show. If I can make more fun songs, it can be my challenge.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Shonen Knife with Regurgitator and The Fauves on the following dates…