Shonen Knife: "After a career of thirty years, we are included in the underground scene"


  • Spanish version.

  • Naoko Yamano, vocal, guitar and founder member of Shonen Knife, answered:
    Since you started in 1981, the original lineup of the band has changed. Has the identity of Shone Knife been reinforced, got weaker or still the same?
    Early Shonen Knife is very primitive and we improved now. I think my ability of playing music instruments, song writing, performance on stage were progressed compared with the begging. Latest members are very talented, too. My attitude for music is always the same, though. I keep my eyes fresh and rocking.

    Congratulations on your new album. Would you say that this album is a follow-up of the previous one?
    Japanese lyrics version of our new album “Free Time” was released just in Japan in January and there is no plan to release it overseas so far. We’ll record English lyrics version next week.
    Actually we’ve just released English version of “Super Group” album from Damnably label in the UK. It was originally released in 2008 in Japan. We’ll play fun songs from “Super Group” on this tour. Every our album is always growing up and always rock.


    Let’s talk about the new album, we are excited to know a little bit more. There is a song called “Love Song”, have you finally decided to write your first song about love?
    “Love Song” is a kind of anti- commercial love songs. I don’t want cheap love songs but I need true love. Ah, it might be a love song.


    How do you approach a new project? Do you conceive each song as a singular entity or as a part of a whole idea, which becomes the album?
    I always conceive each song as a singular entity. I don’t like concept album. It’s tend to boring. I write down some keywords on my notebook for lyrics when I find it during my daily life. Then I develop it for lyrics and put melody line.

    In many of your songs, you talk about vegetables, fruits, candy and also animals. Are you vegetarians? Do you have pets? How do you feel about them?
    All of us are not vegetarians. We eat meat and fish. I rather like vegetables and sea food better than meat, though. My favourite is sweets, though. I had cats but now I don’t have pets. Bassist Ritsuko has a cat, Drummer Emi has a dog. They like their pets.

    What do you expect from this tour and what can we expect from it? Is it your first time in Spain?
    I think it will be the second time in Spain. Last time was in early 90’s. I remember people in Spain were very kind to us and there were delicious food like paella. We’ll do our best show.

    What's the reaction to your music of the younger audiences in Japan? What is the Japanese music scene like?
    The reaction doesn’t depend on age. Even old fans do moshing. There is a major J-Pop scene in Tokyo, Japan. Music style is a little different from us. We often sing in English but usual J-Pop bands sing in Japanese. They usually influenced by Japanese pop bands but I’m influenced by Western Rock. We are living in Osaka and we are rather included in underground scene in Japan.

    In the beginning, being two sisters and one friend, did you ever think of being able to live out of your music and have a career span of almost three decades?
    I’ve never imagined. People around me help me a lot. That’s why I can continue so long.


    Tell us a bit about the cover designs of the albums, the website, the stage outfits, scenografy, etc. Do you decide over those areas as well?
    --- We control everything by ourselves. We select designers of the album jackets. We design our stage outfits. I often design band T-shirts and other merchant good by myself, too.

    Music industry has changed a lot since you started, back in the eighties and nineties. Now internet is a powerful tool, especially for promotion but also in order to get and find music. What is your opinion about places such as Spotify, itunes, etc?
    I have iPod. It is convenient when I tour. I can listen many CDs and do internet. On the other hand, many fans ask me do I release any vinyl records. They want vinyl. I think tools went around. It’s like from vinyl to CD, from CD to data, from data to vinyl. I think CD will be popular again in 10 years.

    Is Tanqueray & Tonic your favourite drink?
    I don’t drink so much. My favourite drink is water. For alcohol, I like red wine with no antioxidant.

    Thank you very much for your time.
    Thank you! Arigato!

    Tx: Bismilah!