Shonen Knife 30th Anniversary Interview

interview - 17.09.2011 10:01

JaME had the chance to speak to Shonen Knife in Nottingham about their album Free Time, their European tour and their 30th anniversary celebrations.

JaME met up with all-female punk-rock group Shonen Knife before their performance at the Bodega Social Club in Nottingham on September 10th. The band is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary and all three members were in lively spirits in anticipation of the concert.

First of all, could you please introduce yourselves to our readers?

Naoko: I’m Naoko. I play the guitar.
Ritsuko: I’m Ritsuko. I play the bass.
Emi: I’m Emi. I play the drums.

How has the tour been going so far?

Naoko: It’s going very well. Most of our shows are packed. There are so many people, it’s very rock! So many people came to our shows — more than we thought would come.

Your current tour spans twenty-four performances with very few days off. How are you coping with this hectic schedule?

Naoko: I'm really enjoying this tour, so I actually want to play more shows.

Have you had much time for sight-seeing?

Naoko: Yes, for this tour we had two full days off and we had a few hours off In Frankfurt...
Ritsuko: And Vienna.
Naoko: Yeah, Vienna. And we had an afternoon off in Prague.

What other things do you like to do when you are on tour?

Naoko: Other than sight-seeing I like shopping.
Emi: I like to eat!

Which place has had the best food?

Emi: Everywhere in Europe was so good. Germany had good food.
Ritsuko: I like European breakfasts. In Europe, every hotel has great breakfasts.

Are there any places you’ve really enjoyed visiting?

Naoko: We went to the Scandinavian countries and we saw so many Moomin dolls in Helsinki, Finland. It was so cute!
Ritsuko: I bought this Moomin charm. (she shows a Moomin charm attached to her bag)

How have you been celebrating your 30th anniversary?

Naoko: We released our Osaka Ramones CD. It’s a cover album of Ramones songs and was the first special thing for our 30th anniversary. We want to release a new item for our 30th anniversary soon, and also we’ll have a 30th anniversary party in Japan at the end of this year.

Naoko, as the only remaining original member of Shonen Knife, did you ever expect to still be performing with the band thirty years later?

Naoko: I didn’t expect it. But still I don’t feel like it's been thirty years. I’m always looking forward and I never look back, so I didn’t really notice thirty years have passed.

What are your favourite memories of being in Shonen Knife?

Naoko: Every time is a good memory.
Ritsuko: Yeah.
Naoko: And also I hope tonight’s show will be another good memory.

Emi, even though you are the newest member of the band, this is already your second European tour with Shonen Knife. Was it strange to step straight into touring Europe with an already established band?

Emi: I don’t feel strange at all. I’m really enjoying this tour.

How would you describe the evolution of Shonen Knife’s music over the course of the band’s history?

Naoko: When I started Shonen Knife the music was a little bit primitive and very pure. Then we progressed in the ’90's after we signed a major contract and then after new members Ritsuko and Emi joined, our performance became more powerful because they’re powerful, good musicians and we have a very good groove on stage together.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Naoko: The Beatles.
Ritsuko: Me too!

Have you been to The Beatles museum in Liverpool?

Naoko: We went there two years ago, it was really good.

Have you encountered any problems due to being an all-female band?

Naoko: I think we always have an advantage being a female band. We can share one room. And having a lot of boys around us, they help us out.

You have just released your latest album Free Time in Europe. What are your favourite songs from the album?

Ritsuko: Capybara!
Naoko: I like Economic Crisis.
Emi: Pick Your Own.

It’s been a year now since Free Time first came out. Are you planning any new releases?

Naoko: As soon as I write songs, we will release a new album. I’m writing lyrics at the moment.

Emi, the tour finishes just before your birthday. Do you have any plans to celebrate?

Emi: Um... I haven’t decided yet.

Finally, do you have a message for your international fans?

Naoko: Please enjoy our albums Free Time, Osaka Ramones and our other albums. And if you have the chance please come to one of our shows and have a good time. Let’s rock! We’re going to do an American tour in October and November, so we hope to see you there too.

JaME would like to thank DAMNABLY, George Gargan and Shonen Knife for making this interview possible.
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