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Music |

Interview: Tashaki Miyaki

Wednesday 15 August 2012
Words Spindle

Everything I have read about Tashaki Miyaki seems to focus on the mystery and intrigue surrounding them.  This is for good reason I suppose – some detective work on my part (Google) doesn’t even uncover the surnames of Rocky and Lucy, the duo who make up this band. They obviously wish to let the music do the talking; music which is a puffy ball of soft, but strong pale colours, like eating a valium-spiked bag of Haribo on a sunny day. There is something cartoonish in the laconic delivery of songs like Best Friend and Somethin’ is Better than Nothin’: it speaks of the simplicity of youth and takes inspiration from the Jesus and Mary Chain, or the Velvet Underground. 

I came up with an idea, recently, which has the people at Spindle Towers all a-froth with manic excitement: so you have bands, okay, and they are made up of people who do pretty interesting jobs and there is no set method of how these jobs are done. So what if, I thought, we were to ask these “bands” some questions to see how they view the world around them? I came up with the word “interview” to describe this process, from the Latin word “inter” meaning “asking” and the Greek word “view” meaning “questions about your band’s music and world and ideas plus a rubbish question about restaurants”.

You’ll like the results:

In England, we are incapable of complaining properly. We do it among friends in a secretive way, so that ultimately, whatever it is we’re complaining about, never gets directly addressed or improved. If you get a substandard meal in a restaurant, do you send it back, or just politely eat?

Lucy: Politely send it back.

Tell me about the dog in your video for Best Friend. I like this dog. Good song too.

Lucy: The dog in our video belongs to our friend Pete. His name is Eddie and he’s a real character.

Have either of you ever been in trouble with the police?

Rocky: Do you mean sting? I’ve never met him in person.

Lucy: I was a wild kid. I was brought home a couple times by the police. But never arrested.

Are you prolific writers? Do you have any special rituals or methods for creation?

Lucy: I never feel like I’m writing that much, but then one day, there’s a bunch of songs laying around. I have a close friend who is slow to finish songs and he thinks I get a lot of writing done, but I have other friends who write so much- they blow my mind. I think I’m in the middle. I can get lazy, but even then I will get something done.

I really like the idea of ritual, though I don’t have any other than to play everyday. Sometimes songs come and sometimes they don’t. I am a big believer in working at what you do everyday and exercising the imagination. I believe creativity is like a muscle and it will atrophy if not exercised. I guess being active is my ritual.

Does it annoy you when journalists seem to compare female artists exclusively to other female artists? It annoys me. Why should being a girl be a “thing”?

Lucy: Yes I find that annoying. I feel that type of comparing generally shows a lack of creativity in journalism.

Do you believe there is a collective subconscious? I ask because there are a few other bands with your dreamy, lush sound coming out at the moment, and I believe you are doing your thing out of love. I don’t see it as cynical. Perhaps you’re subconsciously responding to the needs of the public? (We are all insane in 2012)

Lucy: I do believe in a collective unconscious. I believe thoughts move like electricity and we humans affect each other all the time. I don’t know if we are directly responding to the needs of the public, but when I write songs I try to get the truth of the thing I’m trying to express. I want to get to that thing in its simplest form and I build the song around that. I suppose since we are part of the public there must be some public need fulfilled in that.

Do you have an eye on the future? What I mean is, do you see yourselves doing a Bowie and changing direction over the years?

Lucy: For me change is something that naturally happens. How can you stay the same when everyday you are changing? Change is the natural state of life.

Are you inspired as writers by the internal or the external? Bob Dylan is external – he once said that he struggled to write as his fame grew, because he transitioned from the observer to the observed. Interesting point, Bob.

Lucy: I am inspired by the world around me and the world within me. I have a big imagination and it fuels my work quite a bit, but so does living and watching.

HG Wells wrote a “vision of the future” book called When the Sleeper Wakes, and in his future vision, numbers go up in 11s rather than 10s. Do you think its important, as creative people, to challenge and intellectualise natural instinct? Or is it something that must be left as it is?

Lucy: Personally I prefer not to intellectualise natural instincts…. I like to work from an intuitive place. I think you can challenge yourself without intellectualising or judging your work. You can ask the mind to work in new ways and allow the developments to be organic.

Words: Lee Clayden