Uhnellys, Shima Shima Electric, Nature Airliner, PET, Tsushimaire, jungles!!! & Lolita No.18 “(a Q&A with )Japanese indie bands rockin’ Zandari Festa 2015″

J-Rock in Seoul at Zandari 2015
Interviews : “(a Q&A with )Japanese indie bands rockin’ Zandari Festa 2015″ 2015.09.29

Zandari

Early October sees the 4th instalment of South Korea’s Zandari Festa. It’s a celebration of arts and music taking place over 3 days in the cultural heart of Seoul, (Hongdae) from October 2nd to 4th. Zandari strives to act as a bridge (the name literally means small bridge) between artists, audience members, industry professionals and the international music scene.

This year features the most globally diverse lineup yet, including numerous Japanese bands. The J-bands heading over are Uhnellys (who you may have caught at Fuji Rock Festival 2013), Shima Shima Electric, Lolita No. 18, Tsushimamire, jungles!!!, Nature Airliner, PET, Sakishima Meeting and the Tokyo expat band The Dirty T’s.

I got the chance to speak to some of these bands to hear their thoughts on the festival, touring internationally and the importance of thriving in today’s global market. Check out the Q&A below. If you’re in Korea don’t miss the chance to join in on the fun at this year’s Zandari Festa. Those in Japan, make sure to check out these great indie bands when they’re back on home soil. Let’s get to it.

What are your impressions of Zandari Festa? Do you think something similar could work in Tokyo?

Uhnellys — “I was surprised that so many musicians come to Zandari festa from other than Korea.”

Shima Shima Electric — “We believe that Zandari Festa will give us a great opportunity to meet new people, feel their music, be stimulated, and become the next step forward for our music activity. We think to perform at Zandari Festa will become our greatest experience”

Nature Airliner — “We played ‘Japan Music Week’ here in Tokyo a few years ago, but it seems like the festival went under. Maybe if we have better organisers and planners, something like that could work out.”

PET — “It looks (like) Zandari Fes and Korean artists performing there have lots of energy. I am excited to come and actually see them and also what I would learn from there.”

Tsushimaire — “I (am) excited to see all those variation(s) of Korean indie bands. It must be so much fun!”

jungles!!! — “It looks fun and great place for indie bands like us. We have one in Shimotazawa and one in Osaka, called Minami wheel.”

Lolita No.18 — “Good bands, Good shows and then Good food and Good beer!!”


Have you played internationally before? If so, where/when?

Uhnellys — “We (have) played United Kingdom, France, Australia, Singapore, Canada, USA and Taiwan.”

Shima Shima Electric — “In March 2015, we had shows at L.A. in the United States.”

Nature Airliner — “We played the Hard Rock Cafe Guam four times; twice in 2010 and twice in 2014.”

PET — “This is our first performance outside of Japan!!”

Tsushimaire — “Yes, we have many times, more than 10 times in USA. We performed Japan Nite US tour 2015 including SXSW in March. When we opened the ‘Suicide Girls Live Burlesque Tour’ in 2005, we went to 40 cities with our van.”

jungles!!! — “Yes, we have. 2004 March USA : Austin SXSW, NY, Columbus, Chicago, Athen, GA, Las Vegas, San Diego, SF. 2014, Taiwan”

Lolita No.18 — “Ye~s!! We have been USA, UK, Germany, Holland, Swiss, Belgium, China and Korea!!! maybe more, I don’t remember. It was 12 years ago when we (last) came to Seoul. It’s nice we are coming back!”


Do you think it’s essential to appeal to a global market these days?

Shima Shima Electric — “We have been seeking the opportunity to spread our music world wide, not just Japan. Be(ing) unafraid to contact is important.”

Nature Airliner — “…we are writing and performing with the intention of bringing more peace and love to the world as a whole, so I guess we are already doing something like that.”

PET — “Yeah, I do. We want to connect as many people as possible in the world. We sell less CDs at the stores in Japan. Let us come to you with our music.”

Tsushimaire — “Yes, we do. We are looking for the global market not only Japan.”

Lolita No.18 — “I think it depends on what kind of music you do. If you have lots of fans and people pay money to buy your music, that’s cool. You don’t need to go outside of Japan.”


Are you conscious of the overseas music market when you make music?

Shima Shima Electric — “Of course, yes.”

Nature Airliner — I think that the music you write is inevitably influenced by the streets you walk, so there’s definitely some ‘Japan’ seeping into my music (some fans have pointed it out) but I don’t write with any nation-based market in mind. I just write to give people hope, and ideally to give them great songs from which they can get the same thrill that I get out of songs by my favorite artists.

PET — “No. My first priority to write songs is cool, fun and dance! Of course it’s cool the song made a hit in global market as a result of this.”

Tsushimaire — “When we make new songs, we think and imagine how we play this live in Japan and in front of overseas audience.”

jungles!!! — “No we are not conscious about it. But we love all kinds of music in the world which make our music more weird”

Lolita No.18 — “Ooops! I even don’t think about Japanese market!!!! I should.”


What can people expect from your set at Zandari festa?

Uhnellys — “You can view for the first time extreme real-time sampling performance .”

Shima Shima Electric — “…the physically thrilling sounds of the bass and drums we play will for sure become an addiction for those that see it for the first time.”

Nature Airliner — “Eiko (vocals) runs the show. She’s the manager and the producer (which is a direct reflection of her personality) and I’m the crazy artist type, so it can get quite ridiculous when we talk to each other onstage. As a result of our differences, we’re also pretty intense as a duo. I come from the old-school punk rock crowd, and Eiko grew up on the arena-rock records of the 70′s, so it makes for some solid intensity, even if it’s just two voices and an acoustic guitar.”

PET — “Let’s have (a) party together! We are going to make you dance!”

Tsushimaire — “Sexy Dance?!! ( laugh) Actually you (will) see how Yayoi dance(s) while she plays her bass.”

jungles!!! — “You’ll see 4 crazy monster girls from Japan! We are so scary!!!”

Lolita No.18 — “PUNK! and Oi!! lots of Oi!!!!”


Will you have some free time in Seoul? Anything you want to do at Zandari festa or around Seoul?

Shima Shima Electric — “We have a few free time in Seoul. So we would like to eat Korean food and experience Korean culture. At Zandari festa, we want to feel sounds from each countries.”

Nature Airliner — “We’re actually playing two more shows; Friday, October 2nd at Rocky Mountain Tavern, and Saturday, October 3rd at Thunderhorse Tavern. Apart from that, we’d like to see the sights. Eiko’s also a pro photographer, so she’ll obviously want to take a lot of photos, this being our first trip to Korea. We’re also huge fans of Korean food, so we’ll definitely be sampling a lot of the local cuisine.”

PET — “I hope we have time to enjoy real Korean food. I like noodles and drink! We are looking forward to drinking with Korean music people.”

Tsushimaire — “Love to go to a beauty salon, like facial and body message and spend some luxurious time.”

jungles!!! — “We only stay 3 days. but I hope we have some time to eat! We love Korean Food. I hope someone take(s) us to a nice Korean restaurant”

Lolita No.18 — “I would like to eat good kimchi with beer.”


Any parting words?

Shima Shima Electric — “In anyway come to see the Shima Shima Electric show. We would (like to) give you a big surprise!!”

Nature Airliner — “Thank you very much to anyone reading this. If you have a dream, pursue it, regardless of what you perceive to be the potential outcome. Pursuing a dream, in and of itself, brings priceless happiness; which most people could use more of in this day and age.”

PET — “Music is the language to connect people. Let’s have (a) party!”

Tsushimaire — “We can’t wait to see you all!! Please come to see us!”

jungles!!! — “Please come to see jungles!!! Let’s have fun together.”

Lolita No.18 — “It’s our 27th anniversary this year. Oi Oi Oi!!”

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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

James Mallion's Works

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