Shonen Knife

Shonen Knife.jpg

By Ben Doy

The one and only Shonen Knife arrive in New Zealand this week, to play shows in Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington (see dates below).  

Consisting of Naoko Yamano, Ritsuko Taneda and Atsuko Yamano, I had quick phone call will the 3-piece's vocalist and lead guitarist Naoko. 

You formed 36 years ago. 

Yeah, a long long time ago. 

What was the music scene like in Osaka in 1981? 

It was early 80s when we formed. There were many underground rock punk bands. We were invited to be an opening act for other bands in Osaka

How was it being part of an all female band at that time?

Actually there were some all girl bands in Japan in the underground scene in early 80s. So it's not so special being in an all female band.  But being an all female band was very convienient, because we could be prominant if any boy bands asked us to play together. So we never booked shows by ourselves, everything was invited. 

What's the music scene like in Japan at the moment? 

There are many pop singers, or Idol singers. There are not so many rock bands, at the major music scene. But the underground scene, there are some punk bands

Back in the early 90s you famously toured with Nirvana...

Yeah, it was November 1991. We got an offer from Nirvana to tour with them; all over the United Kingdom. It was a three week tour and it was our first long overseas tour. The members of Nirvana were so kind to us, because we didn't know very much about performing in a very big place. So it became a very good experience. Members of Nirvana would watch our show on side of stage every night. I'm honoured. 

How does the songwriting process work with Shonen Knife?

During my daily life, when I find something interesting I write down some key words on my notebook. And when I start making songs I expand the key words to lyrics. And then I put melody line on it. 

We're looking forward to your NZ shows. Do you enjoy playing to this part of the world? 

Yes! And I always like to play anywhere outside of Japan. This will be our third time playing in New Zealand, and am so excited. 

What can we expect from your shows?

I think we are a very unique band. The songs are very simple pop and easy to sing along  with. Also the show is always very fun. I think people can get happy if they come to our show (laughs). 

Do you have a favourite track that you like to perform live

I like to play Antonio Baka Guy or Cobra Vs Mongoose.  They are kind of hard rock style songs, so I can play with hard rock spirit. 

What music are you listening to at the moment? 

I listen to music which I cannot make. So I listen to funk or disco music, like Earth Wind & Fire and Michael Jackson. And also I like death metal... like High On Fire or Cannibal Corpse. 

Shonen Knife

Wednesday October 4th: Nirvara Lounge, Hamilton (with 5 Girls)

Thursday October 5th: Whammy, Auckland (with The Dirty Sweets)

Friday October 6th: Meow, Wellington (with Hex)

Tickets via Under The Radar