Interview with Yuki Chikudate from Asobi Seksu (2006)

With the release of their sophomore album “Citrus” Asobi Seksu have found themselves on the receiving end of almost universal praise for their cool mix of pop songwriting and atmospheric sounds. The following interview was conducted with lead singer Yuki via email.

Now that Citrus has been released, many reviews (including my own) have said that it’s far more consistent than the first album. Was that a conscious goal you had when writing and recording, or did it just turn out that way?

Yes, it was definitely a conscious goal. We were very aware of our inconsistencies with the first record. With this album we were able to take the time and effort to create an album as a whole, with a story arc that makes sense from beginning to end. We had to weed out a bunch of songs to get there and we grappled with the song order for months!

There have been a lot of atmospheric/shoegaze bands from NY in the past few years, whereas there really wasn’t any for a very long time. Do you have any idea why this is?

We haven’t been aware of any revival. We just knew that we wanted to be a loud, in your face, take it or leave it type of band. It has been James goal to create this kind of sound since he was in high school. This has been manifested in many ways, since he’s into different kinds of noise. He has been in bands that sounded like The Melvins, Mogwai, as well as Spiritualized and Flying Saucer Attack. I think once I came into the picture his pop sensibilities came into play. James has always been experimenting with noise, not just a shoegaze sound, and I think that he’s worked very hard to create his current guitar sound.

Do you have a favorite place to play in NY?

We love playing Mercury Lounge and Bowery Ballroom.

Who are some of your favorite up and coming NY bands?

Calla, Daylights for the Birds

Would you arm-wrestle Kazu from Blonde Redhead over the right to be crowned best Japanese female singer of an NY indie-rock band?

No way! I can’t touch her! PLUS, she’s got friends in high places like one of our heroes, John Lurie! Have you seen him? He’s like 7 feet tall. He would easily crush me if he had to…to defend her honor.

Did making a video for “Walk On The Moon” open up any doors for the band? I’ve never seen it, except for the Internet – did any of the video networks play it? I think so. It has become our theme song, so to speak. I think MTVU played it a bunch. We were not cool enough for MTV2.

Speaking of “Walk On The Moon”, was that written about a specific situation? Yes and no. As I was writing the lyrics, I think I subconsciously channeled the 16-year old me.

How you decide whether to do a certain song in English or in Japanese? We flip a coin. Do a raffle. Rock paper scissors.

Do you guys work jobs outside of the band or does this pay the bills? Uhhh, we have day jobs.

Is there anything else you want to say? We would like to not have day jobs!!