YESTERDAY, I was talking with French artist Louise Thiolon…
Today, I chat with the Japanese trio, tricot. The all-girl group formed in Kyoto back in 2010 and consist Ikkyu Naka (Vocals/Guitar) Motoko ‘Motifour’ Kida (Guitar/Backing Vocals) and Hiromi ‘Hirohiro’ Sagane (Bass/Backing Vocals). The girls formed their own label, BAKURETSU RECORDS in 20111 and have been going from strength-to-strength. The band develops a very unique world with perfectly mixed elements of pure – fragile but strong – vocals and unpredictable song transition. The band’s experimental music primarily consists of melodic Post-Rock-inspired sounds and complex rhythm reminiscent of Math-Rock (although the members are not conscious of the music genre such as Post-Rock or Math-Rock).
I ask the trio about their forthcoming album, 3, and what the vibe is like at Big Scary Monster Records – the label they are with in the U.K. The girls talk about Britain and what the scene is like back home in Kyoto and Shiga. They dissect the complexities of Math-Rock and how their music fits into that genre; what it was like supporting Pixies and whether there is a gender imbalance in the Japanese music industry.
For those new to your music, can you introduce yourself, please?
Ikkyu Nakajima (Guitar + Vocals): We are tricot: a Japanese all-female Rock band formed in Kyoto.
Who are the artists you all grew up listening to? Which artists are particularly important to you?
Motifour Kida (Guitar): I listened to, mostly Japanese artists, such as Shiina Ringo, Number Girl; ACIDMAN and Midori. From those names, I definitely received the most influence and impact on my playing from Shiina Ringo.
You formed in Kyoto in 2010. Were you all friends or did you meet by chance?
Hiromi Sagane (Bass): Kida and Ikkyu have been friends longer – as they are old friends from high school – but we all met at a local venue when we were in local amateur bands.
Is there a big music scene around Kyoto and Shiga? How does it differ to areas like, say, London?
Ikkyu: Shiga, where I grew up, is a particularly rural area of Japan.
When I was listening to music, it was still behind the times – with a lot of popular music that was coming in – so the bands in Shiga were always playing music that was popular a while ago.
Kyoto is a much more urban area than Shiga but there are many bands that don’t ride trends and write distinctive, original music. Venues are mostly underground and a lot of young people are drawn to that cool underground scene.
Tricot mix complex rhythms and elements of Math-Rock. It is a rare sound I do not hear in many other acts. Do you all have quite varied tastes?
Motifour: Pop, Rock; R&B, Hip-Hop – we all like listening to a wide range of various music.
3 is your forthcoming record. Can you tell me about the subjects and themes you address in the album?
Hiromi: We don’t really have particular themes, to be honest. If I had to be pinned down, I would say our main theme was creative freedom and having fun.
You recently signed to Big Scary Monsters Records. What has it been like working under them? How much freedom do you get to write and create as you wish?
Ikkyu: First and foremost, we recorded the album under our own imprint, BAKURETSU RECORDS, in Japan – as we usually do.
Almost immediately after we finished the recording, we decided to work with Big Scary Monsters on the release in the U.K. – and they gave us total creative freedom.
Are there any plans for future music or new albums? What happens after 3 gets released?
Motifour: We do not have any concrete plans yet but we are continuously writing new songs.
There is a lot of love for you in the U.K. Can we expect to see you here in the future?
Hiromi: We’ll be playing ArcTanGent Festival in Bristol on 17th – 19th August but we don’t currently have any more firm touring plans to announce.
We’re going to do our best to make it in the future.
I know you support Pixies last year. Are they big heroes of yours? What was that experience like?
Ikkyu: To be 100% honest, I had never heard Pixies’ music until the support slot was confirmed. When it was announced, I was just happy to be able to play live in front of a lot of people in the U.K. At first, but soon after that, the news got such a big reaction from so many people and I realised “OK, this is an amazing opportunity“.
On the day I tried to do the best live performance, instead of just thinking about being the support act for Pixies, so I really enjoyed playing that show.
I’ve also got wonderful memories of seeing Pixies’ perform after that.
On that subject, who are the artists you are all inspired by?
Motifour: We are very particular about chorus arrangement. I think that the essence of Japanese bands like MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS and Sebu Hiroko can definitely be found as homages in our work.
There are not many all-female bands at the moment, compared with all-male examples, for sure. Is there quite a gender imbalance in Japan or is it quite equal? Do you have to fight harder to get attention and equality?
Ikkyu: There’s nothing particularly difficult about being in a band for women in Japan especially. In some ways I think women musicians have an advantage here because we stand out more than the guys.
I think one of the disadvantages is that a lot of male bands are supported and encouraged by female fans – but women in bands don’t seem to be.
Which new artists do you think we should be keeping our eyes on?
Motifour: A band called Chiyoda Ku who shared the stage with us on our European tour last year – they were sooo good.
What advice would you offer any new acts emerging at the moment?
Hiromi: It’s important to have fun and do everything you want to do.