2014 Artist Survey: Cibo Matto

Yuka C. Honda on Their Biggest Fans, Her First Concert, Facebooking with Her Dad, and How All Indie Musicians Should Sell Out

Jan 22, 2015 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Ought, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman's Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Yuka C. Honda of Cibo Matto.

Top 10 Albums of 2014

I've been listening to many albums and many singles this year. Below is a list, but in no particular order.

Beck: Morning Phase-I drove through the beautiful desert mountains of the national parks in southern Utah this year, sculpted by wind and rain, and played this album over and over. One of my best memories of this year.

Deerhoof: La Isla Bonita-Deerhoof is one of my favorite bands. They never disappoint.

St. Vincent: St. Vincent-Probably the album I've listened to the most this year. My favorite song is "Prince Johnny."

tUnE-yArDs: Nikki Nack-How soulful. How charming. How powerful. How intelligent. How do you not love tUnE-yArDs?

Warpaint: Warpaint-I especially love the song "Disco/Very." 

Moreno Veloso: Coisa Boa-Moreno Veloso, Alexandre Kassin, and Domenico Lancellotti are the trinity of audio heaven. 

Singles:

Dej Loaf: "Try Me"

Iggy Azalea: "Pu$y"

I also would like to mention that Death Grips: Government Plates (2013) and Gal Costa: Recanto (2011) are both still super heavy rotation in my world.

It's not out just yet, but Nels Cline's new duo album with Julian Lage called ROOM is incredible. 

U2's new album was downloaded for free into millions of users' iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

It was a great gift for U2 fans and a terrible frustration for music fans who often take pride in what they choose to listen to and collect. Not everyone likes sushi. People always should be able to order what they want. I'm not 100% sure if I understood your question correctly, but if I was to choose music that I would forcefully inject into everybody's music player, I would choose classical music: Bach, Mozart, Debussy, Stravinsky, Ravel, etc. Also, I would choose important jazz music, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, etc. Also Fela. Everybody should own Fela.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them "hillbillies" for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

Some people need to act like assholes because they are full of shit. Our responsibility is to not to go to the bathroom in public.

Which common criticism of your music do you most agree with?

Genre bending. I believe in destroying genre fences.

Who from your youth (such as a former bully, an unrequited love) do you most hope pays attention to the fact that you're now a successful musician?

My piano teacher. I want to make it clear that I don't mean this in a vengeful way, but my piano teacher told me that I really should quit playing music, that I had no hope. I do say this sweetly as I believe she has passed away, and I now understand how annoying I had to be for her. I didn't have any discipline. It was hard for me to practice rudiments every day. All I wanted to do was to imitate Cecile Taylor in an 8-year-old's way. I think she would be happy to see me in music now.

What's the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you've ever had?

There is a group of girls who own a fashion boutique in Nagoya, Japan, called Viastique and they are the most die-hard Cibo Matto fans that we've ever met. They have a Cibo Matto shrine in their store and they play our music all day. They are not only just fans of ours, but are madly interested in all the people we interact with. So they'll go listen to a Michel Gondry seminar and buy all the albums that we ever mention on social media, even try to cook the same food as us. They make us want to do better work. I get a tweet from them every day. 

What's the topic no one asks you about in interviews that you wish they would? Conversely, if you could get journalists to stop asking you one question, which would it be?

I really like talking about the process of song making, but pretty much no one has asked me that question. Maybe it's too technical? It's a kind of question that I would want to ask everyone if I was a writer. Most of the interviews are done in less than half an hour, so it tends to be about the somewhat basic situation of Cibo Matto, like why we got back together. Which is a hard question to answer because the true answer is "we just wanted to." But that doesn't make the story for writers, which I understand. I'm inclined to make up a story, like "one night there was a thunder and it struck the sky in the shape of Miho's face and I got the message..."

Which musician or celebrity did you most have a crush on as a child or teenager?

I had the biggest crush on Jean Paul Belmondo. I remember being 8 or 9 years old and thinking he has the sexiest facial expressions, though I knew nothing of sex.

What was your first concert experience like (who did you see and who did you go with)?

I saw Public Image Limited at Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo. I remember everybody got up from their chairs as the concert started and the vibration in the air made me trip literally. I went with my boyfriend and broke up with him as we were leaving the concert because I figured out that he was having an affair with our mutual transvestite friend.

What has most surprised you about getting to know your parents as an adult?

The biggest surprise was getting to see my father interact with his friends on Facebook. I had only known him interacting with me as my father and had no idea it was just one side of his personality until I observed his interaction with other people on Facebook. It was a great way of getting to know him.

Which subject do you wish you paid more attention to in school?

History. 

What was your most disastrous haircut experience?

Right after I came to New York, when I absolutely had no money, someone told me about people becoming hair-cutting models, where you can get your haircut for free, so I applied. They gave me a mullet, with a different kind of perm on the top half and bottom half of my hair. I lived with it for a few weeks in disbelief then cut it all up. 

Which well-known filmmaker would you most like to direct one of your music videos?

Leos Carax.

If you could travel through time, which historical event would you most like to alter the outcome of and why?

Big Bang. I prefer starting things small. I'd change it to Baby Bang. 

In 2024, as part of the Mars One program, four people might be sent to Mars with no hope of ever returning to Earth. Are they completely crazy or brave? Would you ever consider such a thing?

Totally cool to do it. Why not if you want to? I'm too attached to earthly pleasures to do it though.

In which instance did you most sell out and compromise your music?

"Selling out" is an interesting word. I believe the meaning of it only functions when people "buy into it." I personally feel that there is too much feeling of "exclusivity" in music. I honestly think every great band and musician should sell their music to every media: TV commercials, weather channels, shopping mall music, you name it. Let's flood the world with great, great music all the time, so our children grow up mainly hearing something really great. Imagine the effect it will have on our future.

www.yeahbasicallycibomatto.com

 



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