2014 Artist Survey: Fujiya & Miyagi

David Best on the Best of 2014, Best Fan Interactions, U2's Free Album, and His Favorite Music Video as a Child

Jan 20, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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 David Best of Fujiya & Miyagi.

Top 10 Albums of 2014


1. Aphex Twin: Syro

2. Caribou: Our Love

3. Beck: Morning Phase

4. Scott Walker + Sunn O))): Soused

5. Liars: Mess

6. AK/DK: Synths + Drums + Noise + Space

7. Grumbling Fur: Preternaturals

8. Sleaford Mods: Divide & Exit

9. I IM EYE MY: 7 Transmissions

10. Pete Fij / Terry Bickers: Broken Heart Surgery

 

What was the highlight of 2014 for either you personally or for the band?

 

I have two highlights. The first is dancing round my living room with my two young sons to the Donna Summer record "I Feel Love," and the second is Arsenal winning the F.A. Cup final.

 

What was the low point of 2014 for you? 

 

I try not to dwell on the low points, as it is not healthy nor is it conducive to reaching the high points.

 

What are your hopes and plans for 2015?

 

I'd like to record some more with Fujiya & Miyagi. Maybe some singles or an EP. I'd like us to be more prolific and spontaneous.

 

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?

 

I can see why people would be annoyed with what they did. It is a little presumptuous. Also, it's not as if they are underexposed and need the extra promotion. It is pretty easy to avoid it, though. I can't delete the stocks app on my phone, but that doesn't bother me much. I suppose people are worried that if they get knocked down by a bus, someone might look at the music on their phone and think less of them for having it on there. Maybe I'm overthinking it. I don't think any artist deserves to be shoved down anyone's throats against their will, but if I had to choose someone, I would put Jake Thackray's LP Bantam Cock on there.

 

Did you take part in the ice bucket challenge? If not, why not? Grimes declined due to animal testing issues, was the grief she got for that deserved?

 

I'm a bit too busy to be putting buckets of water on my head. Why would you do that? Is it like the new Mexican wave or something?

 

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri opened up a new national dialogue on police shootings and racism in America. Do you think anything will actually change because of it?

 

I'm not an expert, but coming from the U.K., the whole gun culture in the States seems wrong. There are other ways to apprehend someone rather than shooting them. I don't know enough about the repercussions of this incident in the media and the government to have an opinion on if it will bring about change. My guess is it won't.

 

What's your craziest theory for what happened to the missing Malaysian Air flight?

 

It's hard to be a conspiracy theorist when you've got two young kids. I really I haven't got the time. I imagine it crashed somewhere.

 

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?

 

We played a festival in Ireland ages ago and The Stooges were on the main stage at the same time we were playing in a tent. I really wanted to see them, so I liked hearing them when we stopped between our songs. I think I might have even joined in a little on "No Fun." So it depends who it is. If it's someone a bit shit, it must be pretty annoying.

 

"Weird Al" Yankovic was back in a big way this year. If he were to lampoon any one of your songs, which one would you want it to be? What would the "Weird Al" version's lyrics be about? 

 

He wasn't really big here [in the U.K.] this year. I just know "Eat It." I'm not sure what song he would lampoon of ours, but I'm sure it would be really, really hilarious. Maybe it would be a variation of "Uh."

 

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

 

Well, most criticisms of us tend to be aimed at the aesthetic of the group or my voice. I can't do anything about the latter and I believe in the former. It's hard not to take it personally sometimes. That's why I have created a kill list.

 

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

 

Every time we talk to someone who has an interest in what we do, it gives us fresh impetus to carry on. I think too many people focus on reviews or radio, etc., but the only pure and meaningful events that music provoke are the creation of music and the consumption of it. It's only when you play live and talk to people that you understand this connection. If you don't speak to people who have an interest in what you do, you are just making music to put in to an empty ego-driven void.

 

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?

 

How did you get so amazing at the guitar? That's never been asked. I wish people would stop asking how we got our name. We've been asked that for over 10 years now.

 

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?

 

I don't really feel like a successful musician, but if I did, I wouldn't be driven by proving people from my past wrong. I'm sure they have more important issues at hand other than my success or failure.

 

What was your favorite music video as a child?

 

The one that stayed with me, I suppose, is David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes." The imagery and the effects and the bulldozer were pretty striking as an 8-year-old.

 

In 2014, what was the best movie you saw, book you read, comic book you read, video game you played, and/or TV show you watched?

 

My favourite movie was The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's the sort of film I know I will watch every now and again for the rest of my days. In terms of books, I'm halfway through Anthony Burgess' Earthly Powers. That's pretty good. I don't read comic books or play video games but I do sometimes watch TV. I enjoyed True Detective.

 

www.fujiya-miyagi.co.uk

 

 



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