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Asobi Seksu Best of the Decade Artist Survey

Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna

Dec 18, 2009 Artist Surveys 2009
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Under the Radar’s Best of the Decade/Year-End Issue features our Best of the Decade Artist Survey. For Under the Radar’s 7th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last decade and asked them for a list of their best albums of the decade. Some of the surveys didn’t make it in the issue and some answers from surveys that did make it in the issue had to be trimmed for space. Those surveys and answers are posted on our website. Pick up our Best of the Decade/Year-End Issue to read surveys from Camera Obscura, The Dodos, El Perro Del Mar, Final Fantasy, The Hidden Cameras, The Horrors, The Invisible, Ladytron, Sondre Lerche, Jamie Lidell, Loney Dear, Los Campesinos!, Mew, Midlake, Okkervil River, Stars, Telekinesis, The Twilight Sad, and Vivian Girls.

Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna

Asobi Seksu

Top Eleven Albums of the Decade

1. Broadcast: Haha Sound

2. The Walkmen: Bows and Arrows

3. Calla: Televise

4. Air: Talkie Walkie

5. Björk: Vespertine

6. Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.: Mantra of Love

7. Ruins: Pallaschtom

8. Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions: Bavarian Fruit Bread

9. Dead Meadow: Shivering King and Others

10. Lali Puna: Faking the Books

11. Sigur Ros: ()

Top Ten Albums of 2009

1. Eat Skull: Wild and Inside—Really good. There is way too much “lo-fi” or whatever nowadays but some of it is really good.

2. Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest—Yeah, me and everyone. A really great record though. The best thing about Grizzly Bear is you never quite know where the songs will end up.

3. Torche: Meanderthal—Kinda like old school Melvins mixed with Guided By Voices… just awesome.

4. Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs—YLT have an enviable career, just doing their thing…being all talented and shit.

5. Sonic Youth: The Eternal—I heard these guys were a pretty good band.

6. Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions: Through the Devil Softly—Who has a better voice? Not many people.

7. Broadcast: Mother is the Milky Way

8. Tyvek: Tyvek—Tyvek makes me smile, they rock.

9. Xasthur: All Reflections Drained—Everyone needs to get bleak and satanic now and again.

10. The Flaming Lips: Embryonic

What was the high point of the last decade for you, personally?

Yuki Chikudate: A high point was getting to play out of the country for the first time in 2006. We got to go U.K., Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Japan, and Taiwan. It really was amazing since I had never been to Europe until then and James had never traveled outside of North America until then.

What was the low point of the last decade for you, personally?

Yuki: Realizing that I had no way to pay rent.

What are your hopes and plans for the next decade?

Yuki: Being able to record our next album and make the rent/food! Try to live a balanced life.

Which artist and their music do you think most defines the last decade and why?

Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna: Radiohead because they have influenced music of this decade in so many ways. They prove that you can be non-formulaic, yet successful and mainstream.

Which musical trend or scene from the last decade do you feel was most overrated/overhyped? Which one was most underrated/under-hyped?

Yuki and James: That’s really hard to say. We are terrible about paying attention to trends and what’s being hyped. The post-Interpol trend was over-hyped. James says Acid Mother’s Temple and Ruins psych prog music in general doesn’t get enough credit.

Do you think what is considered “indie rock” is different than it was when the decade started? With the commercial strides made in the past decade, how do you think the definition of “indie” rock has changed?

Yuki and James: The state of music is so confusing to me right now, I’m not really sure what indie rock is. The term itself might be outdated because the lines are so blurry between what is considered mainstream and indie. This is a pretty heavy transitional period, I suppose.

What big issues and challenges do you foresee musicians and the music industry facing in the next decade?

Yuki: How to continue touring—the costs are getting outrageous and there are just so many bands. Fans have so many choices and not as much as money to go to shows. And it is increasingly difficult to get people to pay for products that are available digitally. It’s just too easy to steal music, movies, and TV shows these days. We’re not being judgmental—we aren’t totally guilt free! But there has to be more of an incentive for people to pay for the products that they like and a system that works for them.

Which political and societal change/development from the last decade most concerns you? Which one most gives you hope?

Yuki: The sense of snarky-ness and the tearing down of others. This has existed in every era, but seems like it’s really rewarded more than ever now. It’s an unfortunate human defect that exists in the best of us and easier to spread than ever in the digital age. We’re way more exposed, watched, connected, and also more disposable. The world becoming a giant shopping mall full of chains makes me sad. Especially recently in New York. Slowly all the cool small shops are disappearing and being replaced by chains that I’ve seen from our van window across the rest of the country. Someone please tell me what a Qdoba is and why we suddenly need one in New York. Hope=Universal Healthcare!

What are your thoughts on President Obama’s job performance thus far?

Yuki: It’s great and exciting to see him in office. The possibility of a government healthcare plan is encouraging, and the way the world sees us is slowly shifting. He has been vague on many important issues though, like ending the war, gay rights, the economy… so we’ll have to wait and see over the next couple of years. It’s still early.

What are your thoughts on the healthcare debate and what would your preferred eventual outcome be?

Yuki: Everyone should have healthcare. Medical care should not bankrupt people and ruin their lives. So much of our system is “socialized”—so why not healthcare?

Which global issue (or issue within your own country) would you most like to see resolved by 2020?

Yuki: Gay rights. Please. Already. It’s about time. And also torture. It’s embarrassing that this country uses torture. Death Penalty. You can’t use corporal punishment to be in the EU.

How do you think you’ll describe the last decade to your children, grandchildren, or other young people in the future?

Yuki: There was a time with no computers or Internet. We actually used to go to stores to buy music. We actually paid for music way back when.

What was your life like in January 2000 and how has your life most changed since then?

Yuki: I was in college. Now I’m not in college. And now I owe a scary amount of money for student loans. The money part of the equation hasn’t changed unfortunately. I wasn’t in a band. Now I’m in a band that allows us to go to different places. I didn’t have a pet and now I have a cat.

How are you most like your parents? How are you least like them?

Yuki: What a terrible question to have to think about! My mom smiles and laughs a lot—I think I get that from her. I have her big cheeks. I have my parents’ love of working with children—they’re both teachers. I’m not as practical and pragmatic as they are. My father loves cooking and is good at it—I’m terrible.

What were some of your favorites of the last decade in terms of movies, TV shows (which ones did you watch most religiously), books, comic books, websites/blogs, and video games?

Yuki and James: TV: The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Da Ali G Show, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Office (BBC), Chappelle’s Show.

Movies: Let The Right One In, Knocked Up, Kill Bill, City of God, Y Tu Mama Tambien, A Very Long Engagement, L’Enfant, Treeless Mountain, UP, Spirited Away, The Hurt Locker, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Match Point.

Books: Naked by David Sedaris, The Mayor’s Tongue by Nathaniel Rich, Just After Sunset by Stephen King.

Which technological advancement from the last decade are you most surprised that you previously lived without?

Yuki: Pro Tools

Where (which city) and how did you celebrate December 31, 1999 and January 1, 2000? Did you make any preparations for the Y2K threat? Do you already have plans for New Year’s Eve 2009?

Yuki: New York. No, no. How do you prepare for ’00s? I don’t know what one would or could do. I never make plans for New Year’s.

Name five things that you’d put in a time capsule to represent this decade, one to be opened in a 100 years.

Yuki: MP3s, digital pictures, Facebook, MySpace, Friendster.

If you could be God for a day, what would you do?

Yuki: Make everyone stop. Stop talking. Stop buying. Stop moving. And just sit still, listen, and breathe.

If you could live in alternate reality/universe, what would you like that reality to be like? (For example, a world where JFK was never assassinated or one where Hitler was assassinated before WWII.)

Yuki: A world where the Internet was never invented.

If you could travel in time and visit your 10-year-old self, what would you tell them about your future?

Yuki: Yes, you’re done growing. Sorry.

Which conspiracy theory do you most believe?

Yuki: JFK

What were your goals for your music career at the beginning of the decade? What have/haven’t you accomplished?

Yuki: Playing out of the country—yep! Coachella—nope! Playing shows in Japan—yep! Fuji Rock—nope! Being on a supportive label—yep!

What has been your most embarrassing/surprising/memorable moment onstage these past 10 years?

Yuki: Being heckled in Bristol, U.K.: A really well timed “BO-RING” while opening for Ladytron.



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