10 facts in case you haven’t heard:
1. Fujiya & Miyagi are 3 guys from Brighton, UK
2. They are not Japanese
3. …but basically are doing a Damo Suzuki (of Can) imitation
4. No, not an homage, an actual imitation
5. …but it doesn’t suck, at all, it’s really quite awesome
6. Their 2nd album, Transparent Things, came out in the UK last year
7. …but is now available on this side of the pond: buy it
8. I talk to guitarist/vocalist David Best about stuff below
9. They are opening for Peter, Bjorn, & John at 9:30 Club Monday April 30th 2007
10. I’m excited
BYT: Obviously you guys have good taste in music, anything interesting you’ve been listening to lately, new or old?
DB: I’ve been listening to The Make Up a lot, especially ‘I Want Some’ which is all their singles and other things. ‘The Choice’ is my favourite song of theirs. Other than that, the Au Revoir Simone record, Sir John Betjeman’s Late Flowering Love, David Bowie’s Young Americans and lots of northern soul.
BYT: I heard Young Americans is about to get the deluxe re-issue treatment with remastered DVD’s and shit, definitely an underrated Bowie album in my opinion. How did you guys hook up with Peter Bjorn & John?
DB: I don’t know, I think they just asked us if we wanted to play with them. We were really pleased as they are a good group.
BYT: Yeah, but not everyone thinks so. You’ll also be playing with the aforementioned, and lovely, Au Revoir Simone trio whom we interviewed last week… who would win in a duel for their love between you and PB&J?
DB: Peter Bjorn and John, obviously. Have you seen the state of us?
BYT: Are you guys famous yet? I mean I stuck you on my personal fav records of 2006 list (#4, right after Joanna Newsom) but I’m not sure of the impact that had on the indie community…
DB: I don’t think we are. In fact, I know we are not. What are the two records better than Joanna Newsom’s? I can’t think of any. That song Emily is incredible.
BYT: Well, I picked Junior Boys – So This Is Goodbye as #1, as I listened to it almost non-stop since the day it came out and am still not the least bit sick of it, and Why? – Elephant Eyelash, mostly because I knew nobody else would give the man the credit he deserves… but yeah, Emily may be one of the greatest songs ever written. Anyway, do you think people show up to your gigs expecting Japanese guys?
DB: Maybe. I hope people aren’t disappointed when they get three English twits instead.
BYT: Ha! So what’s up with your first album “Electro Karaoke in the Negative Style”? Is it any good? Is it available? Worth seeking out?
DB: It’s alright. It has it’s moments. It’s very different, a lot more electronic and hasn’t got as many songs in the traditional sense on it as Transparent Things. When we made it, it was just myself and Steve and we recorded everything in the house we shared at that time. I think it will be available online soon. I sound like I am 12 when I’m singing on it.
BYT: Speaking of 12 yr olds, let’s play ‘would you rather?’:
Three eyes or one giant Cyclops eye?
DB: Cyclops, three eyes would look odd
Be the leading scientist in your field or get mad cow disease?
DB: Scientist obviously silly.
Have three goldfish-size dolphins or one cat-size mountain gorilla?
DB: Dolphins. I could make a mini plastic version of myself and chant mantra’s whilst floating with them, whilst the real me looked on, enigmatically.
Ege Bamyasi or Tago Mago?
DB: Ege Bamyasi
Be stranded on an island forever with a mermaid, or a reverse mermaid? (fish top with woman bottom)
DB: Although there’d be none of the good stuff, I think I’d have to go with the more traditional mermaid. i don’t think it would do anybody any good to kiss a fish head.
BYT: Are there any good Fujiya and Miyagi remixes out there?
DB: We’ve done a few recently of Half Cousin and Lopaz. Quite a few people have remixed us in the past like Cassetteboy, Two Lone Swordsman, and more recently, Adam Freeland. Cristian Vogel did a good remix of a song of ours called Diagrams.
BYT: Have you guys been to DC before? Gonna have any time for sight seeing?
DB: No, never been. Hoping I can find some Make Up records. Any directions to record shops would be appreciated.
BYT: Well, let’s just ask Make Up/Weird War front man himself, Mr. Ian Svenonius…
Ian, are you working at Crooked Beat Records on Monday Apr 30th? Dave from Fujiya & Miyagi is looking for some Make Up records.
IS: Hey Cale, I don’t work at Crooked Beat anymore but it is heartening that they enjoy The Make Up; I’ll try to check them out at 9:30 Club… maybe bring them the Untouchable Sound LP. Thanks!
BYT: Sweet. Ian or no Ian, it’s still a good shop:
Crooked Beat Records
2318 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Is there a new album in the works?
DB: Yep, we’ve got lots of songs already but no time to record them. Hopefully it will be out next year, we play a few new ones in our show at the moment. We’ve got one about Vivian Stanshall called Sore Thumb, another called Pterodactyls which touches on the lives of synchronized swimmers and Je Nas Comprend Pas which is about not being able to speak French.
BYT: Finally, we do this thing where we get my co-worker Hui-Qing, a married-with-kids non-scenester 34-yr-old Chinese lady engineer, to review one song from the band we’re interviewing. She’ll give your song a rating of 1-5 dumplings. You have to pick out the song that you want me to give her to review though, so choose carefully, she’s hard to please. Also don’t choose an impossible to find Japanese only B-side or something unless you want to send me a copy.
DB: Ok, try ‘Cylinders’
BYT: Right on, see you on Monday!
Hui is no longer mad at me and back to doing her great song reviews, and she comes back strong this time with one of her best ones yet. Now if we can only get her to come out to the re-launch party…
The first impression when I saw the band name, I thought it was a Japanese band. But it didn’t take me too long to disagree myself once I hear this song. Some how, I didn’t feel any thing Japaneseish. After a little research, I found out Fujiya & Miyagi is actually a group made up by three British guys, and the reason they come up with this name is because Miyagi is their favorite character in the film ‘The Karate Kid’. ??? Well, I guess, some times, things can be just as simple as like that.
Couldn’t understand the lyrics that much, since Cale didn’t provide it to me this time. But the good thing about that is I don’t’ have to worry about its ‘deeper’ meanings anymore, which allow me to enjoy more on its melody. I could just sit back, close my eyes and imagine myself follow its slow waltz like, repeated tempo, step in a circle, think nothing, just do the slow waltz, turn round and round… let the stress out, let the tiredness, and any sadness out, spin it all OUT at the end!
3 and half dumpling
Decide for yourself: Fujiya__Miyagi_9_Cylinders.mp3