Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
Here's what I'm guessing: Yuki Chikudate gets asked about sex a lot. Not in a dirty, romping, rated X way by lust mongering droolers, but in a way that could be genially struck up at a hoity-toity tea party or anywhere in fading light.
She's exotic and beautiful and all of the things that lend themselves to stumbling and mental undressing - the lascivious nature of the species coming into a fullness of lighting - but it's not the physical action of sex or the extras that she truly sparks in the casual or intimate listener. From the time that she opens her mouth, Chikudate takes you as her property. With glazed but dizzy eyes, you hand over the keys, the title and the deed. They kind of fall limply from you to her and she doesn't even have a need for your things, no matter how much you might value them.
The above points of conversation could be seen as being initiated by Chikudate and her bandmates, who chose to name their group after an everyday Japanese phrase that means "casual sex." Interviewers who treat the band bio like their cheat sheet to material items for valuable questions must broach the subject within the first minute of the conversation, asking why-do-you-like-sex-a-lot-or-something? Laughing and playing it off as their "silly" question to break the ice. She must tire of the subject, but she nonetheless makes music that could be the mood setting for any softly decorated bedroom, used in place of Barry White or Prince. It has the embracing quality of a humongous bathrobe, but also goes the next step and somehow makes you feel downright elegant in that embrace.
The method in which she mingles English and Japanese lyrics turns everything into a gorgeous palate of one tongue. The Japanese phrases become familiar in a mysterious way and the English ones lose some of their context. They all become blurred into this lightly babbling brook of sensuous discourse that doesn't even need to be understood to be felt.
The band has been almost unanimously diagnosed as working in the studio of the shoegazer, making music that you don't really live to, you just are whatever to it - it acts upon you, but doesn't elicit any kind of proactive response. You don't dance to it, you don't get inspired by it and you certainly - under no conditions - smile to it or derive any sort of pleasure. Forbidden are the insides from getting into it. Asobi Seksu - which is re-releasing their first two albums this summer -- is unable to live up to all of the shoegazer that came before it. Chikudate has invented the new strawberry - an aphrodisiac with a penchant for encouraging foreplay and whatever trouble you get yourself into when that's through, that's your problem.
The Daytrotter interview:
*Are you (James and Yuki) the mainstays in the band? Did it form around you? How did you meet?*
James Hanna: We started the band in college after my other band broke up. It began very casually with Yuki playing keyboards and basically jamming or whatever, but eventually Yuki started taking over the frontwoman position.
*What are your European plans? You just got there, correct?*
JH: We are doing some shows with The Editors around Germany, Holland and Denmark. Then we play some shows in Italy by ourselves and finish up with a whole bunch of shows in England.
*How was the tour with The Ataris? Did the pop-punk kids treat you well? I know you were unsure how it was all going to work out when you were here. How did that tour happen again? The lead singer from The Ataris stalked you for a few days, right?*
JH: The Ataris were really nice and basically really wanted us to do the tour. We had some hesitations about being out of our element but it all worked out in the end. We pretty much expected the reactions of either kinda of bored shock or really positive.
*Do you get asked about sex a lot? You must because of the name. How do you deflect these inquires?*
JH: We dont get asked that much about sex, we just get asked why we "chose the name."
*What can you tell me about your neighborhood Yuki? You were proud of your pioneerism of living there before the hipsters barged in.*
JH: Yuki is probably lying. She is as huge bandwagon jumper!! That's what everyone says. Seriously though, Greenpoint is getting really silly with condos and whatnot....not like you couldn't seee it coming though.
*Citrus is getting kind of up there in age. What are you guys working on these days?*
JH: It's only a year old...you guys move fast. We are working on writing another album and I think it's going pretty well. We also have a single that's coming out this month
*What did you collect when you were younger?*
JH: I was fairly into comic books when i was a really young but once I started getting into music it was over. I had a million tapes all over my room, now it's records so things haven't changed that much.