post brought to you by: dyson
I’ve been a huge fan of Fujiya & Miyagi for years now. When the option to interview the group was presented, I had to jump on it. Eagerly anticipating their latest release Ventriloquizzing, I had a million questions I wanted to ask.
David Best (singer & guitar) was kind enough to answer all the questions I threw at him. All of his responses got me even more excited for the Jan 25th release of their fourth LP Ventriloquizzing.
A review of the album will certainly be up as soon as I can get my hands on it. But for now, be excited along with me.
Why not give a listen to a track off of Ventriloquizzing while you read the interview with David Best of Fujiya & Miyagi.
Fujiya & Miyagi – Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue
dyson: With each new record, I imagine you feel it’s your most accomplished work. Is ‘Ventriloquizzing’ the record you’re most proud of?
david: I think you’re right, that groups always think their latest record is their best, and often it’s not. However, Ventriloquizzing is definitely our best so far. It sounds different, where as the last two in retrospect were too similar to one another. I think it’s still identifiably us, but far more musically interesting.
dyson: What’s the biggest difference we’re going to hear on this new one compared to past records?
david: It has far more layers to it, so it’s less minimal and has more depth to it as a result of that. There are more sounds going on and I think the songs are better. When we began we had some self imposed rules. For example guitar solos weren’t allowed and we tried to keep the songs as simple as possible. It’s quite fun to ignore stuff like that now, as what was useful in the beginning can keep you in the same place and stop you from changing.
dyson: What was the reason for recording in California? Aside from the weather of course…
david: It was just the fact that the producer Thom Monahan lives in LA and likes to work at the Hangar in Sacramento to track stuff. It was good to be away from home when recording the record as we couldn’t get distracted by our everyday lives.
dyson: How are songs normally built? From the groove up or top down? Or does it change for each song?
david: It varies. Sometimes we have the song first and other times we have a beat. Or we may have a melody or a bass line then we either find a place for, or build other stuff around it. It often depends on who has the initial idea or if the song comes together when we are all together.
dyson: How lengthy was the recording process of the new record?
david: We worked quite hard on demoing the songs whilst we were still in Brighton. I can’t remember how long that took. Maybe six months. Then we were in California for a month to record. Then the mixing process began. But it was probably a lot longer than that because as soon as we finished Lightbulbs we were thinking about this record and what we wanted to do with it.
dyson: I know lyrics are of strong importance even if they’re sometimes minimal. Is there an underlying theme throughout Ventriloquizzing or is it more of a collection of separate thoughts?
david: There are various themes that kept cropping up throughout the record. Themes like control, frustration, disappointment, violence. It doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs when you say them out loud, but it’s not a depressing record. I think the previous record was more like a collection of random thoughts and lyrically I wanted this one to be more focused and direct, which it hopefully is. The words are less cut up this time which I suspect makes them easier to penetrate.
dyson: From lead to backing vocals, the style is always extremely laid back and relatively hushed. Do you ever feel like letting it all out and screaming at points?
david: I physically am unable to shout. It’s a medical condition. If I had to shout to warn somebody crossing the road that a car was approaching, they would be dead.
dyson: Can we expect a vinyl release?
david: Yes it is. An album isn’t an album unless it’s on vinyl.
dyson: Do you feel like your US or overseas crowds are growing and more accepting of the music?
david: I’m not sure. We’ll see what people who are interested in our group make of Ventriloquizzing. We all enjoy playing in the States, probably more so than anywhere else. We’ve toured quite a lot over there. I think if you make a good record people will be interested and if you don’t they won’t. It’s quite simple, I suppose. Luckily, I know we’ve made a good record this time.
dyson: Who do you think are artists pushing the limits of good music today?
david: I like Matias Aguayo a lot. I’m enjoying Gonjasufi’s record too. I still think no one has made a record as forward thinking as Windowlicker by Aphex Twin, and that was quite a while ago now. James Blake has done some good stuff.
dyson: If you could go on tour with any group, who would it be?
dyson: Have you seen the new Karate Kid? What’s the feeling on Jackie Chan taking on the “Miyagi-ish” role? (question courtesy of Music Savage)
david: I haven’t seen it, and probably won’t. Jackie Chan has his moments, but how can you improve on Pat Morita?
Check out the album cover and tracklisting:
2. Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue
3. Cat Got Your Tongue
4. Taiwanese Boots
9. Spilt Milk
10. Tinsel & Glitter