Shonen Knife is a rock band that was launched in 1981 in the Osaka prefecture of Japan. Initially getting great reviews overseas, they then became famous in their hometown country. They still travel all over the world playing their gigs with the same amount of passion. They’ve performed many times in Australia and are back again from 16th October until 16th November this year and will be playing at Soundlounge from 8:45 until 9:45pm on Wednesday 30 October. Get tickets here .

Naoko from Shonen Knife was interviewed recently by SBS. Currumbin RSL’s in house Mulitmedia Designer, Kanae has kindly translated it for you:

What are you most excited about for the tour in Australia?

I have been visiting Australia since the end of the ’90’s to perform gigs and I am most excited about seeing the fans up close and personal at our gigs. On top of that, we will stay for a month for this tour, so I am excited about sightseeing in our free time as well 😉

Has Australian culture or experiences inspired you to write any music?

Yes, a lot! I’ve written so many songs about my Australian experiences. A few years ago I saw a Tasmanian devil at a zoo in Australia.

They have a very cute face but then I watched them eat a live mouse (quite aggressively!) which made a huge impression on me then I wrote the song “Tasmanian devil” hahaha.

I also wrote a song called “Wave Rock” as I was so impressed with the beauty of Wave Rock when we had a gig there. It’s located 2 hours away from Perth. These uniquely impressive Australian things have inspired me to write music naturally, because I was so impressed especially with the beautiful nature in Australia.

Shonen Knife’s 40th anniversary is coming up soon. What are the best parts of being in Shonen Knife for so long?

I don’t look back in the past. I easily forget things in the past. Hahaha. I’m also not good at planning things for the long term and I don’t feel like I have been in a band for 40 years! I just take it day by day and all of a sudden it has been 40 years already 😉

What makes me so happy is to see our audiences happy at our gigs when we go to lots of different countries, towns or cities.  Our fans give us lots of happy energy.

Your music has many varieties of different styles. I thought “Am I listening to the different band?” as you guys have lots of different styles.

Yes, it might be because I have a very wide range of my favorite genres of music. I get inspired by lots of music and I write music especially that I love and listen to. Whether is be 60’s-70s rock, American and British hard rock, R&B, disco, soul or funk. That’s why our band naturally has a variety of music genres 😉

In the beginning, our band was inspired by the 70’s Punk & New wave, so our style had a Punk/Pop taste as I also listen to quirky bands.  I wrote funny music too such as “Elephant Pao Pao” hahaha. I recently wrote a song called “My Independent Country” which was inspired by 70’s British Hard Rock. I like to play our favorite genre at the time. Whichever music we play becomes our style 😉

You have lots of ideas and write passionate music that comes from your heart. Have you ever struggled with ideas to write music?

I love writing music but I am not keen on writing lyrics, even in Japanese. I have listened to a lot of music English and I really want to write lyrics in English but I struggle to make English lyrics.

Because I’m not a native English speaker, it’s hard to make rhyming lyrics in English keeping rhythm in mind. I don’t want to write songs about philosophy, politics, love songs or songs with a strong message like other bands are doing. Instead I write songs about my favorite sweets, food, a daily experience I’ve had or if something has impressed me.

It normally takes a long time to write music or lyrics. But once we’ve decided on the date of recording, I’m able to make it in time.

Which songs are you performing on this tour?

Most of them are from our latest album and also some of the best hits from our previous album 😉

I heard that you like to play or watch tennis. Is this true?

Yes. About three or four years ago we had an Australian tour in Melbourne. Fortunately, the Australian Open was on at the time! I visited Rod Laver Arena just before our gig to see the match with Ferrero J (Spain) vs. Nishikori K who is a popular Japanese tennis player 😉 I was worried that I wouldn’t make it back to the venue for our gig on time because sometimes tennis games can take a long time. Luckily, he won quickly so I arrived at the venue before our gig started 😉 Hahaha

What do your audiences experience at your show? 

Our audiences or fans often say, ”I had a lovely time! I got lots of positive and fun energy from you show!” wherever we visit in the world.

Some fans have followed us for a long time – some for 40 years. They bring their children and they all dance together enjoying our show which is so lovely. Our gigs are so much fun. I am sure you will be happy after the gig too 😉

To listen to the full SBS interview in Japanese, click here.

To book tickets to the Soundlounge show click here.