Shonen Knife
e-mail interview with Naoko
March 2018

The Japanese pop-punk band Shonen Knife was formed in December 1981 in Osaka by sisters Naoko Yamano (vocals and guitar) and Atsuko Yamano (drums) along with their friend Michie Nakatani (bass).

The group was something of an anomaly when they started, as they were coming in at a time where all-female bands were scarce. Influenced by 1970s punk rock and new wave bands such as The Ramones and The Buzzcocks while ignoring the then-rising, early J-Pop movement, the trio began crafting energetic rock songs rooted in rough instrumentation and do-it-yourself ethos. However, unlike traditional rebellious punk rockers, the trio emphasized positivity using catchy, upbeat melodies and frivolous, carefree lyrics that often touched on sweets and animals. The group eventually came to describe their music as, “oo-oo-ultra-eccentric-super-cult-punk-pop-band-shonen-knife!”

It was in 1991 that Shonen Knife came to find their biggest fan in the form of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, who had seen them play in Los Angeles and had come to deeply enjoy their music. He stated “When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical nine-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.”

The Beatles analogy is a good one, as essentially the band members of Shonen Knife cite the fab four as heavy influencers of their music as well as the aforementioned Buzzcocks and Ramones.

37 (?!) years later and Shonen Knife's new live album “ALIVE! in Osaka” was released on March 14th from P-VINE Records in Japan and on May 4th via Good Charamel Records on CD, DVD and digitally in the UK. This will be accompanied by a fast selling out British tour - see dates below.

Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T thought it was high time we asked these Daydream Believers what keeps them Top of the World. Naoko, vocal & guitar, answered

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

* Shonen Knife - who, what and why?
Naoko: Japanese all female band who plays one and only unique rock music.

* Who are your heroes / heroines (musical, artistic, political)?
Naoko: David Bowie!

* Do you find it easy to keep on writing new songs?
Naoko: Writing music is easy but lyrics is very hard to write for me. Especially writing lyrics in English is difficult because I’m not an English native.

* What can you tell us about the new album?
Naoko: Our new album is “ALIVE! in Osaka” which is a live album recorded in December 2017 in my hometown Osaka. It is the first live album after 12 years. I hope many people listen it and get cheerful.

* What do you know now about the music business that you wish you knew when you began?
Naoko: I knew totally nothing about the music business when started the band.

* Who is like a cat?
Naoko: Hmm…. I don’t know. I think I am like a monkey or mouse, though.

* What can Cambridge fans expect from your live show in April?
Naoko: We’ll play our best hit songs and recent songs from our recent albums “Adventure” “Overdrive” “Pop Tune” like that. Our show is always happy and fun. Let’s ROCK!

* Tell us a bit about some of the nicest Rock Animals you've worked with.
Naoko: Hmm…. Everyone I’ve worked with is the nicest Rock Animals.

* What achievement with Shonen Knife are you most proud of?
Naoko: “DIY”

* I teach 7 - 11 year olds the guitar; what should I teach to encourage more girls to rock?
Naoko: The girls should listen to Shonen Knife. They might think they can play the guitar better than me.

* What's next for Shone Knife?

Naoko: I will write new songs and make a new album. Then touring.

* What's best, chips or cream buns?

Naoko: Chips in the UK are much better than Japanese. They are good. I’ve never eaten English buns but I would like to try. I like sweets a lot.

“ALIVE! in Osaka” is released on May 4th via Good Charamel Records on CD, DVD and digitally. It will be accompanied by British tour - see dates below - but be quick, gigs are selling out fast!

Thanks to Naoko for her time and to Jack at RANTouring for fixing things up.

Some of this intro was borrowed from the Brighton and Hove News

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?