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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 20, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 03
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Fujiya & Miyagi are just getting started

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

They're not from Japan, they're not a duo, and they weren't born yesterday. Fujiya & Miyagi are a four-piece band from Brighton, England, that's been making music for over a decade, and most of their experience has been an uphill climb. But thanks to the surging popularity of electronica - paired with their song 'Collarbone,' used in two national commercial ads for Miller Lite and Jaguar, and 'Uh!' used in the TV series Breaking Bad - the quartet are beginning to gain traction. They first got people's attention with the cut 'Ankle Injuries' from 2006's Transparent Things and steadily grew a fan base with the follow-up albums Lightbulbs and last year's Ventriloquizzing.

Fujiya & Miyagi - Steve Lewis, David Best, Matt Hainsby, and Lee Adams - journey to Seattle on January 27 as part of a North American tour. I touched base with Lewis recently by email, days before the group flew to New York for the launch of their wintry road outing. Here's what's Steve Lewis of Fujiya & Miyagi shared with me inside The Music Lounge.

Albert Rodriguez: What do you remember about Seattle from previous tour stops?

Steve Lewis: We've been to Seattle a few times and always enjoyed it. I remember having a nice burger and beer at the Elysian Brewpub. That same evening a homeless person got chatting to us and said David [Best] looked like Phil Collins! Also, a few years ago we had some time off and headed out towards Snoqualmie Falls, as we were all Twin Peaks fans back in the day. It was a really nice place.

Rodriguez: Has the band ever played at any Gay clubs, parties, parades, or dark dungeons to your recollection?

Lewis: We played at the Heaven club in London last year. If you don't know already, it's a very famous Gay club in the U.K. and it's been running for a really long time. Brighton has a big Gay scene, but we haven't been asked to play in any dark dungeons yet.

Rodriguez: Do you feel electronic music has evolved since Fujiya & Miyagi started out?

Lewis: We started out about 12 years ago, so definitely. The technology to write the music is more accessible, cheaper, and easier to use, and as a result there have been a lot more people making interesting electronic music who aren't necessarily techie geeks. I think it's really great at the moment. I like a lot of stuff on the Not Not Fun label and love reading about how people use technology in DIY/unorthodox ways to make their sound. Apparently, Maria Minerva records her vocals into the built-in microphone on her laptop. You don't need to be a sound engineer to realize that this is maybe not the best way to record, but she manages to make her vocals sound great and interesting.

Rodriguez: What can you tell us about the upcoming show? Length of concert, number of songs on the set list, visuals, stage outfits?

Lewis: We normally play for around an hour and play around 12-13 songs. We have our live video projections behind us, which is a combination of our videos and stuff Matt [Hainsby] has filmed and edited himself, which includes footage of the ventriloquist dummies we had made up of ourselves. Each song has a specific video made up for it. With our stage outfits, I can't claim we are at the height of fashion, but recently we've tried to smarten ourselves up a bit & you know, maybe with a pair of shoes or something. Dave normally goes for his 1980s casual/football [soccer] hooligan look.

Rodriguez: How many songs from your latest album, Ventriloquizzing, might you be including on your set list for Seattle?

Lewis: We normally play about six or seven of them. It kind of depends what mood we're in.

Rodriguez: Is it a given that 'Ankle Injuries' will be on your set list?

Lewis: Yep. We went through a period of dropping 'Ankle Injuries' as we got bored of it, as you do, but now we've given it a bit of a revamp and it goes on for about 15 minutes. It can be fun to play if Lee [Adams] doesn't drum too fast.

Rodriguez: If I were to come visit Brighton for the first time, where should go for great live music?

Lewis: There is a relatively new venue called The Green Door Store which has a nice feel, and at the moment a lot of good bands are playing there.

Rodriguez: Is there a particular area of the United States that you're drawn to?

Lewis: I'm a bit of a fan of the West Coast, especially around Oregon/ Northern California. It always looks so green and beautiful when we drive through it. I'm pretty sure the others would say New York, though.

Rodriguez: Are there any current pop music artists that you're a big fan of?

Lewis: I'm not sure if this is pop enough, but I've just got into Grimes.

Rodriguez: What's the last piece of music you downloaded to your MP3 player?

Lewis: I've just downloaded the Roll The Dice album called In Dust.

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