When it came down to getting an article out of it for the magazine I was writing for at the time, I spent literally hours in the college library, rewinding the tape again and again with headphones clamped to my ears as I transcribed the entire interview. This made the man hours quite considerable and the prospect of going through this process every time I interviewed somebody less than tempting to say the least.
Many years later, interviewing actors at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo about a play I had just watched them perform, the task was made much easier with the interview having been recorded on a MiniDisc player – the ease of the digital age making my writing job that much faster.
In 2007, I became a staff writer for the now-defunct Asia Player magazine. In what turned out to be my last piece for their final issue, I interviewed another musician and stumbled across the grail of making an interviewer’s life even easier. Holding down a writing gig in Tokyo with a handful of other committments at the same time left me with very little space in my life to get more than a few hours sleep a night, so I was grateful for any shortcut that came my way.
The answer? Email your questions to your subject and then just edit their responses into a nice clean looking piece – the trick is that the person being interviewed actually does the work for you and gets their words as they want them in the bargain.
The subject for this piece was Reiko Kaiyoh, drummer with Japanese electro-pop queens Tokyo Pinsalocks. Having written about them already in my column for the magazine, Reiko asked me to give them some coverage on an upcoming event that the band was organising – a female focused arts event that they had called Spoon Market. The resulting interview can be found below.
Unfortunately, I never made it to the show due to there simply not being enough time in my life to squeeze in everything that Tokyo threw at me. It sounded like a really fun gig, but in a place with as much going on all the time as Tokyo has, you simply can’t say yes to everything.
Still, I did manage to take my interviewing technique discovery away from the experience, so I got that and Reiko got her coverage – everyone’s happy!
In the rush of a busy life in the city, we take the clutter and bustle of our daily lives for granted. There’s always cutlery or chopsticks in the kitchen, and the vending machines will always have tea. Take the humble spoon. Use it to shovel in the cereal, soup or fried rice, wash it up and forget about it till hunger hits again, right?
Think again – there are those for whom it holds a much deeper meaning, and not just as something for Michael Jackson’s metal bending friends to show off with.
The Dan of West Africa have mastered the art of carving large spoons into impressive works of sculpture. The spoon’s owner is given the title of ‘wa ke de’, a high distinction given to the most hospitable woman of the village. The custom of the men of Wales giving love spoons to their sweethearts dates back hundreds of years. Even Freud himself has gotten in on the act, giving the spoon the female role in the knife/fork/spoon dinner table trio.
Tokyo Pinsalocks, Japan’s leading purveyors of all-girl electro-pop have taken the spoon as metaphor for themselves. Singer Naoko once described the band that way, being both cute and tough – feminine curves tempered with a metallic steel. To extend the metaphor further, they’ve organised not only an event but an entirely new scene named after the object – September’s upcoming ‘Spoon Market’ at Ebisu Milk.
The event is set to be an extravaganza of all things female from this fair city, and features bands, DJs, VJs, art exhibitions, shops, stalls and food. The music is ladled on thick, with appearances from the Pinsalocks crew themselves, along with Noodles, Motocompo, Falsies On Heat and Kate Sikora, amongst others. Spoonfuls of style will come from the fashion goods, accessories and jewellery on sale, with further treats served up in the way of paintings, photography and short films. It’s all stirred up with fine food from the likes of Patisserie Potager and Tacostar.
Asia Player managed to grab a few moments between courses with Pinsalocks drummer and co-organiser Reiko Kayoh to find out a little more about what’s cooking down at Milk.
Where did the idea come from?
We wanted to create an atmosphere where we would be excited to perform our music, and an ideal place to go out to have fun. We play music as a way of expressing ourselves, which is very similar to that of other artforms – film making, fashion designing, and food making. When we create our music, we get inspired by all these things, not only from listening to other music.
We couldn’t find a place like that, so we decided to make one.
What makes it different from other events in Tokyo?
There are events which have live performances, and art exhibitions together, but usually the art is secondary to the ‘main’ live show. At Spoon Market, all the art, shops, food, and music are given equal status.
Ebisu Milk is known as a venue/club, but we are proud to offer it as a gallery/cafe-bar/shopping market too that night.
What are you hoping to achieve with it?
To stimulate people’s everyday lives and make them a little happier by attending to this event. Also to establish a scene of female artists by combining these different fields, hopefully all getting inspired by each other.
What are you most looking forward to at ‘Spoon Market’?
For Milk to become one big market. All the artists we chose are awesome, but what’s important is to join them all together and make the whole place into one world, one market. From entering the door to the end of the basement floor, we want the audience to feel ‘what a cute and cool place!’
What are your expectations for it?
As far as we know there are no other events like it, but we are sure there are many people who would want to come to a place like this.
We expect more artists will become interested in Spoon Market culture. We want to join people who usually work in different fields together and create a scene.
We will be sure of our success when we hear people describing someone’s artwork as ‘that’s very Spoon Market-ish!’
Who do you hope to attract to the event?
The target will be people like us! That means women our age (late 20’s to early 30’s) who are interested in music, fashion, art, like going to cafes, want to make their own style and are looking for something that inspires them. However, people from different generations, genders, or cultural backgrounds are just as welcome.
What’s in it for boys attending?
Boys and girls might feel the same way about something but express themselves in a different way. They can definitely enjoy the similarities and differences in the art styles. Maybe they’ll be able to understand their girlfriend’s taste a little better too!!!
Is this going to be a one-off or a regular event?
A regular event hopefully, but we’ll see how it goes after the first one. We want to see if this is the right place to have this event, the right number of artists, etc. We definitely will continue the Spoon Market with the same concept, but don’t know when and where yet. So, watch this space.
What’s your message to the audience?
If you like one artist, you’ll definitely love the rest. For people who want a good night out in Tokyo, for people who’re looking for inspiration, for people who just want to enjoy music or to relax, see you at the Spoon Market!
VENUE: Ebisu Milk
DATE: 21 September (Friday) 20:00 – 04:00
TICKETS: Advance – 3,000 yen (inc. one drink) / Door – 3,500 yen (inc. one drink)
Available from Ticket PIA
PHONE: 03-3413-9331 (Heaven’s Door)