Hiroki Miyauchi plays "machines" (toys, noisemakers,
samples, electronic equipment, trumpet and computer) and Minori Odaiua plays
guitar and sings. Their simple combination has made for some of the most brightly
colorful enjoyable fusions of electronica, trip-hop, psychedelia, and pop
ever recorded. Pop-Off Tuesday began in 1995 shortly after they met while
attending a school in London. British DJ John Peel heard their first single
on the Origin Music label, and wanted to record a session with them, but they
had already returned to Osaka, he was later able to get them to record some
songs at home in Japan ("Unworldly", "Mad tea party",
"It was a strangely emotional moment for me" and "Mamma awaker"),
which were broadcast in 1997; catching the ear of Nigel Turner of Pickled
Egg Records (see issue #2). Since then they have released two full length
albums, an EP, and singles on Pickled Egg. Not prolific; and until their contribution
to the CD included with issue #4, they had never released a recording in the
US. I want to thank Nigel Turner for his assistance in putting together this
interview (his photos), and for answering a few Pop-Off Tuesday questions
at the end of this piece.
G.P.: Hello Hiroki and Minori.
P-O.T.: Sorry for late to reply interview. Also we could
answer half of them, as usual. We will try, when you give us more. We moved
these weeks (only 1km or so).
G.P.: What’s new?
P-O.T.: We made Pop-Off Tuesday web site at last. (http:popoff.oc.to)
And I made my web site too. (http://websoundtenma.com) We put one of your
review (Pop Ahoy!) on the site. Is it O.K.?
G.P.: I’m happy you used my review
on your site. Do you think listening to Pop-Off Tuesday gets the listener
P-O.T.: We hope so.
G.P.: There seems to be a lot of sunshine
and bright colors in your music; are you influenced by cartoons or pop art?
P-O.T.: Thank you very much. We are not sure that we are
influenced by cartoons or pop art. But I'd get the Simpsons DVD box, when
I can afford.
G.P.: So, are you big fans of The Simpsons?
P-O.T.: Yes, we are.
G.P.: Do you do live performances in
Japan? If so, is it much different from playing elsewhere?
P-O.T.: We did live performances in Japan, England, Netherlands,
and Germany. We remember Liverpool was different, very wild & crazy place
G.P.: Playing live in Liverpool was
quite memorable, what was the best part of that experience?
P-O.T.: There were some heavy drunks in venue. We were very
scared. Then live got quite high tension from the beginning to the end.
G.P.: Do you like the Beatles?
P-O.T.: Yes, we do! Hiroki had mushroom hair cut 10 years
G.P.: What do you like best about The
P-O.T.: Their team works.
G.P.: Who are some of your favorite
P-O.T.: Jeremy Barnes (A Hawk and a Hackshaw, Bablicon, Neutral
Milk Hotel). We toured with him last year. He is really funky.
G.P.: What is the best thing about
P-O.T.: We can sing to, dance to, or play/edit music as we
like. It is most handy art.
G.P.: What makes you most happy?
P-O.T.: When we get interesting sound by accident, we are
G.P.: What is the most fun about making
P-O.T.: Sometimes dull demo song goes to crazy direction
by accident. That's fun.
G.P.: Any favorite bands of the 1980s?
P-O.T.: TG, SPK, Neubaunten, The Residents, Art Bears, Aksak
G.P.: Could you ever move away from
P-O.T.: We try all the time.
G.P.: What are some of the best movies
you have seen recently?
P-O.T.: We've watched 'American Beauty' very often. And most
of Disney films we like.
G.P.: When are you going to play in
P-O.T.: Next year, hopefully.
G.P.: Favorite time of year?
P-O.T.: October maybe.
G.P.: Do you have a ghost story?
P-O.T.: Unfortunately, no.
G.P.: What’s the best thing on
P-O.T.: Kick-boxing, pro-wrestling, free-fight, we like these
G.P.: Are you now living in Amsterdam?
P-O.T.: We stayed in Haarlem and Amsterdam last year. And
back to Osaka now.
Nigel Turner of Pickled Egg Records was kind enough to answer a few Pop-Off
Tuesday questions for us.
G.P.: Nigel, what did you think when
you first heard Pop-Off Tuesday on John Peel’s radio show?
N.T.: It was like a breath of fresh air. I guess I have quite
a low boredom threshold. I find most music to be somewhat tedious, simply
recycling the same old tired and worn-out phrases. But the Pop-Off Tuesday
session was like nothing I'd heard before - odd, yet strangely accessible.
They seemed to have totally reinvented pop music. Pickled Egg was little more
than a concept at the time (this was the summer of '97), but I knew instantly
that I had to release records by this group.
G.P.: How did you go about tracking
N.T.: By the time the session was aired, they'd returned
home to their native Osaka. I tried e-mailing John Peel for a contact address,
but back then, the technology appeared to be beyond his capabilities! I'd
sort of given up hope, when, some four months or so later, I received a message
from Peel, which stated "This is the first e-mail I've ever sent".
But alas, no contact for Pop-Off Tuesday! However, around the same time, there
appeared a compilation CD, Abuse Your Friends (Abuse Records), which included
Pop-Off's As Evil Dance, along with some useful contact info. So I put pen
to paper right away. I was thinking in terms of just releasing a single, given
that Pickled Egg was barely up and running at the time (I'd assumed that other
labels would be queuing up to sign them). Much to my surprise, not to mention
delight, they agreed not only to my request for a single, but suggested I
release an album too!
G.P.: How has it been working with
N.T.: They've been a delight to work with. Hiroki and Minori
are both so easy-going. Although they would never admit as much, their English
is very good, and we've always managed good communications via e-mail and
so forth. Obviously with them being based in Japan, and myself in the UK,
it's not been possible to arrange too many live shows, but that said, they've
managed to fit in a couple of short UK tours, plus shows in Amsterdam (where
they resided last year for 6 months), as well as Hamburg and Berlin. It's
always been a pleasure to travel with them.
G.P.: What is the secret of Pop-Off
N.T.: I wish I knew! It probably stems from the diverse influences
both members bring to the band. As you've no doubt found out during the course
of conducting your interview, they're not the most talkative of people, and
they seem at their most reserved when talking about their music. But Minori
would seem to come from more of a pop background, whereas Hiroki draws more
from electronic music. But having said that, I think that's really an oversimplification.
Ideas would seem to be coming from many directions - perhaps the secret lies
in their willingness to throw almost anything into the musical melting pot.
Being Japanese, they don't seem to have the same hang-ups about mixing musical
styles that most Westerners might have.
Abuse Your Friends compilation the track As Evil Dance (Abuse Records)
Unworldly (7" EP, Pickled Egg)
Pop-Off Tuesday (LP & CD, Pickled Egg)
See My Ghost (10" mini LP & CD, Pickled Egg)
Pop Ahoy! (LP & CD, Pickled Egg)
Helicopter b/w Kufushoot (7" Pickled Egg)
Pickled Egg Records
P.O. Box 6944
Leicester, LE2 0WL