This is the English version of our online interview with Aiha Higurashi, ex-Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, solo artist, and currently member of Loves! and Ravolta as well as solo performer. For a longer, more edited version in Spanish, click here.
Akane Indie: I know you’ve been playing gigs with Loves! in Japan. Are you having fun?
Aiha Higurashi: Yes I am having fun!
AI: Tell us about the other members of Loves! How did you meet them and how did you decide to start playing together?
AH: It is kind of a long story… I knew our drummer TAKAHIKO AKIYAMA because he did my early solo back band member. I liked his drumming so much that we started LOVES! with him and me. And also I asked 2nd solo back member KC ( Guitar ,PC, Chorus ) to join our band. One year later we found out KENTARO NAKAO (ex: Number Girl, bass) would be perfect if he joined in, then we asked and he became our member. Sax player HIROSHI NAKAMURA is a friend of TAKAHIKO AKIYAMA so we asked him too. It was one of my dreams to have a sax player in a rock or «No New York»-type band, like James Chance.
AI: You’re something of an idol for many young musicians, even though you’re very young yourself. I have been listening to your music for a while and I can see your influence in many new punk-pop Japanese bands. What are the main differences between then and now? Has the indie scene grown bigger, better, worse?
AH: I am honored if many musicians are influenced by me and by my sounds. But I don’t know about recent music scene. A lot of bands sound the same. I just wonder and feel that there is lack of originality. But of course there are some good bands like 8otto, Lostage, Vola and the Oriental Machine, ARAKAJIME KIMERARETA KOIBITOTACHIE, Ilurime, Far France…. they are so good and original.
AI: I’ve read that you decided to form a band while studying in London and NY. Could you tell us more about the early years of SSKHKH. How did you get to record your first album?
AH: When I heard one of my friends band demo tape in 1990, I thought I could do it myself. Then I did make songs as 4track demo. Hideki Kaji was and is my friend so I passed the tape to him. Soon my sound was all over the record labels and people who like music at once! It blew me away.
I started Seagull with another bassist [Sachiko Ito] at very first , but I wanted go to NYC and LONDON and she also went to Germany, so naturally we took some years off after 2 releases.
I saw a lot of bands and movies in LONDON and NYC. I totally was into music and I felt like doing a band again so right after I quit school. I called up NAO [Koyama] and TAKAPE [Takaharu Kahashima] to form Seagull as a punk rock band.
AI: I know this is a difficult one but… could you list 3 classic albums that made you love music?
AH: Well, Elliot Smith’s 1st, Sonic Youth’s Dirty Boots, James Chance’s every work.
AI: Remember the first record you bought?
AH: I do remember with my own money I bought The Monkees Best of album
AI: Any new Japanese acts you’d like to recommend?
AH: Sorry ACTS means show? or band ? If it is a band I like Ilurime he is not a band but track maker. His next coming album is a blow!
AI: Tell us about the music-making process. Are you still making songs by humming? How do you put the songs together in Loves!?
AH: Yes I write songs by humming since I started doing music. I usually record those humming in my head into my cassette tape recorder and I pick up matching chords and sing in front of our memebers. Or I just sing and ask them what kind of image I have. Or I pick up melodies and beats and guitar and even bass riffs and put them into pro tools. I send the file I made to my members. But I like to listen their ideas so we just session some times.
AI: Your fans care about you. How are you feeling, health-wise?
AH: I am ok now I am on medications from shrink.I am OK to tell about my psychological condition.I am pretty open about it.I am cutting down on meds and it is working well. I am good.
AI: Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year? I’ve read you’re working on a new album. Is this correct? When will it be out? We’d love to see you play live here. Any plans to tour Europe?
AH: We don’t have any plans to go tour US or Europe right now but we wish we could! We just finished recording for LOVES!’s 3rd.So I am doing my solo shows right now besides LOVES!’s live shows. Besides I am in a unit called RAVOLTA with a famous and talented track maker tsutcie from shakka zombie we started this unit 1998 now we restarted it again. So we are doing shows and making new album hope we could finish recording this album this year.
THANK YOU very much I would love to come to Spain !!!!!!!!!!
LOVE to u all.
We’d like to thank Aiha for her time and for always being so cool.