Brighton’s Fujiya & Miyagi have recently been all set to drop the long-awaited EP1, the first of the three upcoming releases which will come together into a self-titled album in early 2017. The band have a certain set of skills that makes their music quite original within the electronic genre, it’s hard to put a finger on what it is exactly – could be David Best’s voice, could be the multifaceted layering of sound, could be the underlying darkness across their collection – whatever it is, we’re into it. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Fujiya & Miyagi so it seemed to be an appropriate time to catch up.
Kateryna Topol: First the obvious – what have you been up to the last few years? (People have missed you!)
David Best: Thanks. We mainly procreated. We also had people leave the group and people join, so there was a period of adjustment taking place too. I think Artificial Sweeteners was released in 2014, so it hasn’t quite been too long, but it does take us a while to finish stuff.
KT: You’ve been around for a while now, how has your sound changed since the inception of the band?
DB: The mistake most bands make as they get older is to give in to the urge to overcomplicate what they do. That’s why a lot of groups’ early records remain focused and taut and their later ones dense and a little flabby. We’ve been more guilty of under cooking things rather than over cooking them in the past. You also become more proficient at what you do, but again this has pitfalls attached to it. Just because you can play something complicated doesn’t mean that you should. Personally, I’ve got more confident at singing. I never wanted to be a singer though, I became one more by default than anything else. The building blocks of our sound remain intact, but we now put them in a different order. And add new ones too.
KT: Looking back would you have done anything differently?
DB: Yes, we’d have taken more time on Lightbulbs and lightened up on Ventriloquizzing. I’d have tried to enjoying touring more than I did, would’ve gotten a sound person in earlier and a drummer in sooner too. But it’s not healthy to look back on these things too much. I feel lucky to be on our 6th record and still enjoying making music. There are lots of groups who came up around the same time who have become more popular than us, but on the other hand there are groups or people I knew from back then who never released a record. I’m proud of what we have done and are doing. There will always be regrets or wrong turns, but sometimes you just need to have the guts to get it out there. The safer option for us would have to become less pop and ploughed, a so-called experimental field. The problem with that is those experiments have already been done a million times before. I’d rather make people move their feet than stroke their chins.
KT: That’s some great logic! Let’s talk about your newest release, EP1, how long have you been working on it?
DB: Hmm, quite a while. Maybe a year or so? The first EP is predominantly myself and Steve and constructed electronically rather than as a group. I’ve been really into italo disco and electronic disco in general and maybe that is apparent on songs such as “Serotonin Rushes” and “Freudian Slips”. The song I’m most pleased with on the first EP is called “To The Last Beat Of My Heart”. Steve wrote the music on that one and I tried to write the lyrics in a more honest and less camouflaged way.
KT: Have you already begun work on EP2?
DB: Yes, it’s all recorded. As I mentioned earlier, the first EP was mainly electronic, but the second EP was predominately recorded live with the group who now are myself, Steve, Ben Adamo on bass and Ed Chivers on drums. We recorded it at Northbrook College in Worthing, which is just up the road from where we live. It felt really good when we were recording. It’s more like how we are live, unsurprisingly. I’m excited for people to hear it.
KT: EP1 is meant to be the most electronic-focused, what can we expect from EP2 and EP3?
DB: So, as you say, EP1 is mostly electronic, EP2 is mostly live and EP3 will probably be a mixture, but as we haven’t recorded it yet I don’t know quite how it will turn out. The songs are written though. The beauty of working in three chunks is that you get to capture that period of songwriting or thought processes without it becoming absorbed into the pressure of making an album. The EPs can stand alone as three distinct records as well as a LP.
KT: Is there a tour in sight or not till 2017 when the full LP drops?
DB: We are playing Paris on 1st June and London on 3rd June. We’ll look to do some shows around the second EP’s release in the autumn, but as you suggest we won’t be doing anything extensive until the LP is out.
KT: What are you most looking forward to this year?
DB: I’m really looking forward to getting the first EPs delivered to my house which should be any time now. To get the physical records back from the manufacturing is always a real thrill. I’m also excited about doing the 3rd EP and hatching plans for the future in general.
KT: Do you still try to book Japanese gigs for kicks?
DB: Ha, no. It was never intentional and only happened once or twice.
KT: Can you share something with us your fans might not know and would find interesting?
DB: Whilst we were recording the last album I got really into Magnum PI. I watched every episode in chronological order. On this record I’m doing the same with Columbo. Magnum is obviously more of an ensemble piece and Columbo is more a one man show with great guest appearances from the likes of Patrick McGoohan and John Cassavetes. It’s hard to choose between the two. Not that I feel the urge to choose. It’s not a competition is it?
KT: Not at all! Interesting choice though. Thank you for your time David!
DB: Thank you.
EP1 is out May 27 via Impossible Objects of Desire.