Monday, October 20

interview: marina sakimoto (shunkan)

"[F]rom Los Angeles, now in New Zealand," reads Marina Sakimoto's bio on Twitter. It's not a typical transition, but Marina's story isn't typical...and neither is the music that she makes for her band Shunkan. Marina grew up in a L.A. suburb called Santa Clarita. Her sudden move to Invercargill was prompted through a surprisingly profound encounter on Omegle. Several months after the move, she released Honey, Milk and Blood on Shunkan's Bandcamp and, in June, シュンカン I also found its way online. "Shunkan" is Japanese for "moment" and that's certainly what Marina is living in.

What went through your mind when following through with this huge change from L.A. to Invercargill?

I couldn't really stop and think about what I was doing. Of course I planned it out, but when I had to execute that plan, I couldn't think of all the people I'd miss or how life was going to change... I just had to do it.

Where do you think your interest in music and pursuit of making it came from? Is this what helps you get through big life changes?

I have no idea. That's kind of like asking, "so, where did your interest in eating food come from?" and responding with, "I don't know. I have to because I have to eat, otherwise I would die." At this point, it's a natural instinct.

Music influenced all of my big changes in life. It can influence you to become powerful or stay in bed for days at a time. It's quite convincing.

How do you think living in such a remote place like Invercargill contributes to your music?

It's great because I feel like I'm the only one doing what I'm doing here, so I am my only influence and there isn't any noise in the way. I have a clear distinction of what I want my music to sound like.

I loved your remake of Pavement's "Elevate Me Later" featured on NME! Does Malkmus have any influence on your music?

Thanks! Well, he's been a huge influence on my music as far as its attitude... it keeps me grounded, especially on stage, when those jitters creep up.

What bands have you encountered recently in New Zealand that have got you excited? Were you surprised by the music scene here?

I mean, I had looked up Flying Nun before coming here, but there are a vast amount of bands here that are more high quality compared to most of the bands I heard back home... New Zealanders have a thing or two to teach the world.

Kane Strang is like Rivers Cuomo and Jeff Mangum all in one - what an incredible songwriter. Caroles is everything I want in one sucker punch - raw, '90s emo/screamo and noise to fill up a room. Doprah is unlike anything I've ever heard and familiarised myself with - trip-hop, yeah, sure, but there's more to it than just one label...there are very talented people in that band. I should probably stop there because everyone excites me and I'd be sitting here for an hour listing every one of them.

I noticed your love for anime. I have a similar kind of obsession! What makes you drawn to anime? Are you ever like me and become obsessed with certain characters or anime?

Ha, nice! I've been visiting Japan since I was a baby because I'm half Japanese and half of my family lives over there, so I've always been familiar with anime and Japanese culture in general. I didn't really get into anime though until recently.

Yeah, I definitely do get obsessed quickly. I still think about "Welcome To The NHK" and I finished that weeks ago... I think everyone has a special relationship with every anime they watch.

With the start of 2015 soon approaching, what does Shunkan have to look forward to? Any big plans?

We're looking forward to recording very soon and prepping for the new album. I'm really excited for what's to come.

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