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Q&A with Shonen Knife

<p>Japan’s most popular riot girl group on The Carpenters, Osaka, and Kurt Cobain</p>
| Mar 4, 2010
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Y’all know about last weekend’s Nihongo Fiesta. It was all things Japan as the Japan Foundation Manila brought forth their aces with a Streetwear exhibition, Nihongo contests, and of course, the must awaited free concert of Japan’s most popular band, Shonen Knife.  [firstpara]
If you aren’t very well-versed with Shonen Knife, they are a three-piece all-girl act from Osaka, Japan, who rose to popularity in the 90s with their cover of The Carpenters’ “Top of the World.”

But just like the country where they came from, there’s more to them then their cuteness and their quirk. Shonen Knife is actually a 29-year-old band, having formed in 1981 in Osaka.

Comprised of English-speaking Naoko (vocals and guitar), Etsuko (drums and backing vocals), and Ritsuko (bass and vocals), Shonen Knife are head-on rock n’ rollers whose main influences include The Ramones.

We spoke with Shonen Knife last week, and here’s more to add to that Shonen wisdom.

Is “Top of the World” your favorite Carpenters Song?
Yes. When the American Recording Company people asked us to join that project, I chose “Top of the World” because the song is very pop and I like the melody line. I think the song was written by a genius. We arranged the song in a more rock style.

You started the band a long time ago in 1981. Did you think you were going to last this long?
No. I couldn’t imagine. We just wanted to play in front of people. We have two purposes: We wanted to release a record—that was the second purpose. The first was just to play. The second, to release an album. So I could not imagine that we could continue for so long.

Was there ever a point when you wanted to quit?

Music is my life so I’ll never stop playing it.

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