High Teen Boogie Interview
"I think life is endless R&R. Music is what I do." - Nonlee
When three Japanese punk gals take to the stage throughout New York and jump into their high spirited songs you know you're in for a night of fun. Inspired by name and attitude from 80's rebel teen movies, High Teen Boogie have the look and feel of a hard driving rock and roll group. With a new album LOVE MAGICK now available, what better time to hear the story of the group who proclaim: "Stop your complain, feeling boogie tonight."On April 29, 2012 the members of High Teen Boogie were kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of High Teen Boogie.
Let's start way back at the beginning. Can you tell us about your hometown and what it was like growing up there?
Yuka: Hometown: Hidaka-machi, Saitama, yes, I grow up there.
Hitomi: I was born in Nagano. It has an amazing spa!
Nonlee: I was born and raised in Chiba. Spent half of my life in old beach town, another half time in the city.
What type of kids were you growing up in grade and high school?
Yuka: Active and smart in grade school, rebellious in high school, in an original "bad girl" way.
Hitomi: I liked painting and music. I had girls band when I was 14 years old.
Nonlee: Tomboy. Dreamer. I learned Karate, Gymnastics, Kung-fu. Honor high school student turned out to be a punk rocker when I was 15.
How did you each first get into music?
Yuka: Started to learn Electric piano at 8 years old, joined chorus club at 9 and brass band at 10.
Hitomi: My father loves British rock. He listened it all the time.
Nonlee: At age five, I got a toy organ for Christmas and started writing songs. Also got hooked on my parent's record collection, listen to it day and night.
When and how did you decide to make music such a big part of your lives, especially rock music?
Yuka: I didn't decide at all, I saw Nonlee's former band on stage and wanted to play with them. So I became friends with them. That was the start of it. Then, later, one of my friends told me about Hitomi the drummer, so I went to see her band, then I fell in love with her.
Hitomi: When I was 14 years old.
Nonlee: Age 9, my first love came with Rock&roll music.
Tell us the story of how the band formed.
Nonlee: I met Yuka at a Sushi party 1997, NYC. We talked about cool 80's Japanese R&R movement, and we clicked. Decided to start a band together.
The three of you combine into one hell of a fun rock music style. Did everything really click together when you started playing as a band, or was there a "development phase".
Nonlee: Yes. It CLICKed from the first note.
Yuka: Our preferences were different and are still different and that is good to us.
Who came up with the band's name and what does it mean to you?
Nonlee: I & Yuka named us "HIGH TEEN BOOGIE", from 80's rebel teen movie title. All about Motorcycles, love, fights. "Stop your complain, feeling boogie tonight."
Yuka: I wanted our band name to be "Big Come".
Hitomi: I love boogie boogie feeling.
We loved the acoustic video you did for the song Rock'n'Roll. Do you find something special about going unplugged sometimes?
Nonlee: Yes. Sometimes we do two sets, "Boogie Set" and "Rock Set".
Hitomi: Yes!! I want to play more unplugged shows.
Yuka: It was fun, but I like electric version of High Teen Boogie better.
Do you have one or two performances you've done together that really stand out in your memory?
Yuka: I liked Japan Society gig, with two different versions of show. Played with Nonlee's standing base first, and regular electric gig for later in one night. That was very special to me and fun.
Nonlee: I liked "QUEEN BEE" event by Rodney Dickson in Belfast Ireland, 2005. We played in a pub in Donegal also.
We love the song Ichome. Can you tell us more about it and how it was recorded?
Nonlee: I wrote that melody when I was in 1st grade. And then wrote more lyrics. It was a one take recording.
Although we'll have to alter the spelling of Diso F**k for our younger readers, we really dig the song. Tell us more about it.
Nonlee: When I heard the news about a girl who got sexually assaulted by a bouncer at the club, this song came out.
Yuka: Real title of the song is Disco Duck.
Hitomi: Yes, for younger readers.
Tell us about Ichiban Star Records.
Nonlee: It's a D.I.Y label, and proud of it!! We do mail order for CD, show bookings etc...
Do you have a single favorite place to perform in New York?
Hitomi: Trash Bar.
Yuka: No single favorite, all different.
Nonlee: Otto's Shrunken Head, and Tommy's Tavern.
On a side note, do you have any idea who the Japanese group Thee 50s High Teens are? Just curious.
Yuka: I do not know the band yet.
Nonlee: Yes. I think we are MySpace friends.
Life as a musician can be a challenge at times. Can you tell us what keeps you going when things aren't going your way?
Yuka: There is no other way, so I somehow keep going because I like music.
Hitomi: Just play and play!!
Nonlee: I think "Life is endless R&R". Music is what I do.
Outside of music, what type of things do you all do for fun or relaxation?
Yuka: Yoga, reading book of "Kawabata" and cooking.
Hitomi: I love art, movies, animals, Spa for relaxation.
Nonlee: Communicate with animals. Making soap. Go to beach.
What were your thoughts about the Japanese Tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear tragedy?
Yuka: Many people died and many remained alive with heavy trauma. I cannot have any word to say, I pray for them and for all of us.
Hitomi: It is just a scary combination, earthquake country has lots of Nuclear power plants...
Nonlee: Love and light to all. I believe we can create better future. I can't understand why government and Tepco are not helpful at all for this crisis. Don't give up, let's survive! Sun will rise again.
Tell us about your latest album.
We released our second album, "LOVE MAGICK" on 03/23/12. You can listen to that on iTunes.com, or Spotify.com. As you can see on the album credit, we self-produced this album. We wanted our sound to be raw and rumbling, like good old Rock & Roll. We are very happy, because we know exactly what we are doing. We have control. We are solid.
What are the band's plans and hopes for the rest of the year?
Yuka: Make a band logo T-shirts and pins, and cool stickers.
Hitomi: Go to play Europe!!!
Nonlee: And Japan!!!
Do you have a final message to your fans?
Yuka: Come to see us! Not just listening to our CD. Live show is very different (and don't ask me to play the same riffs as CD because I am not capable to repeat anymore).
Hitomi: Come and enjoy our show!
Nonlee: Walk in your jungles!!! Keep on rockin'!!!
Let's end with the big question. What does being a member of High Teen Boogie mean to you?
Yuka: Proud, honored, really.
Hitomi: We have lots of energy and passion. For me, drumming is not only a joy, also releases my anger by beautiful form. Most important thing in my life.Nonlee: Road of joy.
For more info checkout High Teen Boogie's MySpace and Facebook pages. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments