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Sweet Hollywaiians Vital Stats
Tomotaka Matsui
Tomotaka Matsui
Birthday: July 3, 1971
Birthplace: Hyogo
Blood type: O

Nobumasa Takada
Nobumasa Takada
Birthday: November 15, 1975
Birthplace: Gifu
Blood type: O

Takashi Nakayama
Takashi Nakayama
Birthday: December 2, 1983
Birthplace: Glendale CA
Hometown: Osaka
Blood type: A

Kouichi Tsutsumishita
Kouichi Tsutsumishita
Birthday: March 4, 1977
Birthplace: Osaka
Blood type: A

Ticklin' The Strings song sample

My Girl From The South Sea Isles

Tiny Mookie with Sweet Hollywaiians / Louisville Special


Ticklin' the Strings - click for full size
Ticklin' The Strings
1. Ticklin' The Strings
2. My Girl From The South Sea Isles
3. Cold Mornin' Shout
4. Singin' In The Bathtub
5. Slow Burning
6. Doin' Thing
7. La Rosita
8. Many Happy Returns Of The Day
9. Louisville Special
10. Oh! Caroline
11. Ten Tiny Toes - One Baby Nose
12. Nostalgia
~ With Robert Armstrong, Tony Marcus ~
13. Chasin' Rainbows
14. Wasting My Love On You
15. I Want A Little Girl
~ Bonus Track ~
16. Ellis March

Maile Swing - click for full size
Maile Swing
1. Maile Swing
2. Pua lokelani
3. Kauoha mai
4. Hawai'i
5. Next door to paradise
6. Hawaiian Hospitality
7. My little grass shack in kealakekua hawai'i
8. U'i Lani
9. Sweet Someone
10. Akaka falls
11. In a little hula heaven
12. Pua Lililehua
13. Beyond the Reef (bonus track)

Hula Girl - click for full size
Hula Girl
1. Hula Girl
2. Honolulu Stomp
3. Dardanella
4. Singin' The Blues
5. Rum And Coca Cola
6. Oh! Anita (Original)
7. Milenberg Joys
8. St. Louis Blues
9. Sweet Sue - Just You
10. Caravan
11. You Go To My Head
12. Mexicali Echo(Original)

'O Surdato 'Nnammurato - click for full size
'O Surdato 'Nnammurato
Tom Marion and his Sweet Hollywaiians
1. Brown Eyes, Why Are You Blue?
2. Idolizing
3. Home
4. Tarantola
5. Honolulu Stomp
6. Sicilian Shoriche
7. Dreaming of You
8. Sweet Sue - Just You
9. Third Man Theme
10. At Sundown
11. El Choclo
12. Ecos del Bosque (Woodland Echoes)
13. Impromptu
14. 'O Surdato 'Nnammurato

Sweet Hollywaiians (10-30-08)
Sweet Hollywaiians (9-29-08)
Sweet Hollywaiians (7-23-08)

Where to buy
Order from CD Baby

Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link:
Interview Comments

Sweet Hollywaiians Interview

Sweet Hollywaiians - click for full size

"We bought vintage RCA ribbon microphones and instruments to prepare ourselves for recording. It took about 2 or 3 hours to complete the song. It was really fun like a party." - Nobumasa Takada

It may be a long way from modern Japan to the Hawaiian music of the 1920s, but there is one group, the Sweet Hollywaiians, who have somehow managed to bring to life the essence of those comforting, laidback sounds. The Sweet Hollywaiians play a nostalgic form of music they describe as "authentic Hawaiian, swing, ragtime, blues, calypso, Italian music." Composed of Tomotaka Matsui, Nobumasa Takada, Takashi Nakayama and Kouichi Tsutsumishita, they have just released their latest album, "Ticklin' The Strings" and are making preparations for another tour of the US.

So whip up a few Mai Tais, grab that ukulele you keep in the closet, and come take a listen to the soothing sounds of the tropics -- by way of Osaka -- and discover which of the Sweet Hollywaiians has mastered that ever important art of climbing a coconut tree -- Hawaiian style!

On August 23, 2009 Nobumasa Takada from Sweet Hollywaiians was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of the Sweet Hollywaiians. Album art by Mookie.

How did you first discover the world of Hawaiian music and its various musical influences?

We were collecting vintage vinyls and we found one Hawaiian vinyl by Yazoo records. The sounds of the ukulele and steel guitar were very comfortable.

What was it about the 1920's and 30's sound that so fascinated you?

The sounds were so easy to accept and so relaxing.

Who have been your greatest musical inspirations?

Sol Hoopii, King Bennie Nawahi, Eddie Lang, Carl Kress, Frank Fazio...

How did you first get into music?

There was a guitar in my house when I was little kid and I was playing with it.

Did your parents have musical backgrounds?

My mother was a singer.

What bands had you played in before forming the Sweet Hollywaiians?

Yellow Blues Family, Slow Ride Pickers and 5 Nuts Do.

Sweet Hollywaiians with John Reynolds - click for full size

Tell us the story of how the Sweet Hollywaiians became a group.

Each of the members was playing solo on the street and then accidentally we met.

Who came up with the name and what does it mean?

Mr. Matsui. Hollywaiians means "Hollywood styled Hawaiian."

How would you describe your musical style?

World music: authentic Hawaiian, swing, ragtime, blues, calypso, Italian music.

What was the first year like together? How did Japanese audiences respond to your style of music?

It was terrible. Japanese audiences were not interested in our music at all.

What do most Japanese think about Hawaii, compared to say the rest of the US?

More tropical, easy, relaxing. Many Japanese dream about having a second house in Hawaii.

What was it like recording your first album?

It was fun.

What percentage of your recorded songs are covers versus original works?

90% are covers,10% are original works.

Sweet Hollywaiians with Tom Marion - click for full size

Tell us about Sweet Strings.

It's a music production and recording studio and school.

Who is singing on Maile Swing? Is it the same person who sings U'i Lani?

Yumi Ishikawa. Same person. She is a professional singer and songwriter. We met in a festival in Yokohama.

We love your video for My Girl From The South Sea Isles. Was it recorded at the Sweet Strings studio?


Tell us about the video "Tiny Mookie with Sweet Hollywaiians / Louisville Special."

Mookie is a famous illustrator who does our album artwork. One day we came up with an idea. We should play together. That's Tiny Mookie and Sweet Hollywaiians.

How exactly does a person learn or teach someone to play a jug?

Mookie was born with an ability to play a jug.

How often have you performed outside of Japan?

We have been playing outside of Japan every year since 2006. We have played in Seattle, Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, Berkeley, Alameda and Los Angeles. American audiences have a better response to us compared to Japanese audiences. It was a very nice experience that we could be on the same stage with someone who still has the spirits and style of 20's and 30's music.

Do you have a favorite island of the Hawaiian islands?


You have a new 16 track album out called "Ticklin' The Strings." Can you tell us about the music?

"Ticklin' The Strings" covers authentic Hawaiian, swing, blues, calypso and Italian music.

Who worked on the album with you?

There are songs with Robert Armstrong and Tony Marcus. They have played in the band called "Robert Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders" in the 70's. Robert Crumb moved to France but the Cheap Suit Serenaders still play in Berkeley CA.

What was a typical recording day like?

We bought vintage RCA ribbon microphones and instruments to prepare ourselves for recording. It took about 2 or 3 hours to complete the song. It was really fun like a party.

Sweet Hollywaiians with Cheap Suit Serenaders - click for full size

If you had to pick just three songs to play that best captures the essence of your music, what would you pick?

Ticklin' The Strings. This tune was played by King Bennie Nawahi who we are very much inspired by.

Oh! Caroline. This is an original work with calypso taste in it.

Nostalgia. This is Italian and it's our first time to play Italian in our recordings.

Does anyone have a musical instrument that is especially precious to them?

Everyone has precious musical instruments... that's why we are always out of money!

Btw, how did each of you pick the type of instrument you usually play?

Basically all of our members can play any instrument. Smaller body players picked up smaller instruments and bigger one took bigger ones.

We have to ask... Who is the best hula dancer in the group?

Nobody in our group is not good at hula dance. That's why we love to hang out with hula girls.

And yes, we also have to ask... Has anyone in the group learned the Hawaiian technique for climbing a coconut tree?

Mr. Matsui. Because he is like a monkey.

On a more serious note, is anyone married? Kids?

Mr. Matsui is married and he has two kids.

What other projects are the band members involved in?

Our biggest project is to get beautiful hula girls.

What are the band's plans for the rest of the year?

Prepare for the next year's US tour.

Do you have anything else you want to bring up or comment on?

All of our albums are so nice to listen to. Dance and have fun!!

Do you have a final message to all your fans?

We will be in US next year and hope to see you then.

For more info checkout Sweet Hollywaiian's official site, MySpace and Facebook page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments