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Interview: Hot Japanese Girl

21 December 11 interview: Jared Wilson
photos: Ralph Barklam

"He offers us this contract and cuts his hand open, drizzles blood all over it and signs his name. I’m not a Christian, but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong"

Introduce your band to us...
Jay: Ali Powers is a delicate, talented, troubled and loveable soul.
Ali: Jay Evans, if that is his real name, is a strong, solid guy who’s like a brother to me, really. He’s my foundation, my rock! Dave Lancaster is very handsome but completely
untrustworthy.
Jay: And a bit camp.
 
So where did Hot Japanese Girl start out?
Ali: I’ve been in various bands since I was eleven and written and recorded a bunch of rock songs but done nothing with them. Then Dave came along and said, “How about we form a band?” So all of thedemos were just me playing all the instruments and vocals. Soon after the Myspace went up we got this comment from Will saying: “This is sick! I want to sign you for my label.” Suddenly there’s this guy who wants to make our music video before we’d actually played a gig! We’d basically done a Milli Vanilli.
 
So, when was your first gig together?
Ali: It was the INFL London bus gig and Samantha Morton was in the audience, which was crazy. I drank too many Red Bulls - I was trying to get focused but was just freaking out .
Jay: There was a real buzz because everybody was itching to see this band that Will had been going on about. The pub was packed and it went at about a hundred miles an hour, everyone seemed to love it.
 
You recently played the inaugural gig at the revamped Rescue Rooms.
Ali: It was a really big deal and good fun to do.
Jay: Although the bloody drum-kit fell on top of me, mid-song. I was getting right into it and then all of a sudden, I’m on the floor with my eyes shut and this thing on top of me.

Tell us the story behind one of your songs…
Ali: I wrote Frankie after attending my first film première down in London, for doing end credits for this horror film called The Scar Crow. I’d fallen head-over-heels for this girl and decided to find a copy of her favourite childhood book, The Magical Shoelaces. I travelled all over London on the tube and buses trying to find this book. On the way I met someone who worked in a bookshop called Frankie, she drew me a map of how to find the book and told me how she danced fifties Jitterbug and twenties flapper girl. So, as a thank you, I decided to write this song and email it to her. And she liked it. I’ve got the book somewhere too.
 
Everyone seems to have a favourite Will Robinson story, what’s yours?
Ali: The first time I met him was at The Golden Fleece, he turned up in the tightest trousers you’ve ever seen and there was something that I just didn’t trust about him. Then he offers us this contract and cuts his hand open, drizzles blood all over the contract and signs his name in blood on it. I’m not a Christian, but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong...
Jay: While we were there somebody came in with a bag of stuff, going; “That’s yours, Will” and he started pulling out his wrestling suit. I’d known Will for a couple of years at this point and I knew exactly what was going on, but it must have seemed slightly odd to Ali.

Tell us about your labelmates, Baby Godzilla and Captain Dangerous.
Jay: There is no discernible talent between ‘em, really. Okay, Baby Godzilla are great. But they don’t seem to have any choruses. And they need to stop breaking stuff – or at least stuff they need all the time.
Ali: They’re probably going to be really nice to us now, in their interview.
Jay: Don’t be so bloody stupid. Of course they won’t.

What about Captain Dangerous?
Jay: A totally wicked bunch they are. Total drunkards and maniacs.
Ali: Actually, the ironic thing is Captain Dangerous are probably the most drunk of all of us. I don’t think Matt from Baby Godzilla touches a drop before he goes on stage. All of that mania is real, not chemically enforced. Whereas mine is all damage I take with me. I’m a lumbering cart with three wheels.

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