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The Deli's SXSW Issue 2014 is online!

Read it digitally here.

P.S. 10k free copies of this issue hit the street of Austin during SXSW Music week!

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Punk Interview: Naoka Yamano of Shonen Knife

This past June Shonen Knife, known for their influence of punk bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth, released their 19th studio album Sweet Candy Power. The band played a show last night at the Empire Control Room & Garage, and we were able to get in touch with frontwomen Naoka Yamano for a quick interview. Naoka talks about why she writes about food, what eras Sweet Candy Power plays homage to, and how Shonen Knife doesn’t really identify as a punk band. 

The Deli Austin: You started touring in the U.S. in the late 80s, and since then you’ve had a lot of gigs all across the country. Is there anything you particularly enjoy about playing shows here?

Naoko: The audience here in the US is very friendly and cheerful. I like that. I like fish tacos. I can eat various fish tacos here during the tour.

How has the punk scene in Japan changed since you started playing?

I don’t know how to define the “punk scene” but if it means underground scene, the border between major scene and underground became vague. Even if a band is very independent, they can spread their music using the internet. If “punk” is defined musically, when I started the band, punk, hardcore punk were popular but there are various kinds of music. I don’t think Shonen Knife is a punk music band. 

So what does punk rock mean to you today?

It means nothing. Actually, we are not a punk band. I write various type of songs not only punk-pop but Hard Rock, Pop, sometimes Disco. In these 20 years, I don’t listen to punk music so much.

I think the two main takeaways people get from your music is a sense of fun, and a craving for all of the food you write about, especially on Sweet Candy Power. What connections do you make between food, fun, and music?

I write songs not only about food but other topics like my experiences. The lyrics are rather positive. I put some essence of fun on it. The topics of some songs are food. Food is a universal thing and everybody can understand easily. But sometimes it is difficult to explain or people misunderstand because if I say “Candy”, I can’t find Japanese style candy here in the US. We have various kinds of candies in Japan. In the US, there are many gummies but we don’t say it’s candy. Candies are like HALLS or Licora which made by sugar, malt syrup and flavors. 

Anyway, I write songs about food and fun to make people entertained.

How did you approach compiling material for this latest release? Were there any particular influences for this album’s style?

I usually don’t have any concept for albums. I just make songs which I like and people will enjoy. I like 1970’s and 1960’s classic rock music. This album is a kind of homage to such music.

What is your favorite song on Sweet Candy Power?

“My Independent Country”.

Interviewed by Avril Carrillo

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Soul Food Horns soar on high with the release of “Hot Air”


Prolific horn and production collective Soul Food Horns released the single “Hot Air” last Tuesday on Brooklynn based label Sundae Sauuce. Calculatedly relaxed, buoyant trumpet lines and synths float the groove above succinct drums and bass that have no business being as fat as they are. The perfectly titled track smoothly sweeps into your ears and nestles itself somewhere between J Dilla and Chet Baker. Allowing the listener to actively digest the textures or take a reflective backseat, the tune acts as if part of a prestige “Lo-Fi Beats to Study to” playlist   

 

Although meeting in Austin, co-founders Louk Cox and Ari Burns have respectively reestablished themselves in Amsterdam and Chicago. Current Austin-based members include Sam Howden, Dan Fears, and Noé Mina. They don’t let space decrease productivity however as each member has a home workstation that they use to record and exchange ideas to facilitate long distance collaboration. Having all received an academic background, an eclectic body of work has emerged, including but not limited to hip-hop, house, and neo-soul. This open-minded approach has left them in a position to follow their multi-genre interests wherever they may lead. 

    The collective began simply as a horn section playing diverse gigs, establishing musical intimacy, and recording for artists such as Netherfriends, Magna Carda, and Mathien. Falling deeper into the world of recording, SFH became enamored by the craft of production. This interest led them to begin to produce independently for themselves and others, notably on Austin-local rapper and poet Chucky Blk’s debut “A Prequel To” and the collaborative LP “Koi Pond” with Cloudchord. 

   

    “Hot Air” came about naturally as Mina was visiting Cox in Amsterdam. Setting up shop in a makeshift studio “in the attic of an old building in the center of the city,'' Cox recalls “making the beat with the idea of capturing the sound of the summer breeze coming through the window.” As that goal has been elegantly captured, make sure to check out their other Cloudchord collaboration Moon Fortune, the fresh Chucky Blk single “Get That”, and another Sundae Sauuce single in October. 

 

- Hayden Steckel

 

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Hayden James Brings Scintillating Sounds to Vulcan

When the drumbeat of the lonely transforms into synth hooks and pulsating rhythms, this is what the essence of Hayden James emanates. James, an Aussie electro artist, has built his profile over the last five years by consistently creating music and refusing to stay complacent in his songwriting. James has opened shows for Odesza and Disclosure but he is beginning to build his own wave of audio ubiquity, especially since releasing his debut studio album, Between Us, in June 2019.

Hayden James sold out the Vulcan Gas Company on Friday night and tickets soared on the secondary market, going for as much as $150, up from $25.  Naations, another Australian electro act, performed as the opener for James but also collaborated on the hi-frequency pop hit “Nowhere To Go” that James would perform during his set.  Naations was bursting with infectious energy that originated from an intense live set and left quite an energy drop-off once they left the stage.

A simple yet dazzling minimalist stage setup gave Hayden James the environment in which he could be equal parts mysterious and invigorating. Understated yet sultry tracks like “Better Together” and “Something About You” melted an inhibitive audience into a melange of collective cool. A beautiful night came to a close abruptly and prompted the audience to beg for more.  Hayden James is a master of the exit, leaving his fans clamoring for a morsel more.

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