Saturday, June 17, 2006
CHAT IN SAN JOSE 3: Miami
Miami's Ai Kajiya (PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID CIRONE / JAPANFILES.COM)
At the Fanime anime convention in San Jose, California I talked to a few of the Japanese rock bands that put on shows there (story here). I asked them all the same set of questions because I thought it would be fun to see how the answers would turn out differently.
The third and final group I interviewed was the two-girl electric pop/rap unit Miami. Ai Kobayashi and Ai Kajiya create music that sounds both contemporary (they rap over digital samples) and retro (Kajiya plays the violin and some of their melodies sound early-20th century). The two Ai’s that make up Miami are a duo to watch.
JAPAN LIVE: What was your first impression of the U.S.?
KOBAYASHI: The American audience was the greatest! Everyone’s expressions were dazzling. We really had fun.
KAJIYA: I felt the same way. Their power to have fun was tremendous, and we were able to do a very fun show too.
JAPAN LIVE: How would you describe Miami’s music?
KOBAYASHI: Music genre-wise, it’s electric pop. Our sound and everything else have a free feel.
JAPAN LIVE: Are there any American bands or musicians that have influenced you?
KOBAYASHI: I like the Beastie Boys. But I guess that’s about it. To tell you the truth, I’m not much of an expert on music, and I haven’t listened to all that much. If we’re talking about America, the Beastie Boys are clearly my favorite.
KAJIYA: None, in my case.
JAPAN LIVE: How did you come up with the name “Miami”?
KOBAYASHI: It’s just something that we thought up. We’ve never been to Miami in the U.S. and it wasn’t named after that. Japanese girls often have names that start with Ma, Mi, Mu, Me, Mo, and those names have a round, soft image. “Miami” has a round, cute feel to it.
JAPAN LIVE: Anything else you want to say?
KOBAYASHI: Well, the main thing is, thanks so much for listening to us and watching us. We will remember this fondly, and we want to meet all of you again.
KAJIYA: We were welcomed warmly, and so we were able to do the best live we could. We wouldn’t be doing this if not for people like you, and we want to work hard and have fun together with all of you.
You can listen to samples of Miami's songs on their MySpace page, and their music is available in MP3 form at JapanFiles.com.
Miami's Ai Kobayashi (PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID CIRONE / JAPANFILES.COM)