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Deerhoof : The Kotori Interview

by Bob Freville


The green cosmos was whirling, the runners four in total. Ships were adrift with loose lips all flaming. And the band was wiling, crooning “Bibidi Babidi Boo! It was the day when Deerhoof were to kick off their tour, in honor of their umpteenth album since 1996.

There were tires to kick and instruments to tune. And everyone in the band was no doubt busy doing lines or slinging rhymes or just doing something. But I had made a promise when I was asked if I liked the noise rock group, a promise that I was all over the project like white on rice.

I intended to fulfill that relatively simple covenant, as was Deerhoof mouthpiece Satomi Matsuzaki who fired back with her comments faster than a guy who has eaten too many monkey brains.

Time to get serious.

“What do you put in your hair? I asked.

“I put shampoo and conditioner, Satomi replied.

“What is your favorite thing to do on a lonely night of touring?

“The show ends really late every night and we just crash when we get to our hotel. So I don’t really have time to do much. I like eating chocolate after the show sometimes.

Satomi’s simplicity was formidable, given Deerhoof’s reputation for being groundbreaking and bizarre. And her mention of chocolate was eerily ironic after she responded to my next question.

“What do you smell like when you’re not on stage?

“I am growing my hair now, she said. “So I smell like conditioner. The fragrance stays for the whole day long. After the show maybe I smell sweaty and salty. She adds, “I eat Asian foods a lot so my sweat might be saltier than Americans who commonly eat sugar products. I don’t quite get into the sugar habit…

My olfactory interest grew ever more intrigued as Satomi continued to respond, prompting me to ask her if she could describe the odor on her tour bus.

“You like asking me about smell, Satomi intones. “Do you have an odor fetish?

A good question from a person expected to have the answers.

“…Eventually a car starts to smell like salt because Greg likes to eat sunflower seeds. He can’t resist. Then he eats a pint of ice cream…drips it on his jacket…Brown stain looks like it has a bad smell, doesn’t it?

“As a group of musicians who were never classically trained what did you do to prepare for your respective musical endeavors?

“Actually, Satomi reminds us. “Greg is classically trained…I have a tiny Doraemon (Japanese kitty robot) recorder to save my melodies…I try things out on the instruments to find out if it works or not. I judge only by my ears.

“John is also not trained, that is why his guitar playing sounds like speaking. He kind of created a guitar language.

I asked Satomi if there was a certain tool implemented on their new LP that would stand out from that which they had used on previous recordings. Her answer was every bit as quirky and galvanizing as one could expect from Deerhoof.

“Sound textures are very interesting on Friend Opporunity. For example, it’s like metallic + velvet + plastic + fake fur transparent dress. It’s poppy with hip hop rhythms. The music turned into one big ball and roll over the wood sticks that leads us to the ocean and the mountain.

“Where does music go to once it’s been in people’s ears?

“To your music bank, Satomi replied matter-of-factly. “If it has a big impact, then it gets implanted to your music bank account, emotionally and heavily. Then it goes into your dreams and the music becomes a nightmare. When you wake up the next morning, it turns into good memory.

“And how does a snow pea feel, I asked.

“I don’t know how the feel. I guess cold???

Satomi is like the Scribe, always asking questions, always on a quest. But the quest of any music group is not an easy one and constant companionship can sometimes grow aggravating.

“What do you and your bandmates do to keep up the camaraderie?

“We smile to each other and pet animals together and look at the sky and say, ‘Thank you,’ to the little birds.

©2006 KotoriMag.com

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