gsj1977"s Profile Page

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ten Questions - Kay Grace

1) Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Kay Grace. I record (very infrequently) and perform (a little more often) with ok city ok in Tokyo. I also write advice columns on a freelance basis and will sing the national anthem of the country of your choice at kick boxing matches.

2) How did Ok City Ok come into being?

I came to Japan to get away from music, actually, but once here I discovered that 1) the gear I coveted as a poor person in the US was outdated and hence considered practically junk here, and 2) I didn't have any worthwhile ways of spending free time except for lurking around music stores. I acquired a pile of moldering recording gear and then started writing music to try to justify the expenditure. After I had enough songs for a record, I set about getting a quorum together to play live. This process consumed what was left of my youth.

I should be grateful, though, because Tom and Shiba are lovely people and great players and they practically insisted on joining the band right when I had finally decided, not for the first time, that I really really hated music and was through with it. Now I play in a band and write songs primarily because I like the other two members and want to impress them.

3) You played with bands in the States and managed Cotton Mather - is there much difference between the evil machinations of the music business there and here in Japan?

I was only in one band in the US - completely obscure, but people have long memories. I was Cotton Mather's tour manager - a roadie, basically. Anyway, I don't know if I have much to say about the music business either there or here, considering how peripheral my involvement has been.

4) There are other foreign/partly foreign bands in Tokyo but not many - how do the audiences react?

They avert their eyes and giggle nervously, but they do that no matter who's onstage. "React" strikes me as a strong word for whatever it is that audiences do at Tokyo livehouses. "Do" might be a bit of an overstatement as well. You may discern a sour edge to my tone here. I'm being a jackass. Actually, the issue of foreignness has just never come up with us, as far as I'm aware.

5) You recently toured the States and Canada - how was it and when are you likely to be taking your next spin overseas?

It was a lifesaver. I had forgotten what it was like to play in North America. Tom & Shiba were champs - they were totally unfazed by the chaos of the bar shows over there. We dug the immediacy and degree of engagement exhibited by audiences in Canada and the US. We're looking to go overseas again before the end of the year.

6) Which bands/artists should we be on the look out for?

Keisuke Hinami, who sometimes plays with us on violin and guitar, has a project called the Hinshi Etude. Beautiful singing, eerie songs - lots of them. He has something like ten different CDs which he gives away absolutely free at his shows - one way to beat the 30-minutes-per-set livehouse system. The Brixton Academy is the most entertaining band I've seen in Japan, and they managed to make a record that is just as much fun as their live shows. I envy and hate them for this.

7) What's your favourite venue a) to play; b) to see a band?

In Tokyo, we like Silver Elephant in Kichijoji and Garage in Shimo-Kitazawa. You know, I just don't get out enough. The only time I ever see bands is when we play with them.

8) Kirin, Asahi or Sapporo?


9) Vinyl, CD or mp3?

You can't line your apartment with mp3s to impress the ladies. People used to say that about CDs, though, when vinyl was getting frog-marched out of existence by the music biz. Those people were incorrect, however.

10) Have you got any upcoming events/releases you want to promote?

The next show is at Silver Elephant in Kichijoji, August 24 (Fri). We will be performing some new songs (gasp).

Our "record" Made By Elaborate Process is available from iTunes, though every goddamn time I look it up the artist name is different. This link will take you to the Apple Store, where you can download the album with some random person's name there instead of ok city ok. I wonder who gets the money. Searches for ok city ok turn up nothing on iTunes. Why does Apple hate us so? I had a Macintosh PowerBook 5300 - haven't I suffered enough?

CD Baby, on the other hand, will send you a shiny new shrink-wrapped ok city ok CD for just ten bucks, and they know our name.

That's about it. Thanks for asking.