Sawa Angstrom – Interview (2019)

Sawa Angstrom
Interview by Marc Bowie
April 29, 2019

The minimalist style of your EP, DdTPt, is very different than the jazzy Lainy J Groove band and the more poppy style of YeYe, the other groups of which you are a member. What is your goal with Sawa Angstrom?

Jun Hamada: There are various elements that excite me about each of my projects, and I’m always looking for the chance to discover something new. If I can combine concepts and create musical synergy in myself, I’m happy. It’s really fun. The goal of Sawa Angstrom is to perform all over the world.

On songs like “denchi”, you use old school beats including 80’s sounding faux handclaps, yet the rhythms are complex. Talk about your approach to beat making.

Satoshi Yoshioka: This song is based on our improvisation session, which we then rebuilt with Pro Tools. After that, we brushed up every single sound over time. This song, which came out of the early days of the session, was very exciting for us.

Despite its title and the fact it was made using synths, “tape loop” has a very warm, analog sound that fits with its softly sung duet. Were you trying for a more natural sound?

Satoshi Yoshioka: The theme of this song is “chill out”. We started with the spinning tape that’s mentioned in the title, and then expanded into an analog sound using a tape simulator and a Moog synthesizer filter.

The effects in your music video for “tape loop” are impressive. What’s the message behind the imagery of Marina Kodama floating alone in space?

Jun Hamada: In the music video, we reproduced the effects of being in space with daily objects such as water and paints, and we avoided using CG as much as possible. In our ordinary daily lives, the universe exists in things that are both near to us and far away at the same time, and that’s a concept that’s central to the lyrics. Although outer space seems far away, it’s still connected to us — but a distance still exists, and therefore the heroine can not return. Balancing these physical and mental realities, it’s still ultimately a sad story, so we’re happy if viewers have an emotional response.

From the videos I’ve seen, your live presentation matches your minimalist style with a simple stage setup. How do audiences react to your shows?

Marina Kodama: We play music without a sequencer as much as possible in our live shows. Although the main set list is decided before the show, we’ll improvise often and in the transitions. We hope our audience enjoys the difference between the our live shows and the sound of our recordings.

Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3OmbF8Lnv7dwOnniSenb5E

[Sawa Angstrom Live Show Dates]
Apr 28: Piece Hostel, Kyoto, Japan
May 18: Maruyama Park Bandstand, Kyoto, Japan
May 24: Compass Pizza, Melbourne, Australia
May 25: Cafe Gummo, Melbourne, Australia
May 26: Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, Australia
Jun 01: UrBANGUILD, Kyoto, Japan
Jun 22: CLUB METRO, Kyoto, Japan

Sawa Angstrom Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sawa_angstrom/
Sawa Angstrom YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiB8AxOuqsatyGMwHxk7kcA/featured
Sawa Angstrom Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sawa3jp/