SHONEN KNIFE Judas Priest or Kiss? That is the question

Comprising of three talented women with a taste for The Ramones and cute lyrics, Japanese trio Shonen Knife have been making albums and touring for over three decades. Currently they’ve been keeping busy having released a new LP in June this year called Sweet Candy Power and supporting Regurgitator on the Australian leg of their 25th anniversary tour, hitting Astor Theatre this Friday, November 15 and Metropolis Fremantle on Saturday, November 16.  Shonen Knife frontwoman Naoko Yamano spoke to EMMA PEET about touring with some of the world’s biggest names, why their new album is her favourite so far, and writing songs inspired by Australian landmarks and animals.

This being your third decade of international touring as a band, one would assume you guys are pros at packing your life up and heading on the road. In your experience what would you say is the most difficult part of touring? And what is the most enjoyable part of touring?

The most difficult part is laundry. We don’t have enough time to go to laundromats and I usually wash my small clothes by hand almost everyday. When we have time, we do laundry at hotels. The most enjoyable part of touring is meeting with our fans at various cities all over the world.

Shonen Knife has had a rotating door of different members throughout its life-span. However, your sister Atsuko is still with the band. How do you guys think that the sibling bond shared between the two of you has affected the longevity and success of the band?

Atsuko and I have similar values. I can be relaxed touring with her. Also both of us play tennis and we can share that hobby.

Within your entire discography, what do you believe has been your most enjoyable album to write and record?

I always have to say my favourite is the newest album, right?! Because my present self is myself. I don’t have any feeling about clinging onto past things. I just look forward and never look back. Actually I like the new album Sweet Candy Power a lot.

You’ve toured with some incredible bands and artists over the years, such as Fugazi, Nirvana and of course your current touring buddies Regurgitator. If you could tour with any band or artist, living or dead, disbanded or still rocking, who would it be?

Judas Priest! I love them. Or KISS. We’ve only supported Fugazi just once in Osaka. We supported Ramones twice in Osaka in 1998 at their farewell tour. It was so impressive. I talked with Joey Ramone when we ate dinner after the show. He was so gentle and such a nice person.

You guys toured Australia in 2017 on your Ramen Adventure tour and visited a lot of different cities and towns across the country. Where was your favourite place to perform? And what was your major impression of Australia last time you visited?

I can’t say because if I choose one, people at other cities and towns get sad. I like Australia a lot because it has beautiful cities and a magnificent landscape. In 2017, we played at Wave Rock in Western Australia. The scenery was so beautiful and impressive. I wrote a song called Wave Rock for our new album. I’ve even written a song called Tasmanian Devil, too. I can’t wait to play in Australia!