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Blonde Redheadís Kazu Makino
by Matt Crawford on Jul 02, 2009
Itís a little daunting stepping into an interview with directions to not ask anything personal but, despite the caveat, Blonde Redheadís Kazu Makino remained warm and friendly and allowed for some minor prodding. The trio, rounded out with twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace, will take a break from working on new material for two performances in San Francisco on July 14th and 15th for the Bike Film Festival at The Independent. Makino spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from New York.
SF Station (SFS): Why do you request journalists avoid personal questions?
Kazu Makino (KM): Oh my god, wouldnít you?
SFS: Maybe, but it also comes along with the job.
KM: Thatís true, but I suppose it is a part I could easily live without. I donít think every musician plays music because they want to bring attention to themselves.
SFS: Was something printed in the past that you didnít like?
KM: Itís not that. Interviews are documented and your passing thought becomes permanent. Iíve read interviews with myself and I wondered, ďDid I say that?Ē For me to talk with someone who is documenting the conversation, it is a really, really difficult task.
SFS: Well, thanks for speaking with me. You donít have any concerts booked, except for the two shows in San Francisco. What brings you out here?
KM: Itís a one-off date that we are doing for the Bicycle Film Festival. We are working on new material, so playing shows is not a priority at the moment. There are a few things that we couldnít miss out on.
SFS: Are you a bicyclist?
KM: Iím embarrassed to say that because Iím not that coordinated, but the twins are really good bikers. They have those Italian race bikes, but I also ride.
SFS: How did you get involved with the film fest?
KM: Weíve known Brent, who is the main organizer, for a while. I was referred to a dentist a few years ago who is friendly to musicians -- you donít have to pay all at once -- because he plays music too and he is kind to poor, struggling musicians. The nurse there was Brentís sister and we started talking. Thatís how it all started.
The festival is a bit of phenomenon. There are so many people who are into bikes; the festival has become a huge event wherever he takes it. I hope they are showing the same films in San Francisco that they showed in New York. They were really, really amazing.
SFS: Do you think the world would be better with more bikes than cars?
KM: Yeah, of course, right? But, I donít know how it is to ride a bicycle in San Francisco.
SFS: There are a lot of hills.
KM: In Paris, they have public bicycles that you can use anywhere in the city and leave at your destination. Itís great, but there are a few hills in Paris, too. In the morning, the bikes are distributed evenly, but at the end of the day, all of the bikes are at the bottom of the hill because everyone is too lazy to go up hill.
SFS: I could see that happening in San Francisco.
KM: Definitely. In San Francisco, you would know where to go to get bikes. Just go to the bottom of the hill!
SFS: So how are your new songs coming along?
KM: I donít know. Itís like going through a dark tunnel and you donít know when you are going to come out or if you are ever going to come out. With some records, we really seclude ourselves a lot, but this time we have been hearing other peoplesí music and we go out every few days. Itís nice to be close together to talk about what we are doing, but itís also nice to be able to walk away and then go back to it.
SFS: Do you look at your different albums as related bodies of work or do you look at each album as something that is brand new with no connection?
KM: It depends. Sometimes we feel like we make a huge turn in another direction and other times it feels like itís another step toward something -- like we didnít end after an album and still have to get our rocks off in that direction. You canít tell until some time passes and you look back. I donít know how the albums relate to each other until much later.
SFS: Your last album was released in 2007 and the breaks between albums are often two or three years. Is it hard to have that much downtime?
KM: It is. At the beginning, itís good to feel like you have all the time in the world. When itís done, you want it to come out at that moment, but you have to wait another three or four months.
SFS: And then you get to hit the road.
KM: Thatís the part you can write off.
SFS: You donít enjoy touring?
KM: I like performing, but Iím not crazy about everything else that comes around.
SFS: Like what?
KM: There is a lot of waiting, sometimes the smell is bad, itís always dark at clubs and you end up drinking too much. I donít get to sleep at home and I donít get to ride horses.
I love riding and I really love horses. I have horses that I am really attached to and I continuously work with them. I donít get to see them, and they are big part of my life. I end up missing them so much.
I function really well -- if I didnít I would have stopped a long time ago -- but Iím not ecstatic to be on tour.
Blonde Redhead performs at the Independent July 14th and 15th. Tickets are $25. The door opens at 7:30pm and the show is at 8pm.
by Matt Crawford on Jul 02, 2009