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Q&A With Yuki Chikudate, of Asobi Seksu

Unplugged and in Your Face

With their second LP Hush and the follow-up Transparence EP already released in 2009, the members of Asobi Seksu wrapped up the year with Rewolf a collection of reworked material done acoustically, without the bandís trademark sonic layering. Recorded during a one-day marathon session at Londonís storied Olympic Studios, the album is providing Asobi Seksu the opportunity to perform in small, intimate venues throughout the U.S. The band stops at the Swedish American Hall on January 17th. Vocalist Yuki Chikudate discussed the new album with SF Station during a phone interview from her home in New York.

SF Station (SFS): Do you have any New Yearís resolutions for 2010?

Yuki Chikudate (YC):I donít have any New Yearís resolutions this year because I seem to set myself up for failure. Iím just going to take it one day at a time and one moment at a time because I tend to write crazy lists. I just get upset that Iím not able to hold up to it.

SFS: You had a productive year last year with a LP, EP and Rewolf. What are your plans for this year?

YC:: We plan to get back in the studio this spring, and we hope that means we are going to walk out with a record we are happy with. The grind starts back again from there. I think itís time we play some festivals, too.

SFS: What do you have your eyes on?

YC: I think itís way to late for Coachella, but Iím hoping we can get some summer festivals. We havenít done any yet.

SFS: That would be nice. Rewolf was the result of a session at Olympic Studio. When you went into the studio to record, did you plan to come out with an album?

YC: We new the songs that we wanted to record, but we didnít know that it was going to become a record. It was originally supposed to be a product that was only available at our shows. Polyvinyl really liked it and wanted to put it out, and we couldnít argue.

SFS: That studio was formerly used by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Could you sense anything different when you were working there?

YC: Yes and No. It was exciting to be in that space, knowing itís amazing history, but it just looked like any other studio. We didnít get to explore very much of it because 99 percent of it was occupied by U2 at the time. We didnít really see much ó just the room we recorded in ó but itís great to be able to say we recorded there.

SFS: Were there any chance encounters with Bono or the Edge walking the halls?

YC: No, but we snuck into their catering area ó well, we didnít know it was their catering ó and the people there gave us a cookie.

SFS: A U2 cookie! What kind was it?

YC: I donít remember, but it was really good. Their catering was amazing, of course.

SFS: Where you surprised by anything that came out of that recording sessions?

YC: I was surprised that we were able to do it all in 10 hours. We tend to get really carried away when we record, and we can really get bogged down. It was nice to be able to focus and not feel like we need to add a million things to the tracks. We moved pretty fast.

SFS: In addition to studio efficiency, I noticed you are a successful fundraiser. You raised more than $8,000 online to support your UK tour.

YC: Yeah, we did pretty well, and Iím really grateful that people came through and really showed us some support. I thought it was a longshot, but Iím really happy I was wrong.

SFS:: You had some interesting premium prizes ó hangout backstage or go to dinner with the bandÖ

YC:: I wasnít sure if anyone would want to do that. I wouldnít want to pay to hang out with me, but we tried. I donít think anyone bid on that.

SFS: You played some lager venues opening for White Lies on that UK tour, and now you are back playing acoustic shows at small venues. That must be an interesting transition for you.

YC: Yeah, we tried it out in New York and it was a really nice experience. I didnít know what to expect, and Iíll admit that when I sat down and saw everyoneís face, and people were drinking wine and having dinner, I got really freaked out. But, once I sat down said hello to everyone, I relaxed and was really able to enjoy it. It freaked me out at first, but it was kind of special to me to be vulnerable and be able to communicate that way.

SFS: It seems like you would have to comfortable with that your raw voice and instruments, compared to your other songs, which have more layering.

YC: That [layered] element wonít ever go away because thatís what we do. But, itís been nice to get reacquainted with our songs by stripping them down and performing in a new way. In a way, we are getting to know our fans differently, as well. We can talk to them and see their faces. We are not far away on a big stage; itís a different experience.

SFS: In that setting, do you notice when people are moving around in the room and if they leave their seat?

YC: I hope that I donít! I try not to think about that because I could get pretty distracted. I try not to think about whether they are ordering pasta or steak.

Asobi Seksu perform at the Swedish American Hall on January 19th. Tickets are $15. Doors open 6:30pm and the show starts at 7:30pm