Kumi Okamoto (aka Kumisolo) is a Japanese musician who has been associated with the French scene her whole life, along with any other scene willing to let her play. She’s collaborated with the likes of Scottish musician Momus, French glitch-poppers o.lamm and Domotic, and many more. Nowadays when she’s not making films or doing work with fashion she gets time to create the odd infectiously cute pop song, let’s hope she keeps them coming! She took some time to share the love for her international fans with an interview:
(This interview is semi-edited ‘cause I keeps it semi-real)
1. I'd love to know more about your background, what was growing up and going to school like for you?
I'm actually a film student at the university of Paris 8 and I’ve made some short movies. When I was in Japan at Tokyo, I learned French for 4 years and I had a band called Crazy Curl, with my friend Saori.
2. Have you taken any lessons in music or are you self-taught?
I took piano lessons from 6 to 12 and I started to play trumpet at 9 years old at school. But a basic pop composition is self-taught.
3. It's undeniable you're a true lover of pop, how did you find this in yourself?
I’ve loved pop music since I was a little girl. My mother listened the Temptations, the Supremes etc. I loved popular female singers in Japan (Seiko Matsuda, wink).
4. Who are some musical influences that have always meant something special to you?
5. When did you begin to record music? Was it on your own or already in a studio?
I had a music teacher when I was a high school student who asked us to make a song with lyrics that he distributed. It was a nice experience for me because I recorded in a cassette tape and I gave to him, but he said, "You should play without any help!” So I had a little tape recorder and I played my cassette tape with a recorder and I sang.
6. I heard a few years ago you worked at a bakery, do you still work there or do you have another job now?
I changed now from a bakery shop and I work a part-time job in fashion.
7. What is music's function for you? A pass-time, a way of living, etc?
Do you mean the creation of music or listen to music? It's true that listening to music is a way of living; the creation of music is a kind of hobby at the moment...
8. What's your favorite instrument and your favorite sound?
I like very much keyboards, but I have no moog or vintage stuff. But I'd love to have one some day ! My friend discovered recently software that makes the sound of a theremin and it's so nice.
9. Your laptop seems very important for all your performances, what is the most important thing on it to you?
All of my songs on stage are from my laptop with an arrangement of O.Lamm or sometimes just my arrangement. I can't invite my friends to play with me as a guitar player or base player; I have every thing in my laptop without my voice.
10. I find Momus to be a fascinating person, how did you get to collaborate with him and what was the experience like for you?
I met him when I was in the band Crazy Curl and I had a gig near the sea in Kamakura, Japan. He came with his girl friend in this occasion and we became friends. I think I'm so lucky to collaborate with him because he collaborated with Kahimi Karie, my idol!!
11. You've been to many places around the world, what are some of your influences from where you've been?
I loved visiting Sweden last summer and I like a Swedish production of music like "piece of me" of Britney Spears or the Swedish singer Annie.
12. I find Japanese movies so unique and fun - do you have any favorites (or French, for that matter)?
As I mentioned, I'm a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki. I love Tanpopo of Jyuzo Itami too.
13. What can we expect from you in the future?
I don't know... You can maybe have a few more kumisolo's pop songs.
14. Is there anything you can't wait to do some day soon?
I should receive a top from ebay and I can't wait!!
A big thanks to Kumi for the interview, and make sure to check out whatever music of hers you can find!