1. Hello! Mustard thanks you for joining them. They are grateful. How are you doing?
Hello! I’m doing well! Thank you for reaching out to me for this interview! I never really do these!
2. Skatsune Miku are the best vocaloid ska band in the world. Can you recall the moment receiving this honor?
I can! It was during the first practice for the live band! I think it was Brent who said it? We’re #1 out of 1! I honestly can’t think of anyone else who has ever attempted to use Vocaloid in the context of a DIY band before. Anamanguchi obviously has done the live band Vocaloid thing before, but they’re pretty well established at this point. As far as I’m aware, we’re the only band around right now to really try and make it happen from the very beginning; Ska or otherwise!
3. What is Skatsune’s Miku creative process? What goes into choosing a song to cover?
I honestly just pick songs that I like and that I think have something in common with other Ska songs that I like. When I’m actually making the song, I usually start with the Vocaloid sequence, then put drums over it, and the rest follows through. That’s totally backwards compared to how most people write I think, but when you’re working with Vocaloid, you really want to be sure that the Vocals are going to work before you’ve committed to anything else. Covers are much easier for this reason, because the song is already written, it’s just a matter of re-writing in my own style.
4. Who (or what) influences Skatsune Miku?
My influences are essentially an amalgamation of J-Pop, Punk and obviously Ska; altough I tend to gravitate towards really subversive J-Pop, Hardcore Punk, and Crack Rock Steady, to be more specific. Most music I listen to is in Japanese, so a lot of my influences come from bands like 銀杏BOYZ, Coquettish, The Forever Young, Hey Smith, Seiko Oomori, Haru Nemuri… I could really go off for a while on this, but these are the first ones that come to mind. A lot of how I try to present our work though is inspired by virtual bands like Gorillaz or Dethklok. (Mostly Gorillaz).
5. If Skatsune Miku could have their music featured in any anime, what would it be and why? What anime does Skatsune Miku recommend humans watch?
I don’t even know to be honest 笑!
I’m not too sure that my music would fit in any anime. Maybe as the end credits song like Oreskaband did in Naruto and Bleach? I’m sure I’m not too late to be in Boruto at least. I think Bleach is coming back for another season?
As for recommendations, I find it harder and harder to recommend anime in the streaming era; everything is on Netflix or Cruchyroll now. You’ve probably seen or heard of anything I have to recommend. I read a lot of manga though and I love anime movies!
I recommend reading Blood on the Tracks, Gigant, Komi Can’t Communicate, anything Junji Ito (seriously, he’s been writing since the 80’s and his stuff is only recently becoming accessible in the West).
My favorite anime movie I saw recently was Ongaku: Our Sound. I have a lot of favorite directors for anime movies too, so anything by Satoshi Kon, Masaaki Yuasa, Makoto Shinkai, and Mamoru Hosoda. Branch out! Studio Ghibli is overrated (I said it!)
6. Your debut EP is a collection of six vocaloid ska punk covers. What was the process like crafting this EP? Did you record any covers that did not make the cut?
The EP was kind of a happy accident! Everything on that EP was really just a process in experimenting with Vocaloid and live instrumentation! After a certain amount of time I just decided “I should share this!”, so I picked what I thought were the best ones and published it!
There’s SO MANY songs that didn’t didn’t make it onto the EP. It could have been a full length album, but I cut out a lot that I didn’t think were good enough.
The cut tracklist includes:
KKK-Hiway (Eventually saw the light of day)
ヘリクツBoy – Togawa Jun
Yume No Hajime Ring Ring – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Soraio Days from Gurren Lagann
A mash up of Shaggy’s Angel and Choking Victim’s Crack Rock Steady (CRS made its way into Fuwa Fuwa Time in the end)
There was no focus from the start, I just did whatever I thought would be fun. Some things worked out really well, which you can hear on the EP, and others not so much. Also my English voicebank sucks, so I don’t like doing songs in English.
7. After releasing your self-titled EP, Skatsune Miku has gone on to release other covers such as “Lonely Rolling Star”, “KKK Hiway”, and “True Story.” Can you share the significance of each?
Every time I release something, it’s kind of another step forward in the process of getting to where I want this project to be. I still consider this whole thing to be in “Phase 0”, so I’m basically putting my progress up on display for all to hear. The EP was almost like a pilot episode for me; it mostly serves the purpose of establishing the main idea. Then LRS was kind of my first move to see how I may be able to collaborate with other musicians (Tape Girl and Kmoy who are AMAZING). KKK-Hiway doesn’t have much of an interesting story aside from the fact that it’s the VERY first track I recorded EVER, and True Story was actually a commission that I just loved so much that I wanted to put it out there. I learned two things from True Story; the first is that I don’t like doing commissions, the second is that not every song is gonna be a hit even if it’s your personal favorite.
8. Soon Skatsune Miku will be doing a show with Eichlers along with Dynastic and Re-Adjusters.. How is Skatsune feeling going into that show?
I’m so excited! The band was put together super quickly, and I’m really surprised that it’s worked out as well as it has! They’ve been working really hard to make this happen, and I’m excited to see what comes of it! This is kind of a crash test to see what’s possible when you just give a band instructions and Vocaloid tracks set to a click, so if it works out well, it’s very likely that we’ll see it will happen again somewhere!
9. Last December you covered the meme song “Padoru Padoru” with Tape Girl. Is this a collaboration fans will be seeing more of in the future?
Absolutely! Padoru is actually the 3rd time I’ve worked with Tape Girl, and 2nd time I’ve worked with Kmoy! They did the beep boops and organs respectively on Lonely Rolling Star, and Beth mixed True Story! Padoru was something I kind of approached her with jokingly and it spiraled into a full blown release. The problem with it being a meme song is that no one can license it as a cover, so I don’t know if it’ll ever actually hit streaming platforms
10. You just released “Renai Circulation” featuring Stuck Lucky and Noise Complaint. Could you share more about this single and how this collaboration happened?
Renai has been in the works for a really long time actually, and that’s truthfully just because there were so many hands on this project. Will messaged me a long time ago on Instagram asking to collab, then covering Renai kind of just came up eventually. I wanted the guitars to sound way crustier, almost like Night Gaunts style, so I had the idea to ask Jordan from Noise Complaint to join in and his guitars just flow with Will’s trombones so well. After it was all said and done though, we had this huge cacophony of sounds, and I decided to ask Reade from WATU to mix it, and she put it all together so beautifully. She’s a genius at organizing sound. But even down to the album art, we had a picture taken at a shop that has been super supportive of the project called Rat Nest, then Raquel, our artist, inserted us into the image (she’s also a genius at what she does). This one song was a huge undertaking of so many people coming together to play little parts. I think through all of this though, just coming off this one track, we’re much closer to where I want this project to be.
11. Mustard loves your merchandise. How do you decide what becomes a shirt, sticker, or patch? Does any fashion, shows, or films influence or inspire your merchandise?
Merch is weird, because fuck capitalism, but it’s also a lot of fun to see your design printed on something, and then people actually LIKE IT AND WEAR IT! A lot of my designs are just inspired by stuff that I wish anime apparel would be. If you ever find an anime clothing brand, it’s always streetwear or something like that. There’s no punk side of it; it’s all clout and social media marketing, and usually way overpriced. I made the Hardcore shirt so I could finally see some punk anime merch, and it just took off in popularity. What’s really crazy is that I just photoshopped Miku over a picture of CIV from Gorilla Biscuits. That shirt has done amazing on its own though, I’ve lost count at this point how many have sold, but we’re well over a couple hundred. I’ve heard from shops that sell the shirt that some people buy it not even knowing Skatsune Miku is a real thing, they just think it’s a cool design.
Lately I’ve been tired of shirts though. Everyone has a shirt. Every band, every artist, we all have shirts and there’s too many shirts. Do you really need another shirt? You don’t. Go to your closet and count all of the shirts you don’t wear anymore.
Next thing I’m making is going to be shorts and I’m really hoping they’ll be ready by the time of the upcoming show. Maybe even by the time this is out!
I’m also looking into making Miku plushies and figures, but this is all assuming merch continues to sell well. I never pocket the money from sales, it cycles right back into merchandise.
12. What’s next for Skatsune Miku?
It feels like I’m kind of coming to the end of “Phase 0”. I’ve got one more cover that’s been in the works for like well over a year now, and after that one is out, I don’t think I’ll be doing any more covers.
I’d like to make a tour happen, but it’s going to be very different from a regular tour if it works out the way I want it to.
After that, I’m likely going to disappear for a while (The Disappearance of Skatsune Miku) to work on something really big.
13. Where can readers listen to your music? Do you have a preferred platform?
Our music is up pretty much everywhere, I have no preference where you want to listen to it! I kinda hate Spotify for a lot of reasons, but some people are like married to it, so I’m not going to fight it.