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In Extremis

"I Wish I Was The Girl Next Door": Akiko Matsuura Of Comanechi Interviewed
Ash O'Keeffe , September 29th, 2010 06:01

Ash Dosanjh sits down with Akiko Matsuura to discuss disapproving parents and dispel preconceptions of promiscuity

How do you solve a problem like Akiko Matsuura?

To hipster-haters, she's that attention-seeking sprite who enjoys appearing denuded for Vice, hangs out with the fat Klaxon and one-stop gob shop Lily Allen. The social butterfly about east London town, with a list of celebrity chums allegedly as numerous as her bedfellows.

But to the indie mafia who have followed the career of this Osaka, Japan, native who moved to London a little over six years ago to study art but somehow ended up being a nymph-sized hell-raiser, she is quite simply the best thing that's happened to the London music scene in years. As front-of-house for bands Comanechi, PRE and Sperm Javelin (her solo project), as well as a member of The Big Pink's live line-up, she's the aural equivalent of the apocalypse in surround sound; drumming and shouting her way to oblivion. Little wonder then that her band Comanechi are set to release a split 10" with ear-bleeders Divorce in September on Merok Records.

But are the fun times over for Akiko? The Quietus finds this party-loving animal – nursing a crisp glass of white wine in one hand, her left temple in the other – in a reflective mood.

"Sometimes I wish I was the girl next door," she says with an exhausted sigh. "People think, 'Oooh, she's crazy' and I'm too much for boys. I wish I was a girl that was pretty, not always shouting and screaming." It would seem the anti-hipster brigade is getting Akiko down.

"It's not like I'm trying to make a network around me. I think I just started to meet the right people when I started playing in bands. You meet more and more people and then you choose who you want to be surrounded by. You choose your friends. It's a circle of friends. It's not like trying to be connected. It's natural. I'm just good at chatting to people."

It's her charisma that also allows Akiko to effortlessly command her audience's attention, screaming in people's faces, quite often half starkers, save for a couple of modesty stickers on her nipples and some bikini bottoms. Not that everyone's in favour of Akiko's antics.

At Summer Sonic in Osaka last year Akiko played drums for The Big Pink. It was the first time her parents had seen their daughter perform – having not been told that their daughter was in a band. A monumental occasion you might say.

"When my mum and dad saw me they cried."

With joy?

"Yes, of course joy!"

Unfortunately for Akiko parental approval would prove short lived.

"I took The Big Pink somewhere called Bar Ganga Acid after the show. There was a professional S&M bondage guy there. We got him to tie us up and put candle wax over us. There was a professional photographer there too and I asked him to take a picture of us tied up. I put them on my blog. I didn't expect my family to see it. My brother found it and told my mum. She was so happy and proud seeing me on stage. A week later she found this blog, she was so ashamed. I'm so pissed off at my brother. My mum emailed me saying, 'I'm really sad. What do you think you are doing? I'm so dishonoured.'"

Is she still mad at you now?

"Well, I didn't say sorry or anything. I don't think I'm doing anything wrong. This is art. That's my art."

Her uncompromising attitude towards creative endeavours yielded one of the crudest, filthiest, downright dirtiest-sounding debuts of 2009. Comanechi's 'Crime Of Love' may have taken an eternity to come to fruition (their debut 7" 'Rude' came out in 2005 on White Heat Records), but Akiko and fellow bandmate Simon Petrovitch certainly made the wait well worth it, delivering a set of succinct grunge ditties that call to mind 'Bleach'- or In Utero-era Nirvana. Powered by a raucous pop heart to rival Bikini Kill's, Comanechi songs come with suggestive and explicit sexual lyrics about the most intimate of lady parts and, er, cats, ('My Pussy'), the morning-after pill and STDs ('Crime Of Love') and people who bust a nut trying to be a part of Klaxons' entourage ('I Wish'). Which begs a question: is Akiko playing into the hands of her detractors?

"People say that I'm a slut. I'm not that slutty. I don't know. Some people think I'm fucking loads of boys," she says rolling her eyes.

But your press release for the album states: "We take mdma [sic] and ketamine in eastend bars listening to friends DJing, hallucinating & having sex with the wrong people."

"Ha! Simon wrote that. I don't have sex with the wrong people! I always have sex with the right people," she says with a girlish giggle, her cheeks almost bursting as she grins. "Sometimes something goes wrong, but I usually choose the one I want to really fuck."

Why was it wrong the last time?

"His cock was too big. Way too big. It was like a hair spray gun [she cackles with laughter]. That was so unpleasant. But you know, you can't tell until you get naked."

What about reference to drugs in your press release? Did they play a big part in the making of your debut?

"Definitely not. I've never ever written songs when I'm on drugs. Ever. I don't even feel like it. I'm not one of those Peter Doherty types [she feigns a hit by slumping back into her chair, before springing back to life]. I'm more interested in writing songs."

And what about the accusation that you're just another passing hipster wanker?

"People leave comments on my blog saying that the Big Pink are a bunch of cunts. And people leave twitter messages asking, 'Who the fuck are Comanechi? 9/10?', talking about the NME album review we got. Some people say, 'You're childish, grow up'. It's not like I think that I'm great, but when people do say things like that it devalues who I am. Whether I'm a scenester or not doesn't matter. I don't really care what they think. I don't take it personally. It's just a waste of time."

Because if you do take to heart what people say you'll just end up being like the girl next door?

"Yeah."

So maybe that's not what you really want?

"Maybe… ha!"

Problem solved.

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