Photo Credit: Darryl Webber
People often talk about the people who’ve bridged the gap between the pre and post-internet world but what about the musicians, the bands? When Fujiya & Miyagi started we still bought tickets at retailers and didn’t constantly hold up phones at concerts recording videos we were not going to watch later, but for some reason needed at the time. It was simpler, but as is with life – we all adjusted to the tech-boom of the 21st century, including Fujiya & Miyagi.
We sat down with their own David Best (vocals + guitar) to talk about how things have changed since forming, what their present sound hints at for the future, and of course, Fujiya & Miyagi’s new album, ‘Slight Variations,’ which drops on September 30th.
Kendra: The fear of Y2K and not having to take your shoes off at the airport. The world was a different place when Fujiya & Miyagi first got started. When you all began this journey, you each had to have had some goals in mind – over 20 years later, what’s still on that bucket list in the back of your mind?
David Best: Back then It seemed a bit unreal to be able to fly to all these places we’d always wanted to and play to audiences who were interested in what we did. I don’t think we had any preconceived ideas of how it would be or a career master plan. We just sort of went with the flow. There are still lots of avenues to explore for us. It feels like we are living in a golden age of music technology and the future in that respect is unwritten. It would be nice if we could explore new ways of making records. There’s talk of a more live-sounding record at some point, but I’d equally like it to go in a less conventional direction too, maybe simultaneously.
Kendra: Time to talk about your September 2022 release, ‘Slight Variations.’ Being that we’re all a slight variation of who we were yesterday and the day before, what do you think has been the most impactful thing you’ve done over the years as an artist that’s been able to allow you to grow into the musician you are today? Touring, getting to know other artists, writing, etc…
David Best: I can’t speak for the others but personally there was one major change that helped me get more from what I contribute. I stopped writing anything down or pre-planning songs. One of the ways we used to work was to write the bare bones of a song on a guitar and with a notebook then convey that idea to the others who would add their input and flesh it out or take it somewhere else.
Now I just start recording and see what happens. It’s especially useful relating to words and how they fit in a song. Once I’ve got some music I’m happy with I just record some vocals without any pre-planning and see what happens. Then I keep the bits I like and get rid of the bits I don’t and do another take. It helps make it a song rather than some music with words on top.
Kendra: So one of the songs that can be found on ‘Slight Variations’ is “Digital Hangover,” which, I mean, we’ve all been there. The constant scrolling, the neverending emails. It’s all a bit much. Are you someone that can and often does try and unplug, or are you still trying to combat this modern-day addiction?
David Best: It’s tricky not to as so much of the running of the group is tech-related now, like all the social media stuff, streaming platforms, and checking orders on Bandcamp. Some of that is great. What does my head in is spam emails. They are relentless. Most think the group is a design company and they are offering us help with our website hosting. I am guilty of pretty much being glued to my phone though. I feel like I’m missing a limb if I don’t have it near.
Kendra: Now over the years Fujiya & Miyagi has been featured on several TV shows, but if you could pick a current small screen favorite to place a track from your new album on – which track and TV show would you pick and why?
David Best: I really enjoyed ‘Severance.’ That would fit in with the “Digital Hangover” idea. My favourite ever show is ‘Twin Peaks’. It would be a dream come true to have our music on that or anything Lynch-related. I’m up for ‘Stranger Things’ using one of our songs in a key moment that propels us to the top of the charts too. Maybe in season five, they could go to the future 2007.
Kendra: You’ve noted that your release isn’t just about the present but also represents where you plan to go in the future. Do you always have the destination mapped out or is the future of the band more of an idea at this point?
David Best: There tends to be one or two songs per record that often points to the next one. ‘“New Body Language” off the new record shares a few threads with “Fear of Missing Out” on the previous one. “FAQ” on ‘Slight Variations’ explores new ground for us which would be good to take further in the future.
You also have to agree on the destination before you set off there. Another thing that can change an idea of a record is the length of time it takes to write and record it. This new record took a long time to make and as a result, it incorporates lots of different styles and ideas. Our previous record was done quite quickly so was formed around a central idea.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Slight Variations’ out on September 30th and a couple of dates already booked this fall, are you already looking ahead to 2023 possibilities?
David Best: As travel opens up we hope to visit places old and new. We’ve never been to Japan so that’s something I think we’d all like to experience. Mainly, though, I think we are just looking forward to playing live again and seeing people dance.