Interview with James Hanna of Asobi Seksu

For the last couple of years you’ve been moving away from the dense, heavily effected guitar textures that characterized your first two albums. Have you gotten criticism for this from shoegaze purists, or has the reaction been positive?


Does one person primarily write your lyrics or is it more collaborative?

Me and Yuki [Chikudate] divide them up pretty equally. I write all the good ones.

How has your working relationship with producer Chris Zane evolved over the years?

We had a really good time making the last record, very relaxed. We know each other well enough to not bullshit and just focus on having fun and being creative.

Tell us a little bit about ‘Fluorescence.’

I’m not sure [what to say]. We are pretty happy with it.

Cocteau Twins or Catherine Wheel?

I’ve actually never heard Catherine Wheel, but I love some Cocteaus.

Artist Vaughan Oliver, famous for doing many 4AD album covers, did the art for your new record. How did this come about, and how was it working with him?

We actually just looked him up online and wrote to him blindly. He wound up really liking the record, it was kind of surreal getting ideas from him that looked all Vaughan Oliver.

Will you be touring abroad for ‘Fluorescence’?

Yup, going to the UK and Europe immediately after our US tour ends in March.

I understand that White Lies were unable to perform at The Highline Ballroom show on the 27th due to the weather. Were you guys disappointed? Did another band have to fill in?

I was disappointed that we could not play the show, I was relieved that I didn’t have to load gear in the snow.

Will there be a music video for “Trails” or any of the other songs from the new record?

Funny you should ask, just got the finished product this morning. It’s basically me and Yuki running around these kind of weird abandoned places in NYC. I think it’s really cool.

Tell us about one of your favorite guitar pedals.

It’s giant, plastic and has the best reverb I’ve ever heard. It breaks all the time, and I hate it. Unfortunately, I am married to it.

One of my favorite Asobi Seksu remixes is Ulrich Schnauss’ take on “Strawberries” — would you consider having him do more remixes in the future?

Actually, I was just talking about that with Yuki. We love Ulrich, he is amazing and should be famous.

Will you be playing songs from the new record on this tour?

Yes. We are very excited to play these songs out.

Pick up Asobi Seksu’s new record, Fluorescence.

For upcoming tour dates, check out their Myspace page.