Toquiwa – The Spill Interview part 1

It was a chance meeting out side Shibuya station in Tokyo that resulted in Japanese girl punk-pop band Toquiwa’s signing to a UK record lable and collaborating with The Wedding Present.

Toquiwa (as Pinky Piglets) were playing a street live out side the famous Shibuya station in the heart of one of Tokyo’s most popular entertainment districts when the promoter who was booking the Wedding Present Japanese tour walked past and stopped to listen and had one of those wonderful “A ha ! ! !” moments.   He booked Pinky Piglets as they were called at the time to support Wedding Present and the start of a common journey with the two bands began.

But as Pinky Piglets,  Toquiwa had already played overseas in Canada, UK and Singapore,  and were experienced troupers with more than 10 years solid gigging and several mini albums released and in Japan.   They had an enthusiastic fan base and reputation for being a great live act.  So maybe it was not such a strange decision after all ! ! !

The colaboration between the two bands has continued since then.  Toquiwa opened for The Wedding Present in Japan and after that in the UK.   Toqiwa then went on tour with Wedding Present again in the USA, where they played the opening set for Wedding Present at the South by South West Festival in Austin Texas where they also headlined the Japan Nite Preview event at the festival.

Toquiwa have recently signed to Wedding Present’s Scopitones record label and today (22 October) is the release of their first UK album

So the new album and tour with Wedding Present is maybe not such a surprise, but rather two bands who mutually respect each other, and obviously enjoy their collaboration deciding to take the relationship a step further

 How the relationship started – Street Live in Shibuya

Interview Part 1

Sakura

You formed in 1998 and performed live shows and won several competitions between then and 2006 when you changed your name to Pinky Piglets and released the first CD single.  During this time, how did you keep your motivation and did you ever feel like giving up?

Toquiwa

We have been playing together since secondary school. We have progressed step by step together and that’s how we have kept our
motivation alive.  Maybe we have felt like giving up sometimes, but there are always someone who support us, like other members, staff, audience. They always encourage us and move us. That’s why we want to keep going.

Sakura

You had an established following with the name Pinky Piglets and won the GBOB Challenge event in 2008 with that name.  Why did you change it and does TOQUIWA symbolise anything to you?

Toquiwa

We used to have a manager but now we are self managed and change the band name.  Toquiwa means “evergreen” in Japanese.  We want to be fresh, feel fresh all the time.

Sakura

What is the hardest challenge playing live with only three instrumentalists in a band?

Toquiwa

This year’s UK tour will be the first time we play as a three-piece band. Maybe we will have some problems, but it is simpler and we are  full of expectations.

Sakura

You are considered a “pop-punk” band in the UK but how are you seen in Japan and how do you view the Japanese live music scene now?

Toquiwa

We are probably categorised as a Rock Band in Japan.  When we come back from abroad, we find the quality of stage performance by Japanese bands are really high in general. A lot of them are straight forward and good at entertaining people by playing music and by creating good atmosphere. So I think every band should go out and play out there!

Sakura

You have toured abroad often.  Do you notice any differences between Japanese audiences and European, British or American ones?

Toquiwa

I think the British and the Japanese audience are a bit similar.  They are more quiet and more focused on the music. In the US, people seem to be more eager to enjoy the show, the atmosphere as a whole. We appreciate the both type of audience.

Sakura

It is a really tough schedule for this tour and you are playing almost every night. How do you keep your energy high for performances?

Toquiwa

It’s never enough to thank The Wedding Present for giving us such great opportunities.  We have toured with them quite a bit, we understand each other a lot, so we have less worry about going on the tour.

We don’t really have time to feel fatigue with a joy of touring with them. Same goes when we think about people who would come to see us and people in Japan who support us.

Toquiwa  –  Tokyo Merry Go Round

I would like to thank Toquiwa and Scopitones Record Company staff for taking the time to answering our questions and for their co-operation.

Later this week Shane will post part 2 of the interview and a review of Toquiwa’s new UK album release. So please make sure to check it out! ! !

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7 thoughts on “Toquiwa – The Spill Interview part 1

  1. You go girl! Your first interview. You did brilliantly :-)

    Great song. It’s a very coherent sound and the guitar sounds are excellent.

    Very jealous of Shane is going to that concert – these young ladies and The Wedding Present.

    • Hi SR ! ! !

      Thank you so much ! ! ! I really like them and I am sure they will have a good success in the UK.

      I am going to listen to earworms in a few minutes – it looks great ! ! !

      Thank you for your encouragement and support ! ! !

  2. So good Sakura – sorry I’m not very good as a helper – I have to grab seconds between looking after my two year old at the moment.

    Hopefully I can get the album review post produced later. Brilliant article and a great band – can’t wait to see them at the end of the week.

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