Oyster #91: Blonde Redhead
Our entire interview with the trio.
Blonde Redhead are Japanese native Kazu Makino and Milan-born twins Simone and Amedeo Pace. In 1993, they were discovered by Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. Since then, they have released eight albums and their sound has inevitably evolved, from its experimental roots, to the lush electronic rock of last year's Penny Sparkle. In Oyster issue 91, Alice Cavanagh talked with Kazu about coping with criticism, working with twins and the few things that she truly loves.
Kazu Makino: I don't really feel the change in me that much. That's kind of odd I suppose, but I feel the same [laughs].
I don't know. It's almost like, to me, they seem like they really want to be independent, but they can't. I see not a burden, but more of a frustration? but I know they are great company for each other. It's hard to say; having to work with them is something else.
Their connection doesn't help the musical process?
We all have very good chemistry musically, but that mostly happens on stage. I don't think it's because they are twins though; we've just all learnt to feed off each other.
Last year you released Penny Sparkle, your eighth album. What keeps you interested in music? Is it difficult to remain focused after doing it for so long?
It's difficult to be judged. It's not hard to keep making music, at least not for me, but it is more difficult to be criticised and judged on what you do, just because you've made eight albums. I think people are more inclined to get excited about new things, more than [about] things that have been going on for a while. So I feel more pressure than I did with our second or third album; [back] then I was unaware, irresponsible about what the reaction might be. Now the part that really drains me is the reaction that I get from the press. But even though times have changed, playing live is still just as vital in the life of a musician, and I get a pretty good feeling when performing the new songs. It's a reward, you could say.
I watched an interview of you in which you said that you often feel detached from everything around you. Is that feeling a driving force for you musically?
Hmm, maybe. I never thought about it that way, but I guess it is. Thank you for pointing that out. It might have something to do with why we are doing this; it's such a struggle to live in the moment, but music allows us to belong somehow.
Photography: Sam Crawford