How does Fuji Rock compare with other festivals around the world?
Megan James (vocals): It’s huge! Everything’s really tight and relaxed.
Corin Roddick (instrumentals): It’s so streamlined. Like they have people taking care of everything. As soon as we stopped playing like 25 people rushed on stage to take our stuff down. Usually there’s four. Most festivals are super stressful, you have no time — it’s a headache. We just finished playing, but it doesn’t even feel like we’ve played yet, it was so relaxed.
People here may not understand your English lyrics. Is that something you keep in mind when performing?
Megan: Well, I’m not going to write Japanese lyrics! (laughs) I hope that people, instead of listening hard for the words, can just listen to the overall.
Corin: Yeah I think you can still completely understand the emotions. I never listen to lyrics — I don’t even know what most of Megan’s lyrics are for her songs. I just listen to her voice and the feelings, I don’t really think about the lyrical content. Some people really connect with lyrics but I don’t think it’s necessary.
Megan: They’re translated in the album booklet (for the Japanese release) though!
You had a unique-looking instrument with you on the stage. What was it?
Corin: We made it for the band. I had kind of been thinking about how something like it would work. I’ve always been interested in being able to perform music in nontraditional ways, and how to make it more visually stimulating and fun to play. In a live performance I think it’s important to see how the sound is being made. In electronic music I feel like that’s being lost because most people are on a laptop or some kind of synth. But I really like the idea of hitting a lamp and then it lights up in a certain way, and you see and hear it at the same time and can really understand that the sound is being made. Yeah, we’ve done a couple versions of (the instrument). Right now we only use it for live performances because we didn’t have it when we were recording most of the album, but we might record with it.
I understand that you (Megan) make the clothes for your gigs yourself.
Megan: It’s not like costumes just for shows. I sew a lot and I make clothes for Corin.
Corin: She made this shirt.
Megan: Yeah, I sew a lot.
It seems like you guys have a hand-made, customized element to your shows, like with the instrument and the clothes.
Corin: It’s just something that we naturally like to do. We’d do it anyway.
Megan: It’s like we have to present ourselves in a way that satisfies us. Instead of a typical live act.
Corin: Yeah, that represents us as the way we really are. It’s important that we create things and express ourselves.
Megan: And not just music.
Corin: Yeah, if I wasn’t in this band and playing shows, I would be in my bedroom just making things, musical or not. I’ve always been obsessed with putting things together.
Congratulations on the release of your new album “Shrines.” What does the title refer to?
Megan: We consider each song a shrine.
Corin: It’s a collection of shrines of ourselves.
Megan: But when I imagine the word “shrine” in Japan, I feel different things than I do in America. In America, I kind of picture the tacky ones in Mexico, you know with the Virgin Mary.
Corin: They don’t have to be tacky though, they can be made of anything. They don’t have to be religious either. You can take a pile of things and put them in the corner of your room and that would a be shrine for yourself, you know?
How do you put yourself in a creative mindset? Music? Movies? Food?
Megan: Breakfast. I get a lot out of breakfast. I usually make the same thing every day: fried onions with fried eggs and melted cheese on top. And spinach. You put the spinach on last and put the lid on so it steams a little bit.
Is that a Canadian thing, or is it just a “you” thing?
Corin: It’s not really a Canadian thing. I only really see her do it.
Megan: It’s like the best breakfast, and makes such a difference for your whole day and no-one else really does it!
And you Corin?
Corin: You know, I think I might just leave it with Megan’s answer. I don’t wanna taint that at all.