Naoko Yamano of Shonen Knife On New Album and Tour


With nearly 40 years as a band under their belt, the formidable force of SHONEN KNIFE shows no signs of slowing down. Their sugary punk appeal transcends just their music alone, as their videos, colorfully Mondrian-esque fashion aesthetic, and frenetic live shows can attest.

With the release of their latest video, the title track of their 19th solo album SWEET CANDY POWER (Good Charamel Records; release date June 5, 2019), the Japanese punk trio combines all of this for a funtastic and infectious shout-along. Premiering on industry tome BrooklynVegan who lauds the new album as "another very fun batch of the kind of Ramones-y bubblegum punk that Shonen Knife have been churning out for nearly four decades", the "Sweet Candy Power" video is like a bag of Pop Rocks... It starts out sweet and tangy but quickly explodes into an all-out punk fest, celebrating the energy boost of all types of confections.

In addition to the new video, sisters Naoko and Atsuko with drummer Risa are announcing a North American tour kicking off at Los Angeles' Bootleg Theater on August 23rd and wrapping around the continent till early October when they conclude the tour at Pittsburgh's Cattivo, and includes a date opening for Black Flag in Dallas, TX on September 14th.

Featuring sisters Naoko and Atsuko with drummer Risa as well as special appearances from Shonen Knife alumni Ritsuko and Naru, Shonen Knife have inspired dozens of artists and fans over the course of the last 38 years. Weathering the music industry's ups and downs with their sparkling and seemingly innocent attitude intact, Sweet Candy Power continues to indulge in the band's obsession with food. From the sugar-rush-inducing title track, to new classics such as "Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches," "Peppermint Attack," and "California Lemon Trees," they make music that makes people happy and joyful and have consistently done exactly that for decades.

Since their pure DIY beginnings in 1981, Osaka, Japan's Shonen Knife have been building a faithful following of music enthusiasts and the alternative rock elite. Their relentless journey secured the band's place as one of the pioneer ambassadors of Japanese rock music and culture on the international stage.

They’ve enjoyed sharing their ever-evolving career for decades, sharing the stage with rock royalty such as Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and The Ramones. After 38 years, the band still receives rave reviews from outlets like Noisey who said, "Japan’s Shonen Knife certainly aren’t acting their age... Full of shimmering girl group melodies and immediately hummable guitar lines, 'Jump Into The New World' will make you leave you bummers behind"

With incendiary and icon-building appearances on Lollapalooza, MTV’s 120 Minutes, Beavis & Butthead, as well as the track "Buttercup (I'm A Super Girl)" written for Cartoon Network's The Powerpuff Girls, Shonen Knife have secured their rock solid cult status as they march into the future.

Shonen Knife perform this Sunday, August 25 at Vinyl Las Vegas with Me Like Bees.

Check out our interview with Naoko Yamano of Shonen Knife below:

VIMMAG: You're currently on tour in support of your new album, Sweet Candy Power. What songs can fans expect to be played during the tour?
 NAOKO: We will play songs from Sweet Candy Power and our best hit songs. I usually spend a lot of time to make our set list. I have to pick songs for a good set list from tons of songs. I hope our fans like it.

VIMMAG:   Tell us how Sweet Candy Power came to be. What was the inspiration for the new songs?
NAOKO: : I like 70’s and 60’s American and British Rock. I can say it’s classic rock. It’s classic but still fresh for me. The new album Sweet Candy Power is a homage to my favorite rock. It includes various fun songs. I promise that people never get tired of it.

VIMMAG:   Your band has shared the stage with bands such as Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and The Ramones. What current bands are you all listening to? 

NAOKO: I listen to R&B, funk, disco music like Earth Wind & Fire, Con Funk Shun, Isley Brothers, Michael Jackson like that and recently I love Asia a lot. I listen to Pilot, too. High on Fire’s new album is good, too.

VIMMAG:    We asked our readers what they would like to ask and one of your fans wants to know how it was like covering ‘Top of the world’ from the Carpenters tribute album. How did that come about?
 NAOKO:: The record company of that tribute album made a contact to our management at that time in 1990’s. They wanted us to join that project. I picked up the song “Top of the World” because it’s an excellent song. Melody lines are very pop and fun.

VIMMAG:  What's next for the band?
NAOKO: After North American tour, we will go to Australia and New Zealand tour from October to November. We have no plan next year so far but I would like to keep on rockin’!

Jorge Lara