JRR: How are you liking your stay at NDK?
Tony: NDK is very fun, we’re having a good time here.
JRR: What other conventions are you planning to attend?
Tony: Well we’ve got Anime USA in November, and then coming up in October we’re playing for New York Anime Fest. That’s a concert with Puffy Ami Yumi, the Zazen Boys, and Boom Boom Satellites. It’s going to be a great show. That’s October 10th.
JRR: So, your music style is very diverse. I’m wondering, where do you get your inspiration?
Ryoko: Sometimes personal experience, sometimes imagination or if you’re reading a book or looking out a window and see something out there.
JRR: You stated that for your third album you’re trying to mix the styles of your first and second album. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Tony: The first album is very electronic. If you listen to it, it’s an electronic album. The second album is more band-oriented. There’s still a lot of electronics in it, but it’s more band oriented. This third album that we’re working on: We’re trying to incorporate less of the electrons but still try to capture a unique vibe.
As a producer, I’m trying to challenge myself to come up with arrangements and production techniques or at least using production techniques that I haven’t used in the past and instrumentation that create a cool vibe while not actually using computers to alter the sound too much.
JRR: When can your fans expect a third album?
Tony: …Maybe next year some time. We’re still working through it.
JRR: On several internet resources, it is rumored that Adrian may be a possible new member of Echostream.
Tony: Adrian has been playing bass for us in live shows and actually in the studio he’s been playing bass and some other ethnic instruments. He’s really talented as a multi-instrumentalist so he’s been adding a cool vibe to some of the recordings as well.
JRR: Do you think he’ll officially become part of the band?
Tony: That’s still up in the air right now.
JRR: How did you get into music and how did you pick the instrument you play?
Jen: I started with playing the drums because there were no trumpets left in elementary school. I thought the next coolest thing would be the drums and I just fell in love with it. Music I just got into it like anybody else. You know, T.V. and listening to the radio and stuff.
Tony: So you thought trumpet was cooler than drums?
Jen: At the time. I was like 11!
CJ: My story is the total opposite of hers. I wanted to be a drummer and all the drums spots were full so they gave me the alto sax. I played that for a month and was thinking “this is not me.” Even as a little kid my mother would tell me stories about being in the car seat, and you would have the little baby shoes with the bells on them, and if a certain song I liked came on, I would kick my shoes to the music so I’ve been a drummer my entire life. I started like [Jen] in grammar school.
Tony: Except for one month you were an alto sax?
CJ: For one month I was an alto sax. I couldn’t be the next Kenny G. You know what I’m saying? I think [drums] sort of picked me, like it was already kind of there.
Tomo: When I was in junior high school, my friend that year had two drum sets—a double kick and four drums, and he was showing me how good he is on drums. I went to his garage and there was a guitar too and I thought “He’s playing drums so I should play guitar.” That’s when I started. Also, my father he has a great acoustic guitar so there’s always an acoustic guitar at my house.
Tony: My mom played piano so there’s a piano at my house and my mom made me. I didn’t want to. I never practiced, she had to force me to practice. I hated it. The French horn is what I studied in college, and that I played because I thought it has a beautiful sound. I actually enjoyed playing that, but really what excited me about music was making music so as soon as I figured out that you could connect a keyboard to a computer, that’s where I got lost. I would just disappear for days working with keyboards and stuff. That was when I was about 15.
Ryoko: I started playing piano when I was three and I went to college for piano. I don’t know why I like singing. I just liked singing when I was a child and kind of grew up on it.
JRR: Are you influenced by any musicians?
Ryoko: A favorite musician? Radiohead and Tori Amos. I’m also into Sigur Ros. They’re from Iceland. I really like the vocalist. His name is Jonsi.
JRR: What kind of music are they?
Ryoko: Alternative, but it’s really cinematic. It’s so beautiful. Makes me cry.
Tony: It’s like glacial rock. Like looking at the landscape of Iceland. We like pretty much the same thing. I listen to a lot of Radiohead. I used to listen to a lot of Nine-Inch-Nails. Bjork, Tori Amos. Also bands like Boards of Canada are really cool. I like a lot of bands from Europe. I especially like the British electronica bands. They’re really cool.
Tomo: I like Nine-Inch-Nails, Radiohead, Bjork, and recently Ryoko told me about Sigur Ros. I really enjoy Jonsi music. I cried with that song Tornado. That was amazing. I used to be in a JRock band a long time ago. Of course I got influence by that scene. hide from X-Japan and [the band] Oblivion Dust.
CJ: As far as musical influences. I don’t know if I have any real influences. I mean what I like to listen to kind of varies with my moods. It could be Slipknot. It could be reggae. It could be VMA Nation* or Combichrist* or anything. But as far as playing inspirations as a kid, growing up I listened to a lot of Rush, and there was a band called 24/7 Spyz that wasn’t really popular and I liked Living Colour a lot. Will Calhoun was the drummer.
Because 24/7 Spyz and Living Color were black rock bands. Growing up as a kid I didn’t see a lot of black musicians. They weren’t on MTV rocking out. It was mostly big-hair 80s people, so when I saw other black people that were playing rock, I didn’t feet like “wow, there are other people that like this besides me.” You kind of feel—I don’t want to say alienated, but it feels like…You know, I was into hip-hop and stuff too, but once I got into high-school and my friends started introducing me to other types of and I was like “wow, there’s more out there besides hip-hop.” And it helped me as a musician to have all these different backgrounds, and I wanted to learn more and more and more. Then I learned how to play mallet percussion and all these other things: xylophone, marimba, timpani orchestral and I soaked it all up. Then I got to college and…so that was the start for me.
Jen: I guess the biggest influences I have are—I don’t like calling it Grunge, but bands like Sound Garden and Alice in Chains. Stuff like that. But I also got influenced a lot as I got a little bit older by bands like Korn, Slayer and Metallica, Fear Factory, the heavier stuff. Those two genres have been most central to my playing I guess.
JRR: When you’re not on stage, what do you guys like to do for fun?
Tony: I’ve been DJing a lot recently. For fun…drinking? Watching movies and reading. I read a lot.
JRR: Is there anything in particular you read?
Tony: I actually like sci-fi if it’s well written. One of my favorite authors in Neal Stephenson. He’s really awesome. I like Steven King.
Ryoko: I read a lot too but all Japanese. I like Yoga. I like to do Yoga. I’ve done it a couple of times. I don’t have time to do it.
Tomo: Yoga? I’ll go with you.
Ryoko: Besides that, read, watch a movie.
Tomo: I like the internet. I like design, creating pictures. In Photoshop, Illustrator and also making videos. I want to make more visual stuff. I like visual.
CJ: For me, Internet. I play video games when I have time. I’m actually re-reading Miles Davis’ autobiography. I’m finishing that up. When I was a little younger I used to race my car so I want to get back into doing that again. I kind of miss it. Going drag racing at the track was fun so I want to get my car back out. I’m hoping to have some fun maybe next summer.
Jen: If I’m not working, I’m usually playing music or listening to music or something like that. Other than that I just like hanging out.
Jen: And tequila, I like that too.
JRR: As we wrap this up, is there anything else you want to comment on?
Tony: We have our Facebook page. We like to hear from our fans, and if you have video footage or audio from the shows, post that up so people who don’t get a chance to see us can see us in other parts of the world.
JRR: Is there anything else you want to tell your fans?
Tony: If you see us around, please say hi.
Interview by Blair Greenwood