Interview with Mieko Shimizu
Q1….What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I was born in a musicial family. My father was a jazz bassist and was always performing with a lot of different bands, my mother was a music teacher and my brother is a saxphonist, composer and performer. It was just very natural for me to pursue music. Making music and performing is just in my bones. If I wasn’t doing music? Sometimes I imagine to be a vet and create a sanctury for suffering animals but now I have a new fantasy. Robot Scientist!
Q2…. What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like reading books or articles about Nature, Art and politics. I walk my two dogs on a beach every day for a few hours and allow me to embrace nature.
Q3…. How long has your band been around?
I’m a solo artist and I’ve never had a band apart from ‘Mekong Zoo’ with a Japanese violinist in 90’s. We made one album called ‘Minimul Dance’ and played some lives in Tokyo but soon after we both got too busy with our own solo work and we had to go a separate way.
Q4…Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I was born in a small town in Shizuoka, Japan near Mt Fuji. I was surrounded by nature and every day playing outside until late. There was nothing else to do but my father made a music studio inside our house so we were all playing and making music in the room. We had all sort of instruments like a mini-grand piano, drum set, vibraphone, accordion and latin percussions. We even had a PA. I guess this combination of nature and music made me who I am.
Q5. How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I’m using my real name, Mieko Shimizu. It’s not easy to read for English speakers so I once called my self ‘Mico’ but in recent years I decided to call my self with my real name again as I feel like I came to a phase of life that I accept who I am and just do what I do.
Actually is very easy to pronounce. ‘Me Echo’.
Q6. Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I had a show at Japan House London, in February 2020. It was the launch for my recent album ‘I Bloom’. The venue is owned by the Japanese Embassy and has a space that is just a white cube so we created everything from a scratch including sound system and back projected visuals that turned the cubic space into my own world. It was like audience being inside my head!
Q7…What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I love playing at Café Oto. I like the space and the sound system.
I live in North Kent half of the time so I would like to play in a local venue in Kent such as Ramsgate Music Hall.
Q8…If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Q9. What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Stick to what you really love no matter what.
Q10. If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Get an ADHD test, will you?
Q11. Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
‘Think like a swarm’. The lytics of this song are still mystery even to myself and whenever I sing it, it makes me feel like flying throuh the atmosphere and eventually soar into space.
Q12. Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Think like a swarm
Q13. What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Noises in daily life or stories I hear or read that touch my creative antena.
Q14. What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I don’t send specific messages. I may be sending subliminal ideas that an each listener can reflect like a mirror of their personal thoughts, emotions and memories that opens up untouched parts of themselves.
Q15. Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Yes. I sometimes disagree my self.
Q16. What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I have just created a new studio by the sea. I’m looking forward to writing new music in this space and I’m very excited to go out on a road again and perform this new music.