Back in October, the delightfully wistful Shugo Tokumaru toured our greater continent in support of his latest full-length -- and first proper US release -- Exit. During his first stop over in New York on this tour, we took him to the park to grill him and his broken English while police helicopters circled above.
To quote a genius, Shugo Tokumaru's unassuming demeanor and soft-spoken confidence belie the ability and songwriting grace that he wields while on stage. It's obvious that whatever he lacks in command of our language, he more than makes up for with his command of our stages. without boxing him into any geographical or cultural constraints, Shugo's sound is a bit like fellow Japanese musicians Cornelius and the guitar-playing bravado and quirk of a PWRFL Power. But he is much more accessible than either of these comparisons and his unique ability to own the stage without losing any of his charm may be the defining factor for Shugo's American success-potential.
We thought conducting this interview in front of kids playing would be the perfect backdrop for a songwriter whose music channels a childlike innocence with a legitimacy few of his craft can boast. So we took Shugo and his manager/interpreter to the lovely-by-day, needle-filled-by-night Tompkins Square Park where he name dropped Ten Kens and DMBQ and went on to discuss, among other things, the role of traditional Japanese music versus modern rock in his songs, his music videos, Beach Boys versus The Beatles and how he almost got sued by Almost Gold before eventually being signed to them. Here's our interview from that day, we won't hold it against you if you fast forward to the parts of him shredding on the guitar.