Did you know people were toqueing at your show?
Matt Hainsby, bass: Are we a chillout band? Really?
There is a certain sort of precision that stands front and center at a Fujiya & Miyagi show. The loops, the guitar sweeps, the immaculate percussion -- all movements seem to be calculated but somehow maintain an air of being on-the-fly. On a chilly fall night, the Brighton bundle hustled into the Independent in San Francisco to play selections off the newly released Lightbulbs, but the band was no stranger to the city by the bay.
Fujiya & Miyagi - "Dishwasher"
"We've been to San Francisco a few times," says Steve Lewis, main key plucker. He flashes a grin, somewhere between devilish and joyous. "I feel people have learned and are used to us by now."
The success of F&M has been nearly a decade in making; after Lewis and vocalist David Best met at the beginning of the century, the duo acquired the rest of the band (Hainsby in 2005, and drummer Lee Adams this year) and now has three full-lengths, two commercials and a documentary under their belts as Lightbulbs continues to make the rounds on indie publications.
"I mean, I was fiddling around with electronics, the guitar [when I used to play football]," says Lewis, post-show at the Independent. He and bassist Matt Hainsby are staying up to chat before departing to Los Angeles the next night. "The band was never really meant to be planned, but it worked out, no?"
Currently, F&M are finishing up remixes for Mercury Rev as well as delving into a collaboration with Brooklyn-based Project Jenny, Project Jan. Undoubtedly, their fusion of Krautrock-inspired, electroclash-tinged, feel-good indie sensibility has spilled into these collaborations, even if people are confused at times by their band name. Visual artistry has also made it into F&M shows, with bright and color-saturated images flashing, pulsing and shuffling in time to the music.
"We are really into dice, putting stuff on loops," says Hainsby. "We [actually] have an artist who helps do the repetitive nature that distracts from the music, and we also used to have Pacman stuff too."
Would the real Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid have appeared in any F&M music videos?
"Oh, Mr. Miyagi," says Lewis with another big smile. "It was so sad when he passed away."
"His daughter actually found us on MySpace and came out to see us when we played a show in L.A. [where she lives]," says Hainsby with a hint of amusement, coupled with humility. "'I'm so glad you're not shit!' she said when she saw us live."
After doing another collab with U.K.'s Bomb The Bass and rounding out the tour circuit for the year, both Lewis and Hainsby agree some time off will be necessary.
"One night, the dude who is responsible for the manufacturing of my keyboard, who's done stuff for Kraftwerk, was at one of our shows -- and here I was playing these keys and going 'Oh shit, oh shit, I know nothing about the history!'" says Lewis. "It doesn't get any better than that."