In gushing over the Tokyo singer Cuushe's 2013 album, Butterfly Case, I called her the queen of sleep-pop. With her new EP, Night Lines, she still reigns. Its four tracks carry her same pillowy voice, but they're also a little tougher-sounding than her previous albums—the opener, "Tie," has an especially mean kick drum. DJs: please drop it and make the crowd go tranquil. The EP is today via Flau in Japan and Cascine everywhere else. (Full disclosure: Cascine has also released some of my own music, as Wildarms, which is admittedly worse than Cuushe.) To celebrate Night Lines, she made us this FADER mix, recorded right after doing karaoke with friends, which really couldn't be more ideal. Download here.
Where are you right now? What is around you? I just had a hanami (a party under cherry trees) with my friends. I can see my favorite people around me and they are getting drunk. Warm atmosphere. There are also other groups of men and women, all ages. Everyone looks happy and cozy.
What do you want people to feel when they listen to this mix? I did karaoke before creating this mix and my friend was singing 'J-Pop' songs, so it has a Japanese theme. There are times where I improvise a duet over the songs. I would like listener to feel like they're taking a walk in Tokyo with this mix.
The album art for Night Lines has a similar illustration to the album art for Butterfly Case. Who are these animated characters on the cover? What do they represent? Yes, the same artist painted it and her name is Yoko Kuno. She's a genius painter and animator. I did not direct her, but they are creatures from our dreams. Sometime we create them in our dreams and other times they make or eat our dreams as well.
If you could visit the United States to play a tour, where would you like to go most of all? I have been wanting to visit Brooklyn and Portland for so long. I hear many new things happen in both those places and about the big music scenes. I also want to go to San Francisco again. I've gone before to perform for a private birthday party. It was really great moment with warm people, so I wanna meet them again.
What is your favorite dish to cook, and how do you make it? Takoyaki. Takoyaki is soul food of Osaka placed in the west side of Japan near Kyoto, my home town. 'Tako' means octopus and 'yaki' means Pan-fried. You need a special pan for this. I was working in a takoyaki restaurant when I was a student, so I am kind of a professional takoyaki chef. Here's a nice recipe site for cooking takoyaki.