Since her stint in boy-girl act Levelload, Japanese born Mariko Doi has amassed quite the musical CV. After moving to London, she joined up with the international-flavoured Yuck. After a very well received debut record, an appearance on Jools Holland, and appearances at festivals and stages the world over, Doi has dabbled in something different. Uh, excuse the alliteration. Yeah. So her new band is called Parakeet. There’s her, guitarist Jon Jackson, and James Thomas doing some stuff with the drums (he’s also in the wonderful The History of Apple Pie). I don’t know how to describe their music without resorting to cliche ridden, cringe-inducing music journalism. They play with a fair bit of distortion, Mariko’s vocals are the melodic centrepiece, and their album is going to be as heavy as it is engaging (probably). I sent Mariko some questions a while ago – a long while ago – but I’m only posting this now…
How did Parakeet come about?
I started writing bunch of riffs on bass and we were like a cute version of Trans Am when we stared. Then I guess I always sang in a band, and I’m into songs which have cool melodies and distorted guitars. So I started recording guitars. It was the missing piece for my songs and finally, it made sense.
So when did that all start?
Our early form started about two years ago. But we’ve got to our sound only recently.
How did you meet James then?
He used to play in my old band. After splitting up, I proposed him to start a new band with me. And he said “YES…”
The music sounds abrasive and raw, but certainly melodic. Who do you cite as an influence?
I guess when I mix I listen to the Breeders, Nirvana, Slint, Hot Snakes etc. It’s like Steve Albini type production but musically, I like lots of different sorts of good music – like gentle to hard, minimal to full on. And from all years, I wouldn’t say from all races though, since I’m not familiar with them all, for instance K-pop…
Their debut single “Tomorrow.”
Your first single, “Tomorrow,” what’s that all about?
It’s about the people forgetting and enjoying living this moment of their life because they are so concerned with failure in the future. If you try to foresee how things would turn out too much you’ll spoil the moment.
How would you summarise the rest of the record then?
The noise and romance of the night.
And where was it written and recorded?
We’ve recorded drums recently in a studio in London and I recorded everything else at mine. Some songs were written when I was touring with Yuck. It’s kind of hard to find time and space on the road. I should not stop being creative anytime though.
Yeah, Yuck seems like a pretty full on project. So you’re juggling both Yuck and Parakeet. Do you see one as secondary to the other?
I guess I find them both important to me in a different way. Parakeet is my baby and Yuck is my mum.
How were you feeling when you wrote the material for Parakeet?
I guess I get the creative force from feeling shit or having doubt, disagreement and fascination towards people. I’d like to be expressive of my emotions and aspirations. I don’t want to be pretentious or too in if you know what I mean.
“Paper, Scissors, Stone.” The distortion is still the same, but the tenderness has been turned up… a bit.
What’s up next for Parakeet?
We have got the album recorded and mixed so I’m so excited to release it. Oh before that, we have our debut single coming out on 2nd Apr.
Also we have a guitarist with us now and I cannot wait to play shows. It’s going to be like HAIRRRRR on stage. James needs to grow his hair long like Cousin Itt!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We feel really excited about the album and now we are more excited about playing shows. It’s really important to us to communicate with people in this way as well and I think we will be able to grab people’s hearts!
Parakeet on Tumblr
Parakeet on Twitter
Parakeet on… ugh, buy their stuff here.