London based duo Tokyo Taboo are a blast of vibrant, abrasive pop punk. Influenced by anything 80s, drag and Japanese pop culture, the band (aka Laura and Mike) are preparing for their debut album 6th Street Psychosis to drop on 24th March 2017.
How did Tokyo Taboo come together?
Dolly put up an advert online for guitarists to play open mic nights with her. Mike replied and came along to the audition. Mike was the obvious choice (the other two guitarists consisted of one elderly gentleman who created his own chords and one beginner guitarist who hadn't played any shows before) and there you have it - Tokyo Taboo evolved from there!
What is the inspiration behind the music?
We are inspired by everything we see. Sometimes conversations might strike up a powerful word or image for a lyric. Other times an image might turn into a strong idea for a music video. Topical issues like the war in Syria inspired one song. Our music is pretty much a reaction to everything around us.
You've got a very distinctive look, what inspires that?
Dolly: Mike has always dressed colourful and when we joined forces both in the band and as a couple my style started to change. I think before I used to dress to get male attention whereas now I wear what makes me happy. If I want blue coloured hair I'll dye my hair blue whereas before I was worried what people might think! I think colour is a very positive tool to use as a band to grab attention as so many bands wear black jeans and black t shirts.
The music is a mix of pop punk and rock, what are your feelings on the current scene at the moment?
The scene is growing in the US more than the UK. There are bigger bands in the US that are similar to us. Still the unsigned scene is very tough and needs to be shaken up a bit. I think festivals should have to book a certain amount of band's no one has heard of before.
What do you feel Tokyo Taboo are offering that other bands are not right now?
We are writing songs that are very honest and that tackle tough subjects like wars in the Middle East, Brexit and Donald Trump! We also, one song later, talk about being a female and being paid less than a man. The following song is then about narcissistic people and cutting them out of your life. So we don't shy away from difficult subject matter. Lyrically we are very inventive and say what everyone wants to say.
Are there any themes running through your debut album '6th Street Psychosis'?
If you listen to the album it's high energy from start to finish. There's one slow song but even that has a pulsing energy to it! There are lots of vocal and melodic hooks and quirky raps that tie it all together. Theme wise we talk about everything and anything. That's probably the Taboo part of our name. We don't censor unless we have to for a radio edit.
What have been the biggest hurdles you've had to face as a band so far?
We started all over again three years ago and rebranded. We were in pop rock band together and completely redid everything from the website, to the logo and band name. It was starting again so that was pretty exciting and frustrating at the same time. Sometimes it's important to start over and wipe the slate clean.
As a duo, do you have a message you'd like to shout out to the world?
If you're an artist keep creating art. It doesn't have to be sold or have any critical acclaim but it's important to keep commenting on the world in a creative way and inspiring others to do the same. We have too many people only interested in destroying things and in making money. The best people create.
What are your plans after the album is released?
We are getting married next year so we will take a short break to regroup and decide on our next steps. Of course we will write some new music but until we have time out to think we are a bit creatively blocked!
What would you say to a potential new fan, who has never heard you before, to get them listening to Tokyo Taboo?
Ever heard colour in musical form? That's us! So take a listen!
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