Cibo Matto

by David A. Kulczyk
May 2001

Japan's Cibo Matto on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2001

Japan's Cibo Matto on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2001

Very few bands have had such an incredible debut album like Cibo Matto’s Viva L.A. Woman. Like an inexpensive sushi bar, Viva L.A. Woman was a Smorgasbord of contradictions.  Light, but heavy, simple yet complicated, joyful with a hint of homesickness in an electronic mix that never sounds the same way twice.

Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, expatriates from Japan have fused Trip-Hop, rap, rock, jazz, Asian and Brazilian music into a sound of their own that has been described by music journalists as fun, precious, teasing, joyful, cheerful, good-natured, quirky, silly, carefree, ironic and wry.  Multi-instrumentalist Honda is a longtime member of the Manhattan art scene and was once in the Brooklyn Funk Essentials.  Hatori, a former member of the Tokyo rap unit Kimidori and a former club DJ, came to the States in 1993. After meeting in 1994, they started the short-lived band, Leitoh Lychee.  Honda and Hatori formed Cibo Matto, (Italian for “food madness”) shortly afterwards.

Cibo Matto take their time in the studio, their latest release Stereo Type A appeared in the stores in 1999.  Although less edgy than Viva L.A. Woman, Stereo Type A shows signs of maturity and the affects of love and all the good and bad things that go with it.  I had a chance to interview Miho Hatori.

Maximum Ink: What was is the first thing that you remember as a child? 
Miho: Mom is everything.

MI: How did you meet Yuka?
Miho: I met her through our mutual friend. We had a punk band before Cibo Matto.

MI: Do you miss performing in the small clubs that you used to play in?
Miho: Well, we still play in these places sometimes.

MI: What do you like best about touring? 
Miho: It’s a great training to play everyday for musician.

MI: What is your favorite country besides Japan and America?
Miho: Brazil.

MI: Your lyrics have gotten romantic in Stereo Type A.  Are you in LOVE?
Miho: “King of silence” is a love song for not only lover, but somebody important. I think Love songs have been human’s collective assignment for fuckin’ long time, haven’t they?

MI: You grew up in Tokyo and now live in New York.  How do you compare the two major cities?  Is NYC more home to you than Tokyo?
Miho: From my experience, everywhere has good and bad things. But we love both places. Of course, there is culture differences, but we have collective soul. We hope more people can visit and exchange their thought with respect.

MI: Cibo Matto is recorded delicately, and you take a long time between full length CD’s. Why do you take so much time recording?
Miho: What? Are we slow?

MI: Did the company executives at Warner Bothers try to influence your image and musical style at all? 
Miho: I feel we are not that simple like Korn to find market for our music. Also there is a fact that we are Asian. But people who come our show or like our creations are very open-minded ones. We appreciate a lot.

MI: In all of your travels around America, what fascinated you the most?
Miho: What fascinated most is…All rest area on highways in America is fuckin’ same.

MI: Have you traveled around Japan much?
Miho: Not everywhere. There is a lot of beautiful places in country side.

MI: What is your favorite TV show?
Miho: Yuka said, “I like Nature and food channel. They are not depressing.”  It’s so true.

MI: What is in your personal CD player right now?
Miho: Right now, Sergio Mendes and Brazil 65 is in my CD player.

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Cibo Matto Online:

Cibo Matto
CD: Stereo Type A Record Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Purchase Stereo Type A on Amazon