Mikabomb – 30 Seconds Over Tokyo.

Mikabomb are (& have been);

Mika Handa – Vocals.
Mika Kanayama – Bass, Backing Vocals.
Haruna Hayashi – Gtr, Backing Vocals.
Ergi – Drums.
Yuki – Gtr (2001 – 2002) – since returned to Japan.
Taku – Gtr (Member of APES) – standing in for current European dates.
Tomoko – Backing Vocals – appears on LP cover.
Agi – Gtr, Backing Vocals (1998 – 2001) – played on LP.
Tomo – Gtr, Backing Vocals (1998 – 2000) – played on "Supersexy" & "Heart Attack" singles.
Yosuke – Bass (1998 – 1999) – played on "Supersexy" single.

Mika Handa arrived in the London in 1998. She had come to the land of milk & honey with the express intention of forming the shit-hottest Punk Rock band ever.

Her first recruit was gtr-ist, Agi, a self-styled teenage brat who arrived in London from Beijing. Bass playa Mika Kanayama was the next to join, adding a sturdy bottom end to the mix. The first line-up was completed with the arrival of a young North London boy called Ergi on drums.

Mikabomb began to gig heavily around the UK throughout 1999 picking up many rave reviews & celebrity endorsements from the likes of Steve Lamacq (who famously labelled them "the best band ever to come out of Japan").

By summer 1999, Mikabomb had been picked up by the Beastie Boy’s Grand Royal label, home of Ciba Matto & Buffalo Daughter. In August 1999 the band released "Super Sexy Razor Happy Girls"/"Magic Boots" as their debut single for the label. This was followed by the 3-trak "Heart Attack" EP in March 2000. By this time, however, Grand Royal were in severe financial difficulties & the label dissolved by the end of the year.

UK Garage Punk specialists, Damaged Goods, wasted no time stepping up to the bar & soon offered the band a recording contract. "Hey Man" was released on 7" in June 2001 collecting the A-sides from the two previous Grand Royal singles to complete a 3-trak EP. The band’s debut LP, "The Fake Fake Sound Of Mikabomb", arrived a month later in July 2001.

"The Fake Fake Sound Of Mikabomb", unless you haven’t heard it yet, has got to be one of the most solid gone punk pop classiks of recent years. A 16-trak affair with no filler, no stoner anthems & no pause for breath. From the opening cut, "Garage Super Stars", the agenda is set. A heady brew of soul stomp beats, NYC Punk Rawk Attitood, Garage aesthetics & Japanese bop – Mikabomb have delivered an LP that deserves a place in yr. home.

In 2002 Mikabomb have continued to tour extensively in Europe & the UK. Brand new single, "Contact Tokyo", is one of the LP’s strongest cuts & is released by Damaged Goods on CD on July 8th.

Fed up with angst-ridden boys moaning on about how hard their lives are? In need of some no-holds barred eternal female optimism? Missing the pure unbridled joy of Garage Punk at it’s very best?

Go get "The Fake Fake Sound Of Mikabomb" & try & get it out of the CD playa once you’ve put it in. Like they say – it ain’t easy.

Jean Encoule recently shot the shit with Mikabomb leader, Mika, to bring you this;

trakMARX - Why did you choose to re-locate to the UK?

I got BORED living in Japan…same as everybody else. UK had a really big music scene at that time so I wanted to come over and play music. Be a real Punk chick!!

trakMARX - What was the punk scene like that you left behind in Japan?

The Punk scene was very CULT thing in Japan. It’s still Underground I guess. I didn’t listen to Japanese punk at all when I was in Japan. I listened to US punk.

trakMARX - How important to Mikabomb is the groundwork achieved by the likes
of Shonen Knife & Ciba Matto?

SK is cool but I’ve never seen them. Cibo Matto is not our kind of music. Our sound is different - epic Motown harmonies, seedy garage guitar riffs and Neanderthal rhythms all combined in song structures. We make our own music, nothing to do with those bands.

trakMARX - Thee Michelle Gun Elephant seem to have kept the Japanese Garage Punk ethic alive single handedly throughout the 90's - has anyone been giving them a hand?

They are so cool! I saw them few times in London. I couldn’t believe that kind of garage band got big in Japan. They’re real. No cheat.

trakMARX - The Japanese independent scene seems to be dominated by the more progressive experimental end of the spectrum - what do you make of all that Acid Mothers Temple stuff?

Ummmm. I’ve been away from Japan for a long time so I don’t really know what’s going on there.

trakMARX - You hooked up with Grand Royal just as they were going down the pan - opportunity missed or a lucky escape?

They really fucked us up. Nobody thought they would go bankrupt. We should have gone to another record company….bad luck.

trakMARX - Pop Star celebrity labels (in general); rich man's folly or genuine undertaking?

Popstars are not always good at business, some are, some are not. The Beastie Boys thought they were helping other bands so it's not really their fault. But it's annoying the label went bust.

trakMARX - Was the "Fake Fake Sound.." LP recorded for Grand Royal?

Tricky. We recorded this album when we were with GR but they went bankrupt so we released it through Damaged Goods.

trakMARX - You must have been very happy to meet Damaged Goods - how did that come about?

Damaged Goods is a cool record label and always wanted to release our records for two years. We had the recorded material so they are lucky, too.

trakMARX - Are you happy on an independent label or do you have major label aspirations?

We are not the kind of band to sign to major but the music business involves lots of bullshit so it’s really tough for small bands. If your record company has a lot of money, you get everything. Do you know what I mean?

trakMARX - You've played some very kool support slots - who have you enjoyed playing with the most & who sucked?

Rosita were the best. We had good time together when we were on tour. They were fuckin good drinkers! We had a party every night. Its shame they’ve finished...

trakMARX - How did the party @ The Barfly go?

Wicked night. The place was packed and some people couldn’t get in. We showed our European tour video on the screen & Emma from Kenickie did a DJ set for us. That was a cool Mikabomb night.

trakMARX - Are you planning any dates in support of the new 45; "Contact Tokyo"?

It’s out now. Check it out!

trakMARX - "Contact Tokyo" is possibly the fattest all out 100 mph pop tune on the LP - are you hopeful it will pick up some airplay?

Steve lamacq has played it some times on Radio one. I hope we’ll get more airplay on other radio stations too. It’s a good tune. XFM play the same tune again and again ….BORING!

trakMARX - In a perfect universe, "Contact Tokyo" would be No 1 Worldwide forever - how do you realistically see it's chart denting chances shaping up?

Chart….we never thought about that. I think our songs are good enough to be in the chart but we don’t have sort of power over the media….yet.

trakMARX - You've played a ton of European dates this year - how've they been going down?

It was KICK ASS!! We got a lot of people every gigs. European people are different from Londoners. They appreciate the bands and LOVE Japanese bands! We are gonna put our tour diary on our web site soon so check it out.

trakMARX - We understand Mikabomb.com is about to be absorbed by yr. Official Fansite - the fans do make a better job of these kind of things, don't they?

Yes. I couldn’t believe when I saw the fan site. It’s really cool. The guy who did our fan site is making our official site now.

trakMARX - You seem to change line-ups quicker than The Stuck-Ups - what's the official line-up presently?

Mika H(Vo), Mika K(Bass), Haruna(G). Ergi(Dr) and we don’t have another guitarist at the moment. We are auditioning now. Its difficult to keep Japanese players ‘cos of the VISA problem.

trakMARX - 2002 is (refreshingly) turning out to be a great year for female performers - Mikabomb, Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, The Stuck-Ups,The Yeah Yeah Yeah's - how do you rate the opposition?

Mika Bomb have grown up in a different environment to all of these bands. We are Japanese but we've been in London a long time, meeting other bands and listening to lots of music. So our ideas are more original than just being "Japanese Girls Punk Band". This is the material we're working on at the moment, so we think we will become more than part of any scene. These bands are fun, but we are better.

trakMARX - Mikabomb's top 5 female vocalists of all time?

My favourit singers. No1.France Gall. 2. Ronnie (Ronnettes), That’s it.

trakMARX - Since being exposed to "The Fake Fake Sound Of Mikabomb" we've become very protective towards you. On "Hey Man" you sing; "Let me tell you what they say about my family.....". Who's been saying this stuff & do you want us to sort them out?

Ha Ha Ha. We always say this kind of things before somebody else say that to us. "Racist" thing doesn’t bother us but people shouldn’t treat us like aliens!!

trakMARX - When are we likely to see a follow-up to "Fake Fake Sound" & will it be on Damaged Goods?

We don’t know. Gonna go to a studio to do some recording next month. Let’s see.

trakMARX - As a Damaged Goods artiste - you're obviously aware of many of the garage punk classiks available on the label. You're in their warehouse - primed for a supermarket sweep trolley dash - which stuff goes in first?

Thee Heatcoats (Billy Childish), Helen Love…but mika bomb is the best!

trakMARX - What does the rest of 2002 hold in store for Mikabomb?

Mika Bomb have a few gigs booked; Gojonnygogogogo2 Festival in Leeds(20 July) Ladyfest in early August, Strange Fruit festival in October. That's going to be another Mika Bomb party like The Barfly, because everyone enjoyed the whole night; not just "going to a gig". Seeing Mika Bomb is going to be more like this in the future, if you come you're going to enjoy everything, DJs, other bands and films... all chosen by Mika Bomb. We're also planning a really big Xmas party! Other than that we're looking for producers to work with on our new material, we want to take time to make a really spectacular record, a record that will make people sit up and listen. A new kind of Mika Bomb sound that still has the power and energy of "Fake Fake Sound" but the strength of the really great records we like such as Phil Spector and Serge Gainsbourg.

Jean Encoule – trakMARX.com – July 2002
band site: www.mikabomb.com
another site: www.manics45.freeserve.co.uk

contact wastebin@trakMARX.com trakMARX.com - the needle & the damage done