March 30, 2016

Premiere: Shunkan - "Here With Me"

Watch a new video from Shunkan to celebrate the re-release of The Pink Noise.

It was way, way back in 2014 that we were first introduced to the then-New Zealand based artist Shunkan via a stray Tumblr post. Shunkan's first EP, Honey, Milk and Blood, was a sprawling ode to eighties shoegaze that you could easily get lost in among the hazy guitars and stretched out vocal patches. It was an album that dug deep into your emotions, and transported us to imaginary empty highways to solemnly ruminate on the past and the present. Shunkan is fronted by Marina Sakimoto, who began the project as solo lo-fi act and once recorded music under the moniker SUMMERBLONDE. Since the cassette release and subsequent sell out of Honey, Marina has enlisted a full band and moved from New Zealand to Los Angeles. But in between all of that, Shunkan released their debut album on Art is Hard, titled The Pink Noise, in November of 2015.

Among the first notes of opening track "Garden", the fog is lifted and you're thrust into the powerful world of Shunkan 2.0. This is the Shunkan that's ready to take on the world, a force to be reckoned with while still remaining vulnerable and honest. Marina still retains some of shoegaze-y sensibility that inspired Honey, Milk and Blood but The Pink Noise draws more from aggressively catchy power pop. We're apparently not the only ones who loved the album as it quickly sold out when released last fall. But have no fear, as Art is Hard is doing a second run of the album, which you can order now. To coincide with the re-release, Shunkan and friends put together a video for "Here With Me", one of the sweetest, stripped down songs on The Pink Noise. We were able to ask Marina a few q's about the inspiration for the video and song, her move from NZ to LA, and her favorite snack. Stream the video and read the interview below.

The Le Sigh: "Here With Me" is one of the more stripped down songs on the record - what's the inspiration behind the track and how did you get the idea for the video? ​

Marina Sakimoto: The track is the follow-up to "Wash You Away" off of my first EP. It's about reminiscing and whether you're to blame for the falling out between yourself a special person in your life. The director of the video (Carlo Chavez) and I worked out the kind of vibe we wanted and since all of our friends were back in town for the holidays, we wanted them to be a part of it.

TLS: Were you nervous to sit in the back of the truck while driving and filming the video? 

MS: Not really, actually. It was pretty cold but fun more than anything!

TLS: Since The Pink Noise came out, you relocated from New Zealand to Los Angeles - how has the transition been? What do you miss most about NZ and what are you most excit​ed​ about in LA? ​

MS: The transition has been an incredible rollercoaster, but I'm very happy with where I am today. Reese has been my best friend and musical partner-in-crime for years, so I'm happy to say that we're still making music together back in our hometown, along with our newest members Jacob Richards and Dave Puckett. I'm excited about being able to travel across the country and explore the states with my friends.

TLS: What do you consider to be "pink noise"?​

MS: "Pink noise" to me is the 'why' instead of the 'why not' in life. It's the voices of doubt and discouragement in my head. It's like a million gnats flying around my purest thoughts and intentions. It's all the bullshit that prevents me from being happy and doing what I love.

TLS: A lot of the lyrics on the album remind me of teenage experiences - what advice would you give your teen self now? ​

MS: Ah, man... ​I guess I would say to my teenage self to not be so sure of life and what it has to offer. I felt like I saw the world with this mature clarity, seeing all of its dark corners and imperfections... but life always surprises you, and you can always come out on top if you just try.

TLS: What is your favorite snack and inappropriate joke? ​

MS: My favorite snack is teriyaki seaweed and if my favorite inappropriate joke = my favorite hot 'n' fresh meme, then I would have to say that I love everything on Obscure Dog Images.

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Written by Emily Thompson