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Sunday October 26th 2014

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Asobi Seksu: More Than Just A Funny Name

by Jennie McKeon

Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna, founding members of Asobi Seksu, have done a lot of growing up in the decade that they’ve made music together.

Going from the name of their first band, “Sportfuck,” to Asoboi Seksu (which loosely translates to ‘playful sex’ a colloquial Japanese term made up by Chikudate) was just one of the lessons they’ve learned as musicians.

“We had people say ‘You can’t play here with a name like that,’ so, in the end we decided not to make our lives harder when we started a new band,” Chikudate said, laughing.

Their music style has changed, too, from being described as a “shoegaze” band, a term Chikudate says refers to bands with so many reverb pedals that they’re looking down during most of their set, to dream-pop, another term that still doesn’t suffice.

“While I prefer being described as dream-pop to shoegaze, I don’t think we’re dream-pop,” Chikudate said. “I think we’re a bit more ambient or subdued, we’re not just dreamy. I consider the term ‘shoegaze’ derogatory. We definitely don’t stand there and gaze at our shoes.”

No matter what genre you want to plunk Asobi Seksu in, the band has enough passion and heart behind them to fend off any naysayer. And with Chikudate’s soft, ladylike voice and the haunting, yet catchy music it’s very easy on the ears. It is playful, yet sexy — hence the name.

“I just make music that I love to make, that I need to make,” Chikudate said.

Chikudate contributes to the band with, of course, her vocals and keyboards; Hanna plays guitar and provides vocals; Billy Pavone is on bass and Larry Gorman plays drums.

When Chikudate reminds herself that she and Hanna have been playing music for a decade, she paraphrases the late Steve Jobs from his 2005 Stanford Commencement speech. An excerpt from the speech is also on the band’s Tumblr page.

“It freaks me out,” Chikudate said. “Time just flies and it reminds me not to fear mistakes, to do what I love and the rest will work itself out. I think about Steve Job’s commencement speech when he said, ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.’ I have to remind myself that this is what living my dream looks like. If no one likes it then I move on to the next show.”

All of  the members of Asobi Seksu are excited to venture to Pensacola and escape the Brooklyn temperatures. They want the experience to be a shared one with the audience.

“Hopefully the audience is open and receptive to what we do,” Chikudate said. “It’s a reciprocal relationship. It’s something that is shared and I hope they have a good time.”

Chikudate didn’t know how close DeLuna Fest is to the beach, a rare site for someone who lives in New York City. Hopefully she gets to enjoy it before the band’s set Sunday.

“Really?” Chikudate said. “On the water? That’s awesome. Now, I’m really excited.” {in}

ASOBI SEKSU at DELUNA FEST
WHEN: 12:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 16
WHERE: Grooveshark Stage