Kishi Bashi Inspired By Lou Reed and Phoenix
The song - inspired by the band Phoenix and a short story by David Sedaris about the use of gender pronouns in French - also happens to be one of his young daughter's favorites, thanks to a line about booty shaking. Though he's not sure she fully understands the story he's trying to tell. "It's a ballad, a sad story," he explained. "He dies at the end. I don't think she gets that."
After years of playing in touring bands with Regina Spektor and of Montreal, Ishibashi decided to head off on his own in 2011. Like many other musicians trying to launch a successful solo career, Ishibashi knew he needed to stand out and his ability to speak fluent Japanese seemed like a good place to start.
"Originally the project was violin and voice and I thought I could sing in Japanese," he told Radio.com over the phone. "It's a percussive language and would add a second meaning. It would be interesting for Japanese listeners. And hipsters would think it's exotic even if they couldn't understand it." Unfortunately, his Japanese was a little awkward. "My wife is Japanese and she was like, 'That's really weird Japanese,'" he said laughing. "But in Japan right now, they're really excited about me and what I'm doing."
He became popular there accidentally nearly a year ago, thanks to a commercial jingle for a Japanese company. "I just had some time and they were like, 'Want to do this 30-second commercial?'" he says of the original idea behind the ditty. "I was like, 'I'll give it a try!' I just made that and forgot about it, but they loved it and put my name on it, and all these people were asking, 'Who is this Kishi Bashi?'"
Fans over there liked the jingle so much they demanded a full-length song. Ishibashi eventually gave them "Philosophize In It! Chemicalize In It!," the three-and-a-half minute track that takes the essence of the original jingle and makes it something real.
Read about that here.
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