Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chibi Kodama Interview

In a world of conformity...
In a world of greed and oppression...
One family rises above the lies...
One family struggles above the fear...
One family creates a wonderful daring life & album...

This spring...

They believe in fairies...
They do.
But most of all...
They believe you!

Coming to a speaker or ear buds near you!


Tell me about the band name and the concept?

 - (John) - Well, it comes from our love for Japanese film maker Hiyao Miyazaki. We love his works. And through them we learned of the word "Chibi" which typically refers to things that are small and cute. The Kodama are tree spirits in the movie Princess Mononoke. They were these small, adorably creepy little things that had all kinds of mischief in their countenance. (sort of like kids, you know?) They would terrify people at first, but, if you let them show you around they'd lead you to lovely adventure, and also, to healing. 

The lyrics sound like protests. What are the messages you're trying to convey?

- (all discussing sitting in living room) - I ask the question, lots of answers... "Donald Trump" "Girl Power" "black people's lives matter" "we protest mean people" 

(discussion ensues) Yvonne states, "We do stay away from the negative focus to be purposely ambiguous, so the question makes sense." 

I state - "I think we protest control. We protest manipulation and any form of freedom stealing mentality." 

The girls agree. 

I think this is a big deal, and I'm really glad you asked this. Because I didn't see it. We really have a passion for liberation. Kids need to know that there allowed to question, think for themselves, test the possibilities, express... you know? It's such an important message. In total though, I think we protest control. That may sound bizarre... we're not anti-authoritarian. Authority is good. Great authority is worthy of questioning and will hold up to it. Friends are good, GREAT friends will let you question them and you will grow together and enable independent thought. 

I hear electronica and rock on your album. What are your influences?

- (John) - Me? I love a good hook. I love the 90's grunge and post grunge. I love 90's music in general. I love pop with noise. It's easily known that I love Weezer and Green Day. I loved the sounds that God Lives Underwater used on that "From Your Mouth" song. I loved Stabbing Westward. I also loved the Violent Femmes, Pumpkins, Soul Asylum and such. All for totally different reasons. I love things that grab my heart and grab my ears and really give me something to belt it out to. 

Yvonne draws on 90's singers like Alanis, Natalie Merchant and the Cranberries. She loves those voices. 

How do you write songs as a family?

- (john and girls discuss) - We discussed this a lot the other night when Funky Kids Radio in Australia interviewed us. It sort of goes like this. We live our life, and sometimes stuff happens. We'll go through big shifts and changes, and we'll channel them into ideas that I'll then channel into songs. Now and again the girls will write a tune, like "I'm Always Right" on our We're Not Going Crazy... album. Allie wrote that one a couple of years ago and I took her tune and reworked it to be a Chibi song. 

We don't want to write about things we don't own. We want to believe what we're singing. Sometimes we sing about what we've learned. Other times we sing about what we hope to learn. Either way, it's about life, and we think that it's probably about everyone's life. 

The lyrics and the music sounds like it's geared for older kids. Who is your target audience?

- (john) - Sarah Gardner and I have mulled this around for a while. I mean, I know we're not making pre-school music. I know it's not the wiggles. It's not even the Not-Its! I am surrounded by teen/tweens. It's what we're thinking about. I don't sit down and go, "Hey, I'mma write me a tweenie-song!" 

I think our target audience is families. But I've been realizing that it seems to be a little more specific than that. It's seeming more and more to be for people who've had a rough ride and really want to know that there's hope on the other side. It's for people who want to protest and fight for love, life and mental freedom without embracing negativity. 

I started noticing this as we began singing on the street corners in downtown Knoxville recently. A couple in their early 20's walked up and started listening. They loved each and every song it seemed. They latched onto it, bought CDs and have been so encouraged. (I love it when people write us and tell us about it) 

So, I'm not entirely sure if that answers your question, but we've begun to call it "All-rock"... it's for everyone who will listen and sing along. 

What can folks expect at your show?  

At an acoustic show, you can expect us to stand around, dance around and belt it out like we're leading the pub in a song. We love doing it that way. 

At electric shows, well, we're working on that. As we aren't a typical band, we play to backing tracks of our tunes. Having all 7 of us on stage, we do our best to bring the energy and sincerity of each song to the audience. We want it to feel as big as we can. Lately, we've been rehearsing loudly in our living room to hone in our skills for shows we'll be doing this summer, most likely NEAR you up there. 

You can expect dancing with ribbons and streamers. You can expect us to encourage you to utilize your finest air guitar and to use only the best in rock and roll poses. There may or may not be explosive confetti. There will be cute children, big guitars and a whole lot of "hey heys!" and "Go gos!" 

Is there an outstanding moment during recording or shooting a video that you would like to share?

 - (john) - There's a few fun ones. 

For one, when finishing "We're Not Going Crazy... " I had just had a very not fun surgery. I had lots of time on my hands, but I wasn't allowed to sit up, my feet had to be higher than my head. Sooooo... I had the girls help me set up my computer by my bed and my microphone right over the bed. I recorded the last couple of songs, guitars, vocals and all, lying there on the bed. The chief of which was Allie's song, "I'm always right." So, if you listen to it, you're hearing me singing on my back. 

2nd - Dragons was written, recorded and completed in 2 1/2 weeks. We got so inspired after our experience at Kindiecomm that I just had to get it out. I barely remember writing the individual songs, only that they showed up like a flood. 

3rd - We have truly enjoyed making our music videos. I think the last two have been favorites of mine. (Countdown and Between Main Street and Neverland) We want them to be fun and expressive, and hopefully, progressively more pleasing to the eye. The video for Eleven from the new album was pretty funny to film, as the girls were wearing face masks that they couldn't see through, and were fumbling all over. Passersby were getting a real kick out of us. We've got some fun new ones up our sleeves. 

My favorite song is "Beginning of the End." What's yours and why?

- (john) - That's tough. At the moment, it's Eleven from the new album. Though I really really love a lot of that album in general. I love almost all of Dragons passionately, specifically Countdown and Acting Like We Don't. I like all of these because they really, really get my heart across and spoke to where we were at at the time. They also seem to really connect with people when we do them acoustic. 

- (chasah) - Daydreamer. I love the beat. "Take it Outside" also, because it's really fast and I love the lyrics. (I think it's really about her) 

- (addy) - "Once Again With Feeling" because of what it's about, and "Made to Fly" because it reminds me of my childhood. (see the video to understand) I also really love "Eleven." 

- (allie) - "Once Again With Feeling" because I like what it means and I like the sound of it. 

- (story) - I like "We're Not Going Crazy." 

- (saoirse) - she loves it all, as long as it's us. (or the pop-ups) 

- (yvonne) - I love "Weirdos on Parade." But, I love ALL of the new songs. I love the way that I feel when we sing them. 

- (john) - I gotta say, I agree. The new songs resound with us more than most anything. They are so much fun to dance to and sing to. We seem to be able to connect with these ones much more deeply. 

Beginning of The End Video

What are your plans for 2017?

Well, next week we're playing at a convention in Nashville. In April we'll be busking at the Knoxville Earth Fest. It was cool, we got *hired* to come busk. Yes please! 

We're working on some more shows for the summer and such. Got a few things up our sleeves. But honestly, we sort of just restarted our lives. The girls are in public school for the first time in their lives. So, we're taking our time to enjoy our new life.

We ARE however, gonna be heading up northeast in July for a certain concert that I'm so, so, so excited about BUT CANNOT TELL YOU ALL ABOUT YET. But, it'll be killer. And, if we're lucky, we'll be able to squeeze in some other fun shows as well around NY, DC, MA and more. 

Otherwise, we're going to enjoy Knoxville in the summer. It's gorgeous out here. 

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