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Thursday, March 27, 2008
Ketchup Mania: Austin's f**king crazy!
With their Green Day-esque stoopid-punk sensibility, Ketchup Mania might be the most American-sounding band on the Japan Nite bill at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, were it not for the clear streak of Judy & Mary- tinged pop that marks them out as Japanese. Ketchup Mania — Hiro (vocals), Dai (guitar), Yosei (bass) and Wani (drums) — are great fun, and their visceral shows at Japan Bash and Japan Nite were full-on rock-outs that drove the crowd cockaloopy. Having already played at last year's A-Kon anime convention in Dallas, Texas, American success seems a headbang away.
Toward the end of SXSW, and after all the hard work was out of the way, Ketchup Mania took some time in the lobby of their hotel to reflect on the madness.
Dai: "Austin's f**king crazy!"
Hiro: "It's so fun I haven't had time to sleep, which is somewhat troubling."
Yosei: "I don't think there's anything like this in Japan. It's been great to see all these bands in one spot."
D: "I went to see a British band called Enter Shikari at La Zona Rosa on Thursday. They were amazing!"
Wani: "This lunchtime, I went to see Grand Ole Party, a bluesy three-piece rock band with the drummer as the main vocalist. Since I'm a drummer too, I thought they were great. But I won't be taking over the vocals in Ketchup Mania."
D: "We really have been drinking an awful lot."
Y: "The steak is awesome here. I've been back to the same place several times because I love it so much, and we're going back there again tonight."
H: "The crawfish we had today was so fun! They give you hammers, and pour crabs and potatoes on the table, and you have to hammer the crabs to crack them."
D: "Hiro wished they were alive, though (laughs). She likes to hurt people."
Y: "Our live shows were great, even though we played with all Japanese bands. I'd prefer to play with American bands, but maybe next time."
D: "I've wanted to play here since I was at school. The audience is really different than at A-Kon. The audience at SXSW are real music fans, whereas people go to A-Kon because they like animation and things that are Japanese. But whether it's here at SXSW or something like A-Kon, the audience gets really excited."
H: "I sing in Japanese, but it's not a problem at all. There are some parts in our songs where I sing in English, but I find the pronunciation tricky. I wonder if people even realize I'm singing in English!"
D: "Hiro's a cute Japanese girl, and even if she said 'f**king, f**king,' I don't think anyone would mind (laughs)."
H: "We put so much power into our music that if you come to our concert feeling down, our happiness will be transferred to you, and you'll leave feeling great!"