TASHAKI MIYAKI: SUCH A MOVING SOUND
poster photography by ben rice
poster design by jun ohnuki
poster free in every issue of L.A. RECORD!
Paige Stark: I’ve never met him—I’ve just stood near him! I refer to him as Uncle Neil because he’s my number one hero. I admire him as an artist and a human being, and for the way he creates music. He is very political, and he’s a very beautiful human being!
Ever since the inauguration I’ve had ‘Ohio’ stuck in my head. I can’t stop listening to it. I can’t stop thinking about Neil Young—the political climate is so emotionally charged right now, and I’m craving an artist to express things the way he did.
Paige Stark: He has a new record out! Neil is a special guy. He’s not afraid to say what he means and he’s not afraid to stand up for things. I saw him speak last year—I heard on the radio that Neil Young was speaking at a screening of Human Highway which is a film he made in the 80s. I immediately bought tickets on my phone and called Joel Jerome. He’s like my soul brother! I was like, ‘Dude! Neil Young! He’s speaking tonight! We have to go!’ But there was no one there—it was crazy. Kim Gordon was there … some celebrity sightings. But not many people. It seemed kind of industry. And it was a shame. He did a Q&A and talked about why he started making film in the 80s. I could have touched his leg! I almost started crying, I could have asked him questions but I was too nervous!
I read the lyrics for this album and there’s a lot about the plight of being a female and navigating the terrain of love—do you feel that your own music will become more politically charged in the future?
Paige Stark: I’m sure it will with this administration. I wrote a song with Clementine Creevy [of Cherry Glazerr] a few weeks ago before she went on tour—it was a 100% political song. As far as the next record, I’m sure. My band is very politically minded as a group, and we all feel pretty strongly about this. I didn’t sleep for two weeks after the election. On a weekly basis, something happens and I’m just shocked and speechless and terrified, so I definitely think there will be more political music to come.
I’ve seen you compared to John Lennon, and I think that you’re ripe to carry that torch!
Paige Stark: That’s so nice! I’m going to get weepy! John Lennon is a magical songwriter—and Neil Young and Bob Dylan too! Good songs are so universal that it doesn’t matter when they were written. These things are not new that we’re dealing with. I was rereading The Republic recently because of everything that’s going on—the part of The Republic where they’re discussing how if a democracy lasts long enough it becomes a tyranny. It describes exactly Donald Trump and how this administration happens in a way that’s so eerie you can’t believe that something written in—
I think four hundred years B.C.E.?
Paige Stark: Yes, around there! So it’s not really a new thing that’s happening. It’s a very very old idea. It’s more about the corruption of human nature. Greed and corruption.
And a constant trajectory! I feel like in some ways it’s an exciting time to be an artist like yourself—you have an opportunity to seize the moment, and you literally make your voice heard by singing.
Paige Stark: And we’re awakening—people are awakening from the state they’ve been in, where everyone thought they were protected. In America we really take that for granted. Only half the country voted and it’s like, ‘Well, that’s what happens when only half the country votes.’ Everyone needs to vote, everyone needs to be active, everyone needs to be aware of what’s going on. I have people I know that I speak to and they don’t want to know what’s going on. They just don’t want to participate. Everyone says, ‘We’ll always be OK because we’re in California,’ but it’s not just about me or you. I think there’s a breakdown of society in general—I don’t know if it’s from the internet or what, but I don’t like it. But I like that it’s waking people up, and that people are getting involved and realizing that they need to participate in their community. That’s all really positive.
I noticed whenever I’d actually speak with people—whenever we were able to hear the intonation in each other’s voice—it would get easier to exchange ideas, instead of being reaffirmed on Instagram or whatever in a way that aligns with your view. You’re able to talk to another person who may not feel the same way, but you’re not automatically defaulting to find the one word in their sentence that you disagree with.
Paige Stark: Yeah, we need to listen to people who feel differently! I think the reason why this got so out of hand is people felt like they weren’t being heard.
Talk to me about any plans you have for world travel and touring.
Paige Stark: Right now there are not any plans. We are doing an Echo residency in March, so it’s all the Mondays in March. That’s going to be really exciting! We’re going to play the record live and have a string quartet and additional players so we can actually play the record as it is live. I’m really excited. My dream of all dreams is always to have strings so this is—I mean, I would love to sing with the L.A. Philharmonic, that’s a great dream of mine!—so having a quartet is incredible and I’m very excited. It’s such a moving sound! It’s very magical. And then we’re releasing singles. Things are coming out! We’ll see what happens with the touring—I have dogs that I really love! We’re going to go on the road, but it has to be the right opportunity.
What have you been listening to lately and what has been inspiring you?
Paige Stark: I actually listen to—in my daily life—a lot of instrumental music. I listen to a lot of jazz. I’ve been listening to Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker. I like the records that have strings on them—like Charlie Parker With Strings. Chet Baker & Strings. I really like instrumental music. I went through a period where I was super into listening to Tchaikovsky, specifically Peter and the Wolf. I was really into it. I really love Satie—stuff like that. As far as new music—I love Frank Ocean’s record. I thought it was just gorgeous, I really like the Weyes Blood record. I played a show with Natalie in New York and she was playing solo but I was really taken with her and her voice—it’s so beautiful, and what a gorgeous record she made. She seems like a cool person, too, I don’t know her well but I like her music. And I really like the music of a local girl who calls herself Charlie Charles—I’m a fan of her work. She’s really a special one,! And she’s just gorgeous too. I’m a big fan! I’m also producing an artist that’s yet to be heard by the public—his name is Malcolm McRae, so those are the things I’m listening to. I do really love hip-hop. I haven’t been listening to new stuff because I’ve been working and it’s hard for me—I listened to the Tribe record when it came out. When I’m working on stuff, I really just listen to instrumental music. I’ve been listening to a lot of Harry Belafonte because he’s a personal hero of mine. Like Neil Young—an activist, a civil rights leader. What an amazing person! And his voice has so much joy in it. When I feel sad, I put on Harry Belafonte and my mood goes up at least four to five notches! I recommend it as a remedy to the Trump administration.
TASHAKI MIYAKI IN RESIDENCY EVERY MONDAY IN MARCH AT THE ECHO, 1822 SUNSET BLVD., ECHO PARK. 8:30 PM / FREE / 21+. THEECHO.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION. TASHAKI MIYAKI’S THE DREAM IS OUT FRI., APR. 7, ON METROPOLIS. VISIT TASHAKI MIYAKI AT TASHAKIMIYAKI.BANDCAMP.COM.