Phew was a founding member of the legendary punk band Aunt Sally. After the band’s breakup in 1979, she continued her career as a solo artist, releasing a collaborative single with Ryuichi Sakamoto in 1980, and her first solo album, “Phew,” with Conny Plank, Holger Czukay of CAN, and Jaki Liebezeit in 1981. In 1992, her third album, OurLikeness, was released on MUTE, again at Conny’s studio, with Jaki Liebezeit of CAN, Alexander Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten, and Chrislo Haas of DAF.
Since the beginning of the 2010s, she has released a series of works that combine voice and electronic music, and has gained international recognition as an electronic artist. Pitchfork has described her as “Japan’s underground legend.” She has also released collaborative works with Ana da Silva (Raincoats), Seiichi Yamamoto (ex. Boadams), and others. Her latest solo album “New Decade” will be released worldwide on Mute in October 2021. Phew was playing her Berlin premiere back in May 20219 at our Kiezsalon im Exil.
1. Play with cats to calm myself.
2. Humans can’t be the cat’s mate.
3. Poor juvenile solutions, explaining nothing.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I formed a punk band when I was 18.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Kraftwerk ‘Radio Activity’
Can ‘Tago Mago’
Takehisa Kosugi ‘Catch Wave’
Robert Wyatt ‘Rock Bottom’
The Velvet Underground ‘White Light/White Heat’
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Friends, Polar bear Knut, Tegel Airport, Some movies and plays.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would study to become an acupuncturist for cats and dogs.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
model home ‘One Year’
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I can’t think of anyone at the moment.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Bob Marley and the Wailers in Japan in 1979.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I’m not really interested in technology anymore.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have one sister, but she has never listened to my music.She is very pragmatic and seems to wonder why I go all over the place on tours.
Photo © Masayuki Shioda