Akira moved to London from Cambridge two years ago; are named after a cockroach; make a jagged industrial post-rock noise and enjoy walks in the park and watching sunsets with loved ones. Their bio lists their influences as:
The Karate Kid, Philip K Dick, The Chapman Brothers, Derrida, Battle Of The Planets, Chaos Theory, Father John, Edward Thomas, Alan Moore, Sleepwalker, Bourdieu, Jeremy Paxman, London Underground, David Fincher, Chris Morris, The American Dream and Jesus Christ.
Which makes sense to us. Except The Karate Kid bit.
They dropped on to Londonist music’s radar last year when we received their: I Think Of You As Miss Universe cd and we’ve been looking for a chance to catch up with them since. But now a moment presents itself as they’re playing tomorrow night at G Lounge, 18 Kentish Town Road, along with Argonaut, Kiss or Kill, The Rendition and Yuchi. If you’re not yet sure about going (although you probably should), then perhaps you might want to listen to The Price Of Freedom Is Eternal Vigilance before saving your five pounds to get in.
Or carry on reading to see what they have to say for themselves.
Where does the name come from? There’s a Japanese cockroach that is resistant to all forms of disease and radiation. It reproduces by laying its eggs in the heads of larger insects. The shell is hard and shiny – black with yellow splotches – and can withstand excessive temperatures and all manner of extreme environments. Because of this it is almost impossible to kill. Some people believe (despite any evidence) that if you cook it in the correct manner and serve it correctly its flesh can act as an incredibly potent aphrodisiac. The best translation of its many names is: ‘The Final Survivor’ or ‘Akira.’
Who’s in the band? There’s three of us: guitarist, bassist, drummer. All of us do some singing at some point. And wisecracking. Some of us do wisecracking too.
What do you do in the real world? Pretty much the same things as everyone else. Dream about the desired future; try and be as unhelpful as possible without getting fired.
Describe your sound to us: We’re much better at making sounds than trying to describe them. If you put a gun to our heads, maybe we’d say something corny like ‘Car crash survivor music’ or (more likely) ‘Please, don’t shoot.’
How did you all get together? The answer to that depends on your point of view. If you believe in a picture of the Universe where everything is already pre-determined then we all got together because it was ordained that we would all meet at that exact point and at that exact time and there was nothing that anyone could ever do to change it. On the other hand – you know – luck and blind chance.
Who are your influences? We bonded over a shared love of Stuff, a seminal band from the mid-70s. They never released a record or played a gig – but they were great. Cool clothes. Nice hair too. They also had a transistor radio player… how cool is that?
What’s the greatest lyric you’ve ever written? Our favourite lyric is one which we didn’t actually write: “Your mum owes my dog fuck money.” One for the ages we think.
Where can we hear / see you next? We play WRECK at The Water Rats a lot. There’s a website on the internet or myspace somewhere if you wanna go look…
What’s the big game plan for the band? One idea is that if we stage a clearly-prepared ambush from the right and bring up our troops from the rear then we can outflank the initial onslaught and counter overwhelming numbers with our superior firepower. We know it’s crazy – but it just might work.
Who would you most like to support? Obviously someone that would make our band sound a lot better than it actually is. Or a random comedy option – The Spice Girls. A band that we believe that everyone can all agree on. People of the world, spice up your life. Every boy and every girl, spice up your life. And so forth.
What’s your ultimate label to be on? At this point – any label that would want us would be just great… Seriously. We’re on our knees here.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to? We don’t get out much. So our favourite gigs are probably our own – there’s lots of stuff to do and you don’t have to think too much about where to stand or what to do with your hands. Which is always a bonus.
Have you ever thrown a TV out of a hotel window? Yes.
Any great stories from the road? No.
Recommend one album to our readers you don’t think they will have discovered: Like our granddad used to say: You don’t discover albums; you meet them. And they may or may not pretend to like you. We don’t really know what that means, but we thought it might be pertinent to mention…
Why should Londonist readers go and see you? We refuse to lower ourselves to the point where we have to make up things about how good we are… Saying that, they should come to see us because we’re really good. Really. We’re like that one band you always really liked crossed with some other band that you liked as well. On crack. One louder. Etc.
What’s your favourite…
…venue to play in London? The Water Rats Theatre, King’s Cross
…venue to go to in London? See above.
…record store? Selectadisc/independent retailers. We try our best not to contribute to big hateful chain-stores. Well. Most of the time.
…shop (non-music)? Ebay. Because meaningless guff you weren’t aware you wanted has never looked so good.
…market? All markets are capitalist and therefore – we’re told – morally bad.
…place to people-watch? Any place where there’s a big slab of reinforced glass between us and them.
…place to chill-out? The Magic Flute Banqueting Hall. Where everybody knows our name.
…place to get lashed? We’re not that picky.
…place for a post-gig kebab? We can’t afford to spend all our money on food.
…view in London? Dunno.
…form of public transport? The tube. Except at rush hour when it resembles a slow-moving crushed tin box packed with human sardines.
What advice would you give Ken Livingstone? Its only worth giving advice to someone if they’re actually going to listen to you. We’d much prefer just to flick his ears from behind and then run away.
What London place or thing would you declare a landmark? We don’t think we could be bothered really. Although it would be cool if we could have a blue plaque put outside our house at some point. We don’t think that’s too much to ask.
The world is ending in 24 hours. How would you spend your last day in London? We’d crouch under our desks with paper bags over our heads. Whilst remaining calm the whole time.
Have you ever been sick on the Tube? Unless you limit this to vomiting, every single day.
If you could lose one part of London, which part would it be? The part that makes everyone look so sad on the street all the time. We would much prefer it if people would just crack random toothy smiles. Like Tony Blair.
Greatest thing ever to come out of London? Apart from us? We give up.
What advice would you give to someone new to London getting on a night bus for the first time? State your destination clearly to the driver. Pay the required amount. Sit down – or if there is no room – stand. Alight when you reach the correct stop. (If you’re unsure where to get off – ask the driver or another passenger). Ignore the noxious fumes and the vomiting people. Don’t join in with any songs.
If you wrote a song about London what would it be called and what kind of song would it be? It would probably be called “London Song” and it would be a song about London. With singing and stuff. And guitars and drums. However normally we don’t write stuff on request like that. Normally our songs are about things that are deep and meaningful and stuff. Like one song we had called “Holy Cow.” Which was a song about how cows are really cool. And – in some cultures – considered holy.
Sum up London in just one word: “London” would seem to be to the only word that can capture the full experience. Or “Funtown,” which is just as arbitrary. Whatever. We don’t know. It’s hard to think of one word that would be adequate – It’s a big place. There’s a lot of people. And many things all happening at once. If you think about it too long – it’ll make your head hurt.