EAR Interview: Mieko Shimizu

By Londonist Last edited 143 months ago
EAR Interview: Mieko Shimizu

16 artists are being nurtured by the Southbank Centre as Emerging Artists in Residence in what they're styling an "eclectic hub for music and performance". Keeping you ahead of the curve, we're getting closer to this multi-talented bunch of singer-songwriters, rappers, MCs and beatboxers, spoken word artists and DJs in a series of interviews.


Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Mieko Shimizu aka Mico. I'm a composer, singer and producer. Apart from my own project, Mico, I am involved with a lot of other things. I write music for film, work with choreographers/dancers, do re-mixing etc. I am currently writing music for ballet "The Red Balloon" for the Royal Opera House.

Where do you live and what do you like about it?

I live in Soho, traditionally a very arty area. Although it is so central, surprisingly it has a real community. When I visit community events, unique and individual local people, young and old, really know each other. It gives it a real village feel. That's why I love living here but at the same time I can see big business is slowly eating in and efficiently destroying this area, which is very sad.

What inspires you about London? What's your favourite bit?

London is a city of possibilities. On any given night, you can venture out into the metropolis to discover the impossible. The shock of worlds colliding, the dazzling beauty or impenetrable darkness. It never ceases to confound my expectations. My favourite is a walk from Soho to Southbank through Chinatown.

How much time do you spend on the Southbank?

Quite a lot. When I go out with friends or family without any plans, I love to walk down to the river and cross one of the many beautiful bridges and find myself ending up at the Southbank. Somehow that place makes me feel very calm and gives me a lot of creative energy.

What was your first place to perform in London and where do you aspire to perform?

My first gig in London was at Bar Rumba, Piccadilly Circus, Drum'n bass night. I don't have a dream venue, but my dream is to create a venue where I can play whenever I want to and my friends can hang around any time they want to along with new creative people I haven't met.

What does the EAR programme mean to you and what do you hope to achieve through it?

A fantastic opportunity for collaboration with a great group of incredibly talented musicians and I want to create fabulous new music.

Who in your genre should we be watching/listening to and why?

My music is pretty eclectic so that it is difficult to place it in any specific genres. I often use food as an allegory for this. Music, books, films, art I enjoy them all. They are all like food. I eat or drink them and filter them through my body. They nourish me. So in this case, some of my favourite food is:

Music: Bach, Glenn Gould, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, Bartok, Nina Simon, Claus Nomi, Thelonious Monk, Olivier Messiaen, AGF, Autechre, Lou Reed, Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis, Beach Boys

Literature: Emergence, American Psycho, Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes, J.D. Salinger, D.H Lawrence, Yukio Mishima, Osamu Dazai, Kenji Miyazawa

Film: Carrie, The Red Balloon, Don't Look Back, Death in Venice, Rosemary's Baby, Baghdad Cafe, Apartment, Producer, After Life, all Godzilla films, Yasujiro Ozu films etc

Art: Tudor Paintings, Francis Bacon, Cy Twombly, Salvador Dali, Gustav Klimt, Wassily Kandinsky, Egon Schiele, Basquiat, Banksy

What would mark you, by your own ambitions, as an Established Artist in Residence rather than an Emerging Artist in Residence?

To learn, to grow, to develop as an artist. To continue to create is my only goal. To express my inner self, I don't need any mark.

Have you ever busked? Would you ever?

No. I've never busked but I won't say 'I will never busk'. Sometimes it looks very tempting.

Have you ever been sick on the tube?

Yes, I have. Many times. That is one of the reasons I live in the centre so that I don't need to take public transport!!!

Hear Mico on MySpace. See her perform at the Luminaire on 28 November.

Check out other EAR interviews.

Last Updated 17 November 2008