interview by Rachel LeBlanc
Kazutaka Nomura. It just seems we can’t get enough of him around here on Audioasis. His one-man act chock full of witty jokes and puns cracks us up to no end. And really, in perspective, he’s one of the busiest musicians in town: winning the E-surance Capitol Hill Block Party’s Block Star contest, showcasing his photography in venues, and opening for small and big acts all over the music spectrum from full stages to crowded basements, all the while working on a degree at Cornish. Fortunately, he still managed to have time to sit down with me, showing that his candid charm lies in more than just his lyrics.
You’ve played with a bunch of awesome bands. What show would you say was your favorite?
The White Magic show was great! We played at Nectar, in November with Joanna Kunin. It was really fun; Nectar had a bottle of Jameson (for the performers.) I got fucked up after my set. I love going first for bigger acts; I can open, and then get drunk and watch great music. I would love to be the opener forever for that reason. Like let’s say I open for U2 in ten years.
I’ll write that down: “Kaz wants to open for U2.” So you had the commercial bit through E-surance from the Capitol Hill Block Party. How has life changed for you since?
It helped bring attention from the press, which was really good.
How about on a personal level?
More people know me now. My longtime friends make fun of me, it’s sort of funny in a cheesy way. Like, “Oh, Kaz, you became a rockstar!”
photo by Jim Bennett
For the commercial itself, you were just down in San Francisco to make it a few weeks ago?
I went to the studio which makes Disney characters and other kid cartoons. They took a bunch of pictures of me to make into a cartoon. There’ll be a cartoon Kaz playing the guitar, playing “It’s OK.”
When do we get to see it on TV?
They told me it would be on air in January or February. Actually, I don’t really know!
Also happening next year is your tour. Can you explain the name, I know it was first titled the “Amtrak Tour.”
I called it the Amtrak Tour at first, but changed it to the Greyhound because Amtrak isn’t reliable. My friend with a van decided to join the tour however, so it’s going to be a normal tour now. I’m only taking the Greyhound to Bainbridge, Olympia, and Portland. Then I’ll come back to Seattle to fly over to Richmond, VA. I’ll go up to Boston with my friend in the van. It will take about 10 days. He and I are going to switch who headlines, playing 10-12 shows together. Richmond, Baltimore, Philly, Harrisburg, Providence, all of those cities.
I remember you were telling me, because of your noise rock experience (in Na), you’ll be joining another band for their tour as well?
I’m going to be playing in a band called Capillary Action as their second guitarist. But I’ll also be playing my PWRFL Power set as opener. We’re playing forty shows, so it will be 80 sets. That is a lot of shows!
What are you going to do after that?! Go home and relax I bet?
Hopefully I can make enough to live comfortably through the summer.
Oh yeah! You just graduated from Cornish?
Yeah. I’ve never actually had a job in my life, my parents helped me. I’m actually excited and nervous because now I’m a real adult with no job. I don’t quite know what to do.
For people who don’t know, what did you major in? What are your plans with the degree?
I studied music composition and classical guitar. I’m supposed to get a job in the music field, according to my visa. Force Field PR team is working with me, and I’m hoping by July 2008 to have a contract with a bigger label. Some where with good support. One thing I was going to mention, since winning the Block Star contest, is I’ve begun to notice how the music industry works. I’ve noticed it’s more who is friends with who and who you know around
photo by josh
Tell us about your photography showing.
It’s at the Solo Bar in Lower Queen Anne until the end of December. It’s pictures I took on my 1970s Japanese split frame camera. Two pictures come on one print. I got the camera on my tour in Japan. I also have a Holga that takes square pictures. The show has been really good, I’ve received really good response. I’ve already sold four pictures, hopefully I’ll sell a few more!
How many did you display?
And four have sold already?! That’s really good! On your first showing as well. Are they pictures of people?
Yeah, it’s sort of like my songs, but a visual diary. I took pictures while out walking or partying. I’m really obsessed with it being raw. People in general. Sort of like my songs.
Sounds like you’re into psychology as well?
For the raw idea, in regards to my music, I try to keep it simple by not using pedals much. Keep it rough. I know how to use them of course, but I want to showcase my talent standing on its own.
For people, I like to talk to them, get to know what they are thinking. Makes for good inspiration for songs. Talking to people is good entertainment, like watching a movie or reading a book.
Where do you think the best people watching place is in Seattle?
Hot Mama’s Pizza.
Ha! I was thinking about heading there for dinner after this! Are you thinking about having another photography showcase?
Yes, especially once I get back from touring, I’ll have rolls and rolls of pictures. The thing is the visa I’m applying for won’t let me out of the country until February 2009. I’m stuck here for a year and
two months! I have to figure something out for touring. Perhaps I can find a girl to marry.
Yes! We’ve discovered what you need during this interview: a day job, a record deal, and a girlfriend!
Maybe I’ll make posters and plaster them around town!
Any last words?
Don’t hit my elephant!