Getting Cozy With: The Watanabes

The Watanabes
Photo by Michael Holmes

Dear AMBY readers!

Nice to meet you! We’re The Watanabes. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. What a weird name! Allow us to explain. Watanabe is a character in a Haruki Murakami novel called Norwegian Wood. He’s a very reflective, nostalgic kind of guy and we had the feeling that if he wrote songs, they might sound a bit like ours. The band was born in a lovely little part of Japan called Ehime and Watanabe also happens to be a very common surname in this region, so as foreign guests to the local area, we felt that it not only expressed our love for the local people, but also alluded to one of our biggest influences, The Smiths!

We’ve been performing and releasing music in Japan for over 9 years now, played all over the country, and made plenty of good friends along the way. We moved to Tokyo in 2009, where we were proud to become part of an incredible indie music scene. Every week we discover a great new underground act in the dark and dungeon-like live-houses of Tokyo. If ever you get the chance, get yourself over to Japan, and experience it for yourself. It’s a magical place.

What kind of music do we play? Well, I suppose you would call it indie pop with a folky vibe, and a Japanese lyrical twist. Our producer, Daivd Naughton, has worked with Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub, and I think his experiences have probably rubbed off on our sound a bit too. My brother Selwyn is a big fan of David Bowie, while I (Duncan) have always been obsessed with The Smiths, but our sound has been compared with the acoustic melodies of Crowded House and The Beatles. Nevertheless, we’d much rather you judged for yourselves!

Best wishes from Tokyo and thanks to AMBY for having us!

The Watanabes

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