Interview With shishi
How would you describe your music to any person who may have never heard it before?
Maria Rosa: Mermaid rock, sweet and sour, and hard to resist!
Is there any significance to the band's name? Maria: Yeah, a lot! First of all, shishi means a good spirit, shaped like a lion dog that saves the entrance of each home in Asian countries and does not allow bad powers to come into the houses. Just like our music [Laughs]. Then there are loads of other meanings in other languages, we even do not know…
Victoria: Sure we do - to pee, boobies, Friday, etc.
What are your musical influences? K: There are so many to name. Over the years, I've listened to so many artists and styles. Early on, the biggest influences were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Then came the heavier sounds of Led Zeppelin and the classic rock bands. U2 was a huge influence in the '80s and '90s. More recently, Coldplay and the Foo Fighters.
What are your musical influences? Maria: The music the three of us are listening to and appreciating is very diverse. Also, something that used to be an inspiration for me five years ago may not be inspiring right now. When shishi started, I was fascinated and very much influenced by Talking Heads, ESG, The Slits, Marine Girls, La Luz, and so on. Right now, for example, I like the style, ideas and approach of Jerry Paper.
Benadetta: Before I joined shishi, I was listening to a lot of jazz, fusion, and Latin jazz -names like Michel Camilo, Tigran Hamasyan, Avishai Cohen, and so on. And after I started playing with shishi, I discovered a lot of alternative music, especially Lithuania's alternative scene. Right now, I don't even have favourite musicians. I just listen to a lot of different music, maybe except punk or hard rock.
Victoria: I love when my dog sings. It's sort of a contemporary opera. I'll make sure to do a project with her.
If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Rather this is to either write a song or be featured on a track. Maria: David Byrne, St. Vincent, Jerry Paper! Should I continue?
Benadetta: Bon Iver, Mdou Moctar, Los Bitchos. Even Miley Cyrus!
Victoria: Timid Kooky, Paul Arambula, ShiShi.
What's the new album Nearly Happily Ever After about? Maria: Our new album, Nearly Happily Ever After, is about these crazy times and the mixture of feelings people like us feel today. It also could be understood like our diary – what we experience and worry about from day to day. Also, how do we cope with those problems?
What's something you hope people take away from the new song(s)?
Maria: Good mood and positive attitude. I mean, the world is a shitty place sometimes, but it's for us to decide what we do about that – cry on the sofa or shout a little, then help each other and dance about all this mess.
Which songs on the album were the most fun to write and which were the most
challenging to write? Maria: I just looked through all the lists…It was not easy, no. Yet, I had made funny discoveries by inventing new guitar parts on "Happy Three Friends." In general, the start of the creation process is always fun but giving birth to entire songs and finishing it – that's what eats up all your energy. At least for me.
Benadetta: Yes, when you have an idea, it's the fun part, but when you have to finish the whole song, that's when you get tired sometimes. For me, the most fun to write was, of course, "Dear Silence" because it started not from a guitar or bass riff but from plain drum ideas. So I had the freedom to play whatever I wanted, and the girls did a great job incorporating melodies! The most challenging was maybe "Family Tissues" because it took a long time, but I loved making it in odd meters! Victoria: The most fun, I guess was "Family Tissues." Fun, meaning most difficult playing, technically wise. Benadetta was so mathematical I nearly fainted. Most difficult? Hmm, "I Start to Lose Control."
Do you have any favourite songs on the new album at all? Maria: One!? No way, this is too hard to choose, I'm out.
Benadetta: Oh man, it's like choosing who's your favourite child!
Victoria: Well, I think I love all of them. But "Happy Three Friends" and "Happy Birthday" would be the ones I'd listen to now.
Do you have any favourite songs to perform live? Could be your own music or even a
cover. Any reason why?
Maria: Well, our oldies goldies... "I Get Up" and "Istanbul" are somehow very powerful and empowering to sing. Love them!
Benadetta: "Happy Birthday" because it's funny to perform, in a way. "Do You Know" because there are a lot of drum breaks and from the old songs, it's fun to perform "Burbulas ir Burbulienė," also people always love it.
Victoria: I like to "na na na" a lot because it's uniting everyone's "na na na," and we can all "na na na" together. New songs are very fun to play!
If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Maria: This second I am preparing for the album release show we're gonna play tonight in Vilnius, our hometown. I think this is pretty much cool already.
Benadetta: At this very second, I don't want to perform because we're preparing for our concert tonight. But the first place that randomly came to mind was Coachella.
Victoria: It's 5 in the morning. I'd perform in my dreams.
Is there any particular venue(s) or city/cities that come to mind at all then?
Maria: Okay, okay... We want to play Iceland Airwaves very much, and the KEXP radio show would be a dream come true, I guess. Besides that – anything near the sea/ocean, sand and palm trees, warm and sunny enough! Benadetta: I would love to play in America or Japan some day! Victoria: I'd love to visit San Francisco, Arcata, Sarajevo, and Sofia (Polina, I love you).
What do you currently have planned for the remainder of the year?
Maria: To spread the music of our fresh release, visit France, the Changeover Festival in Belgrad, do some cool covers and feats with other artists, and finally get back to the studio for silent and calm creative procedures. Victoria: And eat some baguettes also!
Thanks for the time today, you three. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go?
Maria: Thank you! Let's not forget there is a nasty war going on in Ukraine at this very minute. Please help them to fight the Russian aggression and donate your spare money to these brave Ukrainian people. There will be no music if evil wins!