Texas PandaaTexas Pandaa are an indie-pop band from Japan, with twin vocal harmonies and a sophisticated musical configuration. Praised both at home and abroad as they push their writing and musicianship beyond their ambient roots — Texas Pandaa released their third album Down In the Hole on 2010.06.02.

Texas Pandaa are Asako Natsubori (guitar, vocal), Mikiko Degawa (bass, vocal), Kazutaka Ichimura (guitar) and Nadehiko (drums). I recently talked to Texas Pandaa‘s drummer Nadehiko about the new album Down In the Hole and the band’s thoughts of the description: shoegaze.

Please introduce yourself. What instruments and brands of instruments do you play?
Nadehiko: We are Texas Pandaa, a romantic indie pop band located in Tokyo. Members are:

Asako Natsubori: Guitar/Vocals
Mikiko Degawa: Bass/Chorus
Kazutaka Ichimura: Guitars
Nadehiko: Drums

Asako and Mikiko’s mesmerizing vocal/chorus combination is perhaps our biggest charm point that attracts our listeners.

Find out about our gear in detail at Facebook.

What is the musical background of the members of Texas Pandaa?
Nadehiko: We don’t have much musical background to speak of. We started playing as a band during our school (University) days. We started out playing just as a hobby band, covering indie bands like The Sundays, The Darling Buds, etc – mainly artists with female vocals – for fun. Gradually shifting to making original songs.

Remembering back to your first time in front of a live audience, what comes to mind?
Nadehiko: Nervous, stage fright, unconfident — Though we have been playing for nearly a decade, we still get nervous before our act!

Tell me a little bit about the songwriting process. Who is the songwriter and what inspires you to write music?
Nadehiko: Asako and Mikiko usually bring basic ideas to rehearsals and then we spend hours and hours, often extending to months, to complete a song. Most of the ideas are inspired from the girls’ sad, heartbreaking personal experiences. These are directly reflected in our lyrics.

How does the writing and recording of your 3rd album Down In the Hole compare to your earlier projects?
Nadehiko: Our previous albums consisted of songs that we had in stock over the years – some of the songs date back 10 years. We ran out of stock after recording Days so we had to write new songs from scratch for the new album.

We are often referred to as as “shoegaze music” but that is not how we think of ourselves. Recently we wanted to make a more vocal-oriented album, highlighting Asako and Mikiko’s vocal/chorus work.

What are fans going to hear on the mini album Down In the Hole?
Nadehiko: We’ve put a lot of time recording vocals compared to our previous albums, and the songs are much more pop. We’ve had quite a few feedback from our listeners mentioning their surprise toward the pop shift we made with the latest album Down In The Hole.

What has been your biggest triumph as a band? The band’s greatest challenge?Texas Pandaa
Nadehiko: We’ve had numerous ups and downs as a band of course, but having continued the band for over 10 years has been a tremendous challenge as well as a great triumph. We’re all grateful towards our fans supporting us through our tough times. We couldn’t have stayed as a band for this long without their support.

Let’s hear a little about your tastes not related to music – Could you name some of your favorite books or movies?
Nadehiko: We’re not much of a reader or a movie go-ers. We all like traveling a lot in and out of Japan, and we love hanging out and drinking, spending good times with all our friends.

What is your favorite Texas Pandaa song to perform live? Why?
Nadehiko: “Days” (from our previous album DAYS) and “People” (from the album Down In The Hole) are two of our favorites. These two have rich and complex emotions flowing throughout the song from beginning to end. Honestly speaking they are extremely difficult songs to nail live, but we get this cool and uplifting magical sensation when we get it right.

This is your chance to promote your CDs, bands, tours, websites & gear?
Nadehiko: 2010, was a hectic year for us. We’ll be doing a few gigs here and there this year but we’ll mostly be concentrating on making new songs (since we ran out of stock again. laughs.). Hope you get a chance to check out some of our songs on our Myspace and we’ll keep you updated on our Facebook from time to time.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans all over the world?
Nadehiko: We thank you so much for your support! It’s going to be another slow process making new songs from scratch but hope you’ll wait around to hear our new stuff!

I would like to thank Texas Pandaa and especially Nadehiko for their participation in this interview.
~Denise Smith (interview 2011.03.01)