About a year ago I started hearing people talk about a new band called Fukushima Dolphin. It's rare, when you live in a town where half of your friends are musicians, to hear people raving about a new act. But there I found myself, in a friend’s kitchen, while he excitedly dug out shaky mobile phone footage of a band performing raucously on the Albert stage, posted to YouTube. That was my first encounter with Fukushima Dolphin, with friends geeking out about the chords and vibe of this mysterious new band. I finally got to see them live, supporting Bloom at their Latest Music Bar album launch, and was suitably impressed. Main man, Josh, cuts an interesting figure in a floppy hat and dungarees, but makes an even more interesting sound on the guitar: running a battered old acoustic through a plethora of guitar pedals to create a psychedelic lead tone that really cuts through. I was intrigued by this band that sounded to me like a cross between The Flaming Lips and MGMT with a healthy dose of foot-stopping cowboy folk, which I could not place!
Brightonsfinest heard some of their recordings-in-progress, sessions for a debut album the band are crafting at Josh's house, and decided to make 'The Skull' our track of the week on the new Brightonsfinest radio show. I sent Josh a few questions to try and get a bit more of a background on the band.
Hi Josh, are you from Brighton or did you move here later on?
I was born here, so was Barney (drums), so was Vicky (keys), and so was Paul (bass) and Rosie (rhythm guitar) is from Swindon. ?
?How did you get into playing music?
I started playing guitar when I was around 15.?
?What's the first album you remember buying?
Maybe a Nirvana album.?
?What do you think the main influences on the Fukushima Dolphin sound are?
I always loved New Order, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Leornard Cohen, John McLaughlin, Radiohead but it’s hard to say what the main influence is.?
?Fukushima Dolphin seem to be a band a lot of people are talking about these days – how long have you been going?
We’ve been going about two years, I was writing songs before and sometimes playing with a loop station, but playing the songs in the band in this way has only been happening since we’ve been together.?
?How did the band form?
I put up some adds on Gumtree and Facebook. I met Rosie through Gumtree, Barney through Facebook, Vicky in a cafe, Paul I knew already, and Marie through Barney.
Why 'Fukushima Dolphin'? Is there a story to the name?
It was a (bad) song I wrote originally, then I just thought it would be a good band name. It can’t be a bad thing to remind people about Fukushima either (site of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, 2011).?
?We fell in love with 'The Skull' when we heard your recording and made it our track of the week on the new Brightons?nest radio show – what's that song about and what inspires the lyrics generally speaking?
I don’t really like trying to say what songs are about because you end up singing them so many times it’s best not to pin them down.?
?How do you go about writing a tune – is it just yourself or do the whole band pitch in?
I write them and then play them to the band and they add all the other parts.?
?What are your plans for the future with the band?
Upcoming gigs: Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden. Green Door Store and Latest Music Bar in April 2017 and we need to finish the album soon too.
?Who would be your dream band to tour with?
Radiohead would be pretty cool, even though I ?nd their new music a bit boring.?
?Do you go to many gigs yourself? Any favourites out there on the local scene?
I don’t really listen to much music or go to many gigs, I can’t really say that anything much inspires me except those people who are all either dead or dying now!