The Tokyo-based rock band Pinky Doodle Poodle has been active in the United States since 2018. The duo, consisting of George doing the guitar work and songwriting and Yuria being the vocalist, bass and guitar player but also the lyric writer, is known for their high energy music and fun personality on stage.
After their return to the United States earlier this year, the band has been busy with the release of an EP and a single. A good time to talk with the two musicians about how they are experiencing their time as a Japanese rock band based in the United States, their upcoming plans and talking about their first vinyl release.
AVO: After touring through Japan and the rest of the world – you have been in Europe, the United States and Myanmar – you decided to move from Japan to the United States. What exactly was your reason to move and what do you like about this country?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: There are lots of places where we can play our music. Fortunately, we could find out the place we can stay in the United States. Generally speaking, people say that rock music is dead for a long time ago. But there are many people who want to listen to rock music in the US.
AVO: How did you notice that there are still many people who want to listen to rock music in the United States?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: When we do the gigs in the United States, we can always get good feedback from the audience, any generation. And also, since there are so many rock bands in the US, every venue is packed with those kinds of bands. Especially, it’s very hard to book the shows on the weekend.
AVO: Do you have the idea that rock music is not alive anymore in Japan, rest of Asia and Europe?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: We are not sure about it. Someone who wants to play rock music will keep doing somewhere in the world. For example, in the late ’80s or the early ‘90s, people thought that rock music is dead. But Nirvana came up and brought us back to the rock world.
AVO: Earlier this year you have been working hard to get a new visa to stay in the USA and it eventually worked out and you could return to the country. How did it feel when you heard that you could return to the US?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: We were very glad when we got a new visa, like “Yes! we will be able to do gigs again!”. It took a long long time to get it, much more than we expected.
AVO: How long did you have to wait to get a new visa for the United States?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: It took 6 months. Though it should have been taken within 2-3 months, it took more than double.
AVO: Now you have been living in the United States for a while again, what is something that you really miss from your home country Japan?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: The things that we miss in Japan are our families and friends.
AVO: Recently you have been performing again. How was it to be performing on stage after doing several performances at home due to the ongoing pandemic?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: Performing on stage was very good and fun. Because we can feel the audience’s power and responses directly. It seems like we conversate with the audience through our music. We had been waiting for a long time. Of course, we always have fun during performances at home. But there is no audience and a real human drummer. We can not feel the power of them.
AVO: You have taken the path to release music on vinyl, by releasing your newest single Are You Ready? on a record. What was the specific reason to make your debut on the vinyl market?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: We were transferred to another record company called Chicken Ranch Records (CRR for short), based in Austin, TX last year. Simply, CRR proposed to release the vinyl. It’s been our dream to release the vinyl for a long time.
AVO: What exactly is your bond with vinyl?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: Simply, we love the vinyl sound. Furthermore, the artwork on the jacket is fun to look at and is worth being displayed. George’s first vinyl that he bought by himself is Abbey Road of The Beatles, and Yuria’s is She’s So Unusual of Cyndi Lauper.
AVO: For the vinyl single, Are You Ready?, a good example of a high energy rock song, you have been working together with several guest vocalists. How did you come up with this idea to add 6 extra vocalists?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: Since we belonged to the new record company, we are supposed to release a new full album this year. Usually, we should have recorded our tracks in the studio. But now, we all are in this COVID-19 situation. It’s very hard to book the studio, etc. So, we changed our minds and decided to record it by ourselves. As we told you before, CRR proposed a single vinyl before we will release a full album. We picked up Are You Ready? as the first song because we thought this song’s lyrics would be good for this situation. It has pretty positive lyrics. Furthermore, we wanted to make this song gorgeous. And then, we asked some vocalists to sing this song and send the file to us. Finally, we got the vocal tracks from 6 vocalists. And another thing, one of PDP support drummers in Japan played this song. It is very difficult to record the drum tracks in good quality. Since he has his studio in Japan, he set the mics on his drum set and recorded it by himself. And he sent the drum file to us.
AVO: On social media you have been sharing the process of recording new music, where Yuria was singing in a closet, parts of other records were done in the kitchen and living room. That was fun to see how many different instruments were used and it also shows how talented you two are.
Pinky Doodle Poodle: We are very glad to hear that! We thought that showing the process of recording our tracks at home would be interesting. Because it’s a completely DIY recording. This is the place where we live and make our music. “Pinky Doodle Poodle” is a duo style. We always hire a drummer for doing gigs and recording the songs but basically, we are doing by ourselves as much as possible.
AVO: It also gave a good idea of how you don’t especially need to have a studio record new music. Did you record your acoustic EP Samsara and single Are You Ready? at home because of the pandemic or was this your intention from the start?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: No, we did not intend it. This pandemic situation made those releases. Especially, we never thought that we would release the acoustic songs. But we are in a weird time, so we wanted to try something new and interesting which can be done by only us.
AVO: Now we are becoming more and more aware that COVID-19 pandemic currently affects a lot of people all over the world. These effects are felt in a lot of ways across all sectors of life, including those working in the cultural sector, such as musicians. How is this for you as a musician and how do you deal with it?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: It’s a very tough time for everybody. As for us, there are two big reasons to be in the United States, one reason is making a full album, the other is doing shows. Unfortunately, we can not do gigs. But we still have the other reason, so we would like to carry out this intention.
AVO: The current situation means that a lot of things may not turn out as they were planned. It can be a challenge to remain focused with so much uncertainty around, especially with the fact that you have been working hard to get a visa for the United States. How do you two stay motivated to continue with Pinky Doodle Poodle?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: We want to see the listener smile no matter what happens and give the listener energy. We can be here if they will need our music.
AVO: So, we can expect a full album from PDP this year. Can you tell something about it? Are you planning to release it digitally, on CD and on vinyl and maybe also on a cassette?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: During we went back to Japan last year, we made more than 20 new songs for the upcoming new album. Every song was given arrangements in every detail, like vocal melodies, guitar, and bass phrases, drum patterns, etcetera. We have been ready for recording from the last year. It will be up to the availability of the recording studio, drummer, and our record company. If conditions permit, we can record them anytime. We assume that it would be released digitally, on vinyl and USB memory. Of course, a cassette would be good!!
AVO: What are the best ways to support you and Pinky Doodle Poodle right now?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: Getting our releases and spreading Pinky Doodle Poodle are the best ways. And also we have made our Patreon page and Virtual Tip Jar (via PayPal) link. Those are very helpful since we can not do the gigs right now. But first, we want you to enjoy Pinky Doodle Poodle music!!
AVO: Finally, do you have anything you want to say to the readers of AVO Magazine?
Pinky Doodle Poodle: Hello, AVO Magazine readers!! Hope all is well with you all. Pinky Doodle Poodle is based in the United States right now but we would like to perform/play all over the world. This has never changed from the beginning when we started this band. We live in a very tough and weird time right now. But we do hope to see you soon. Till then, stay healthy and safe!!
Many thanks to Yuria and George of Pinky Doodle Poodle for answering the questions. Keep an eye on the next steps of the band by following them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All information can also found back on their official website.