Metropolis Magazine
Issue #805 - Friday, Aug 28th, 2009
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Japan Beat
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Pop Life
2008 Flashback
Stage & Dance
Metropolis League
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Bar Review
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Past Issues

801: Acid Mothers Temple
800: Rockin' In Yokohama
797: The Madame Cats
793: Wyolica
790: Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro
789: My Way My Love
786: Lite
785: Kat
784: Pantheon of Japanese Rock Babes
782: Vinyl Idyll
781: Hikashu
780: 54-71
778: Utacata
776: Yoko Ono
775: Boredoms
772: Kurofunedan
768: Merzbow
766: Oshiripenpenz
765: YMCK
763: Shizuka Kudo
762: Mo'some Tonebender
761: Soil & "Pimp" Sessions
756: Tokyo Conflux 2008
754: Ed Woods
753: 8otto
751: Para
750: Fuji Rock Festival 2008
748: Katan Hiviya
745: Who the Bitch
742: Low IQ 01
740: Shake Forward!
738: iLL
736: Tobu Ongakusai
733: Yanokami
731: One Night in Naha
729: Shugo Tokumaru
727: Japan Nite
725: Getting out the vote
723: J-Melo
721: Electric Eel Shock
717: GO!GO!7188
715: Yura Yura Teikoku
712: Midori
710: Seigen Ono
708: Wrench
707: Shinichi Osawa
704: M-flo
701: Freesscape
699: Versailles
698: Fuji Rock Festival 2007
697: Uri Nakayama
695: UA
693: Shonen Knife
690: Kemuri
689: Ikochi
686: Best Japanese Albums
684: Monkey Majik
682: Shibusashirazu Orchestra
681: Jon Lynch and Juice magazine
677: DJ Kentaro
675: Sadistic Mikaela Band
673: Osaka Monaurail
672: Teriyaki Boyz featuring Kanye West
666: Oki
662: Amanojaku
659: Polysics
657: Oceanlane
655: Cornelius
651: Bomb Factory
642: Soul Flower Mononoke Summit
640: African JAG
637: Buffalo Daughter
635: Ryukyu Underground
633: Mazri no Matsuri
631: Mono
629: Coldfeet
628: Crystal Kay
625: J-pop goes def
623: Ken Yokoyama
621: Zazen Boys
619: Monday Michiru
613: PE'Z
611: Afrirampo
609: Sherbets
603: Double Famous
601: Meltone
599: Michiyo Yagi
597: Hifana
594: Guitar Wolf
592: Rip Slyme
590: Little Creatures
588: Bliss Out on Hougaku
586: Hoppy Kamiyama
584: Bliss Out on Hougaku
582: Mazri no Matsuri
580: Mari Natsuki
575: Towa Tei
573: The Beautiful Losers
571: Fantastic Plastic Machine
569: Nippop
567: Brahman
560: Shonen Knife
558: Nice Guy Jin
556: Toru Yonaha and Kinohachi
554: Hiromi Uehara
551: Nicotine
549: Ego-Wrappin'
545: Eastern Youth
538: Inside tracks
536: Outside the Box
534: Rainbow Warrior
529: Breaking the mold
527: Sadao China
524: The sound of cyberpunk
522: Ryuichi Sakamoto's Chasm
516: Ken Yokoyama
514: Jan Linton
512: Jazz messengers
509/10: Naoko Terai
507: Akiko Yano
504: Kotaro Oshio: Solo Strings
502: Refurbished rhythms
494: Resonance
492: cyber-swordsmen
490: Loop Junktion
488: Ryukyu Underground: Okinawan Odyssey
484: Gocoo: Reinventing taiko
481: Leonard Eto
479: Gaijin à Go-Go
477: Enemy music
475: Yoriko Ganeko with Chuei Yoshikawa
472: DJ Kaori
469: Yuki
467: Wrench
464: Young and swingin
462: Jazzy Live 2003 from Blue Breath
460: Shonen Knife
457/458: Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden
456: Yuka Kamebuchi & The Voices of Japan
454: Jude
452: Kokoo
451: BBQ Chickens
449: Man and the machinery
446: Crystal Kay
443: Lava
440: Jazz on Leave
437: Rip Slyme
434: Boom Boom Satellites
432: "Rambling" Steve Gardner
430: Dry & Heavy
428: The Birth of OE
426: Anmitsu
424: Happy Kamiyam
422: Shing02
420: Supercar
418: Ryuichi Sakamoto
416: Kick The Can Crew
414: King Brothers
412: Kazufumi Miyazawa
410: Japanese Independent Music
408: The Yoshida Brothers
406: Love Psychedelico
393: Mikidozan
391: Shelter 10th Anniversary
389: The beautiful losers
387: Junpei Shiina
383: Umekuichi
381: P'ez
379: Boredoms
377: Dai Sakakibara
375: Dreams Come True
373: eX-Girl
370: Pizzicato Five
368: Dub Squad
366: Buffalo Daughter
364: Phew Phew L!ve
362: Fumio Yasuda
360: Boom Boom Satellites
358: Kei Kobayashi
356: Cool Drive Makers
354: Bird
351: United Future Organization
349: Audio Active
347: Ondekoza
345: Misia
343: Brahman
341: Puffy
339: Ryukyu Festival 2000
337: Rappagariya
335: Lisa Ono
333: Air Jam 2000
331: Feed
327: Tenkoo Orchestra
325: Wrench
323: Sadao Watanabe
321: Dry & Heavy
319: Bonny Pink
317: Sakura Hills Disco 3000
315: Aco
313: Rovo
311: The Mad Capsule Markets
309: Coldfeet

By Robert Michael Poole

The “folky soul” originators feel reinvigorated on their tenth anniversary

“It is like we have our wings back,” says guitarist So-To of the duo Wyolica. “Now we can live and make songs with fresh emotion.”

Since 1999, Wyolica has been hailed by critics for its melancholic “folky soul,” crafting a hitherto unknown sound summed up in the title to second album Almost Blues. After a greatest hits compilation in 2004, though, they slipped off the radar, working on various solo projects and collaborations. But 2009 began with a new mini-album, Balcony, and soon the idea of letting the decade pass unnoticed began to prey on vocalist Azumi’s mind.

“We hadn’t released anything for five years and decided it was time to be more active,” she explains about working with a new label (Deep Blue) and new management. “Then we wanted to show people another side of us, so So-To made this new song, ‘Boku wa Wasurenai.’ We had always written music to try to express the hidden feelings we have so that we can reach others on a personal level. But with this song, we wanted to be wild and shout out what we feel deep inside.”

“‘Boku wa Wasurenai’ came from me like music comes from a speaker,” continues So-To. “The lyrics have a message, but this time we want to send the message through the power of the music, not only from the words.”

Fans needn’t fret over a change in direction, though. Wyolica’s new material is as light and playful as ever. Indeed, they remain true to their name—a neologism they define as “people of the grass fields.”
Not to be confused with hippies, these city dwellers from Sapporo (Azumi) and Osaka (So-To) speak of wide-ranging influences.

“I loved the guitar style of Nick Heyward from Haircut 100,” says So-To, who met Azumi at a Sony audition back in 1997. “But my biggest influence came from Brian McKnight’s rhythms and guitar-playing style.” Azumi is a jazz fan, citing Ella Fitzgerald and Keith Jarrett among her idols. Even more surprisingly, So-To played in a college band that performed covers of Earth, Wind & Fire, before heeding the call of his own muse.

Wyolica’s debut album Who Said “La La…”? was produced by Shinichi Osawa (a.k.a. Mondo Grosso), famed for his work with UA, Chara and Monday Michiru. “He taught us a lot,” says So-To. “He was the biggest influence in developing the originality of our music.”

By the time of their third album, 2003’s Fruits and Roots, Wyolica had fine-tuned their sound and found mainstream success. After rounding things off with their 2004 hits collection, All The Things You Are, the duo went their separate ways.

“I wanted to do some activities for myself,” says Azumi, who put out three pop/disco-tinged singles in 2005-6. So-To, meanwhile, began writing for other artists, notably singer/actress Kou Shibasaki and J-pop performer Kousuke Atari.

“We started playing live again in 2007, just acoustic performances with the two of us,” says Azumi. “We are nervous about being back, but confident, too, because we have improved over time.”

“Everything is Gonna Be Alright,” the bass-driven B-side to Wyolica’s new single, sums up their state of mind. “Ten years passed so fast and we learned many things. Now we want to lay a foundation for the next ten years,” Azumi says.

The duo has lined up shows in Tokyo and Osaka, and is planning to end the year with a new album and nationwide tour. “Playing live is what we most look forward to,” says So-To. “It’s our dream to play across Europe someday. Actually, what we really want is to play on the UK show Later with Jools Holland. That’s our goal!”

Kinema Club, June 7. See concert listings (popular) for details. Wyolica’s new single, “Boku wa Wasurenai,” is available on Sony Music.

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