mikan music articles
Interview Ayaka Ikio
By Shimoa, on 2009-04-08 23:15 - Translation : janiine
Japanese electronica has been an exception among all japanese music genres for a long time, as the biggest stars in this genre were all men, only using women as tools needed to put a sweet voice on their tracks. But today things seem to change, and if producing remains in the hands of men, female performers are getting a stronger position on the market. We met one of the representatives of this new electronica female generation, far from the kawaii electro-pop idols clichés that we know so far: Ayaka Ikio.
Ayaka Ikio 1
■  mimu : First of all, could you please introduce yourself to the readers who don’t know you yet ?
Ayaka Ikio : (infectious laughter) Well... My name is Ayaka Ikio (laughing), I’m a student although I usually have to skip school for dance lessons or voice training, not to mention my modelling activities. By the way, the other day I had the pleasure to take part in the Shibuya Girls Collection (note : a huge fashion event), and a few photo shootings are planned. Here is for my daily life... (laughing) And there are also concerts, and we have just started a new recording session.

■  Your first album RE:ACID QUEEN was released on mid-January. Tell us more about it.
It’s my debut album, there are many "tuning" sounds,... Without saying I’m a tough person, we try to try to give the image of a strong woman but cool at the same time. So the music is electro, it is composed for me, then we discuss together the singing style or the way it should express things. When I sing these songs in night clubs, I do it with a “hard touch” (laughing).

■  What brought you from fashion to the electro music world, and how did you manage to work with Masayuki Kumahara, known for his collaborations with Fantastic Plastic Machine, for example ?
Ayaka Ikio 2
Well... Before I started singing, I was a model for a teen magazine. I loved music and I was going regularly to night clubs, so when one day I was suggested to sing, I said I was interested, that’s why I made my debut as a singer. Apart from that, I had been interested in dancing for a pretty long time ; I had already done some ballet dancing. When I entered high school, I stopped in order to integrate a dance club at school but it was a bit of a mess. Now, once again, I have entered a real dance school where I train everyday, and I’m getting quite good at it (laughing). About Kumahara, we were introduced once when he was composing and...
Manager : Kumahara has been famous for a long time now, and we have asked him to work with us because we thought he would be able to compose the ideal music for Ikio. And indeed, we ended up with a very good album. We have decided to call him back for the next one, for which he will work hand in hand with Ikio.

■  On this subject, lyrics and music are signed by several collaborators, but do you personally intervene in the creation process? To what extend?
I comment on the work I get to see, I say if I want to change something or when I want to express some other thing.

Ayaka Ikio 3
■  I have read your very... explicit lyrics (Ikio laughs) (note : e.g. "come on suck me", "fuck me", etc.), how did you react when you first read them ? Were you shocked ?
Indeed, they are explicit but, how can I say, I can't be a cute little girl, that's not me, I've always been told I was a strong, «boyish» girl. I said I wanted to express that, and the lyrics were written (laughing). They were very direct for me too, but I thought it would be cool to have a girl who says things so frankly.

■  While reading this, I wondered what kind of woman you were (all laughing). You give a much more mature and glamourous image of electro music than your colleagues, through your lyrics about sex and drugs, and through your music with more hard core, club sounds. What kind of audience are you therefore aiming at in that way ?
Well... hum... I turned 20 last January, I'm aiming at people my age, but of course I also want people from 10 to 19 years old to listen to me. Then, since my music is written from a woman's point of view, maybe we can say I would like to have a more feminine audience. And finally, I obviously want to appeal to people who love night clubs.

■  In your album, the song called Spiral Storage is kind of an exception since it is the only one not produced by Makihara. Could it be considered as a one-shot in a tight collaboration with Makihara, or do you think about working with different producers for your next releases ?
Ayaka Ikio 4
If I have the chance to do so, it will be a pleasure. (laughing) For the first album, we got to work with Kumahara among others, and we have planned on working again with him for the next one. After that, we will study the offers, if someone has an idea or composes a good song, the doors are open. It would be interesting to work with different people.

■  On your album, there is also a remixed version of Spin Me Round by cargo, who met success recently on iTunes. What are your links with this group ?
Well... my manager is working with cargo. He wondered how it would be like to add cargo's piano sounds to my song, and we ended up with a remix which is the last track of the album... let's call it a bonus track.

■  A few years ago, the electro market was dominated by producers like FPM, Towa Tei and others who used feminine voices that were not particularly put forward. Today, with artists like Aira Mitsuki, Sweet Vacation or immi, we feel like girls are taking the power -at least on the image point of view- on the Japanese electro scene, and the positive reviews about your album seem to confirm that. What is your opinion about it ?
I think that is quite interesting. (laughing) It was not common before, but girls are those who distinguish themselves the most in J-pop or in fashion, and I think they are also carving out a niche for themselves in electro. At least in Japan.

■  Your projects or goals for 2009 ?
For the moment, my goal would be to get people to know me. Of course as an artist, but also as a model. So that people know that's what I do. About music, I have firmly decided to continue in club music, to follow my tastes and to look for fun things to do. (laughing)

■  You said you were preparing a second album... Is it possible to know more about it ?
Well... (laughing) The recordings have just begun. We want you to keep looking forward to it. (laughing)

Ayaka Ikio 6
■  Finally, I would like you to do... your Jiko PR !! (all laughing) (note: Jiko PR is to promote oneself as a «product» ; it is always asked during job interviews)
I think I have already done that at school ! (all laughing) Jiko PR... Jiko PR ? Sounds like homework. (laughing) Hum... Well I try to be a singer as well as a model... I am not the kind of person who does things by halves so I want to put a lot of efforts in everything I do. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. (laughing)

■  Sure ! Thank you so much for today, and we cannot wait to hear about your next achievements !

Ayaka Ikio
Official website

See Ayaka Ikio's mikan in our gallery
See the review of the album RE:ACID QUEEN