Nakatomi – Across The Ocean


Good things do come out of Adelaide and that can be said by local eighties inspired electro-pop duo Nakatomi. The duo are hitting it around the country to promote their new single The Knife and larrikin Hamish Cox completes a quick Q&A with Across The Ocean about the single and the creative process.


How busy a time is it leading up to this run of dates and single release The Knife?

So busy! Trying to balance the release, the tour, song writing and finding time to re-watch the entire series of Breaking Bad and Rick and Morty, it’s almost killing me. I really have to prioritise things better, i.e. move Breaking Bad straight to the top of the list.

Is this the most exciting period for any band?

Absolutely! It’s second only to getting a Chicken Kebab at 4 am after a big show. That is why I got into music in the first place.

Is there a sense of relief or pressure once something you have been working on is finally out there?

Definitely relief, sometimes you spend so much time with a track, over thinking it, that you just get over the track and begin moving onto new things. Then, when it is time to put it out there, it refuels your excitement for the track and it’s just good fun seeing peoples reaction to it, both positive and negative. It’s like having a baby that grows up ridiculously quickly. It’s born and then within a few months it is all grown up, left home and is already studying creative arts at uni and refusing to answer your calls. What a bastard.

The Knife is a great single – is there a story behind this single?

I had been sitting on the verse of this track for about a year and could not get a chorus I was happy with. Then one day I was waiting for my meal in a Maccas carpark (apparently it was going to be a two minute wait on a cheeseburger) and as I was sitting there I thought of this little bass riff, pulled out my phone, chucked open Fruity Loops and sorted the chorus in about a minute. That burger tasted like victory that night… victory and sugar.

Is this single a part of a forthcoming album or EP?

As we’re a fairly new act, we have about six or seven tracks ready to go that we play in our live show but we thought we’d get this out there as a single, tour it, work on some new tracks and have something brewing by the end of the year. So hopefully by January we’ll have either a new single or EP out. If we’re really struggling we will just put eleven different versions of The Knife in different tempos and call is a ‘concept’ album.

Do you find the process of writing and recording enjoyable?

Yeah it’s great fun. I love it when you hit an idea that works. It gets a bit tedious after you’ve been stuck in a studio for twelve hours and you go outside and your retinas explode from the natural sunlight but to come up with a cool part, workshop it with your mates and then hear how far it’s come once it’s recorded from its humble beginnings, it’s always cool as shit.

How do you get past writers block or points where it’s just not happening?

Lego. I know how weird that sounds, but I remember seeing a South Park doco, and as you might know, they write and create an episode in six days, which is insane. In the doco Trey Parker said before every season he buys heaps of Lego and when he’s struggling with an idea he sits there and builds something. The focus of it means it’s all he can think about and he comes back to the idea really fresh. I tried it and it blew my mind. Works so freakin’ well. Not only that, but at the end of the writer’s block you have a kick ass spaceship/dinosaur/race car/disappointment and shame from your girlfriend. It’s like building a mini IKEA set.

Was there anything that you learned that you would do differently next time?

The skills and styles are changing so quickly. I would definitely spend more time learning new techniques for all the new VST’s and DAW’s. I usually focus on recording with old school synths, but the new software is so feature packed I would definitely spend more time focusing on developing my skills and keeping up to date with the new programs.

Do you think there is still a stigma of being an Adelaide band?

I think there is to a certain degree. Every state looks at each other in a different way and I don’t think that’s a positive or a negative, it is kind of cool. I love going to see interstate acts and seeing what they’re doing or what’s happening in their scene at the moment. I’m sure people do the same in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, etc and I think that’s cool. That ‘want’ to see what other states and areas are bringing to the table is awesome. I’m just glad the question wasn’t “Is there a certain STIGMATA of being an Adelaide band”. That worried me for a second. I’ve seen the Exorcist. I don’t want Adelaide bands to get the Stigmata.

How did the band meet?

We met in school and played in a few bands together. I wish it was a cool story like Em saved me from a bus crash or I found Em singing in a wheely bin behind an Oportos. If we had a story like that we would have nailed X-Factor.

Is there a story behind the band name?

I was watching Die Hard for the millionth time and suggested Nakatomi. Em thought it was a classy name and said “Yeah that sounds cool and interesting”. By the time she realised it was from Die Hard it was too late…YIPPEE KAY YAY MOTHER FUCKER!

How would you describe the band’s style to someone who hasn’t heard of your band before?

Dance, 80’s, Electro. Kind of like putting Madonna, a shot of tequila and the cast of Full House in a blender. We’re pretty high energy 80’s dance. The best suggestion is listen to the song or come see us live. smile emoticon.

If you were working in JB Hi-Fi and had to write a yellow display card for the album what words would you write on it?

The Knife – now not just a thing you cut bread with! If you don’t like the track you can at least use the CD as a coaster. 3 out of 5. (I’m a harsh critic)

What would you say were the main influences are for the band?

As a synth player, anything from the 80’s, that’s my Woodstock. But I love the new crop of electro acts that have come out over the last few years. The Presets first album really opened the door for Australian electro, so their albums are a huge influence.

With the digital age do you think the concept of an album is lost?

I don’t think it is lost. Just different. I love a good album, but with the mediums now it seems to be singles and songs can just be one offs a lot more and work. So although the idea of a concept album may be a bit lost, I think the idea of a concept song can work. Something that’s different that combines mediums and genres on a track to create something interesting is the new concept album.

Are you looking to tour more extensively around Australia or overseas at some point this next year?

Yeah. We will go back to writing at the end of the year and get something out in the New Year. Also any excuse to get back to the East coast or overseas would be awesome.

What’s the plan for the band heading in to summer?

So many Golden Gaytimes… I know that sounded weird, but you know what I mean… god guys grow up!

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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