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FP: You usually have lots of Christmas lights on stage, wrapped around your keyboard, the mic stand… did you have the same set up for your acoustic show at Joe’s Pub here in New York?
YC: We did have them. More than the visuals [though], I was struck by how truly intimate the setting was, and at first I was really scared by how intimate it was. I wasn’t so used to experiencing that kind of quiet while performing. So when we initially went out to perform the show, the first song was just me and the piano, and I was just like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening! Why did I agree to do this?” But as the songs unfolded, I felt connected to the audience in a way that I can’t really when we’re playing a full electric show. I had a really good time once I accepted what kind of show it was going to be. And I was able to just relax and enjoy it for what it was.
FP: Performing and recording like that meant you couldn’t have anything between you and the audience.
YC: I felt very naked for sure. But in the end I felt like I was able to reveal a side of me that I couldn’t otherwise. That’s why it was such a beautiful experience for me and hopefully for people that were there, because it was a truly honest performance, for better or for worse. Flaws and all. It was a truly honest performance for all of us, and I think there’s something really great about being able to be vulnerable with somebody else, whether it’s just with one person or a small group of people, whether you’re on stage or not.
Yuki’s Top 5 Acoustic Influences
1. Gal Costa I love Gal Costa. She’s got the most beautiful voice, and so many different kinds of albums. I just love basically everything that she’s done. I got into Brazilian music through Os Mutantes like everybody else, when David Byrne put out the stuff on Luaka Bop, and I just haven’t stopped listening to it since.
2. Joyce Joyce is a little bit more acoustic. It’s quieter and prettier. She’s a Brazilian singer as well.
3. Hope Sandoval I like a lot of Hope Sandoval and Mazzy Star stuff, although it’s not truly acoustic for the most part, because she does have a lot of pretty electric guitar on it. But there are some acoustic songs on her album that are so, so, so, beautiful and we had to pay homage to that, which is why that cover of “Suzanne” is on Rewolf.
4. Leonard Cohen Speaking of “Suzanne,” I love Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” which is a totally different song. I have no idea why people are saying it’s the same song, I read that in a couple places. I just want to clarify that they’re not the same song! I do love the Leonard Cohen “Suzanne,” as well.
5. The Cure I know that everybody says this, but The Cure Unplugged is amazing. I have the bootleg performance on VHS somewhere. I love Robert Smith’s performance of “A Letter to Elise.” It’s that performance where he uses a toy grand piano. That inspired me to play a toy piano in the first place with this band. So I definitely owe a lot to that bootleg.