Fuji Hakayito
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Fuji Hakayito

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"Fuji Hakayito's Co-ordinated Stunt"

Victoria’s psychedelic garage-rockers Fuji Hakayito are going on a tour of Canada this month. Think about that for a second. The first stop on the tour is here in Calgary, on January 7 at Broken City, and the tour ends in Montreal on January 22, hitting most of your favourite cities across the vast sprawl of the Canadian Prairies and the shield in between. Even driving up to Edmonton in January can be a white-knuckled affair, so what could have possibly caused the self-proclaimed “makeshift” band to embark on such a tour?

“Necessity,” says guitarist-vocalist Tanner Matt. “This is basically the only time we could tour, really — our band is split up across the continent, and we met up around Victoria for Christmastime.”

“[The tour] also works with what we do, and how we work as a band,” says bassist John Ohrn. “We seem to just always have a lot going against us, in terms of just about everything — time, creativity, everything. It just makes sense that the only time we could do it, of course, would be in the brutal, brutal Canadian winter.”

Fuji Hakayito spent the last week of December writing and recording a new album, although at the time of the interview, the band was waiting for one important detail to clear up.

“We’re waiting on someone — we’re supposed to jam at his house and record there, but he got a Wii for Christmas from his sister and he doesn’t like it, so he’s returning it at Future Shop. So we’re waiting on his phone call, so we can go over [to his house] to start writing new material,” says Ohrn.

Matt insists: “I mean, we’re going to make a record, and it’ll happen, but it’ll be under some interesting, weird circumstances.”

Musically, Fuji Hakayito is the product of time constraints and spontaneity, and within the band, members having played together in psychedelic rock bands since their teenage years. The result is the definition of “ramshackle,” a blown-out affair that doesn’t necessarily stick to any guidelines.

“[We’ve got] such a huge menagerie of influences, it’s just like it goes everywhere,” explains Ohrn. “We decided on ridiculous influences, which are mostly true — but when they all add up, whatever comes out, I guess, is what we play.”

“I think pressure is our main influence. Pressure, personality disorders and dire straits. Not the band, but being in dire straits — and probably more stuff that isn’t really something you wouldn’t see on a CD rack, but more bad stuff that would happen to you in real life. Trying to squeeze a tiny bit of positivity and some kind of happiness out of usually awful situations,” adds guitarist-vocalist Scott Gailey.

If the band’s name seems vaguely familiar, a quick Google search reveals it to be the stage name of the “stunt co-ordinator” on the late-80s, early-90s variety program The Super Dave Osborne Show. The real story behind the name, however, reveals otherwise.

“Scott agreed to play a show that was three days away as a favour, because a band dropped from the bill. It was probably off the top of his head,” says Matt.

“The name was on a poster before we had any songs written, and before the original setup of the band had been formulated at all. There was some kind of low, low, low level of anticipation for something that may or may not have been able to exist,” explains Gailey. “There was some kind of gimmick about us playing country music, like country-punk music… clearly, it was never country music.”

“Like we said, we’re waiting for some guy who’s returning a Wii to Future Shop so we can record our album,” laughs Matt.

“I wish he kept the Wii, ’cause then we could play it when we’re jamming.” - Devin Friesen - FFWD Weekly


Discography

- Live @ The Apollo (2011)
*Recording from 'The Apollo' in Thunder Bay on January 14th, 2011

- If It Isn't One Thing It's Another (2011)

- Great Canon (2009)
*Ranked #3 on CFCR (Saskatoon) in January 2011

- Fuji Hakayito - CFUV Sessions (2009)
*Live on CFUV 101.9FM Victoria

- Which is Burning? (2008)

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Bio

Fuji Hakayito is a wild band of wild bandmates. Their first two records were each written, recorded, produced, and released all in the same day. Fuji was founded as a test of how far one can be pushed creatively in small amounts of time.

The concept band was formed just three days prior to their first show in January 2008, where they took the stage dressed in whiteface and "cowboy outfits", playing old country chord progressions to blast beats through layers of psychadelia. Citing such varied influences as "The Flying Burrito Brothers", "The Mummies" and "The Brian Jonestown Massacre", they continue to develop their sound in compelling and challenging ways - to ensure that audiences never get the same experience twice.

"Fuji Hakayito may just be one of my dream bands. They have created a sound that is needed in the scene today." writes Bluegrassish.com, "The music is so infectious, be it the 6 minute guitar-psyh-freakouts or the uptempo sing-alongs of songs like Surf Suit or Fresh Heir". Calgary's FFWD Weekly calls Fuji's second album 'Great Canon' a "shambling full-length blowout" -- which is what to expect when given an afternoon to write, record and release a full-length album (complete with packaging).

FUJI HAKAYITO has played basements, house parties, stages, art galleries, a "goth" party, a benefit show, and live on college radios. They completed a full cross-Canadian winter tour in icy January 2011, battling snowstorms, avalanches, moose, road closures and strange venues across the great white expanse.