Stop everything! I’m about to introduce you to your new favourite band.
With a band name like Hard Nips you get an idea of what to expect, right from the start. They’re all Japanese living in New York, they play hardcore punk style music for the 21st century, and they’re off the wall brilliant.
Gooch, Hitomi and Yoko all grew up in Japan, while Saki grew up on Long Island. They all came to New York at different times, but somehow they found their way to each other. Bonding over alcohol they formed a band in 2009, and have a sound that is a blend of the Ramones, Blondie (VERY much so the latter), and the off the wall fun of The B-52s. Hard Nips’ latest single, ‘Alternative Dreamland’ is out now and is from their upcoming EP, ‘Master Cat’, out on Dadstache Records, and set for release on June 4.
Yoko, the singer and keyboardist ran a Japanese bar and restaurant in Brooklyn where Gooch (bassist) was a regular customer. Like moths to a flame, the bar attracted the others, and gave them a place to meet, unwind, and speak in Japanese over a lot of wine. It was during these meetups that they realised they could form a band, and a kick-ass one at that.
Speaking of the band, guitarist Saki says,
“Gooch is from Okinawa so she’s an island girl; Hitomi is from Nagano so she is a mountain girl; Yoko is from Osaka so she is a city girl; [I’m] from Long Island so [I’m] a suburban girl (at heart).”
More than a decade later, and with two albums and three EPs under their belt, Hard Nips return with their first new music since 2017, their new album, ‘Master Cat’, which comes out next week, June 4. The new single, ‘Alternative Dreamland’, is all jangly guitars and thrumming bass, with Yoko sounding altogether like a Japanese Debbie Harry. They’re slickly produced, and work together like a well-oiled machine; it’s American punk with a Japanese twist and the bridge at just after 2 minutes drops the mood down a notch or two, introducing some nice grungy reverb that just completely hits the spot.
“We collaborated on everything and everyone wrote their own parts but each song started out as a basic form usually from one of us,” explains Saki. “Gooch and I especially bring the initial flavor to the songs by writing the melodies/riffs: Gooch’s style is more groovy and funky with songs like “Master Cat,” “Alternative Dreamland,” and “Anaconda”; my style is more rocking and punk, with “Workaholic,” “Analog Guys” and “Motto.” Yoko and Gooch write the lyrics. Hitomi is a true professional and we can roughly describe what kind of beat we are thinking of and she will find it.”