Catch Up With: Grimm Grimm

Grimm Grimm is the solo project of London-based Koichi Yamanoha. He expertly layers mournful melody-lines, sparse guitar, bright pops of synths, and quirky clicks and glitches into slow-burning and thoughtful  dream pop masterpieces. Fans of Deer Hunter, Daughter, and Novo Amor will find a kindred spirit in Grimm Grimm. Ahead of his very special, restricted capacity live show this month, we caught up with Grimm Grimm to talk about his new music, the impact the pandemic has had on his song-writing, and to find out more about what we can expect from his headline set.

We can’t wait for your live show in June, how are rehearsals going?
It feels quite surreal to even rehearse for a show with an actual audience, but I’m very excited; thank you for having me.

It’s our pleasure! Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from your performance at Islington Assembly Hall?
I’d like to bring some kind of mood of celebration. ..Its definitely something to celebrate – just being able to play live music in a same room again, and to embrace just being alive. —I’ll be performing some songs from my last 3 albums and a new instrumental album I released earlier this year, as well as some new songs I’ve written recently.

Live music venues have had to adapt a lot since the pandemic, bringing changes to how artists are able to perform as well. Has this brought with it any positive change for you? Are there any new measures for live music that you hope are here to stay?
Personally the main positive change I have experienced is the depth of appreciation for music and live events in particular.

Where was the best gig you’ve ever played? What made it so memorable?
Once I performed at a festival for the birth of Virgin Mary in southern Italy. It took place very high up in the mountains, which made it quite a surreal experience because it was hard to even breath properly. After the performance, I remember this old lady with an orange scarf came up to me with such emotion in her face and saying something in Italian, I thought maybe she was really moved by the show but who knows… maybe she hated it with a passion and that’s why she couldn’t stop crying.

For any prospective fans out there, how would you describe your sound?
Well it’s hard to describe with words… I guess it’s some form of pop music, since it’s melodious. I try and put my heart into the sound as much as possible.

Your latest release, instrumental album ‘Recalling’, centres on the theme of memories. What inspired you to explore that particular theme in these tracks?
These tracks were specially compiled for the new label of East London venue Cafe OTO who have been releasing music recorded in lockdown. I practice a specific type of Buddhism which involves repeating the same phrase over and over. One of the words in the phrase means “Devote” or “Recalling”, in the sense of remembering who you are, or re-centering what you believe. I felt most people around me become so vulnerable during the pandemic. I was thinking about how to recreate dialogue with people remotely, and gradually, the process of reconnection grew in me as music.

Check out ‘Recalling’ here.

Are there any tracks or artists that particularly inspired your journey in to creating dream pop music?
It’s always hard to choose particular tracks…but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of classical music on YouTube, especially 15th – 16th century composers like William Byrd. I am really inspired by the holy and architectural qualities of these pieces, and I find them emotionally very ‘neutralising’.

Do you consider a particular artist to be your ‘music hero’? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?
There are a few of them…but most of them are already dead…maybe The Shaggs…Although I can’t think of any question, if they are still alive and I happen to cross them in the street, I might stop them for a second and tell them that I love their music.

What are your plans as an artist for 2021?
Continue working on a new album.

We always have to ask our interviewees this final question as we’re a team of foodies at IAH: if you could only eat one food forever, what would it be?
Fresh Sashimi

Catch Grimm Grimm live at Islington Assembly Hall on 13th June 2021, tickets are available now.