David Best

Fujiya & Miyagi frontman David Best faces our barrage of quick-fire questions

Photo: Olly Hearsay

Hello, David. Where are you right now and what can you see?

“I’m at home in Hove and I can see a rabbit.”

You say that if someone new to Fujiya & Miyagi played ‘Slight Variations’, it would “convey everything you’re about”. Er… what are you about?

“The short answer would be something flippant and snappy like introverted motorik funk. The slightly longer answer would be that our greatest strength comes from never being that successful. What that leaves us with is making music for the sake of it. There is something in us which isn’t driven by any other factor than the love of music.”

The album title is a cheeky nod to people who think all your records sound the same, right?

“I suppose if you look at a forest from afar, all the trees look the same. It’s not until you get up-close that you see the differences. You could say the same about anything. Roads all look the same. Cutlery is always pretty similar.”

There’s always a healthy hat-doff to Neu! in your work…

“Initially, we were a hybrid of our influences and perhaps still are. After ‘Transparent Things’, we made a conscious decision not to be so obviously influenced by the German groups we loved, as those musicians were still actively creating music. I feel more comfortable now with showing those influences as it’s not a carbon copy.”

And you’ve strayed into dub reggae-ish territory on ‘FAQ’. That’s an interesting change of tack…

“It’s skating on thin ice, that’s what it is. I’ve got so into dub and rocksteady over the last three years or so. I’ve got a theory that listening habits are linked to personal circumstances. During lockdown, we all lacked space so it made sense for me to find it in the caverns of dub. If you’re waiting for a baby to be born, listening to Terry Riley can help pass the time. If you’re busy, Devo can help speed things up. Quite a few people have said they like running to our music and we’ve also been told it’s good for decorating.”

Always liked your name. I’m sure I can Google this, but… why?

“It’s our biggest regret. Every time I explain, a part of me dies, but here goes… Miyagi is from the film, ‘The Karate Kid’. Fujiya is a brand of record player.”

What was the plan when F&M started out? Was there a plan?

“We had a list of everything we didn’t want to be. No guitar solos, no showing off, and no more than two chords per song. By taking away what we didn’t want to be, we became what we wanted to be.”

Any advice from current-day F&M to the early-doors version?

“Change your stupid name.”

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Pulling up a chair and making himself comfy in the face of our quick-fire line of questioning, it’s Sir Was