Best known through her moniker Cream With A K, Lee Tatlock creates J-Pop inspired tracks. Her latest release ‘Stuck In A House’ features Grimes-influenced vocals and is eerily infectious. We spoke to Cream With A K about her first ever English worded music release and how her heart still belongs to J-Pop.
We’re loving “Stuck In A House”, tell us something about the track that no-one else knows.
I wrote this song in Starbucks in Tokyo on my laptop with a little midi keyboard. It came together super quickly. Even the melody and words . I remember I sang them almost perfectly as it is first go into my iPhone mic.
The track addresses your experiences with agoraphobia. How does it feel singing about something that effects you so drastically?
I feel like the song has a life of its own now and when I sing it on stage with my band, it kind of does it’s own thing… I just go along with it for a ride and honor it. I don’t feel like I’m going through the motions – or it’s a drag or anything like that. At that moment the song lives and I’m there for it like a character in the story, then the next second it’s gone as if it never existed. The fact that Music is so fleeting makes it so beautiful.
For those who haven’t heard of your music, how would you describe it?
I normally call it 90s-ethereal-grunge-pop-rock..?! There’s not many bands I can lay beside it totally because of the juxtaposition of my voice, the fuzzy raw-ness and detailed arrangement. A lot of opposites co-existing together. I think I have my own recipe – which is why Music Producers hate me – so I pretty much stopped working with them for a while. It took a lot of time finding a team of people I trust with my music.
Before this, you were in a J-Pop band called NEKO PUNCH which is cool, have you always been a fan of Japanese pop music?
Yeah…I used to only write in Japanese. I hated singing in English and thought I sounded better in Japanese for a long time. I wanted to get really good at writing Japanese lyrics so I would only ever listen to Japanese songs so I could master the art of “Hamari” ,which is the way you slot Japanese words into a melody so it’s easy to listen to and ultra catchy. The Japanese have an exceptional amount of attention to detail in their crafts. I even learned depending what vowel sound you use at the beginning of the chorus could completely change the mood of the listener – and possible define a hit or not. I like to think being a J-pop fan made me a more considerate writer in general.
Does J-Pop still influence your music today?
Yes for sure. I think my ears are pretty Japanese, there are certain notes I go to or certain chord changes I do out of habit. I used to write using hundreds of chords with key changes – trying to make everything super epic and over the top but recently…I try to simplify down to just a few chords.
However, my arrangement style remains J-Pop as hell. Not only are they structurally complicated – I have a crazy amount of tracks per mix. Which is another reason why producers hate me 😛
Finally, what are the best tracks to introduce someone to J-Pop?
I love “Tokyo Incidents – OSCA” recently. It’s crazy tune – the bass is amazing and insanely huge in the mix, completely crushing the drums to a tinny mess. Most Music Engineers probably couldn’t handle listening to it – but I thinks it’s ingenious.
If you like good clean 90s cheesy girl punk music; “Judy and Mary – Motto” is great. That was more like the kind of stuff that inspired the stuff I used to write early on in my J-pop career.
We love your quirky pop tunes here at LOCK, thank you so much for chatting with us.
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Featured image by Lawrence Randall