20 Questions: Miho Hatori (New Optimism, Miss Information,Cibo Matto, Gorillaz)

20 Questions: Miho Hatori (New Optimism, Miss Information,Cibo Matto, Gorillaz)

Japanese musician Miho Hatori is New Optimism. She was also the co-founder of the beloved Cibo Matto and a collaborative partner of Gorillaz, Beastie Boys, John Zorn, etc. Her vibrant debut EP under the moniker of New Optimism entitled Amazon To LeFrak was released through Phantom Limb earlier in the year. Her genre hopping sound infuses elements of futuristic avant garde pop, electronica and hip hop with her documentation of our times, redolent of the work of everyone from Bjork, The Go! Team to M.I.A and everything in between. The wonderful single ‘Jet Setters’ caught our ears earlier this year. A riot of dubby basslines, chunky industrial samples, rattling percussion and buzzing electronic flourishes while her vocals switch from chant to battle cry. Today, she answers our 20 questions.


Hi, how are you today and what’s the weather like?

New York is… a bit cloudy summer day in Manhattan, 23C-ish. 

How do most of your songs start life?

Usually from making beats.

Tell us about your history in music?

I came to NYC in 90’s and met Yuka Honda. We started Cibo Matto.

Around 2000, I was doing a Brazilian music inspired band, Smokey and Miho.

You might have heard my voice in the debut album in Gorillaz (?). 

Cibo Matto broke up last year but now I have a new project, New Optimism.

Have you ever been starstruck?

Yes. My partner haha.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?

A visual artist.

What’s your experience of being a female working in the music industry? 

When I am creating something, I am not thinking I am a female but just being me.

In the business side, my experience could be the mixture of being a female and an Asian in our society level.

Who are your favourite new acts?

Zsela, her live performance was amazing.  

Best show you’ve played so far?

Bubble_T Party.

What’s your favourite single?

Too many, but I am always waiting for Rihanna‘s next single lol 

What do you listen to in your tour van?

It depends on the scenery. 

What’s your poison?

Japanese fried rice crackers and YouTube.

Do you write at home or in the studio or both?

Usually at my home studio. 

What were your favourite artists growing up?

Yellow Magic Orchestra.

Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?

If Jamie Foxx can do it, I will flip out. 

Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?

Everything! 

What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?

Nothing Compares 2 U. 

Tell us about your new EP?

New Optimism’s debut EP, Amazon to LeFrak released from Phantom Limb. Check this out! https://phantomlimblabel.bandcamp.com/album/amazon-to-lefrak

What was the inspiration for your recent New Optimism single Jet Setters!?

“Globality and Globalization is different.” 

This is Édouard Glissant’s quote, my favorite poet and philosopher. 

I am not against globalization.

But I think it’s important to have the awareness.

Are you playing any shows? 

14/09/2018  Basilica Soundscape, Hudson, NY

22/09/2018  Walking Windows, Portland, MA

23/09/2018  Book Fair at MoMA PS1, NY

05/10/2018  Elsewhere, Brooklyn, NY

What would be your dream collaboration?

Wally Badarou. 

New Optimism’s EP Amazon to LeFrak out now: https://phantomlimblabel.bandcamp.com/album/amazon-to-lefrak 

Miho is also ‘Miss Information’. Debut album out in September https://pioneerworkspress.bandcamp.com/album/sequence  

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