AHEAD of their first ever UK headline tour dates, which bring them to The Banshee Labyrinth on 30 June, North Californian duo Ogikubo Station have released an EP of songs - Okinawan Love Songs - recorded especially to mark the occasion,
For the uninitiated, Ogikubo Station is Maura Weaver of Ohio punks Mixtapes, and Asian Man Records founder Mike Park playing simple chords, with simple melodies and the simple goal of having fun playing music together.
Named after the train station in Tokyo near Park’s label office during Park’s time living in Japan, the pair recorded their debut six song EP in 2017, with their debut full length We Can Pretend Like released in the US late last year.
Formed a few years ago, Park asked Weaver to sing on a song he had written. Nothing fancy, just guitar and voices. As they finished the song, they both thought, “Hey, our voices sound really good together”. Ogikubo Station was born.
Living in different states 2,231 miles apart makes the song writing process a challenge to say the least, but Park says “We’ve gotten good at bouncing ideas back and forth until we have a good concept of how we want the song to sound.”
Officially founded in 1996, Park’s now legendary Asian Man Records helped launch the careers of Alkaline Trio, Smoking Popes, Cayetana, Joyce Manor, Lawrence Arms & many more, and is still run out of his parents’ garage in Northern California.
He has one employee, and his mom still helps out by picking up the mail at the post office. They have no phone line, no fax machine, and just recently purchased a second computer.
“Depending on how you look at life, this is either a good thing or a bad thing,” says Park of the label’s ethos.
“For me, it’s the only thing; or in other words: I like being a little label. This is how the label will remain. I do this for the love of music, not for financial gain or status recognition.
“I try my best to do the right things ethically and to believe in helping others instead of striving for profit over people.”
Ogikubo Station, play The Banshee Labyrinth 30 June