David Best of Fujiya & Miyagi explains how he's attempted to unify the past and present on new album Flashback rather than creating a record that's purely an exercise in nostalgia for '80s Britain
I’ve always been intrigued about memories and how they disrupt the present by interjecting the past. Some memories we can summon upon request and some keep coming back uninvited. This is where the initial idea for Flashback sprung from. The involuntary nature of recollection and how it affects us in the present is pretty fascinating. The non sequitur approach of specific instances from the past disrupting our thoughts really interests me. I have tried to mirror this with how I use words, specifically the way lines bump against each other in a non linear fashion.
Our record looks backwards to a childhood growing up in a satellite town above London in the early '80s. This was perhaps the first major Americanisation of British youth culture. People started getting video recorders so we were exposed to films we would only otherwise have seen in the cinema, if at all. Music was dancing to a beat made by machines not humans, and electro ruled the airwaves. I didn’t really realise how much of that period I absorbed. I pretty much still dress the way I wish I could have when I was 12, which is basically like a Run DMC clone with the body shape of a middle aged plumber. Electro came from a completely different culture and environment to my own and that’s probably why I found it so fascinating. Kids would ask their parents for offcuts from the kitchen linoleum so they could try to spin on their backs. Everybody tried to do the moonwalk and nobody succeeded. We watched the film Breakdance then a little later Breakdance 2. We spraypainted our names poorly on temporary toilet portacabins with stolen aerosols.
Everything did seem to move more slowly in 1983. That might be because when you are a kid weeks stretch on forever, but there was definitely more headspace in the early '80s. Perhaps that’s why some of the memories I have from childhood are so vivid. They didn’t have much competition. Maybe looking back provides us with an escape route to the information overload that technology has thrust upon us. There’s more space there because nothing much happened, except for the kid who wrote his name with his own poo in the school toilets. Another kid tried to have sex with a wooden bench. Other than those two things, nothing.
I didn’t want the record to sound like it was trying to recreate the past. I wanted it to sound like a memory of the past viewed through the present. That’s why I used phrases such as "Fear of Missing Out" and "Gammon" on the record. I wanted it to be tied to the specific era it was made, not merely an exercise in nostalgia. I like the idea of it being fragmented and for it to jump from one idea to another, and one timeframe to another, even when they seemingly don’t have much in common. I think it’s easy to idealise the past. This looks like to me the bait that Brexiteers have been reeled in by. If people would admit that the past was a bit shit maybe the present would be a kinder and more tolerant place to exist in.