Shares video for ‘Business Trips’ and releases UK debut EP“A lavish, soaring pop song”
“Bewitching… a blissful four minutes of smooth pop gorgeousness”
– The Line Of Best Fit
“Enthralling, imaginative work”
Rié (pronounced ree-ay) Funakoshi – known simply as Rié – is a Japanese London-art school graduate set to make her debut UK release this summer with the four-track EP Business Trips, arriving [insert label name] June 30. A singer-songwriter of rare melodic grace whose music resonates with the lush splendour of Karen Carpenter and the acoustic intimacy of Suzanne Vega. Following the debut single ‘St. Martin’ which was released inline with the EP announcement, Rié is sharing the video for the second single ‘Calling’ – watch here – https://youtu.be/7Iv1jiFDHtI .
The Business Trips EP adds to a rich back-catalogue of music for Rié. Having studied Fine Art at London’s Central St Martins, she began to immerse herself in music shortly after graduating, which along with painting, became her defining characteristic. Following a deluge of songwriting the young woman who sports striking pink-streaked hair earned a deal with Sony Japan at the age of 19 under the recording name Rie Fu, earning herself widespread recognition with the release of her debut album at home. Subsequent albums followed, along with a stint performing on a series of Asian tours before Rié returned to the UK and settled down to record the Business Trips EP. Dedicating half of the EP to Tokyo and half to London, tracks one and three are produced by the London-based electronic three-piece, Theme Park and two and four by the Japanese producer, Hikaru Ishizaki. The songs are at once more daring and lustrously melodic than previous releases, with a move towards a richly detailed electronic sound.
‘Business Trips’, the lead track from the EP is a lavish treat of synths and electronic beats, piano and koto – a Japanese instrument that actually plays across three of the four tracks. Speaking about the track, Rié says: “I saw a gecko when my husband was away on a business trip,” she recalls. “It made me think this creature was looking after me while he was away. I was inspired by how Kate Bush wrote a song about washing machines [Mrs Bartolozzi, from 2005’s Aerial], so mine is about every cubicle in the office, business trips, being just like working in a studio writing music, going on tour. It’s meant to shine a subtle light on unheard voices going through those daily routines.”
Rié possesses the ability to write about anything within her music, speaking about the influence behind this, she says: “There’s nothing I wouldn’t write about,” she says. “I’d welcome the challenge of writing about the most unexpected thing. Kate Bush writes about mundane things but makes them sound like magical fairly tales.”
Then there is ‘St.Martin’ – a track about love/hate relationships, Rié says: “I’d just finished a meeting with a music businessman and this guy was telling me all the reasons it would be difficult to pursue music in London,” she winces at the memory. “Often, my source of creativity when I start writing songs is irritation or frustration – that turns into energy and becomes a song. This one is no exception. In a way, it’s an answer-song to all the people telling me I couldn’t do this. It’s about determination and an introduction to the kind of person I am.”
‘Calling’ was a song written shortly after Rié relocated back to the UK, this time based in a small home counties town. The track documents the bizarreness of being Japanese whilst living in such an isolated place, examining themes of opposites and identity. “Opposites’ was the first key word, I started thinking about accents, customs, cold and heat, the sun and moon, etcetera. It also made me think about crossing the borders between racial, political, and religious conflicts as those issues were becoming more prominent around the world.”
Rié frequently combines her love for both fine art and music and her paintings can be seen in the artwork and visual video concepts with this EP. She frequently turns to Japanese poetry as a source of influence, something she says will often describe the ‘beautiful’ without ever being explicit. “Japanese poetry and writing are all about saying something through something else, implying obliquely,” she muses. “In a Japanese poem, if something is beautiful, you never use the word ‘beautiful’; you refer to it without spelling it out.”