Tokyo via London grunge-pop chanteuse Cream with a K (a.k.a. Lee Tatlock) returns today with her hazy new video for ‘5:35‘, taken from her upcoming self-titled debut album. Directed by Lawrence Randall and premiering on L’Officiel, the video was shot in the early hours on Tokyo’s Ginza Metro Line. Watch the video for ‘5:35‘ HERE.
“The idea was basically to spontaneously capture the natural, unglamorised side of Tokyo’s nightlife. Rather than a story it was all about the mood.” says Tatlock. “Basically it is ‘going home after a night out’, so that’s what we did and just hung out together and took footage around Shibuya until the morning 5:35am train on the Ginza Line. I wanted to get a glowy dreamy sci-fi vibe.”
A musician, visual artist and model, Cream with a K is most well known for her former involvement as the singer in the Japanese Pop band NEKO PUNCH (Universal Music Japan). Having cut her teeth in the entertainment industry in Tokyo, she decided it was time to reconnect with the West through Cream with a K in early 2016, her first fully English project since her start in music. Pulling her influences from her hometown of London, her adopted hometown of Tokyo and pairing them alongside fuzzy grunge tones and etherial pop vocals makes her first solo effort a surefire head turner.
Working alongside many noteworthy Japanese producers such as Takeshi Kobayashi, Hydain and Shingo Yasumoto and bilingual in Japanese and English, she also turned her hand to song and lyric writing for other Japanese and Korean artists. In Tokyo, seen as a cultural figure who links the UK and Tokyo Music scenes, she was the TV host of the Japanese Rock music TV Show NHK’s “Nippon Rocks” series.
Her debut self-titled album is out now in Japan exclusively at Tower Records and will see a worldwide release in early 2019.
“Fuzzy guitars paired with sticky sweet synths and Tatlock’s signature etherial vocals, her latest solo effort is equal parts Smashing Pumpkins, and St. Vincent – a refreshing burst of pop with integrity that pays homage to her favorite era” – C-Heads
“Merging fuzz toned sonic influences from her native London with that of her adopted home of Tokyo, her pitched pop vocal and penchant for 90s indie rock make for perfectly balanced treat” – The Line Of Best Fit
“The eclectic grunge of her solo project effectively blends her London roots with her Tokyo experience, showing as much lived experience as artsy aesthetic.” – L’Officiel
“Cream With A Kmixes fuzzy 90s-toned indie rock with her deceptively sweet vocal and packs quite a punch” – Born Music
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
Recently it’s hard to put my finger on where I am most of the time. My life is scattered between Tokyo, London and LA right now. I would say I’m most actively working in Tokyo at the moment thanks to my previous band. The music scenes are all so different. I feel Japan’s scene is more entertainment driven..LA feels much more open and diverse… London…I honestly don’t know that much about the scene yet… I hope to get to know it better in 2019.
You have an upcoming album that will be released in 2019, the first two singles so far have been ‘Terrible Voices’ and ‘5:35’ how has the reaction from fans been so far?
Overall it’s been really positive. But to be honest, a lot of the Japanese fans from my old band were (unpleasantly?) surprised at my new direction…haha but some have stayed with me. My new audience is very different and I have made new fans all around the world since these 2 track releases… it gives me confidence to see that what I’m doing is being received the way I hoped.
Where and when did you record?
Terrible Voices is a bedroom recording, so to speak. I actually made the track in Starbucks in Tokyo, when I was still in Neko Punch. I generally play and record all the instruments myself but I made 5:35 last summer at Servant Records studio in LA.
What influenced the sound and songwriting for the album?
I’m not sure…I think I have to arrange the track to express things that I feel my voice can’t. I feel like I put a lot more detail into the arrangements than current artists. People say my album is more like a big 90s record. It makes sense because I still listen to a lot of late 80-90s music and I always go back to my childhood favorites like The Pixies and Nirvana when I’m short on motivation to write.
How do you usually go about writing and recording music?
I write for other artists sometimes and there are many ways to skin a cat – depending on the approach, the end-product can be completely different. I usually start with synth, bass, guitar or a beat. I don’t start with lyrics very often. I also tend to write loads of songs and pick out the ones I like the best.
What programs and equipment did you use to record the album?
The Softwares I use are Logic and Protools. Equipment wise – as I’m mostly a traveling DIY artist, to be honest, it’s not practical to use anything too fancy. I use a compact set up that I can travel with. It includes; a MacBook Pro, MOTU ultralite mk3 interface, AKG condenser microphone, Micro Korg, Midi Keyboard, Telecaster guitar and 4 or 5 of my favorite effects pedals. When I have access to a studio I normally re-record or re-amp stuff. I like to double up my fake drums with real drums and always put a real bass line on top of the synth sub bass. I think I probably work in a very weird way but after years of adaptation, I think I’ve developed a good system.
How have your first solo shows been as Cream with a K?
When I’m performing as Cream with a K, I’m so elated! I’ve had more fun playing live then ever before. It was a journey getting here but everything up to now seems to have had a reason and I’m so grateful I’ve made it to this point.
How was the Halloween show that you played in Tokyo?
It was a great turn out. The show was so packed, people couldn’t get in!! When I heard that, I felt so sorry that we didn’t do the show somewhere bigger but also happy that we completely exceeded our expectations.
Please tell us about your career in Japan:
I first got signed in Tokyo when I was 19 years old to a management called Oorong-Sha and got to work with my favorite producer of all time; Takeshi Kobayashi. Later, I major debuted in a group called Neko Punch from Universal Japan with a Management called Asobi System which is famous for having Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
The music and image was a pretty far stretch from what I’m doing now so people don’t even recognize that it was me and I don’t generally advertise the fact either. I am grateful for the opportunities I got though, it really helped me carve out my art and technique as well as taught me professionalism. I’ve jumped a lot of hoops up to now so I can probably write any kind of song if I’m asked… and after singing songs in Japanese most of my life … singing in english is super easy! I’m especially fast at remembering lyrics too. Haha.
What do you like to do away from music?
I love styling and directing photoshoots. I also really enjoy modeling – especially now that I’m able to pick my own jobs. I love clothes so much and somewhere down the line I’d like to make a fashion brand or do a vintage select shop.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I recently picked up Skateboarding as a hobby and I’m super into it. So, I started listening to Pavement and Weezer, whilst cruising around. I was never into those bands but I think I wasn’t listening to them in the right context, haha.
What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018 going into 2019?
The remainder of this year is busy. Currently I’m in Tokyo but I have some shows in London in the New Year, so I’m coming back next week to start rehearsals. I’m playing my first London show in January – I’m really excited.
Then, end of January, I’ll be heading out to the US.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I love Crab! And obviously since last month my new favorite hangout is the Skate Park. My hair and make up artist also skates, so we hang out and skate around together. Sometimes we even go eat Crab too. Haha. It’s a pretty good life.