SWAPPING the bright lights of LA for the dank nights of Invercargill is not the most obvious way to kick-start a musical career.
But it’s working for Marina Sakimoto – the creative force behind emergent indie pop/rock band Shunkan.
Sakimoto, who plays a DJ set at The Sherwood this Saturday, moved to New Zealand in February 2014 after meeting her boyfriend and bandmate Joseph Boath through friends online.
Within a month, the band had recorded EP Honey, Milk and Blood, which saw them signed by UK label Art is Hard Records.
Spin forward 15 months and the 21-year-old’s five-piece is turning heads with its infectious sounds.
Single Our Names, from the soon-to-be released debut album The Pink Noise, is a radio play top 10-er while EP single Dust in Your Eyes made the NZ On Air Music’s alt & indie playlist.
“The response to Our Names has been fun,” she says, “and exciting because it’s the first single from the album.
“It was the first stand-out ‘oh that should be a single’ song. It’s very power pop/pop-noise, just very sweet and short.
“The other songs are in the same realm, sort of indie/rock, but they vary.”
Classifying their songs into easily identifiable genres has been a challenge, with influences ranging from American space rock to Japanese pop.
“People don’t know what to call it – noise pop, indie rock, 90s nostalgia or whatever,” she says.
“Friends tell me all my songs have this infectious melody that doesn’t get out of your head and can be quite irritating, which is good.”
Saturday’s Sherwood DJ set will provide a window into Sakimoto’s influences. She hopes to return with the full band in the near future.
“They’ve asked me to play music I’m naturally inclined to listen to, so it’ll be eclectic – easy to listen to early on, but getting more distorted later.
“It’ll range from our friend Doprah to Duster, Pavement, which is my favourite band, so it’ll give people an idea of where my music comes from.
“I haven’t done this guest DJ set thing very often. I’m not sure if I can play my own music or if it’d come off as… I could possibly sneak some in there.”
Marina Sakimoto DJs at The Sherwood, Saturday, from 8.30pm.