As the frontwoman for Bis, Manda Rin was the inspirational leader of the Teen-C revolution. Together with Sci-Fi Steven and John Disco, Bis toured the world selling over 100,000 albums in Japan alone. Manda released her first solo album last year and yesterday spoke to Dear Scotland ahead of a return to Japan next week.
DS. Hello Manda. Are you in Glasgow right now? I hear that Scotland is experiencing
a bit of a heat wave at the minute?
Manda Rin. Yes, been in Glasgow my whole life and still here. I detest the weather here as it’s usually so grim, rainy and grey the majority of the time. This week is really hot though which is odd but more enjoyable for sure! We don’t have aircon in many places here, so everything’s melting – even my chocolate!
DS. What songs do you like to listen to on sunny days?
Manda Rin. You can’t go wrong with some 80’s pop or 60’s girl band tunes!
DS. There seems to be a lot of great new music coming out of Scotland again. Are there any new Scottish bands that are exciting you?
Manda Rin. There’s a band called the Futuristic Retro Champions that are stunning and hopefully recording an album soon. We are the Physics excite me still, and Fangs are one of the best at the moment too with their sexy disco tunes.
DS. Back in the mid ‘90s Bis were often lumped in with the whole Britpop circus. You also toured with bands like the Super Furry Animals, Lush and Ash. What are your memories of Britpop?
Manda Rin. It was a fantastic time as it was the most crazy for Bis and therefore all my fond memories. It’s music that you still hear everywhere to this day which is a rare thing with so many bands just coming and going. I loved Elastica so much, and still do!
DS. Bis were voted the 16th greatest Scottish band of all time by The List magazine. Were there any Scottish bands that inspired you when you were starting to make music?
Manda Rin. The Rezillos and Shop Assistants were probably the most influential from Scotland for me.
DS. You’ve said that current bands like CSS have influenced the sound of your new solo album, “My DNA”, but surely CSS were influenced by you?
Manda Rin. Haha, lots of people are saying that! I was so happy when Lovefoxx recognized me when they played in Glasgow. I think they’re a fun and great band, something I was really needing to hear as hadn’t been excited about something that much in a while.
DS. Last month you wrote a very personal post on your website about how you were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005. Was that a difficult thing to do and how have people reacted?
Manda Rin. Extremely difficult. Something that’s been on my mind for over 10 years so very scary. I’ve been through lots of tough times, especially with band activities, and wanted to keep it to myself as I just wasn’t ready to accept it all I suppose. People’s responses have been absolutely unbelievable and I didn’t expect it to be so, so great. I feel really good about it now and hope it shows awareness to everyone about MS and how you can still get on with life even if it’s hard.
DS. Bis were, and still are, massively successful in Japan and you are going back there next week to promote “My DNA”. Why do you think your music connects so well with people in Japan? Do they just have superior taste?
Manda Rin. I really don’t know to be honest. Japan is a weird and wonderful place that I can’t properly understand. I kinda have an idea of what works well in the UK and USA, but Japan it’s too hard to guess anything really.
DS. You are also working on the artwork for a new iphone game, is there anything more you can tell us about that?
Manda Rin. It’s a brilliant opportunity that I was so pleased to be asked to do. I love drawing! It’s a Scottish company who liked my style of artwork and thought it would work well. It’s an adventure game called All Fridges are Psychotic that will hopefully be out by Autumn. I hope it will do really well as it’s a very clever and humourous game. Tough too I’d say, but maybe the Adventure game pros will think differently from me who’s not! The characters and scenes I’ve done are really funny actually, so I’m excited about people seeing it.
DS. Whats next for Manda Rin after your Japan tour?
Manda Rin. The album gets released on the 22nd July there, and I’m hoping if it goes well they’ll get me back for a proper tour with my full band.
DS. Finally, is there anything you miss about Scotland when you away from home?
Manda Rin. My cat Akiko without fail! I miss the little angel so much! That and Indian food and soap operas!
“My DNA” will be released digitally in Japan on 22nd July on Uutwo Records. It will feature bonus tracks ‘A Spy in the Workplace’, ‘My Love’s Your Love’ and ‘DNA – McSleazy remix’ like the USA album. See the video for the single “My DNA” below.
Manda Rin is playing at the Chelsea Hotel, Shibuya, Tokyo at 7pm on July 13.
Tickets went on sale 27th June. 2,500 yen in advance, 3,000 yen on the door.