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About Ni Hao
Japanese all-girl experimental punk band Ni Hao formed in Kyoto where the three initial members, twin bassists Yukari and Ariko, and drummer Reo, were at university, releasing their first homemade cassettes in 2000. The band carved a distinctive visual image for themselves, with each member adopting a color-coded stage name (Yukari Blue, Ariko Red, and Reo Green) and dressing accordingly when playing live. From the start, their sound drew comparisons with fellow Kansai experimentalists OOIOO, who shared Ni Hao's playful yet nonsensical vocal utterances from numerous female singers, as well as their often avant-garde song constructions, which had their roots in Yukari's studies of modern classical music.
In 2001, Ni Hao and Fukuoka all-girl punk band Garorinz put out a self-released split album, and a CD-R EP in 2003, but it wasn't until 2004 that the group made their official debut, with the mini-albums Blue and Red both released in the same year on indie label UMMO Records and produced by Folk Enough's Inoue Shuichi, who had earlier recorded the debut album of Yukari's other band, Limited Express (Has Gone?). The following year saw increasing recognition for Ni Hao, with tours of Australia and South Korea, the release of Red Blue Green, a compilation of the first two mini-albums on Australia's Tenzenmen label, and full-length debut Gorgeous on Tzadik in the United States following shortly after. After this, the band started experimenting with a new direction, with Yukari occasionally playing drums and Ariko and Reo switching to synthesizers. It was this more new wave/techno-pop influenced sound that was on display with the 2006 album and DVD New Hao, released through Japanese indie label Poet Portraits.
Reo left the group in 2007, joining Kansai indie supergroup Ultra Jr. and new wave band Nasca Car, and continuing to play with power pop band Mamastudio. Yukari and Ariko continued to perform as a two-piece incarnation of Ni Hao, moving in a more punk and hardcore-influenced direction. ~ Ian Martin
- Orange County, CA
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