Brendan Lewis: Hey everyone, Brendan the blind guy here. Today I'm lucky enough to be

speaking with the very beautiful and talented Miss Emily Smart from

Nakatomi. How are ya, Emily?

Emily Smart: Yeah good, thanks. How are you?

Brendan Lewis: I'm very well. Very well. Thank you. Now, congratulations on your new

single, ‘Wooden Castle’. It's very, very catchy.

Emily Smart: Thank you. Thank you, that’s sweet we enjoyed making that one.

Brendan Lewis: Yep. Oh, very well. Yeah and ... So, wanna know a little bit ... Kind of

take me through the story of it, the making of it and you know the

labour of love behind it.

Emily Smart: Yeah, sure. We ... Well, we actually ... We got a Artist in Residence

opportunity earlier this year that is called the Jon Lemon Artist in

Residence in Adelaide . And basically we were in a, in the studio,

songwriting studio for most of, a good part of this year, just songwriting

with different people and collaborating.

And one of those collaborations included ... We flew down JP Fung from

Sydney and he came down to work with a few, working with us on a few

tracks before. And, yeah. So, he spent a day ... A couple days this year

with us. But one of the days we wrote this song together and we

basically wrote it in a day. And it came together quite quickly, which it

usually happens when ... The good songs ... The better songs don’t tend

to do that. They just seem to be easy somehow.

Yeah, so we kind of started the day with songwriting, talking about

what's going on in our lives, and stuff, and then doing some freewrite

... Lyric sort of ideas. And came up with this idea about.... Steve

would be pissed off about something and wanting to express that. And

we also personified a redwood forest as the character kind of within the

song. And that's kind of how it developed.

And then we went into the studio, and grabbed a guitar, and started

noodling around on that. And actually, the song started with a guitar

line, which is odd for us, because we are an electro-act. But that's just

how it kind of started, and then we went and put a beat to it, and then

evolved all the synth and vocals around that. And yeah. And then it

became what it was.

Brendan Lewis: Wow. Very nice, yeah.

Emily Smart: Yeah.

Brendan Lewis: And it doesn't sound simple, so I'm glad it came together all naturally.


Emily Smart: Yeah, well sometimes you can spend months on one song, for example.

But this one just ... Actually by the end of that day it felt very close to

finished and it didn't sound exactly like it does now, but it actually felt

a lot like it does now and a lot of ... Most of the lyrics were there.

Everything was solidified by the end of that day, which was pretty


Brendan Lewis: Wow. That kind of reminds me of Vance Joy's, ‘Riptide’. Apparently that

song was a bit of a fluke and just all came together quickly. And look

how big that song became. So ...

Emily Smart: Yeah, yeah.

Brendan Lewis: So, the video that goes to Wooden Castle, I was watching it and I

went ... I was like, "Wow, this is unlike anything I've ever seen before."

And well, ever kind of seen with my lack of sight. But any how ... It's

very creative and kind of talk us through the making of the video, and

the story behind it, and what you wanted to go for in it.

Emily Smart: Well, actually, we had been a bit slack and got a bit lost. Being a bit last

minute with our video, but we spoke to a friend of ours who's got a very

creative mind. He's done a bit of directing, and acting, and he's just

very creative in general. And so we said, "What ideas have you got for

this. We need to do something relatively quickly and we want to kind of

make it organic, simple, and something that’s kind of fun to do." And

yeah, he came up with this story line. A sort of, dark, fairy tale-esque

thing. And that's what it kind of developed into. We were like, "Oh, we

love this. Let's see what he's gonna do."

And so, he just says that he just showed up on the day, and we had the

run down of all props ,and things we were supposed to bring, and he

was bringing everything else. And we turned up and he's made all this

little puppets, and costumes, and all this crazy stuff. And that we got to

play with all day and make that ... And he also ... We put together all

these projections to get the background and we had a big projection

screen up.

So, yeah. We basically filmed it in a day, once again. Yeah, with a

couple of friends and ourselves. Hamish was dressed as the tree. And,

yeah, it came together quite brilliantly. Yeah, just as I said, just all our

friends just helping it out and putting together. And, yeah.

Brendan Lewis: Wow. Yeah, that's amazing, because again it didn't seem rushed or

thrown together quickly. Watching it, it was like "This is really-"

Emily Smart: Yeah. Well, we got ... We threw a crew all together in, I think, a week

and a half. Yeah, but ... He's very, very good ... Tim. So, he did a great

job on that. Yeah.

Brendan Lewis: Over 2000 views in just over a week, so, yeah. It's doing-

Emily Smart: Oh, wow. I didn't even know that. I hadn't even looked at it, to be


Brendan Lewis: You haven't watched it yourself?

Emily Smart: Oh, no. I mean, I haven't checked how many views there was since we

put it up. I think I checked it maybe two or three days later, but yeah.

Yeah, that's great.

Brendan Lewis: It's going really well.

Emily Smart: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Brendan Lewis: So, so far you've done the rounds performing and this is for a band who's

only been together for two years and you've already covered a lot of

ground. You've supported some pretty amazing bands, like Peking Duk,

SlumberJack, Tiger Town, Nicole Millar, et cetera. And-

Emily Smart: Yeah.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah, you've done the rounds-

Emily Smart: We definitely have.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah, well there's two parts to this question. One, how's that been? And,

well I'll let you answer that one first. How's it all been so far.

Emily Smart: Yeah great. Well, Hamish and I basically started this band because we

lost the form and we really started out just saying, "The best thing we

want to get out of this was to play some amazing shows." And, so that

was really our goal. And, I think, that having that goal actually made it

really easy for us to create what we wanted to create live and also to

aim for the shows that we wanted to play. So, yeah, then everything ...

As soon as Steven sort of started seeing us and the effort that we were

putting into our shows. It just kind of kept rolling on and people would

hear about us and want us to play with them. And, so, yeah. It just

happened organically, but we ... Yeah, we just got really lucky to get so

many great shows in the course of our existence. And it's ... Yeah, it's

been really fun and it's just continuing on, which is great.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah. You've already got an East Coast tour coming up ... Chock full of

dates. So, you have that to look forward to.

Emily Smart: Yeah, I’m really excited about ... That Sad Grrrls Fest which is in

Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, and ... In November. And also we're,

we've just been announced for Australian Music Week as well, which

we're doing a show in Sydney in November with Touch Sensitive So-

Brendan Lewis: Oh, wow.

Emily Smart: It's pretty great as well, yeah.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah, nice. Is that the one at the Oxford Art Factory?

Emily Smart: No. That one is at ... It's in Miranda, actually. I think it's the Miranda


Brendan Lewis: Oh, okay. Yeah.

Emily Smart: Yeah, because I think that Australian Music Week happens in Cronulla.

So, it's all around that area that they have the shows and that sort of


Brendan Lewis: Oh, okay. Well, yeah. My bad. I'm gonna have to sack my research

assistant for that stuff up. Well, no. Okay, so, with your live shows ...

So, you've got a very full, very ... How do I put it? Very full, very

developed ... Yeah, big blend of sounds. That's the best I can come up

with at the moment. It's still before midday. Yeah, so, what can we

expect at your live shows and how do you get all of those sounds that

you hear on the recordings onto the stage?

Emily Smart: Yeah, a very good question. That's mainly Hamish and our drummer,

Mario, who's doing that live with us. So, we basically ... Usually got an

electronic kit set up, and lots of sample pads, and Hamish plays two

different synths on stage. And I basically just run around like a mad

women and sing as many parts as I can. And, yeah. So, I've got a pretty

easy job really. Except I'm usually more ... Maybe more out of breath at

the end. But the boys have got all the complicated musical stuff to deal


Brendan Lewis: Wow. So, run us through what you go for at your shows... like me being

a live music journalist, my main focus is sound quality from both you

guys and your sound mixers. But, on top of that, I look for energy, which

you already said you, "Run around like a mad woman on stage." So-

Emily Smart: Yeah, yeah.

Brendan Lewis: So, you obviously put off a lot of energy there, but I also really look at

crowd interaction and how you guys feed off your audience. What can

we expect at your live shows addressing those points?

Emily Smart: Well, we ... I like to connect with my audience as much as possible and

that's really ... I actually come from a drama background, so connecting

the songs with emotions is really important to me. And I then try to

push that out to my audience and get it back from them ... Get

responses and feel that with them. And so, I guess, it's hard to put that

into words as to how that actually comes about, but it's definitely

something that's in my mind whenever I perform. And I'm just trying to

bring the energy so that people can get involved with that energy and

join in.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah. Wow, that's great. Yeah, well it sounds like it comes naturally to

you. That you don't have to overthink about it, it just ... Yeah. Well-

Emily Smart: Yeah, not too much these days. Yeah, I'm actually a ... Really I'm quite a

shy person and maybe why I did drama at a young age. I did it to

become that different, outgoing, confident person on stage and not ...

Once ... I could be terrified, maybe, before I go one, but almost as soon

as I'm out there it just disappears and I'm just absolutely in the moment

and enjoying what we're doing. That's what we're here for, so that's the

main part of it. The best part is performing.

Brendan Lewis: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Yeah, well the best talent comes naturally and

so, it sounds like yours definitely does. So ... Great. So, I've read you've

taken influences from a lot of 80's dark electro-pop. Such as Madonna

and The Killers. You've got a bit of rock there. Childish Gambino, about

of Depeche Mode, and also Pizza. Do you take inspiration from the food

or the band?

Emily Smart: No, the food. Yeah. We do eat a lot of pizza.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah.

Emily Smart: And it fuels us to write things. And I guess when you're in the studio,

and you're on a role you, you quite often just want food to arrive and to

keep you in that inspiration mode. So, I guess that's where we're joking

around with that idea that we can't write without it in some ways. In

some circumstances, anyway.

Brendan Lewis: Well, now ... See now I'm picturing you singing, Wooden Castle, "Cut,

cut me up. Cut, cut me up. Put me in a pizza box." That's the best that I

can do at short notice, but ...

Emily Smart: That was pretty good.

Brendan Lewis: Thank you. And so, go through your songwriting. I can't imagine all of

your creative song writing comes directly from pizza, even though I

really do now have an image of the pizza singing that song now.

Emily Smart: Yeah.

Brendan Lewis: Which I don't think I can get out of my head all day now. So, tell us a

little bit about your songwriting and, kjnd of besides pizza, where did

your amazing lyrics and music come from?

Emily Smart: Okay. Well, in terms of songwriting, we have ... We do it all differently.

Sometimes Hamish is playing around with a few of his ideas and he's

showing me something and I'll have an idea straight away, or I might

take it away for a while, and have multiple ideas and then try them out.

He'll say he hates them all and then I'll then try again. And sometimes

I'll go nowhere and sometimes I'll go somewhere. And it's really, just

quite a developmental process most of the time. It's pretty rare for it

just to be, just the first thing you think of in your head and that's kind

of what it is.

I do, do a lot of pre-lyric writing, as I mentioned before. We basically sit

down for timed minutes. So, like you only give yourself exactly five

minutes or so to write on any subject or you can give yourself a specific

subject. And then from there you pull out bits and pieces that you like

of what you've written and start to shape something around that. And

then you might pick a word out of that and write from that, because

that says something to me ... As to what I'm trying to get out. And then

it just keeps going from there, so that’s it, just a vast array of lyrical

ideas that you can draw from in a few scenes that work around the

thing you're talking about.

And it can be as simple as ... Wooden Castle, for example, we started

with a redwood forest and then we're talking about the frustration of

musical endeavours and trying to strive for things that is really hard in

this day in age. And we were talking about that, so we continued

writing on that. And then a few other things that we went through. And

that was all drawn into when we shaped the full song. And it did exactly

what we were saying, and it made it really succinct, and makes it really

clear about what you're wanting to say.

Yeah and I'm already babbling here a little bit, but that's-

Brendan Lewis: No, you're good.

Emily Smart: That's really how we do it.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah, good. Well, I did say before babbling is good. The more

information the better, so you're fine.

Emily Smart: Yeah and one of the other great things about this round of songs that

we've been writing is we got everybody involved who ... That was in the

room, to do the lyric. The lyric rhymes, so, most of the time that

included Hamish who doesn't usually do it. And it actually brought out a

whole heap of really grand things that I would probably never think to

say that could be used. And, in fact, I believe that the words Wooden

Castle was actually Hamish's ... Coming from his lyric writing. One of his

free-writing session that we did. So, I just go through everything that I

wrote and pick out bits that I like and work with it from there. So, it

made it really, really interesting to do it that way.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah. That's great. Yeah. Sounds like a really, really creative, cool

collaboration of ideas and it's come together to make a pretty amazing


Emily Smart: Yeah, yeah. We all ... I'm sure an amazing song, but we're really happy

with it. Hopefully everybody else likes it as well.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah, well as I said over 2000 views in just over a week. I think people

are responding to it quite well.

Emily Smart: Yeah. Yeah, well hopefully they keep listening and we're looking forward

to releasing the rest early next year.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah, looking forward to that. Now, I've read that you've collaborated

with producers that have worked with big names like, Birds of Tokyo,

The Cure, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Kimbra, etc. Kind of go through

that. What collaborations have you done? Yeah, I'm curious.

Emily Smart: Yeah, well, as I said ... JP Fung, who wrote with us a few times on this

track and a few others that we have yet to release. He's obviously done

huge amounts of work with some amazing artists. And we've also worked

with [Luke Medium 00:17:05] on a track. And we've been over to the

U.S. to work with [Tony Buschemi 00:17:13] who's done some work with

[Munsane 00:17:15] and East and [Astor 00:17:17]. Yeah, so we just look

for producers we think are doing stuff that we really love, because

that's going to translate into what we want to hear in our music. And so,

yeah. That's how it comes about. But we're definitely seeking out those

people and not just ... We're pretty decisive about who we want to work

with and the kind of sounds that they're making already.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah. And me personally, I'm a big fan of Birds of Tokyo. And I noticed

you also collaborated with them on their coloured ... Their single

‘Discoloured’. So, tell me about that. How was it working with Ian and

the rest of the boys?

Emily Smart: Yeah, that was great. So, they ... That was really bizarre. They

actually ... They heard Nakatomi somehow. I think, one of them heard

our last song ‘Live’ on [inaudible 00:18:15] or something like that and

they just wrote to me and said, "We're going on tour. We have a song

that we'd like you to come sing with us live." And that's basically how

that happened and I think I had about a weeks notice to do it. So, I

learned this song and it's the one that's ... Oh, now I've totally

forgotten. The Jezebels sings on their record. And yeah, so I got to go

sing that with them in their concert. And also, they came back for the

tour Down Under down here and I sung with them to that as well, which

was huge. So, yeah, they're both really big concerts and I'm pretty ...

Yeah, the guy's are lovely as well. The boy's from Birds of Tokyo, so that

was great as well. Got to have some drinks, and dinner with them, and

hang out, and yeah ... So, that's basically how it went.

Brendan Lewis: Wow, that's awesome. So, I've got to ask. The name Nakatomi, what

does it mean and where does it come from?

Emily Smart: It actually comes from the Die Hard movies. The Nakatomi Plaza where

they're gonna blow up the building or something. Hamish is a big fan of

Die Hard movies, but I actually really like them as well. But he's a big

Bruce Willis, Die Hard fan. So, that was where it came from really. But

it is actually a Japanese ... An ancient Japanese word for a sense of

class. Like a regal last name of ancient Japanese culture, so it's also got

that meaning. But the name is really after the Die Hard movies.

Brendan Lewis: Cool. Yep, nice. So, out of all the big things you've accomplished in the

past two years, and all of the acclaim, and all of the massive airplay on

lots of community radio stations, and being the spotlight artist of Triple

J Unearthed, and everything, et cetera, et cetera. So, what's been the

highlight for you personally and that kind of moment that goes, "Wow."

You know? “That's pretty amazing.”

Emily Smart: Yeah. There's been so many highlights. I guess probably the first one

that springs to mind is when we supported Miami Horror. And that was

just ... I just can't explain it. The crowd was just so into the night and

they were really great to the support bands. We got to play just before

Miami Horror. I think the whole show was running a bit late, so we were

kind of on the time that Miami Horror was originally scheduled to be on.

Which meant everybody was there and they're really, really excited and

ready to get their party on. And it was just ... Yeah, the energy was just

amazing and people ... We felt like they were giving us the energy just

as much as if we were Miami Horror.

And then they did the same for Miami Horror as well, but we were just

so excited when came off stage from that show, because people were

just reaching out for us. They were handing Hamish a beer and sharing

it with him. They were reaching over the barriers to touch us, and be

near us, and get involved, and dance, and it was just an amazing show.

And Miami Horror, obviously, is just a great band and an amazing band

to play with so we were pretty excited about that in general. But yeah,

it just turned out to be just a killer show as well.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah, that sounds like a pretty euphoric memory. Yeah, wow.

Emily Smart: Yeah, yeah.

Brendan Lewis: Okay, and even though I am a chatterbox, I've got to limit it to three

more questions. Okay, so what's been your biggest challenge so far and

how have you over come it? Because a lot of people kind of think that

touring is all glamorous, and parties here, there and everywhere, but

they don’t really see what goes on behind the scenes. So, what's been

the biggest challenge for you?

Emily Smart: I think, probably on this end. When we started Hamish and I had never

done electro music before. We'd always been in rock bands and Hamish

had played synth, but I was a guitarist mainly, and a bassist, and a

singer. So, we were doing something we had never done before. I guess

at the beginning it was kind of overcoming that. We started again. And

we were like, "Oh, we're just starting from the beginning now. We have

no idea what we're doing. How to make this live or do any of these

things." So, it was a challenge, but it was also a fun, exploratory thing.

We'd been doing the other part of music for so long that this just felt

brand new and something that we had no idea about and we were just

guessing a lot of the time. But yeah, it became ... Yeah, it was difficult

at first. I think we got ... The first thing we ever did was we put a song

out, just one song to see if anybody liked it. And it was really just an

experiment for us and people really reacted to it. And then we got

selected to do ... For a competition to play ... I think it was to play at

some New Years Eve and ... In LA here and a big concert. And we were

one of three acts to go up. We had to perform ... We had to put

together a live set in basically a week and a half. And we didn't really

have the songs. We had three songs that we could play. So, we had to

draw that together. And probably I'm sure, in hindsight, was not a very

good gig. But we still got into that top three and played that.

It's like those kind of things that were really challenging, because we

were just going, "What are we doing? We don't even know what we're

doing." And we've come from knowing exactly what we're doing in other

bands and playing guitar. You do that and you know what you're doing

and if you're playing guitar you definitely know what you're doing. And

suddenly how do we play live with all this stuff that we don't have a 100

piece band to play and how do we make it work? So, yeah ... But we

stumbled along and eventually found our place. And yeah, we are where

we are now.

Brendan Lewis: Yeah, well definitely come out the other side shining, so well done.

Emily Smart: Thank you. Yeah, that's good. I'm glad it didn't go the other way and we

gave up, because it was too hard. So ...

Brendan Lewis: Yeah. Right, so you've already said supporting Miami Horror, that was a

pretty euphoric memory for you. Now, what's the kind of memory that

comes to mind when I say hilarious, WTF, kind of memory? Because I'm

sure you've come across a few of those moments.

Emily Smart: Hilarious ... Well, the first thing that comes to mind ... It actually didn't

happen when we were in this band, but Hamish and I used to be in

another band many, many years ago, and it was a rock band. And we

were travelling through the U.K. doing some shows and we ended up

playing what was like a motorcycle club bar in Wales. Anyway, we

basically got asked ... It was kind of like the ... I don't know how to

describe it like the ex-army pats, but they're ... It's a motorcycle club

and they had this bar. And if you were invited downstairs to their part of

the bar this was like a big honour and they wanted us to come down and

have some drinks with them afterwards. So, we had to go down there,

obviously. And we went downstairs and we were drinking with these

guys and they were very, very funny.

But we eventually went, but when we went to bed we were sitting on

the tour bus and we just went out and Hamish got stuck down there

with them drinking and he ended up there all night. Apparently they

were ... I think they were really tough, tough guys. Really bikie

basically and they were wearing all these old army hats and they were

singing along and they asked him to put a song on. And he's like ...

They're like, "Select a song." And he was like, "Oh, what am I gonna

select that they're gonna like?" And he apparently selected Peter

Gabriel's, ‘Sledgehammer’, and they all went mental and were just

singing along to Peter Gabriel for the night. And we found Hamish in the

gutter the next morning. He'd tried to make it to the tour bus, but did

not, and he was not looking too good.

So, yes he didn't have a good day the next day, but we found it very

hilarious, because Hamish is such a gentle, soft, effeminate kind of guy

really even. And to see him be down there with these big, muscly, bikers

... Really tough guys singing Peter Gabriel in an army hat and staying

out with them all night. Where they were telling him they loved him

and everything. It was really quite funny to us and is a story we like to

tell every now and again.

Brendan Lewis: Nice. If I had a story like that I'd love to tell them, but yeah. Hopefully I

come across a few of those WTF moments myself.

Emily Smart: Yeah.

Brendan Lewis: Okay. And finally, what's happening behind the scenes at the moment for

us fans to look forward to in the near future?

Emily Smart: Well, as I said, we're getting ready to tour at the moment so we're ...

And we just changed to a new drummer. So we're actually re-jigging our

last set at the moment and just making that really great for us to go on

tour. And then we'll be doing that most of November and then we are

finishing off the mixes on our EP and hoping that's going to be ready for

release late January or mid February. Yeah, so that's all recorded and

done. We're just finalising the sound and then making sure we're happy

with everything on there. And then we might have to cut off some

songs, because I think we actually have too many for an EP. But we'll see

how we go with that, because they're like your children so how do you

cut them out?

Brendan Lewis: Yeah.

Emily Smart: But, yeah. So, that's basically what we're doing for the rest of the year.

Brendan Lewis: Oh, nice. Yeah, yeah. Well you never know it might end up turning into

more of an album then an EP.

Emily Smart: It may, it may.

Brendan Lewis: Well, definitely lots of things to look forward to. Well, thank you so

much for taking the time to chat to me today. Emily, it was been

absolute pleasure. So-

Emily Smart: Thank you, Brendan.

Brendan Lewis: - Yeah enjoy the upcoming tour and hopefully I get to see you on stage

sometime soon.

Emily Smart: Great, thanks.

Brendan Lewis: Thanks a lot. See ya.

Emily Smart: Bye.