Hisako Ozawa: Interview with Tokyo's guitar force rocking it up in LA

Hisako Ozawa was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to further her musical knowledge and pursue a career in the industry. She is a graduate of the world renowned GIT program at Musicians Institute and was awarded Most Outstanding Student in 2013.

Hisako is currently performing live with:

Jimi Hendrix Little Wing Cover by Hisako Ozawa

[Shreddelicious] When did you start playing guitar?

I started to play guitar about 6 years ago. At the beginning I learned guitar by copying songs of my favorite artists at that time like Red Hot Chili Peppers or Japanese Indie Rock bands. I also started to play cover songs of 60’s rock band like Beatles and Janis Joplin at a small bar in my town with my close friends. Soon I noticed I need more real training to learn how to play guitar then I decided to come to U.S. and attend the Musicians Institute guitar performance program in Hollywood.

[Shreddelicious] What made you decide to take guitar seriously?

It was definitely when I came here to the U.S. to attend to Musicians institute. It was a big decision for me to come here from Japan. While attending MI all I focused on was music. I tried to absorb knowledge as much as I could and craft my skills. They taught me at a very basic level to advanced improvisation. The teachers are musicians who are working in the music industry so they taught us how to survive in real world as a musician too.

[Shreddelicious]What are your favourite albums?

There are many. For example, The Alabama Shakes “Sound and Color” album has been a big inspiration. When I listened to this album, it blew my mind. I found myself saying to myself “I don’t know what’s going on here but it is clearly amazing and catchy”.

As a guitar player, I learned many things from UFO “ Strangers in the Night “. I copied almost all the songs from the album. Michael Schenker is the one of my favorite guitar player. His guitar playing has beautiful melody and also precise guitar skill.

My other favorite album is Björk “Homogenic”. I have listened to this album for long time and many times. Her music is very beautiful.

[Shreddelicious] What do you think of the use of social media for promoting your work?

I use my own youtube and instagram. My band’s Paradise Kitty and 2 Hot 2 Handle also use facebook and instagram. It is hard to say which has been most effective in gaining followers but my favorite is instagram. The cool thing about social media is that we can provide our information easier and faster. Another cool thing is our fans talk about us online and it creates a buzz.

[Shreddelicious] If you had a chance to play with anyone who would you pick?

Scott Henderson. He influenced me not only as musician but also an artist. He teaches at MI and I’ve also seen him live several times. I still remember the words he told me “When you play guitar, don’t focus on how to play guitar, focus on the music from the amp because it is the art you made.” “ If you want to be an artist, don’t care about what other people say about your music.”

[Shreddelicious] Have you ever had any live show disasters?

I like to move around on stage. During a tour with Paradise Kitty, one time I had so much fun on stage and accidentally stepped on bass player Nikki ’s volume pedal. Both Nikki and I didn’t notice. Nikki was freaked out because suddenly she couldn’t get any bass sound. It took whole song for us to figure out what happened. We can talk about it now and laugh but I felt so bad for her!

Paradise Kitty - NIGHT TRAIN

[Shreddelicious] How do record your guitar videos?

I used to uploaded performance videos to youtube. I really enjoyed it and want to make more videos in future when I have more free time. I think making video is good way to promote my playing. When I joined the bands, they usually check my performance video before auditioning me. Also some of my audience started to come to my shows after they find me on youtube.

SHOOT SHOOT performed by 2Hot2Handle @ Saint Rocke Dec 21 2016

[Shreddelicious] What do you think of the scene for female guitar players?
In my opinion, female guitar players can get more opportunities than male guitar players because there is still not so many female guitar players and they can stand out.

[Shreddelicious] Can you tell us a bit about your Guitars and Amps?

My main guitar is Suhr Classic Antique stratocaster. I use this guitar mainly for recording. When I play shows with Paradise Kitty, I use a Gretsch Firebird. I like the look and also this guitar is very light so I don’t get tired even if it’s a long set.

My amp is a Fender blues deluxe reissue. I like the clean sound of this amp. I use an old RAT distortion pedal for distorted sound. Strymon Timeline and Mobius are my favorite pedals too.

"Rock Bottom" at the OC FAIR HANGAR AUG 10, 2016

[Shreddelicious] 10 Can you tell us about your latest recording?
My latest recording was Akari Mon Amour’s “ Euphoria” in 2016. Akari Mon Amour also released 2 Music Videos that same year.

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Website: http://www.hisakoozawa.com/
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ozawah1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hisako.ozawa.1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hisako_ozawa/