Jin Fukui couldn’t escape growing pains. Feeling tremendous sadness about getting older and “how we’re all changing, mostly for the better,” he observed life cascading by with no way to stop it.. “Sometimes, it leads to growing apart from the person you love, too,” he says. The Tokyo-born singer-songwriter siphons a wealth of these emotions into a new song called “I Know,” an ambient new entry in the TWINKIDS catalog, a collaboration with Matthew Young.
I know money / I know pain / I know how to pass the days, sings Fukui through puffing production clouds. I know people always change / I can’t seem to keep my sane.
“I Know,” recorded in Fukui’s bedroom, harkens to a former college romance. “I feel like we both kind of grew up through the course of our relationship,” Fukui tells American Songwriter, “and slowly realized we just weren’t compatible anymore. But we were so attached to each other at that point, and it felt like it was impossible to let go. I hope people can connect to that feeling you have when you love someone so much, but you also realize you have to go through the painful process of moving on.”
Then-living with three other people, Fukui had to work around drastically different schedules to track and record. “Our walls were paper thin, so I would rush to record when the house was quiet. Shout out to my loud friends,” he recalls.
With its musical backbone windswept and wistful, Fukui specifies the pre-chorus as his personal favorite moment. “It’s a nice rhythmic break from the other melodies in the song, which are slower and ballady,” he says. “I wanted the lyrics in those sections to have a sense of nostalgia and looking back at how much fun the relationship used to be when we were young and things were simple.”
Playing cards into the night / Touching hands was alright / Hot Fuss on soundtrack / We kiss and don’t know how to act, he unwraps, nodding to The Killer’s 2004 Hot Fuss record. “I’ve loved that album my entire life and really brings back a lot of memories,” he says.
Now based in Los Angeles, the queer-pop duo deliver “I Know” as the primer to their forthcoming debut album, Nobody Likes Me, expected April 23 on Om Records.
With one EP under their belts, Boys Love, released in 2017, Young and Fukui comb an array of influences. For his part, Fukui turns to Brandon Flowers and his 2015 record, The Desired Effect, as one of the most prominent inspirations. “That was truly a life-changing album for me. It’s a beautiful ‘80s throwback album, and every song is a gem,” he says. “It really made us think about how we can incorporate these sounds in a modern context.”
Japanese pop artist Oda Kazumasa left an indelible imprint, as well. “I specifically love his synth-pop stuff from the ‘80s. I think he’s influenced me in ways I’m not even aware of because I’ve been listening to him my entire life, especially as a child growing up in Japan. His writing will always be a part of me, and I think you can hear some of his ballads in this song.”
Photo by Nina Raj at Yellow House Sessions