CIBO MATTO was the cutest band of the '90s. Bandmates Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda's electro dance songs had pitch-perfect girl-group harmonics with kooky lyrics and ass-shaking beats. With support from Sean Lennon, mentorship from Yoko Ono, and the backing of the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal family, the Japanese ex-pats were the most adorable and talented duo on college radio. But after only two albums, they went their separate ways in 2001.
Ten years later, a devastating earthquake hit Japan. "We wanted to do something for that—for our home country," says Hatori. "We played two benefit concerts here in New York City. I feel like we needed each other to take this reality and turn this into a positive action. I think music is a really powerful way to do this."
On the heels of the shows, where they shared stages with Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, and Sonic Youth, the gals are currently deep in rehearsal for a new album, slated to drop in early 2012. Asked if it's been difficult to jump back into the Cibo pool, Hatori explains, "I don't know about other members, but personally I feel like it's in my body to remember. We've been playing a long time, so many times, so I feel like it's in our muscle program. We're trying to do a new flavor as well."
No stranger to flavors, Cibo Matto's debut Viva! La Woman was chockablock with foodie songs, like "Know Your Chicken" and "Sugar Water," a little song that made Buffy fans take note when they played in an episode. Hatori laughs, "We were excited to be on TV, so we thought we should wear something funny, like wigs and stuff. We weren't expecting the show to be so popular. But after that, many people like kids from Europe were like, 'Oh, Buffy the Vampire Slayer... wow.'"
For now, Hatori and Honda are doing a couple mini-tours of the US, with Cornelius drummer Yuko Araki and bassist Jesse Murphy from the Brazilian Girls. Expect some new material and your faves from Viva! and Stereo Type A. However, Hatori's pretty mum about which songs she's excited to bust out. "Ooooh... The songs are like kids or something—it's hard to choose one kid." Yep, still as endearing as ever.