Cibo Matto Breaking the Mold

Cibo Matto Breaking the Mold
The culinary concept of Cibo Matto's debut album, Viva La Woman , left a bad taste in the mouths of members of the New York-based band, says Miho Hatori. Reacting to the entertaining album, which named songs after dinner entrees, vegetables and other treats, food was all anyone she and band mate Yuka Honda met - fans and critics alike - wanted to talk about.

"People thought it was just gimmick," remembers Hatori. "We didn't get a lot of questions about the music at all. People would only ask us about sushi. We didn't know it was going to be like that," says the singer/guitarist who is the band's principal lyricist. "We named our new album, Stereotype A , because of that kind of experience."

The 14-track album features Honda and Hatori, along with a core band that features bassist Sean Lennon, percussionist Timo Ellis and rapper Duma Love.Stereotype A 's eclectic mix of slow-jam pop, Latin groove and hip-hop flavour also features some heavy-hitting session players, including jazz musicians John Medeski and Billy Martin and Soul Coughing's Sebastian Steinberg.

Despite the acceptance of their peers, Hatori says restrictive stereotypes are something she and Honda are constantly faced with working in the music industry. "First we are woman, second we are Japanese and small - people think we're just cute."

For Honda, who produced the new album and Sean Lennon's debut album, Hatori says the stereotypes are even more pronounced. "I'm so proud of her because there's not many female producers in the music industry," she says. "The music industry is still a man's world. People think women cannot handle the machines. It's so wrong. We're here to prove them wrong."