Japanese Breakfast Explains MIDI and Gives Guitar Advice to Conan O'Brien

The songwriter appeared on the talk show host's podcast

Photo: Peter Ash Lee

BY Sydney BrasilPublished Mar 13, 2023

Japanese Breakfast recently appeared as a guest on the Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend podcast, and the talk show took the opportunity to ask her advice for his own future songwriting endeavours. 

While O'Brien says he plays guitar all the time, he claims to have only played covers, never writing songs of his own. During the interview, he asks JBrekkie (née Michelle Zauner) if guitar is the medium she typically uses in her own songwriting, and while she says that's usually the case, she tried to mix it up with her last record Jubilee, and has found a love for writing with MIDI — unless it's black midi, whom she has beef with.

After giving a brief explanation as to what MIDI is, she enlists O'Brien's producer to go into a little more depth, before the conversation moves to back to guitar and how not every musician needs to know music theory. "I took some more guitar lessons and found that was helpful, and when it was no longer helpful, you could like put a capo on, or change the tuning and then you just don't know anymore [sic] of what you're doing," Zauner shared.

The two also talk about Zauner's excellent memoir Crying in H-Mart, video game music and how his daughter introduced him to Japanese Breakfast's music.

Watch video clips from the podcast and stream the whole thing below.

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