Post-interview, watching the photo shoot for Nylon Pink in Gloss (a hip boutique), I couldn’t help but notice how much the band stood out in Costa Mesa’s ultra trendy anti-mall The Lab. The all female, all Asian-American rock band was catching the attention of every hipster with their pop-flavored rock style and infectious, ultra-cutesy personalities.
Passerby decked out in their grandma’s high school glasses took double glances at the flossed out ladies.
On first glance I thought Sanrio fluff of the self-described “Hello Kitty on acid” band, but that changed after spending three hours with the ladies of Nylon Pink.
The ladies are ambitious musicians who are revolutionizing the American perspective of music.
Nylon Pink members:
Kaila Yu– lead vocals (top right)
Katt Lee- bass (top left)
Kiki Wongco– lead guitar (bottom left)
Jamie Scoles– drums (top center)
Yuki Ito– keyboards (bottom right)
JLM: So what’s the DL on the band’s name, Nylon Pink?
Everyone: (Looks at each other and bursts out in laughter)
Kaila: We keep getting this question and we just don’t have one. The only story behind it was that we were looking for something that rolled off your tongue smoothly. And then pink is Katt’s favorite color and Nylon is just a really cool magazine… that’s pretty much it! (laughs)
JLM: Nylon Pink has been together for 2 years but how did everyone got involved in the band.
Katt: Me and Kaila first met because we were dating the same guy. At first we totally hated each other but after that, we had a lot in common so we actually became friends. Then Kaila mentioned the jewelry line Hello Drama and then we started working together.
Kiki: I used to model a bit. I did a photo shoot for them [Hello Drama], and I joined the band and we went through a series of different line-ups.
Jamie: I was playing and I look out and I see Kristen and Jenn, the old guitarist, and they came up and gave me their card.
JLM: I read on Nylon Pink’s Facebook page that you describe your music sound as “Hello Kitty on Acid.” Who came up with that?
Kaila: This guy Marcus came up with it and he had all these sayings. Marcus was somebody who hung around and supported the band.
Kaila: He supported our band at the beginning and was publicizing everything. And one day he was like, “Do you guys know what you’re like? Hello Kitty on acid.” We’re really cute and we dress up in heels and in pink but when we get on stage, the girls really know how to play and we rock out pretty hard, so we’re not all dinky, cutesy.
JLM: You ladies have been active in the music scene for a while, have you had any hardships as an Asian-American act or as an all-girls act?
Kiki: I grew up in a town where I guess you can consider me as whitewashed a little bit. I grew up in a small town near Sacramento. But it was tough. My mom would tell me when I was little, 7 years old, she was knocking on the bathroom door when I was washing my face. She said, “What are you doing?” and I said, “I’m trying to wash all the dark off my face.” I was trying to be white. I was little, I didn’t know any better.
Yuki: I think at first when we load up, people look at us like “Oh, they’re all glitter and heels.” But then once they see us on stage, the bands come up to us and say, “Great show! You guys rocked out. Can’t wait to see you guys again!”
Kaila: I think it’s like a double-edged sword. We didn’t start off with any intention of being an all-girl Asian band. It happened organically.
JLM: Why do you ladies think it’s tough for Asian-American acts to make it big in the US music industry?
Kaila: I will say that I have heard it brought up by music industry people but now that Far East Movement has made it and proved that it is possible, I’ve never seen such a huge group of very talented musicians trying. So now I think the door is knocked down wide open.
JLM: So you ladies have done some covers of K-Pop songs and they’ve been successful on YouTube. Your most popular YouTube video right now is a cover of Girl Generation’s “Gee” and it currently has over 180,000 views. Whose idea was it to start doing covers of popular K-Pop songs?
Kaila: It was actually our publicist Matt. I resisted it for a long time. The couple songs I did listen to at first were so different from what we were doing. Then I noticed that all the bands were doing covers but nobody at that time was covering K-pop songs and definitely no one was doing rock covers of them. So we did it as an experiment and it just took off.
JLM: How do you ladies feel about Nylon Pink being compared to K-Pop?
Katt: I think visually you know people are going to group us in K-Pop because we’re Asian. I think that’s where it ends. I love K-Pop, all of us do. But our style of music and the way we dress and everything else is pretty different.
Jamie: It’s really cool that we have K-Pop fans because they’re really intense and always all up in everything. It’s cool to have fans like that because they always stick by your side.
JLM: What were you doing before Nylon Pink?
Katt: Designing clothing, jewelry, shoots. I still enjoy it and I love doing it still.
Kiki: I actually just graduated from UC Irvine, I was pre-med over there. It was interesting but in the end I graduated and I decided to put my full effort into the band.
Kaila: I was pursuing solo music before I met Katt and then I spent many years in the import scene.
Jamie: I was finishing up high school and I was doing solo shows here and there.
Yuki: I was going to school, studying business and Japanese, and working at the time and that’s what I’m still doing. I feel like I’m living a double life. It keeps me on my toes.
Nylon Pink would like to thank the following sponsors:
Hello Drama (jewelry)
Irregular Choice (shoes)
Beauty is Pain (clothing)
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL NG