Earlier this month, Paul took to Twitter to answer questions about his new album Egypt Station. You may remember Twitter user @namaikinanako asking Paul why he used the Japanese word ‘Ichiban’ in his song ‘Back In Brazil’? Well – as promised – we have included Paul’s full response in this month’s ‘You Gave Me The Answer’…
PMc.com: Why did you use the Japanese word “Ichiban” in ‘Back In Brazil’?
Paul: Well, I originally blocked in that little phrase with ‘hechibam, hechibam’ thinking that later – when I went to Brazil – someone would say ‘Oh, that’s very similar to * a proper Brazilian word * ‘ I was getting a massage in Brazil – and it happened to be by a Japanese lady – and somehow the word ‘Ichiban’ came up in conversation. I said, ‘That’s Japanese, isn’t it?’ and she said,’Yeah it is! It means great, fabulous, number one!’
I thought,’Oh wow, that’s it! That’s the word! And the rationale for it was that the largest population of Japanese people – outside Japan – is in Brazil. So I said to her, ‘Have you got a group of mates that could sing, who could help? I’d like to just record that word ‘Ichiban’!’ She said, ‘Yeah, I could probably …’ So I asked,’Do you think they could come to a studio tomorrow?’ as I was about leave the country. She said,’Sure, I think I can get some people together!’ So I said, ‘About 6 o’clock or something?’ as I was due to leave at around 8 o’clock. She said,’No, no, they’ll still be working.’ So I asked ‘7 o’clock?’ and she said, ‘Yeah!’ So I organised a little studio on the way out to the airport, and managed to arrange for her friends to come! So, I came in and told them what I wanted to do, and we had a lot of fun! It only took about half an hour or so, and I got them to shout ‘Ichiban! Ichiban!’ and we had to try and get it in time, and accurate. But that’s what happened – crazy story! But that is how the Japanese word ‘Ichiban’ happens to be in ‘Back In Brazil’!