Japanese rock band, Boris, has been making waves abroad but the three-piece rock band also has quite an immense fan base back in Japan. Still, this hasn’t stopped band drummer, Atsuo from stating that his homeland is “brainwashed.”
Despite the obvious fatigue from Boris’ US tour, Atsuo, the drummer shares his tale of music with an interview with Christopher James of Perth. Japan may have its’ share of Japanese performers be it rockers or pop artists but not all sections of Japan may be welcoming.
“It’s like they’ve all been brainwashed,” explains Atsuo, adding, “Don’t have ideologies,” or something like that. I think Japan is full of complications. It’s really twisted; beyond twisted. Like the music scene and the music business, the structure and atmosphere is completely different to any other country. I think it’s a distinctive country; very distinctive.”
Like Atsuo’s taste in music, the Boris’ drummer also highlights Japans’ distinctiveness with his decision to become a vegetarian.
“There are many vegans amongst musicians, and when we collaborate together, I just thought I’d make a gesture to get rid of any walls between us. It’s something I started for the music. And now, you know, of course I like animals too. I can’t really go out to a restaurant in a group of just anyone in Japan. In both American and Australia, it’s very possible to have people of differing values or ideologies sitting around one table and eating together. But in Japan, the atmosphere is that unless you share the values, you can’t join the table,” explained Atsuo.
Even with the wide fan base in Japan, Boris flies to various countries abroad for their performances where almost no one speaks the native tongue.
Since Kyary’s sold out debut at London early this year, the Japanese pop star is set to release another album this year. “The What The!? Collection or “Nandakorekushon” will be slated for release on June 26 in Japan. Capsules’ Yasutaka Nakata has once again worked with Kyary for the album as her producer and songwriter.
“My second album will finally be released! It would make so happy if the picture for the limited edition made you mutter, ‘What the!?’ The CD also has all sorts of songs, from the rock-flavoured ‘Fashion Monster’ to the sparkly alien song ‘Invader Invader’, so please look forward to it! It definitely won’t let you down! I want you all to hear it soon!” announced an overly excited Pamyu Pamyu.
The official track list of “Nandakorekuhson” is as follows:
1. Nanda Collection (なんだこれくしょん)
2. Ninja Re Bang Bang (にんじゃりばんばん)
3. Kimi ni 100 Percent (キミに100パーセント)
4. Super Scooter Happy
5. Invader Invader (インベーダーインベーダー)
6. Mi (み)
7. Fashion Monster (ファッションモンスター)
8. Saigo no Ice Cream (さいごのアイスクリーム)
9. Noriko to Norio (のりことのりお)
10. Furisodation (ふりそでーしょん)
11. Kurakura (くらくら)
12. Otona na Kodomo (おとななこども)
Check out Kyary’s latest music video for her single, “Invader Invader” where obviously, dubstep sounds have started to invade Japanese pop as well.
The epitome of emo bands in Japan, それでも世界が続くなら (Soredemo Sekai ga Tuddukunara, aka SoreSeka: roughly translates to “if the world still continues on”) stood on a dark colorless stage singing out every teenagers darkest fears. The majority of their songs never go past a steady medium and the vocalists raspy voice sounds strained, as if holding back tears. Yet, every word rings through the air and echoes into the audience.
“We aren’t adults and we aren’t children” vocalist Shinoduka Masayuki shouts into the darkness where the crowd stood captivated by the bands sound. There isn’t laughter nor cheers of joy during the performance but an understanding silence about the harsh world of adolescences. It would be a difficult ordeal not to be drawn into this dark world the four artist paint so well with their instruments.
Lined up at the front of the stage stand young teenage girls who cry as they sway to the music these boys have created for them. Towards the back, an older generation stood solidly, as if nodding in agreement to the broken hearted love songs and hardships of being stuck in the middle of growing up.
This is my second time to hear this band play, but this is the first time to actually listen to their songs. And while a larger portion of their songs contain lyrics about death, there is still a sense of hope layered between the words.
During the emcee, Shinoduka asks the crowd what “death” is before continuing onto a story that he had heard earlier that day. His difficult to decipher mumbles fit the atmosphere the band had created perfectly. A dark muddled, very emotional, feel. Shinoduka apologizes and thanks the crowd before carrying onto their last song which, unlike their other songs, is upbeat.
Mesmerized, no one took their eyes off of the stage during their show. Who could possibly tear away from the band when the lyrics are begging for suicide? Or when they are about someone close to you wanting to die while you keep stopping them out of love, but having conflicting feelings about your decision to stop them. If this does not scream out emo, then what could possibly be emo?
There are many bands in Japan who consider themselves “emo” but in my book, they are too happy and upbeat to be “emo.” When they sing of happy endings and love stories, it is not…emo.
…or is it?
SoreSeka, however, is just…
From their black shaggy hair and their black clothes to their songs, this band is the picture perfect example of a Japanese emo band. Their lyrics are very powerful and full of depressing and dark features, it only enhances their style.
Make sure you are prepared to be touched by depression when listening to this band. For depressions cold hands will caress your cheek continuously and give you chills with their songs.
But of course, all in a good way.
If that is possible.
For a band to be able to cause silent tears to flow in a crowded venue, that is definitely something. Not very many bands in this country are able to do this.
Soredemo Sekai ga Tudukunara, I raise my white flag, you have wooed me into a dark world during your performance.
For true emo music, definitely keep an eye out for this band.
The air is tense as the room darkens. The audience patiently awaits as three shadows make their way onto the stage, fidgeting with their instruments before one silhouette raises his hand. In the next instant the whole venue is transported into an alternate universe stained with unidentifiable colors. The crowd cheers, thrusting their hands up into the heated space above their heads as sound begins to pour out of the speakers, filling in every inch of space that is left in the dark venue.
The band SuiseiNoboAz (pronounced: sui-say-no-bo-az) are the three members who transformed this generic black venue into a room colored in psychedelic-rock with a hint of pop. This band is made of Ishihara Masaharu on vocals and guitar, Mizobuchi Narufumi on bass, and Sakurai Norio on drums and chorus. The combination of these three talented musicians construct a unique sound unusual to the music scene in Japan.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Mr. Ishihara some questions during their busy preparations for making their major debut from a sub label of Avex records, cutting edge with their new album ubik.
The band had just recently returned to Tokyo from playing in the widely recognized festival, South By South West (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. According to Mr. Ishihara, the experience was fantastic. It was the first time for the three members to leave Japan, and they were all very excited for the trip. They were welcomed by surprisingly wide roads and delicious food and beer. They were treated to cocktails, beer and, to their surprise, Japanese sake made in Texas, by individuals from the audience who had been exstatic with their performance.
The members were also amazed by the sound volume that poured out of their amps. With a higher voltage than Japan, the sound was “a lot louder and fuller” Mr. Ishihara said. “It felt great!” And with this new knowledge of what their instruments were capable of sounding, he said he is now “more conscious in our sound.”
Now, for a little background on the band, I asked Mr. Ishihara how the band formed. A generic question but something that, in my opinion, should be asked during any first interview, right?
He said that before SuiseiNoboAz, everyone had been in their own bands, but had all disbanded around the same time. “We were all free so we sort of just got together” and thus, SuiseiNoboAz was formed. I suppose this is nothing special and is also a quite generic reason amongst many bands, but I will say that I am glad that their former bands all disbanded at the time that they did so they could come together.
After being together for 6 years, the band will finally be making their long awaited major debut in June, 2013. I asked Mr. Ishihara to choose a color that describes SuiseiNoboAz best, and he chose turquoise. Although there isn’t a specific color that he believes represents the band fully, their first major debut album image color is aimed to be turquoise.
I have had numerous opportunities to hear their latest creations, and in my opinion, I will have to agree that turquoise is a fine fit with the albums image color. Their later songs are definitely not turquoise, but more orange. A faded orange or a faded red. But these newer songs that have a stronger tinge of pop and synths, turquoise and purple come to mind.
I then followed with a few personal questions for Mr. Ishihara. Fun questions always make an interview more interesting, don’t you think? But because this is still the fist interview…it is more of a band introduction, so I will stick with the simpler, more generic questions.
So I asked him what he thinks he would be doing if he wasn’t in the music industry.
“I’m not sure if I would have a job if it weren’t for music…” He responded. I do not believe this, as he is a very smart man with a unique sense of the world. But he continues to mention that as a child, he always admired fishermen and manage artists because, they are, of course, two of the same of occupation.
I can understand why he admires manga artists for he is an artist himself and enjoys reading them…but fishermen? Perhaps I will be able to ask in more detail the next time.
I wasn’t too sure what I was expecting when I asked him what his favorite animal was…but somewhere inside me I think I was hoping for an exotic animal or a strange animal. Instead, he respond with cats. He believes that they are “free and independent” and that they are very intelligent animals and he bets that “they probably have very complex thoughts.” If that is the case, then I feel like cats suit him very well. For he is very independent and having the knowledge that he would love to live on a rooftop with a rubber swimming pool and not have to work, it seems as if he is describing himself. Perhaps he is trying to become a cat? A musical cat.
All three members of the band are very interesting and unique individuals that are great to chat with and share a drink or two. And while I am very intrigued by how Mr. Ishihara comes up with his seemingly obscure song themes, I am glued to the bass lines. Being a bass player myself, I am in constant awe with Mr. Mizobuchi’s bass playing. I have asked him about his techniques and styles, but I am never satisfied with his unknowing answers. One day…one day I will get an actual answer from this man of very few words.
Their first album, a self named album called SuiseiNoboAz, has a very heavy influence of the late band Number Grl. A very alternative sound with complex guitar riffs and intricate rhythm. The steady and strong beats created by Mr. Sakurai and the distinct bass lines by Mr. Mizobuchi that connect the whole ensemble. Mr. Ishihara’s unique and husky voice spits out words that are abstruse and help draft out their world for everyone to visualize.
Their second album, THE (OVERUSED) END OF THE WORLD and I MISS YOU MUH-FUH was a self produced album that consisted of more popish tunes. Though I definitely would not consider this album pop. The lyrics are much more straightforward while also having the sense of encoded secrecy. I enjoy this album very much also, for it was a great representation of the bands color at the time. And while I am still very fond of this album, they have grown since the release of this album.
I am very excited to hear their completed new album. Their major debut album. To see how their organized their songs, to hear the new additions and to enjoy the album as a whole.
SuiseiNoboAz is a band very unique to the Japanese music scene. Their use in complex Japanese words and the integration of English phrases work in harmony to create their own flavor.
With their upcoming major debut, they are definitely a band to keep tabs on.
Until next time,
New wave band GOATBED, a side project of Shuuji Ishii and Takei Makoto ex. cali≠gari, who just released their first CD of 2013 in March, titled "Dreamon Dreamer", announced another new album to be released this Summer titled Ying & Yang.
GOATBED will also participate in "DMMd period – DRAMAtical Murder re:connect soundtrack" contributing four songs to project. It releases on June 12th, 2013.
At their one-man live at Shinjuku BLAZE, V[NEU] announced that their new maxi single will be released on July 31st. Full details, however, have not yet been announced and neither has the band decided on a title for the release.
V[neu]s most recent single "The 25th Century Love" was released on February 27th!
April 9th 2013 at SHIBUYA REX, REDRUM mentioned that their new mini album entitled "INITIUM" will be coming out May 29th 2013.
INITIUM was produced by Hizumi who was once the vocalist of D’espairs Ray. Hizumi will also design the cover art for the release.
The limited edition will include a CD containing 5 songs and a DVD featuring the "INITIUM" PV.
The regular edition will include the CD containing 6 songs and "INITIUM (Voiceless) only.
Additionally, their live-distributed DVD (including the making of the "INITIUM" PV) will be released at their 2nd anniversary one-man live "INITIUM～REMEMBER the REAL MADNESS～" at Ikebukuro BLACK HOLE on August 25th 2013.
David Ellefson interview April 4th, 2013 with JapanSmash.com
Can you feel the ground rumbling Japan? No that is not yet another earthquake, it’s a legion of Megadeth fans in the Kanto & Kansai areas. There is an army of Metalheads marching forward to their respective venues to catch some up close and personal time with their heroes because next week Heavy Metal royalty will be in town. Bassist David Ellefson & Guitarist Chris Broderick from Megadeth will be in Japan to promote their new Jackson signature model Guitars. I caught up with the veteran Bassist on the importance of Japan to the band and a sneak preview of what fans can expect from their visit to the land of the rising sun.
Jason McNamara: So back to Japan next week. Do you have any idea how many times you’ve been here now.
David Ellefson: It’s been quite a few times now! We started touring Japan on the “Peace Sells…” album back in 1987 and I remember it like it was yesterday. However, I haven’t been over to Japan since “The World Needs a Hero” tour in 2001 so I’m REALLY looking forward to getting back to see the fans there once again.
Jason McNamara: It’s been well documented that many bands really had the door of success opened to them by visiting Japan back in the 70’s & 80’s. Megadeth has been a main stayer in the music industry for almost 30 years now. What role if any did Japan play in Megadeth’s rise to the top, especially in those early years?
David Ellefson: Fortunately, Megadeth got in during a fantastic period of Japan’s international music interest. More than that, the Japanese fans and music industry have taken such an amazing interest not in our music but our lives as musicians. We enjoyed many years there with our fans, who were instrumental in our success both internationally and throughout the Pacific Rim, too. From Japan’s enthusiasm we have been able to branch out to many of the neighboring Asian countries over the years.
Jason McNamara: Have you ever had time to actually see anything here aside from airports, hotel rooms and the shows?
David Ellefson: Yes, I have. In particular, I went to Japan for a special pre-tour promotion back in 1992 and got to experience some of the nightlife that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to participate in if I was just passing through on a normal tour schedule. Then, we spent almost a month touring Japan back in 1995 on the “Youthanasia” record. That tour saw us go from cities like Sendai all the way down to the South-Western regions with stops in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and the beautiful city of Kobe along the way.
Jason McNamara: These days any person who has Metal on their iPod would most likely have Pop, Jazz, a few movie soundtracks, Hip Hop etc. What do you listen to when it’s not Metal?
David Ellefson: Well, I’m the same way because I listen to all styles of music in my down time, too. I’ve always gone out of genre as a musician and songwriter to investigate other genres for inspiration. As a life long musician, it’s sometimes difficult to just sit back and listen to music without analysing it. I think its just part of how I’m wired.
With that said, my kids listen to pop in the car on the way to school (Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Pink, etc.) while I still trend toward Metal and music I grew up on from the 1970s…everything from Kiss, Montrose & Aerosmith to more mainstream pop stuff like The Eagles.
Jason McNamara: Have you ever been approached to do music outside of the Metal world and if so, why did or didn’t you get involved?
David Ellefson: Yes, all the time. I’ve participated playing and writing on records that covered everything from singer/songwriter coffeehouse type music all the way to Christian and Inspirational music. I guess that is one cool thing about being a bassist is that I can be an artist and create songs or I can simply show up and just play bass lines to other people’s music. It’s nice to have the options.
Jason McNamara: Back to your next visit to Japan. I remember back in the early days you were with BC Rich. For those who may not know you’ve also had a Peavey Signature Series Bass, played some Modulus Basses & have a P-Bass. However, you’ve been with Jackson pretty solidly for the greater part of your career. The obvious question, why Jackson?
David Ellefson: When I picked up my first Jackson bass at the Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, CA back in 1986 the bass was simply a natural fit for me on every level. It played great, sounded amazing and looked modern and edgy. There is something about a traditional P-bass style body shape that sounds good because of the mass of wood on it. However, because I’m a little bit smaller guy, the standard P-bass is usually too big on me and is somewhat uncomfortable for me to play. But, the Jackson Concert bass has always been a slightly smaller size, which is great for my height and stage performance needs. The necks are slimmer and that helped me really create a uniquely fast Thrash style of bass playing. The tone center is uniquely scooped in the mids but boosts the lows and highs so it cuts through our wall of mid-range power heavy guitars in our band. Although I’ve played many brands over the years, the Jackson’s have really been the anchor sound for me in Megadeth for most of our years.
Jason McNamara: Speaking of Jackson Guitars, what can you tell us about your new David Ellefson signature series Kelly Bass? How did it come about and why the Kelly Bird? By the way, very cool look with the Maple fingerboard and those block inlays. Very reminiscent of a ’76 Jazz Bass.
David Ellefson: Thank you. Back on the “Countdown to Extinction” tour in 1992 I created a similar looking bass, so that was the inspiration for me to create the Kelly Bird. For the KB I incorporated the lower horn of the Jackson Kelly guitar but retained the traditional ‘bird’ look for the rest of the instrument. We brought in the EMG Hz pickups and used a high mass bridge to get a modern sound to the bass. I think we hit the mark as the bass sounds powerful and looks like a true rock n roll axe.
Jason McNamara: What can fans expect from what’s been billed as the MEGACLINIC’s in Tokyo & Osaka?
David Ellefson: We will definitely be doing some playing together but also talking about our instruments and taking questions from the audience during a special Q&A segment of the clinic. In my mind, the fans can see us play songs all the time on the stage so the Q&A portion allows us to really be personal with those in attendance…maybe even learn a few things from them, too. After all, if we quit learning we don’t grow. So, these clinics are about musicians learning from each other…and to me that is the real heart of making music.
You can catch David & Chris at their MEGACLINICS in Tokyo & Osaka
David Ellefson and Chris Broderick (MEGADETH)
Apr 10, 2013 @ Omotesando Ground, Tokyo
Apr 12, 2013 @ Shinsaibashi Club Jungle, Osaka
Info: Kanda Shokai Corporation