August 08, 2015

Kikagaku Moyo

After recently catching one of their shows in London, we spoke to the psych rock band Kikagaku Moyo about books, their first European tour and some other projects they've got on the go.

Kikagaku Moyo (幾何学模様) are doing big things in the underground scene of their hometown in Tokyo. Since forming a couple of years ago they have put out three releases and are starting to become more and more popular. I was able to speak to Go Kurosawa, the drummer of Kikagaku Moyo.

Live photos are of Kikagaku Moyo @ Lexington, London, June 8 2015 by Mollie Ruck, unless stated otherwise.

Roadhouse, Manchester, October 22 2014
You’ve just finished your first European tour, which cities were your favourites and what were the best moments?
Most cities we played in, we didn't even stay for more than a half day, so it is really difficult to judge. That being said, my favorite cities were Malmo SW, Prague CZ, Oviedo ES, and both Lisbon and Porto in Portugal. The best moment we had was when we found a beautiful grass field over this little moat. Daoud (our guitarist) all of a sudden jumped into the moat. It looked clean but as soon as he jumped in, he realized it was full of smelly sewage sludge. Anyway, he got to the other side, and we all walked across the bridge to go to the other side to meet Daoud, and saw a big tall gate with a name plate. Then we realized that it was somebody's property, not a park. He couldn’t get through the gate, and so he had to go back the way he came. So he jumped back into the disgusting water to swim back. We laughed so hard.

Do you find some cultures of European countries different from ones in Japan? Were some of them hard to adjust to?
Not hard at all, actually I liked the European way of doing things better in most cases. At one venue, a sound engineer couldn't figure out why one of the monitors didn't work. It took a really long time to figure out, and we had to go on soon. Everyone was getting kind of stressed out. We didn't even start sound check, so we told him that we don't need to use the monitor. As soon as we said that he screamed and said "I LOVE YOU!!" and everyone laughed and became happy. This thing never happens in Japan.

Your song “Pond” from “Mammatus Clouds” is a 28-minute long instrumental that probably best describes your sound. What was the recording process for this song? Did you do it all in one take?
The track was a live recorded in one take.

Your music consists of some long improvised jams, especially when you play live. Is this similar to your writing and recording process of your music or do you bring ideas for songs to rehearsals and then work on them together?
Yes, some songs are written in that way. For most of the songs, some of us bring some ideas, and I will compose and make the structure of the track. Recording and live performance are different things for us. In our recording, we have improvisation part as well, but we tend to focus on the structure more. As far as sound, we can add or take out whatever we want for the recording on the other hand, performing live is an instant expression from our body and mind.

Kikagaku Moyo translates as geometric patterns. How did you come up with this name? Are geometric patterns something you can visualize when playing your music and would you like people listening to your music or watching you play live to visualize them as well?
When we first started jamming together, we would play music all night long. While we played for six hours straight in the darkness, I started seeing colors and patterns behind my eyelids. We were somewhere between being asleep and being awake, but would keep playing music. That is where I got the inspiration for the band name.

From seeing you play live, it’s obvious that you are all very close to each other, which makes the performance feel like quite an intimate experience, especially when you play on small stages. Is this something you like and do you prefer to play on small stages rather than big ones?
Both big and small stages have their advantages and disadvantages. We prefer to play on small stages because it is easier for us to communicate with each other and share our energy. Bigger stages are better because we can hear our sound in the monitor more clearly.

What was the formation of Kikagaku Moyo? How did you all meet and start playing together?
Long story short, we were just a two piece band at first. We gathered people together who had no experience with playing in a band, and ended up with our current line up.

Aside from Kikagaku Moyo you are also involved in organizing the Tokyo Psych Fest and have started your own record label called Gurguru Brain. Can you tell us a bit about these organizations?
Yes, we started TPF to start a scene in Tokyo and tried to change the system that musicians have to deal with in Tokyo if they want to perform live. Here, we have to pay to play, but we believe that this should change. So we set up a way that we can do a totally DIY fest and be able to pay to the bands too. For GGB, so far we have released two physical recordings (a Taiwanese drone band and a Japanese psych band) and one compilation on current Japanese psych music. We are now looking for a store who might be interested in carrying our releases. We want to keep everything as DIY as much as possible.

What would your dream Tokyo Psych Fest line up be?
Speed Glue Shinki, Flower Travelin' Band, and Blues Creation.

Do you like to read on tour? If so what have you all been reading?
Yes, some of us read during the tour. I was reading Richard Brautigun, and read some Frantz Kafka. Books are good to space out on while on an intense tour.

And finally, what are the band’s plans for the future?
We will be working on new songs and hopefully record within this year.

Cover Photo: Unknown
Photos: Mollie Ruck

No comments:

Post a Comment