By Kieran Webber
Tokyo trippers Kikagaku Moyo are set to release their latest album ‘House In The Tall Grass’ May 13th via Guruguru Brain, having had an exclusive listen to their album (which by the way is beautiful) we were desperate for a chat with the band about their influences, how they write their music and their connection to planet Earth.
CLUNK : Thanks so much for taking your time to answer our questions we are really excited to be speaking to you! What are you up to right now (apart from answering our questions) ?
Go : I’m on a walk, sitting at the riverside. The sun is shining with marvelous orange rays. A fish just jumped out of the river! We’re excited to chat to you too! Thank you for taking the time.
CLUNK : How did you all first meet and at what point did you all decide to make music together?
Go : Guy and Tomo went to the same school. Daoud was kind of known to be a genius who didn’t have to study, and Tomo was famous for refusing to cut his hair to be on the sports team. We all live together. Playing music together just happened naturally.
CLUNK : I read in an interview that you started busking in the street I’m curious to know is this what lead to your free forming music? How do you feel this affected your sound?
Go : We like to busk because it is a moment in which we play entirely for ourselves. We can be sure that when we have an audience they are there because they are pleased to be listening. The minute that they stop enjoying themselves, they will move on. It keeps you in tune with what your listeners are feeling, and also teaches you not to care. Overall, this helped to give us the freedom from self-consciousness that you need if you are going to make free-form, improvisatory music in general.
“We are interested in making more conceptual records at the moment, where we work towards (or from) an idea, rather than a sound. We sometimes find that having new boundaries or parameters within which to create can actually be quite liberating”
CLUNK : Why was it you started out busking?
Go : There is a difference between the same drop of rain falling onto a grassy plain, or into the ocean. The resonance, the absorption, the glimmer, are different when the rain hits ground instead of water, even though to begin with the drops were identical.
As we busk, the audience, and context are constantly shifting and changing. People come and go, it’s very noisy as a train pulls into the station overhead, then very quiet as the traffic lights turn red. The energy that we receive from the people and things surrounding us shifts, and the music we make shifts in turn. We are still us, putting our music out there, but by busking we learned the beauty of having a “conversation” through music with our surroundings.
CLUNK : Do you all share the same influences or does it vary?
Go : We have totally different influences in music. This album has a song that was inspired by an experience of cold snowy weather. There is this TV commercial for Hokkaido Stew which comes from the northernmost island in Japan. The family eat a very hot stew in a farmhouse in a snowy field. That looks so cozy, it is a lingering picture. When you have many of these kinds of ghosts of ideas, from books, movies, poetry, the outside world, they coalesce into a general sense of influence when we come to write music.
CLUNK : Are there any particular artists that you feel you draw a lot of influence from?
Go : To be honest, no. Tomo likes to listen to Enya a lot.
CLUNK : Can you talk us through the process of how you write new material?
We are interested in making more conceptual records at the moment, where we work towards (or from) an idea, rather than a sound. We sometimes find that having new boundaries or parameters within which to create can actually be quite liberating.
CLUNK : What was the idea/influence for your latest album ‘House In The Tall Grass’?
Go : This album takes the listener on a number of journeys within their own mind. These are trips out into nature, like one that takes place on a snowy mountaintop. You wake up, take a walk in the woods, see a deer, a fox, a bird, come back to the house, make some hot soup, look out the window, lie down, close your eyes, and take another trip into your own imaginary world.
CLUNK : Your music has a very earthy tone, I always feel close to nature when I jam to your music do you yourselves feel you have a strong connection to nature and the earth?
Go : Yes, nature is always at the core of our music. When we say “nature” that doesn’t just refer to something soft, and gentle, and passive, but to weather and natural landscapes in all their grandeur and complexity. Electric music can be very earthy. Take thunder: it’s super high voltage electronic power from nature.
CLUNK : What is the most far out experience you have had?
Go : Being Kikagaku Moyo.
CLUNK : Lastly, what is in the pipeline for 2016?
Go : We’re touring a lot and playing Liverpool Psych Fest this year. In between all those commitments we are hoping to swim in the ocean in every season this year. Daoud and I like winter swimming, because the waves are at their loudest and most refreshing. Tomo will probably be on the shore drinking hot tea, but I think everyone else will take a dip.
You can catch Kikagaku Moyo at the following dates:
25 Bristol, UK Cube
26 London, UK, London Fields Brewery
27 Manchester, UK, Star and Garter
28 Glasgow, Scotland, Nice’n’Sleazys
29 Leeds, UK, Karma Fest
30 Brighton UK, Bleach
23-24 Liverpool UK, Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia (Guruguru Brain stage)