By Kieran Webber
The world is nearly devoid of true uniqueness and as each year goes by we drift further into saturation, this isn’t to say there isn’t any good music out there (there is plenty) however, there are few artists creating something truly unique. One group that certianly is, is the Tokyo based KUUNATIC, they blend such a wide and diverse range of sounds from traditional Japanese music to heavy psychedelia. We first caught wind if the fascinating trio with their ‘KUURANDIA’ EP and was blown away by their wide soundscape which spanned so many genres, carrying a sound truly special. With the EP fresh in our minds we were eager to find out more about the unique trio and their music.
CLUNK: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, how have you been and what have you been up to?
Fumie: We were on holiday but we are now back on gigging in Japan and preparing to record new songs next month.
CLUNK: So, how did you all meet and at what point did you decide to start making music?
Fumie: I’ve met Yuko via our former member Angie. We just jammed in a studio very first time and it was amazing, we vaguely made an essential sound of ‘Kuurandia’ on that day and 2 weeks later we started composing songs together. We’ve known Shoko for many years and she joined us a couple of months before our UK tour in 2017.
CLUNK: What infuenced you individually to start making music?
Fumie: I’ve been listening to music entire of my life but i never tried to make music seriously before. It was only after i jammed with my friends in 2015 and suddenly i got an urge to make my own music. And luckily I met KUUNATIC the members next year.
Yuko: I had many friends playing in bands and working at studios. So venues and studios became my place to hang out and started to play music naturally, not as education. For a while I spent my time mostly in my room when my mother bought me Korg Electribe which took my mind off. Soon after I started making music by myself.
Shoko: I wanted to become a singer since I was a small kid and I found my auntie’s guitar left at my room when I was a teenager, it was about the time I started listening to UK and US music. Then I found I needed sounds to sing to, so I started making music with her guitar.
CLUNK: How did you come to the idea of blending traditional Japanese music with hard hitting psychedlia?
Fumie: First we didn’t consider our sound was psychedelic. We wanted to make something completely unique to us so we were mixing up with our roots sound which is Japanese traditional music with latin music, progressive rock and dub music. It was very interesting that people who saw our shows described us as post-punk, no wave, new wave, dark goth, lo-fi progressive, psychedelic etc and all different kinds. I guess our music is very difficult to put in genres for sure. But mostly we make some exotic oriental sound and with our appearance it became psychedelic, that’s what we think.
“We wanted to make something completely unique to us so we were mixing up with our roots sound which is Japanese traditional music with latin music, progressive rock and dub music”
CLUNK: What is the meaning of the band name and how did that come to be chosen?
Fumie: Kuu means the moon in Finnish. So Kuunatic means Lunatic. We all like something related to the moon and our music is a bit weird and crazy so we thought Kuunatic would be perfect for us. Finnish girl Sanni actually played the guitar at the very very beginning of Kuunatic so we got an idea from her mother language.
CLUNK: When creating your music where do you draw your infuence from?
Fumie: I get inspirations from places I visited or scenes from films. And I like making our own stories in our songs.
Yuko: Just flashing ideas.
Shoko: Ideas come up when I see arts or when I’m relaxed.
CLUNK: What sort of music did you listen to growing up and what elements of your music does it affect?
Fumie: I growing up listening to lots of Japanese Visual-kei music, which is very unique style emerged in japan in the 90s/00s, boys in makeup and dresses, but they are amazing progressive rock and heavy rock bands. Eventually i started listening to many 60s/70s progressive rock and heavy psychedelic rock music all over the world so i guess you can find their elements in our music too.
Yuko: I growing up listening to western music from the radio and something loud music like local hardcore and metal bands. Also I’m listening to progressive rock, experimental, electronic, tribal, improvised music.
Shoko: My parents always played me baroque music and they took me to orchestra concerts when I was young. My base sounds might come from that experience. When I grew up I really loved listening to many UK and US music though.
CLUNK: How does your live performances differ from your recordings? If at all?
Fumie: For the recordings, we have some additional sounds in background to emphasize Kuunatic world. For live performances, we have our special outfit and make-up to visually create Kuunatic world.
CLUNK: What are five bands/artists that you are listening to at the moment?
Fumie: Crocodelia, 落差草原WWWW/Prairie WWWW, Tzusing, débruit, xxxtentacion.
CLUNK: Lastly, what is in store for 2018?
Fumie: New songs recording, album making and Europe tour. We will be busy this year.