mothercoat: an unclaimed expansion from Japanese indie music to the world!

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Planning his awesome North American adventure tour on spring performing in SXSW and NMFT showcases as well, mothercoat spoke out openly with us from the indie experiences to the official guests for the USB Continental Edition Vol. 5th, looking to meet and perform in Latin America. Versión en español.

Pedro Suarez.
Photos & videos: Under authorization by mothercoat for journalistic purposes.
Fukaya City is located from Saitama Prefecture, nearly two hours of great Tokyo by car. In this peaceful and traditional urban place witnessed the birth of one of the most beloved and tagged as a cult indie band for the musical world, almost a decade ago. In 2012, mothercoat turned on a 180 degrees, resulting in their current line-up, which is the sum of creative freshness, youth, maturity, feeling and a cheerful and global vision with an Eastern look: tokirock & gigadylan as transcendental vocalists and strings, irimajiri playing the rhythmic drums, junpei as wizard sound, and the youngest of this group but with being an expertise to do your guitar can sing: fuku; mothercoat’s sound footprints have crossed not only physical but cultural boundaries, being acclaimed at festivals such as the famous South by Southwest (SXSW) and the Japan Nite in the United States; Canadian Next Music From Tokyo (NMFT), or V-ROX in Vladivostok… And nevertheless, they are not getting to stardom. On the other hands, they want to live in a simple way, enjoy stress-free, and spread their soul made music freely without overly acoustic ornaments, like an open and clear sound river to refresh our Western ears. A bet that has led them to earn the deserved recognition that represents the Japanese indie today very well. In some short words, this band is a newly discovered treasure from the deepest places of great infinite musical ocean, which seemed to only fleet thick layers of cheap noise on the surface.
allergies_coverAllergies (2012) is his first album produced from outside his hometown with his new line-up. This disco shows us why they as a cult indie band that love your ears even if you do not speak Japanese. Under the great leadership of Fernando Lodeiro who sculpted these acoustic details carefully along Oscar Zambrano in mastering process, mothercoat captures and holds our interest through his energy and melodic drawing that remind us of those eclectic sounds that shocked an indie scene in the past with the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Vampire Weekend… Yes, those same bands produced by Lodeiro leading them to shine as supernovas in a dark and lifeless universe to revitalize it.
In the first semester of 2015, the band come back to North America in an ambitious but down on Earth tour; mothercoat’s American Tour will start again entering to the main door at SXSW and the Japan Nite. Then, they are touring in Central, Western and Southern regions (TX, CO, NM, KS, MS, TN, LA, AR, OK, GA, SC, NC, and AL) on spring. Finally, they will end this musical road trip adventure to NMFT Vol. 7 in early summer … Or not, perhaps! As a bonus track, mothercoat could be playing on stage for the famous North by Northeast (NXNE) in Toronto … who knows! The only certainty is that mothercoat enjoy being free and flexible, the same one that they have used to compose they songs very well.
Latin America is the Promised Land for mothercoat, therefore want to land it. When the band were working together with Lodeiro and Zambrano for Allergies, it was like a little appetizer. But undoubtedly, the highlight was to participate for the musical project compilation United Sound Bunka Vol. 5th Continental Edition with Nipple Cider, dreaming on meet and learn about our Latin music and culture; a confirmation that the Japanese indie movement has transcended its limits and has begun to catch all the views in this corner of the globe. Therefore, mothercoat show us his soul in this great and exclusive interview feeling grateful for this new connection to Latin America touring it in a future.
Colectivo Bunka. Thank you very much to attend us in this interview for Colombia and Latin America. It’s an honor to interview you. My first question is in a few words, how did you meet to play together?
gigadylan. There was a predecessor band of mothercoat and I participated in that, but all the original members left the band.
tokirock. Same as gigadylan, I was a friend of one of the original members and jumped into the band and started playing the bass at that time.
fuku. mothercoat came to tour in my town when I was a high school student. And I applied to join when they recruited a new guitarist as the ex-guitarist had resigned.
irimajiri. A friend of mine is a fan of mothercoat and he took me to their gig. It was the beginning.
junpei. We met at a rehearsal studio where I used to work for and mothercoat used to practice.
C. B. What are your biggest music influences to feel inspired in create your own sound?
g. I think we should try to be on the inspiring side. I personally fear to have some set pattern to create songs because there are many fantastic art works whose process to create that I cannot imagine at all.
t. My criteria is: “is this what we should do?” There are many great bands all over the world so we don’t have to do what others do because we’re satisfied with their fantastic works.
f. Some songs come from such as shape, color, and arts other than music that are drawings, writings and movies.
i. My favorite way is to mimic other players, but I usually end up with failure to copy them but it always becomes something totally different in a good way.
j. In my case, inspiration comes from being alone with doing nothing.
C. B. What topics inspire mothercoat to compose and play the songs?
t. It’s almost the same question with the last one for us, but we typically start to compose when we feel our present set-list is lacking some elements and try to fulfill the lacking part but it usually ends up with creating something we’ve never intended to fulfill.
g. Not really thinking about the ‘lack’ all the time, but in other words, we create songs when we get bored with what we are doing.
C. B. In your personal opinion, what is your vision about Japanese indie music movement around the world today?
t. As we have been invited to some compilation album projects outside Japan such as “Fecking Bahamas” and your, “Colectivo Bunka”, it seems Japanese indie music has gradually penetrated up to the level we could feel…there should have been that kind of penetration so far already as well, but recently it’s felt as a much more familiar fact as some bands we’ve shared stages in the Japanese indie scene such as LITE gets to be seen to perform in some major international festivals and we’ve heard many of our friends’ bands have toured abroad and gained popularity there no matter how much they are unknown in Japan. I think the more and more indie bands from Japan perform in SXSW year after year. Last year, we were invited to a Russian showcase summer festival “V-ROX” and Japanese bands invited in the year were Buffalo Daughter and mothercoat, and Japanese DJ Broken Haze. Those selection is nothing to do with the famousness (Buffalo Daughter is far familiar than us, of course, but they are also a DIY band) but produced by purely musical interests of the booking managers who are open to find out new music which we are deeply impressed and touched. Also there is a guy named Steven Tanaka who hosts a festival annually with purely Japanese edgy indie music bands – the festival is called “Next Music From Tokyo” held in Canada. We played in his first festival and are blessed to play again this coming June. These kind of trials has undoubtedly been a big moment to let people know the quality of Japanese indie music scene. There are many quality indie bands in Japan and many of them have desire to play abroad because of Japanese idol/pop dominant cultural tightness and there seem to be a decent amount of people who have noticed the quality and variety of Japanese indie music scene around the world, so coming back to the point of your question -Japanese indie music movement around the world today-, we feel it’s going to be more and more exciting.
C. B. Last year, mothercoat has performed along other bands in Japan Nite at SXSW 2014. What kind of stories and memories do you have about that?
t. Well, the first meeting with Japan Nite was our first appearance in SXSW back to 2007. There were so many people making a long queue outside the venue where Japan Nite was held and we were so impressed that fact: “Wow! Japanese bands have collected such a big amount of audience.” We knew nothing about SXSW at that time as our first experience, so we ended up with a small audience in a normal booking even though we were lucky enough to gain a good review from someone from media who happened to be there. I think Japan Nite’s focus and competence is Japanese strong girls’ bands as typified by such as TsuShiMaMiRe by its history as used to be their label owner, so we might not necessarily fit to the expectation of their market, but we thought it could be interesting to see what happens if mothercoat performs among other Japan Nite bands. So as headlining Japan Nite at SXSW 2014, we saw many very excited dancing people who came down to the show because they had seen us somewhere before in other showcases which made us happy. Some people have already gone before we played so the venue was not enough crowded but still the merchandise were sold well and could hear audience’s excited voices directly. The audience actually called for an encore, but as we didn’t have enough songs to take it with the new guitarist (fuku) at that time so we talked to the people there that we were not going to play more which made Japan Nite promoter Ms. Audrey get furious later which was even so funny. We learned from her that we could even play the same song from the set-list we’ve just performed – the idea we’d never come up with!
mc_06C. B. How was the feedback from the Americans when the band used to play on stage at SXSW 2014?
t. Oh it was great! Especially we were blessed to perform at International Day Stage as our second official showcase inside Austin Convention Center where tons of music industry people meet up and we could heard many of their enthusiastic admiration!
g. American audience said our show is an encounter with a brand new music and they were surprised which were the right reactions that we would like to get.
C. B. In this New Year, you will play at SXSW one more time. What new songs will be playing to your fans on this occasion?
t. We are in process of creating new stuff now so there are no specific names to them yet but yes, we are ready to play new songs.
C. B. Did you know or did you hear any Latin America band or musician? (If your answer is no, what would you like to know of Latin America about your music?)
t. Actually we’ve never had opportunities to listen to specific bands from Latin America. My personal image of music in Latin America is so limited and represented by bossa-nova and soundtrack of Buena Vista Social Club. I’m very much interested in how people in Latin America think/feel about our music.
mc_05C. B. We appreciate your participation for U.S.B. Compilation Disc to spread your music in Latin America. What are your expectations and wishes about this musical project and potential new Latin fans as well?
t. Latin America is comparatively further from us culturally, psychologically maybe because it happens to be placed geographically further from our place. Not much information about Latin American culture seems to have been broadcasted by media in Japan. So without Colectivo Bunka’s action this time we might never had any chance to get in touch to audience in Latin America. We appreciate your invitation to the compilation, and hopefully people in Latin America get interested in our music and our fan base grows enough for us to consider touring around in Latin American countries!
C. B. In the history of mothercoat, what has been the most important concert that you will never forget? Why?
g. I always completely forget about our show once it ends no matter how it is fantastic or awful. I always become eager to play another gig right after the show.
t. Not sure if it’s ‘important’ but personally I have once felt my orgasm in the very last show for our first drummer on New Year’s Eve in 2006. Wired enough, I felt that everything was united and set in the right place even though my heart was torn into pieces by the drummer’s decision to leave the band. I’ve never felt that kind of perfect freedom before and so far. The orgasm has never come after that and I always dream to make it happen on the stage again.
f. The show on October 1st, 2014. The show was held in my hometown, Niigata, and because gigadylan got furious about me who allowed bad feeling from my mistake linger on the stage, we had the first fist fight ever since I’d joined the band in November, 2013. It was so memorable and important because it took place at my hometown and it was the first experience for me to express my straight feeling to the members, as being the youngest (historically & physically) in the band. I would love to have a delicious drink after our show someday in my hometown.
i. October 18th, 2013 at Matsumoto MOLE HALL. It was autumn, and our ex-guitarist had resigned in the summer so we created a brand new set-list without a primary guitarist for the upcoming shows already booked. There could be an option to rearrange the present songs but it was not our mood at all. So we ended up to compose six songs in a month and went to tour and play. I was nervous and occupied with just playing what we had written as it were at first, but since this show at MOLE HALL I finally started to enjoy playing. After this show everything went alright. It was a challenge for us but at the same time I could rediscover the momentum/dynamism of our band and the joy of being in the band which I found important.
j. November 20th, 2005 at Shinjuku MARZ. It was mothercoat’s own event Tensaijitai Vol. 3. I was doing their recording and sound guy regularly around that time but still as a ‘helper’. But at that show, I was so frustrated with the gig somehow -it was alright but lacking something-; in other words, we could do more. But, I thought at the same time that I would love to watch this scenery (mothercoat’s stage from PA booth) much more so I decided to commit myself to the band at this timing and became an official member.
C. B. What Asian bands currently we can recommend?
g. Nhhmbase (Japan).
f. Manic Sheep (Taiwan).
C. B. After SXSW 2015, what plans do you have this year?
t. Well, we are going to tour in the American Southern region following SXSW 2015 until the mid-April. We will perform at Next Music From Tokyo Vol. 7 (NMFT) held in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver as I mentioned in the former question. Following NMFT, we might perform at NXNE 2015 held in Toronto as well if everything goes alright! Also, we hope we could perform in Russia again and would love to tour in Europe this year… mmm… still under contemplation so we are waiting for your offers from all over the world!
mc_01C. B. Again, thank you very much for this interview and I would like you send a greeting to our audience in Colombia and Latin America.
t. THANK YOU very much! We appreciate your offering us such a precious opportunity to expose mothercoat to audience in Colombia and Latin America!
C. B. Finally, you send us a greeting to Colectivo Bunka in Colombia.
g. Actually, I’m known as a big fan of coffee. I owe my daily happiness to your coffee, so I hope our music could pay my debt to you all!
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mothercoat’s Twitter.
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Una propuesta especializada en promover la cultura y música asiática en Colombia y Latinoamérica generando contenidos y productos digitales. Colectivo Bunka, ¡Te conecta con Asia! Colectivo Bunka is a Latin media specialized to promote Asian culture and music in Latin America with original online contents and digital products since 2006 in Colombia.
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