Exclusive

EXCLUSIVE: LOW-PASS interview

On June 27th, 2012 we talked to LOW-PASS, a Japanese instrumental post rock / math-rock band. This three piece have recently released their new album entitled “Trimurti“. The chat is available both in English and Japanese! Check it out.

Hey hey! How are you guys? Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

こんにちは!私たちは2005年にギター金澤、ベース小野、ドラム三ノ宮の3人で結成、日本の京都を中心に活動しているインストゥルメンタルロックバンド、LOW-PASSです。

今回のインタビューはギターの金澤が答えます。

 

Hello! We formed in 2005 as a three piece instrumental rock band operating out of Kyoto, Japan. Takayuki Kanazawa is on guitar, Yasunobu Ono on bass and Hiroe Sannomiya on drums.
I’m Kanazawa (guitar) and I’ll be answering the interview.

Cool, thanks! Tell us why did you decided to let the instruments do the talking? How did you become an instrumental band?

最初、LOW-PASSを結成する1、2年前にLOW-PASSの原型になったバンドがあって、その時からpeleやGhosts & Vodkaみたいなインストバンドやろう!て決めて始めました。だから元々歌を入れるという概念がなかったです。

 

About 1 or 2 years before LOW-PASS was formed, we decided we wanted to make a band similar to PELE or GHOSTS & VODKA. Because of that, we never even considered adding vocals to the band.

Have you always been an instrumental outfit? I bet you’re singing on your rehearsals. Admit it! [laughs]

いつもインストですよ。3人とも音痴で歌下手なので(笑)

歌が上手かったら絶対歌ってると思う、メロディーのインスピレーションはあるけど、歌で表現できるほど歌が上手くないので、楽曲でメロディーが伝わればいいな、と思ってます。

 

We are always instrumental, since we are tone deaf when it comes to singing. [laughs] If we were good at singing, then we probably would have added vocals to the music. We might be inspired to add some melodies, but as long as we can communicate through our music, that is good.

What are your musical influences?

LOW-PASS的に影響受けたのはpeleやGhosts & Vodka、american football,も外せない、後は joan
of arc ,OWLS , sharks keep movig、最初の頃はこの辺のバンドを聴きまくったし、真似しようとしてたかな。
あっ、あと個人的にはLOOK MEXICOとか、MINERAL, THE GET UP KIDS等US
90’EMOのシーン、POLYVINYLのバンド、DISCHORD、JADE TREE、etc…

切りないな。(笑)

LOW-PASS was originally influenced by PELE, GHOSTS & VODKA, AMERICAN FOOTBALL, ETC. During the beginning of the band, we were also listening to a lot of JOAN OF ARC, OWLS, and SHARKS KEEP MOVING, so I think they might have had an influence as well.

Personally I listen to LOOK MEXICO, MINERAL, THE GET UP KIDS, the whole 90’s US Emo scene, POLYVINYL bands, DISCHORD, JADE TREE, etc.

I could keep going… [laughs]

Great bands, for real.

You released  “Trimurti”  about a month ago. Tell us about the writing process of these songs. How do you create your tunes? What is the process like since everything is “math” and instrumental?

最初は大体ギターリフを考えて、スタジオでメンバーに聴かせてからその場でセッションする。そこからベーシックな構成を決めてセッションを繰り返しながらドラム、ベース、ギターのフレーズを構築して、最終アレンジで必要ない構成等を捨てて、1曲を完成させています。

なるべく構成はシンプルになるように意識はしてるかな。

 

First there comes a guitar riff, I let the the other members hear and we jam around it. From that we decide on the basic idea, and after jamming some more we figure out the drums, bass and guitar parts. Finally, we edit out anything that isn’t needed and we end up with a finished song.

We always have it in our minds to make songs as simple as we can.

Tell us about record labels you have dealt with and how you distribute your music.

今 は日本の名古屋にあるstiffslackからアルバムをリリースしてます。このレーベルはSHINERやMERCURY PROGRAM、31 KNOTS、Sleeping People、LOOK MEXICO、Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely
Estate)、 ENEMIES、Self-Evident等々をリリースしてきた日本を代表するレコードショップです、私たちはアルバムを完成さした時、必ず stiffslackからリリースしたいと思ってました。今回アルバムをこのレーベルからリリースできた事は私たちにとって非常に嬉しい事でした。だから こそkeep it together recordsからもカセットテープリリースでできましたし。

後、 その前は日本の東京のfriend of mine recordsというとこからフランスのfago.sepiaとsplit CDをリリースしています。このレーベルはThe Player PianoやThe Bulletproof Tiger、By Surprise、Pharaohs等々リリースしています。fago.sepiaとはずっとメールでやりとりして、もう5年以上の付き合いかな、 japan tourも一緒にしました。

 

Currently, we released our album from Stiff Slack Records, based out of Nagoya. They run a record shop and release bands like SHINER, MERCURY PROGRAM, 31 KNOTS, SLEEPING PEOPLE, LOOK MEXICO, EMPIRE! EMPIRE! (I WAS A LONELY STATE), ENEMIES, and SELF-EVIDENT. We are really happy that we were able to release our album from them. Also, we were happy that the cassette version of this album was released by Keep It Together Records.

We’ve also released a split with France’s FAGO.SEPIA from the Tokyo-based Friend of Mine Records. This label has released other bands such as THE  PLAYER PIANO, THE BULLETPROOF TIGER, BY SURPRISE, and PHARAOHS. We’ve been emailing back and forth with fago.sepia for over 5 years now, and even toured Japan together.

Nice, a bunch of great bands, indeed.

How do you feel when people compare you to best Japanese instrumental bands like TOE or LITE? Do you feel you found your true identity as composers?

嬉しい?とは違うな、toeはやはりこういう音楽シーンの日本国内の先駆者的バンドやから比較される事自体は仕方ないし、toeに対しては尊敬の念が強いです。でもLOW-PASSはLOW-PASSやし!ていう気持ちが強いかな。(笑)

LITEはもうLOW-PASS結成前から仲良しで友達なんで、彼らとは比較されても向こうの方が有名なんで悔しいよね。(笑)気持ちではLOW-PASSも負けてない!て思ってる。

 

Happy? Well, not really. TOE is really the pioneer in Japan of this kind of music, so there’s no way to get around being compared to them. We definitely respect them a lot. But I strongly feel that LOW-PASS is LOW-PASS. [laughs]

We’ve been friends with LITE long before LOW-PASS was formed, but it’s still frustrating that we’re compared to them and they are so popular [laughs]. My feeling is that LOW-PASS is just as good.

How many gigs have you played so far? How do you feel about your live performances? Is doing your music live something you look forward to after you have written new songs?

ライブは大体1年に40本前後やと思う。

ライブはとにかく自分たちが楽しんで、お客さんにも楽しんでもらう、その日のライブってその時だけやから、演奏が少々荒くってもオッケー!要はテンション上げてけ!て感じ。

LOW-PASSは新曲がなかなかできないから、ライブでやるってとこまできたらやっぱ楽しみですね。

 

We play about 40 shows a year.

We have a lot of fun playing shows, and hopefully so do the people who come to them. It’s fine if we play a little bit rough during our shows. It adds to the tension, I think.

LOW-PASS isn’t always able to make new songs, so it’s fun to be able to play shows.

What’s the perception of the Japanese audience towards math rock and post rock music? How popular is the genre you’re functioning in?

日本の世間一般的な音楽はアイドル全盛やと思う(笑)

僕たちがいるシーンはたくさんの人に需要があるシーンではないけれど、着実に好きな人が増えてると思うし、日本のインストやアンダーグランドなロックミュージックはシーンが根付いてると思う。売れてるわけではないけど。(笑)

でも大きい野外のロックフェスティバルに僕らがカテゴライズされてるシーンのバンドが出演してたりするから、世間的にも認知度が本当に少しずつやけど広まっていってるのかな?

 

Japan is completely in love with Idol Pop music. [laughs]

Our scene doesn’t really need to have a lot of people in it. But the people who enjoy the music is steadily increasing, and the Japanese Instrumental and underground Rock scene has become very deep, I think. We just can’t sell a lot. [laughs]

But at some big outdoor rock festivals, bands from our scene are starting to play and the awareness of our scene is starting to grow.

Since you’re from the same country, I couldn’t avoid asking you about one of my favourite bands ever [smiles]. Have you had a chance to see ENVY live? Do you know the guys? How do you receive their music?

もちろんライブ見た事ありますよ、個人的に知り合いではないですが、僕はライブハウスのエンジニアの仕事をしてるので、envyが来た時にお話させてもらったことはあります。

envyの音楽は最高としか言えない!圧巻!

 

Yes, I’ve definitely seen them play. I don’t know them personally, but I was working as a sound engineer at a club and got to talk with them when they had a concert there.

All I can say is that their music is the best! They’re geniuses!

I envy you, man. [laughs]

Ok, so in the end I’d like to ask you how did the Fukushima Earthquake affect your local music scene and your private lives?

あの地震のあと全国のライブハウスやアーティスト等の活動で東北にライブハウスを作るっていう行動が起こったり、いろんなバンドマンが東北、福島に支援に行ったりしてた。個人的に私生活は変わってないけど、自分も含め、いろんな人たちの意識が変わった出来事やと思う。

 

After the earthquake, bands and clubs from all over pitched in to help rebuild the clubs in the northeast and around Fukushima. I wasn’t physically affected, but I think for many people including myself our consciousness was affected.

Thanks so much for the chat. Would you like to add anything else?

このインタビューを見て頂いた皆様、本当にありがとう!少しでもLOW-PASSを気になってもらえたら嬉しいです。

 

To anyone reading this interview, thank you very much! It makes me happy when anyone shows even a little interest in LOW-PASS.

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