It's really interesting to hear different opinions about a lot of various aspects of the Japanese music scene. I have been fortunate enough to interview a lot of Japanese artists and people within the music scene to gain insight into it and hopefully turn that insight into something useful for others with similar interests. I thought it would be cool to build on it all by adding some foreign perspective to the mix and getting some reflection on what it's like to come here and play. So this is the first interview (with hopefully many to follow) with a band I absolutely adore and who are certainly qualified to comment on music in Japan. They also have one of the best band names ever. Ringo Deathstarr are no strangers to Japan, having played here a number of times alongside some of Japan's more prominent shoegaze bands. This year they also appeared in Crossbeat's My Bloody Valentine/Shoegazer Guide and just recently wrapped up a Japan tour. After the tour the band were cool enough to take some time and answer a few questions about playing in Japan and the country in general. There will be a Japanese language version to follow. Enjoy!
Ringo Deathstarr Interview
Muso Japan: First off thank you for taking the time to do an interview! How was your trip to Japan?
Ringo Deathstarr: Hi Matthew! Thanks for the questions! Our trip to Japan this time was the best one yet...of course it just gets better every time, and we never know what to expect!
MJ: Ringo Deathstarr seems to have developed a loyal following in Japan. When and how did you first make contact with Japan? How do you continue to promote yourselves and keep interest from abroad?
RD: Well...back in the Myspace days, in 2009, we were contacted by Vinyl Junkie Records, and they released our songs and brought us out. We thought we were in a dream...because people knew our music and they made us feel like Elvis! We try to keep people interested by using twitter and facebook, which are helpful in those matters.
MJ: How have your experiences been playing in Japan? In what ways has it been perhaps different than playing in the U.S.?
RD: Playing in Japan is like living out a fantasy...like being part of your ultimate dream gig. The clubs we played are really awesome...the sound men, the PA systems...no similar sized club ive ever been to in the states can compare with the level of professionalism. Also, nobody is looking at their stupid cell phones while the band's on stage...nobody trying to talk to each other over the music...you can see people singing along and dancing, and everyone is super excited!
MJ: Do you have any particularly fond experiences either playing in Japan or interacting with Japanese fans?
RD: I always enjoy jumping into the crowd or throwing my guitar in the crowd so they can play the solo...one time we pulled as many people we could on stage and broke one of the club's microphones....The club owner was pissed!
MJ: The band was featured in this year’s My Bloody Valentine/Shoegazer Guide along with some of the genre’s quintessential artists. How did it feel to be included in a project showcasing what is continuing to grow into a truly beloved genre?
RD: I think its amazing that we are in ANY book or magazine in Japan!
MJ: What is your impression of the Japanese music scene in general? Are you interested in Japanese music? (if so, “Are there any Japanese bands in particular that you are into right now?”
RD: Oh yeah, there are some bands that i will never forget...we have not been able to see a great deal of bands since we are never around for very long...but I love Guitar Wolf, Shonen Knife, Negoto, Civic, Cruyff In The Bedroom, Bertoia, Plastic Zooms, Lemon's Chair, and Sugizo!
MJ: What are the band’s plans in the near future?
RD: Well, we are gonna play a few more gigs here and there this summer, and begin work on our next recordings (we eed to write the songs)