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2004.12.11 Interview

2004.12.11 Interview


You have a jazzy background as a musician. What drew you to play the music you’re playing now with Maher Shalal Hash Baz ?


 punk seemed to be easy to play.


You are a potter. Is there any interaction between your music and your art ?


 pot has its inside and outside as well as shape of my music does. both are like “half hearted art” that shows a conflict between in and out.


Why having chosen a biblical name for the band ? I find it quite funny because it is a very serious reference but people who never heard about it are probably drawn by the hash part


 yes, the sound of each part is funny. maher, shalal hash, baz. funny. i liked this funny sound first and meanings followed later then the meanings cut the sound like a square flame.


Can you present the band ? It seems like it’s more of a collective than an actual band・How do you get people to play with you ?


 I invite one who does not have other band, in order to put all in into one band. so it is difficult to find members always. now I have only one member who plays bassoon.others are guests.


Do you feel like you’re representing some side of Japanese music or do you feel like Maher Shalal Hash Baz is more like a curiosity ?


 when our style became a side of Japanese music, I would do another odd thing.


Are you more popular in Japan or Europe (or elsewhere if such is the case) ?


 popular in Brazil? see orkt.


Why are most of your songs sung in English ?


 for people who live in the end of the world standard.


Famous Japanese bands in Europe usually have a heavier sound (I’m thinking bout Guitar Wolf or Mono). Do you feel close to such bands ?


 I do not know guitar wolf and mono. once we had had a heavy sound. we still have it sometime.


How did you end up getting signed on Stephen Pastels・Geographic label ?


 he liked “return visit rock mass” (org), i do not know why.


I somehow feel like Scotland has inspired your music. Would you agree, and if yes, to what extent ?


 I was impressed their label as a kind of a design movement including a life style, which has nice celtic sensitive pale colour tradition.


Your albums are usually full of songs. Do you write a lot of them or do you put everything you write on the album ?


 I chose songs before recording. I have to say bye-bye to some vicious inspiration.


I heard about a 71 songs MSAB album

I only know the Blues Du Jour album. Can you tell me about the two others ?


 I released many. “unify my heart”, “faux depart” is like a will of my 2003. musically love some songs on Blues Du Jour


I really like the fact that I can and that they can make me laugh a lot at the same time (thinking of His Banner Over Me Was Love by example). Is there a voluntary attempt at humour ?


 I am living for josually.


I really like the different versions of already existing songs you put on the Open Field single. Do you often do very different versions of the same song ?


 yes, I do.


I have a very hard time describing your music. Do you have any convincing answer when one asks you what music you do ?


 psychedelic rock on irony.


Would you get annoyed if someone told you he thinks that Maher Shalal Hash Baz has pop elements ?


 being pop is very important. it should be a core of my music, like marc bolan.


Would you say that spontaneity is Maher Shalal Hash Baz’s main strength ? The songs often sound very heartfelt.


 heterophonic unison of popular melody has its strength. viblation between different pitches is the key.


How do you manage writing so many happy sounding songs ? The music usually you play tends to draw pessimistic moods.

Is it a direct reaction to it ?


 music should be happy or sad. namely, praise or elegy. if there were music from middle area, it must another songs come from another source.


Live recordings seem to have a lot of importance in your discography. What draws you to it ?


 I just have not had enough money to record songs in a studio, that is all.


A friend of mine saw you in London last year and told me you had to tell the others when to stop to finish the songs. Do you think that technical limitedness is the best way to remain sincere ?


 sudden finish and ambiguous start are the life of music. it is the manner of lo-fi tradition.


The instrumentation you use on stage and on record is not the kind one would usually have in a rock band. Why such a choice ?


 I try to give my members a new instrument for her/him each time, to avoid cliche.


Do you have any plans for the near future ? I read that a lot of Maher Shalal Hash Baz members have side projects. Can you tell me about some of them ?


 no plans. gest members have many projects like tenniscoats, yumbo. they are like branch of bands in Montreal.


Will there be a French tour soon ?


 invitez-nous, svp.