tori kudo

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2004.3 Interview

2004.3 Interview


Being in the underground for more than 20 years now, would you like to get better, wider exposer with the new album? There’s a whole page review of it in the WIRE magazine. Do you mind listeners’ or critics’ reaction at all?


 While my being in the “underground”, playing music except military bands’ had been banned in Ethiopia. People there were playing secretly in the underground. Music shone under a prohibition. I also prohibit me from playing music unless I could fulfill my responsibility for supporting my family. I play music for money, to make my music shine. No profits have been obtained though.

 I only mind a website run by a girl.

He is frank.


I think that the new record, Blues Du Jour, is full of ideas, most other bands would make 3 full-lenght albums from the material. Any comment on that?


 Mick Farren was one who had a lot of ideas. But I know having ideas is different from music itself. There is a kind of a simple, great monotonous feeling with beautiful lyrics seen in such as Silver Jews or Lyrebird in Olympia.


Songs are rarely longer that 2 minutes, some contain only refrain, some are instrumental; do you have the whole composition first in your mind or do you experiment with instruments and develop ideas from chords and melodies?


 I do it first in my mind without any instruments.

I often write my scores in my car stopping at red lights.


While listening to your music, first thing that comes to mind is spontaniety. do you enter the studio with the fully prepared songs or do you experiment ‘on the site’?


 Water molecules in the studio are quite important. Human bodies are actually water, that are connected each other or to the air by the water. I often have to change arrangements according to the watery conditions among musicians in the studio.


David Thomas once said that live on stage he always tried to recall the moment when the performed song was written. I guess Mayo Thompson possesses the similar aesthetic, and Tori Kudo as well. Anyway, how the songs performed live differ from the versions from records?


 Lou Reed once said that reality was the key in his notes on metal machine music. 70-year-old Goethe fell in love with a teenage girl. Musicians would force themselves to love even somebody new for keeping their realities or tensions. As for me, I just continue weathering old songs or making new songs of the day.


In the rare interview I found on the net you stated that you wanted your record sell well only in Yugoslavia. As I’m from Slovenia, ex Yugoslavian republic (Yugoslavia doesn’t exist anymore), I can garantie that your records have never been on sell here. But anyway, there is some similarities between Japan and Yugoslavia, rock music of both countries are deeply influenced by Western culture, but at the same time carries very characteristic feel・So, could you imagine ・what would your music sound like if you had grown up in the UK or USA? After all, your songs are mostly in English language.


 Once I have read that Frank Zappa was most popular in ex Yugoslavia, anyway.

 When I once dropped in Seoul International Airport on the way to the U.K and watched the Korean TV, I found that it was so funny for Japanese to watch Korean pop singers who were imitating Western pop music. Then I realized that I must have been funny for Koreans as well. I wish I were like one of Ethiopian James Browns based on my own culture.


You spent some time also in Britain, then got back to Japan. What did you experience in the UK?


 I was a builder. I learnt how lads put bricks roughly harmonising with the rough garden. I saw how tall the ceilings were in the UK. I climbed many ladders to paint magnolia or pure white on the walls. I walked down the street always with a ladder on my shoulder, like Wallace & Gromit.


From Japan we know mostly noisy bands such as Boredoms, Melt Banana, Zeni Geva, but Maher Shalal Hash Baz doesn’t sound like any of them. Are you involved in the certain scene, I mean, do you play together with the bands with similar attitude etc?


 I recently played with members of Boredoms, and Zeni Geva, as a performing or noise artist.


Do you still play/perform music outside Maher Shalal Hash Baz?


 This year I played in Tokyo, with Thomas Muller from Argentina, and Jutok Kaneko of Kosokuya, and recorded a duo improvisation with Rick Pots in LA, participated in some multimedia events and organized a noise orchestra for a gallery in my local town. I am often invited to other local parts in Japan as a solo performer for the reason of travel expenses.


Do you remember the moment when you realized you wanted to be musician/artist?


 Many small moments would have passed over unconsciously because I am just a small artist.