Friday, 31 January 2014

Band Feature: mothercoat

mothercoat is a lowpop style band hailing from Fukaya-City Saitama, Japan. They have developed a cult following across the UK, America and Canada where they have toured extensively and played several showcase gigs including SXSW and Rockness festival.

They are quirky, innovative and exhilarating. You undoubtedly should go see them.
From 2012 mothercoat sets its base in Fukaya-City with their private studio and vegetable field to devote themselves to music even more.

Meet the members and read the interview after the break!

Meet the members:

Vocalist.?: gigadylan
Birthday: 15th November
Instrument Brand of choice: Guyatone Sharp5, Rickenbacker 330
Favorite colour: moss green
Favorite clothing brand: HARE
Favorite food: gratin
Most known for saying/catch phrase: 'sou karikari shinasan-na.' (Don't be so up-tight.)

?.vocalist: tokirock
Birthday: 19th May
Instrument brand of choice: Fender Jazz Bass
Favorite colour: Depends on my mood at the time
Favorite clothing brand: chambre de charme, MARITHE + FRANCOIS GIRBAUD
Favorite food: Sushi
Most known for saying/catch phrase: 'are dounatteru?' (How are you making out?)

Guitarist.?: fuku
Birthday: 14th November
Instrument brand of choice: Fender Stratocaster, Gibson ES125
Favorite colour: lemon yellow
Favorite clothing brand: American Apparel
Favorite food: cheese, mushroom
Most known for saying/catch phrase: 'nemui' (I'm sleepy.)

Drummer: irimajiri
Birthday: 4th August
Instrument brand of choice: YAMAHA CLUB CUSTOM
Favorite colour: orange, black
Favorite clothing brand: none
Favorite food: tempura
Most known for saying/catch phrase: 'nan-no hanashi dakke?' (Aren't we veering off topic?)

Sounder: junpei
Birthday:  15th March
Instrument brand of choice: KORG KAOSSILATOR/KP2/KP3/miniKP, BOSS DD-20, TAPCO blend 6
Favorite colour: blue, deep blue, indigo
Favorite clothing brand: kapital, blue blue, bicchu kurashiki kobo
Favorite food: salt&pepper
Most known for saying/catch phrase: 'harahetta' (I'm hungry.)

mothercoat is one of those bands that pry isn't on your radar, but needs to be. Their unique sound; melodic, driving, yet peaceful will have you wanting more. Seeing them live only further creates an addiction to their music. 

Though working hard in the studio and preparing for another US tour, mothercoat very kindly took a slice out of their schedule to speak with me amongst the hustle and bustle of band life.


Q. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Would you please introduce yourselves to those reading about you for the first time and also tell me your favorite season?

gigadylan - I'm gigadylan, vo.? of mothercoat. I don't know much about other countries, but I love the fact Japan has four seasons.

tokirock - I'm tokirock, ?.vo of mothercoat but playing mainly the bass in recent sets. The summer and winter are severe here in Fukaya so spring and autumn are relaxing.

fuku - I'm the youngest one in the band and my part is 'gt.?'. Autumn.

irimajiri - Nice to meet you, I'm a drummer of mothercoat, 'irimajiri'. My favorite season is winter.

junpei - I don't play on the stage but I'm an official member of mothercoat whose position is 'sounder'. My name is Junpei. I like spring.

Q. mothercoat began back in 2002. How did all the band members meet?  How did the band's name 'mothercoat' come to be? What does the band's logo represent? And what is the meaning behind "mothercoat gets all the blame for your boredom"?

gigadylan - There was a predecessor band of mothercoat and I participated in that, but all the original members left the band. 'mothercoat' came from the fact that creating music is something alike in a lot of ways of mother's giving birth and our logo represents that as well.

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. mothercoat is fun to watch so you don't have to get bored.

fuku - mothercoat came to tour in my town when I was a high school student.

irimajiri - A friend of mine is a fan of mothercoat and he took me to their gig.

junpei - We met at a rehearsal studio where I used to work and mothercoat used to practice. The band's name had been already chosen when I joined mothercoat.

Q. Though mothercoat has been around since 2002, you recently experienced a member change. Please correct me if I am wrong, but is this the first time in the band's career that this has happened? How did fuku come to replace go as the guitarist for the band? Has this presented any challenges or affected your release plans coming up?

gigadylan - It's not the first time that we experienced a member change. Actually it's fifth one. fuku became the guitarist simply because the ex-guitarist quit. Yes, his enrollment becomes a very good opener to create new sounds.

tokirock - We advertised for a new member on our website after our ex-guitar's withdrawal and fuku applied to it. We had other applicants but we liked especially his name 'Fukunosuke' which sounds very festive and classical. We could not release an album last year which was so regrettable, our recording suspended when the ex-guitarist quit. So the next album will reflect our three transitional form - with the ex-guitarist, without guitarist and with the new guitarist.

junpei - The cycle of creation speeds up by the young power of this new comer.

[Official MV "wednesday"]

Q. The process and product of making your 2009 album, 'Patchwork Shiki' was a crowdsourced, sharable album. What kind of challenges did you face working with fan input along the way? Did you get the response you expected, or did the fans completely surprise you with what they gave?

gigadylan - There were no difficulties in working with fan input at all, but we could not afford to promote the appeal of this project. The people who got to know the project really got excited. To package the two identical CD's (the CD print design was a bit different though) was totally new concept and no one had come up with that idea at that time.

tokirock - I am the web master of our official site and I needed to establish the login system to make the production process open only to fans who had bought the album before its release. It was quite a chore but enjoyable simultaneously. It was a surprise that there are some people who will give their money towards something which has not yet released, but it also reflects the expectations for our work so it gave us confidence. We wanted to reach to much, much more people about this trial.

irimajiri - I was not a member at that time. I bought the album as a supporter. Since I was a member of another band back then, I think I could enjoy the process of production much more than people who are not in bands.

junpei - I thought more people should have been interested in what we had disclosed to them.
Since I enjoyed the process very much I have wondered why we could not reach out to a larger audience with this project. Maybe there could be another way to promote it more effectively.

Q. Your sound is both driving and dreamlike, do your songs tend to be written on the road or in the bedroom? Is there a favorite source of inspiration for your work?  Are there certain themes that you are drawn to as a band, or is each piece unique?

gigadylan - I personally fear having some set pattern to create songs because there are many fantastic art works using a process to create that I could not imagine at all.

tokirock - 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.

fuku - Some songs come to me from things such as shape, colour, and arts other than music such as drawings, writings and movies.

irimajiri - My favorite way is to mimic other players. I usually end up with failure in copying them but it always becomes something totally different in a good way.

junpei - In my case, inspiration comes from being alone and doing nothing. Theme differs in each song.

Q. You recently uploaded a couple videos to your YouTube account that were created with stop motion Lego animation. Could you tell me more about the project this was involved with? And how was Lego chosen for the videos? Does one of you have a Lego hobby?

tokirock - gigadylan was invited to a symposium as a panel member. The symposium was about the future of gigs in the rapid change of music industry presented by the department of sociology of a university. At the opening and ending sessions of the symposium, the two videos were played as an opening ice breaker and closing. Because two of the panel members were artists, each band's song was used as BGM and our 'classic' from 'Patchwork Shiki' was adopted for the ending one.

gigadylan was featured as a Lego character in the video and I was surprised that the students captured not only gigadylan, but also the other panel members' features so character-fully! That symposium is reported in detail at the following URL, but it's in Japanese only:

I needed the video for this article but since the video was not published on the internet I had to upload them to our official account temporarily. The video might be moved to somewhere in the future maybe. Since fuku loves Lego, our calendar is made by Lego. You can view the photos in the album of our Facebook page.

fuku - I'm a big fan of Lego. I've been to the headquarters of The LEGO Group in Denmark.

Q. Though many readers today will be discovering you for the first time, it might surprise them to learn you've toured here in the US and Canada before. How did that all start? Was it something you actively pursued or were you approached?

tokirock - For the first visit to the US and also our first tour abroad, we were invited to a festival 'Fanime 2006' held in San Jose. It was mainly an anime festival, but there was a music section as well. We were able to sell so much merch there which made our experience touring abroad a very successful one. We were invited to SXSW 2007 as well. For Canada, there's a super music lover, a Canadian guy named Steve and he holds very edgy event called 'Next Music From Tokyo'. He invited us to the 'volume 1' tour event. Other countries such as UK and Korea we mainly book ourselves with the biggest support from our friends.

Q. Having played in many cities around the world, where has been your favorite city to play? What made it so? What city do you hope to play in next?

gigadylan - Every city has its good points and I love to play around the world itself. By touring whether abroad or domestically, I would meet many local people there. Those encounters are very precious and I treasure them. I love touring to connect with the people, so I can not pick one place, as I miss everyone I meet.

tokirock - San Jose and Scotland were the places where we got a very enthusiastic response so I would like to go back there again. I am interested in France and Germany to tour in next.

fuku - I'm new to the band so haven't toured abroad yet. I would like to play in Chicago someday though, because there are many math rock bands there such as Maps and Atlases.

irimajiri - I can't decide.

junpei - Manchester. The atmosphere of the town. I like that city which is not too much urban nor countryside. I would like to go Reading, UK next.

Q. You are returning for SXSW this March, how good does it feel to be coming back? What did you miss most about touring in the US? And what's the first thing you are going to eat when you get here?

gigadylan - I hope many people respond to our new music which is totally different from the last time we were at SXSW. I would like to get a chance with this SXSW to come back to the US again. I miss the wilderness of the US most. I think I would eat pizza first.

tokirock - We didn't think very much of the last SXSW tour which is shown in my blog at that time -
7 series of posts starting from: We need to book many more gigs and acquire a greater audience to attend our gigs this time. I miss the huge supermarkets of the US. It's so enjoyable to walk around in the supermarket and find many different food and commodities from those of Japan. I would like to eat big steak.

fuku - This will be my first experience to tour in the US so I'm looking forward to playing there. I would eat hamburger.

irimajiri - I haven't toured in the US either. I would like to try Sushi there, because the Sushi I ate in Canada was something very unique so I'm very much interested in how they cook Sushi in the US.

junpei - I hope to leave the footprint there this time. I miss hamburger and pizza most and will eat hamburger first.

Q. Speaking of food you appear to have quite the garden going from your Facebook photos. Whose idea was it to have a studio and vegetable garden together? Do you all take care of it or does someone hold the 'green thumb' of the group? What are your favorite things to grow?

gigadylan - We didn't plan to have a vegetable garden at first, but we found that there are many fields around us. And our neighbours were kind enough to tell us how to grow them and even lend us the land so we decided to start growing vegetables. So we don't have the green thumb guy in our group. We are totally amateurs. My favorite thing to grow is potatoes.

tokirock - Not all of us are interested in growing vegetables. The rest are only interested in eating them. They help a lot when we ask them though. I like to grow tomato and herbs in general because I love the fragrance of my hand when I touch their leaves and stems. Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are great too, because they are very much fuss-free, but give us big fruits and of course very, very tasty.

Q. If there was one thing you could wish for in 2014, what would it be?

gigadylan - Peace.

tokirock - Free time.

fuku - I would like to create songs as many as possible and play them at the gigs.

irimajiri - I hope we get to be known by much more people and want them to love our music.
I like to come back to U.S. again next year!

junpei -I want more people to know us and listen to our music.

~Project: Lixx~

A HUGE thank you to mothercoat: gigadylan, tokirock, fuku, irimajiri and junpei for participating in this feature!

Be sure to check them out through their official links below.