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By: Gilbert Potts
One year since their last visit to Australia, Japan’s Vampillia have returned to unleash their “brutal orchestra” on the Adelaide Festival of Arts in support of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and a handful of shows on the East Coast. This Friday they will play as a full ten-piece including Ruins, who will also play a support set, as will Melbourne favourites Laura in a one-off return (details here).
Well known sound engineer and current resident of Melbourne, Nao Anzai, has kindly translated Gilbert Potts’ questions and the band’s responses.
(((o))): What’s the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard?
Vampillia: Atmospheric sounds I listened to at midnight in Iceland. And ‘Aurora’ by Björk listened to in that same situation.
Plus the first album of Wu Tang Clan listened to on a street in Brooklyn at midnight.
(((o))): Your music lurches between chaos and order – does this level of contrast exist between the band members too? In what way? Who are the stronger personalities in the group?
Vampillia: I’m afraid to say that all the members of the band believe that they are decent human beings.
I want to see their parent’s face.
They cannot see what they really are. That’s chaos, isn’t it? A band, as a group, is an order and chaos, isn’t it?
The strongest personality is changing day by day.
(((o))): Your music pulls together a range of sounds and styles in a way we don’t tend to see in Western rock. Is this a Vampillia thing or does it reflect a deeper aspect of Japanese culture?
Vampillia: I wasn’t conscious of it for a long time, but recently I think we are Japanese.
Culture? …I want to say it’s rather our blood.
Japanese rock music made through an inferiority complex to Western music and contempt for our country and blood, I think haha.
But we don’t think our music is rock.
(((o))): You also display the contrast between the most primitive and the most refined. Why do you like to hold those two extremes next to each other?
Vampillia: We don’t think we want to have both extreme. But I know you can see it in our music as a result.
A long time ago Trent Reznor said: “There are beautiful things in an ugly.” We can sympathize with his words. We haven’t achieved to the same level as he did. But he became really macho you know? I think he is a brave man coz he has become what he said he would be.
(((o))): You have limited English and yet for a band with vocals you form an incredibly strong connection with live audiences. From the floor it feels like you love us and hate us at the same time. You demand things of us but put your trust in us. How does your relationship with the crowd feel from your side?
Vampillia: We want audience to understand us at last. We want to take them to another place, dimension and feelings. But at first we should to fight with ourselves.
We have to convince ourselves first that we are good enough. Then we can connect to the audience, we think.
So we are still in the way. Now we are in the middle of talking to them.
(((o))): Why do you create and perform music? What motivates you?
Vampillia: We have much music that we want to hear. But some of it hasn’t been made yet.
So we think we should make them.
If a lot of people like what we made, we are happy.
(((o))):You have been here to Australia a couple of times. What is it that brings you back?
Vampillia: We’ve been to Australia three times.
This time, we can play with Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Laura. Then we can escape from cold winter in Japan and enjoy Australian summer.
Also we think Australian audience is so nice! They are great!!
(((o))): You will be playing in Melbourne with Laura, one of the best bands to have come out of that city. We thought they had vanished – how did you come to be playing together for what could be their last ever show?
Vampillia: We have wanted to play with them for a long time (since we have played with them in Osaka in 2008). Our passion moved them!
Nao Anzai forever!!
He introduced us, he had produced Laura and Vampillia records (and will do live mixing for this tour).
(((o))): What do you like to do when exploring new countries and cities on your tours?
Vampillia: We really love to meet undiscovered foods.
Also we can try every kind of photosynthesis.
We studied every country’s Asian food!!
(((o))): How many of you are coming to play here this time?
Vampillia: 10 Ten people!!
This is the proof that we come to Australia for the love of music. Not for the money.
From March 6th onwards we’ll play with a twin drum set!!
We are really glad we can show Tatsuya Yoshida aka Ruins Alone as Vampillia’s second drummer!!!
(((o))): If you were an animal, what would you be?
Vampillia: It would be wonderful if we were Neophocaena phocaenoides.