MERZBOW - interview:
1. How came up the idea of creating this particular kind of music based on white noise manipulation? What are your perceptions of the origins of noise as art?
My idea was coming from wanting to use ultra-feedback sound by using an audio mixer. It's a side result of tape manipulation in the mixing room. In my early experiments, I didn't even know it was called Noise. My perception of noise art was constructed after the sound was born. The origin of Noise can be explained in various contexts, but more closely related to me, the origin of my noise is coming from 60-70s heavy psychedelic/progressive rock and live electronic music.
2. Merzbow is certainly pioneer in this experimental and extreme style of sound in Japan. Since 1981, the year Merzbow was born, many projects have followed very close this sound. How do you feel about that, being almost the father of the japanese noise?
There seems to be no Merzbow-style band in Japan. Some kids stole my ideas, but it looks and sounds different. I think our style has reached more abroad and I'm proud that many people are interested in such sound.
3. People in western countries have this idea that Japan appreciates more traditional art due to it's historical background but I believe , on the contrary, that Extreme East is Extreme Art (Yamatsuka Eye's Boredoms, Zeni Geva, Ground Zero, Melt Banana, Masonna, Merzbow, Aube, Ruins, Incapacitants,... not to mention the current trash-wave in japanese horror cinema - Mermaid In A Manhole, Entrails Of A Virgin, Guinea Pig series, Torture King, Hit & Rape,...). What do you think about it?
After World War II, we were influenced more by western culture, especifically from the USA. Japan became a nation of ultra-information overload. Our extreme art comes from that information situation. We have the talent of changing something into and ultra-extreme as a result of too much information.
4. Exactly, how many recordings compose your discography? With so many recordings, I feel compelled to ask you if it is that easy to record an album of noise music.
I could count about 100 vinyls and CDs. My work is based on home recording. For me, it's a very good way to make music, because I can control everything myself. It's not necessary to produce music in the conventional way: expensive studio, expensive instruments, many channels, discussion with sound engineers, many tracks laid down, etc. In fact, my music doesn't need them. There is too much quality music everywhere and it's not my realm. I can pass up all the usual stupid work processes and that's the reason I can produce so many works.
5. What equipment and instruments do you use? Do you create by yourself any of them?
Audio mixer, filters, ring modulators, various distortion, contact mic. I make basic sound instruments by myself.
6. What's the main concept behind Merzbow? What kind of ideas, emotions, feelings do you intend to create inside listener's mind? For instance, Pulse Demon deals with what kind of subjects?
I have a concept in sound itself. Composition is always influenced from a way of noise as film art. Mostly, my music is dedicated to music which I am influenced by. ÇPulse DemonÈ is dedicated to 70s French Phillips music concrete albums of Ivo Mallec. It's very sick music concrete with a sick silver cover. The title is a parody of 70s Afro-British band called Demon Fuzz. I turned Fuzz box to Pulse Generator.
7. Besides music, I know that you wrote a couple of books (Scum Culture and Bizarre Sex Modern). Tell us about it's contents. Do you feel that music isn't enough to express your feelings?
I wrote 11 books since 1988. The theme of each book is different, but especially my interests are insolite culture including bizarre art, art brut, bizarre sex, s&m, avantgarde music, etc. Some of them connected with music, some are not. I'm writing because I like to make an article and a book.
8. Do you know any band, writer, movie director, politician from Portugal? Would you like to come over here and play some gigs?
Unfortunately, I don't know any portuguese artists. But I know ultra-baroque art of the Catholic church. Someday I hope to play in the ultra-baroque church of Portugal.
here's a text by Masami Akita
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