Interview with Electric Eel Shock

interview - 07.21.2005 08:00

Interview in Germany with the crazy punk-rockers of Electric Eel Shock

About one and a half hour before this little event started, I arrived at the „PJ’s“ rock bar, introduced myself and was sent inside, where Electric eel shock were already doing the sound check. I waited until Kazuto (bass) and Aki (guitar + vocals) arrived and we went outside again, to a little garden which belonged to the pub.
We then introduced ourselves and I explained, that I’m working for Jmusiceuropa. Both wanted to know, which bands we are writing about.

About everything from various styles.
Kazuto: Ah, what bands?
Dir en grey for example.

Both nodded and grinned.

Kazuto: I see. There are many Dir en grey things in Germany at the moment.
Yes, they’re very “famous” here and there are many Visual Kei fans.
Both: Ah, Visual Kei (both grin)
What about Visual Kei? (laughs)
Kazuto: Nothing!

And informal and relaxed like this, it continued.

Okay, about the interview… thank you for coming, great to meet you!
Both: Thank you, great to meet you, too.
Aki: Okay, we are Electric eel shock, we are Visual Kei!
Kazuto: Not really!

In past interviews you said, that you’re not that famous in Japan, but you often play in Europe and America. What things do you miss? And is it that you prefer staying here or would you like to go back to Japan a bit more?
Aki: I want to stay here.
Kazuto: I like Europe. (laughs) I miss my family and friends, things like that.
Aki: Of course, we miss our Japanese friends and our family, but we also have a lot of friends in Europe.
Kazuto: So it doesn’t matter.

To speak about your music a little… How would you describe your music in your own words? How would you tell a stranger “This is my music!”?
Aki: Japanese… original… old school Rock’n’Roll.
Kazuto: (laughs)
Aki: Something… like future Rock’n’Roll
Kazuto: Too wrong! (laughs)
Aki: A mixture. Old school and a mixture.

So it’s not a specific style, but your own one.
Kazuto: Yeah
Aki: I always keep an eye on making something original. It would be really boring to just play old school.
Kazuto: Yeah, or just an ordinary punk song… or just Visual Kei (laughs)

What do you think of Visual Kei? (laughs)
Kazuto: Oooh… some bands are good, some bands are bad. They have all kinds of music and lots of good bands… just kind of ordinary.
Aki: The looks… are beautiful.
Kazuto: Yeah (laughs)
Yes, some bands are beautiful.
Kazuto: Dir en grey is. (laughs)
Aki: For me… some bands have really good music, but I like funny visual bands.
Kazuto: I can’t take a serious view on the looks and on our music sometimes.
So you wouldn’t dress up!
(both laugh)
Aki: I don’t know…
Kazuto: I hate…
Aki: No, no, no! In the future… I’ll do that.

You said you listen to artists like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Van Halen… What are your other Japanese and Western influences, what other bands do you like?
Aki: My music life is based on the 80s heavy metal. Also Accept.
Kazuto: German heavy metal!
Aki: In the 90s… I had every kind of music. I really like Fishbone for example. Also the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Kazuto: A kind of mixture of bands, something like that.
Aki: A lot of garage bands, like Blues Explosion. I like good music.
Kazuto: Yeah.

So you don’t focus on some style but you listen to everything you want to.
Kazuto: Yeah!
Aki: I always try to keep…
Kazuto: An open mind.

So, imagine you meet some rock fans but they never heard of you before and you want them to go to one of your concerts. What would you say to make them go?
Kazuto: Like a description of our live show?
Kazuto: I don’t like to talk about… uaah, music is music. But… fast. We always play fast.
Very powerful.
Kazuto: Of course powerful, of course with lots of energy. I always enjoy playing music myself. I think our shows are a good thing for everyone.
Aki: We play heavy and fast. We have everything… it should be fun. Even if the guy loves only Visual Kei, I think he can enjoy our show, because we have everything.
Kazuto: Yeah, it’s a kind of entertainment, I think (laughs)
I haven’t been at one of your lives shows yet, but I heard from friends, that it’s very interesting
Kazuto: Yeah, I think so! (laughs) It’s very interesting.
But they all liked it!
Kazuto: Ah, really? (laughs) I don’t know why! (laughs again) I’m very serious, really.

How do you write your songs and lyrics? Do you say “Hey, that sounds good! Let’s use it in a song.” or do you have a plan on making something?
Aki: That depends on the song.
Kazuto: Sometimes it’s very individually (laughs)
Aki: Sometimes I make 90% myself, but for some songs I just do the parts for one guitarist and we do the rest together.
Kazuto: It’s a kind of a jam session, making some songs. Sometimes we get the inspiration like “Oh, this is a good song” out of a 15 minutes jam session. Something like that. Sometimes we make whole songs, but without Aki’s lyrics, we’re not sure about it. But once Aki’s lyrics are on it, we can say “Ah, that’s a good song!”. Something like that happens very individually. That’s different case by case.

Something like a “flow”.
Kazuto: Yeah, I think so.
Aki: It’s very natural. Like god says something…
Kazuto: Yeah…. I don’t know why (laughs)
(laughs) Yeah, I understand!

When you think back to the beginning of Electric eel shock, what are the most important things you learned and what kind of advice would go give to somebody who wants to start his own band?
Aki: Make an originality.
Kazuto: We always want to describe ourselves. It’s not only a music. It’s a kind of the way of living… not living, but a kind of a life style.
Aki: Just following the great vibe is not so difficult, I think. But making a new something is very difficult. Just like the Beatles played, Jimi Hendrix played, Black Sabbath… they’re original. So every new band should look for something original.

When you think of the future, what kind of plans do you have? Or is it rather like your music, you let it flow and see…
Kazuto: I don’t really know what kind of future we have, because we’re not god or something like that. I can’t imagine that, but I hope we keep on doing as much as we can. That’s the only way we can have a good situation. If we had a bad situation, we couldn’t keep on doing this. I just think, we want to keep on doing things. If we can do that, we get a really good future.
Aki: I think so, too. I want to show our music to everybody in the world. So sometimes I want to get a big record deal or keep on doing. I want our show..
Kazuto: Everywhere in the world. (laughs)
You’ve been to a lot of countries already!
Kazuto: Yeah!
Aki: We already played a lot…
Kazuto: The day after tomorrow we have…
Aki: The show in Slovenia.
Kazuto: It’s our first time in Slovenia, that’s exiting.

So, thank you for everything! Is there anything you want to say to your European fans?
Aki: Okay. We just released our brand new album called Beat Me. It’s a big recording with a great producer. He’s called Attie Bauw, he was with the scorpions.
Kazuto: Or Judas Priest.
Aki: It’s a big name and… we got an amazing sound.
Kazuto: Buy our CD! (laughs)

(laughs) So thank you very much for everything! It was a great interview
Both: Thank you very much.
And have fun at your show!
Kazuto: Of course, we’ll have fun! You’re going to come, too?
Of course!

Afterwards, they went back to their soundcheck and the forthcoming concert.
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