THE VISUAL SOUND OF KIKAGAKU MOYO
Go and Tomo, from the Japanese quintent talked to Synesthesia about their creative process, visual and sonic influences and how this shapes their own style
Photos + Post + Words by Corgam
SYNESTHESIA: Your music is such an image - evocative force from a listener's perspective, does that happen from a creator's point of view, is there ever a moment of Synesthesia while creating music?
KM: Yes, our creative process is tied together with images. We don't see particular objects, but we see more visual texture, color and light patterns. For example, a song might take on the image of a blue oval or an endless carpet. For us the creative process begins with a general form, something liquid, or rocky or a mass of leaves. But as a song develops or when we are playing live its more similar to the process of making a sculpture. So, we feel more like we are making details out of a general form or feeling.
"For us the creative process begins with a general form, something liquid, or rocky or a mass of leaves. But as a song develops or when we are playing live its more similar to the process of making a sculpture."
S: Sonically, who are your main influences?
KM: Birds for one. We also listen to a lot of music like lounge, or 80s Jazz, or Japanese New Age Mediation music, from artists like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Seigen Ono or Midori Takada. We don't really try to recreate the sounds we hear, but we are more interested in the mood or feeling that strange music creates. Everyone in the band has different tastes too. We listen to all kinds of different music but we usually just like to take certain elements of the mood or feeling and reinterpret them in our own way.
S: What inspired the name of the band? where does it come from?
KM: It means "Geometric Patterns" in Japanese. Basically, we used to jam all night because the practice studio was cheapest then. We would play for hours in the dark until we started seeing patterns. We are also fascinated by all the different patterns found in nature, like a pinecone or a sunflower.
"We used to jam all night because the practice studio was cheapest then. We would play for hours in the dark until we started seeing patterns."
S: Do you ever draw inspiration from cinema and if so, who are some of your main influences?
KM: Yes of course, we love cinema. Some of our favorites are "The Color of Pomegrante" by Sergei Parajanov, "Stalker" by Andrei Tarkovsky and "Aguirre" by Werner Herzog
S: How involved were you in the making of Kodama's music video? did you enjoy the process??
KM: It was a lot of fun to make, we just had a sushi picnic with our friends and filmed it ourselves. We didn't really plan out a concept as a music video. At first it was just a fun project to wear all these crazy masks to the park. A concept started to form the more we worked on the video. The chimpanzee looking into the camera sets the tone. Humans always assume how animals feel, like their feelings are relateable and similar to human emotions. But actually we don't know what they are feeling at all. So to see a chimp looking at a bunch of other "animals" in masks should be kind of leveling--like we are all on the same page of experience; nothing is actually certain.
S: How important is the photography aspect for a band like Kikagaku Moyo?
KM: To be honest, we get pretty awkward in front of cameras, but there are some photographers who make us feel comfortable. We are pretty down to earth, we like photos of us on stage or just hanging out but we really don't like posing for professional shoots or things like that.
"We think it's weird that people think it's normal for men to have short hair."
S: Looking back at the photos in this interview, do they bring any memorable flashbacks from that show?
KM: Of course, we have a very good memory of each show and how it looked or felt. It's interesting for us to see from a photographers perspective of course because its different than how we experienced it. That night at the Independent was a really special night, the first time we played in San Francisco it was to a tiny crowd. We felt very honored to have so many people come out to share the evening with us.
Photos + Post by Corgam
May 21 2017
S: From a photographer's perspective, you guys were awesome to capture, your style, your look, your hair! makes up for great images; who are some of your inspirations in that regard?,
KM: We think it's weird that people think it's normal for men to have short hair. Maybe this is more apparent in Japan, there are a lot fewer men with long hair. Its a lot different than in the US or Europe. We like to have fun with how we dress, but we never take it too seriously. We also just like being on tour and living out of a dirty van, so that maybe adds a unique element to our style.