We talked about the Japanese band Anoice> some weeks ago, thanks to their latest release. Now it’s time to know something more about them, their music and their thoughts.
Welcome on Aristocrazia Webzine, we are pleased to have you here with us. How are you doing?
Takahiro: Hi! I’m well! I’m Takahiro Kido from Anoice. Thank you very much for giving me this kind of opportunity. Tokyo is having its rainy season, so I’m composing music at my office everyday.
Usually we start giving an introduction to the band for our readers. So please, tell us your story as a band.
Ok. We are Anoice, a Tokyo based instrumental quintet formed in 2004. This is the first band for each member, and we have never changed the members. We released our first album in 2006 and have also been running other projects such as; Takahiro Kido, Yuki Murata, RiLF, films, mokyow, cru, and also our own music label, Ricco Label.
What is the meaning behind the name Anoice?
When we begun the band, Yuki Murata who is the pianist of Anoice, came up with the name Anoise pronounced “a noyce” to mean “one noise”. However, we found that name had already been used by other artist via the internet. So, we changed the spelling to Anoice.
Your music draws from more than one single genre, blending different influences in a quite unique sound; how would you describe it to someone who has never listened to it?
It’s always so difficult for us. We usually describe that our sound is like cinematic music and the music genre is Anoice.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you have anything that inspires you while composing, in music or in any other field?
Yuki and I sometimes compose music in the woods near our office. We are always influenced by nature.
Do you have a method to write your songs or do you just follow your instinct and see where it leads you?
We have two methods. In most cases, me or Yuki will write music sheets and send them to other members or guest instrumental players. But, sometimes, we make music by improvisation. We created Anoice’s “Ruined-Hotel Sessions”, Yuki Murata’s “Films” and “Home” and cru’s “Re-Silence” by all improvisation. Also, we sometimes play something improvised when we don’t have enough time for composing music for commercial films. Anyway, we love improvisation.
This year you already released “Into The Shadows” and “No Room Here”, respectively Anoice’s fourth album and third EP. Looking back at your story as artists, how do you see your latest releases compared to the past ones? How did your way of making music evolve during these years?
These two releases achieved one of the terminus we have been aiming for. I think that we were able to get our originality within the Anoice project through making those. Regarding the evolution of our musical composition, we became able to create music more quickly. Though some tracks were already composed when we took charge of music for a commercials and films, it took only one month to make the “Into The Shadows” album; two weeks for composing, ten days for recording, five days for mixing, and one day for mastering.
You usually make instrumental music, so listeners can understand the meaning of your songs only by their titles and of course by their sound. How do you work to translate the feeling you want to express into music without using many words?
The albums covers are also useful for understanding our music. In addition, we create music videos in order to express what we want to say more easily, but in fact, we don’t place importance on explanation for our listeners. It would be great just for the listeners use our music as background music of their memories or daily lives. We sometimes make music with vocals in our original languages under our other projects; RiLF, films, and Mokyow, but we have not made the lyrics public for the same reason.
Do you like having a concept running throughout an entire album or do your songs live each on their own?
We always have a concept each on albums. For example, films’ second album “A Forbidden Garden”, Yuki Murata’s third album “Gift” ,and Anoice’s fourth album “Into The Shadows” were made as a trilogy with a memories theme. You can also find a lot in common on the cover artworks.
Each member plays many instruments, giving you the opportunity to combine them differently in every song. So far you have both classical and modern instruments and some of them are quite particular and even rare to be seen together. Do you have any other instrument that you would like to include in Anoice’s future releases?
Yes. We’re interested in the rhythm made from daily necessaries such as chopsticks, spoon, rice, and chopping board. This spring, we saw the performance of Sontag Shogun who are the New-York based piano trio, and received the idea from them. However, of course, we are not going to make the same sound as them.
Members of Anoice also have some side-projects: can you tell us more about them? Especially about the differences with the main band that made you decide to release music under different names.
We already mentioned about the other projects slightly, but the detailed special features are as below. Takahiro Kido: my solo project; at first, I had been making small chamber music, but I changed the style to more gentle folktronica for the most recent two albums. Yuki Murata: our pianist’s solo project; the first two albums include her solo piano tracks played by improvisation, but her latest third album “Gift” is chamber music. RiLF: this is an alternative rock band formed together with Calu who is the vocalist of Matryoshka, a Tokyo-based electronica unit. Films: a dark classical/electronica band formed together with two female vocalists; we have not yet made public who they are. Mokyow: the post-rock band by Anoice’s male members and Kenichi Kai who are taking charge of engineer for Anoice’s recordings and live shows. Cru: a modern classical unit by me and Yuki Murata; we always make music by improvisational performance.
You usually define your music as cinematic, so it’s not really strange that you also make soundtracks for movies, events, etc. Among these works, which are the ones that made you proud of yourself the most?
Anoice’s “The Black Rain”, Takahiro Kido “Fleursy Music”, Yuki Murata “Gift”, films’ “A Forbidden Garden”, and cru’s “Re-Silence”. These albums gave us radical change in consciousness against music.
Nowadays, many artists decide to self-produce their own music, while others prefer to be helped by labels; you chose a middle way, creating your own label to release music from all your projects. Why did you decide to start Ricco Label? What is your opinion on labels and self-production?
We are a music artist, and at the same time, running a music production team that create music for commercial films, movies, events of various companies. We needed to establish our own label in order to manage our compositions. After we released Anoice’s first album “Remmings” on Important Records in 2006, the owner of the label introduced us to Mono, a Japanese instrumental band. Since we didn’t know about Japanese indie artists, we also didn’t know about them either. We had been worrying about our future, so we asked them how to manage a music label/band and how distribute the albums to all over the world. Mono is our first mentor.
The recent years have seen the rise of the Internet as a mean to spread music throughout all the world. Some people are still attached to physical formats like CDs and vinyls, while others are happy to find more music in an easier way. What are your thoughts on this matter?
I love CDs and especially vinyl too. But, we only release them as one of artists goods. One of important things we place is to keep all the licence of our music by ourselves and suggest them to various scene including films and events all over the world. Regarding with internet development, we look on it with favour because many music fans can find our music easily. It is convenient for independent musicians like us, I think.
You often say that all the profits coming from your music will be used for Anoice’s activities. How much is money important in the music world nowadays? Is it hard to make a living only with your music in Japan?
I would be hard for Japanese musicians to make a living by only releasing music. If we didn’t work also as a music production team or professional instrument players, we wouldn’t be able to make a livelihood by only music. Of course, releasing music is one of most important activities for us. We always appreciate our fans and want to let them know that their expenses have never been exploited by unnecessary companies.
Being all multi-instrumentalists, playing live must be quite hard. Unfortunately, your European tour has been canceled, but can you tell us how you arrange your live shows? And even if not in the near future, do you plan to come in Europe some day?
We’ll be able to go to out-of-Japan tour whenever we are summoned by booking agencies, festivals and such. Of course, we are talking about a European tour, though the schedule and the details has not been fixed. As for our live instruments setting, we usually arrange all the tunes in order to play only by piano, viola, guitar, bass, and drums. In addition, we sometime change the instrument or reduce members depending on the situation. So, we can play even if the venue is a strange location such as ruins or a tunnel.
Which are the artists that you consider important for your evolution as musicians?
For me, I think Claude Debussy, John Coltrane, and The Clash.
If you could make a collaboration with any artist, who would you choose? Musicians (and not only) from all countries and times are accepted.
It’s difficult question. We want to collaborate with anybody who have original unique sound we can’t create. Personally, I would want to work together with Thom Yorke, Massive Attack, Matmos, and Autechre someday, though it might not be realistic. We’re also interested in playing together with an orchestra at a classical concert hall.
Which are your plans for the near future?
We are making a lot of music for a documentary film now. This movie will be released at some theatres in Japan, US, and Europe. After we finish the job, we’ll make my solo project’s fifth album, films’ third album, and RiLF’s second album.
Final question: do you have any dream you would like to realise as a band?
Yes! But, I can’t clarify that now. We are doing our best in heading towards the dream everyday.
I think we can close the interview here. Thank you for your availability, you can leave one last message for our readers.
Thank you for reading this interview. If you have never heard our music, please check our official website or Facebook page. You can also listen to most of our tunes on Ricco Label Bandcamp page. We’d be happy if our music can somehow memorialise your lives. We’re looking forward to meeting you in your countries!