Once We Actually Met We Became Fast Friends
—TOKIE (bassist) joined Boris for the new single “Reincarnation Rose” and “You Will Know”, may I first ask how you met?
TOKIE: We became acquainted through EQD (EarthQuaker Devices). I saw their visuals uploaded to social media and I was so interested before I even listened to their music. Around the same time, I became friends with some people who came back to Japan from the US and they were big fans of Boris, so I had heard a lot about Boris. EQD had a party and we met first at that time.
Wata: I talked to Sugar Yoshinaga for the first time at that time. I love listening to Buffalo Daughter but never had a chance to get acquainted with her before.
Atsuo: We were so excited, "The place is crawling with famous people!" Boris was the only band with all members joining.
—That EQD party was in 2018, so just a few years passed. I get the impression that you two got to know each other quickly.
TOKIE: Yeah, exactly.
Atsuo: We knew of her and heard a lot about her, so we felt as though we already knew her. Once we actually met we became fast friends.
—Both Boris and TOKIE participated in the Dead End tribute album "Dead End Tribute –Song of Lunatics-" released in 2013, right?
Atsuo: Yeah. Boris did "Meigou", a spectacular song released after Dead End reunited. TOKIE played on "Serafine"?
TOKIE: That’s correct.
Wata: Oh, I love that song.
TOKIE: I would have liked to perform with Boris if I knew you at that time (laughs).
Boris is so different from how I imagined them from their sound (laughs).
—How did you feel when you actually met Boris, TOKIE?
TOKIE: Boris and I have chemistry… like I said, they were completely different from the image I had of them from their music (laughs). They are so gentle and kind, and they love good food.
Atsuo: Somehow, our tendency to go for organic is a good match.
TOKIE: Absolutely! We have similar tastes aside from music.
Atsuo: ”Values” and “aesthetic sense”. It’s also fun eating out together.
こんなに上手にお料理出来たらいいな。Tokieさんの手料理ご馳走になってお話もいっぱいしてとても楽しかったです。— Boris (@Borisheavyrocks) July 23, 2020
—Some pictures on your social media show you guys having a meal together.
Atsuo: I’m vegan and TOKIE eats organic, so it’s easy to agree.
TOKIE: Yeah, so I really got into cooking vegan food.
Atsuo: We had a home-cooked meal by TOKIE.
Wata: It was so tasty.
—TOKIE also has many recipes on her own blog.
Atsuo: We also got to see TOKIE perform live on various occasions.
Atsuo: She also performed music for Political Mother (a London contemporary dance production live in Japan). Every time we see her play live in completely different styles, we enjoy the difference from our own world.
I thought about how upright bass would be more suitable for certain compositions
—How did you decide to play "Farewell" with TOKIE on the EQD tour in 2019 at Shindaita Fever?
Atsuo: I thought that TOKIE’s upright bass would match. She tried playing both a regular electric bass and an electric upright during the rehearsal, but as expected, the fretless upright bass had a continuously smooth “grayscale”-like tonal quality that we were really into, so we requested, “Definitely the upright.”
Takeshi: She can also get extremely low tones on it, so she can effectively hit low notes that don’t clash with Boris.
Wata: Right, because Boris tunes 3 full steps down from standard.
EarthQuaker Devices Japan Tour 2019 at FEVER (2019.05.26)
Atsuo: When playing with a standard electric bass, the key is higher so the notes will be the same register as Boris’s low-tuned guitars, rather than the lower register. But on the upright, it’s naturally lower, although she still had to tune down a bit to match.
TOKIE: Right! I tuned a half-step down from usual.
Atsuo: If the EQD Japan tour went well, we were thinking we would like to go on a US tour together.
TOKIE: Yeah, I would have wanted to also, but COVID happened.
—Everything has changed.
Atsuo: When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, we recorded our album "NO". After that, we were able to record with TOKIE, but it was during the state of emergency declaration, so she tried doing remote home recording for the first time.
TOKIE: I’ve been thinking I need to learn how, so I recorded while looking up various information on it.
Atsuo: Your first recording at home was a 20 minute-long Boris song (laughs).
—How did recording go on the song sent by Boris, TOKIE?
TOKIE: The song itself was so long and this was my first time to even hear the term “Drone” as a genre of music. I took several recordings and sent them, after that I got their feedback and I tried to figure something out and try again… we repeated that process. I learned a lot and in the end it was good to hear “That‘s it!"
Atsuo: It seems TOKIE became sick every time she had to record another take (laughs).
TOKIE: I had headphones on when I was recording, and the song is long so I was taken out by my own bass sound (laughs).
I felt that it’s all worth it if people will enjoy it.
—"Reincarnation Rose" was born after that, right?
Atsuo: That’s right. We were working on a project making a Wata signature model fuzz pedal model with EQD simultaneously, and talking about releasing something to relate the two, but the first song we recorded "You Will Know" didn’t use fuzz at all (laughs).
Wata: Well even if it was used, it wasn’t the most effective way (laughs).
Atsuo: There was no so-called sense of "FUZZ" (on that song) so we decided to compose a full-on fuzz style single with fuzz guitar and put it out as a single. That was the end of this January, and TOKIE recorded on January 28th.
—A video of TOKIE playing bass was uploaded on social media at that time.
Atsuo: Right! That was really cool, wasn’t it? The take in that video was the one actually used for "Reincarnation Rose”. Since that post got such a tremendous response, we felt that people will be pleased with the end product.
TOKIE: Is that so? Glad to hear that.
TOKIE: Who did the design for Wata’s fuzz pedal Hizumitas?
Atsuo: That was done by Mami Saito, who did the album art for our previous album, "LΦVE & EVΦL".
Wata: She also drew the cat illustration for the "Boris (12 inch)" jacket.
TOKIE: She did an awesome job with that.
EarthQuaker Devices Hizumitas
—Was the image newly drawn for the pedal?
Atsuo: Yeah. Since the pedals will be sold all over the world, Mami said, “This has become something huge!” and drew that in amazement. (laughs)
TOKIE: Awesome, I’m jealous. That’s so cool, to have your own pedal model.
Atsuo: Why don’t you ask to have one made?
TOKIE: Eh? (laughs)
Wata: I think you could definitely have one made.
Takeshi: Transcribed in the interview, now the words may lead to reality (laughs).
Continued from Vol. 2 *To be announced soon
Live photo by Miki Matsushima
Translated by nyd/Greg Mudarri