※ This interview took place just before the Boris with Michio Kurihara one-off performance (“Futomeido” at Shindaita Fever on 2018/12/29).
Special Interview Vol.1
Special Interview Vol.2
Special Interview - extra talk *member only
We had already put in Michio as a member without asking, see.
- So things are different when it’s just the three of you playing?
Wata: It’s like night and day.
Atsuo: We’d never be able to do something like “Flare” without Michio.
Michio: Even I can barely pull off those fast arpeggios.
Takeshi: I made the demo with two guitars, one backing and one doing mellow phrases over that.
Atsuo: We had already put in Michio as a member without asking, see. Like this part is his, and this one is Wata’s.
Michio: They make some really tough phrases, arpeggios and all that. It makes me wonder how I’m going to get that sound when we play live.
Wata: No one’s hands can move like Takeshi’s when he plays guitar.
Michio: It really is difficult to follow.
Atsuo: The same goes for when we used synchronization, but we struggled a lot right after Michio stepped away.
- This was when you were making your album "Noise".
Atsuo: Yes. We even have a demo "Melody" with Michio on it. Anyway, we had all sorts of problems back then with trying to convert what the four of us used to do up to that point into something for three people, like for instance Wata brining in new equipment to try and reproduce Michio’s machinegun tremolo-like effect. We practiced especially hard in those days.
Takeshi: I didn’t find it that hard, though. I guess at most it felt like going back to the way things used to be. Those memories of rearranging things were pretty fun in my mind.
Atsuo: "New Album" before that was like our beefiest audio profile, so I think it was a good thing that we went through a stage where we stripped everything back down from there.
That has carried over to what we do now, and it enables us to consider what other cool things we can do by having Michio join us again at a point where the sound of just the three of us is enough. That’s the reason why we want to do this as a separate band.
- What do you think you’ll be like live?
Atsuo: I want everyone to scream “Michio!”
Michio: I’m not so sure about that part...
Atsuo: Michio was standing in the center of the stage during the final show of our 25th anniversary. It apparently made him very uncomfortable (laughter).
Michio: I was indeed uncomfortable.
Atsuo: His first time in the center.
Michio: Generally I’m on the left side.
Atsuo: And now this time you’ll be on the opposite, since you’ll be coming from the right. Wata will be in the middle. We want this band (Boris with Michio Kurihara) to be much more natural.
- So will you be dressing more naturally, too?
Atsuo: Okay, we’re all going to be wearing striped shirts (laughter). Striped long sleeve shirts are pretty much Michio’s uniform.
Michio: You’re crazy (laughter).
More importantly, I was surprised that Wata would be playing bass this time. Has she never done that before?
Wata: No, never. I would drop my guitar an octave whenever we played "Futomeido" in the past. This will be my first time actually switching over to a bass.
- Why have you decided to switch to a bass this time?
Atsuo: She got a bass from Mike Watt during our US tour in the summer of 2018. So the truth is it was kind of meant to happen.
Wata: It’s got a small body that makes it easy for me to play, and it’s orange to boot. And it’s even lighter than the Les Paul I normally use.
We want to do all sorts of things we can’t do as Boris.
- It certainly doesn’t look that big when you hold it. Do you have anything planned for 2019 after your end of 2018 show?
Atsuo: We just lined up a show on February 8. At UFO Club in Koenji.
- Is that as Boris with Michio Kurihara?
Atsuo: Yeah. We hope to add more dates as a band independent of Boris.
- Do you have any plans to perform things like songs from Michio’s solo album "Sunset Notes" ?
Takeshi: We’ll be playing two tracks from there at this upcoming show. “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters” and “Time to go”, I think.
Atsuo: Our show in February will be excerpts from this set plus a bit more. We don’t want to add any more Boris songs. We want to do all sorts of things we can’t do as Boris. I really hope we can add on a bunch more shows. While saying it would be a waste not to probably isn’t the right way to put it, we just can’t have such an amazing guitarist not get some exposure.
Michio: Oh come on now. But, I am very grateful to Boris for letting play in all sorts of places.
Atsuo: Even though it’s caused you nothing but trouble (laughter). Like when you fell off the stage in Italy.
Michio: There just happened to be a cushioned couch there so I didn’t get hurt in the end, though.
Atsuo: You were standing next to Takeshi back then and didn’t have much space.
Michio: Thinking back on it, I’m amazed that I managed to fit my setup into such a small area. Sometimes I had to stand things on end... Yeah, those were some interesting experiences.
But, they’re nothing more than wonderful memories now (laughter).
Atsuo: During the "Smile" tour we had 13 shows in a row, and the mood started to get pretty tense (laughter). All of us were on edge. Like, “This is way too hardcore!”
Michio: And the 12th and 13th shows were on the same day to boot.
Atsuo: The 12th was the Pitchfork Festival, and the 13th was later that night...
Michio: That was pretty brutal!
Atsuo: Those 12th and 13th shows really stick out in my mind.
Michio: We all stopped talking to each other...
Atsuo: The Pitchfork Festival in the afternoon was outdoors under the blazing sun, and on top of that our amps kept cutting out because they weren’t getting enough power.
- Have you had a lot of trouble on your past tours?
Michio: Hmm, the power cutting out was a frequent occurrence, but that’s about the most trouble I can think of. Though I did get stuck in the bathroom once when the door broke and I couldn’t get it open. In New York.
Atsuo: Oh yeah, I remember that (laughter).
Takeshi: That was when we were touring with Torche[*1]. Their drummer Rick had to ram the door and smash it open.
Atsuo: It was a close call, because we couldn’t communicate very well in English when we were breaking the door open and Michio ended up actually standing closer to the door when Rick said, “I’m going to smash the door open from this side, so get as far away from it as possible!”
Michio: Wata happened to be passing by and helped translate from outside the bathroom.
Wata: My translation was a bit off... Sorry about that.
Michio: The lock was broken or something, because once it was in place the door wouldn’t open for anything. Did he really break it open in the end?
Takeshi: Rick slammed into it over and over.
Atsuo: The band we were touring with at the time was a lot of fun.
Michio: Yeah, Torche was cool. They were a good band to do shows with. Europe, America...wherever we went with them was great.
Live photo by Miki Matsushima