Viewport width =
May 29, 2017 | by  | in Music |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Interview: Otoboke Beaver

Otoboke Beaver are a no-holds-barred, wild punk band made up of four women from Kyoto, Japan. They work full-time at standard, respectable jobs during the week, and spend their weekends on jaunts around Japan throwing walls of screaming sound at their audiences. Their lyrics are entirely in Japanese, and they have recently made waves at South by Southwest and on tour through the UK with Korean surf-rock band Say Sue Me. Salient got the opportunity to talk to them just after they returned from Austin, and got the lowdown on their live show, womanhood in the Japanese music industry, and their favourite bands.

 

Salient: I understand you have recently come back from SXSW. How was that experience? Was it daunting coming into it from something of an outsider’s perspective, or did you find it a welcoming environment?

Accorinrin: People in Austin welcomed us so much, and I was so happy that so many people came to our first show! Everyone was friendly, and imitated my dance straight away.

Yoyoyoshie: I felt we were welcomed more than in Japan. It was so fun!

Hiro-chan: I feel people in Austin welcomed us! I was also happy for the audience to talk to us, they were so friendly.

 

S: What bands have influenced the sound that you try to create?

A: Jun Togawa, Hikasyu, songs of the Showa generation in Japan, and indie music in Kansai.

Y: I feel I have been influenced by Japanese music. I love Yura Yura Teikoku and Oshiripenpenz.

H: There are no bands that have influenced me especially, but I like indie bands in Japan, garage rock, and new wave.

 

S: If you had to condense it into a couple of sentences, how would you describe the experience of your live show? I’ve heard that it’s incredible!

A: Misplaced violence for you <3

Y: Due to Accorinrin.

H: I think our performance is felt close to us. For example, waves of sounds, hot air of ours.

 

S: In terms of lyrics, what experiences and ideas do you draw upon? It seems like you use a lot of local Kyoto slang; is that quite close to your own identities?

A: My experience about love affairs and my delusions. Kyoto slang is familiar to me and what I usually use for lyrics. Wording is so interesting.

 

S: What is it like working as a woman in the Japanese music industry? Do you ever feel patronised? I once had a man that was convinced that because I was a woman, I was fundamentally unable to plug a lead into an amp — have you experienced anything like this?

Y: Nothing else. Now everybody has the opportunity to play active parts, and I don’t think women fear because they are women.

Pop: It is true that there are many men who work in music industries and women have parts of being inferior in power, but I have never felt this especially. I have women friends who work as sound techs. I wonder why they thought you couldn’t plug a lead into an amp.  Everybody can do that.

 

S: Would you say that your music is part of a rebellion against the roles of womanhood set out in Japanese culture?

Y: We sing songs about men and women in love affairs.

H: Hmm. Not the rebellion but the claims that there are such women like us.

P: Maybe so. I think there is a trend that women must be cute, like idol culture and announcers in Japan. I don’t know what is bad, but we express ourselves freely. Because there are demands of cute men, I think it is okay there are supplies of cool women.

 

S: What are some of the fun experiences you have had while being a part of this band?

A: The fact that our music is out all over the world.

Y: Having gigs in the US. Reactions from the audience were so interesting.

H: Gigs overseas. And it is always funny watching Yoyoyoshie stage dive into the audience.

 

S: What are the bands/artists that you’re most excited about at the moment?

A: To tell the truth, I am buried in our own songwriting.

Y: The band named Have a Nice Day! and its fans are interesting and insane. And now I’m interested in British rock bands like Blur. So cute!

H: BLONDnewHALF and NEMU (both are bands in Kansai).

P: JJJ (hip-hop) and Skirt from Japan. Shobaleader One, Clap! Clap!, White Lung, Bonobo, and Slowkiss. Slowkiss became friends with us at SXSW.

 

S: Does being Japanese create any difficulties for you in terms of making your music and touring? Conversely, what do you think are the great things about making music and living in Japan?

A: I want more holidays, as we all work as full time workers.

Y: I want more holidays. I heard that it is easy to take long holidays in the UK. There are many hot springs in Japan, so we like to go to them when we do Japanese tours.

H: I think it’s interesting and good that Japanese words have many meanings and feelings in same words.

P: I think that Japan is centred around J-pop culture ultimately. We have often said “our music is for overseas.” So our music is enjoyed by outsiders.

 

You can find Otoboke Beaver’s new EP Love is Short at otobokebeaver.bandcamp.com.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent posts

  1. Larger Than Life — Chris Rex Martin & Tainui Tukiwaho
  2. Manaia — Atamira Dance Company
  3. Philosoraptor
  4. The Basement Tapes
  5. Three Days in the Country
  6. Wonder Woman (2017)
  7. The 2017 Budget — what it means for students
  8. Interview with Gareth Morgan
  9. The Bubble
  10. The battle you never asked for: Chasing Liberty vs. First Daughter

Editor's Pick

Go Watch TV: Rick and Morty and Secular Humanism

: - SPONSORED - Writers and critics have praised Rick and Morty for its sharp character writing and absurdist take on sci-fi tropes, and I count myself in that number. But there is a mounting backlash against it that I can’t help but pick a bone with. On one of the many, many pop