from Tokyo, Japan - Boom Boom Satellites




Boom Boom Satellites are a three piece Tokyo band who do a high energy show incorporating drums, bass, guitar, vocals, and electronics. In Japan they have shared the stage with Primal Scream, Moby, and Fatboy Slim.

Recently they were in London for a gig and Mstation talked to Masayuki Nakano with the help of an interpreter. The result is that the answers to the questions have been paraphrased twice so some subtleties of meaning might easily have been lost... the original answers weren't as terse as the answers here as well.

Boom Boom Satellites are Masayuki Nakano and Michiyuki Kawashima (guitar/vocals) and Naoki Hirai is the guest drummer.

Mstation: What are your musical roots?

Boom Boom Satellites: Mostly 90s UK dance and rock music ... but indirectly also the way I live as part of Japanese society. That is the context although I cannot honestly say what part that plays.

Mstation: There seems to be heaps of angry laptop music coming out of Tokyo. Are you aware of it?

BBS: Most laptop music is underground culture. We span both worlds as we organise our own events and have guest DJs and musicians that come from the commercial and underground worlds.

Later on their Japanese manager, Hiroki, tells Mstation that what we heard in the laptop music was not necessarily anger but more a representation of the chaos of Tokyo, both sonically and otherwise. It shows the dangers of Westerners making assumptions about motivation. Another example of this is that for Westerners rock and dance music has a very definite context and history of rebellion even if a lot of chart music barely reflects that. In Japan, the making of music is mostly a craft - the result to be taken with a seriousness appropriate to the medium and the message. Tied in with this are attitudes to individualism. In Japan, the cult (and myth) of the individual is taken, for the most part, to be laughable and immature, especially where the reality of society is a tightly woven net of interdependance. Boom Boom Satellites didn't actually make any comment on this aspect of things.

Mstation: What is your process of creating music? Do you map things out electronically and then flesh them out when you're all together, or jam, or what?

BBS: We have sessions together where we develop ideas. The ideas are finalised usually at some later stage.

Mstation: How about equipment? Do you use any special digital processes to get your music to the CD master stage? I'm asking this because you're on Sony Japan and wonder if their goodies are being used in a special way.

BBS: I only use basic equipment to get the sound I want and for CD's we go to the commercial studio and do most of the work there.

At this point Mstation is wondering about practising very loud music in Tokyo, which like London, has lots of people living close together in sometimes near accoustically transparent abodes. Masayuki answers that he has a soundproofed studio for that purpose.

The Boom Boom Satellites stage setup we saw had Masayuki playing bass as well as fielding electronics which included a Pioneer DJ type CD player, a sequencer, sub mixer, and Mac G4 powerbook running something we weren't able to see but I think was a sequencer/player and a rack of effects gear and amps behind. The guitarist/vocalist had a full range of pedals (see photo) and the real live drummer had his kit.

Mstation: Where are you going musically?

BBS: We're making a soundtrack using visuals. We're also going to make an album which is more based on UK Drum and Bass.

Mstation: Any comments on the scenes in different countries?

BBS: In the UK dance is down but it will come back. In France things don't seem to change that much. In the USA things vary greatly between each region so it's very hard to say.

We talk a little of the Netherlands and I tell him that Dave Angel's brand of tech funk is big there and at one time so was Psychobilly ...

Mstation: Who should we know about from the Japanese music scene?

BBS: Cornelius is one. For laptop music - Numb.

Mstation: Thanks Masayuki.

Boom Boom Satellites next London gig is July 8 at the Dublin Castle. In the UK, the single "Blink" will be released on August 11th and the album "PHOTON - Commin' 2 a phase" on September 1, 03.

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