I'm in Tokyo for a month and I'm running late for the one thing I had a set date for. Great...
I'm running around Shibuya (the place with the bloody great big zebra crossing thing) attempting to meet Maeda Katuhiko, aka World's End Girlfriend, in a bar that the locals can't even direct me to. After about 30 minutes of running around the same two streets, I go through a multi-storey car park and arrive. I stumble some words of apologies, get myself a beer and begin...
BR. So, if we could start off with an introduction of what WEG is, directed at someone who has never heard of you or your music before?
It's a question I always have problems answering. Many factors mingle together and when I try to explain about a certain piece of music, it doesn't mean it applies to another, so it becomes confusing. When I write the music I don't really consider the genre, but would agree that when people listen to the music, some would identify it to a genre such as post-rock, electronica or classical because I understand that there are elements of my music that apply to those areas.
BR. As a solo musician, whose music sounds more like that of a a full band when it comes to writing, how to you create your pieces?
When I choose a musician whose instrument I want in the music, I choose a particular musician because I feel that that musician suits that piece and their style can express what I want to create in music, rather than have another player or a sample fill that part. It's more like choosing a tone. I maintain control over everything in that I am aware of how each sound should sound and overall, when writing the piece, I already have in mind how it will sound constructively and how it will be orchestrated.
BR. Are those musician friends and acquaintances, or is it more of a professional affair with session musicians?
Well, it really depends. If I know someone that could create the sound that I am looking for, then I would ask him or her, but otherwise I would go to a studio musician. There are even times that I would go to someone who is not a professional and would still come out with a sound I was looking for.
BR. Being a solo musician who has collaborated with musicians such as Piana and Mono in the past, how does the creative and writing process differ to working alone and did you find that there was more or less freedom and responsibility?
Well, for instance the collaboration with Mono, they are already a band. The have their set-up with guitars, bass, drums and I brought in the other factors such as violin and cello, so my contribution is somewhat limited. However, that limitation is what made it interesting; how much I could add to the music and how much I could change it. So obviously it was a different experience, but very fun.
BR. That's really cool. I can see how that would be a refreshing change. You said you find it hard to classify yourself in a genre, but would you say there are any artists that influence and/or inspire you? Or even outside of the “music world”. Is there something, or someone that inspires you to do what you do?
I think that even the listener could hear that I'm influenced by current artists such as Aphex Twin and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, other than that, the Spanish film director, Víctor Erice and the early works of Truman Capote have both affected the way I look at things and what I want to express through my music, amongst others. I could go on forever...
BR. Speaking now about the Air Doll (空気人形) soundtrack, how did this differ in writing a normal WEG album. I mean, I presume that in writing a soundtrack, there is a “purpose”, in the sense that it was written for something, rather than the wider creative spectrum when writing usually?
Yeah, it's totally different, because like you said, it's purpose is for a film so the music is only a part of what is being expressed. If you listen to the soundtrack, it's a lot more simple. And it should be, because it's lacking the script and the visuals. But as a release it still has to be a complete form of expression in itself.
BR. Is it something you'd like to venture into more? And did you find it opened up your music to a different or broader audience?
If there's a good script, and a good opportunity, it would be something to consider, but I've not really decided one way or the other. Well, I think if someone listened to the soundtrack and liked it and then listened to some of my original work they might feel a little different. (laughs)
BR. You've recently signed to Erased Tapes in Europe. What made you pick them?
One of the reasons is that they have quite different artists to my music on their roster. They tend to have quite clean, mild artists and by joining, I can feel a bit unique and it makes it interesting. Also, Robert is someone I feel I could trust.
BR. And to round up, what do you have planned in the future?
If there’s a good opportunity to tour Europe, I'm very open to it. I think I will just be happy if I can continue to make music, without compromising my sound. I just hope that people are interested in my music.
World's End Girlfriend latest album, "SEVEN IDIOTS" is out now on ERASED TAPES RECORDS worldwide except for Japan where it's available on his own label, VIRGIN BABYLON RECORDS.
Posted: Fri 5 August 2011