Above: British Sea Power in a promo shot for their latest album, Machineries of Joy.
Hostess Club Weekender is here again, and the lineup at one of our favourite Tokyo mini-festivals is as eclectic as ever. With British Sea Power, Travis, Editors, Wavves and Little Barrie playing Sunday and These New Puritans, múm, inc., Team ME and Indians on Saturday, we’re expecting great things.
We were able to have a short conversation with Yan (pictured front right, above), singer with British Sea Power – the band surely in part responsible for the Sunday date selling out – and weren’t surprised to find a down to earth guy with something of an eccentric streak. The band’s new album, Machineries of Joy – released ten years after their debut EP – has been garnering favorable reviews, but it is live that we think BSP flourish.
We’ve been enjoying the new album, but what can we expect of the show? Has much changed in the two years since you’ve been here (to play Fuji Rock in 2011)?
Well the world’s gone down hill a bit with the economy etc! BSP wise not that much has changed. We’ve perhaps consolidated a bit and started a fresh lease of life with the new album. On the surface it’s not so different but we learned new ways of working together and became a stronger unit. The show will hopefully be a glorious outpouring of joy.
On the new album – a lot is always said about how you recorded it and what feelings you were going through/influences etc. How would you want us to listen – and how would you want to listen to it? We had it on in the office and certainly helped with an impending deadline…
Well I’m glad it helped! I’ve heard of people using the odd track for sports and others enjoying a walk in the country to it. It’s a multi purpose album to be enjoyed anywhere. Personally I don’t often listen to our albums once the process is over. Its too odd and I don’t really have time as I like listening to other music a lot and new songs I’m working on. For listeners it’s new but for me it’s old by the time it is released.
We’ve had all sorts of British acts over here in the last couple of years through Hostess – how did the gig come about and what do you think about the lineup? One of our writers said it read like “reads a little like the playlist of a shuffling indie-kid’s seldom synced iPod” – and I think he meant that in a very good way…
We were kindly asked. It all depends on the kid’s taste. In this case good taste for asking us. He sounds like a funny kid. A right little shuffler.
Above, Machineries of Joy, the title track of the latest album, released back in March.
You’ve spoken a few times about Bo Ningen in the past, but this time you’ll not be playing alongside many Japanese acts – how do you feel about that and what do you know about the “scene” here or Japanese bands in general? Will you have much time here (I know you’re off to Taipei shortly after…) and what do you hope to do?
I don’t know much about the scene. I know about Bo Ningen because they’ve played a lot in the UK and many times with us too. It’s a pretty brief visit. For a long time I’ve hoped to have a chance to visit in my own time properly for longer but it’s not happened yet.
If our teenage mags were all true, Indie/Britpop bands enjoyed some great times with record sales and gigs here in Japan in the 90s – how do you think touring here is seen these days? Has it been ‘what you imagined’ when you’ve been here before?
I love playing in Japan so far. It’s always been full of energy and enthusiasm. Festivals like Fuji Rock are my favorite festivals. Everyone’s friendly and the mountains are amazing – we’ve been marvelously looked after.
You have quite a few European dates/festivals coming up – after spending what I imagine were quite a lot of hours tucked away in a studio in 2012. You’ll find yourself at folk festivals, rock festivals, a doc fest in Sheffield, German art house venues – where are you most comfortable?
We’re open minded people and quite adaptable. We like all different kinds of music. I’m not a big fan of shows in places that look like car parks, but most others are OK. I like beautiful surroundings and trees if possible. Something with its own character and not so commercial maybe.
I don’t think it should ever be surprising that any artist/musician would have thoughts/opinions worth hearing about topics other than their most well known channel – how do you feel when pieces like your recent New Statesman interview (which I liked) pull out a Chavez quote and lead with it rather than something about the new album? How do the label feel?
Its good. I mean I brought him (Chavez) into the chat in the first place. I wouldn’t mind if music magazines etc didn’t exist and other publiucations had serious music sections. For example fishing magazines with their own take. Formula one pushing a different angle. DIY, porn, dog lovers etc. Bands could be strongly affiliated to certain hobbies and interests.
Lastly, bringing much merch with you? Got any current favourites?
Maybe the odd T-shirt. I like the polar bear ones. Although we’ve some new mints too.
Hostess Club Weekender is on June 8/9 at the Ebisu Garden Place. For more info see the official site: http://ynos.tv/hostessclub/