Tokyo Weekender and More Than Music collaborate in a monthly interview series with the diverse musical performers on the Tokyo music scene. For this interview, we caught up with Nowheres. Don’t miss out on their live show at TW’s September-October issue party on October 8 at Earth+ Gallery.
Featuring catchy guitar strumming and meaningful emo lyrics, Nowheres (stylized in all lowercase as nowheres) is a band comprising of Josh Vida and Phil Calandra, who spend their time spreading much-loved doom and gloom in the Tokyo live houses. Fans of The Cure and New Order would definitely love Nowheres. TW recently sat down for a quick chat with the pair to hear about their creative process, their live show experiences and more.
An Emo Skeleton on Fire
Nowheres’ catchy and repetitive lyrics usually focus on one word or phrase, creating hypnotic songs with awesome guitar strumming. When we asked the band members about the band’s music Calandra simply described it as “on fire.” The band’s emo rock signature sound is undeniable or as Vida described it – “an emo skeleton on a motorcycle.”
The creative process of the two musicians is guided by sound first and foremost. They say they create songs starting with the music first, then followed by the lyrics. They usually come up with a certain riff during their jam sessions in the studio. Once they hit the right one, the music takes off on the wings of the strong guitar rock sound.
When you first listen to Nowheres’ songs, their music may sound familiar because they take bits and pieces from everyone they listen to – a common creative practice in all arts. Inspiration is the start, but they of course try to mold the sound into their own new creation. “We initially started out trying to combine Rites of Spring with bands like The Cure,” says Vida. Over time, they were able to find a sound they liked.
During the songwriting process, Calandra tries not to listen to anything in particular. In his own words, it is “nice when the ideas come naturally, without being directly influenced by anything.”
Nowheres On and Off Stage
Live performances don’t always go well and that’s fine. It’s part of the charm. Nowheres say malfunctions and stage mistakes happen with them just like with anyone else. They recount one funny incident when Calandra was shouting at Vida to adjust his vocals and guitar because they were too loud. Unfortunately, Vida couldn’t hear him so he kept playing. “I try to fix it [sound] on the fly but most times Josh can never hear me,” Calandra says.
Most of the live shows, however, go really well with entranced audiences.
Off stage, when the two bandmates meet up in their free time, it is usually for film nights, specifically horror movie nights where Calandra’s old horror VHS collection comes in handy. They do movie-watching marathons, but Vida jokingly remarked that Calandra is usually the one not paying attention after the second or third movie.
TW asked the pair what would they be doing if it wasn’t for music. “Probably nothing,” Vida shot back while Calandra said he’ll probably just watch more movies.
Make sure to check out the Nowheres’ third EP that’s coming out soon. A music video is soon on its way and there will definitely be more live shows. Check them out at Heaven’s Door live in Sangenjaya. Nowheres merchandise including shirts, hats and stickers are in the works and may be coming soon. Follow them on Instagram for any updates.
You can see Nowheres perform live on Saturday, October 8 at TW’s September-October issue party at Earth+ Gallery.
TW readers get a 10% discount on the ticket by entering the code TKYWD at check-out. The same code gets you a 50% discount on the first month of the membership fee as a trial. Sign up for membership here.