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 Moku who played at our May-June 2022 Issue party.

Moku (stylized as MOKU) consisting of Hikaru Shimatsuka, Yoshiki Asakusa, Rikiya Okuzono and Naoya Iwazaki, are a band that create a psychedelic ambience with elements of traditional Japanese music. The sound they make is rather unique, yet it brings a feeling of nostalgia. Moku’s mysterious presence on stage, along with their mystical yet groovy tunes will leave you mesmerized and still wondering about this elusive band.

We recently talked with Asakusa and Shimatsuka to hear about their creative process, their live show experiences and more.

Moku playing at TW’s party. Photo by Wahei Nakamura.

What is the origin behind the name Moku?

Shimatsuka: A friend of ours, Taiyo from Kichijoji gave us the name and now we love it so much. We sometimes write the band name as “苜” (a kanji without meaning unless combined with other characters). But there is no specific meaning to our band name. It fits well with us because our music doesn’t have a specific genre. Moku doesn’t have anything famous or well-known associated with it, which we like. It’s simple and easy to remember.

What does the day in your life look like for you?

Shimatsuka: Happy and irreplaceable. I love going to the mountains and enjoying nature, going to see live music and meeting friends. But I also love the mundane days when there are no plans at all.

How would you describe your music in one word or phrase?

Asakusa: Our now and present, innovative and experimental.


What is your songwriting process like?

Shimatsuka: We usually create and record the songs after our live performances. We bring a chord to the table and play it together once, but we never know what will happen live. Everyone contributes to the songwriting process and creation of the track.

What are your live performances like as opposed to studio recordings?

Shimatsuka: We hope everyone who comes to watch us leaves feeling happy and satisfied. Although it may sound extreme, we really try to kill it on stage every single time.

Asakusa: We really want our performances for the audience to be like an encounter with the unknown. If our audience gets to experience something new through our music, it’s a win for us.

Do you have a favorite unforgettable live performance?

Shimatsuka: It was awesome to get to perform live at a mountain venue one time. The weather was terrible. It rained but we used it to our advantage. We brought recordings of thunder and added them to our live performance that day. I’m sure the audience thought it was actual live thunder.

If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing?

Shimatsuka: Traveling around the world.

Asakusa: I honestly don’t know. But I am sure that I would be doing something that gives me the same burning passion as music. Something where I can express myself and communicate with different people.

Dream musician, dead or alive, to have a meal and drink with?

Shimatsuka: The Space Lady. But honestly, this answer changes depending on when you ask.

What do you have coming up?

Shimatsuka: We have an EP release coming out in November and the CD is already available for purchase. Our music will also be available on Spotify and Apple Music so please keep an eye out for that.

Asakusa: We have a release party planned for November 15 at Forestlimit in Hatagaya. You can also see us live on December 11 at Clubasia and on December 31 at Pure’s.

Check out Moku and their upcoming music on YouTube.

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