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 QPLO. Don’t miss out on their MTM Disco Night event on July 16 in Aoyama.

QPLO is a modernized disco duo in search of creating music that freely transcends borders. The duo consists of Kosuke Someya, the guitarist and composer, and Rio Tokue, who is in charge of the beat making, arrangements and synths.  

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

Someya: Our music is dance music as a form of communication.

It’s fun to dance to and it makes people want to gather where the music is being played. Do you know the habits of bees? Bees do a dance called the “Wiggle Dance” to communicate information about their hive. It is truly a dance of communication. Actually, this story is related to the QPLO party we are going to have, so we will reveal more at our event.

Photo by Lisa Knight

What is your music creation process like?

Someya: The songwriting is done at the QPLO Studio, which is at my grandmother’s house. I create the foundation of the song by adding bass lines and guitar riffs and Rio, while dancing, sets the beat. From there, we discuss the image and concept of the song, and often refer to images from movies or fashion show runways that match the atmosphere of the song.

What are your studio recordings like compared to your live performances?

Someya: The production in the studio is a communication between us two as QPLO. And the live performance is an opportunity for us to communicate with the audience.

It’s fun for just the two of us to hang out together. And if we’re all having fun together, the more the merrier. In other words, our gigs are similar to the fun of chilling at home with good friends and the fun of meeting new people at the park for the first time.

QPLO’s live performances are a way for everyone to enjoy the fun and joy of the dance that we created in a room with two people.

What was your most unforgettable live performance?

Someya: The live performance we had last September at ZUBAR in Shibuya. This live performance was the spark for us to create disco music. On the day of the performance, a friend of mine who does not usually go to clubs came to watch us as a guest. We were very happy to see that person dancing spontaneously while listening to our music.

Can you tell us more about your upcoming disco night?

Someya: We want to enjoy our music with everyone through the communication of dance. And we want to expand that place and our circle of friends. Starting in July, QPLO will be holding a disco party every month. The title of our first event is “Bee-hive.” I likened our live venue to a beehive where bees gather to dance and wiggle. We hope that this event will become a new dance sensation in Tokyo.

Any artists who you take musical inspiration from?

Someya: I really look up to Nile Rodgers to perfect my guitar sound. I have a lot of respect for him. I like him more than most disco guitarists.

Rio: Some of the bands we look up to are Daft Punk, Hot Chip, Disclosure, Purple Disco Machine and Yuksek. We also listen to Deee-Lite, Chemical Brothers, Justice, Basement Jaxx. I am particularly influenced by Harvey Sutherland, one of the modern disco producers.

What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?

Someya: Both of us have been exposed to music since we were little, so it’s a little hard to imagine (laughs). But because my dad is a hairdresser, it’s possible that I would have been a hairdresser too. Thanks to my dad, my hair is so smooth (laughs). Oh, if anyone wants to come to my dad’s shop, please contact me anytime.

Rio: I wanted to be a mycologist. I’ve loved mushrooms since I was a kid and for my first birthday present, I asked for a thick illustrated encyclopedia on mushrooms. I love mushrooms as much as I love music.

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

Rio: Mr. Oizo, an electro producer from France. His music is great, of course, but he also makes movies and creates his own music videos. Both are serious and funny.

Someya: Michael Jackson. I would love to have him teach me his cool dance moves while drinking and dancing. I would also love to play guitar beside him and perform with him.

Check out QPLO and their groovy new beats on Instagram.

You can see QPLO perform live on Saturday, July 16 at their Disco Night MTM event in Aoyama.

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. You can sign up for membership here.