Asian Kung-Fu Generation's interviews

Le Bataclan

Asian Kung-Fu Generation

JournalistTonight, the Bataclan will be sold out. Did you know you guys weree so popular in France?

Masafumi GotohNo [Laughs], this is truly amazing!

JournalistAmong all the concerts you've done, which one would be your best memory?

Kiyoshi IjichiOur main stage at the Fuji Rock festival, and this European tour.

Kensuke KitaLike Kiyoshi, I would also say the Fuji Rock, and a small stage on which we've played at the beginning of our career. It was in the middle of the night and we were worried if the public would come or not. In the end, there was plenty of people!

Takahiro YamadaMy best memory was our first solo concert when we've started our career. We were anxiously following the tickets selling and were pretty well sold.

Masafumi GotohIt was in 2005, we made the first performance for an Oasis concert in a 10.000 seats room. To us, it (Oasis) was THE legendary band! We were very moved and excited.

AkfgfragmentsWe are really happy and proud to welcome you in France. You are using the Internet more and more to live broadcasting your shows to the entire world, how do you think that this is important? Will you keep doing so?

Masafumi GotohIndeed, Internet is a very important tool. We cannot afford to give a real Japanese-like show to overseas audience. That would be impossible to bring: the scenes, the settings... and everything we usually do for 20.000 spectators. How can we share such moments with strangers who can't come to see us. The solution: the Internet. It is very important to us to develop the broadcasting and the sharing of our lives.

JournalistNow that you are in France, what is your state of mind?

Kiyoshi IjichiWe've just came from London.... And, in comparison, we eat well here!

Kensuke KitaFrom the smallest street... All of these constructions... It's all so beautiful here! It's impressive!

Takahiro YamadaI've already visited a few monuments and everything was impressive and much taller than we expected. I would like to stay a little longer in Paris to enjoy it.

Masafumi GotohOn one hand, through all of those views, landscapes, buildings and old things, the culture and history that you are proud of can be felt. We feel it when walking down the streets. On the other hand, in Tokyo, at the same time we are rebuilding a train station... I mean, in Japan, the purpose is often to destroy things to replace them by new things and that's really a shame.

JournalistAmong all of your songs, which one represents the best of Asian Kung-Fu Generation's spirit (aura)?

Masafumi Gotoh[The band burst into laughter and each of them look at their neighbours...] This is a difficult question... [Long moment of hesitation] To find the right answer will be my homework for the next concert.

JournalistYou have been through different musical styles during your career: Starting with Punk-Rock; then an Ethereal style; Pop; and Experimental... Do you think you can still evolve your style, and if so, in which direction?

Masafumi GotohAn evolution, yes... But we don't really know what will happen in the next album!

JournalistYour music has well evolved. What is motivating you guys and push you to continue making music nowadays?

Masafumi GotohThis is difficult to explain exactly because there are so many different reasons that motivate us. When we were youngsters and in our early twenties, it was rather the feelings as boredom, anger... A certain form of implosion that formed the root, the motivation of our music. Gradually, as we matured, we've started to seek harmony between the band's members. Our sound is born from the beauty of that association. We also try to keep the Japanese rock style ringing. To find our style, our origin, our identity... This is also what we look for in our music, our art... We think about our country... Anyway, so many different reasons...

JournalistThe designer Yusuke Nakamura seems inseparable from the band's identity. Do you consider him as a member of the band? Do Asian Kung-Fu Generation exist without him?

Masafumi GotohThis is absolutely right! Yusuke Nakamura is the 5th member of the band and he will keep drawing until he's dead. This is absolutely sure! We wanted to bring him with us, put a chair at this conference by our sides, but... he is as stubborn as a mule. Sorry, that's a risk for our popularity but we didn't succeed in making him come.

JournalistWhat feeling the nuclear Fukushima disaster triggered in you for having created the free magazine "The Future Times" and the No Nukes festival with its stages powered with solar energy?

Masafumi GotohA long time before the accident, we started to inform ourselves about the nuclear power stations and the recycling, very cumbersome and dangerous. So we were really aware of the situation before the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In Japan, there is a strong pressure when we broach political topics, especially about nuclear energy. So I wasn't able to really start my action before the accident. This is a huge pity, because, if I had acted sooner, things might have happened differently - some people might have awakened. This is a huge pity, but also a motivation, today, for doing all these actions.

JournalistIs it common the involvement of the bands, in Japan, in the fights (protesting) against the nuclear energy? Would you consider it a duty?

Masafumi GotohAs far as we are concerned, we think it is a duty. In reality, most celebrities, singers, rockstars, actors... Because of the pressure, the key figures do not pronounce themselves publicly. These people are not just quiet because they don't have an opinion. Their problem would be the sponsors withdrawing their work. And without sponsors, they couldn't work any more. As for us, we remain an independent band. The magazine "The Future Times", for example, is self-financed. Everything is working well by being independent and we want to keep working that way. Compared to occidental societies, this kind of attitude is avoided (discriminated) in Japan. As a Japanese person, I say to myself: "I have to do it, I am not ashamed nor feel guilty about it." I would like this kind of thinking would be spread in Japan, through actions like mine.

About Asian Kung-Fu Generation

The simplicity and normal behaviour make Asian Kung-Fu Generation different from others Japanese bands. Their appearance on television is scarce and they are more concerned about their works than their image. Since the Fukushima's nuclear disaster, Asian Kung-Fu Generation is involved in favour of the definitive nuclear power stations shut down. Despite an agreement made with Ki/oon Records (Sony), the whole Asian Kung-Fu Generation's discography is financed by the band itself, allowing them to be musically independent towards the label.

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