Christophe LorentzYour music is very close to the American power-pop and a band like Weezer in particular. Do you feel closer to the American music spirit than the Japanese one?
Masafumi GotohAt the beginning of my musical path, I was stimulated by the English rock. When I started to form a band to make music by myself , I was indeed very influenced by Weezer. I’m not sure to feel more connected with an American music spirit, but I think the Japanese youth actually needed the rock’n roll to fill this “feeling of emptiness” that surrounded the 90’s musical scene.
Christophe LorentzBy the way, you organize every years in Japan a big rock festival, the Nano Mugen Festival, which gather various international bands. What is your purpose with such event?
Masafumi GotohInternet brought people pleasure to be split into pieces, in a good and bad way. A new emotion may born in the interaction between those split communities. Every musical cultures are meant to be so. Reggae, ska, blues, hip_hop, rock’n roll: all these musics were born from a clash between different cultures. Our festival may not bring such a dynamic but it is fully stimulating for us.
Christophe LorentzYet despite your musical influences and your relationships with American bands you performed, you sing most of the time in Japanese… Have you ever thought of singing in English to try to become famous on the American market?
Masafumi GotohIt’s true that commercial success is a key factor but the use of a language that is not your mother tongue would limit my capacity to express myself. Technic and the ability to write about a desire is the key of an author’s work. Unfortunately, I’m not able to do that in English. For instance, would the French like to hear a stranger to sing in a horrible French?
Christophe LorentzHow do the band work on the song writing?
Masafumi GotohThe music always come first. Words come really at a very slow pace, and always come too long after the emotions. More generally, we try to create a good creation environment for the four band members and the few of the rest of the team.
Christophe LorentzIf you refer to the lyrics of your first songs, what do you think about your writing evolution skill?
Masafumi GotohI think my lyrics are improving: I realized myself that I can now add backgrounds around the lyrics which come from the deepest of myself.
Christophe LorentzThe last album of Asian Kung-Fu Generation, LANDMARK, has been released last year. What can you tell us about?
Masafumi GotohThis is an album reflecting the actual Japan state, after 2011 incident. Its title is totally linked to Japan.
Christophe LorentzYou mean that the Fukushima disaster moved you a lot?
Masafumi GotohWith 160 000 people unable to go back to their home and 3% of the territory that is now missing, how could we be not affected by this?
Christophe LorentzMusically speaking, your style has always been based on the same elements, on the same type of sound… Aren’t you afraid to feel a little limited by your musical expression?
Masafumi GotohWe certainly didn’t explore different musical styles in a brave way but even so we have integrated different sounds. It is true that we sometime fear of falling into the so call “Asian Kung-Fu style”
Christophe LorentzSome of your songs have been chosen to illustrate some anime like NARUTO or FULL METAL ALCHEMIST… What do you think about those anime?
Masafumi GotohJapanese anime keeps a high quality level: so we are happy to be associated to these so wonderful works
Christophe LorentzAsian Kung-Fu Generation exists for now 17 years: when you remember your whole career, what do you think about its evolution?
Masafumi GotohI don’t really now. I know that we grew old… But it is difficult to tell by ourselves:we are like locked in a car and we can’t see us from the outside. But we think we are driving at a good pace.
Christophe LorentzHowever, what are the things you regret or those you are the most proud of?
Masafumi GotohThere is nothing to regret. We are proud that so many people found us among billions of bands that are still in activity!
Christophe LorentzYou just did an European tour: what did you feel during that tour, and what message would you like to tell to your French fans?
Masafumi GotohThis tour has been a wonderful experience. Every room and audience were very specific to us. And to all that wonderful French public, we would like to say that we all love France. We will come back to play over there. We will never thank you enough for your support!