Just a few days after the release of Anoice’s latest work,”Into The Shadows“, guitarist and composer Takahiro Kido, talks about how the band get started and the daily creative process involving the different projects around it, that make Anoice not only a band but an artistic collective way far from any “scene” or genre definition.
How did the band members come together and decide to play as a band?
I came to Tokyo from my birth town, Osaka, in order to start music in 2004 and recruited the band members via the internet. I met and auditioned around 50 musicians, and selected the current members from them.
For what definitions might mean, you started from “post-rock” then started developing your own “voice”: can you describe this process and tell how you would define your music nowadays?
When we started Anoice, most of the members were students and we all had never joined any bands yet. Also, there wasn’t any common favourite music artists. So, for the time being, we did improvisation at a studio many times. Then, we decided to make instrumental cinematic music. At that time, none of us knew the term “post-rock”.
Anyway, it seems you”ve found your own way out from post-rock: what do you think about the perspectives of that genre?
We don”t fully comprehend “post-rock” well yet, but to me, I think “post-rock” means originally free music style. So, we”re going to continue to change out music style. The fact that we have other six projects which have different music styles; Takahiro Kido, Yuki Murata, RiLF, Films, Mokyow and Cru demonstrates this.
And what do you think about the definition “modern classical”? could it be somehow related to your music?
I like modern classical music such as Max Richter and Jóhann Jóhannsson, though they might not be conscious of this genre. We used to listen to their albums when we were looking for our own music style.
The latest two albums showed a growing interest for something more thoughtful and “romantic”, while their imaginaries seem quite darker than before. Is there any link with what you have lived after 2011’s earthquake?
Yes and no… When the earthquake happened, we had already finished recording all the tracks for “The Black Rain” album. But, after the earthquake, we gave up to release the album in 2011, because it was so dark. If we released it at that time, some of our listeners may have been hurt. As for this “Into the Shadows” album, we wanted to express what we think is a “precious thing”. The clannish modern trend in the world implicated on the album story.
Generally speaking, how important in your music is the place you live in, its nature and the feelings you can get from it?
Our Ricco Label office is located in the suburbs of Tokyo. This small quiet town was the stage of “My Neighbor Totoro”, an animation film of Studio Ghibli, and there are some good woods. Me and Yuki Murata who is a pianist of Anoice, often compose music in those woods, and then record most of the instruments in our office studio.
Which is your usual composition process? Has it changed over the years?
As for the tracks of most of our projects, Anoice, Takahiro Kido, Yuki Murata, and Films, me and Yuki compose the majority of the tracks, and then other members often arrange their parts with their instrument. Then, I mix all of the tracks. As for RiLF, all the members join the composing but, regarding Mokyow and Cru, we are writing all the music by improvising at our studio, or sometimes in the woods, ruins, or somewhere similar.
In the new album, nearly half of the tracks are composed by you and the others by Yuki. As you both run also individual projects, is there a relation between what you do in the band and on your own?
Of course. Me and Yuki are composing music everyday, and decide which project the composed-tunes will go well with. Then, we record our instruments together with the other members.
Is there any artist you consider important in your musical training or at least someone you feel close to your sensibility? Anyone you”d fancy working with?
Personally, I think that the most important artist is Yuki Murata. Her compositions always give me a good incentive. Also, I wish I could have worked with John Coltrane or Claude Debussy. They are my heroes.
What can you tell about the Japanese indie scene? Are you in touch with other artists? Any lesser-know artists you would suggest checking?
I’m sorry to say that we don’t know very much about any music scenes, but we are in good relationships with some of the Japanese Indie artists/labels. We sometimes play with them and join their works as the instrumentalists or the engineer.
As listeners, what kind of music did you use to like best over the years?
We like to listen to music regardless the genres. Personally, I love John Coltrane and Claude Debussy as I mentioned before. Recently, I often listen to Sontag Shogun, one of our label artists. Their sound is really beautiful.
Your music often sound much “cinematic”: are you interested in releasing a soundtrack, or music for dance, art installations, etc.?
Of course! We are constantly making music for films, events, TV, etc., so we would like to release a compilation album including some of them.
What do you think about the growing interest in the “indie” scene for soundtrack music and for ethereal cinematic music?
It’s a very good situation for us.
You release your records on your Ricco Label: how’s the experience of running your own label and how important is for you to be truly independent?
After we released Anoice’s first album on Important Records in 2006, the owner of the label introduced us to MONO, a Japanese instrumental band. Since we didn’t know about indie artists, we also didn’t know about them either, but we had been worrying about our future, so we asked them how to manage a music label/band and how distribute the albums to all over the world. If they hadn’t kindly shown us the way, we couldn’t have made music our livelihood. So MONO is our mentor. We really respect them. The most important thing for a band and a label is to continue, I think.
What do you think about the way music spreads nowadays through the web? Do you think it is helpful for a young independent artist like you?
Definitely. Most of our releases are available on the Ricco Label website and the BandCamp pages and all profits are allocated to continue our activity. The online sales system is one of best ways for independent artists, I think. In addition, thanks to the internet, we can simply make contracts concerning licences for using our music on commercial films, TVs, movies, events, etc. with the producers or directors. Now, our music is available to hear on many platforms all over the world.
Would you like to play your music with an orchestra?
Yes! That is certainly a goal of ours, but would be little bit difficult with the economic problem at this stage.
And, finally, what else can we expect from you in the near future, and what do you expect from music?
We’ll hold an event featuring Anoice’s new album “into the shadows” in Tokyo on 5 April, and then, we”re going to tour for Russia and Europe in May and June, though the detail has not been fixed yet. Also, we are now making plans for a Chinese tour. In addition, we already started to compose music for forthcoming albums of Films, RiLF, and Takahiro Kido. We’ll be able to announce about one of the new releases in this summer on our websites and Facebook pages. There’s a lot to look forward to this year and we look forward to sharing them with you all.