Last April MONO came to Shanghai and this time we caught them, Squinzi took a sick photo review of the concert, and we did all the proper PR work to get closer to the intense band. We passed the tests, found the tricks, and crossed the portal. Then we met Taka, Mr. Takaakira Goto, founder, and lead guitarist of MONO.
Right now the band is getting ready to continue the tour that has included special dates with the Holy Ground Orchestra. Last June they did it in London, and now on October 1st they will do it around New Zeland, and Australia. Those of you there, or that will be there then, move your tales to the ticket sellers MONO plus orchestra is a concert to burn your third eye.
LYBZ: Tell us about your impressions of China after at least two trips here, please.
Taka: We are so thankful to have met many friends and fans in China. Everyone has made us feel so welcome each time. The people are kind, the audience is very enthusiastic, and the atmosphere there is lovely.
LYBZ: Had anything changed in the year between your two shows?
Taka: We’ve just been working on new material non-stop and taking some time off. I think and hope that our fans are still able to connect to our music as it evolves.
LYBZ: What are some bands you are really interested in hearing what they do next right now?
Taka: Unfortunately, I have not had much time to follow any particular bands.
LYBZ: What can you tell us about the experience of working with World’s End Girlfriend (who also played in China)?
Taka: We have a great friendship so it made it easier to communicate during the collaboration process. We would stay awake for multiple days to exchange ideas and see if they’d work together. Then after the record (Palmless Prayer, Mass Murder Refrain) was released, we toured together, which kind of wrapped up our collaboration on a positive note.
LYBZ: What’s it like working with a symphony orchestra to create a sound piece?
Taka: Working with the full orchestra is something we’d wanted to try for a long time and we finally felt ready with Hymn to the Immortal Wind. Basically I have to prepare the scores and Mono has to practice on our own for weeks in Japan before we even get to meet the orchestra set players. Since we travel abroad for our orchestra shows and recording, all of the music has to be written out and polished beforehand. The schedule is strict and we get a couple chances to practice with everyone. But we’ve been very lucky to have worked with such professional set players who truly understand the sound we are trying to create. I really respect the orchestras and conductors whom we’ve been fortunate enough to play shows with. It’s this mutual effort that makes the collaborative process so fulfilling.
LYBZ: How do you write such complicated pieces? Is it a collaboration within the band or does one person write all the parts?
Taka: When we have time off, I compose the pieces alone at home. A lot of my time is spent quietly, just waiting and hoping that inspiration will come. Since we all live near one another, we meet frequently to practice the completed material and try to bring them to life.
LYBZ: What does inspire Mono’s music?
Taka: Life, being on the road, good stories, and good films. The belief that music is a universal language that will always transcend borders and connect people everywhere.
LYBZ: Do you guys play with friends or bands other kind of music? What music?
Taka: Takada who is our drummer has played with some other bands occasionally.
LYBZ: The guitars you used in Shanghai show, seem to be very old, are they? If they are your guitars since long ago, is there a reason why you haven’t change them?
Taka: I have two of the same kind, they are both age 1965 or 1966? (I don’t know a lot, and Yoda knows about it.) Too much touring made them look much older maybe. But anyway MONO sounds need those kind of guitars and I love them very much.
LYBZ: What can you tell us about the state of music in Japan?
Taka: We actually haven’t been involved with it for long time so we’re not very aware of it.
LYBZ: How do you feel about the “post-rock” label?
Taka: That’s a difficult question. It’s inevitable that we will be placed into some kind of genre and it’s fine. We’re not too concerned as long as we can continue making music, recording albums, and playing shows.
LYBZ: Any visual artists or writers or performance artists catching your eye right now, past or present?
Taka: I have been listening to the composer, Gustav Mahler, everyday for a few months now. But not any visual artists as of yet.
LYBZ: What can you tell us about being in a band with such longevity, pro or con, and what is in store for the future of Mono?
Taka: Longevity has proved to have mostly pros for us. Having been together for so long, we are conscious of our strengths and weaknesses, and as a result more aware of what kind of risks we want to take. We have grown tighter as a quartet and understand the kind of sound we want to create. I hope we continue to evolve as musicians and as human beings. Hopefully we will be able to expand our music to a greater audience and reach people who have never listened to us before.
For more information about MONO check their official website.
The next dates of MONO tour 2011:
Oct 1 – Auckland, KING ARMS
Featuring special guests JAKOB
Presented by 95bfm and Under the Radar.
Tickets and Real Groovy.
Oct 7- Melbourne, MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL, The Forum
Special performance with 23 piece Holy Ground Orchestra
Tickets from Ticketmaster outlet or the Festival Ticketing & Information Booth,
Federation Square, Ticketmaster on 1300 723 038 or +613 9694 4566 or online
Oct 9 – Perth, THE BAKERY
Tickets and usual outlets