Joss chats with Atsuo of Japanese rock legends Boris about 80’s hair metal, Japanese indie and totsuzen-hen-i.
Tokyo 3 piece Boris have a new LP, ‘Smile‘, out this month, so it seemed timely to write something about them for Thumped. Having them over to play in 2003 was tremendously fun. They seemed a very nice bunch, played a deadly gig and were very gracious in eating every scrap of lasagne I’d made from the ‘Document ‘ recipe.
When I moved to Japan for a bit, I saw them twice in Osaka and it was several million times better. Japanese sound systems are generally great. Orange amps and a gong had been on their gear request for Dublin, but they’d got my 40 year old kit and Dudley’s Laney instead. It wasn’t quite the same. Here they were, headmeltingly loud and replete with appropriate amps and gong. They were supporting Isis the first time and Sunn o)) the second, both times the headliners were so comprehensively outclassed that I gave them 20 minutes and left. Boris and Eddie Marcon were by far the best gigs I saw over there.
I had to do a survey of opinions for a speech about the difference between Japanese and Western music last year for Japanese class. I thought that by asking Atsuo from Boris, everyone would be mightily impressed, but then nobody much knows them in Japan. The only person I impressed was my Polish pal Matt, so at least that was something. And it gave me some Japanese practice.
Boris‘s high rate of output combined with Atsuo’s role as producer made his answer to a question about what he’s listening to fairly predictable. "Because we’ve been editing lots of Boris stuff, we’ve not had time to listen to much recently. I’ve been producing a few bands. Stupid Babies Go Mad‘s new one is the latest. At the moment I’m helping with Barebones LP. After that, various things that friends have sent me. The most recent was Merzbow & KTL."