K10 IS : group A

Interview by Panagioti Venetsano

Exclusive Interview with group A 

We are super excited to have on board group A! So to get to know them just a little bit better, we have an exclusive interview with them...They hail from Tokyo, Japan and are a new avant-garde experimental music group.Their performances are often highlighted with body paint, broken things, flowers, picture frames, lights, collaboration with gala studios and much more. In addition, as if this is not breathtaking enough in their music, they accompany the incredible element of the violin and the synthesizer with mysterious lyrics. This fiery group is restless in their live shows and to prove this they gig nonstop, back to back shows in Tokyo, from famous clubs to gala studios.

Is group A equivalent to the love of zero?

What’s the love of zero?

Tokyo may be the most extraordinary city in the world! You manage to perform there on a regular basis. What is one major component of design you "exhale" as a band into your creative ever-growing live performances?

You would probably find Tokyo extraordinary if you were an outsider. We grew up here, and have been living here for the most of our lives. We hardly find it exciting or inspirational. Japan is a small island. People are very narrow-minded and so wrapped up in their fixed ideas. They can only live as everybody else does. And we’re fed up with it. That’s why we both moved to London as soon as we finished school. After a few years we came back and saw nothing was changed, nothing was going on. We were missing something. And that’s how we started group A. It was a result of us being too bored and tired of this dull city we were unlucky enough to live in. We are exhaling our anger.

What has inspired this madness of avant-garde blow out experimental pop sound with half nude, full body painted performances?

T) We never had the idea of performing in clothes from the very beginning. We don’t find it particularly outrageous to be half naked on stage. It would be unnatural for us to put clothes on. We listen to different types of music. I am most into late 70s to 80s’ post punk, new wave, industrial and electronic music from all era. Sayaka is into acid folk, experimental music and other stuff that I don’t really know about. And our experiment is to put all that into one big ball and mix up till it sounds like nothing else. We are both big avant-garde/abstruct art lovers, especially from early 20th century such as dada, Russian avant-garde and surrealism. Perhaps our art works are mostly inspired by them.

How did you form the band and how did you come up with the name group A?

It was all by fortunate accident. We had a drink together for the first time one night and soon we became a group. Like a stray cat finally found a home. Who wouldn't form a group when they find a person willing to collaborate in this nonsense who plays instruments half naked? We call us "group" because we are an art group, not a band. A stands for avant-garde, abstract and abnormal.

What is the self process of individual song writing? What comes first- the violin or the synthesizer?

T) I come up with bass line with synth, and Sayaka plays her violin on top of it. We try different arrangements for a few hours and record all of it, and we pick up and gather the interesting bits from it.

Are both members of group A soul thieves? Do you get inspired by each other by diving into each other's personal dimensions?

If we didn’t inspire each other then we would never be a group.We bring different skills and knowledge and are learning a lot from each other. We respect each other's taste of music, art and other things. We also share the fundamental sense of what's right and wrong.

Violin and synthesizers never abandon your recordings. How did this come about?

We didn’t mind using any instruments if it wasn’t a guitar or drums. Sayaka had a violin and I had just bought my first synth when we formed. We didn’t know any bands that use violin and synth so we decided to go with them.

What collaborations with gala studios is group A engaging at the moment?

We throw a party called “CLUB Antoine” at Echo in Shibuya every 3rd Monday every month which we dj and also perform with guest djs and bands. We show an old surrealism film and play avant-garde, experimental music from all era.

When a Japanese bride is ready to wed, they paint their body white. A reference to the legend suggests that it hides their " horns of jealousy". What hidden secret does your band hold?

We have no secrets. We are very honest to the audience.

How do you go about your daily activities in your city. Describe me a 12 to 12 routine?

T) Study visual design at my college, exhibition or gallery for some inspiration, a noise session with Sayaka then hang out in Shibuya.S)Awake at 35℃, stuck on an overload train, bump into people in a middle of the scramble crossing, pints with friends, lay down at the car park, count the stars over the head with Tommi.

What is your connection with London?

Both of us have lived there for a few years. We both worked as fashion designer/patterner’s assistant at the different companies. London is like our second home and we have a great connection to musicians/djs/artists over there. London is full of inspirations to us and we are hoping to move back again.

If you got the opportunity to be filmed, what characters from your favorite cult movie would you love to reenact or add on in a movie scene?

T) I would love to be in one of Richard Kern's no wave underground films playing just myself.S) Never thought I'd be in a film but only If I was a violinist for the soundtrack of L'Etoile de Mer, a B&W short film directed by Man Ray.

Preparing a live gig on your caliber with so much to think ahead of time, design, paint, equipment etc. At the end of a show when everything is "demolished",what do you wish you haven't destroyed?

We used to use bits and bobs we found in the ethnic musical instrument shops or flea markets. They are cheap and very fragile and always broke at the gig. I had a very nice hand made bird whistle and one day it got tipped and broke. We have written a song with it and it was one of our favourite but can’t be played without the bird whistle. Such a shame!

How does Botanic and Tokyo artists name blend into Sayaka and Tommi?

T) 'Tommi from Tokyo'. Sometimes its 'Tommi loves Tokyo' but most of times its 'Tommi hates Tokyo'. S) Greens and flowers always inspire me. Sayaka Botanic was born when I was sitting in a garden and watching slugs racing.

Past and future live shows

Show Dates: 2012 --APRIL '12---------------------------------- 27th @Commune / Olliver's Adventure opening party 28th @高円寺Dom Studio / チャレンジ --MAY '12----------------------------------- 13th @高円寺コネクシオン/青春 --JUNE '12----------------------------------- 2nd @Echo / THE MODERN AGE CLUB 12th @梅田HARDRAIN 13th @心斎橋火影 25th @Echo (Shibuya) 29th @Trump Room / CONTROL --JULY '12----------------------------------- 30th @Echo / group A presents, CLUB Antoine -クラブ・アントワーヌ- 31st @浅草橋天才算数塾 / Improvisationの夕べ --AUGUST '12-------------------------------- 17th @KATA GALLERY / Bunny Bissoux "Power Pink Magic" Opening Party 20th @Echo/group A presents, CLUB Antoine -クラブ・アントワーヌ-vol.2 --SEPTEMBER '12------------------------------ 7th @Echo / SEXBEAT 'n TKO (CANCELLED) 16th @高円寺Dom Studio / チャレンジ!2012 17th @Echo / CLUB Antoine -クラブ・アントワーヌ-vol.3 22th @尼崎deepa (with ZZZ's) 23rd @梅田HARDRAIN 30th @幡ヶ谷 Forest Limit --OCTOBER '12------------------------------- 5th @三軒茶屋Heaven's Door "AND MONEY" with Day&Buffalo 29th @下北沢THREE ( Details will be up soon) --NOVEMBER '12------------------------------ 17th @KATA Gallery