Last summer I happened to be at a shop opening deejaying on the street, it was Jeanette’s properly fashionable outlet on Redchurch Street in London. I was warned – an experimental guitarist would soon be appearing! After a hook up to the main amp Taigen (singer and bassist) let escape some screeching notes from his trustworthy electric (guitar) hair swishing to all four points of the compass. Noise patrol weren’t far away. This was my introduction to Bo Ningen. (Taigen-Vocal/Bass), Kohhei(guitar), Yuki(guitar) and Mon-chan(Dr).
At the Dice Club more recently Bo Ningen had the crowd ‘moshing’ by the time I got there, a sight to behold I can assure you. I missed the swinging off the rafter’s episode alas since this I’m guessing will go down in folklore history. Japanese – experimental – loud, loud, loud. Much energy, LOL! I caught up with Taigen before he jetted back to Tokyo for a break and reflected on the two and a half year career of Bo Ningen so far.
In London, what is the most memorable gig you’ve done?
Every single gig is really important to us. Even like, gigs that have a smaller audience. Everything is important. If I have to pick a recent one, NYE was amazing. We played just between 2009 and 2010. Rhys [from The Horrors] counted down 3-2-1 and then we started. We felt a sense of playing in time, it was amazing. The launch party for our EP was really great too. The Sunday Times gave us 4 stars. We met in London. Farris from the horrors recommended us to a journalist called Andy Perry from Mojo. We did New Years Eve at a club called ‘Spunk’, and the Dice Club, and that was good…
It’s only in the last six months that what you do has exploded, what do you think it is about the sound that you make that people are finding so appealing?
On the Japan tour quite a lot of the audience said that it didn’t sound Japanese or European. I like that. I think that people in the UK might find that too. It doesn’t sound Japanese even though we sing in Japanese. We play loud and our kind of music is kind of rare to find in this country.
The thing I get when I have seen you perform, and even in your solo performance’s is that there is so much passion coming through. You are wrapped in what you are doing both as a unit and individually. Watching that and watching the audience react to you is very exciting.
Every single gig it is important to see the audience’s reaction. We do what we want to do; we don’t want to copy our favourite bands. Some bands copy what they like and we don’t.
But you can become inspired by what you like and you can find yourself translating it other ways. I feel that there is a sense of travelling and of sound score in your music, the instrumental sections and the tangents that you go on.
The changing point was when we came back from a Japanese tour and played the Old Blue Last. I think that gig really changed our perception of what we could do and of what people thought of us. We have played in Glasgow and Leeds and a few other places. I really enjoyed them, especially Leeds, that was amazing. We played with another Japanese band, Devilman – one of who is DJ Scotchegg who got famous by djing from Game Boys.
We are all from different cities in Japan – I live in Tokyo – in Japan if you’re not famous you have to pay to play at gigs and the process is long. Here a band like us can get paying gigs. This isn’t especially true in Tokyo. And if you are going to play a lot of gigs it can be really expensive.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Yes I do, I sometimes feel scary.
Are you a warrior or a monk?
I think both maybe.
Do you see yourself as a musician or an artist?
I do make sound art. I studied sound art and design so I do sound installation, which is what I did for my solo piece at Jeanette’s shop. Its between art performance and music performance. I studied it at London College of Communication.
Lets talk about the future, what’s happening for you in 2010.
I hope we can play Offset again. We played last year and it was really brilliant. We just made the ep, which is our debut recording, and we’d like to do an album this year too. We produced the EP ourselves. I mixed it myself. But I think if we were to do an album, I think it would be the same process, we recorded the EP in Suffolk, so we’d go away somewhere and record it and then I’d mix it.
Do you have a name for it?
Not yet, no, we have to think about it. We have a Japanese name for our EP, I’m interested to see how people react to it, I have noticed that a lot of people pronounce it correctly. A lot of people used to call it No Ninjen but it’s actually Bo Ningen. ‘Bo’ means stick and ‘ningen’ means human being or man. Stick Man. So it’s Japanese but spelt in an English way.
Currently Bo Ningen have a debut 200 limited edition 10” vinyl EP ‘Koroshitai Kimochi’ out on Stolen Recordings.
This interview is in January's 2010 P.i.X www.thepixzine.co.uk