Esta semana aguarda-nos uma responsabilidade acrescida ao receber os efusivos Melt-Banana do Japão. Encontrando-os neste momento em continuidade numa digressão europeia, à qual nos podemos dar por muito satisfeitos, sabendo que esta dará caminho a uma estreia absoluta da banda em Portugal, é imperativo dar à dupla japonesa uma reacção que esteja altura da excentricidade da música com que ganharam reconhecimento internacional ao longo dos anos.
O abalo começa na quinta-feira, com o grupo a marcar presença no Porto debaixo da asa da Amplificasom, dando-se a réplica na sexta-feira seguinte em Lisboa com a incondicional companhia da Galeria Zé dos Bois. Quem conhece a banda, sabe que teremos um privilégio em testemunhar e reportar um concerto que promete ser interminavelmente caótico. Os palcos baixos e a salas mais do que acolhedoras mostram-se como que propositadamente fabricada para receber a catalizante expressão de punk e noise rock tomada a cabo pelos nipônicos.
Enquanto aguardamos com muita expectativa pelos concertos, tivemos a oportunidade de conversar um pouco com a banda em antecipação à entrada do fim-de-semana. Para além da constante mudança de músicos ao leme dos ritmos, também falámos acerca do eterno equilíbrio entre a anti-rotina musical e a permanência da vida pessoal.
First of all, it’s a pleasure to be able to speak with Melt-Banana ahead of your first show in Portugal. How are you feeling and how has the european tour been treating you so far?
A (Agata): Our tour just started yesterday. We are still in jet lag a little bit but we enjoyed our 1st show in Belgium.
Y (Yako): We played with our frined band called Daikiri. They are from France and we played several shows with them last year, so it was great to see them again.
The group is widely regarded for having solidified a very diverse and entertaining discography over the years, with completely polarizing sounds between releases without, however losing its identity. In the context of Melt Banana, do you feel that routine and normality contributes to mediocrity in the writing room?
A: I heard John Peel said about the Fall that “they are always different, they are always the same”. We want to be like that.
Y: I heard he talked about us that Melt-Banana is like a band from another planet or something. I don’t know if he really said that but I like it.
Ever since the band’s inception, you’ve worked with a wide list of artists mostly shifting the line-up in the drumming section. Have you ever felt conditioned to change writing in favour of the drummer’s ability?
A: Yes, we were always writing music thinking if real drummers could play it or not.
Y: Now we are using computer software, so we are not thiking much about it.
A: But drummers like Dave Witte or many of good drummers can play better than software. So we are trying to be as good as human drummers when we write drum parts using the computer.
Y: And actually software for bass guitar is not as good as drum software, so we sometimes have hard time to program it.
Now that you’ve implemented drum machine for live gigs, even though it gives you much more freedom in writing, has it ever felt like a loss for you on stage?
A: At first, we were playing with recorded tracks and I felt that it was something like Karaoke. But after Yako started using MIDI controller which is wireless midi controller, I feel almost like same as playing with the band because she control drum and bass part during the show.
Y: We also started using PA speakers and other speakers on stage for each equipments like drums, bass or samples. We have been playing in the band for a long time, so we needed sounds from behind and now we have those sounds from behind on stage. So we are quite comfortable on stage now.
Since your second release, you usually take awhile to release another album, especially the case between Fetch and Bambi’s Dilemma which took 6 years in between. When not touring, is that usually the period for writing or do you take the time to focus on your personal life?
A: It takes us long time to write new songs. I think we can write similar songs that we wrote before faster, but we like to do something new for ourselves. And also even we had new ideas, we still need time to build the ideas to one structured song. Usually we need 2 or 3 months to write and record one song.
Y: Well, we are also busy for personal life same as like everybody else.
You’re well known for touring quite extensively. Do you feel that’s a big part of who the band is? On a side note, do you ever plan any sight-seeing when in historic cities? Will that be the case of either Lisbon and Porto?
A: Yes, I think so. That is what we wanted to do and I feel we are very lucky that we can do this. I know many musicians who do the same things but also I know musicians who can not do this because of band situations or family things etc, even they are very very talented musicians.
Y: When we can stay at the same place for a few days, we always walk around town and visit places that looks interesting. We can stay Lisbon and Porto only one day on this tour, but we try to see the town and eat local foods, of course since this is our first time to visit Portugal and we are very very excited.
Last question, seeing this will be your first time in Portugal, are there any specific places you haven’t toured yet that you would love to?
Y: For me, it was Russia & Turkey. And we actually go to Russia in November finally, so for me it is Istanbul.
A: We have not played in south America like Brazil Argentina or Chille etc, so I love to visit those countries some day.
We are anxious to see you on stage! Hope you travel safe. Much love from Portugal.
A: Thank you, see you soon.