Joining Young Guns on their UK tour is Japanese Voyeurs. They take the bare bones of grunge and kick them into the ever present and beyond, fronted by Romily who, Strong and switched on, with a truly unique voice is a star in the making and one who is set to dominate the sound of rock in 2011. I sat down for a chat with the band on the first leg of the tour in Leeds.
Your name comes from an photography exhibition, as a band are you guys hot on art?
Steve: Its probably more Romily’s kind of thing, she’s sort of Arty!
Johnny: We were all kind of into the name but she brought that one to the table. She showed us the leaflet for the exhibition and stuff.
S: Because the name was going to be ‘Coffin Dodgers Paradise’.
J: Yeah, we had a song called ‘Japanese Voyeurs’ and then decided we had no band names going that were good enough.
S: It’s a hard task finding a good name.
Romily: The whole exhibition was based on voyeurism, the photographer that took the pictures had switched all the lights off and everyone was given a flash light, or a torch in British! You had to walk around and expose each part of the images with the torch. I just thought that was a pretty brave not only to say ‘I took these voyeuristic pictures of people having sex in the dark, but im going to make you look at it like I did!’
I’ve managed to catch you guys play before but in a smaller venue, has it been a challenge moving to bigger venues, has anything in the set or sound needed to be adapted?
S: Yeah it’s our first real run at them, we’ve played at the Scala in London which was pretty big, but it’s felt quite natural. The thing with playing bigger venues is that it feels easier. The sound systems are so much better and we also get looked after a lot better! It feels easier as apposed to roughing it.
R: Have we actually gone up though? I don’t feel like we are doing anything different! We’ve done a bunch of one off amazing shows. In terms of like, the normal, I don’t think we’ve moved too far.
S: The size of the Cockpit is my ideal sized venue. I feel a bit at home as I’m from around here. It’s not too big, its not overwhelming and the sound systems amazing. It’s all about that for me really, having a good drum moniter, it makes my life so much easier.
Your known for making your own effects pedals and having a very raw sound. Do the larger systems take away that energy and tones?
R: We’ve never had a sound man, this is the first time we’ve had a sound person so we dont really have any control over that anyway. I dont know what other people are hearing. What we hear in our moniters is probably 100% different. Sometimes whats happened is we’ve have a really bad time on stage, we wont hear what we need to hear, but then we’ll come off stage and everyone will be like that was great!
S: We play music which definatly lends itself to a big system you know, we play big loud rock music, we’ve got quite a bit of low end.
R: Yeah thats true, because you cant really hear everything on smaller set ups. But that makes a lot more sense!
Reading other interviews you guys have done, you often get asked about grunge music and the 90’s. I’m not going to bother, what music do you listen to in your own time?
S: We’re pretty varied between us. I really like the newest Converge album. I’m into a lot of tech, heavy and chaotic music but between us like I say its a whole range of stuff really.
R: Yeah, like theres a Swedish band called Ghost who have just released their first album. Its metal but it’s like, Sabbath meets… oh no, I cant even do that comparison game… Sabbath meeting no one. So scrap that! But its one of the first new records I’ve actually loved in ages!
Coming to the end of 2010 theres a buzz about Japanese Voyeurs building, you’ve given us an E.P. And some double A’ side singles. What has 2011 got in store for you guys?
S: We’ve got the album coming out in February 2011. We recorded that in March and was finished in May this year.
R: Yeah, It’s completely finished with completley new tracks, we’re all ready!
S: We’ve got the single coming out which we’ve shot a video for too called ‘Milk Teeth’. Thats out on the 29th of November then I think we’ve got another one planned alongside the release of the album.
R: The video was really cool to make, it was all shot on film. The director actually bought out the remainding stock of the film for that camera in the UK. It was something ridiculous like 2,000 meters for 3 minutes footage. He was so excited, he was bleaching it and folding the film to the tempo of the song, so what you think are just flecks and grains on the film is actually him being a mad genius. He’s sat doing maths in his house with bleach!
S: I was just shocked at how quickly he got the video turned around, he must have been working day and night.
R: He doesn’t seem like the kind of person who sleeps. No time for sleep.
S: We’ve got this current tour to finish and we were meant to be going out on tour with Against Me! And Fucked Up but it all got cancelled unfortunatly. But we’ve got the Rocksound tour coming up next year.
This is your first night supporting Young Guns, have you got much planned?
R: They just bought us loads of Chinese food, I saw it all in the next room, so thats a start.
Have you guys got anything else you’d like to add?
S: I’ve got nothing.
R: Hail Satan.
The bands Debut album Yolk is out in 2011 and the band have just confirmed a string of headline shows for February, leading into the Rock Sound Exposure tour with Dinosaur Pile-Up and The Xcerts. And you can find out more about the band at their Myspace. Or check out the video for ‘Milk Teeth’ their latest single below.