Interview with Electric Eel Shock in the UK

interview - 12.07.2006 07:00

JaME met up with punk rocker group Electric Eel Shock just before the Nottingham date of their current 'You Bastard!' UK Tour.

Electric Eel Shock is gaining a substantial fanbase in the United Kingdom now and are becoming regulars on the gig schedules. Following work with such high profile musicians such as producer Attie Bauw (Grammy-Nominated Judas Priest producer), a successful tour supporting US band The Bloodhound Gang, and even appearing in one of The Bloodhound Gang's music videos, we caught up with Aki, Kazuto and Gian briefly before their concert in Nottingham, UK for a bit of a chat.

You guys have been together for a while now. How did Electric Eel Shock come about? When did you all come together and decide you wanted to make a band?

Aki: Actually we don't remember, because it's been such a long time since we made the band (laughs). It was over 10 years ago. Kazuto and I were in a high school band so we played together already for twenty years. (laughs) I don't want to talk about such a long time ago. It's boring (laughs and starts to give a standard answer while laughing). "We met in high school and, uh, we made an Ozzy Osbourne copy band...."

And it all went from there.... When you first began, you say on your website that Electric Eel Shock started out life as an 11-piece band

Aki: Yes

Why so many people?

Aki: We are exploring our original music. We don't want to play the music that somebody has already played before and back then, we were trying to find our style so we tried a lot of things. The eleven piece band was one of our experiments to find it but it didn't work
(Kazuto starts laughing). Just too many people.

Kazuto: It was a big mistake.

(both laugh)

Is there any concept behind Electric Eel Shock?

Aki: If I should say 'concept', there is no concept. If I want to play very heavy songs I will play that way. I don't want to make a limit, so if we make a very strong concept we cannot go out of these limits.

So, this is your first interview since recording your new material. What is the new album like and what can fans expect?

Aki: Well... our new sound? We have tried recording in new ways. Before we always recorded like playing at a live gig, but this time we tried to record separately because now we can make music with technology. While technology is not the only way to get a good result, it is very useful. If we don't lose the rock and roll line, we can do different things.

And make some really cool sounds?

Aki: Yeah. Our normal way is to record the live recording then somebody remixes our album. So we wanted to try the remixing and the live recording at one time.

So are there any songs in particular that you are really excited about?

Aki: Some songs are very particular, some are very straight rock and roll, but the feeling is one of dancing. We are always trying to find something special.

Well, I've noticed that many of the song titles on the albums have humourous titles.

(both men laugh)

Is there any particular way you come up with those titles or is it just a spark of inspiration and 'Ah that'd be good!'

Aki: I don't know. Well, as you know I am not an English guy. I think in half-English, half-Japanese and I make those particular English sentences.

So you're just naturally funny people

Aki: Yeaahhh (laughs).

(At this point Gian joins us. 'Hajimemashite' he says, and we continue)

I particularly wanted to ask about the song 'I love fish but fish hate me' ... what happened there? Is there some other interesting story behind the fish hating you? I mean you were a professional right, Aki?

Aki: I always feel 'Oh I'm sorry' because I give injuries to them. Sometimes I kill them but (laughs) I love fish! It's a 'one way' love! Fish don't want to get the hook in their mouth. I love fish but... yeah... I think they totally hate me.

Kazuto: I love fish... for eating.... (laughs)

Aki: I LOVE fish, but fish hate human beings. Human beings always keep constructing things, we always destroy their homes.

About this current, 'You Bastard' tour; what are you most excited about for this tour? I mean you've been to the UK quite alot, is there any particular place you love to go back to?

Aki: Of course I love Nottingham, but for us everywhere has a slightly different flavour and we haven't thought 'Oh this is the same gig we played before'. Live gigs are always changing in some way. So it is... the same as fishing (Kazuto laughs). Totally no control in my mind.

So every place has something new?

Aki: Yeah. Because we try to play new stuff, we meet a new audience, and they always get something new from us each time. Everything changes.

Recently you worked with Attie Bauw. What was it like to work with him? Has he had any effect on the way you make your music?

Aki: Yeah, very much so. I was really surprised at the possibility in my self; I didn't realize this but Attie picked this out. 'Aki you can do this, Kazuto you can do this, Gian you can do this', so I was really surprised. Still we have a space to grow.

And then afterwards you were with The Bloodhound Gang.

Aki: Ah yes that was funny!

Do you have any funny stories you can tell?

(they all laugh)

Aki: Jared [bassist] is crazy. I was scared. (laughs) We still keep in touch with them and their vocalist, Jimmy, keeps sending us photos. I don't know why; he keeps sending us some photos every two days or so. We realised he's just cleaning up his computer so he doesn't want them (laughs).

You guys were in their music video as well weren't you?

All: Yeah.

Kazuto: Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss.

What was it like? Crazy?

Aki: It was our first time in a proper, hired studio.

Kazuto: Many beautiful women.

Gian: We had to wear makeup.

So you had proper makeup artists

Aki: Yeah. Three or four people to do all the makeup.

You were in the toilet stall weren't you?

Aki: I'm not sure, but there were many weird people in the stalls like a supervisor and others...

Gian: They shoved us all in impossible situations.

How did you all fit in. Did you have to stand on each other cause those things are tiny?

Aki: (laughs) It's very three dimensional. Gian was sitting in the toilet playing the drums.

You were all bunched up at the time then?

Aki: Exactly (laughs).

Do you ever get hurt during concerts, Kazuto?

Kazuto: Ahhhhh....

I've heard you like to climb things.

Gian: He hits his bottom sometimes.

Kazuto: Yeah I do. I can't stand up for over an hour. I have never had anything serious like broken bones though, I always take care and watch my safety.

And Gian, do you ever get cold playing the drums naked?

Gian: Sometimes. Not normally, but in Sweden or Norway it can be very dangerous. First my clothes are only t-shirt but during the gig I get very hot and I can take them off. At the end, I can control the temperature.

Have you ever got into any trouble playing naked?

Gian: Three years ago at Rockit Festival in Hong Kong, I was arrested.

Really?

(everyone laughs)

Gian: At North Point Police Station.

Finally, as many of your fans have probably seen, you rent out your van when you are not in Europe. How much is is to rent?

Aki: I don't know. Our manager, James Hay sorts it all out. If a girl band wants to borrow it, we will rent it out for free (laughs).

Well, thank you very much indeed, it's been a lot of fun, and have fun at the gig tonight!

All: Thank you!
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