Interview with LITE in Birmingham

interview - 10.27.2011 20:01

JaME had the chance to speak to instrumental rock band LITE before their concert at The Flapper in Birmingham on October 16th.

Before their concert at The Flapper in Birmingham on October 16th, JaME had the chance to speak to instrumental rock band LITE about their current tour, their latest album and the ideas behind their music.

Could you please introduce yourselves for our readers?

Nobuyuki: My name is Nobuyuki. I’m the guitarist.
Jun: My name is Jun. I’m the bass player.
Akinori: I’m Akinori. I’m the drummer.
Kouzou: I’m Kouzou and I play the guitar.

Have you been enjoying the tour so far?

Nobuyuki: Oh yes, very much.

What places have you enjoyed visiting?

Nobuyuki: We’ve been to Glasgow in Scotland and also Leeds. And here. This is our third gig of the tour. I thought last night’s was better than the first gig.

Where would you most like to go on tour?

Nobuyuki: Everywhere we haven’t been, so anywhere.

How did this joint tour with Maybeshewill come about?

Nobuyuki: We work with the label Transduction Records and the label owner knows the booking agent in Leeds, who works with a company called Northern Music. The owner of Transduction asked him to organise the tour for us.

Do you find it strange touring with them at all?

Nobuyuki: No, it’s not strange, I think it’s good. It fits.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Jun: Led Zeppelin.
Akinori: As a drummer, 54-71’s drummer Bobo.
Nobuyuki: I like the American band Shellac.
Akinori: (Jokingly to Kouzou) Dreamtheater. (They all laugh)
Kouzou: No, that’s a joke.

Your music has very intricate rhythms and melodies. How do you go about composing songs?

Nobuyuki: I make some phrases by myself and then we jam with that in the studio and build it up. So whenever we have a jam session and a good phrase comes out we use that for a song.

Do you feel that your song composition has become more mature over your career?

Nobuyuki: I think so. But we’ve changed the way we compose to better express the music. So when we first started the band we played a kind of math rock. It would be composed completely – everything – but at the moment we play kind of rougher and get more emotion out of the music, especially melodies. We didn’t have that many melodies when we started the band, but we’ve used more melodies on the latest album especially. To me the melody is like the catchphrase, so it’s the same as a catchy guitar riff. I think a catchy melody really strikes the listener, so I love that.

LITE is known for having impressive music videos that enhance the music. Who comes up with the ideas?

Nobuyuki: For most of them we let the video composer do whatever he wants, but for the video of Image Game, most of the ideas were from the members. That does happen sometimes, but normally most of the ideas come from the designer.

Does that mean that sometimes the videos come out with images that are quite different from what you had in mind while composing the song?

Nobuyuki: We don’t really have any image in mind when making songs. I think that a song is not only an image but is also catchy and has good emotion, so to me it’s not visual.

So do your songs not have stories and images in the same way that songs with lyrics do?

Nobuyuki: People get many different images from a song, so it’s not only one image. We wanted the listener to think about everything – anything – while they’re listening to our music, so I don’t force them to think about something. It’s free.

Is that one of the reasons that you decided to create instrumental music rather than having a vocalist?

Nobuyuki: To me, having a vocalist doesn’t have much meaning. It’s the same way either playing guitar or singing a song; it doesn’t matter. I think I probably will sing on a song in the future. But I don’t think it matters.

Do you think that instrumental music is more accessible to international audiences?

Nobuyuki: Most Japanese artists who sing songs in English don’t use good English, it’s sometimes strange. That means that there could be a problem when they play overseas, though some Japanese bands do sing songs with good English. I think it’s good if they sing in Japanese overseas because I think it’s attractive for the audience.

How would you describe your sound and in what way do you distinguish LITE from other groups?

Nobuyuki: Song composition...
Jun: We never compare ourselves to other bands.
Akinori: It’s important for me to write. Writing the songs is very important.

In July you released your new album For all the innocence. There is a strong animal theme running throughout the song titles and the album cover. What is the reason behind this?

Nobuyuki: The first song we made was the song called Rabbit. The Chinese and Japanese have the Year of the Rabbit and the Year of the Dragon and so on, and the year we made the song was the Year of the Rabbit so we used that as the name. Then we made the other songs, but we didn’t decide on the song names at first. We felt bored making post rock or math rock and we wanted to change to become something new, so while we were making the songs we were in a good mood, there was more freedom and… innocence for us. So the animal has the same innocence and that’s what we are making.

What are your favourite songs from the album? Are there any that are especially good, or perhaps especially difficult, to play live?

Nobuyuki: My favourite is Rabbit. I like playing that song especially. When we were composing it we built up the sound, but I use a midi controller to build up the music when we play it live. It sounds different from on the CD.

What about the other members? What songs from For all the innocence do you like?

Jun: I like Pirates and Parakeets.
Akinori: Rabbit and... (Thinking) 9day...?
Nobuyuki: It’s not nine day, it’s seven day! (They all laugh)
Akinori: Oh, yeah, 7day Cicada.
Kouzou: I like Rabbit too.

In 2007 you released live albums after touring in Limerick, New York and Los Angeles. Can we expect another new live album after this tour, or are you planning any other releases?

Nobuyuki: We are making a new EP, which will come out early next year, and also a DVD of our 2010 tour. We played in Shibuya two months ago so we recorded the concert on the day and put that on the DVD as well.

Finally, do you have a message for your international fans?

Nobuyuki: We are a Japanese band, but the music is not only Japanese. I think there is no border with our music, so I want listeners to feel anything when they listen to it.

JaME would like to thank LITE for making this interview possible.
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LITE 10/16

Birmingham - United Kingdom
The Flapper
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