Interview: Otoboke Beaver – 'People in Japan perform feelings without moving bodies. But people in UK tell us directly.'
Japanese punk rockers take to the UK for a Golden Week tour
Otoboke Beaver – Japan's all-female, fabulously frenzied punk-rock-garage quartet – are about to head out on tour. The four musicians (Accorinrin, Yoyoyoshie, Hirochan and Pop) are excited, and I'm equally jazzed to talk to them about their music. While a lot of our online question and answer session was lost a little in translation (my Japanese is not up to snuff), one thing was communicated perfectly: music is their passion, and they're pumped to share it with the UK.
I ask bassist Hirochan how she came to be involved, and she's pleasingly direct. 'My favorite band Otoboke Beaver wanted a new bassist, so I sent email to be the bassist of Otoboke Beaver.' Then, just like that, she was the bassist of Otoboke Beaver. It's not always a complicated back story.
I'm keen to know if there's a big punk scene in Japan, and so I ask Accorinrin. She replies 'I don't know' and doesn't say anything further. I don't probe. I do, however, ask what she hopes people will get from their live performances, to which she says 'I can't explain here, so please watch our live performance.' She tacks a love heart emoji on the end. I smile.
She says that the band were drawn to the punk genre because of its 'fastness and loudness', but Pop believes it is because of the way it 'stresses and dissatisfied from our lives. Our unbalanceness.' Kind of like meditation then, but with super loud guitars.
Accorinrin says that the songwriting process is collaborative. 'I bring the seed of songs, and all members assemble and complete.' As guitarist Yoyoyoshie says, 'we organized Otoboke Beaver in a music circle in college school days for the first time. Then I bought my guitar for the first time.'
Yoyoyoshie hopes that the UK audience will leave their live show with 'the image of girls who are in dark side a little in Japan.' It sounds quite intriguing, but there isn't any further explanation offered. The dark side is left to your imagination (yikes).
There are big expectations attached to this international tour, which takes place during Golden Week: a string of national holidays in Japan, which also happens to be the only time they can tour. Accorininrin's hope is that 'people not only in Japan but also all over the world listen to our music. I want to perform our music without being caught genre,' while Hirochan says 'I want Otoboke Beaver to go on fun side!'
If this interview has left you a little confused, a little intrigued, and perhaps a little entertained, then congratulations – you've been Otoboke Beavered. Despite this interviewer's lack of Japanese skills, one thing was translated perfectly: their live show is where it's at, and when they head to the UK, their music will likely do all the communicating for them.
'People in Japan perform feelings without moving bodies. But people in UK tell us directly,' says Pop. Be one of those people this May.
Otoboke Beaver tour the UK from Mon 1 May–Thu 4 May.