Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mono: The LEO interview

Beautifully rocking around the world for 15 years now, Japan’s Mono has earned many fans, especially for their live performances. Mono plays Headliners Music Hall on Friday, and LEO asked leader/guitarist Takaakira Goto a few questions:

LEO: You play an average of 150 shows a year – so how do you balance time for family, friends, and other interests?

Takaakira Goto: It is complicated, but everyone you mention – friends and family – they understand how much music means to each of us, and how this is our passion. Because of this, they are forgiving and generous about the time we must spend away. When we are home, we don’t have other jobs. So we are able to spend as much time as possible then with family and friends.

LEO: How do people in different countries define, or talk about, your music? Does it vary based on which country or continent you are in?

TG: It seems that fans in most places are similar when talking about music. We have a wider audience elsewhere in the world, as does most music. In Europe, for example, it would not be uncommon for older people (50+) to be at a show, and possibly be people who simply read an article about the band and decided to come hear it. American audiences seem to be less adventurous than that, and we are mostly playing to people who know about the band.

LEO: What is your favorite way to compose music? Solo, together, at home, on the road?

TG: I write the music solo, and mostly at home alone. Sometimes I have the time during soundcheck to work on ideas or play through them late at night in the hotel, but mostly tour is too busy to accomplish much.

LEO: You plan to record a new album again this fall. Is this an especially productive time for the band, or a normal pace?

TG: We will record immediately following this tour in late May. We recorded our last album almost 2.5 years before that, but the album before that was three years. It’s sort of a normal schedule for us. When we first started as a band, we put out albums every two years, but now the touring involved is longer, which makes less time for writing new music, taking a break, etc. So it seems like regular pace now.

LEO: Your American label, Temporary Residence Ltd., is run by Jeremy DeVine, who is from my hometown, Louisville, Kentucky. What is your relationship like with him and his crew? Do you have a favorite TRL band (besides yours)?

TG: We’ve worked together with Jeremy and TRL for about 13 years. He is my hero, and also a part of our family. I feel we’ve been growing together all this time, and I am always telling him we will be releasing new albums on TRL even when we are 80-year-old rock guys. There are many great bands and artists on TRL who are long-time friends, especially Explosions in the Sky, Envy, Bellini, The Drift, Eluvium, Tarentel, Majeure and Maserati.

c. 2014 LEO Weekly

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