Iconic Japanese underground guitarist Kawaguchi Masami returns to Melbourne later this month for his only Melbourne solo gig. Aving played in some of the most iconic Japanese psych bands in the last 15 years it’s a show not to be missed,
Munster: How did you get started playing?
Masami: I started playing music with my brother’s accoustic guitar when I was 12 years old. And I formed my first band in junior high school. We played punk rock, Sex Pistols songs etc.
Munster: Hows the tour with Penny going right now
Masami: This time, we did only 2 shows, but both shows were good. I think this is the best tour with Penny in Japan.
Munster: When did you first meet Penny?
Masami: I met her first time in 2012 when Penny came to Japan with Deniz Tek. The organizer of the tour, he is also a rock critic, is my friend. And he looked for a guitarist for the tour. And I joined the tour.
Munster: What was it like playing with Deniz Tek?
Masami: First time, I felt a little nervous about playing with him because he is one of my favorite guitarists. But I get known him personally, I enjoy playing with him. It is always exciting.
Munster: Your coming back to Melbourne what place does Melbourne hold in your heart?
Masami: Record shops, clubs I played and bars I drunk. Wherever I go, these 3 places are important for me.
Munster: How did LSD March start?
Masami: I’m not the original member of LSD march, so I have no idea how the band started. The leader, Michishita asked me to join the band, so I joined. I haven’t played with them for a long time. I’d like to play with them sometime
Munster: How did New Rock Syndicate form as well?
Masami: After I left the band called Miminokoto, I thoght I should start my own group. And my idea of the band is playing kind of 60’s psychedelic garage rock, but it has something new. I told my idea to Akira, the bassist of the band, and we formed New Rock Syndicate
Munster: What was it like running Purifiva record label?
Masami: Purifiva is my private label to release my music. In this 10 years, Purifiva hadn’t released new titles. Because I released my music from other labels. But last year, I restarted Purifiva and released “RAMEN EN LOS PARLANTES” I,Anla Courtis and Fukuoka Rinji recorded in Tokyo. Next, I’ll release cd versions of my old LP releases.
Munster: What process went into recording your solo record the mad guitar sings?
Masami: It took a long time to write new songs for the album. But the recording took only one day. I didn’ use any overdubs and I recorded 1 or 2 takes each songs.
Munster: How did you become associated with Black petal?
Masami: I met him in Tokyo first. I think he lived in Tokyo at that time. And he started his label in Sydney and asked me about release on his label. He knows Japanese underground music very much.
Munster: Some of the songs you play go for a three minutes some go over ten minutes and longer, how do you determine how long a song does for it, is it jamming in the studio? When you play live can the same song change length each night?
Masami: I determined the length of some songs when we recorded them. But regarding to the show, I didn’t determine the length. We change length each night. I don’t like to play same thing, I like to play something different every show. And I like improvise and jam. Some songs were written by the jam in the studio.
Munster: How would you describe the Japanese underground/indie scene right now? Are there many places to play do you suffer from noise complaints like we ave in Melbourne in the last few years?
Masami: In Tokyo, there are a lot of undergrounds bands and clubs we can play. If you’d like to play music, you can get shows easily. But it is very hard to get audience. We don’t have noise complaints so much.
Munster: Whats the rest of the year hold for you?
Masami: I’ll tour with the Australian drummer Don, he is the member of Fraudband, in Japan late September. And I’ll record my solo album this year. It will be released from France next year.
Munster: Do you ave a favourite LP by the Fall to end on?
Masami: I didn’t listen to new released ones so much. I got Beatles’ Rubber Soul mono loud cut version in London when I toured there in March, it is my favorite now.
Masami Kawaguchi plays Thornbury Bolwo Saturday August 25.