An Interview with Speaker Gain Teardrop from Hiroshima, Japan
Speaker Gain Teardrop is a post-rock/shoegaze band from Hiroshima, Japan. The band formed in 1998 and has just released their seventh album. The band is a trio that creates huge walls of sound and intricate compositions. They talked to me about the post-rock shoegaze scene in Hiroshima, news about their newest album Cluster Migration, and the desire to get distribution of their albums overseas.
Hello members of Speaker Gain Teardrop. Can you please introduce yourselves to our readers and let us know what instruments you play in the band?
Speaker Gain Teardrop: Hello, readers. Speaker Gain Teardrop was formed by Ikki Murakami(drums), Fumiaki Kimura(bass), and Yasutica Horibe(guitar). We are an instrumental band that plays post-rock and shoegaze style.
For most western music fans, Speaker Gain Teardrop will be new. Could you talk about when your band formed, what releases you have put out in Japan, and where the band is currently at in terms of writing music and recording?
We formed in Hiroshima in 1998 and have released seven albums. Also, we have finished recording our new album which just came out in October. It was recorded between the summer of 2015 and early 2016.
Since you are from Hiroshima, does the environment, and history, of your city inform, shape, and inspire the kinds of music that you write?
I think the image of Hiroshima for most people is “the first city in the world that was bombed by an atomic”, but we (the people who live in Hiroshima) don’t really touch the topic of “A-bomb”.
Because we feel it is too close a subject for us since childhood.
So, there might be few bands that address the theme of the A-bomb in our city.
Hiroshima music scene is not too active compared to big cities like Tokyo or Osaka, but there are a lot of awesome bands here like etos, jailbird Y, usage bunny boy, nuill&un cuento de hadas, nekomusume, k the musicgirl, ato,…and more…
You can check out a lot of Hiroshima-based band bands on the compilation album “aki no shindou” – free for download – https://aki-no-shindou.bandcamp.com/album/-
Your last album was released in 2013. Are you going to release any more albums in the future? Are there songs being written and composed for a future release? Also, will a new album be released in the U.S.?
We just released a new album called Cluster Migration on 19th October 2016 from “PenguinMarket Records” which is run by the famous post-rock band “sgt.”
It’s only available in Japan now, but you can get a digital release, like our past four albums, on iTunes or Amazon.
Any chance your earlier albums, Particle Protocol and Appearance of Fluctuation, might be re-released on a U.S., Canadian, or European label? I really think your albums need to be heard in the west. They are brilliant.
“Particle Protocol” and “Appearance of Fluctuation” are available only in Japan now. About our past release “rendering encryption”, it is from kilk records on 2011 and it has been out of print. There are no plans for a re-release. Also, we don’t have any stock left. We think it would be necessary to have a new contract to release our past records on a foreign label.
What is the music scene like in Japan for both post-rock and shoegaze bands? How is it on a local level in Hiroshima? Do you find that the genres are well liked within Japan’s boarders?
There are a few traditional post-rock bands from the early 00’s which have slow rhythms, longer songs, and have a dramatic feel like post-rock bands from other countries. The situation is that it is still hard to keep playing music as pure post-rock, or shoegaze, because there are a lot of instrumental rock (post-rock) bands which are now fused with math-rock in Japan. However, in the city of Hiroshima, a post-rock and shoegaze music scene hardly exists.
I know it has been about three years, but can you talk about Appearance of Fluctuation. What was the recording process like? How did the band approach writing the music? Are you pleased with what you accomplished on that album now that you have had a few years with it?
“Appearance of Fluctuation” was recorded between 2011-2013. We compiled our songs during multiple studio sessions. Every time we recorded, it went smoothly because we played the tracks which we recorded multiple times during practice and then live. We are really pleased with the album! But we started to prepare a concept for the next album the second we were done.
The track that really drew me to your music was “Galveston” off of Appearance of Fluctuation. Can you speak to us about the writing, composing, recording, and meaning of that track?
Probably, “Galveston” is a place from some movie we watched. We always decide the title of a song from how a word sounds. That’s why the title has no meaning. The track was intentionally made in a shoegaze style because we were invited by shoegazers to have a show a few years ago.
There is a project connected to Speaker Gain Teardrop entitled Stabilo. Can you tell us a bit about Stabilo, who it is, and how it is different form Speaker Gain Teardrop?
Stabilo is the solo project of Yasutica Horibe who is a member of Speaker Gain Teardrop as a guitarist.
The big difference is he only uses a laptop. The sound is based on electronica, ambient / drone. http://speakergainteardrop.com/stabilo
For our readers who love gear, can you tell us what gear you use both in the studio and in your live sets? Do you find it difficult to translate what you do in the studio to the stage
The guitar is a Music Man Albert Lee HH (used to use an Ibanez Talman) with the following pedals: LINE6 DL-4, YAMAHA UD-STOMP, Boss DSD-3, Electro-Harmonix BIG MUFF(3rd), and Digitech Whammy2.
Drums are LUDWIG’s.
The bass is Fender’s Jazz Bass from the 70’s with no effects.
Do have any artists that have influenced how you think about, hear, and understand music? This could be musical as well as visual artists.
Our music is influenced by post-rock bands from other countries from the late 90’s- early 00’s, but we listen to any kind of the music.
We sometimes brainstorm ideas for titles of songs from foreign movies. Actually, our new album’s jacket idea is from surrealism.
Thank you so much for doing this interview. Do you have any other comments for our readers?
We are very happy to hear that our music is being listened to in other countries.
We will try to make a connection with a foreign label because we realized there is a big obstacle of distribution between Japan and other countries after we got this interview.
Thank you so much.
– translation / shino fujikawa with modification from Jason
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