Event: Not For You: Jad Fair This Thursday!
Posted March 4, 2012
Half Japanese started in 1974. Having been around for wuch a long time, what were the early days of Half Japanese like?
In 1974 there were very few bands going in a similar direction as Half Japanese. We were in contact with Destroy All Monsters, and that was pretty much it. A couple years later I started corresponding with LAFMS. We didn’t sound like any of those bands, but we did feel we were doing something new together.
Where does the name Half Japanese come from?Are you a fan of the Japanese culture?
The name was picked by chance. We had two hats, and put words in one hat and words in the other. We picked a word from each hat and it was Half Japan. We changed Half Japan to Half Japanese because we thought it sounded better. We had all of Yoko Ono’s records and listened to hger a lot. I think that’s why the word Japan was placed in the hat.
What the main influences for you music? Have these influences changed and developed over time?
Bands I’ve been influenced by are MC5, The Stooges, The Modern Lovers, Captain Beefheart, and Velvet Underground. We’ve never tried to sound like them. We sound like ourselves, but they have influenced me.
You are also a visual artist, does music inspire your artwork as well?
I’m sure it comes from the same part of the brain, but I can’t say my music has anything to do with my art. It comes together in the packaging of the music, but that’s pretty much it.
You have been involved in the music industry for such a long time, at the moment it is facing lots of changing with the likes of downloading, do you think these changes are a good or bad thing for the industry as a whole?
It’s so hard now for record companies and for bands. It’s hard to make any money off of CD sales. There’s so much music available now for free.
You opened for Nirvana in 1993, and Half Japanese were one of Kurt Cobains favourite bands, do you have great memories of these shows?
Most of the shows were at colleges and I expected that we would be playing to a college age audience, but most of the audience was very young. 13 -16. Every fast song we did went over well and every slow one bombed. After the first show we only played fast songs. Nirvana were great every night. They were such a fine live band. I was lucky to see as many shows as I did.
You have lived through many era’s such a the punk scene of the late 70’s as well as the 90’s grunge scene, what are your personal experiences during this time and how did they reflect on your music?
I’m certainly aware of trends in music, but I don’t think it has much if any influence on what I do. I do whatever I feel like doing. Being involved in music for such a long time must take it’s toll, how do you keep going and what makes everything so exciting? I’m a big fan of music and the band members of Half Japanese are all good friends. We get along real well together. I think that helps a lot.
What is your personal favourite Half Japanese record?
I almost always like the first release a band does the best. The first EP my brother and I did is my favorite Half Japanese record.
You have also done many solo projects, do you prefer working on your own or being in a band? How are they different?
I like doing both. I’m able to go in so many different directions. I like that. I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to play with so many great bands. I’ve played with the best of the best.
Words: Katherine Canterwell
Half Japanese play this coming Thursday, Old Forest and Fanzine are supporting. Not For You are giving you a fun-filled after party, check the facebook link for deets.
Get the last advanced tickets here!