Sunday, 20 February 2011

Interview: Japanese Voyeurs

On the Bournemouth date of the Rock Sound Exposure Tour, London rockers, Japanese Voyeurs, talk female genitalia and pervy photography...but not at the same time.

You have just embarked on the Rock Sound Exposure Tour, how did the first show in Bedford go?
Romily (vocals/guitar): It was good. There were a lot of people there. People seemed to be getting into it which was fun. Because you never really know. Some people, how they enjoy a show is just to stand there and watch. Which is cool but it’s always fun for us when people jump around a bit.

You are touring with Dinosaur Pile-Up and The Xcerts, have you ever met them before?
Steve (drums): I used to be in Dinosaur Pile-Up. Matt is one of my best friends so it’s nice to be back out with him. But Dinosaur Pile-Up and Japanese Voyeurs toured together a little while ago.
Johnny (guitar): We’ve done a couple of gigs with The Xcerts. So everyone kind of knows each other anyway.

What have you got planned for your sets in the next few weeks?
Romily: We’re not really into any stage dramatics. We just try to rehearse as much as we can so that we play as well as we can. We don’t really plan anything. I always think if you go and see a good band, the music should be enough.

How would you describe the music of Japanese Voyeurs?
Tom (bass): Loud rock music?
Romily: I think it’s easier to talk about the bands that we love. We sort of formed out of a love of bands like Melvins and Jesus Lizard. I think that always plays a part in the music that you decide to write. Otherwise, all those other crazy subgenres get a bit much really. Like alt-rock…box… number 3, I dunno.

Who else do you list among your influences?
Steve: Between us there is a big range of musical influences. Those are the ones that connect us all. But my first favourite band was Iron Maiden. I’m really into tech metal. But I also like classical music and a bit of dubstep now and then.
Romily: Ha!
Steve: Yea! I love it!
Romily: Yea there’s some stuff that sort of unites us and that’s the stuff I guess most influences the core of what we do. But then it’s always good to have other weird references coming in from the tech side of things that Steve loves. It adds another side to it.

Having a front woman, you are inevitably going to be compared to the likes of Paramore and Evanescence. Does this bother you?
Romily: I just have absolutely nothing to say about that. I just think if journalists love writing about music then surely they should be able to look further than what genitalia I have.

Who are your favourite women in music at the moment?
Romily: I love Lori S, who sings and plays guitar in Acid King. They’ve been around since the 90s. And she is like phenomenal guitar player. I love PJ Harvey, she’s a cool lady. I just read Patti Smith’s book. There might not be that many front women but there are girls in Earth and Electric Wizard. So they’re about.

What do you do when you’re not touring or writing music?
Rich (keyboards): Tom’s a video blogger on YouTube!
Tom: I don’t wanna talk about that.
Steve: I’ve got a daughter so I spend most of my time looking after her.
Romily: I read a lot. I love to read and write. Those are basic human skills which I partake in. I love pedals as well. So I’m always geeking about with that sort of thing. I think the thing is when you do something you love you sort of end up doing it all the time, even if you’re not actually doing it. I think everyone sits around and plays a lot even when we’re not all together.

Where did the name Japanese Voyeurs come from?
Romily: It comes from a series of photographs taken by a Japanese photographer in the 70s. And he found himself alone in a park one night and stumbled upon, as the story goes, all these couples having sex. So he decided to start taking pictures of these people. And he was one of the first photographers to use infrared film for art. It’s just really interesting in terms of what it says about human nature and that primal desire to look at the things which you probably shouldn’t look at and to do the things you probably shouldn’t do. And that sort of goes with a lot of the lyrical themes so we just thought it was a good fit.

Have you got any plans for the rest of the year?
Rich: Touring mostly
Johnny: And doing as many festivals as we can. We’ve got our first gigs abroad in March. Two gigs in Germany. We’re playing Ireland too, so we get to go on a ferry!
Romily: Obviously once the album comes out we’ll be in as many places as possible.

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