Q & A with Molice, Japanese rock sensation

«Formed in 2007, Molice is a quartet with a sound that’s difficult to pin down. Elements of ’70s punk energy, ’80s new wave sensibility, and ’90s college radio guitar all get mashed in there, topped with gutsy female vocals. Molice quotes The Velvet Underground, The Doors, and The Pixies among their influences, along with The Police (from whom their name is partially formed) and a number of other bands from different eras and genres, so let’s just say they have things covered from the ’70s forward. The point is, they rock hard, and have a sound that is uniquely their own. The band is fronted by vocalist Rinko, who also plays guitar, and supported by a tight yet ferocious guitar, bass, and drum lineup, defined by Yuzuru Takeda’s slashing guitar. After gigging around the Tokyo area for a few months, Molice was tapped for a slot in August 2007 at Japan’s high profile annual Summer Sonic music festival, which features top Japanese bands along with international headliners. Since then, the band has released multiple demos and videos which, along with constant gigging, have won them a strong indie fan base. Their first full-length, entitled Dr. Ray, was released in November 2008. They continue to play out often, and it’s not hard to imagine a major breakthrough right around the corner.» (Profile from Nippop.) This is the unedited English version of our recent Q & A with Japanese rock band Molice. For a more edited version in Spanish and a review of their new album, Catalystrock, click here.

(The purpose of these interviews is to introduce Japanese bands and artists to a largely new audience, so we ask all of the bands similar questions about their origins, their live performances, the music-making process and so on).

First of all, thank you very much for your time. Tell us about your name. It’s Molice and not The Molice, am I right? My mate was confused by your website (www.themolice.com)

Rinko: It’s Molice. Someone else was using molice.com

How did you guys meet and when did you start recording for the first time?

Rinko: Yuzuru and I played in another band before Molice, called Chinachop. We met our drummer and bassist at Rubber Soul, a Beatles style bar.

Last year you played a gig in London. I was in London at the time and missed it. I didn’t even know about it! At any rate, I’ve seen some footage and it looked pretty tight. It must have been very exciting for you. What memories do you have from that journey?

Rinko: Too bad! (about missing you)

Yuzuru: Every club seemed very nice, but everywhere was very crowded b/c everyone was shopping after Christmas.

R: We couldn’t find a restroom and the museums were closed. We had a lot of free time so we went to a CD shop.

Y: The streets of London were very nice, too.

Are you coming back to Europe (Spain!?) anytime soon? What about the US?

Y: We hope so, but nothing is planned yet.

Let’s talk about other musicians. Could you tell us what kind of music you listen to?

R: Police, Pixies, Doors, and rock and roll in general.

What’s the first album you bought?

Y:The soundtrack of the Godfather.

R: Chuck Berry’s album. I don’t remember the title.

And the last one you downloaded?

R: Joy Division

Y: Blade Runner soundtrack

What’s the artist/album that made you think: «I want to be a musician»?

R: Beatles

Y: Rolling Stones

Any new Japanese bands you’d like to recommend?

Y: Moja

R: Sister Paul

What about the music-making process? Is it straightforward or do you take a lot of time to agree on what/how to play?

Y: It’s straightforward. We don’t take a lot of time deciding.

R: I decide the basic structure.

What, in your opinion, are the main differences between your first and second albums?

Y: Doctor Ray shows our aggressive side. Catalystrock shows our depth and range of sound.

R: Molice has a lot of sides.

Rinko is very sensual on stage and brings a lot of energy to the band. You all sound pretty good on the record and live. Yuzuru’s guitars in particular remind me of Graham Coxon from Blur (this is a compliment!). What’s your natural environment, the studio or the stage? Do you enjoy being on the road?

R: Difficult question! For me, both.

Y: I love working in the studio and playing on stage. Both are fun for different reasons. We haven’t really been on the road. (the band has mainly played in Tokyo.)

Please correct me if I’m wrong but being part of an indie band means that you probably have to juggle music and a day job. Is this a problem in terms of getting the band together to play on rehearsals and live?

Y: Sometimes.

R: I am good at changing my brain gears quickly (from work mode to musician mode)

Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year?

Y: We’re trying to play in the Envol Et Macadam Festival in Quebec. We’d like to play in another country.

R: We will be working on a new music video for «Romancer» Also, we will work on the next album.

Thank you for the interview, Jaime!

Thank you, Molice, and Tom Melesky  for making this interview possible.

(Molice will be playing at the 2010 CAMA Festival in Hanoi, Vietnam, on May 8th. The band will also be opening for Go!Go!7188 in Tokyo on May 25th along with Kinoco Hotel and Natccu.)

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