On the Brush Up Studio Live by mahocast, we interviewed to paranoid void about how they got together, how they create songs, and so on. In that video, we must have cut and summarized the interview for simplifying. But in this page, we have lot of space and we can put full-version of the interview.
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Q: How would you describe Paranoid Void’s music?
A: Paranoid Void is mainly instrumental focused and, well sometimes we sing as well but not always, and we use a lot of strange rhythms or polyrhythms. To start with, from a genre perspective, we’re often referred to as math rock or post-rock. I mean, it’s not like we were aiming for that or anything, it just so happens that we’ve ended up being seen as such.
Q: Are you particular about being a three-piece band?
A: We don’t honestly have any real fixation with being a three-piece, it’s just that with what the three of us are doing right now, we don’t think we’d be able to fit anyone else in. So I guess in that sense we don’t think we’ll change from being a three-piece.
Q: What kinds of music have you listened to most or has been most important for you? YU-KI?
A: Oh, me? For me, when I was in middle school I guess listened to a lot of acid black jazz and western R&B. Later on in university or even more recently, I’ve really enjoyed older black music styles like funk. Math rock or similar sorts of genres aren’t anything I listened to at all, so it’s really only something I’ve become familiar with since joining this band. I think everyone’s in the same boat in that sense.
And for you, MEGURI? For me as well… Yeah, like, I quite liked UK rock and the like, so as far as instrumental music or math rock music goes, it’s really only something I’ve gotten to know since this band started leaning that way itself
What kind of music did you listen to? I guess… I listened to like, 90’s melodic punk, so this kind of music is seriously new to me too.
Q: How did you form the band to start with?
A: To begin with, myself and MIPOW (drums) were in different bands that had played together, and as those bands ended we thought we’d go into a studio and jam together. We just played together instrumentally then, and as we were jamming we thought that we’d really like a bassist in the mix too. So then MIPOW introduced me to YU-KI, who was an acquaintance of hers, and we met up in front of the OPA department store in Kawaramachi, and yeah it kind of just went from there. Going back to what we were talking about before about being a three-piece, MEGURI thought it would be best to look for another female member, so I asked if that was the case and joined shortly after. Ah, well, I wonder if that was really the case? Maybe not? Another female member may have been the way to go, like I just thought that would probably be the easiest way to make this happen.
Q: What’s the reason for not feeling like anyone else can join?
A: Ah, I guess like, I’m not really into the idea of people joining after the fact, like I really like foreign TV dramas and watch a lot of them, and whenever a new character is introduced later in the series and become a leading or important role, I really just, like, I don’t know… I feel uneasy. I guess that’s the reason? If I had to pinpoint a reason, anyway. That’s also part of it, but it’s also that the idea of introducing a new person to the groove the three of us have gotten used to isn’t really something I can imagine.
Q: Is that something that everyone agrees on?
A: Is that something that everyone agrees on? Yeah, probably like, there’s lots of time outside of the band, of music, of all of that, with other things to worry about.
Q: What’s your goal for this year?
A: This year, fundamentally, to make cool music or put on a cool live show, that kind of goal has run its course, but we’d like to go on an international tour. After that… that’s pretty much the main goal, really. Yeah.
Q: So you guys are set on touring overseas?
A: Yeah, an international tour is the current focus. Like, yeah. I wonder why that’s become such a focus point? I mean, it’s more like, I don’t see the point in focusing just on working within Japan. Ah, yeah that might be it. Not so much that we want to go overseas, but more that there’s no point in staying just in Japan. That’s probably it.
Q: Please talk about the differences between live shows overseas and shows in Japan!
A: It’s not like one is better or worse than the other, but overseas fans are really, how can I say it… like, they were more outwardly honest in their reactions to the music. Yeah, it’s not about whether the music will sell or not or a reaction based on the genre, they just listen based on whether they like the song that’s playing or not, so that’s easy to deal with.
Q: Where have you performed so far?
A: We’ve been to Malaysia, and just recently we went to Canada.
Q: Is there any difference between Japanese music and Western music?
A: Western music is just like, non-Japanese music, right? Wait, what do you mean? Yeah, that’s right. In terms of sound? Ah, in a sonic sense! Ah, I get you. Hmm, I wonder? Like, Japanese people certainly have their own kind of beat or groove. Ah, yeah I think they do. Also, because the languages are so different, for the lyrics to fit properly, like, the groove of the song is set to suit the intonation of the words, so from that I think the way the groove feels ends up different across different languages.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your experiences at the “Next Music from Tokyo” event you were a part of in Canada last year?
A: Last year’s “Next Music from Tokyo” event in Canada was just full of experiences and memories, so I can’t really just pick one thing in particular, but I guess to talk about the live show itself? If we’re talking about the show, uh, we played at this really well-established venue in Toronto called Lee’s Palace, and the sound tech there is a real proud-of-his-work type of guy, and before rehearsal… so I use both a JC and a Marshall amp, and he was saying like, “a good guitarist would only need one”, you know kind of sarcastically, kind of mean spirited, like, yeah, sort of mean, or maybe not so much mean as like, he’s a real stickler and hard to please. He’s a master at his craft, he’s probably been doing it for decades, so yeah, there was that sort of atmosphere, but after the show as we were packing up and swapping over, he was like “that was wonderful!” and gave us a hug, and told us “good show”, that was, yeah, the part that made me most happy.
Q: Can you speak English?
A: Nope! I can’t speak English, but I can get by on the atmosphere and can still get along with people.
Q: What was the difference you felt in the music culture at that time?
A: In Canada? Hmm, that’s tricky… Ah, well Canada is a really multicultural country. That’s probably why, like, there’s different music and because lots of different races of people live there, and there’s much more diversity there than in Japan, and because people are much more accepting towards a wide range of different things, that sense of stress isn’t there.
Q: Were there differences in the Malaysian show?
A: Simply put, we’re a better band now than when we played in Malaysia, so that’s more of a problem on our side. Like, in talking about what was most different between Canada and Malaysia, it’s more that we’ve become a totally different band.
Q: Please tell us about your new song!
A: Talk about the new song? The new song is… good. It’s good.
Q: When’s the release?
A: The release will be distributed on May 29th. Ah, yeah that’s right, yeah it’s a digital distribution release. And there are two songs included.
Q: What is your songwriting process like?
A：When writing a song, we first decide on the concept.So, for that concept, we'll base it on a story you can imagine, or a picture, or even just our own daily thoughts.Same as any band that uses lyrics, we first decide what we want to say with the song, then from there, we come up with the chords and phrases and grooves that go along with that concept.
As for what kinds of sounds we should use, that's like a surface-level smaller detail... It's still important, but not quite that important
Yeah, it's still important
It's important to first decide on the outline of the concept. We don't really make songs just through jamming.
After we've got the concept, for example we'll take chord progressions we want to try and test them in the studio, and there may be an interesting rhythm change that comes up by chance, so we'll try to apply that to the concept, then we'll decide whether we should go with that or not as we change the sample.
Then, finally we wrap the song up while taking a hard look at whether the song is properly expressing that core concept or not
Q：What kind of song is "redo"?
A：MEGURI came up with the founding idea for this song.
For the concept of “redo”, “redo” as a word means to “start over”, but until now in life, daily patterns and repetitions, whether that doesn’t even last a full day or whether it covers an even wider span, “Ah, I’ve felt this way before”, or like “I’ve made someone think a certain way through this same idea before”, I felt that there’s a kind of cycle to those familiar thoughts.
It’s the same for everyone, I think.
I used to think that this meant to “repeat”, but at some point, I thought it actually wasn’t about “repetition” as such but rather about re-treading old ground to redo parts that didn’t go so well the first time, so, for this concept, it started with me deciding to write a song about not “repeating” but rather “redoing” and continuing on that way, So, when I started writing this song, I think I probably said it to the other two from the start, but with the same phrase, I, or I guess everyone, we keep playing the same phrase, but rather than just looping it and playing it with that kind of feeling, let’s perform so it feels like each time we play it we’re starting again from scratch.
So with that idea, because we’re continuing by constantly starting over, it’s not about repetition, so after making corrections and changes bit by bit and starting over, it’s like in a different place from the point at present. I wonder if this gets the point across?
So with that idea, YU-KI and I use the same phrase sequences, but in MIPOW’s case, without including any real fancy fills, in repeating the beat, like the song’s made with that kind of idea in mind, but because it’s not actually repeating, she just slightly changes her phrases and the beat as the song goes on.
Going back to the concept, in the end this song, from the beginning of the concept, through to making the song, to the first note and right through to the end, I felt like we were able to be make it consistent within that concept, so I’m extremely satisfied with it.
Yeah like, regarding the more superficial points, for example, if we used a phrase in the first bar, then used the same phrase in the second bar, for both myself and MEGURI, the phrase itself may be the same, but the two of us that play the first bar and the two of us that result from playing the second bar have a slightly different image.
We’re repeating the same thing, but the image is of being in the same place in a slightly different timeline, like a parallel universe.
So, not to talk about myself so much, but in the end what I’m playing in the outro is the same as how I start the song, but because the present point that we’ve arrived at is different, I’m changing the feeling of the chords.
Yeah it’s different, probably.
It’s probably different.
So, MIPOW as well, in doing that part, well to some degree in doing every part, we kept that, like, trick to the song in mind while we made it. That’s “redo” in a nutshell.
Q：What about "Blind Blue"?
A：So I came up with the original idea for this song, but for the title, when we finished writing it, the impression of the song just felt like the colour blue. It just had this impression of really broad and forever blue scenery. That’s probably because both members shared it.
In the way we’ve just blindly attached this idea of a pure blue to it. So, for the concept we came up with when we started writing this song, like, you sleep at night, right?
When you sleep, you all go to bed on the premise that you’ll wake up the next morning, yeah? Like, that’s honestly really unsettling to me, like I feel like I should be thinking as if I may not wake up tomorrow morning. Everyone always says that we never know when we’ll die, but I wonder how many people are realistically living with that in mind, kind of thing.
That includes me, too Like that in of itself, in the end to go to sleep like that on the assumption that tomorrow will come, the idea that you might die ends up being postponed until tomorrow too.
So, the idea that tomorrow may not come gets put off until that same tomorrow.
Eventually there was a time when that feeling of continuing a lazy day-to-day made me really uncomfortable, I wanted to have a song as an output for my angst towards all that. But in the end, to die, there’s no way to know when you will until you do, yeah? It’s not possible to realistically imagine such a thing, so conversely I thought I’d make the theme of the song one of living just a little bit more. The idea of living itself, I define living as the timeline advancing. So in the case of this song, this song wasn’t completed in the stage of it being written, the timeline that is from the start of this song until its end, for the three of us to work through that timeline, when we perform this song together is when this song is finally completed. So I got them to share in that image, and so the finer details were adjusted by all three of us.
Yeah, that’s why like, it has a real dynamism and liveliness to it. I wanted to put out a song that was, like, tough and filled with vitality. Yeah, there were already a lot of more delicate and subtle songs, so I wanted to make, well I guess I did make, a song that was a bit tougher where I could just concentrate on performing.
Q：Why did you decide to focus on a digital distribution release this time?
A：Okay so for this, having our music itself match the current era, or really fit in with the ‘now,’ that’s not something we have any intention of doing.
But while that may be the case, it’s not like we only want to cater to people who already know about us, and so like, we’ve been thinking that we want the way we approach these things to be more appropriate to the times. That’s why like, and distributing through Mahocast is the same, we had this desire to do it in a way that matched the times, well, we also have a strong desire to connect with people overseas, so that’s why we focused on digital distribution this time.
Q：But you’re making CDs as well, right?
A：Yeah, we’re making them.
With digital distribution as our main focus, precisely because it’s digital distribution, and precisely because we live in the era that we do, I think there’s a real value in actually possessing the real, physical thing.
Also, the people that actually possess the real physical copy, they’re the sorts of people who really care for what we do. There was always a idea for physical distribution, but more than that, the scope of what we can actually see with our own eyes, or being able to say “hey, here you go” in person at the venue…
That’s something we really want to value, so this time, without putting the CD into circulation, it’s more like, ‘oh, here’s the record’.
Yeah, this is it…
This is, yeah, this is like, as an actual thing, it’s not necessary in your life, but it’s something you want. Like for example, some cute tableware, or a vase or something like that. So for example, just like that, CDs, sure the contents are also important, but the act of you yourself buying it has a certain importance I want people to discover, or rather like, in this age of just buying the media or the content, I want people to put value into the act of buying the actual object. We made everything all by ourselves.
Yeah, it was really tough!
Q：What’s the motif for the CD jacket?
A：The motif is a mountain and the sun, but we made it at the same time as we made these two songs.
When we make the jacket image, we set things like the colour to some extent, but when we make the songs the three of us often share things like the “image colour” of the songs. Like “what kind of colour is this song?” kind of thing. And the three of us usually agree on that. So from there originally both songs had a blue “image colour”.
However the two songs have a different blue feel to them, like how deep or soft, light or dark the songs are feel slightly different, so for the blues we see in our minds and the way we see them to be closer to one another, we combined blue with different colours and patterns, then we made a lot of samples of colour combinations and arrangements, then we made adjustments while the three of us discuss which of the blues is closest to what we imagined, and ended up on this blue and orange motif. So the motif itself, it’s a mountain and the sun, but really the important part is the way those two colours gradate.
Usually I make the first prototype and get them to make adjustments, but with this unrealistic, conceptual, dreamlike kind of landscape, which came with this idea of mixing horizons, and regarding that like, well, it’s wide, and there’s a horizon, but you’re not sure where the sky ends and the horizon begins, so for that idea, the mountain and sun motif that we used this time was a perfect fit. Well, even with that, while making all kinds of samples and looking at lots of different patterns, the three of us talked it over and then settled on this one.
Q：What’s the meaning behind the title for your single, “01”?
A：It means that there is no meaning. We didn’t want to put a great deal of meaning into the album title here and pull your perspective that way, like we want you to listen to the songs, that’s why like, because we don’t want to unnecessarily highlight the meaning here, we wanted to go with a title that can be viewed with a very flat perspective, so we went with “01”.
Q：Please talk about the particulars of your equipment!
A：Alright then, let’s start with MIPOW.
Right, so for “redo”, the image colour we had in mind for it was blue as we said earlier, a soft blue, so, well, I created the sound of the snare while keeping that in mind and aiming for that kind of vibe. I pulled out the wood shell snare I was given back in my school days, changed the head in the studio, tried muting it with various things and finished it that way.
Tried changing the tuning in each section and that sort of thing, Tried unmuting the drums, The sound of the snare is, like, something you always pay special attention to. Yeah, like if people hear it and tell me it’s good it’s like “yesss!” Yeah, feels like that.
Q：So what does a ‘blue snare’ sound like?
A：The image colour was a soft, kind blue, so I made the sound while I imagined that, I guess. How can I say it, like, the clarity or the way it echoes can express a sense of colour, like you can imagine it a certain way.It might be different from person to person, but for me, or rather within the band members that’s how it is. I think I got really into the sound this time.
Okay, what about YU-KI?
Me? For me, I didn’t really change the details for each song this time around, but just fundamentally I really like the sound of the bass that I use.
Yeah, I know
Care to introduce us?
If I may introduce you all, there is a factory in Ebisu called “Psychederhythm”, in this tiny room the craftsman is really, like, they’re a maker that’s very fussy about the details, so with this bass, like, the way the sound reverberates, the body sounds amazing… my bass is really special.
I totally agree.
I love it
Yeah, so, when I’m creating a sound, I don’t want to squeeze the bass’s original range or add any strange boosts as much as I possibly can, so the brand of amp that I use, called Phil Jones, has a pretty wide range. I’m using a brand where the sound comes out really cleanly and honestly, so in that sense any touches are immediately heard, so there’s a certain difficulty to it, so for that part effects and EQ round the sound out really nicely.
So I guess like, I took a live instrument kind of sound and took care to make it come out as clearly as possible, and in regards to the songs I use a variety of playing styles this time. “redo” is all tapping. This kind of thing. For “Blind Blue” I play with both fingers and through slapping, so for the tone, I made it so I can return to the sound I need to just through the way I touch the bass.
I like effects, in any case. So I really want to arrange and use effects. That element is there right from the start, so in terms of creating the sound, the sound that I want to put out is not an honest one, from the start it’s set to be one that’s in line with the concept, so I just look at reproducing that.
So I don’t really feel, like, “this is the kind of sound I want to make” or anything, it’s more about matching the song. Also, I don’t know if this will really make sense, but I feel like I’m in charge of bringing time and space into a song.
So, to put it simply, if we look at reverb or that kind of space-making type of effect, and I use that to suddenly create some depth, in that moment the space will suddenly widen, likewise if I suddenly cut the reverb, the space will suddenly tighten, like I think about things like that in regards to my instrument.
So, well, phrases are the same too, when looking at the important things, like playing. Or something like that, anyway.
Q：Why did you decide to use Mahocast?
A：We had an event the other day that we set up ourselves and we had mahocast stream the entire thing, so we went with mahocast this time too. But like, it was a new experiment; we hadn't done anything like that before so it was really interesting.
What do you think?
Well, so far, to have them come to that place for us was a pretty big deal, like, I guess with filming? Like putting out full-fledged live video and stuff, to be in the flow and shut out all information other than music, I think we, and probably others in the band community are like that. But in asking them to come this time, there are for sure people that couldn't make it to the show due to distance, like, in different countries. We had this chance for those people to see us, and they’re also looking over the archives and translating this program into English for us They're adding English subtitles
We’re hearing people say how great that was, and if we can keep that kind of thing going and eventually be able to broadcast everything in real-time across the world… And it’s a bit more, like, in the present world where we actually have this kind of media, in this day and age, it’s better if the music and the shape it takes is more appropriate to the times. Yeah. Well, we still want people to come to our shows.
Like, I think this will actually become more of a reason to come see us live. That kind of thinking is part of it too. Well yeah, the live show is most important for us.
Yeah, we do a lot of live arrangements, like, “what’s the original song?” is something we’re asked a lot by fans, but I guess like,
we really want those people who only know the main recording to come see us,
but I think that even just going to a live house is more of a hurdle for some people than you’d expect, in both a physical and emotional sense.
So hopefully this can become a gateway to that for those people.
Q：What kind of goods are you putting out through “squra by paravoi”?
A：“squra” is the three of us as “paravoi”, We say “paravoi” for short. Yeah yeah, “paravoi” means “paranoid void”.
As for making songs, the name of the three of us performing is “paranoid void”, but for selling merch and in making other accessories and the like, It’s like representing that part with a name. Yeah, like when we make songs, as we’ve mentioned before, the three of us share in the image colour and iconography of it to some extent, and as a byproduct of that, there are cases where the song doesn’t line up exactly with how it was imagined. Like, regarding the content. or like for this time, this sort of thing.
This sort of thing being from the jacket, well I guess the jacket image, also like this is kind of a failed attempt…
You don’t need to say that!
It’s really tough because we do everything by hand with a silk screen, but we can make good stuff that way. We can make things exactly as we’ve imagined.
Kind of thing, yeah.
Q：Are you particular about doing things by hand?
A：Rather than saying we put a real emphasis on doing things by hand, it’s more that I think people should express what they’re thinking as truly as possible, whether that’s in music or this kind of by-product item or whatever, I guess it’s more about just creating rather than it being ‘handmade’.
For example, even if someone else comes in and creates something for us, or we commission someone to do so, If the output ends up being in line with how we envisioned it in our minds, I don’t think there’s a problem.
However, for it to turn out the exact colour or form that we imagined, for now it’s probably faster for us to just make everything ourselves.
Q：What kind of things would you like to do in the “squra by paravoi” project?
A：Well, with this project, it’s not like we’re aiming to get famous with it or anything like that. “squra by paravoi” is like the saucer that catches the creative work that overflows from what we do as a band. So, it’s not so much about what we want to do with it. It’s more about what we want to do with the band and how can this accompany that.
The part where the image doesn’t fit the song is absolutely, for what we see, like, we ourselves share in and perform through certain images and scenery, but there’s no way the person listening to us is going to imagine the exact same scenery, however in the case that there’s also something visual, that something complimentary can come from that is the sort of position we’re coming from.
Q：Which song is the accessory from before related to?
A：This is for “Utakata no Sora, Eien no Machi (Ephemeral Sky, Eternal City)”. It comes in five colours. Yeah, we’ve only brought one with us today though.
Depending on the time zone, the colour will change…
That song was made with the theme of how even if the scenery of the city doesn’t really change, the landscape and the colour of the sky is changing every moment, so in line with that theme, for this inorganic substance, there’s the cold, inorganic city and the sky that’s always changing colours.