In the iridescent soundscape of psych-rockers, Kikagaku Moyo, you’ll find an assortment of intriguingly twangy sitars, effects-heavy guitars and silken vocals. Songs from their newest album Masana Temples take you to dream-like spaces with mystical auras.
Since forming in 2012, the five-piece has progressed from Tokyo’s experimental scene to international feats, playing shows and festivals in North America and Asia. Their music is a product of years spent jamming together, travelling the world and a pilgrimage to Lisbon to record the album.
Masana Temples comes from the band challenging their own ideas of what psychedelic music sounds like. Resulting in a mix of gentle, surreal tracks, but not compromising the more textured, distorted sounds of their older music. There’s no doubting the band’s intuitive nature in their performances. Go Kurosawa (vocals, drums), Tomo Katsurada (vocals, guitar), Kotsuguy (bass guitar), Ryu Kurosawa (keys, sitar), and Daoud Popal Akira (guitar), act as one force, each instrument a necessary part of their overall sound.
Ahead of the band’s Australian tour in March, we had the chance to speak with Go Kurosawa about touring, the group’s newest album, and their inspirations.
Interview with Go Kurosawa
Your fourth and most recent album Masana Temples came out in 2018, with tracks like Dripping Sun and Nazo Nazo showcasing your ability to take listeners to a richly layered soundscape. What was the writing and recording process like?
The writing process was quite in a hurry because we had tours lined up after the release. But the recording process was really fun.
When working on previous albums, you were all living together in Tokyo. However, Masana Temples was made after some of you moved to different parts of Japan and Amsterdam. What impact did this change have on the album?
It changed a lot how we made the songs. Demos had to be more structured than before, so that we could try out the songs whenever we had time to do rehearsals. I miss the writing process where we meet once or twice a week and we have time between the let the songs develop on their own.
You recorded Masana Temples with jazz musician Bruno Pernadas in Lisbon. How did he influence the album’s sound?
His arrangement made the sound more dynamic between songs. It was great that he gave us jazzy input when none of us ever studied jazz.
‘Masana’, is a fictional word the band came up with to convey a sense of utopia. Can you explain the term?
I don’t know, I just like the sound of the word “Masana” and wanted to say it.
Where does the name Kikagaku Moyo come from?
It means “geometric patterns.” We like how nature looks and seems wild, but when you look closer, nature exists as a group of patterns.
With an album title like Masana Temples, and the deep trance-like quality of your music, is there a spiritual element to your songs?
Yes of course. All of our songs have spiritual elements.
What do you like about touring and playing live shows?
I love touring and playing shows because we get to jam – which is challenging, but it’s the moment where I can truly feel free. Also, if we can communicate with the audience, that life is not always as complicated as it seems, and inspire them, that would be the happiest thing.
What can fans look forward to for the future of Kikagaku Moyo?
Us getting older, and how our inspiration and view changes.
Catch Kikagaku Moyo on the Perth leg of their tour at Amplifer on March 10.