Having just released their second album, Travels In My Universe, it is proving to be an exciting time for Japanese instrumental rock group Paranoid Void. The band stopped by the ArcTanGent festival as part of their debut UK tour, so The Midlands Rocks took the opportunity to speak to guitarist MEGURI, bassist YU-KI and drummer MIPOW to find out what’s happening in their cosmos.
Can you give me a brief history of the band?
We started this band in 2013. We come from Osaka, Japan, and we are currently touring the UK. Today is the main festival date in the tour.
How did you meet?
Me (MEGURI) and MIPOW were already friends, and we decided to start this band. We asked our friends if they knew anyone who could play bass, and that is how we met YU-KI.
What are your musical influences?
Progressive rock, math rock.
And what bands?
MEGURI: I like Radiohead, Oasis, and UK rock.
YU-KI: Jamiroquai, instrumental jazz.
MIPOW: Thrash metal.
That’s an interesting mix. You all like different music. What made you start playing math rock?
We didn’t think we wanted to play math rock, just instrumental music. It is the audience that calls us math rock. We don’t mind being called math rock, but we didn’t go into music aiming to play math rock.
Why do you play instrumental music, and why no vocals?
At first, I played guitar and sang, but our manager said that, after watching us perform, we looked happier when we played without singing. We have a lot more freedom when we just play our instruments.
Do you think playing instrumental music helps you connect with different cultures?
Yes, we think so.
What is the math rock scene like in Osaka?
There’s not really many math rock bands in Osaka. In Tokyo there are many math rock bands, but not in Osaka.
This is your first UK tour. How has it been so far?
It’s been amazing. The people have been so kind. The crowds here are very different. What I really like about England is that people are willing to get excited to the music, but at the same time they are really listening to what we are doing on stage, and we really appreciate that. In Japan when we play and finish a song the people clap politely, but in the UK they scream and shout.
How have the attendances been?
So far, the crowds have been between 80 to 150 people, but on a small scale compared to ArcTanGent.
Many years ago Japanese bands used to copy Western groups. But now Japanese groups have their own unique style. What happened to cause this change?
Now in Japan, for progressive rock and math rock there is a strong feeling for the style, so they don’t have to copy what is out there, so they feel like that’s part of their culture.
Your new album, Travels In My Universe, is released on 26th August 2022. What can people expect?
I think that the new album will show the new level we have reached. When we say new level, we mean that since the last album, we have toured America, and dealt with Coronavirus, and have also brought in a new instrument, and through these new experiences we believe we’ve captured the essence of these experiences, and that’s what’s created the new sound.
Who produced the album, and where was it recorded?
We produced it ourselves, and we recorded it in Osaka.
Is there a theme running through the album? Is it a concept album?
Our new album has 11 songs, and for each song we are looking at an aspect of ourselves, and it’s contained within a singular song. For example, if we are looking at our past, our future and our dreams, then one song represents each of these, each one is an individual universe seen through our eyes. The travel within ourselves is the theme which runs through them all. Each song represents different aspects of ourselves, but the album is connecting the dots between these elements.
What are your hopes for Paranoid Void? How far can you take the band?
We want to go to the top! [laughs]