Acid Mothers Temple, and its variations, is only the better known of the multiple travels of Kawabata Makoto through the world of sound. One of the most iconic figures of the Japanese underground in the last 30 years speaks of his work’s body and soul.
Chain D.L.K.: Let’s start by your present work. In what have you been working these days, both solo and with other projects?
Kawabata Makoto: Among other things, I’ve been working on the recording of Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno’s (AMT & TCI) new albums. I’ve been also working for AMT & TCI’s live new DVD and new live album too [note – which is already out on Very Friendly]. These live materials include our new drummer and vocalist Pikachu, from Afrirampo!! It’s her introduction to all Acid Brothers & Sisters in the world!!
Chain D.L.K.: Having such a wide artistic activity, with all these different projects, what do you try to explore when playing solo?
Kawabata Makoto: All of my music has come from my cosmos to me. So, I try to be just like a good radio receiver and try to reenact this music truthfully to people. That’s all…
Chain D.L.K.: Which kind of extra-musical experiences do you feel, while performing both live and on studio? In which way do you consider it to be connected with improvisation?
Kawabata Makoto: I always can receive and listen to music from my cosmos both live and studio. I don’t consider anything, I just try to be a good radio receiver and try to play this music truthfully in each moment.
Chain D.L.K.: When listening (mainly) to your solo work, it is possible to notice aesthetic influences that can placed beyond the psychedelic universe. Which images and sounds would you point out, at this level?
Kawabata Makoto: What does mean that psychedelic universe that you mentioned? Anyway, I only care about my cosmos and music from there… But there’s no problem that anyone feel and imagine anything from my music… Because this is music!
Chain D.L.K.: Is spirituality an important aspect of your work?
Kawabata Makoto: My cosmos and dreams…
Chain D.L.K.: Do your different collaborations with other artists reflect, in any way, the communal aspect of your life attitude?
Kawabata Makoto: I can understand what I have to play in each moment by moment, even if I play with anyone… My cosmos always teaches me what I should play…
Chain D.L.K.: After 30 years, is it easy for you to make an evaluation of your career?
Kawabata Makoto: Hummm… I’m not interested in any evaluation… Anyway, if I die, I really want that everyone who knows me will forget everything about me then!!…
Chain D.L.K.: Once we’re talking of the past, in which way do your early sound works reflect themelves on what you’re developing nowadays?
Kawabata Makoto: I think that there was only just one difference… At the time, I had not enough technique on playing instruments and not enough sense to understand music from my cosmos…
Chain D.L.K.: It is curious to see how you do produce sound from non-conventional sources, like clothes zippers, as you’ve recently done at the last Akaten European tour. What’s your vision on what can be considered as a musical instrument?
Kawabata Makoto: First than all, I have to explain one thing: I’m not an official member of Akaten. Akaten are Ruins drummer Yoshida and AMT & TMP U.F.O.’s bassist Tsuyama. At the time, Tsuyama couldn’t come (because he got a very serious illness just before the tour), so I played instead of him… But, of course, between Tsuyama and me, we had some different ideas for playing even the same instruments, like pet bottle… When I started my music, in 1978, I didn’t have any instruments… So, I had to make instruments by my hands… I don’t care about any instruments… I’m only interested in sounds. So, if I hear some sounds that I’ve never heard before, from my cosmos, then I have to find instruments what can reenact these sounds truthfully… It means that there is the possibility that anything can be an instrument for me.
Visit Kawabata Makoto on the web at:
[interviewed by Nuno Loureiro] [proofreading by Steve Mecca]