Acid Mothers Temple
Saying Kawabata Makoto is a prolific musician would be an understatement. Actually, we were afraid the leader of Acid Mothers Temple wouldn't have time to answer our questions. But he did. If you want to know more about that notorious Russian underground movie or how to play Absolute Music, read our Pataphysical Freaky interview with the man.
Publicatiedatum: 16 januari 2000
Julian Cope not only chose "Pataphysical Freak Out Mu" as his favourite
record of the month, he also called you a shaman. Do you feel like a leader?
"All of us in the group share a kind of common vibration, a sympathetic
resonance that unites us. In that sense there is no real leader,
although I am the group's musical producer. However that's only because
we each have our own strengths and weaknesses, and we all display our
various individual talents in different ways."
You have around 30 people in your collective now. How did they end up
in the group?
"In various ways - some are old friends of more than ten years, others I
have met by chance. But we are all connected by the same kind of
vibration. And by a similar lifestyle: we only do what we want, anything
we don't like we don't do. Though people might call us social drop-outs,
we have formed our own tiny society and we live by helping each other.
You've played with everyone from the Ruins' Yoshida Tatsuya to High
Asahito Nanjo. It seems like there is a very active scene in Japan. Is it
easy to find people to play music with?
"Because the scene actually isn't that large, you soon get to know lots
of people. However, there aren't really that many good musicians around."
Is Hedik still active? You played in that band with some of the Boredoms,
"It fell apart at the end of the eighties. I think that the group existed
from 1978, but I only played with them in 1985."
After checking out the Acid Mothers Temple covers, I noticed that image is very
important. Of course there's a clear seventies psychedelic influence. Do
you take your inspiration from Japanese culture as well?
"Since I was born and brought up in Japan, Japanese culture has
inevitably had a huge influence on me, and it's something that I am
proud of. Even when, say, I play hard a Japanese texture seems to
naturally come out. In that sense, there is no need for me to
deliberately try and include a Japanese flavour.
Do you make your own clothing?
"Some of the group's members do make their own clothing. I have an
absolute loathing of clothes shops, so I've been wearing the same
clothes for over 15 years now. In November '99, I bought my first new
coat in seventeen years at a church flea-market in Toulouse (France).
I've got no interest whatsoever in fashion. Each of the group's members
has their own individual style, so i think our ideas on clothes are
probably very similar."
People always mention Prog Rock, Krautrock as influences. Are there any
other influences that people haven't noticed?
"I've listened to all sorts of music in the past, so there are probably
all sorts of influences. For me personally, the absolute sense of beauty
and true love of music apparent in troubador music and Occitan trad are
How was the Japanese music-scene like in the seventies?
"I don't really know, but I suppose that everyone was still just copying
Western rock. I started playing at the end of the seventies, and I think
that something new was beginning to appear at that time. And that
connects to the present."
You have been playing since the seventies. I can't seem to find any
recordings of that period. Were you just playing on your own then?
"I released several recordings on my own cassette label R.E.P.
(Translator's note: since reissued as a ten CDR set on Kawabata's CDR
label), but i didn't have any real connection to the scene. No one
understood what I was doing back then."
I noticed you played some traditional instruments. Where did you
learn to play these instruments?
"I learnt to play all the instruments on my own. I started using
traditional instruments simply because I wanted to use their sounds and
textures. I believe that the most important thing when playing
instruments is possess just enough skill to be able to produce the music
A couple of years ago you established your own record label. Why did you
decide to do it?
"There were various sorts of music that I wanted to play, so I created
the label so I could release them immediately without having to wait.
And also because I wanted to release music by unknown members of our group."
I also noticed you release a lot of limited records. Why is that?
"At first I wanted to release a solo guitar record, and because I thought
that only around 100 people would want to hear it, i made it a limited
edition of 100. In addition, solo guitar records are like fresh food -
so i wanted to avoid the situation where i'd have to keep on selling
something that had grown old and stale."
One of your records, "Ivan Piskov's Wild Gals a Go Go", seems to be a
soundtrack to a Russian underground movie. Does it exist? And if so what is
"We have yet to see the film. But in the autumn of 1999, Tsuyama played a
solo concert in Moscow and he met with the director Ivan Piskov. It
seems that the film isn't finished yet."
Apart from the Acid Mothers Temple collective, you also play other
like loud guitar rock, such as in Musica Transonic. You also play in
Mainliner. You seem to be very eclectic. Are there any other genres you
would like to play?
"I've never thought of music in terms to genres, so I can't really give
you a proper answer. However I believe that if I ever manage to play
"absolute music" then I'll be happy to give up music. "Absolute music"
is hard to explain, but I feel that it's like the cosmic principle, an
extreme and absolute form of music."
You've been on tour through Europe and the States. How was that like?
And do people react differently to your music in the Western World?
"Westerners are better at enjoying themselves. Everyone seems to have
their own way of appreciating and enjoying the music."
Your band played with the Pastels and Richard Youngs at the
Psychedelic Trip Festival. How was that experience like?
"The experience of making good friends in many countries has been
irreplacable. I think that as a musician Richard Youngs in particular
has an amazing sense of song. I hope that we can continue to meet lots
more wonderful people."
Meer Acid Mothers Temple op KindaMuzik: http://www.kindamuzik.net/artiest/acid-mothers-temple