A disorderly bunch they are, this group Japan.
Long, dyed hair, eyeshadow, lipstick, bracelets, brooches and very
conspicuous clothing; Japan certainly catches the eye.
has taken Japan – not exactly an inconspicuous name either-
several years to find their current members. Their music has
also developed considerably during this time. Recognition could not be
far away. The group’s touring schedule got increasingly
crowded, and record-companies started to get interested as well.
15 months ago the band signed a contract with the young Hansa/Ariola-company
in England. The single “Don’t
rain on my Parade” and the LP “Adolescent
Sex” were the first fruits that this alliance bore.
Ears were pricked up, eyebrows were raised…some ears were
stuffed up, many eyes were closed…a considerable number of
wallets were pulled out as well however, and thus the sales of these
first records were not unsatisfactory. Japan became, as is said,
some time now, a second LP has been out: “Obscure
Alternatives”, which is already causing a lot more
commotion in the international pop scene. Imagine everybody’s
surprise when at the time of this record’s release, the
title-track of the debut-LP achieved hit status in the Netherlands.
Unfathomable, this success of Japan.
Unfathomable as well those Japanese, actually.
David Sylvian (founder, singer, rhythm-guitar
–player and composer of virtually the entire of Japan’s
oeuvre): “Yes, it’s true that the first record is
mostly about sex, but that doesn’t mean that I go all crazy
over sex. Most of the time I find it tedious. It’s really
only any fun when you’re experimenting with it.”
Jansen (drums): “I find out that as I grow
musically, I start playing in an increasingly simple fashion. I know
very little about the technical side of drumming and I want to keep it
that way. I don’t like to talk about drums; I find the
subject boring. I’d much rather listen to them.”
Dean (guitar): “We deliberately put ourselves
outside of our environment. We find it difficult to adapt to a society
which, out of some sort of instinct, keeps destroying things instead of
trying to fathom the reasons behind this.”
Karn (bass and saxophone): “When you try to
understand the meaning of a painting, the last thing you would do is
ask the painter what he has wanted to express by it; by making the
painting he has already answered this question. We have been asked a
hundred times why we dye our hair and wear make-up, and what
we’re trying to say with certain songs; it’s all
about self-expression…you should feel what the artist is
trying to express.”
Barbieri (keyboards): “Right now I am focusing
mainly on synthesisers; at the moment I am more interested in sound
than in music; I think I will end up not playing music anymore at all.
Just sounds. But still a melodious kind of sounds, like in “Rhodesia”
on “Obscure Alternatives”. In
the middle part you just hear this whining Moog -sound; it’s
a solo, but it doesn’t sound like that at all, it’s
just atmospheric sounds. That’s what I filled the entire
record with, actually. Sounds, just sounds, I think can fit very well
into a song and appear as music, even though that’s not
really what they are.”
short, an unfathomable bunch which, through a musical ripeness
expressed on two powerful records, is winning many fans by means of
the group of the rising sound !