Interview: MONO New Zealand Shows

Interview: MONO New Zealand Shows

C.C. / Interview by Hiboux / Photo credit: Chigi Kanbe / Friday 6th March, 2020 9:40AM

Japanese sonic travellers MONO make their long-awaited return to Aotearoa next week, playing sure to be transcendent headline events in Auckland and Wellington, following 2019's release of their tenth studio album Nowhere Now Here. Currently celebrating their 20th anniversary, the celebrated post-rock / shoegaze team of Takaakira "Taka" Goto, Hideki "Yoda" Suematsu, Tamaki Kunishi and Dahm Majuri Cipolla will be supported at both shows by Pōneke's Hiboux, fresh from the recent launch of their cinematic sophomore long player Migrations. Hiboux generously took the time to pose a selection of questions to Takaakira "Taka" Goto in advance of Mono's first NZ events in five years – catch both groups in action at the following dates and scroll downwards for Taka's insightful answers...

Mono - Nowhere Now Here New Zealand Tour 2020
with support from Hiboux

Tuesday 10th March - San Fran, Wellington*
Wednesday 11th March - Galatos, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR*

Hiboux: What have been your impressions of New Zealand?

Takaakira "Taka" Goto: Nature and culture are beautifully harmonising and makes me feel calm. It's completely opposite to Tokyo.

On this new album MONO still sounds like a band discovering something for the first time. Why do you thing you're able to keep producing such fresh music after so long together?

We feel pure endless happiness when we're working on our music, more than anything in the world. The fact we can devote ourselves like this is truly the most satisfying thing in such a deep level. Of course, it is important to be able to achieve some sort of a result, but simply being able to forget time, focus and work on music are the most irreplaceable and precious thing.

Even now, we have the same hunger as when we were young. "This is not enough", "we want to explore deeper" and "we want to keep on moving forward" are our most important motif, not just for music, but to live.

With so many layers and textures, what was the writing process like on the new album?

Nowhere Now Here became a musical trail of all the troubles we faced as we walked towards our new chapter.

In 2017, because of our troubles and termination with our Japanese management and label, as well as our drummer’s departure, we were in a state of not being able to take one step. We didn’t have any of our schedule locked and we were all in the mood of "if it was a regular band, this is when they’d disband". We were really in the dark and couldn’t see anything ahead. We were in a crucial time of needing to decide whether the band should reborn or stop its activity.

In result, I left a story about regenerating from the pitch-black darkness which felt like “nowhere”, then through dawn, welcoming the new chapter “now here”.

MONO's well of emotion never seems to run dry. Where do the feelings come from?

I think music is something that can express things you can't simply with words.

For me, music is about going deep inside your heart and putting a light in that pitch-black darkness. While that is a very dangerous thing to do and if you make a mistake, you yourself may get sucked into that darkness and madness, but without doing so, I don't think you can express any true hope.

I believe the music that comes out of that process can pull out dignities from people as human beings, that surpasses nationalities, cultures, histories or languages.

What's your relationship with the western classical music; especially minimalism?

I feel a special spirituality in Classical music which Rock music does not have, and its minimalism is very close to how we actually think and live our personal lives.

People's personality won't change all of a sudden when you wake up the next day. I think life itself is minimalism in the sense that you are born and spend your days until you die, as a soul, and within that, there is a drama.

In Nowhere Now Here's 'Breathe' we hear some beautiful vocals from Tamaki. Can we expect more vocal tracks?

With 'Breathe', there was something I really wanted to tell with words.

In recent years as the band grew and more people got involved, we started to have annoying business issues which are completely far from creativity, and because of their egos, we got really tired to the point of not being able to breathe. From such an out of control situation, we wanted to express our determination "we're going to cut the past and move towards the new surface" with a song and lyrics.

When I told Tamaki that I wanted her to sing, she was very surprised, but I was convinced that she would be the only one who will be able to properly express these words by singing. As a result, her singing was more beautiful than I imagined. I feel that it turned out to be something that really echoes in people's hearts.

You have been together for 20 years now and touring has been a big part of that. What's a typical tour day like for the band?

I think what gives you the most influence in life is touring. By travelling the world, we're continuing to grow through experiences and feelings, not just as a band but as human beings.


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Tue 10th Mar
San Fran, Wellington
Wed 11th Mar
Galatos, Auckland

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