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Review + Q&A: Kevin- Aftermath (2022, Riot Season Records)

Who is up for me some noisy Can-inspired jamming with heavy angular riffing and some guy yelling gibberish on top? All of you, right?! Right!???

Good, because KEVIN from Japan is here to give it to you.

Heavily inspired by Damo Suzuki era Can, and his extraterrestrial vocal delivery, these three gentlemen definitely got their Kraut stomp going on correctly. On top of that, they have a righteous type of noise thing going on, and they don’t ever shy away from being genuinely weird and impossible to pigeonhole.

Better check that jazz out for yourselves!

I had the honor to talk with drummer Yuichi Umemoto from the band, who did a great job answering my questions…

How are you doing? Can you tell me how the past couple of years have been for you as musicians in Japan? 

Due to COVID-19 and other factors, the days spent only in the confines of Japan were tedious. We wanted our music to cross borders and reach people all over the world as soon as possible. That’s why we worked hard every day on our live shows and songwriting. We are grateful that we are finally able to release our album to the world now.

Can you tell me about how Kevin was formed? And -most intriguingly- what does the band name stand for?

At first, four of us were invited by a friend to form a band. One of the songs we wrote at the time was called ‘Kevin’ and we named the band after that song.Over time, due to musical differences, the bass player left the band, and in January this year the vocalist also left the band, so we are now a two-piece with guitar vocals and drums.

How did you decide on your sound? What were your inspirations for the “Kevin” sound? 

The first thing that struck us was German music(krautrock). We were shocked by Can amongst others. Their human, dry, somewhat explosive beats shocked us. We took the explosive guitar sound of  Kawabata Makoto(Acid Mothers Temple) and combined it with an unprecedented ‘stillness’ and ‘movement’, which is the starting point of our music.
Kawabata is from Osaka like us, so we have seen him live many times and performed with him. He was also a big influence on us.

What are your musical backgrounds? How did you “grow up” on music as a musician and music fan?

We are brothers and we both learnt piano in primary school. That was our first exposure to music. It still helps us to this day. From there, we were exposed to various kinds of music, such as video game music and J-POP, which was popular in the early 2000s, over time. When we were in high school, we traced our roots to hard rock, heavy metal and punk rock, and when we formed a band and started performing live, we encountered psychedelic and jazz, which gave us an unprecedented shock, which is probably the source of our music today. We like any genre as long as it feels good to listen to.

Can you tell me about the role of the vocals in Kevin? I don’t understand a word of it, so any offered context would be very helpful of course 🙂

The vocals on this album have no lyrics. They were improvised and recorded. We hope you will listen to his voice as one sound or imagine what he is saying.

Do you feel part of a “scene” in Osaka/Japan? Are there likeminded artists you like to play with? Is there a club scene with regular shows, etc?

We feel part of the underground scene in Osaka.There is a live music club ‘BEARS’ in Osaka and ‘HELLUVA LOUNGE’ in Kobe. Mainly underground bands from Osaka play there, and we often play there. We play there with HIBUSHIBIRE, Mainliner and others.

What is your main inspiration to do what you do as an artist and release records?

We try to play what we like, the way we like it, without being restricted by genres or boundaries. We are happy if our live performances and records awaken something dormant in people all over the world.

What are your short term and long term goals for Kevin?

The short-term goal is to leave Japan as soon as possible and perform abroad. The long-term goal is to keep making good music and playing good gigs. This is more of a lifetime than a long-term goal.

Anything you’d like to add?

Thank you for reading.Please come see Kevin’s gig.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do exactly after this interview? 

Please listen to our records and come to our live shows.

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