After a tremendous success in the United Kingdom, Tokyo cyber-fairy threepiece PSYDOLL is back on the scene. On behalf of singer and keyboard player Nekoi, guitarist Ucchi and digital percussionist Uenoyama we talked to Cyber, the original voice of Psydoll.
THE DOSE: Your music has strong common roots with the European/US Goth music of the 90s. How much did this kind of music inspire you? What inspires PSYDOLL's songs?
PSYDOLL: To tell you the truth, the members of PSYDOLL did not know so well about the Goth subculture. Only slightly. Although the digital percussionist Uenoyama is the fan of Nine Inch Nails, he is not concerned with sound works or production. Nekoi, the vocalist of PSYDOLL makes almost all the songs and lyrics, then guitarist Ucchi arranges all the songs. PSYDOLL's sound images come from all around the world, from different times and places. It would be a big hint, though, that Nekoi loves 80's UK techno punk and Ucchi loves 80's New York punk music.
THE DOSE: How did you get involved with the scene and how did you end up starting your own band?
PSYDOLL: PSYDOLL was born in a place very far from the Japanese Goth scene. PSYDOLL was a mutation band in Tokyo. Although Nekoi was composing many songs, she was not blessed with an opportunity to actually make them into form. One day Nekoi discovered a band, performing strange music. Although the sound seemed to be 80's punk, the arrangement sounded like King Crimson and the drummer had a definitive metal style. This was the band of Ucchi - he played the guitar and he also was an arranger of songs. Ucchi also said he was crazy about Japanese manga. Nekoi thought this man is a little bit interesting. So she started thinking about a new band – what was to become PSYDOLL later on.
THE DOSE: What do you think as a band about the Tokyo scene? How strong and well-organized is it, what should be taken care of? On your website I see that you play at the 'bOOth' events in Urga, Shinjuku but I saw no other concerts. Why is that? Do you have a special connection to bOOth?
PSYDOLL: To tell you the truth, PSYDOLL had stopped all performance activities in Tokyo from the spring of 2005 to the end of 2005, Only stages were for the UK tour during the summer. PSYDOLL has returned to Tokyo again in December 2005 and found that the Tokyo scene was changing, making it a more interesting place than before...various attractive bands had appeared. The organizer of 'bOOth' is a man named YMOT who loves techno punk. He does not have a preference in a single genre at all.... If he finds an interesting thing for a band, he will accept it. Adhering a genre purifies the scene but pure blood makes a breed weak. He promotes the mixed breed, and PSYDOLL is a mixed mutation band, that's why we played there..
THE DOSE: Reviews about you keep referring to Blade Runner - although I see no connection, only the thing you write about yourself, that you are renegade dolls, similar to Nexus 6. Please comment.
PSYDOLL: Honestly, Nekoi PSYDOLL watched Blade Runner over 80 times and she cries every time over the last scene. Do you remember why Nexus 6 run away from the colony? It's very simple....they just dreamed about a normal happy life. Nekoi too, she just wants to live a normal life without noisy kinky J-pops, Coca Cola ads, hip pops,etc. Nekoi just wants to run away from such irritating impurities, that's why she started PSYDOLL.
THE DOSE: The biggest craze about Japanese entertainment dolls was when news about Kyoko Date was circulating on the world wide web in 1996.. but not much is known. What kind of virtual idoru are there in Tokyo now?
PSYDOLL: Kyoko was a very good girl but her joints were a little bit unnatural....... The production which made her was a very big one, but now they gave up and make another. Nekoi likes Max Headroom, "he was a handsome guy" she said.
THE DOSE: In the latest cyberpunk anime series, Ergo Proxy, there are dolls called entourage who accompany citizens. In Innocence (Koukaku Kidoutai 2), implants and cybernetic prostheses are absolutely normal to life. What do you think, how will that change human life? Where will the change begin? When will cyborgization begin in Japan and how will Japanese cyborgization be different from that in Europe or the United States? Please share your ideas with us!
PSYDOLL: That is a really interesting topic for PSYDOLL. When Nekoi was a small and sick child, the only electro-mechanical thing in the house was an electronic organ, but it was enough to become her best friend.
Human beings move according to the brain's electric signals. Feelings are interplays of a complex electric signal. So machines are humans' best friends. It would thus be a very natural thing if people carried machines. Compared with those living overseas, we Japanese love "moving objects that have no life" very mch. Sometimes we refer to machines, as "little miss", "mister" or "-chan".
In the old times the Japanese believed that even big stones had souls. From the Edo period, Japanese made clockwork dolls. Those called "chahakobi ningyou" or tea carrier dolls could walk and take a cup of tea when someone pushed a switch and said "kochira ni oide" (which translates like "come on") If that doll did not have a soul, then people needn't have said anything. Instead they talked to them as if they were human.. Nekoi thinks this is interesting. Her dad was a scientist for a company and sometimes he spoke to machines as if they were human. Nekoi then felt that they had souls.
Sometimes we see scenes in Hollywood movies in which people talk to cars or super vehicles. Nekoi loves to see such a scene.
THE DOSE: What are your favourite anime and manga of all times and what are your favourite anime and manga that were released last year?
PSYDOLL: Some works with which PSYDOLL was charmed were Tetsuo, Patlabor 2, Ghost in the Shell, Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, Avalon (this isn't anime but it's great), Evangelion, Metropolice (by Osamu Tezuka), Innocence, Appleseed… too bad there were no great animes in 2005.
THE DOSE: Little is known about your work in the Japanese game industry. Please, tell us, which games did you prepare soundtracks for and how did that music differ from the songs you write for PSYDOLL?
Psydoll: To tell you the truth, PSYDOLL has made music for three games, all of them were for adults. The PC game situation in Japan is very special – in this narrow world all immoral setups are permitted. All of the three titles had very cruel and dramatic content – similar to the movie "SEVEN". It was very interesting that the themes were composed before the tragedy was arranged. However, PSYDOLL thinks that those soundtracks were music by but not music of PSYDOLL.
THE DOSE: If PSYDOLL could create and release a game, totally under PSYDOLL control, what would that be like? What genre would you prefer, how would it play, feel, look and sound like?
Psydoll: Cyber action-RPG might be fun! Players are to become PSYDOLLs and run away from the common ordinary world. Sometimes very common characters appear in a hostile manner so we have to kill them all, like hip-hoppers, hippies, rockers, sexy adult girls, annoying superiors, healthy but cheap good-looking men, gram lockers, poodles, koalas, religious people, counsellors, lawyers… We could raise pet robots in coin-operated lockers and we would also need to find other PSYDOLLs to make a new manga world.
THE DOSE: Nekoi-chan, please, tell us about your involvement in the manga industry! What did manga give you in self-expression that no other style of creativity could give you? What do you think about the recent trend in putting manga to cellphones instead of reading them on paper, like tankoubon?
NEKOI: I draw some very stupid manga illustrations for J-magazines, for PC gamers, for example. If you have some time to spare, please check my portfolio. I also support a manga artist called Senno Knife. He has been drawing since the early 80s and he has a very aesthetic style. He draws in the basement and the manager in his studio is a model of a life-size skeleton, called Honeo-kun (hone means bones). Every December he becomes a Xmas tree with lots of electric lamps! Senno Knife had contracts with some companies that distribute manga to cellular phones or websites. I myself prefer books to digital, because I love to read manga when I am in bed – some people do not care, some do.
It is very good, though, that a lot of pre-pros (soon-to-become artists) can get a chance to release their works very cheaply, much cheaper than it would be on paper.
THE DOSE: How do you see the doujinshi manga scene in 2006, what are the greatest strengths and weaknesses?
NEKOI: A lot of doujinshi manga artists have been producing Moe-styled girls for several years. Almost all characters have veeery big eyes and smaller mouths, all of them look alike. But they are changing now – the characters' eyes are getting smaller and they seem more adult than before.
THE DOSE: What was the most over-hyped (that got too much publicity without deserving it or having enough merit or value) game and music in Japan recently?
PSYDOLL: The hobbies of Japanese people keep subdividing. If I was living in the 90s, I could pick up some titles pretty fast, it's much slower now – I'll try anyway. In games it's the Final Fantasy series and Oideyo doubutsu no mori (Come to the animal forest). In music I'd say SMAP, Hamasaki Ayumi, Crystal Kei, Yuzu, Orange-rengi, etc.
THE DOSE: How does a typical PSYDOLL gig look like and how would it look like if you could play anywhere on any instrument and in any costume you'd like?
PSYDOLL: PSYDOLL cannot say how their gig would look like. There are two video clips on our webpage www.psydoll.com, so please take your time and see them and feel how their gig would look like.
NEKOI: Do you remember the movie "The Fifth Element" with its diva from space? I want to make a dress just like that! I also want to have a pet robot made out of keyboards! I want to play with him, it might be fun. Gigs – gigs everywhere!
UCCHI: Various pieces of metal, machines breaking down, broken electric devices and such are set fully there. Ducts of metal of various sizes are arranged and cables are spread around like spider webs. A gloomy large stage. I want to arrange on the stage many comuters and a huge synthesizer with many connected cables. I also want to play in a makeup of monstrous creatures drawn on H.R.Giger's pictures.
UENOYAMAl: Where? On a tatami mat. How to play? Beating Japanese tea cups With chopsticks. What clothes? Haramaki and Steteco (Japanese belly band and half pants).
THE DOSE: What do you listen to, read and watch nowadays?
NEKOI: The book I recently read was "How to draw the chart of anatomy". The CD I recently listened to was "Monty Python Sings" and as for movies, it was "V for Vendetta".
UCCHI: Ludwig van Beethoven's "Waldstein-Sonate", Mind Hacks by Tom Stafford and Matt Webb. The movie was Tachiguishi retsuden, the latest movie from Mamoru Oshii, the director of Ghost in the Shell.
UENOYAMAl: I recently read "Order of Assassins" by Colin Wilson, the latest CD was "Deceit" by This Heat. The movie that I recently saw was "Syriana" and "Sharkboy & Lavagirl 3D".
THE DOSE: What plans do you have for PSYDOLL in 2006? Any new materials to release, perhaps a PV (promotional video)?
PSYDOLL: A PV would be very nice, we hope we can make one someday. This year we would like to make an overseas tour again, hopefully after summer. If your country is a beautiful place and has a good audience who is interested in Japanese robots and you know a good person who could promote PSYDOLL to your country, please contact us – PSYDOLL is always looking for places to play at!
THE DOSE: Thank you so much for honoring us with this interview. Do you have any final message to the DOSE readers?
PSYDOLL:Thank you for taking the time to read this – let's enjoy these wonderful cultures with PSYDOLL – We got the same eyes!