Interview : Japanese Voyeurs



God is in the TV’s Joseph Coyle caught up Romily Alice (Vocals), Johnny Seymour (Bass), Steve Wilson (Drums) from London’s visceral blood curdling rock quintet Japanese Voyeurs.

Social networking is a necessary evil

Romily. Social networking for a band or artist is pretty vital these days
Steve : Yeah, it is now unfortunately you have to play the game.
Romily : I think that when it comes to people taking time out to write about what you are doing that is always awesome but using twitter and that kind of stuff. We generally wouldn’t go for that if we didn’t have to. Personally I don’t want to know what the bands I like are doing on a Sunday afternoon. I want to hear the records and get the occasional interview. My worry is that people will get over saturated by it and everything becomes really boring. So as a band we try to straddle the line between doing what we have to and force feeding our fans with the mundane

Albums are important.

Johnny : We have done a couple of free downloads of taster songs but that’s more with the view of getting people to buy the album.
Steve : An album is how we like to buy music. It’s the package which is important. Its nice to have an album with artwork and everything else as opposed to a digital download that you cant see or feel.
Johnny : Release dates were more important in the past. I remember when I was younger waiting for the release date and going down to the record shop on the day it came out. It was more of an event.
Romily: The thing is I don’t think people have inherently changed. They still would get satisfaction from that. Downloading becomes a habit. We are hoping if we put a lot of time into artwork and try to do physical stuff as often as possible. we love to make something as a band and send it out to people. I guess that is our way of trying to show people that we care and put time and effort into it and hopefully our fans respond to that. Buy an album it’s a nice thing. Hold it in your hands.

Dictatorship or a democracy?

Johnny : In terms of internally within the band?
Steve : As long as every member of the band is happy with the way it works then that is the most important thing. If it’s a dictator and the rest of the band are happy with it that way everything is fine.
Romily : There is a lot of scope in-between. There are times when everyone has the same amount of creative input but someone is more vocal about the making the final decisions. I agree with what Steve said, As long as everyone is happy and is feeling like they are heard.

Musicial Creativity and Themes

Johnny: No one has a say in what we do. The only creative input we have is from the band and Producers and that is natural within a studio setting.
Steve : Getting Producers to help develop songs with us is as far as it goes in terms of anyone apart from the band having a say in the music.
Johnny : There is definitely a Japanese Voyeurs song identity.
Romily : We never talk about it. The music just comes from us as individual musicians. How we play, how we like to play that’s where the sound comes from. Because we aren’t classically trained its all instinctive and works for us. Sometimes we don’t know why it works. There aren’t any rules apart from what we hear and what we like. Lyrically with this album there are definitely certain themes that run through. Which is why we chose the album title we did (Yolk). Even though its not a track name or a word that’s mentioned anywhere on the album. The title seemed to encapsulate themes of growth, birth, evolution and the more animal side of living which is something that I like writing about. Those are things I am fascinated with. Those kind of things don’t just happen when you are young. Whatever age you are you still feel that you are going through a process of growing. rebirth and finding who you are. Not only in a spiritual sense but in a personal sense.

Creating a brand identity.

Romily : Brand… that’s a dirty word isn’t it? Artwork is fun and something we all have a lot of time for . Its a cool challenge to find something visually that represents the music. I don’t think that we have ever though that being a brand .
Johnny : It comes band to the download thing. If there wasn’t a brand or a theme then people wouldn’t buy into us as a group. The pictures enhance the music.
Romily : It’s nice to feel that you are getting a whole rounded thing. We don’t think of things in commercial terms or more record sales if we do a certain thing. People have always struggled to know what kinds of bills to put us on. Either we are too heavy or not metal enough. The Rock Sound Exposure Tour was a real treat cause you would listen to the other bands and get excited by there music.
Steve : The Xcerts are fantastic. I got a bit disillusioned with music before I started touring with them. They have made me excited about music again.
Romily : It was definitely fulfilling being on the Rock Sound Exposure Tour. Seeing bands you love every night.
Steve : We have had some really lazy promoters in the past. Obviously we have a girl in the band and they think lets put them on with other bands with girls in them. No matter if the other band is stylistically similar to us or not.

Enthusiastic fans

Steve : The fans are the most important people. We have all the time in the world for someone who wants to talk to us. The fans by your records and come and see you live. There was a guy the other night at one of our gigs, definitely not a fan but had a very enthusiastic reaction.
Romily : The guy was so upset by our music . He said we were the most obnoxious, boring , pretentious rock band he had ever seen and that we were flying in the face of art.
Steve : And everything which was wrong with art.
Romily : He was kind of amazing. It was phenomenal this guy waited around and was so upset.
Steve : you could see his anger physically. Its the emotional reaction you aspire to as a band whether it be positive or negative.

Guitar music is dead?

Steve: A place seems to be developing , a middle ground where we fit quite nicely.
Romily : we never expected this to be honest. I remember when we first started playing Japanese Voyeurs stuff together. We spent all summer in this rehearsal space and we had a different manager then and at the end of us playing all the stuff to him, he put his head in his hands and was like “what are you doing”. That made us quite defiant . We know this is what we want to do. At the moment its a real affirmation of sticking to our guns and making the kind of music that we want to make. We don’t even think about charts. We have never expected to make the charts.
Johnny : We will never be that top 40 band.
Steve: If you spent all your time worrying about the music industry falling apart you would just quit. I would rather concentrate on us as band and our future.
Romily : I think that there will always be a space for good music in peoples lives.

The Japanese Voyeurs new single Get Hole is out April 18th.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.