Interview: Kawabata Makoto

The cosmic troubadour

Acid Mothers Temple, and its variations, is only the better known of the multiple travels of Kawabata Makoto through the world of sound. One of the most iconic figures of the Japanese underground in the last 30 years, he speaks, in a brief conversation with GPInformation, of his work’s body and soul.

Let’s start by your present work. In what are you working these days, both solo and with other projects?
I'm working for recording of Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno's (AMT & TCI) new albums right now. We also will be touring in UK & Ireland from 30th July for two weeks.
I'm working for AMT & TCI's live new DVD and new live album too. These live materials are including our new drummer & vocalist Pikachu, from Afrirampo!! I'm really looking forward to introduce her to all Acid Brothers & Sisters in the world!!

Having such a wide artistic activity, with all these different projects, what do you try to explore when playing solo?
All of my music has come from my cosmos to me. So, I try to be just like a good radio receiver and try to reenact this music truthfully to people. That's all...

Which kind of extra-musical experiences do you feel, while performing both live and on studio? In which way do you consider it to be connected with improvisation?
I always can receive and listen to music from my cosmos both live and studio. I don't consider anything, I just try to be a good radio receiver and try to play this music truthfully in each moment.

When listening (mainly) to your solo work, it is possible to notice aesthetic influences that can placed beyond the psychedelic universe. Which images and sounds would you point out, at this level?
What does mean that psychedelic universe that you mentioned? Anyway, I only care about my cosmos and music from there... But there's no problem that anyone feel and imagine anything from my music... Because this is music!

Is spirituality an important aspect of your work?
My cosmos and dreams...

Do your different collaborations with other artists reflect, in any way, the communal aspect of your life attitude?
I can understand what I have to play in each moment by moment, even if I play with anyone... My cosmos always teaches me what I should play...

After 30 years, is it easy for you to make an evaluation of your career?
Hummm... I'm not interested in any evaluation... Anyway, if I die, I really want that everyone who knows me will forget everything about me then!!...

Once we’re talking of the past, in which way do your early sound works reflect itselves on what you’re developing nowadays?
I think that there was only just one difference... At the time, I had not enough technique on playing instruments and not enough sense to understand music from my cosmos...

It is curious to see how you do produce sound from non-conventional sources, like clothes zippers, as you’ve recently done at the Akaten show in Lisbon. What’s you vision on what can be considered as a musical instrument?
First than all, I have to explain one thing: I'm not an official member of Akaten. Akaten are Ruins drummer Yoshida and AMT & TMP U.F.O.'s bassist Tsuyama. On their last tour, Tsuyama couldn't come (because he got a very serious illness just before the tour), so I played instead of him... But, of course, between Tsuyama and I we had some different ideas for playing even the same instruments, like pet bottle...
When I started my music, in 1978, I didn't have any instruments... So, I had to make instruments by my hands... I don't care about any instruments... I'm only interested in sounds. So, if I hear some sounds that I've never heard before, from my cosmos, then I have to find instruments what can reenact these sounds truthfully... It means that there is the possibility that anything can be an instrument for me.

Nuno Loureiro
(interview + photos)

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