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BORIS Heavy Settings


Japanese trio Boris hit the Rosemount Hotel on Monday, June 1, supported by Pissed Colas and Mt Mountain. DAVID JAMES YOUNG reports.

For over 20 years, the name Boris has been synonymous with all things heavy, noisy and abrasive – not only in their native Japan, but on a global scale.

It’s a reputation that is nigh on unshakable. They’ve been flagbearers for the brutal and the belligerent across more than 20 albums (including collaborative records) and countless tours across the world – so much so that there is a real weight to the expectations around each release that comes along under the Boris name. One would understand and empathise if this were a burden on the band. Boris insist, however, that it’s water off a duck’s back.

“We have never intended to change our musical styles intentionally,” says founding member Takeshi, who provides bass, guitar and vocals. “Some may feel we do, but we don’t. As long as it still means ‘heavy’ for us, we play whatever music style sounds great to us. There is a certain signature sound and music that only three of us can play, and that will never end.”

The band’s most recent offering is an LP succinctly titled Noise. Described by Boris as their “most all-encompassing effort to date”, it saw them once again exploring the greater reaches of the Boris sound via both sprawling compositions and blunt brutality. It also officially marked their 19th studio album in 18 years – an insanely impressive feat any way you cut it. As warmly as the album was received, Boris are adamant that the songs have become even better through playing them live.

“It is pretty exciting to see how our songs grow and are being developed with playing those songs in front of audiences and being accepted in an unpredictable way,” says Takeshi. “That feeling will lead a motivation to do a new one for us. We prefer to play new songs because we can show an audience our most updated sound and style live, and would like to present to our audience the latest one freshly.”

Despite this commitment to performing fresh music, one can never be sure what to fully expect from a Boris show, with literally hundreds of songs to choose from across their vast canon. Even when material is predominantly predetermined – as it was the last time the group was in Australia, playing the entirety of their 2000 LP, Flood – there’s still room for plenty more where that came from.

Takeshi admits that assembling what the band is going to be playing across any given tour is one of the more difficult tasks Boris face.

“Basically, Boris play our latest songs for the show – though it is pretty hard for us to decide the setlist,” he says. “We want to have both new and long-term fans enjoy shows at once. Boris have always tried to play enjoyable sets – not only for our audience, but also for us.”

The trio returns for a run of headlining shows this month, taking in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, and two nights in Sydney. Takeshi enthuses that Boris always enjoy visiting Australia, and that the relationship they have with the country is strong – hence why they’ve kept coming back for so long.

“Wata (keyboards/guitar)  was so happy when she held a koala and watched the kangaroos and the other animals last time,” he says. “Audiences in Australia look so excited… we can enjoy our own shows every time. We are all looking forward to the upcoming shows too!”

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