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BORIS Pink noise

Boris are no strangers to Perth stages. This Japanese four-piece has returned to take local fans on a journey that melds noise and art-rock with sludge, shoegaze, drone and more ambient tones time and time again. Now, they are back to bring their seminal 2005 release Pink to life at the Rosemount Hotel. JESSICA WILLOUGHBY chats to bassist Takeshi Ohtani ahead of the show this Saturday, May 20.

Since the release of Pink, your sound has changed considerably. Do you think the songs have taken on a new meaning, and even a new sound live because of this?

Pink at a glance is catchy, but actually there is a mysterious part to that. As far as the sound production and performance goes, there is ‘rock magic’ scattered about—this sensation of solving a riddle, even still now.

Pink also marked a beginning, as it seems from that point on the speed and depth of our pursuit of that ‘rock magic’ became faster and deeper than before.

How has focusing on these songs in a live setting again forced the band to reflect on the original material?

If we perform songs from Pink even now, still new discoveries and interpretations arise. After 10 years have passed, the way we create sound, as well as our playing style, has changed a great deal, as have we mentally. So if played now, there is no way it wouldn’t turn into our current sound. Therefore we’re always performing it with a feeling of freshness.

Upon reflection, what do you remember being the most challenging aspect of writing the original material?

At that time the state of affairs around the band were moving at an incredible speed, and it was a period when the pace of our production had sped up. However, we did have a hunch that something new would come out of it. It helps me recall the positive memories amidst the chaos. That was Pink.

The deluxe 2016 re-release of the album featured nine bonus tracks – called the ‘Forbidden Songs’ – all written from the same period. You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that these songs were not released originally because you felt certain “influences” were too obvious. Why did it feel right to release them on the reissue?

Even now they have a forbidden feeling, but there was something about those recordings that made us not want to release them at the time. As these 10 years have passed, technology has advanced rapidly. At the time what was ‘forbidden’ due to the sound source could now be restored to the quality that we could release, and I guess the parts we couldn’t look at objectively at the time also became permissible over the years.

The ‘Forbidden Songs’ came from a period when the band was working on four releases at the same time – Pink, Vein, Dronevil and Mabutanoura. How do you believe they reflect the nature or elements of these four individual releases?

The content of those albums wasn’t simply divided by genre from a single source of recordings, but rather it’s probably easiest to understand that each was perceived in its own image. Or, it’s like each album is its own documentary.

The sounds and songs are fragments that are shot and cut. Then they mutually become part of one big story. Instead of us consciously dividing the songs among albums, rather the songs tell us what albums they are meant for. The various aspects of every Boris album become as if they are part of a documentary.

Please think of it in this way; ‘Forbidden Songs’ are like the scenes that were cut from Pink.

Pink marked a time for the band when you really formulated the type of sound quality you wanted moving forward. How do you believe the nature of this release influenced the way you approach recording and writing now?

From around that time, we had already been self recording. But we would have done anything to get close to our what we personally desired our sound and image to be, so I think it was a departure from so-called standard recording procedures and methods. Whether the sound quality was good or bad became secondary; we became able to do what we wanted. So we were very surprised by the reaction and evaluation of Pink, but it gave us confidence that this is a good method for us. Now we continue with this attitude.

What has become your favourite song from Pink to perform live now and why?

I’d have to say the title track Pink, as everyone goes crazy when that intro riff starts. And then Farewell, I suppose. It was used in a (Jim) Jarmusch film and another one by a Japanese director. It’s a deep song that also has emotional attachment for me personally and, in this way, is a sort of masterpiece. I also think it is a song that has been nurtured by our listeners and audience. Up until now, I also think it is the song we have performed the most.

You’re also celebrating 25th years together this year. How do you feel the band has changed over time?

It’s kind of trite to say, but it went by in the blink of eye. Without looking back at what we’ve done up until now, as we’re always hungrily continuing to pursue new things, we realised 25 years had passed. That a strange band that sings in Japanese from a nook in the far east could last this long and be supported by so many listeners and friends around the world—I think it’s a miracle that we lasted this long. To say that we are lucky would be an understatement. In return for all the response we’ve gotten up until now, we will continue to move forward earnestly.

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