Artist On Artist: Mesa Cosa Vs Zoobombs
Mesa Cosa are such huge fans of Japan’s Zoobombs that they funded and organised the band’s latest Australian visit, including a support slot for themselves. In an overload of good vibes, Mesa Cosa’s PABLO ALVARADO got to ask his hero DON MATSUO about the explosive Zoobombs live show and the man's love of both blues and noise before their joint tour hits Victoria and NSW. Dates below.
Pablo: The first time I saw Zoobombs was a life-changing experience for me. I thought, ‘Wow, these guys are doing it right!’ I moved to Melbourne and started playing music all over again because of the energy that you guys had. How do you feel about the way that one concert can change a person forever, and do you have any similar experiences?
Don: As Ringo Starr sings, I can say it like this: "Yes, I'm certain that it happens all the time." Energy, I'm saying human energy, is the most important thing for human life. It can't be bought by money, can't be made by fame or any materials. It comes from deep inside. Energy is just floating in the air and all we can do is just catch it and funnel it through our body and mind like a straw. Playing and making music helps that activity. Not only music: any creativity could help humans get this energy. So probably the experience of a great concert was just the trigger to start our own life. I’ve got some examples: I learned lots from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, James Brown, Caetano Veloso on record. And I saw Stone Roses' first Japan gig and Dinosaur Jr. in 1990. Those woke me up.
Pablo: The energy you guys have on stage is explosive and dangerous but also fun and spontaneous. It is really fresh and has been fresh for over 15 years. How do you keep that energy and spirit alive after so many shows?
Don: I'm so glad that we don't lose our "fun" for music after 18 years. As you know, people need two things at the same time – solid, rooted things and change – for balance. It is very difficult to get that change by playing with the same people for a long time, but we strive for it. But music is much bigger than small human thinking. Music shows us unthinkable possibilities and leads us to a higher dimension. We start playing the same old song, but once we follow the music, it changes our playing and brings us to another place. It comes from inside and outside. It always makes us wonder and feel joy. And we think we don't know much about music even now. We are still having curiousness for music and interest. It drives us to do music.
Pablo: There is a great value in true entertainment for me. When our band is playing a show, and we are so stupid/noisy/crazy that people stop thinking about themselves and how they look and just stop thinking in general, I think that is the most important part. Pure entertainment removes the mind and brings everyone together. Entertainment = meditation. I believe rock 'n' roll can help create this moment. Would you agree?
Don: Completely YES. "Entertainment" is not in my vocabulary (it comes from English), so I can't get whole meaning of it, though. [But] doing music is like that. I'm so glad that you know such a deep feelings and thought. When I'm doing music, I concentrate on what I want to do now at first. That thought is influenced by other elements, like "Is it new for [the] audience or me?" [and] "Is it making people fun [and] excited?" Although, having said that, the most important thing is: "Is it good for ME?" Because we believe and know music makes us "GOOD." Once we continue to do it (for a minute or long years), we will know how to be changed through what we have done and [are] doing. That's the big surprise.
Pablo: This is not your first time in Australia. You have toured with Regurgitator and SixFtHick and others, as well as even lived in Melbourne for a while. How do you feel about Australian audiences and what are you most excited about seeing here? (Let me guess: the coffee?)
Don: We'd been thinking about going to Australia for a long time before we first went there. God (or music) gave us a chance to find our love, place and people. We love Australia. Audiences are no longer different everywhere; if people like music, they act the same way. But people have lots [of differences] at the same time, be they influenced by their society, country and [era]. Here it comes back to solid rooted things and changes. Those elements complicate reactions to music and of course make our music different. That is the biggest interest for me. But as you said, I like to have good food in Australia. I'd go to get [a] vanilla slice and coffee.
Pablo: It is clear you guys love the blues and also experimental noise. (What a great combination!) Who are your favourite blues and noise musicians?
Don: Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman. Through playing blues-style, as you know it starts very simply. Or I can say, because it is very simple, blues brings us deeper. As you said, like meditation. We are Japanese but we don't know much about "Zen." But I feel that blues brings us to some close point of Zen. And it's fun. The same thing can be said about noise. Noise contains everything, every sound. Confusion. And our world is confusion. Our mind too. So we can find something beautiful in noise. It's not ill. I think even noise gives us peace.
Pablo: What is it like being a musician in a rock band in Japan?
Don: It is very difficult in this economy. I guess every musician thinks so in every country. And we – Japan – have a stupid mainstream entertainment scene and most people like it. Stupid TV culture. So understandably it is very difficult to be an artist too. But in other ways, I feel that I'm living my own way, not others’. That makes me solid. Also, [many] music lovers like and support us for our music and activity. So we can play longer than we thought. I think we are happy after all.
Pablo: And finally, have you ever played with a Mexican/party/noise band before?
Don: That is one of our dreams. Thanks for making our dream come true.
Pablo: We're very excited to have you back in Australia. Thanks for coming. It's going to be amazing!
Don: We do our best. And can’t wait [to see] what kind of experiences are awaiting us on this tour. Make the music special. I love you, guys.
ZOOBOMBS / MESA COSA TOUR
Fri, Aug 17 – Tote, Melbourne, VIC
Wed, Aug 22 – Great Northern Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Fri, Aug 24 – The Patch, Wollongong, NSW
Sat, Aug 25 – Sandringham Hotel, Sydney, NSW