On June 2, math rock band tricot dropped a chaotic new single titled INAI (いない) and was the featured track for new TV series, Curse of Spring (春の呪い). We gathered around the digital table to speak to the ladies about their new release and to catch up on how they’re doing.
How has the band been during the pandemic? Has it changed or given you any new perspectives or outlooks in life?
Kida: It’s been pretty depressing not being able to perform live, but because the amount of time I’ve spent at home has increased, I thought I’d work on my skills. I started studying music theory among other things, and started aiming my sights at new goals.
Ikkyu: Because I’ve been spending more time at home, I’ve been working remotely and challenging myself with new things. We’ve gone from getting together in the studio to make music to doing so completely remotely, so it’s even had an impact on the way we write songs! Also, because of the unprecedented nature of the situation, I saw parts of humanity in others that I wasn’t able to see before. I’ve realized who I should keep close going forward.
Is there anything you particularly miss?
Hiromi: Definitely performing live. Right now, it seems like we’re able to do so, but it’s not the same as before. The people who come to see us have to be very careful. I really hope we can all enjoy live music together with zero worries, sooner than later.
Yoshida: It’s really a shame that the opportunities to meet and speak with people have all but gone away.
It really is, but on the flip side, many people have picked up new interests or hobbies. Have you started any new hobbies?
Kida: I’ve always liked bread, so I bought a bread-maker and started making my own at home.
Hiromi: I started a personal YouTube channel. I stream sometimes, and play games. I’m not very good at talking when it’s just me, but it’s a new challenge and I’m having a lot of fun.
That’s great! And coming back to business, the band has been busy releasing constantly throughout 2020, and also now in 2021. There’s hardly a gap between this new single INAI and your previous single BAKURO! We think tricot is full of steam and constantly churning out new music. What keeps you motivated?
Ikkyu: The fact that there are people out there who are really looking forward to our new music is definitely the biggest motivator but I think I make new music because, more than anyone else, I want to hear it!
Yoshida: I think I stay motivated by maintaining a good balance between spending time listening to music from other artists, and spending time coming up with stuff myself.
INAI will be used for the drama “Curse of Spring” where the sister dates her sister’s fiancé after she passes. It’s a very socially intriguing storyline revolving around guilt and relationships. We listened to the new track INAI and instantly felt the chaos and mystery of the track. Please tell us about the overarching story you’re expressing in this song?
Ikkyu: We used “curse” as the theme, since it’s such a powerful word, but when we read the source material for “Curse of Spring”, more than the sinister image given by the title, we got the sense that it was a story overflowing with what it means to be human. A curse is something that lives inside a person’s heart, but we wrote the song keeping in mind that nobody is really cursed. The melody is really energetic and feels like it would blow a curse right out of you.
Was the song written first, written based on the storyline, or something else?
Kida: Based on the request from the producers of the story and the drama, we started by making the basic chord movements. After that, it went pretty quickly—we got Ikkyu to write the melody and the four of us worked on the rest of the song together in a jam session.
And how was the process for INAI from start to finish?
Ikkyu: INAI was a song made to go with a drama series, so the deadline was already decided and we did our best to meet it. I think because we had a time limit, we were able to focus really strongly on writing the song and I’m pleased about that.
Yoshida: I think we’re really slow when it comes to the production process, however, with INAI, we had the drama as source material so we were able to work really smoothly.
Can each member choose one part of the song they personally love the most?
Kida: I really like the sound of the guitar during the parts at the beginning and middle of the song where it’s just the guitar and vocals. I love adding effects to the guitar and making it sound like a totally different instrument.
Yoshida: When the vocals at the beginning end, where the intro begins. It’s something we haven’t really done up until now—music with such a gap between that loud sound and the vocals.
Hiromi: The baseline in the bridge is my favorite part. Rather than fitting together with the drums and guitar, it feels like the bass is just jamming independently. It’s weird but fits comfortably.
Ikkyu: The bass phrase in the second verse and interlude! That phrase is what really changes the whole feeling of the song, I think.
Would members usually watch romantic TV series?
Hiromi: I recently watched “Itaewon Class” and “Crash Landing on You” on Netflix and got addicted to them both.
Kida: I watch dramas, but I don’t specifically choose them for romance, I like an interesting story. I like plots with foreshadowing and revelations.
Let’s talk about your recent concert, The Silent Show “HIMITSU” at Namba Hatch OSAKA. This show happened in April this year and it was an unusual show with an intriguing theme of silence and quietness. Can you tell us about your own experience of being on stage at this themed concert?
Ikkyu: Before Corona, our shows were crowded in more ways than one, but this time around, having both the performers and the audience meet certain conditions like not speaking, it was an experience we had never had before and it really felt like we came together as one, which I think made for a very intimate show.
Kida: The audience couldn’t speak or clap their hands, so while it was a show with a live audience, we couldn’t really feel a reaction from them but, on the other hand they were able to watch us as we really focus on our performance.
You asked the audience to wear complete black and not to make any sounds. Where did this idea come from?
Ikkyu: Starting last autumn, we’ve been able to perform a number of shows with a live audience but we felt a sense of confusion and incompleteness on their side. So we thought we’d like to create an atmosphere that brings everyone together in a different way, so we held a show with even more restrictions than usual.
That’s intriguing. How did it feel like to perform to a silent crowd?
Hiromi: It didn’t feel like the audience had to applaud for us, and we were able to really concentrate on performing. It was fun putting on an interesting show for a crowd that wasn’t able to clap or shout.
Yoshida: It was so, so interesting! You could really feel the frustration of the audience—they wanted to move and make noise, but I think that let us put on a show that left a really deep impression.
Aside from the crowd, what was it like compared to a “regular” show? Any notable differences?
Kida: We put a different spin on the arrangement of songs we usually perform, and tried to differentiate it from a regular show. I feel like we managed to pull off a more conceptual show this time. When we performed, it felt really fresh.
Ikkyu: We had to limit the number of attendees, so the ticket price was higher in comparison to what it had been before. But we didn’t want for the cause of this to be Corona—we decided to make it an extra special show. We changed the arrangement for some songs entirely, as well as our positions on stage and our outfits which I feel made for a performance that you could only experience now.
Do you think there will be more themed concerts like this in the future?
Yoshida: I think so. I want to try more challenging concepts in the future—I have a lot of ideas.
Hiromi: When we decided on the theme of that show, I thought it was really fresh and interesting, so I’d like to perform with new themes in the future. Last time, we didn’t have any background music either so it felt very quiet. Next time, I think it would be fun to put on a show with as much noise as possible. [laughs]
Last year you released your first album with 8902 RECORDS, the newly-established label under Cutting Edge. Has this change in label created any fresh opportunities for you in terms of creativity you can tell us about?
Ikkyu: Up until now we’ve been working with a minimal amount of people (the band members plus one staff member) which left us shorthanded when it came to trying to realize all the things that we wanted to do. We only had ourselves to rely on for ideas. As the number of people around us grows, our inspiration has grown and the scope of things that we can attempt has widened.
Yoshida: I think it’s created a lot of them. We’re able to do things that we wanted to in the past but weren’t able to, and I believe the quality of our audio production has improved too.
If we could grant you a wish to make your wildest music dream come true, what would it be?
Ikkyu: To have it announced on the news in Japan that we’re the most listened to band in America!
Hiromi: To host a festival as tricot in Japan and overseas. I would love to have Japanese and international artists play at both.
Finally, please leave a comment for your international fans!
Kida: It’s still going to be a while before we can meet again, but we are really looking forward to being able to perform in front of you all again, so stay healthy and we’ll see you again soon!
Hiromi: Thank you so much for always listening to tricot! With the current situation, it’s a little difficult for us to go overseas but we’ll keep releasing music so please check it out. Once we’re able, we’ll go on tour overseas.
Yoshida: We’re working on some new tracks, so look forward to those. We’ll be going on tour once we’re able to!
Ikkyu: I was digging around the folders on my phone and realized it’s been 3 years since our last tour in America. I hope that everything calms down as soon as it can, and we can perform in front of you all again. Until then, even though we are apart, we’ll keep making music for you to enjoy!
We’d like to thank tricot and their management for the opportunity! Make sure to check out tricot’s latest single INAI which came out on June 2.