What is your name and role within Japanese Television?
Tim Jones – Guitar
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
We’re all in East London. Obviously there’s a fair amount going around here. One of our favourite venues is the Sebright Arms on Hackney Road, we supported H Grimace there not long ago, the sound is amazing. There’s great bands coming up all the time and tonnes of promoters doing their own thing. We always like playing for Roadkill – they do really nice all-dayers at The Shacklewell.
How would you describe your sound?
After our first gig – a year or so ago – at the Lexington a guy described us as ‘space surf’. We’re not sure what it is, or what it means, but we like it and we’re sticking with it. Plus, if it doesn’t really exist we can definitely claim to be the best at it.
How did you come to be influenced and playing the 60’s / 70’s soundscape?
I grew up being played all kind of stuff, from west coast psych like Country Joe & the Fish to Joe Meek’s weird instrumental bands by my Mum & Dad. I got into The Cramps when I was 15 and that sent me down the rabbit hole – rockabilly, 60s garage and psych. The Cramps are still my favourite band, they’re fucking glorious.
How do you approach songwriting?
It’s pretty egalitarian, we’re lucky to not have a singer, so no one’s in charge. We’ll all bring ideas to practice and fuck around. We’re all happy with the sound being an odd mix so no one’s pulling too hard in any direction. I reckon that’s what gives us a varied, peculiar sound.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
A band from Brighton called Squid, we played the Windmill, Brixton with them last year. They’re one of those bands that completely blow you away and piss you off with how good they are at the same time. I think they’ve got some new stuff out now/soon. Also – Brian Jonestown Massacre’s ‘Pol-Pot’s Pleasure Penthouse’ scuzzy sounding early demos with female vocals. It’s lovely.
How did Japanese Television form?
We’ve all known each other for years being in different bands, playing together and hanging out. We’ve put on each others bands, supported each others bands, and seen each other play a million times. At roughly the same point all our old groups fell apart and it made sense to come together.
What instruments/programs are used within the band?
Guitar /bass / drums, then Ian with all his noise making gear. We’ve got a Japanese harp, which is an odd little electrified folk instrument, it looks like a lapsteel with typewriter keys. We’re all running our stuff through plenty of reverb, delay and fuzz. Ian makes us pedals too – I’m running my guitar through a mosrite fuzzrite clone he made at the moment- it sounds huge. Alex (bass) – who does all our artwork too – gave it a fancy paint job.
Where and when did you record your recent self titled EP?
Our drummer Al knew Kristian from The Wytches from putting them on at his Fluffer nights, and had heard he’d done some good stuff for some other bands we know. So we all headed off to some village hall outside Peterborough in the middle of nowhere for a few days of pouring rain.
What influenced the sound of this EP?
Joe Meek is a big influence on us all I think. The combination of twangy guitars, weird noises and that organ/clavioline sound. Plus his infamous Holloway Road studio was only round the corner from where we all live, his shadow looms long. There’s a lot of Can/Neu! in our rhythm section too.
Please describe your recording process and the equipment used:
It was nice and basic. We set up our gear in different corners of the hall, and Kristian set up an 8 track tape machine in another. We’d honed the songs gigging them so we could record them all live straight to tape. We didn’t worry about bleed or anything like that, and luckily the sound in the hall was great. We ended going with the first/second take for most of the songs.
What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018 going into 2019?
We’ve got some really good shows coming up, Twin Peaks festival in Camden September 30th, then October 10th The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington, supporting Belgian psych band Bed Rugs for our label Tip Top’s 8th Anniversary. We’re all dying to get cracking writing new stuff, got some nice ideas knocking around for the next EP.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Uncle Doovy, the kosher ice cream van in Stamford Hill. His creepy jingle to get the kids out is so odd and catchy we wrote a song in honour of his weird tones. Plus he does a great ice cream.