Praha DepartDescribed by The Japan Times newspaper as “irrepressibly danceable gypsy punk;” Praha Depart’s swirling, almost psychedelic postpunk groove signature sound is created by Mai’s rich vocals, the tribal intensity of Junpei’s drumming and Tsukasa’s multi-layered, almost psychedelic guitars.

I talked to Tokyo’s finest psychedelic postpunk Gypsies Praha Depart about the band’s recent Canadian tour, upcoming album release and European tour in 2012.

Please introduce yourself. Who are the members of Praha Depart and what instruments and brands of instruments do you play?

☆Mai Yano (Vo./Ba.); bass brand:Danelectro LONGHORN BASS.

★Tsukasa Kameya (Gt.); guitar brand:Fender Japan Telecaster.

☆Jumpei Yamamoto (Dr.); drum brand:Ludwig.

Could you tell me a little history of the band, and Praha Depart members’ musical backgrounds?
Praha Depart formed in fall 2004, around guitarist Tsukasa and vocalist Mai with our drummer completing the line up one year later. We started to play shows in Tokyo mainly.

As of now we have released three cds: Check! (2008), UOU SAOU (2009), and then Dot (2012). You can buy them at bandcamp.

We ventured first on a New York tour in March, and Europeon tour in Oct 2011. We finished our 2nd New York tour in March 2012. We’ll be touring Canada (Next Music From Tokyo Vol.4) in May.

We’re recording a new album now and intend to release it in fall, Following it up with a 2nd Europeon tour in November 2012.

Basically, our sound is made from Tokyo underground rock. In addition to Delay effect, Octave fuzz, Latin music, CAN – We’re aware of sounds that match the songs.

Remembering back to Praha Depart first time in front of a live audience, what comes to mind?
There were about 10 people there – including the players and audience. Anyway we were just happy to play for them and be on stage.

What has been Praha Depart’s biggest triumph as a band? Greatest challenge?
That we could perform at Tokyo Boredom in 2010, which is Tokyo’s premiere underground music festival and our 1st European tour in 2011. We gained a good deal from both of them.

The number 1 challenge was our 1st New York tour. Though we didn’t have bookings, we had already reserved the flight tickets. It was hard to put such pressure on ourselves, but after that, we realized that everybody does so.

Praha DepartIf the whole world were listening, what would you play? And why?:
We want to take you out through our sounds. Because you depart from reality and your heart is just traveling while you’re listening to our music.

Praha Depart are touring Canada in May – what is the one thing you hope to see/do there and what do you want to get out of the experience?
We want to face to Canadian audience as soon as possible. By using this opportunity, we hope to do Canadian tours repeatedly in future.

Let’s hear a little about your tastes not related to music — Could you name some of your favorite books or movies?
Movies:
Alice (long film) and Food (short film) by Jan Švankmajer.
Ghost Dog by Jim Jarmusch.
Cold Fish by Shion Sono.
Rockers by Ted Bafaloukos.

Books:
The Caterpillar by Rampo Edogawa
After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima

How does music affect you and the world around you?
The music told us; “You may do what you want to.”

What should we be looking forward to in the coming year from Praha Depart?
We hope to continue touring in the future and see you again in your country many times. Also,we hope to release our CD and vinyl outside of Japan too.

I would like to thank Praha Depart for their participation in this interview.
~Denise Smith (interview 2012.05.15)

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Praha Depart Live Report @ Anusaya