Formed in 1996, at Osaka University, Galactica Magnum changed their name to Aeronauts in 2003. Rooted in hard rock, emo, alternative and new wave Aeronauts‘ rock style is defined by both a smooth and unrefined garage-rock sound. Aeronauts‘ contrasting musical style may seem to be a contradiction in terms, but these contrasts are what sets this band apart and inspires fans to describe Aeronauts‘ music as defining the word indie.
Aeronauts have the distinction of being the only band I have ever recommended twice – Once in 2005, and again in 2011. The band has released 4 singles and 4 albums to date, with all four albums I AM O.K. (2011), ReadyMade (2009 ), RIDE (2006) and WASH (2004) available at bandcamp. I recently had the pleasure to interview vocalist and guitar player Gendai Matsuyama, guitarist Tomowo Morikawa, drummer Ieyasu Kitade and bass player Arata Ikemoto about Aeronauts’ origins and changes in recording music.
Please introduce yourself?
Hi! We are Aeronauts, working in Tokyo. A unique Indies rock band – Our 4th album I AM O.K. was released in March 2011.
Who are the members of Aeronauts? And what instruments and brands of instruments do they play?
Gendai Matsuyama: Vocal and Guitar – Fender Telecaster (Customized), VOX AC-30.
Tomowo Morikawa: Guitar and Chorus – Fender JazzMaster (‘66), Fender Tweed 50w Hand wired Customize.
Ieyasu Kitade: Drums – DW classic series, snare LUDWIG LM400, cymbal paiste2002 mainel etc.
Arata Ikemoto: Bass and Chorus – Electric Bass SoundTrade (Jazz Bass Model).
Aeronauts are very unique — How did the band come about?
Thank you. Aeronauts formed in the music community at University in Osaka, 15 years ago. We didn’t anticipate becoming Rock Stars, and that hasn’t changed. But since 1996, the members of Aeronauts have been the same.
Who or what inspired you to pick up your first instrument and how old were you?
Gendai (Vocal): I was 10. Under the influence of big brother I began to listen to American music. I only listened to sound tracks of “Foot loose.” When I was 15, I bought a guitar for the first time. I thought people that played in a band were the coolest!!!
Morikawa (Guitar): I was 13 and a PC Nerd! I wanted to be popular with girls. But, I thought I couldn’t play the guitar. So, I practiced playing the guitar very very hard! Even now, I am a nerd. Am I good now?
Ikemoto (Bass): I was living my life in a high school dormitory. In my friend’s room there was a bass guitar. I began to practice the bass guitar learning the scores of the BLUE HEARTS and L.A GUNS.
Kitade (Drums): In my high school days, rock bands were fashionable for me. Those days, Bon Jovi visited Japan. I was addicted to them and I thought that a drum was the smartest thing. Big brother played the electric guitar, so I came to listen to American and British rock music.
Remembering back to Aeronauts’ first time in front of a live audience, what comes to mind?
I hardly remember, but it hasn’t changed for me even now. The greatest band performance! And I feel it!!
What has been Aeronauts’ greatest triumph as a band? And biggest challenge?
Fundamentally, my style is a repetition of creation and destruction. So, I am not very interested in my triumph.
It is very important that I get more people to hear our sounds – And I keep working on that! Simple things are more difficult. But when they are done, I have a feeling of great pleasure.
If the whole world were listening, what would you play and why?
I would perform and do my best as usual. Almost all artists would I think. It is mistake to change the way you perform, whether there are many or the audience is just a few. Always, do I like to make a lot of people happy with our music.
What is your favorite Aeronauts’ song to perform live? Why?
“PERFECT” (I AM O.K)
It is rock right now, but in the future who knows.
How have your recording processes changed/stayed the same since WASH was released, and your latest album I AM O.K.?
The plight of the music industry in Japan stands at reducing recording costs, this issue is very important to any band. With the albums WASH and RIDE, we were recording and depending on the label using inadequate budgets. The label went bankrupt and we learned many things.
In our work on the latest album I AM O.K — we cared about the studio being good, teamplay with the engineer, they understanding the direction we wanted to go, and one who produced a good sound.
Right now almost everyone listens to music through MP3s and recording equipment (that it is expensive and crazy) is not important. It is more important to use the method of recording that is cheapest and can make a profit, so that more music can be created. I think this issue is very important for Indie bands in Japan to recognize.
What are fans going to hear on the new album I AM O.K. out 2011/03/04?
Gendai (Vocals): I want the person who loves rock to hear it! And I want you to feel each sound.
Morikawa (Guitar): When you hear it, you will understand. If you don’t hear it, you will die!
What does 2011 hold in store for Aeronauts?
It may not be different from the current situation. Or, there may be many concert offers. It’s not only 2011.
I would also like Aeronauts to perform in the land where the FENDER guitar was born!
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans all over the world?
I am truly thankful to the fan that comes to our concerts. It is indescribable, and I want people who have not seen us yet to please come to the venue. Then, you will feel our music.
Although a CD is fantastic, I really want you to see our show!! Because Aeronauts is a live band! Each live is different, and the same song maybe completely different at the next live.
Drink a lot, enjoy and be loud together!
I would like to thank Aeronauts: Gendai Matsuyama, Tomowo Morikawa, Ieyasu Kitade and Arata Ikemoto for their participation in this interview.
~Denise Smith (interview 2011.10.01)