Interview - Japanese Motors“How ya goin’? Fuckin’ oath mate… shit yeah!” is how I’m greeted by Alex Knost, the lead singer for Japanese Motors from Orange County, California. In Australia for shows with Vice Records, he seems to have been brushing up on the local vernacular.
Japanese Motors have a wonderfully simple aesthetic, their 60s pop melodies radiating with Californian sunshine and infused with the wonderfully irreverent and direct garage, post-punk attitude.
When we spoke, Alex and his band mate Nolan Hall were hanging out together at a friend’s house, practising and writing new songs for their upcoming Australian shows. When I think of O.C., I think large SUVs, Marissa Cooper, and Bleached hair and boob jobs not diy Vice-signed indie rock, but I think I’ve just been watching the wrong TV shows. Alex described a vibrant collective of musicians working together to develop a strong support network for independent production. “We all inspire each other and share ideas around all our bands, all fuelling the fire! We try to thrive off each other rather than Google some rare 7inch from London in 1972. We love bands from New York and England, but it’s easier to go to our friends house and listen to their record than try and find a record that no one has heard of before…”
“Me and Nolan loved music but we didn’t grow up with it… some people learn instruments really young learning instruments and grow up studying it, and studying the history of rock ‘n roll… we just listened to what we liked and we didn’t try to be introvertly indie-rock… we came to it late in the game and the things we thought were cool, was the simple stuff.
“In music, people try to make stuff that only certain people will like and grasp on to, its some weird socialisation thing where bands only want these people to listen… they do it purposefully so the average Jo listening to the radio doesn’t listen to their music. We came into it later, and were like “well, we like this” and a lot of that was easy to pull off, like 50s and 60s music. Its simple: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break. People have been doing that forever, like the Ramones and The Beach Boys… it’s not what chords you were playing, it’s how you are playing those chords.
“We’re trying to get better. But on a technical aspect… it’s not like we’re working with fancy machinery… we’re making do with what we have and trying to make fun with it!”
JAPANESE MOTORS - AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Dec 14 2008 - Club 77 - Kings Cross, New South Wales
Dec 15 2008 - Club 77 - Kings Cross, New South Wales
Dec 18 2008 - Clock Hotel, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
Dec 19 2008 - Alhambra Lounge, Fortitude Valley, Queensland
Dec 23 2008 - Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney, New South Wales
Japanese Motors Self-Titled debut album is out now through Vice records.
Michaella Solar March for Groupie Magazine
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