english > Takaakira "Taka" Goto (MONO)

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Takaakira "Taka" Goto (MONO)

MONO, a postrock band from Japan just released their new great album called "Hymn to the immortal wind". You could read a few words about the album and more from one of the band member (Taka) in the following lines...

Hello Mono! Congratulations for the great new record. IMHO, one of the best postrock album ever... Actualy you've created a brand new genre: we could call it... Symphonic Postrock! Are you completely satisfied with the new album?

Thank you. Yes, we are happy with the new album. We had a year break from touring so I could devote all of my time to the new songs. Writing the score was really complicated, and to be honest, I was worried about how it might sound with the real orchestra. But everything synchronized the way that I had hoped - especially the emotion of the live players. Hymn To The Immortal Wind compiles everything that we've wanted to pursue sonically for a while. Also, we could collaborate with our friends to include the short story and artwork. We are very excited to share it with everyone.

It's obvious that you've spent a lot of time in producing and tweaking it to reach perfection. How long did it takes to make such a record?

The song writing process was pretty long, as I was collaborating with a writer who was writing the story simultaneously as I wrote the songs. So the songs unfolded as the scenes were being written. I wrote each song like a chapter to the story and the members and I would get together to bring them to life. Writing the orchestral instrumentation also took a bit of time, as I am still learning new things about it. So I'd say the entire process took about 6-7 months.

"Ashes in the snow" main melody sounds like Japanese traditional music. Was it your intention to make it like this and how much Japanese tradition influenced you?

"Ashes in the Snow" was one of the first songs written. My intention was to make the song express the underlying theme of the album - the energy and movement of life, the universe. I actually didn't write it with Japanese traditional music in mind. The melody just felt appropriate for the opening scene. However, I do think that Japanese tradition affects our music more than we consciously realize it. It's hard to separate ourselves from a culture that we've been embedded in our entire lives. If not sonically, a lot of our emotion stems from Japanese tradition and history.

On the other side, "Silent Flight, Sleeping Down" and especially "Follow the Map" sounds like unknown movie soundtracks. Are you planning to go in that direction in the future?

Yes, definitely. We're hoping to experiment more with film scoring now. Film has always been a huge inspiration for our music - like Lar's Von Trier's Breaking the Waves fueled a lot of the emotion in our last album "You Are There". Even now, I always compose the songs according to a particular scene or story in mind, so it feels like a natural progression to venture into the direction of cinema.
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Who influenced you the most?

As far as sound, Beethoven and Ennio Morricone.

How "Hymn to the Immortal Wind" sounds live? I mean, there's plenty of orchestration and instruments on that record... I suppose you're not touring with the whole Symphonic Orchestra?

We've been playing the songs live now and we are happy with the way they sound with just the four of us. I wrote the songs so that they could be played with just us on stage. Although it is rewarding to play with an orchestra for the anniversary shows, we need to be able to play our songs by ourselves, because that was our intention since the beginning.

Could you compare "Hymn to the Immortal Wind" with your earlier records. In your opinion, what's the main difference?

Hymn to the Immortal Wind will be a bit different because we have been a band together for a while now and it is natural to evolve. After 10 years, we are more aware of our strengths and weaknesses and we feel more confident in taking risks. So for some songs on Hymn, we've experimented with a more complex, perhaps cinematic score. And while previous albums, like You Are There, may have shown a darker side of emotion, Hymn might be more uplifting as we felt that it would be best for these rough times.

Are you satisfied with Steve Albini's work on your record? How did you actually decided to work with him?

Yes, we are always satisfied with Steve's work. Steve really understands how important it is for our records to mirror our live sound as much as possible. When we work with him, it is minimal discussion and we just get right down to business. It's so easy to work with each other and this is why our recording sessions are so short - even with the orchestra. After he agreed to work with us the first time, we met him and discussed what we expected of each other. Since then, we haven't thought about going to anyone else.

Which band you've never been listening live and would love to? (including the dead ones, if any)

Led Zeppelin.

Have you ever heard of any Croatian postrock band?

Unfortunately, I haven't been listening to a lot of recent music. I'd like to make more time to though.

Where are you from in Japan? What are you doing when not recording or touring? Playstation? Cycling? Skiing? Sightseeing? Sleeping?

We're each doing something different. If I'm not touring/recording, I'm writing songs. We're spending time with friends and family.

My favourite domestic food (and also not expensive) is: ?

Japanese Curry.

You've been playing in Zagreb (KSET) but I can see that we're not on the new tour list... So sad! Promise me that you'll come again! Especially after such a great record...

Yes, we would love to come again. We will not forget Zagreb.

What are you planning in the future? Another masterpiece? Do you ever take a rest on the first place?

I didn't get much of a vacation during out year off. But it was worth it because this album is really important to us. For our future, we hope to continue our style and watch it grow, possibly some more collaborations, and even film soundtracks. We'll see what happens.

danko // 06/04/2009


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