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Friday, Aug. 14, 2009

The Boom Boom beat goes on

Special to The Japan Times

Thanks to their jaw-dropping live act and the danceable nature of their techno-rock tunes, Boom Boom Satellites are one of Japan's top festival draws. Having already headlined the second stage at Fuji Rock in 2007 and with a clutch of foreign festival appearances under their belt, this year the band played high on the main-stage bill at Summer Sonic — their fourth appearance at the event.

News photo
Sonic staple: The Boom Boom Satellites perform at Summer Sonic 2009 in Chiba on Friday. SUMMER SONIC 09 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Japan Times sat down with guitarist/vocalist Michiyuki Kawashima (who kept largely quiet, owing to what appeared to be a sore throat) and bassist/programmer Masayuki Nakano shortly after their show at Summer Sonic's Chiba site, inadvertently making them miss Nine Inch Nails' set, just minutes before they set off for the festival's Osaka leg.

How was your show today?

Michiyuki Kawashima: "It was great."

Masayuki Nakano: "We've just got a new drummer, so I was quite nervous. It was only our second time to play with her — the first was last week at Shibuya O-East. It's changed our sound, and we're still working on smoothing it out."

What kind of audience did you attract?

MN: "We were on before Nine Inch Nails and My Chemical Romance, so I guess there were a lot of people who like heavy American music. We've been going for a long time, so we have quite a mix of young and old fans, but I think today it was mainly the younger ones."

Do you think some of those people were seeing your show for the first time?

MN: "Nah, I doubt that. We play at a lot of festivals, so I think most people have seen us play before."

It was still daylight when you started playing. For a band whose show is so reliant on lights and magic, did it feel different?

MN: "Yeah, but if it's light out, it feels more like a festival. I don't think it made a big difference."

Do you remember the first time you played at Summer Sonic?

MN: "I think it was 2003. We were really nervous, but we did our best! As the festival's got bigger, so have we, to the point where we're now playing the main stage. You could say we've grown up together."

What's the Osaka site like?

MN: "I prefer Chiba. The Osaka site is not very interesting; it's just like a huge parking lot. It's quite exhausting."

Have you seen any bands this weekend?

MN: "I wanted to see Nine Inch Nails. We'll see them tomorrow. I've been a fan for over 10 years. I saw them once before in Tokyo."

I'm gutted to be missing them too — it's their farewell tour.

MN: "Yeah, but they'll play again soon. Bands always say things like that."

You recently released a DVD of your show last year at the Metamorphose festival.

MN: "Yes. The footage from the show was really good; it had a great atmosphere. So we thought we'd release it. It was a really special show for us, because it was a dance-music festival and we played a different set because of that. Also, people dance better at a dance-music festival than at a rock festival!"

Have you started work on your next album?

MN: "Yes, we're about halfway through. It's dark. The songs and the mood are naturally getting darker and darker, so it'll be a bit different. I don't know how the other songs will come out yet though. We're extremely slow songwriters!"

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