rock/punk jazz - Osaka, Japan

fujiseki, singer and guitarist of eseroman, answers to our questions.

Could you introduce the group and its members?
fujiseki: eseroman comprises four members: Junkichi and myself are the singers of the group and also drummer and guitarist, respectively. Then there's Asakichi on bass and NONANN on trumpet. The group formed in Osaka in 2002.

What's the meaning of the name eseroman?
fujiseki: I think it's a little difficult to explain the meaning of this word to foreigners. "Ese" can translate to "false", "pretense", "counterfeit" or "imitation." But we're not using this term in a pejorative sense. "Roman" refers to the good old atmospheres of Japan, as a place with a sort of weightless, positive feeling. We also considered the shapes of the Chinese characters, simply the aesthetics of it. Basically, "eseroman" doesn't have a really profound significance.

How did you start doing music and how did you create the group?
fujiseki: At the beginning, Junkichi and our old bassist were part of a Ruins copy band. When the group members changed, we started composing our own pieces, little by little.

Your music sounds like a fusion of multiple influences: rock, pop, punk, reggae, jazz... How would you define your sound?
fujiseki: We're not looking to inscribe ourselves in a sort of defined genre. I think we're just a synthesis of the different influences that each of us brings to the group. We're all in other groups too, be it hardcore or soft rock. That probably comes out in the music of eseroman.

So you started out as a copy band of Ruins. We can always talk about a certain zeuhl influence in your music. What are the elements you're interested in?
fujiseki: Namely the melodies, particularly the structure of the pieces we like, from groups like Magma. I think there's also something unique about zeuhl, in the way the different instruments are put together. I listened to Ruins particularly when I was a student, and I went to see them in concert I don't know how many times.

According to the interview you did with the Japanese magazine Jungle Life last fall, you're really into horror films and B movies, and these are part of your inspiration for writing the lyrics of your songs. What are the films that affected you the most?
fujiseki: I really like George A. Romero's Zombie. I also like Peter Jackson's Braindead and Bad Taste, Evil Dead by Sam Raimi, and Starship Troopers by Paul Verhoeven. The list goes on.

And outside of films, where do you find your inspiration?
fujiseki: Definitely in the concerts we go to, and the CDs we listen to.

The album elenpywo came out in June. What can you tell us on that subject?
fujiseki: Following the departure of one of our members - a guitarist and singer - we spent the whole year composing music, without doing concerts. Then we had the opportunity to put out an album under the label gyuune cassette. I won't go as far as to say elenpywo is progressive rock, but we did our best to put forward a certain groove, a certain agitation, but without having the changes in rhythm get too brutal. Silliness and humor come out in the different songs of the album too. That probably comes from our interest in horror and science-fiction.

Could you also tell us about your first album? There's actually not much information circulating on that subject.
fujiseki: It's a CD we produced ourselves, when our old guitarist and singer was still with us. Actually, the album came out sounding completely different from how we expected. We sort of insisted on going the cheap way. When I hear it now, I tell myself it's really insignificant (laughs). I'm not too satisfied with it.

The PV for Giga Taishou was directed by Miyamoto Moriro. How did you meet him and how did this idea to do a montage of shots from Western films come about?
fujiseki: It was the label that put us in touch with Moriro. The montage idea came from him. He made the video using hundreds of rightist liberal films, which he saw and edited himself. That was really a titanic effort. We really recognize him for that; the video's great!

Will you keep on doing PVs in the future? If you could do any kind of video, what kind would you like to do?
fujiseki: We can't predict anything at the moment. But if we were going to do another video, we'd like to do one with a sort of horror or sci-fi orientation!

The underground scene in Osaka is very creative and dynamic. Do you think this particular energy benefited you?
fujiseki: We've been playing in Osaka for almost eight years, so certainly that city's influence on us is immense. There's a lot of interesting guys there, of the same generation as ours.

Which groups in Osaka do you especially like?
fujiseki: There's so many, it's difficult to name them, but we really admire groups like Djamra and motor humming, who've been active since we formed eseroman. By the way, Djamra is distributed by a French label, Musea. There's also Oshiripenpenz and Outdoor Homeless. We've liked them for a long time and we get along well with them. And we adore Yoshida Yasushi. He's not making music anymore, but he was in SUSPIRIA and SPASMOM.

Could you tell us about your lives? For example, do you remember your first concerts?
fujiseki: I don't really remember them. Recently we played in Fukuoka and that was excellent. The audience was warm and sincere, a bit like Osaka really.

Thank you for giving us some of your time today. To finish up, could you say a few words to people who will be buying your album in France?
fujiseki: I never thought the day would come when we would be sold in France. And one of these days I'd really like to play there, so if one of you would like to invite us, please do it!

December 2009

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