psyche break/"punkcyber" - Osaka, Japan

Hi Synzou. Could you introduce yourself and talk about your project YDESTROYDE?
SYNZOU : I am Synzou Nagai, from Osaka, I am 34.

What were you listening to as a teenager and how did you start playing music?
SYNZOU : I was listening to dance music! Stuff that sounded disco, like TM Network. I started playing in ninth grade on a friend’s Casio keyboard.

“DESTRUCTION is a tool for CREATION” is the fundamental concept in YDESTROYDE. How does it show in your music?
SYNZOU : First of all, Japanese like to develop concepts from antonyms. With “destruction” and “construction”, I wanted to push forward one of these japanese aspects. Then, the term “destruction” carries a very negative connotation in our contemporary societies. Conversely, within our fantasy worlds as we can see them in films, mangas, or animation, destruction is a decent suggestion. To me, recording a CD means to create an imaginary world where the effects and mixing would be its destruction. Take any sound and reshape it ; something totally new will come out of it.

What are your influences, be them musical or not?
SYNZOU : Mangas and animation. If I had to choose, I would go for mangas. This, and nature.

YDESTROYDE started as a trio before becoming a quintet in the first half of the noughties. What you were playing at the time was closer to the Boredoms or the Acid Mothers Temple, with sounds very different from what YDESTROYDE now offers as a solo project, more electro/breakcore. Could you tell us about how your music has evolved and about the identity of the project?
SYNZOU : I would say that this result was easier to achieve with the advances in technology. I think that the core of my music hasn’t changed over time, but I managed to produce exactly what I wanted thanks to the improvements of and the increasing ease to get to grips with computer assisted music. But I would not have been able to get to what I do now if YDESTROYDE hadn’t been a band originally.

So you reformed YDESTROYDE solo after five years off. Was it a hard decision to make?
SYNZOU : I did quite a few things solo over these years. I tried different projects but ultimately, YDESTROYDE was what suited me best.

The album SYNZOSIZER came out last spring, along with a very cyberpunk imagery. What was the composition process? What does it mean to you?
SYNZOU : I love punk, though I would use the term “music for remodelled humans” or “punkcyber” to put it shortly, rather than “cyberpunk”. As for the composition process, I find a riff that I apply to the guitar, the bass, the battery, and that I then distort thanks to the power of digital technology. I boil it, I crush it, and here’s what comes out. Whew! (laughs) This is punkcyber! Although I initially compose the punk way, look at the result. I intentionally made loops from my riffs. This is the way punk rock sounds in my head. The sound editing and processing can be done with a SYNTHESIZER, but add some punk and you get SYNZOSIZER.

If thanks to this album you could get an electronic super power, what would it be?
SYNZOU : Something funny.

For now you are the only artist under the label INVADER MAMA. How was it created? What can you tell us about this label’s future projects?
SYNZOU : Ask the label.

The PV of HISSATSU was directed by Moriro Miyamoto, an everpresent figure of Osaka’s underground scene. Tell us about your meeting and the unusual resulting clip full of vegetables.
SYNZOU :Moriro Miyamoto was part of my circle of friends back at the university. I gave him carte blanche for the video. To make something that has absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics is quite funny, don’t you think?

The musical scene in Osaka is renowned for its dynamism and craziness. Do you think that bands find there an energy not easily found elsewhere, even in Tokyo?
SYNZOU : That is what happens when envy, frustration, jealousy, push us to attack. I think this is typical of the culture in Osaka.

In March, you joined in for the SXSW in Texas, then you started an American tour. What memories do you have?
SYNZOU : The strongest impression came from the attitude of the audience, which has nothing to do with that of the Japanese. Also, it felt weird to hear my music - that I make in my room in Osaka - on huge speakers in the US. This is what will ultimately remain as the most memorable thing ; what is composed at home with the means at hands can be played everywhere.

Are there any bands or artists with whom you would love to work with?
SYNZOU : Katsuhiro Otomo, Atari Teenage riot, LFO, DUB, Marcus Popp d’Oval.

What can we wish you for the future?
SYNZOU : I started using Max/MSP recently to make something more electronic. I would also like to build a system to be DJ and VJ at the same time! I am going to make something that has never been heard before. And then turn it into something pop.

Any last words for the Europeans who are going to discover your music ?
SYNZOU : I am often said to be at the end of what I can do, but I am not going to give up so soon. It would be great if a new rock style could be developed from the music of YDESTROYDE.

October 2011

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