The band tricot has been pushing the envelope since their inception in 2010 – creating offbeat and exciting music that breaks pop rules and touring the world with major bands. Their 10th anniversary album, 10 (pronounced jyuu), was released last year to rave reviews, and their latest single いない (INAI) has just been released on June 2nd.
We catch up with the surprisingly down to earth band members, Ikkyu, Yoshida, Hiromi and Kida as they look over their long history, and their future dreams.
You’ve been described with lots of different terms, Alternative Rock, Math Rock, Indie Rock, Post Rock etc. How would you describe the music of tricot to an alien?
Ikkyu: I’ve been playing in this band for 10 years, and I still have no idea! Sorry!
Yoshida: I think that always come up with more and more alternative ideas.
Tell us about how you came up with your new single いない (INAI), and what it means to you.
Ikkyu: I wrote this song as the theme to the TV show Haru no Noroi (curse of spring). With tricot’s signature quick progressions and developments, I was conscious that the hook had to cut through all of that. If you look at it generally, the theme of the lyrics is the curse, but I’m singing about how it’s actually beliefs within people’s hearts.
You came from very different musical backgrounds – what was it like making music together when you started? Did you have any plan for the kind of music you were going to make?
Ikkyu: Not just with the band, but in any situation I love the chemical reaction that happens when I meet people with very different characteristics. But with tricot, I think that actually the members had relatively similar sensibilities, so even though we didn’t have any problems, but Yoshida joining the band was a tuning point for us.
Yoshida: I feel like it’s fun to play loads of different genres, and bash them all together. But it’s simple to just make it indecipherable, so you can’t go totally overboard and forget that in the end you’re creating a pop song.
10 years is a long time in music, let alone with the same band! What have you learned in this time?
Hiromi: In the beginning, when we used to travel from Kansai to Tokyo to play gigs and we had no money it was pretty tough. In order to stay there as cheaply as possible, we used to stay in rooms in Manga Kisaten where we couldn’t turn out the light, or stay together in cheap love hotels, or go for 3 days without bathing because we had gigs on 3 consecutive nights.
Kida: There are so many that I can’t list them all, but when our transport broke down on the motorway during our European tour, or the time we were travelling around in Slovakia on the Red Bull Tourbus and we’d play our shows from on the top of the bus.
In your album 10, you challenged yourself to create an unheard tricot sound. What is your challenge for your new music?
Ikkyu: I usually focus on each individual word, melody and style of singing, but when it comes to creating a new record, I am always challenging myself to level up into a new version self every time.
Yoshida: I was thinking that I wanted to create a sound which you couldn’t tell whether it felt old or new. So, it’s a retro sound, but not from now, in the future it would be considered retro… I want to make songs that are definitely pop songs, but have a bit of discomfort to them.
What do you recommend doing for anyone visiting Kyoto/Shiga/Kansai?
Hiromi: If you visit Kyoto, all the regular temples are nice, but it’s also nice to wander around places like Karasuma Oike or Nijyo. I used to go there all the time as a student, there’s a nice atmosphere to those streets and lots of lovely shops.
Kida: Kyoto has lots of ancient temples and shrines, so I would probably recommend going to see them. Kiyomizu and Kinkakuji are the famous ones. In Shiga we also have Hieizan Enryakuji and Ishiyamadera, but I would suggest Koka Ninja Village. You can experience real ninja training!
You previously toured in Europe and America, which band would you love to tour with?
Ikkyu: covet, tUnE-yA-rDs, System Of A Down. covet and tUnE-yArDs are huge musical influences so I think it would be really inspirational to tour together. For System Of A Down, I’m just a lifelong fan.
Yoshida: snarky puppy – I just love them. TTNG – We toured with them in America and I really want to experience that band ensemble again.
Do you have a special message for your fans in the UK?
Yoshida: I want to make a noise in the UK atmosphere again! Come and join us when we can!
Ikkyu: It seems like overseas touring is going to be difficult for a while, but I’m dreaming of the day that we can play live music in front of you all again and using this time for self-improvement. Everybody take care of yourselves until then!
Hiromi: I’m looking forward to the day that we can play again in the UK! Hope to see you all soon!
Kida: Right now, the whole world is in a terrible situation with the coronavirus, but once we’re through the other side we definitely want to come back and play shows! Until then – STAY SAFE!
tricot will be with us before we know it, playing music to move our hearts and rattle our brains. The best thing that we can do is to make sure we’re ready for what they produce on the other side.
Purchase or stream INAI and follow the band on social media below! They are really active on social media and video sites, so be sure to check them out. Check HYPER JAPAN’s other interviews with Japanese musicians and follow us on social media for your chance to ask a question to your fave group.
Download and streaming links:
tricot ‘INAI’ music video:
Special thanks to Avex.