Japanese rock band Rabutora have already got 3 fantastic albums behind them and a growing legion of international fans. Passionate, experimental and visionary, Rabutora’s live shows are an exhilarating experience for those lucky enough to catch them in action. LookBook360 bring you an exclusive interview with these talented musicians who first met in Tokyo in 2008, and are now on the edge of crossing over into something big!
What’s the Rabutora sound and concept about?
You’ll notice something unusual from the word go, and that’s the blues harp playing as a lead guitar. We are not limited by any existing music format, and we push the beats and grooves to the limit.
So does the band’s name have any significance?
[乱舞虎] Rabutora has a double meaning. One of them is the meaning from Kanji: 乱舞 means to dance wildly with rhythm or music. 虎 means a tiger. So our name is like 4 tigers dancing wildly! The other meaning comes from the pronunciation, which has a deeper message. 乱舞＝Rabu: [love] is almost the same pronunciation in Japanese, and 虎=Tora; The beginning of [Traditional] is almost same pronunciation in Japanese. So, our band name also means [love] sound and [Traditional] sound.
Who have been your biggest inspirations on your artistic journey so far?
It’s not a musician or artist, but “Minna no Uta”, a five minute NHK TV program, “Everyone’s song”, which has been broadcasted several times daily since 1961 to a huge audience. It’s different to bands; a producer is responsible for creating one song that doesn’t depend on the musicians’ talents. They choose the instruments for the required concepts, get the right musicians, and then arrange their sounds and performance. This is exciting!
Is there a message or impact you’d like to leave with someone who listens to an album orcomes to a gig?
Yes. We want our sounds to make people get up and shake their bodies, not just listen quietly on their headphones. Our lyrics are an important part of the Rabutora concept too. They give unclear inspiration and show new values.
What do you most like or dislike about the contemporary Japanese music scene?
We think it’s good that there are so many different styles of artists. But listeners are too concerned about other people accepting the same bands and worldview. It’s good that going to music festivals is popular, but it seems like a fashion in which the listeners don’t decide which artists they like by themselves. They want to like the same artists that other people like. It’s very sad.
Is multimedia a significant aspect of the Rabutora identity, and if so how?
Of course, any band needs to be thinking about websites and magazines now. We especially want to use media to reach people who are looking for their next favourite music and who don’t know us.
What plans do you have for the summer? Any gigs or new releases?
We’re looking forward to some music festivals in Japan in this summer. We might perform at the famous Red Bull Live on the Road festival, and Summer Sonic. And we will advance to the final qualifier of Emergenza Japan round at Shibuya O-East on July 5th … if we win we’ll go to Taubertal Festival in Germany in August. We’re also currently recording a new album that will be released in November.
What would you most like to achieve in the future?
We want to make sounds that reach directly into everyone’s hearts like children, shake their bodies, even if they don’t understand the meaning of lyrics. Youngsters can use our music to set the mood for a date… Meaning: “Someday when I fall like a flower/ Someone’s heart may I light it up” from the song Kusakanmuri.
You not only need to discover the Rabutora sound for yourself but you also want to check them out regaularly because they’re preparing some pretty cool colabs as well.
Interview by: Francesca Hector
Pictures by: Rabutora
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