LITE – Interview at ArcTanGent

Before any band took the stage at ArcTanGent 2015, NoiseSpeaks sat down with guitarist Nobuyuki Takeda to talk about the festival and future plans.

Welcome back to ArcTanGent, LITE appeared last year, is everyone excited to be back? How was last year’s festival?

Takeda: Yeah, very much. Last year was the first time to play a show at ArcTanGent. We didn’t expect this kind of awesome new festival, where people are so kind to us and going crazy all the time. I thought it was just a crazy festival.

Are you staying the weekend to enjoy the festival?

Takeda: This time? No. We have to go back after our set.

Back to Japan?

Takeda: No, we are going to play a show in Paris. On a boat!

Sad to see that everyone doesn’t get to stay and relax a bit. But, if you were to stay, which band would you be looking forward to seeing?

Takeda: I really want to see Deerhoof. I’m a big fan of them.

Last spring you toured the US, how did the tour go?

Takeda: Some big venues were really great because there were so many people. Big cities like New York and Chicago were packed. But some small cities were difficult, not much of an audience. But it happens on tour, and it works too.

So were there any particularly memorable moments?

Takeda: We took a Visual Technician. Sometimes in Japan, we take him with us to our shows. It works really well, so I wanted to show that to our US fans. It was really awesome for me.

Whose idea was it to make it a documentary?

Takeda: It was the band’s idea. Everyone’s idea.

The documentary, PAST 7 DAYS, is getting released on September 2nd. Was the goal of the documentary to commemorate the trip or was the plan to help show the Japanese fans that LITE’s music stretches across the world?

Takeda: Because we don’t have a singer and we don’t have lyrics. So our Japanese fans don’t understand how LITE are popular abroad. Japanese people tend to be more shy, while our fans abroad can be more crazy. So we took many memorable shots, and also shots of our relaxed time on the tour. It’s important for us to tell everybody about our foreign experiences. It affects the music, I think.

On the trailer for the documentary, there was one fan in particular, said that he considered LITE better than The Who, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. How does the band feel when fans praise you like that?

Takeda: We know him very much, and he knows a lot about LITE. But it’s kind of too much, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, you know? It’s too much. But it makes us happy to hear that.

I notice that the foreign fans of Japanese music tend to be very intense. It’s more than just liking the band, fans tend to obsess about the band. Do you notice this with your foreign fans?

Takeda: Foreign fans tend to be much more crazy than Japanese fans, but at the same time, they are so friendly and they have an open mind. There was a surprise when we first played overseas. The surprise was that the fans sang a song with us. This never happens in Japan. It made us so happy.

Will you be touring after ArcTanGent?

Takeda: No, not that much. Just one show after this one. We didn’t decide to tour. What we need is to release a new album, and we’ve been working hard.

I was going to ask about that. It’s been a while since Installation was released. I know life and touring can get busy, is there any particular reason there’s been delay for the next album?

Takeda: We really want to release new material that has never appeared before in the world and so it just takes a really long time.

What kind of hope can you give fans for the new album? Any updates?

Takeda: Some songs are going to be recorded in a few months in October. But the rest of the songs, we’ll be working on until next year.

What are some of the artists that you are listening to right now? And who are the bands that you look to for inspiration?

Takeda: So first, for inspiration, for us that would be Steve Albini, Shellac, and Big Black. I’m a big fan of them and their sound. Also, I found Don Caballero and Battles. Of course, I’m a big fan of math rock. I got into prog rock, too, RPM and Italian prog rock and King Crimson, of course. Now, actually I don’t listen to music much recently because I have not found a good sound for me to listen to forever. I’m just concentrating on LITE and how to make our sounds.

That’s a view I find quite common with musicians, that they are so busy creating, that’s it too much to also be active music fans.

So then, are there any up-and-coming Japanese bands that you want foreign fans to know about? Within parts of the Japanese scene are very close, everyone is always together and going to each other’s shows. Are there any bands that you want to help support and reach an overseas fan base?

Takeda: There’s a band called LOSTAGE (SITE), they are from Nara. They are quite a good band.

Do you hope to come back to ArcTanGent next year?

Takeda: I’m not sure, hopefully.

ArcTanGent has a history of having Japanese bands play. Who else from Japan do you think will fit in this festival?

Takeda: toe and Envy would totally fit. downy would fit as well, but it’s harder for them. They have jobs.

After the interview, LITE played an awesome set on the Yohkai stage of ArcTanGent. The always energetic foursome moved their way through material set to a stunning light show in front a large early crowd. Just like Takeda said earlier, afterwards, they had to pack back up and head off to Paris. The mentioned documentary, PAST 7 DAYS, released on September 2nd and is available for purchase.

LITE finds success in both their native Japan and overseas with their wild and energetic live shows. Their latest album, Installation, was released in 2013.
Fans of fellow Japanese bands toe, MONO, and downy will enjoy LITE. If you love instrumental math rock, you’ve probably already heard of LITE.

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