BABYMETAL Kami Band God Of Bass BOH was interviewed by DiskUnion to promote the debut album of his project with Mikio Fujioka and Yuya Maeta. BOH shares experiences from his very beginnings playing bass, his favorite bassists and songs from Kari Band's debut CD "Kari Ongen - Demo". Read the main questions of the interview translated below.
Bassist BOH interviewed on DiskUnion to talk about Kari Band's Debut CD
The unit composed by Mikio Fujioka (Guitar), BOH (Bass) and Yuya Maeta (Drums) started in November 2015 released their first Mini Album called "Kari Ongen - Demo".
From small venues of the scale of a few dozens to large arenas and stadiums considered the biggests in the world this band features the most talented artists in the world releasing their first album featuring original songs. "Kari Ongen - Demo" is composed by members who got the attention because of their Heavy Metal Gods characters along with artists like Calmera, Tatsuya Nishiwaki, ISAO, the pianist Ai Kuwabara created a Jazz Fusion getting the approval from fans around the world.
Our Music Magazine in May features an interview we held with Kari Band's BOH san. By coincidence we are born in the year of the dog and are from Asahikawa in Hokkaido so we feel like friends. I was happy by getting an instant approvation to make the interviw about Jazz Fusion and also sharing hometown talk.
Q: BOH san, when you were just a student you used to purchase instruments and CDs? When I (Harada) was student the only place selling instruments in Asahikawa was Machii Gakki. And there also a record store Kokuhara next to a Ramen Shop "Baikoken" in the basement of the Okuno Store.
BOH: "I used to go to Gyokkodo and Shimamura Gakki."
Q: Did you listen music when you were young?
BOH: "I actually didn't like music (Laughs). My mom worked as music teacher in an elementary school while my dad worked in a market and driver of the Asahikawa City Choir for the community. When I was a kid I used to go to the City Youth Choir Club and Music School so I kind of hated music. Growing up in Asahikawa things changed and I wanted to become member of the Force of Self Defence."
Q: Because the 7th Division of the Japanese Imperial Army was in Asahikawa in the past. Around half of my classmates from the Elementary School were children members of the Force Of Self Defense.
BOH: "In summer vacations used to go to mountains and stay there for a week or so with only rice as supply. Used to do things to get the survival feeling. However, there was a time when I went to a Culture Festival in Junir High School where my Senpai performed and a girl told me "Boh chan, do you play instruments?". At that time I didn't play any instruments so she said: "That's not cool." The fact is that she wasn't a very cute girl which made me feel more upset about it.. If she were a cute girl I would have been more moved but since she wasn't I felt upset than moved. Then turned into someone that "I will transform myself in someone cool", I went to a friend's house and tried a guitar. I felt this instrument with 6 strings and the chords work was really unpleasent. However, the bass in the other hand with only 4 strings was easier to play and you could look and sound cool with monophonic sounds. So I was pumped thinking "I'm the best!" and since that I got more into bass.
I think the first score of Luna Sea that I bought was their 'True Blue'. Then started thinking 'I just bought a bass but I'm already good as a professional. This means that the music gods are telling me 'must become bass player'. I was interested in Western musicians like Mr. Big and liked Billy Sheehan and the interest in the bass made me go even further wondering how "Marcus Miller was able to produce so amazing sounds?'. Then gradually led me in High School years to listen more Jazz and Fusion. Also at this time, my younger brother was into Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple and other bands from the 60s & 70s so I got influce from them too."
Q: The first band I heard with Billy Sheehan was "Talas". I labeled him in Katakana as: ビリーシーハン’.
BOH: From Mr. Big's best Album I also listened performances from Talas and David Lee Roth band. I didn't know of anyone who was able to play such insteresting rock bass. I was extremely interested to hear the differences when he played rock in suck endeavers as when he played with Dennis Chambers in that fusion band, Niacin. The first bassist for me to carry the phrase analysis was Billy Sheehan."
Q: What other fusion bassists did you listen?
BOH: "I was totally impressed by Jaco Pastorious. I couldn't believe that those sounds were made by a bass. I also liked Stanley Clarke, Jeff Berlin, Stuart Hamm and Nathan East. I later followed Brian Bromberg and also liked the vocals of Richard Bona. Also I was moved by the artist who one can say created the 6 string bass, Anthony Jackson. He calls it contrabass. His trio with Michel Camilo and Horacio Hernandez was absolutely amazing. I got tips on slapping mostly from Marcus Miller."
Q: Back to your story, after getting impressed by Victor Wooten and Billy Sheehan you finally moved to Tokyo.
BOH: "Since I was in High School I said 'in the future I will move to Tokyo and debut in my band'. My mother however said 'if you go to Tokyo and try to get into music doing part time jobs you will play with nothing to show', suggested to join in a Music School. Took the advice and joined the Music School of Aoyama in Tokyo. After entered there found that there was a good number of players (Laughs). Most of the teachers were studio musicians and was then when I found that there were other ways to living from music than playing in a band and that led me to think that I wanted to be a musician who could do sessions and backing bands performer.
It was a 2 years program and I went there to be instructor after the graduation. Soon started to get a lot of offers from outside the school 'could you play for us?', during that time I met Daita san, the guitarist of Siam Shade. At first I worked as supporting bassist for the unit Binecks formed by Daita san and Keita and then later said 'we are going to make our major debut and we would like you to join us'. So, I became member of Binecks at the end of 2007. I had low interest to making a major debut but they were my Senapis so I couldn't reject that. (Laughs)"
Q: When was when you started to play 6 strings bass?
BOH: "When arrived to Tokyo I was playing 4 strings bass, but a scary teacher at the Music School said 'Hey you will have to play 6 strings bass'. After the summer vacations I finished the classes and started again but still didn't have a 6 strings bass, the teacher got upset 'why you are not doing what I said? I told you to get a 6 strings bass. Get one and come back here.'
So I got a cheap 6 strings bass. I was able to play the chords making that easy to follow along with the classes and I was able to get music theories as well as studying the chords being able to what I did before. So started to think 'this 6 strings bass is looking good'. Also, I was told by a cute teacher 'since there are just a few backing band bassist in Japan playing 6 strings bass you will be able to represent the 6 srings bass in Japan if you work with it' (Laughs).
Since then I have been playing 6 strings bass. I have just one 4 string bass at the moment. I have been playing the 6 strings for a long time and got very used to it. It's very interesting to play with and also I don't get asked to play 4 strings anyway."
Q: On Kari Band's "Kari Ongen - Demo" one can really feel BOH's 6 strings bass playing. Also in "Chuku" and the tapping playing in "Ninja Groove" is amazing and the easy riff on "Snowflakes" is impressive.
BOH: "The origin of "Snowflakes" came from an idea that came out when I was practicing bass at home when I was a student. It was a riff from the Lydian scale that came to me when I was very into Steve Vai at that time. When you get into Billy Sheehan you always get into Steve Vai. I got interested in the scale that he used and is kind of hard to realize but I found that the Lydian scale was what he was playing.
I remember getting very impressed when I reached this really cool riff that came out during a snow covered Asahikawa. During the recordings I was repeating the scale more and more, and ended up being easy. The rest of the song I left Fujioka san." (Laughs)
Q: Kari Band's 6 songs "Kari Ongen - Demo" is titled as mini album, but their musical content and sounds are very dense. Even the cover is very powerful.
BOH: "Yes, it's an instrumental album that has the feeling of us the members who like Jazz Fusion getting together and playing what we want to play at that moment.
As for the cover, we said to ourselves 'lets go for a Japanese looking'. We have got a lot of messages about the release of the album from overseas fans as well so we thought the cover should meet the joy of the overseas people too. (Laughs)
In addition, there is probably just a few Japanese looking covers in the Jazz Fusion stands in music stores. I'm looking forward to the reaction and how it looks when hit the record stores."
Interview by: DiskUnion.
Translation by: Akira Karo.