BEBOP thank you very much for this interview!
BEBOP is a punk band who is mainly active in Shinjuku and Koenji and formed in 1998. After some member changes the band is mainly active as a live band. In January 2019, BEBOP’s 20th anniversary ONE-MAN was held at Shinjuku Antiknock. Currently, the members of BEBOP are Vo. Tommy and Dr. TsutomuUSA and support members.
How would you describe BEBOP just with a single kanji? And why did you choose this kanji?
I don’t like that Punk has an aggressive image. There is a saying in Japan that goes “Respect with harmony”, which means that it;s important to not just get along with each other, but also to discuss and talk with each other firmly. We feel this is also important as a “band” as well, which is why we chose the kanji for “harmony”.
How would you describe yourself with just a single kanji? And why did you choose this kanji?
Tommy: 鮫 (same)(shark)
A shark is strong, beautiful and disliked.
TsutomuUSA: 笑 (wara)(smile)
Because I always want to give my smile to anything.
Why did you decide to become a musician? Which artist has inspired you to become one?
Tommy: A musician can convey a lot of information at a glance, for example, melody, lyrics, style and expression. I thought it’s wonderful. I started to play the guitar after I saw a live video of THE BLUE HEARTS, I was immediately impressed by their amazing guitar performance.
TsutomuUSA: I just enjoy playing. I was inspired by NOFX
Please tell us briefly about your musical background.
Tommy: I’ve been in BEBOP since my high school years.
TsutomuUSA: I have played in a band since I was 17, I played in three bands before joining BEBOP.
How does your previous band experience influence you now?
That you never should give up, even when a band comes to a standstill, there is always someone who will share a helping hand. We’ve learned that friendship is very important and that you shouldn’t lose it.
How would you describe your musical style?
Tommy: Old-fashioned and clumsy.
What artists and events have had the greatest influence on you?
Tommy: When I saw “The High-Lows” at their first live tour in my hometown of Niigata, Japan.
I saw the artist of my dreams in front of me, I was amazed that it was “real”.
You have been active in the music industry for a long time.
What has changed the most since the start of your career?
Tommy: I switched from guitar to vocals, and I started to laugh/smile on stage. Back in the days, I tried not to laugh, nowadays I wonder why I refused it.
Tsutomu USA: That’s it’s gotten more dynamic.
What is your biggest inspiration to write new songs?
Tommy: I write songs based on the lyrics, So when I have a lyric that feels good, I’ll start writing the melody.
What is your inspiration for writing lyrics?
Tommy: To escape into memories, which leads into creating lyrics.
Could you tell us about the process of writing new songs?
Tommy writes the lyrics and melody, and the rest is left to the band. We arrange the songs in the way we want, and after that we complete it together at the studio.
Where is your favorite place to write new songs?
Tommy: A place where you can drink alcohol endlessly.
What’s the biggest challenge for you to continue your career as an artist?
We want to do it in band style, it’s a challenge to find a member who can keep up with us.
What do you enjoy most about playing live?
Tommy: The moment of when the ad-lib melody gets you hooked. Probably because you never can’t do it again.
TsutomuUSA: What do you mean? playing? (Laughs)
After a live show has ended, are you open to chat and drink with your fans at the lobby?
For some reason, we used to be stubborn about it. But now we are open to it, so if you see us on the floor, be free to have a chat with us.
Corona is still a global issue, how do you as an artist deal with it?
It’s not something we can interfere with. We try to keep up our life as normal as possible, and if we get an invite to play a gig, we will try our best!
What makes you smile?
Tommy: Whiskey, especially Nikka Whisky.
TsutomuUSA: When I’m staring at my Shiba dog.
What is the most precious moment in your music career so far?
The last live show with Fuzzy.
It was a memorable and precious experience for Tommy to see his childhood friend, with whom he came to Tokyo together, leaving the band. The live performance was so memorable and valuable because the audience loved it and enjoyed it so much.
Why do you think someone should listen to “BEBOP”? What do you think is unique about BEBOP that other artists don’t have?
Unlike some other punk bands, we are not aggressive at all, we do have good melodies and lyrics filled with lots of ups, downs and shadows. We hope that people who saw us live for the first time that they will leave with a positive one phrase in their mind.
What’s your ultimate goal for the future?
Tommy: Co-star with Johnny Rotten, Mercy and Hiroto!
TsutomuUSA: Living on as a drummer
Please tell us your beliefs and mottoes as an artist towards your fans.
Tommy: Just keep going! It’s not that difficult.
TsutomuUSA: Everything is fun!
Please share some words to your fans and readers.
Tommy: It’s alright to believe in what you feel it’s amazing.
TsutomuUSA: Just have fun in your life.
We thank BEBOP for this interview and wish them good luck for their future activities!