Interview with BELLMONDO

Can you tell us how you formed, please tell us how you all met.

Q: We gotta know each other when we were active in different bands, I always thought that everyone was a good player. When each band became inactive I didn’t miss the change to gather everyone together (laugh)

ODAKA: Originally we all played in different bands and we were a fan of each other. So we gotta know each other at live events and after parties. When the former bands of us stopped, at that time Q (our current leader) called us all and we formed a new band together. 
Originally we were a 4 piece of funk band including a bassist, but since the bassist left we are a 3-piece rock band. 

BUNYA: The three of us were active in different bands and we used to play on the same events.

Please introduce yourselves. What’s one word you would use to describe yourselves?

Q: ODAKA is our sound magician, BUNYA is our rhythm fantasista, Q is BELLMONDO moodmaker!

ODAKA: Vo&Gt-Q、Dr&Cho-BUNYA、Gt&Cho-ODAKA。 Everybody loves extreme music, everyone is an extreme bandholic, extremely enthusiastic, Intuitive, individual and sense first.
Q has no hesitation
BUNYA has an hidden amount of heat inside
ODAKA has no research habits

BUNYA: Q: Charisma, ODAKA:  Sense, BUNYA: Bass

Could you tell the reason why did you want to become a band man, what or who influenced you?

Q: I’ve been listening to only one band since I was child. It’s the band “The Street Sliders“, they really have influenced me to play the guitar myself.

ODAKA: When I was about 10 years old I heard the “Yellow Magic Orchestra”. Since then I had the feeling I wanted to write songs, so I got into music. And after that music and movies are my everything.

BUNYA: I decided to be a musician after watching a live performance of “JUN SKY WALKER (S)”.

BELLMONDO has already a long history. In what way is BELLMONDO changed in all those active years?

Q: BELLMONDO’s early impulses haven’t faded, so I don’t think much has changed. In a good way.

ODAKA:  Every time I write a new song or play a live show, it feels new every time. Right now I’m in the middle of that flow, so I think it’s always evolving rather than changing or at a turning point.

BUNYA: There is no turning point, we just gradually understand each other’s feelings and images, I think it’s a confidence that we as three people can create cool music together.

Why is the band named “BELLMONDO”? Any reason why you named the band like that?

Q: From the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo

ODAKA: Taken from actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, he played  in one of my  favorite movies. we changed the spelling, but it doesn’t make any difference.

BUNYA: From the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo

What is the concept of BELLMONDO and how would you describe BELLMONDO in just a short sentence? 

Q: An alternative band with bandholic members.

ODAKA: Music outside the box that brings what comes to mind to life as it is. In a word, “an uninhibited alternative band”.

BUNYA: Post-punk attitude towards music.

Who is the biggest inspiration for BELLMONDO’s music.?

Q: Don’t have

ODAKA: I can’t think of anything in particular.

BUNYA: It’s hard to decide who is the most. However I think it will change from time to time. I’ve never really thought about it.

BELLMONDO’s sound feels very much Alternative / Post Punk / post shoegaze. Why did you decide to play this genre of music? 

Q: Originally, the three of us and the bassist were in a funk band. When the bassist left us it was also the key point of the sound of the band. When we decided to continue with just the three of us, we were no longer bound by a genre. At that point we decided to create and play the music we wanted to do. And I think you can hear that in various ways inside our music.

ODAKA: It came naturally. I think it’s music that can expand the range of expression in various scenes.

BUNYA: I guess it didn’t come about specifically, but it came out naturally.

BELLMONDO music is an amazing alternative style. Nowadays It’s an unusual sound. Still your band seems to be favored by various people of different ages. How do you feel about this?  

Q: Thank you!  I would like to spread a little bit more.

ODAKA:  It would be nice if people felt that it was something new, something they hadn’t heard before. And the most important thing is to make people feel that we are cool at first sight, isn’t it?

BUNYA: Maybe it’s because I’m older but my mental age is younger.

How do you compose and write new songs? What do you want listeners to feel when they hear them? Also which message do you want to give to your listener with your music?

ODAKA: New songs just come down naturally, or they can be made by jamming properly. Also an addition to what I said to question 09; What I want to convey is; I want people to enjoy the music itself.

BUNYA: I think that ingenuity is what makes the band unique, so I hope you enjoy it.

BELLMONDO Music fits Q’s voice nicely. How do you compose a song which will fit the vocalist voice in an amazing way?

ODAKA: I’m not particularly aware of it, but in the case of BELLMONDO, I have created songs based on the assumption that Q will sing the song from the start I compose a song.

BUNYA: Isn’t it about making a song? There is still so much to learn for me. 

You released your first mini album “00 HEAVEN” and your first album “BLUE YELLOW” in 2016 and 2011, but for those who don’t know BELLMONDO yet, can you tell us a bit about both albums?

ODAKA: To be exact, 1st album “BLUE YELLOW”, 2nd album “00 HEAVEN”
The 1st is a condensation of the momentum of being a new band (without a bass). The sound is an aggressive bass-less release, with a garage-like solid approach. The album is just what we came up with.  The 2nd album is made up of songs that have inspired us to broaden our musicality and sound range. It’s experimental, introspective, and challenging. That’s now the standard for the ongoing  BELLMONDO’s sound.

Do you have any plans for a new CD or a PV release?

ODAKA: We currently have planned nothing, but who knows we are secretly working on something.

BUNYA: We have planned nothing.

Those who don’t live in Japan, how can they buy your CD’s?

ODAKA: If it’s a CD, please contact us by BELLMONDO’s official email and we can send it to you. If it’s just data please also us, so that we can think of a way to send you. 

How do you choose the songs to play live? How do you decide the setlist?

Q: We’ll be doing mostly new songs, but we’ll definitely do half of the existing ones as well. Also from time to time, I’ll force the others to include songs that I really want to sing. (laugh)

ODAKA: Everyone will give some candidates to select according to what kind of event we play. At the end leader Q will make the final choice.

BUNYA: I choose the songs I wish to play that day, I also consider the feeling of the event and which songs will fit the most to the other bands playing that day. 

While composing songs, is there something you keep in your mind? Such as creating songs which are fun to play at a concert?

Q: I create songs I want to play. I guess that way the three of us can show our individuality with BELLMONDO.

ODAKA: At the end, as long as it’s a song that you feel is true to BELLMONDO, it’s OK. Of course, it’s a must to create a song which is fun to play for everybody.

BUNYA: The first thing to do is to understand the image of the composer. After understanding it, I feel like approaching my own perspective.

Which song is most loved by fans? And why do you think so?

Q: 「00 Heaven」. The song has easy to remember guitar riffs, also the chorus has no words, just only “Yeah !!”. so, I guess everyone can join the song easily?

ODAKA:  It’s「00 Heaven」. Please ask our fans for the reason.

BUNYA:  Maybe「00 Heaven」.The riffs are easy to remember.  So everyone wants to play/hear it. 

What’s the most fun thing about touring around Japan?

Q: So far we have only been to Shizuoka, But it’s fun to feel everyone’s reaction if people have never seen BELLMONDO before. 

ODAKA: Shizuoka is as far as we went, but It’s exciting to perform in a completely different environment than a live show in the center of Tokyo.

BUNYA:  We never did tour through Japan yet, however the Shizuoka visit was fun. Anyway shizuoka people have a strange way of drinking.

What makes you smile?

Q: To get one with our fans at our lives!

ODAKA:  Seeing that our audience is enjoying our gig.

BUNYA: My drunk companions at our lives.

In all those music years, what’s the most valuable memorable memory?

Q: Last year at BELLMONDO’s 10th anniversary. I’ve grown since that experience. For better or worse (laughs).

ODAKA: Same as answer 19.

What’s the most difficult part of being in a band?

Q: I don’t think it’s difficult as long as the relationship between the members is good.

ODAKA:  Communication between members and those around the band.

BUNYA:  To carry our heavy instruments everywhere we go. 

Right now Corona is a big problem isn’t it?  How is daily life now? The Japanese government has asked that people should stay home. 

Q: I haven’t been out for the past two months except for work. Of course, we cannot perform and we also cannot rehearse as well. Currently, I’m just going to be patient and hope that it all converges quickly.

ODAKA: Of course, everything is self-restraint. Among them, there are still things that can be done, and I think that we as a band can continue as everything is back to normal again.

BUNYA: Since we can’t go to the studio, I bought a practice pad. It’s pretty noisy when you play at home. 

Due to the worldwide circumstances, many bands have been performing lives on YouTube, making songs available on digital services, and so on. Have you considered this?

ODAKA: We are thinking about the ideal way to continue our activities with these in mind.

What are  BELLMONDO goals as a band for 2020?

Q: It’s not yet in 2020, but we surely will play someday in the UK!

ODAKA: The evolution of BELLMONDO’s music. That’s always the only thing we do as a band, to keep on evolving. 

As an artist, if there was one thing you want fans to remember (some words of wisdom), what would it be?

Q: never be bored with yourself.

ODAKA: “Adults don’t understand”  “good chance, good timing”

BUNYA:  Post Punk Spirit

Last question, why does everyone need to check out BELLMONDO  What makes BELLMONDO unique? What are the band’s strong points?

Q: Our music is created by three persons and that is our personality and strength. I wish that people who haven’t listened to us listen to our music with interest.

ODAKA: See question 9

BUNYA: The creative part. For example, how to keep a bass-less band going; all three of us are bandholics and have good musical techniques. 

And as very last, your message to your fans!

Q: Always thank you!!! Let’s have fun at lives☆

ODAKA: I want to meet everyone! I want to have fun with everyone! (Please Note “BELLMONDO”)

BUNYA: Those who own live houses now are in a pinch due the covid-19. Once we finally have beat it, let’s all come to the live venues again and enjoy it as much with all we got! Until then, please take good care of yourself!

Thank you very much for this interview!

Question translations EN-> JP: Yasu, Ryu, RIORIO &
Question translations JP-> EN: Ryu
Question help: Yasu, RIORIO &