Interview: The Zoobombs


The best thing about music is that is has no boundaries. You can hear Chicago house music in London, British punk in New York bars, and ska in China. The Zoobombs are from Japan, but can play fast, reckless rock and roll like anyone in the US. They’re played together for over 10 years in Japan and toured across the world, but are setting their sights to the US for 2011. We spoke with lead singer Don Matsuo about the band’s journey together and their upcoming album.

Heave: You guys have been a band for a very long time. What are some of the more important things you’ve learned during your tours in Japan or in other countries?

Don Matsuo: Well in touring in Japan and overseas, it’s a very different experience. Touring overseas is kind of knowing another culture, it’s having really some kind of considerable excitement. It drives us, makes us do deep thinking about the music. We play rock and roll but our rock and roll came from Western countries. This is not Japanese culture but I loved rock and roll. There is no reason why. I wanted to know why I loved this kind of music. This is my lifetime question but I’m always looking for that answer. The experience overseas gives us some kind of hint of an answer. I found something to bring back to Japan and think about it. Maybe it brings us to the next step to make new music.

Heave: The Zoobombs have toured with some amazing acts in the US. One that comes to mind is the Flaming Lips. What have been some of favorite shows with the acts that you’ve toured with here?

DM: The Flaming Lips is a pretty remarkable show for me. Not only the show, their personality is really really great. They liked us. That shows me how the musicians be. They’re still being good, I mean no decrease. For some musicians it’s really hard to play for a long time. There is no new ideas. But they’re always have a new idea and maybe they really love making music too. They taught us such a kind of thing and we always try to do that. Their music is kind of different from the Zoobombs but I know their attitude and I really love that.

Heave: When it comes to producing and writing new music, has your processed changed much over the years?

DM: I think it’s pretty similar of how we live the life. I mean people are always growing or in the process of getting old so people are always different in age. I think playing music and producing music is kind of the same thing as living. It’s always changing, we’re still learning. To be honest I want to be like, how do I say, be like an animal. Not a good person, I want to be a good animal, comparable to a dog, pig, kind of. Human is kind of one of the animal. I want to be part human but kind of still in response with my animal self. I’m learning every time through our activity including the music too.

Heave: For this new album that you’re doing, you’re recording in the US.

DM: Yes for the new one that we are doing we’re going to record after the tour in Oakland, California with Greg Ashley, who was in this band the Gris Gris. We’re looking forward to his business to music. Looking for what kind of music will happen.

Heave: Was he one of the main decisions why you wanted to come to the US and record.

DM: The keyboard player Mata is a big fan of him and she wanted him to produce us and I agreed. He saw our performance in San Francisco and said he’d like to do that. I’m just looking forward to something to happen.

Heave: Are you going to live there while you record?

DM: No, we live in Tokyo so we’re going to go for just seven days for one album. Everything has to be quick. It’s pretty limited especially in time. But I want to try such a kind of limit of time. I’m looking forward to something to happen.