THE MOLICE are:
Rinko: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Yuzuru: Lead Guitar
RiceburnerFM first interviewed THE MOLICE back in 2012.
RiceburnerFM had a second short interview with THE MOLICE in 2017.
RiceburnerFM has tweeted and RTed THE MOLICE.
The world has changed since our last interview in 2012. The Molice talked about the worldwide pandemic while visiting a Japanese shrine in their Youtube video:
THE MOLICE – A Voice #3 – in January 9th, 2022 (https://youtu.be/pbPzigdxkXw).
How have the pandemic and other current world crises affected THE MOLICE’s creative process? What role does your spirituality play in your music-making?
We were based in the U.S. and were doing the music activity. In order to continue our music in the U.S., we needed to renew our VISA. We had to have an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Japan. The amount of money needed for this was large, and it was made possible by donations from the audience at our live shows and through support on donation websites.
Just as we were returning to Japan for interviews, a global pandemic broke out. We were perplexed because we had already completed our interviews and were able to continue our activities with the support of many people. We were preparing to return, but finally, our flight was canceled. We had left all our instruments and tools of daily life behind in the U.S., even though we wanted to do some creative work (they were being kept by friends who still support our activities). We had already moved out of the house in Japan that we had rented when we came to the US, so we had no home. (Our friends lent us a room in an apartment, and our relatives lent us theirs, so we got by.)
In other words, I was at rock bottom.
As I watched the world on the Internet, I felt the world was changing drastically. I also felt that the world would never return to the world I had known. Our music needed to become more excessive.
The world has become too much. Things are still happening. Global warming will continue. How much time do we have left? But this makes music more enjoyable. The more vicious the situation, the more music shines through. How does spirituality affect the music I create? It influences every bit of it. Going to America is one of them. The feeling of being called. A sense of being created. A lot of synchronicity. Because I can’t for the life of me believe that I am creating my own songs.
We are unable to return to the US due to the pandemic. Most of our music equipment and tools of life are still in the US. The fact that we would suddenly lose our equipment and our place to work was a shock to us. At the same time, this fact raised a very fundamental question for us: “Do you still want to create and perform music?”
We thought about this question deeply for months. The answer was “Yes.”
We first created a video. That is “The Ray”. Then we started rehearsing with a few pieces of equipment. Over the past few years, we have gradually been able to recover to the point where we are able to make music DIY with our equipment.
Our passion for music has not diminished but has increased. Our performances are tighter than ever. We have a lot of ideas for new music. Pandemic has ignited our new creativity. We are now releasing new music and music videos on Bandcamp and YouTube. I encourage you to check them out. It’s a sad day when we don’t get to tour and perform on stage as much as we used to, but I’m sure it will happen again when the time is right.
Musicians have busy schedules. Touring, practicing, creating, promoting, and all the behind-the-scenes work that takes up time. What does THE MOLICE’s typical work week look like?
This goes back to the previous question, but I believe that through this pandemic, the typical schedule of musicians that we have had in the past is disappearing. At least not for us. The inability to tour has brought us back to our roots of creating.
We are not in a hurry.
It is rather a very precious time. With our song “Romancer” we are looking for a “smooth soul” and I feel like we got it. Every day I find myself amused and crappy.
I feel the disintegration of what is known as the surface. I finally feel a real dispersion. I don’t feel the need for excessive promotion. I think this is the time for those who need it to call on each other. As for the tour, it has not been possible because of Covid. I agree with Neil Young’s statement.*
We are busy, but we also enjoy it.
Since we are not touring right now, our main activities are practicing, learning, creating, and promoting. Creating involves many elements such as composing, recording and editing, filming, and video editing.
We enjoy each and every one of these activities very much.
While on tour THE MOLICE has met some of their musical heroes. Who were they and did they give you any music-related advice?
In Ohio, we met Kim Deal of The Breeders. Needless to say, she is the former bassist of my idol The Pixies. I was really excited. She was so friendly and wonderful.
In Massachusetts, I met Violet Clark of Grand Duchy. She raved about our show. It really gave us courage and confidence.
In Chicago, we took pictures like tourists in front of Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio. It was a fun trip.
We performed with Shonen Knife for the first time in Buffalo. It was a wonderful experience to be on the same stage in the US with the pioneering Japanese band and have a great time with them.
Then there is our label owner Robby Takac, who let us have the amazing experience of watching the Goo Goo Dolls perform from backstage at a show. He has always been so supportive and affirming of our music, our ideas, and our attitude towards music.
The Messthetics, a new band with a Fugazi rhythm section, came to Buffalo, where we lived. Of course, we went to see them. I was really excited when I saw the bell on Brendan’s drum set. I thought “That’s the bell I saw in the video! I thought, “That’s the bell I saw in the video!
After the show, we had a chance to talk a little, and all the members exuded a good personality. I told them that I hoped to play at an event with them someday, lol.
Above all, hearing Brendan’s drumming with my whole body changed something in me. We were invited to play at an event in Dayton, Ohio. As I was putting away my drum set after our performance, the drummer from the last band, The Mulchmen, turned to me and said, “Good drumming.” I just said “Thank you so much” and it was only a few hours later that I found out it was Jim from The Breeders.
Then later, there was a lady who was picking out a T-shirt for our merch. As we were casually conversing, Jim’s wife, who was standing next to me, said, “You guys know the Breeders? She’s Kim Deal!” We couldn’t stop the goosebumps. At that moment, we felt that our music was blessed. We knew we had not made a mistake.
As a side note, we were driving to the venue that day, listening to The Breeders. We had no idea that there would be such a miracle ahead.
Do the members of THE MOLICE have any last-minute rituals that they perform before going onstage?
I always listen to a live performance of an artist just before a show. It is always the same song.
There is no special ritual before going on stage. We each concentrate in our own way. If you have seen our shows, you know that at the beginning of the show I make noise on my guitar. I want to fill the air with our noise. This may be a kind of ritual.
I have been taking notes on what to keep in mind when drumming and performing live, and I look over these notes before each show. Then, I mentally prepare myself.
Since forming in 2007, THE MOLICE has created a large body of work. What MOLICE song do each of you consider to be your best and why?**
My best song these days is ”The LOOK”. It is the song that gave me the strength to survive the pandemic.
I sing, “Live through it. Shine again and again,” I sing. I think I am saying this to myself.
I like “In the Light”. Rinko’s message that “every person’s life is full of light” may be the very message we want to convey with our music.
We improvise at every show. We directly convey our energy and message by making sounds of what we feel at that moment in the air we create with the audience of that day and place.
I joined THE MOLICE in 2015, but this song was around before I joined. However, the moment I heard it for the first time, it was the song that made me think that I should play it and that I should join THE MOLICE.
THE MOLICE have toured internationally. What was your favorite venue to play in and why?
We haven’t toured the whole U.S. yet, but we like playing live in the U.S. It is natural, but the response is solid. Either they like it or they are indifferent to it.But that is not the norm in Japan. I expect that many Japanese musicians would answer in the same way. Because they have experienced only live shows with no reaction.
Since the Covid epidemic we have not done any gigs in the US, so my question is what is going on now?
What is my favorite venue? I would like to do it there.
It is really strange, but even though we are Japanese, we find that audiences are more responsive when we play outside of Japan. We bring our energy to the audience at all times. It’s a great time when our sound and energy reaches them and they respond enthusiastically.
Any place that has that kind of response is my favorite place.
We always have a great experience at the Music is Art Festival in Buffalo, which is organized by Robby, the owner of our label and bassist of the Goo Goo Dolls. Since we used to live in Buffalo, it always makes us feel like we are sharing a good time with everyone in town.
THE MOLICE have a global fan base. Describe THE MOLICE fans in one word.
People who know that humans are funny, silly, painful, loving creatures.
Popstar Lady Gaga is Harley Quinn in the upcoming Joker 2 movie. If the members of THE MOLICE were cast in a superhero movie, what character would each of them be?
Rinko=R2-D2, Yuzuru=Yoda, Paro=C-3PO
I loved Mad Max.*** “The lone hero” is something I’ve wanted to be since I was a kid! What about the other members? I don’t know!
Rinko … HitGirl ( Kick Ass )
Yuzuru … Roy Batty ( Blade Runner ) Silent and single-minded. Philosopher.
Paro … A member of the Ghostbusters. He is just a fan of …
Most musicians have more than just a website now. They interact with their fans on a variety of platforms. To stand out from the crowd, what is THE MOLICE’s social media strategy going into 2023?
We are using YouTube to keep putting out our work. We are a group of people who are creating works of art. So it is very helpful.
We are not planning to take on any special new platforms. Platforms will continue to take many forms, and we will adapt to them. But whatever the form, the most important thing is the message and the energy. We are always thinking sincerely about what we want to convey, and we continue to refine our music to convey energy. Without that, any platform is meaningless.
RiceburnerFM first interviewed THE MOLICE ten years ago. What are your plans for THE MOLICE in the NEXT ten years? What will be THE MOLICE’s legacy?
We had the experience of working in the U.S. and being helped by many people. We could not have lived without them. I have experience working with children, handicapped children, and children without parents to advocate for them. I would like to do something to help them through music. We currently make a monthly donation to an organization that supports parentless children, and we would like to be able to donate what we get from our music. Everyone needs money.
And we hope to create at least 500 songs in the next 10 years while performing around the world and being prolific. That’s great. I’m very busy.
Ten years really fly by, and I really appreciate the support of RiceburnerFM.
In the midst of a difficult world, the band continues to bring energy to the people of the world with their music. That will be our legacy.
The works themselves.
THE MOLICE recently released a collaboration with ‘Tokyo Underground Legends’ Sister Paul. Performing as Mosis, they created rock and pop covers of the Velvet Underground’s classic Run Run Run.
Talk about how this project came together. How do you go from being on the same bill to recording together? Did it take long to develop the mutual trust that a band needs to make music?
We have known Sister Paul for a long time. We like their music and energy. We also felt that we had some similarities. So we thought it would be interesting to work together.
We have decided to leave Japan to pursue our music in the U.S., and we feel that we will inevitably connect with people who will connect with us.
For example, Sister Paul performed a cover of “Run Run Run” at a live show. I was really surprised. I was wondering if we could do something together, and then this song came along. This song was very special to me. It was the beginning of my career as a composer. I thought, “I’ve been called to do this.
We respect Sister Paul’s music and their attitude. When we were forced to stay in Japan, they invited us to perform live. It was our first show in a while and we had a great time. We kept in touch and a few months later they invited us to another show.
We talked with them about what we could do together, and this project came to fruition.
It really started as a little idea and came together very quickly. The recording went very smoothly. Everything happened so fast.
The reason is simple: we respect Sister Paul’s music, their attitude toward music, and their way of life.
We offered them a chance to join us. We thought we could do something interesting. You can see the result in “Run Run Run” and “I’m set free”.
Both groups have few members, was it a difficult transition working in a five piece band? What did you learn from the experience?
MOSIS is neither THE MOLICE nor Sister Paul. It is a different creature. It has just been born and will grow in many ways. The experience has just begun. The five of us are still connected by performance rather than words. They are still babies, but they are super babies.
Nothing was difficult. Each of us prepared for the performance, and on the day of recording, we had a light meeting, had a few rehearsals, and recorded right away.
We are all musicians with long careers. We understand what is important to us when performing. Perhaps more than anything, the joy of playing our favorite The Velvet Underground songs with these guys made everything run smoothly!
I don’t think everyone knew what was going to happen. Even so, we played without discussing what to do. It is strange that we could play together for the first time without saying a word.
Did you use a different approach to this song than you might have if this was a MOLICE-only cover?
Of course. Because it is not THE MOLICE.
I didn’t take a head-in-the-sand approach. I took the approach of responding to the sounds that the five of us made. When I do it in THE MOLICE … I think you will understand if you listen to “Bring on the Night”.
I didn’t change my approach to playing in any particular way. I just tuned the guitar down one note. I heard that Lou (Reed) did that, so I did it. I don’t know if it’s true or not :).
But I think the result was a good atmosphere.
It may have been different from THE MOLICE-only cover. I don’t know the details, but that performance was the result of everyone playing in the way each of us imagined.
Why this track from 1967? What does it say to you in 2022?
First of all, great songs are timeless. And as I mentioned above, “Run Run Run” is a very special song for me personally.
Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries about the Velvet Underground. There was even a Japanese TV program that featured them. It is about the Velvet Revolution. I feel as if I am in the same time and the same feeling as them. The world is changing. The world is changing at a very fast pace. I don’t know if people change, but we are musicians and we sing about our times. We are sensitive to it.
Now is the time for the songs of the Velvet Underground to shine.
We and Sister Paul were both big fans of the Velvet Underground. We performed with the innocence of high school students who enjoy playing their favorite songs.I believe that the Velvet Underground has had as great an influence on the music of later generations as the Beatles. Their challenging attitude, beautiful melodies, avant-garde sound, and unique gaze at society.
All of these are important to musicians and artists throughout the ages. Their music always tells me that we should never forget that.
Any future plans for the music supergroup Mosis?
Mosis is a band who appears and disappears from time to time. Mosis will appear when we suddenly have something we want to appeal to you.
Please look forward to it.
I am looking forward to playing the next song again. I believe that having fun is the most important thing, and I want to continue to share that with our fans. When we are ready to perform the next song again, we will suddenly announce it.
Anyway, I don’t think anyone knows what will happen in the future. I think we will proceed with respect to what we feel at the time.
RiceburnerFM thanks THE MOLICE for answering these questions and band spokesperson / honorary member Tom Melesky for the assist.
RBFM THE MOLICE 2012 interview
RBFM THE MOLICE 2017 interview
*Possibly referring to this event.
**The official RBFM answer is ROMANCER.
***Yuzuru, check out Wastleland Weekend.