In the five days between shows in Hong Kong and Taipei, Onion Cellar scion Vanity Vietnam managed to snag Japanese post-rockers MONO for a show in Ho Chi Minh City, a coup for a post-rock scene that peaked interest-wise in 2010 but is only now beginning to attract some names.
The closest Vietnam was able to get previously to post-rock of the MONO calibre were tight local acts like Time Keeper, touring bands Anoice and And So I Watch You From Afar and a 2012 Onion Cellar x Japan Foundation screening of the MONO concert film Holy Ground. Although MONO is going on 15 years together, guitar-based music tends to age well. Especially when it taps into the immortal currents of time, loss and remembrance.
Word got a chance to speak with MONO founder and guitar-wielding force of nature Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto in advance of the show:
Word: How did it come about that you’re touring in Vietnam?
Takaakira Goto: We were always hoping to visit Vietnam. Luckily this time, our booking agent for Asia and Australia, Jef [Vreys] from New Noise... managed to book us, so we’re really looking forward to it. We think in Vietnam, there is a beauty and people’s kindness that Japan lost throughout our economic development. We’re hoping to share something important through our music.
Your new albums The Last Dawn and Rays of Darkness are being double-released on Oct. 15, along with some rhetoric about focusing on a new era of your sound. What will this renewed focus bring?
The two albums ended up representing the counterpoints in life. Light and darkness, hope and hopelessness, love and loss, the emotions that can’t be expressed, pain which you can’t put into words, happiness which you can’t simply measure. We also at the same time felt and hoped that they could be something to exceed the darkness.
This time, we wanted to just leave the chaotic ones as chaotic as possible and make the positive ones as positive as possible.
How do your live shows compare to the records?
We generally do live recordings so there is not much difference as far as the performances go. But when you actually shake the air through live performances, there is some indescribable intensity in sounds compare to the studio recordings. We want you to look forward to it!
You guys all play the glockenspiel. What does it add to your music? Will we be hearing an all-glockenspiel song?
We just love the pure and dreamy sounds of glockenspiel. They work really well together with the guitars. We use them on the new records as well.
What do you try to make people feel with your music? How do people respond to it, what does it do for them?
Our audiences generally watch us quietly like you’re watching a film in a theatre. We think that every one of the audiences feel their own story differently, from their own experiences and memories through our music, almost like a spiritual travel. And because of that, we think we managed to expand our dynamics in sounds to this level over the years.
In A Glance
WHERE: HCMC Conservatory of Music (112 Nguyen Du, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City)
WHEN: Oct. 29, Doors at 8pm
HOW: Pay ticketbox.vn/mono2014 VND500,000
WHY: MONO is up there on the first tier of international post-rock bands
INFLUENCES: My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Beethoven, Ennio Morricone, Lars Von Trier