Interview With A Band: Japanther (Brooklyn)

japanther.jpgEnergetic, experimental and unpredictable,  Brooklyn’s two-piece phenom Japanther are in many ways the embodiment of everything great about the NYC music scene.  Fiercely independent and definitely DIY, the band has amassed an impressive following from their innumerable appearances and intense live shows.  In addition to having a substantial fan base, an awesome merch store and ultimate party band status, Japanther gets plenty of coveted praise from the press as well.  Follow us after the jump to find out what drives the engine of this defiant and deeply spiritual rock-n-roll machine. 


1. Japanther is known for having a killer live show.  What is your philosophical approach to playing live and how has that served you?

Matt and I are journeymen. Traveling in search of knowledge, peace, and earthly rhythms. When we stack our amps, hang our banner and sing together an animal is born.     

2. There is fierce competition for entertainment in NYC.  What’s one way to get more heads out to your shows?

Go to other bands shows. Make friends, build community and keep an open mind.   

3.What is the biggest mistake you see other bands make in playing live?

Ignoring the visual aspects and lacking in earthly energy.

4. Live or on the studio, a lot of bands get really attached to the gear they use.  What is a piece of equipment you can’t live without and why?

I wanna say nothing “Japanther is a spirit animal.” But we like singing through payphones and playing surfy cymbals. We are both poor which is why you see us on the road so much. Our gear gets ground into the floor year after year. The human spirit’s STILL AAALLLIIIVVVEEE…  

5. You seem to have an extensive network of fans on Myspace.  What role has social networking played in the band’s success?

We use computers to tell youth where to dance and scream.

6. What is the smartest thing your group has ever done that you feel has done the most for your success?

Linking up with mentors like Dan Graham, Raymond Pettibon, Aida Ruilova, Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher. Listening to older artist helped grow our foresight ten fold.

7. You guys have an awesome collection of merchandise and a great online store.  What have you learned about hocking your own wares recently?

Japanther was started as an art project at an art school. A means for logos, banners and shirts. Recently we’ve learned to “art direct” the vast number of amazing artist we’ve met over the years. Resulting in some of the sickest type and design in the punk game!

8. A lot of bands concentrate on “getting signed” and ignore what they could be doing for themselves.  What should bands be concentrating more on (what can bands do better than labels)?

Bands are the employers… Manager, labels and agents are the just employees. You can do it best together with a strong band leader.

9. Japanther has played many shows and has a number of years of experience under it’s belt.  What do you feel is the biggest misconception in the music industry today?

A huge misconception I’ve noticed about most popular music is that it’s good. Bands are models with no sense of history for the most part. Don’t let some guy with an expense account lie to you about “the next level.”  Wu-Tang said it best: “Who’s your A’n'R? A mountain climber who plays electric guitar?”

10. Who should our readers be listening to right now?  What other bands are doing it right these days?

P.S. Elliot, Tacocat, Cerebral Ballzy, The Deathset, Ninjasonik, The Pharmacy, The Terrible Dogfish, The Ramones, Pine Hill Haints, Underground Railroad To Candyland, Stoned At Heart.