Although some artists are highly valued in Europe, they’re not reported in Japan. Mike Vest who I interview this time is one of them. He is vigorously playing in a number of projects, including psychedelic drone group Bong, 11 paranoias, Haikai no ku, Basillica, Blown Out, Nun, etc., but how many Japanese know his activity? Mike broke off his busy schedule to respond to my interview through Facebook. I’m proud to promptly interview him and report his activity in Japan.
―Your current projects I know are Bong, Haika no ku, Blown out, Nun, 11 Paranoias, Lobster Priest, Basillica. Actually, how many projects you take part in now? If you've worked other than the above projects, could you tell me the project name and the concept?
Mike: There is one more called Space Victim, Jackal...its all here dude.
You're involved in a lot of group, and every works are amazing. I think it's really difficult thing. How do you get an inspiration for creation? And, could you tell me about your daily activity? Do you record some works or play a gig almost every day?
Mike: Haha, no not everyday....but i work on music all the time. Creation for me is pretty natural to life, i feel it is my duty to leave something in the world, to make a mark on this insane planet. 7.
When did you get into music? And, what kind of music did you listen to at that time? Could you tell me your favourite artists or groups?
Mike: Got into music when i was like 11 i quess, listening to classic rock, normally from my dad, who used to love jimi hendrix, cream, led zep etc..he always used to say that all of these bands would be forced to hold back on records, and said that he was more into live albums and stuff...i wanted to play drums originally, but my dad said a guitar suited to me. Fav. groups..i guess stuff like....amon duul, guru guru, astro, fushitsusha, black sabbath, im mean this could go on and on really. hard to say a fav. group.
Yeah, I felt the influence from Fushitsusha on works of Haikai no Ku. How do you know Fushitsusha? What do you think about Keiji Haino as a musician?
Mike: He's incredible, his guitar work is genius, Just his endurance is extreme, saw fushitsuha a couple of times now and ive not seen anything like it since. With haikai especially, i took the more violent side of Japanese psych and stretched it a far as i could.
Mr. Haino has performed as a dj on my event about 10 years ago. By the way, you use an icon of Takashi Mizutani on your youtube channel. So, you also seem to like Les realizes denudes. What Japanese psyche groups do you like other than them?
Mike: Yeah, they are a great band, everything about them is awesome. Production techniques and truely wasted guitar from Mizutani. Fav bands, Musica Transonic, Mainliner , High Rise, Ohkami no Jikan, Holy Angels, La Musica label etc....
In Japan, there is a rumor that Realizes will reunion in near future. I don' know if it will be realized. Could you tell me the first group you formed? What kind of music did you play in that group?
Mike: Yeah a reunion, would be amazing. but id like to think that Mizutani would be beyond that, if he is still around. played in bunch of bands in school around the age of 14/15, but nothing really materialised, my first real taste of true maxmimalist expression was when i joined Ultra Shit Inferno when i was 19/20. Things got really interesting then.
I watch the video of Ultra Shit Inferno for the first time. It's really crazy grindcore like AxCx... After Ultra Shit Inferno, what groups did you join?
Mike: Played bass/guitar in a few grindcore, hardcore bands, then started BONG, as i went on, i just started getting mates together, more bands. It gets easier and learn alot in a short space of time. After that, everything just seemed to fall into place.
You'd played various grindcore/hardcore band, then you've played drone metaI suddenly. I feel It is unique career. As if Lee Dorian played in Napalm Death, then he formed Cathedral... Could you tell me a state of mind when you formed Bong?
Mike: I've always liked loads of different types of music, when i was young, there was lots of drone/ noise experiment bands in newcastle, this has had a big influence on me.
For example, which drone/noise bands especially were you influenced by ? And Bong has a sitar player. I think this is a unique idea. Why did you think to play the sitar?
Mike: Incapacitants, astro, C.C.C.C, south Saturn delta, jazzfinger, culver, romance, ryn, skullflower, total. We played as a three piece for years before including sitar, a old friend of mine, had came back from somewhere and bought a shahi baaja, i asked him to join.
I think Earth, Sunn O))) are typical drone metal group, and many bands are influenced by them in the past few years. But, music of Bong is different from them. More deep, more meditative sounds. What do you think about this?
Mike: Yeah, i guess thats true, its all about the tones. Earth 2 and Grim Robes they are always around my hifi on an eve. Great bands.
Your first work "A Roomful Of Cunts" with Waz Hool and "In And Around Newcastle",etc. was released from Fuckin' Amateurs. This label also released Haikai no ku, Lobster Priest and so on. Could you tell me about detail of this label?
Mike: Fuckin amateurs label used to bootleg our shows, we used to play alot in newcastle as well as all my other bands, collaborations etc.., all these shows were then make into albums and limited cdrs, to give away at shows. They are really great guys.
The title of the latest Bong's album is "Stoner Rock". When I heard this title, I thought "What? Why Bong's title is stoner?" But, I listened to this deep&meditative album, I felt like I understood what you want to say. This is new stoner rock. Why would you try to redefine stoner rock?
Mike:Its more to do with the idea of stretching a genre of music, try and get everyone to experiment.
Can you tell me Japanese doom metal bands you pay attention to recently?
Mike: Non, i don't listen to any doom or metal really, i listen to alot of Nanjo related projects all the time.Ohkami no Jikan, Musica Transonic, Conformist etc... as well as many others, but i mostly listen to textured psych noise and overblown psych rock and drone. Astro, Up Tight, Incapacitants, etc....generally get really bored of metal and doom. Especially contemporary stuff anyway.
I see. I'd like to watch you are playing in Japan soon. Do you have a plan to come to Japan? And how is the new album of 11 paranoias? More psychedelic than ever?
Mike: No plans as of yet, but i'm open to offers. as for the new Paranoias record is still being recorded, but it is immensely heavy, nice ones.