Hailing from Osaka, Japan The China Wife Motors blasted into the U.S. at the end of October and showed Americans what Japanese rock is all about. For the better part of the last decade, the trio has honed their craft and recently unleashed their unique sound onto the West Coast. By the Barricade was introduced to The China Wife Motors at their Long Beach, California shows and wanted to learn how this band makes you want to sing Japanese choruses right along side them (even if you don’t know the language). Before their set at Smelvis Records Skalloween show The China Wife Motors were willing to shed some light on what makes them tick. The full transcripts follow.
- Tsunehiko Kajita – Vocals, Guitar
- Maskai Noda – Bass
- Toyoaki Nagai – Drums
Translated by – Hiroshi Nakagawa
By the Barricade: Let’s talk about your band name, The China Wife Motors … where did it come from? It is very unique because you are from Japan and yet the name has China in it.
Tsunehiko Kajita: There is no meaning. We ride motorcycles which is where the motor came from. Our teacher’s wife was Chinese so that is where the other part came from.
By the Barricade: I saw that you have toured the U.S. before. How many times have you toured here?
Tsunehiko Kajita: Four times
By the Barricade: What is the fan response like here compared to that in Japan?
Tsunehiko Kajita: The audience in the United States responds more, the Japanese fans are more quiet and shy. They just watch and in the U.S. they are crazy.
Toyoaki Nagai: The fans in the United States.
By the Barricade: Is there anything that has surprised you about the United States?
Tsunehiko Kajita: The people in the United States have more of an opinion. They are more outspoken.
Tsunehiko Kajita: How do they respond in Japan? Do they speak out in public?
Maskai Noda: Even if they like the music a lot, they won’t say it. They may say it on Twitter.
By the Barricade: How do you get new fans? By Social media?
Maskai Noda: Yes
By the Barricade: How often do you perform in your hometown?
Tsunehiko Kajita: Five or six times a month
By the Barricade: Is it in bars or larger arenas?
Tsunehiko Kajita: In Japan there are no bars, there are music venues.
Tsunehiko Kajita: Stand, they can have mosh pits.
By the Barricade: Changing the subject, is there any food here that you wish you could take back to Japan or vice versa?
Toyoaki Nagai: In-N-Out.
Maskai Noda: Tacos and burritos.
By the Barricade: Do you have a food that you have at home that you miss when you travel?
Maskai Noda: Udon noodles
By the Barricade: Have you visited any other countries on tour?
Tsunehiko Kajita: Only the U.S.
By the Barricade: Do you have plans or desires to tour anywhere else?
Toyoaki Nagai: Europe
By the Barricade: How does your style of rock compare to that of other Japanese rock bands? For example, it seems like you are more melodic.
Tsunehiko Kajita: It has guts, more guts than others.
By the Barricade: I am not an expert, but it seems like the other Japanese rock bands are more rhythmic and repetitive.
Tsunehiko Kajita: The China Wife Motors are more melodic.
By the Barricade: When your lyrics are sung in English, do you compose them in English or in Japanese?
Tsunehiko Kajita: I come up with something like English but it doesn’t make sense.
The words are added after the instruments and then the words are changed to tell the story.
By the Barricade: Does the music come with guitars first, or how do you write as a group? What is the process?
By the Barricade: How long have you been musicians?
Masaki Noda: I have played bass since I was 23. Now I am 36.
Toyoaki Nagai: I started at 16.
Tsunehiko Kajita: I was 18.
By the Barricade: What made you want to play music or what inspired you?
Toyoaki Nagai: Led Zeppelin.
Masaki Noda: Same for me too!
Tsunehiko Kajita: Punk rock music.
By the Barricade: Besides Left Alone are there any other U.S. bands that have been helpful or accommodating to you while on tour here?
Tsunehiko Kajita: Hiroshi helped on the first tour with his band Friday Knights, and also our friends.
By the Barricade: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers of By the Barricade?
Tsunehiko Kajita: We hope Japanese music and American music can come together more. We want American bands to tour Japan. Please come see us play in a show! Thank you so much.
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