The Mad Capsule Markets
OSC – DIS (Oscillator in Distortion) (Palm Pictures)
An interview with Takeshi Ueda
by Scott Hefflon
What does the band name mean and why did you chose it?
Literally, it means Markets that sell Mad Capsule (our music). Actually, we just picked words we liked randomly. It’s unique, and that’s what we wanted. We thought a long name would stand out. When we were in London for a recording session, Brian Ferry was in the studio and asked us what the name meant because he was curious. We want people to think…
How did you three get together?
When we were in high school, Takeshi and I were in different schools and different bands. One day, we bumped into each other at a club and hit it off. We started a band and performed at clubs. Our drummer left and a friend introduced us to Motokatsu and he joined our band. At that time, we started calling ourselves The Mad Capsule Markets.
There’s a Manga logo on the back of your CD, what’s your connection to them? And more generally, I imagine you’re into anime, comics, and sci-fi: What specifics interest you and inspire your songs?
Manga is one of the companies under our label, Palm Pictures. Our DVD was inserted into the first 10,000 copies of the BLOOD: The Last Vampire DVD they just put out. I love the movies Manga releases. I also love comics and video games. Actually, we got the idea to make “Pulse” from a computer game called Rainbow Six that we like very much.
I like the bonus video on the CD. Do you do these videos often? Are they expensive or do you do most of them yourselves? Are the videos (and the ability to make them) important to the band? How important are the visuals vs. the music?
I love to hear that you like the “Pulse” video. We love it too. Well, I won’t tell you how much it cost. It’s secret! Our friend who is a designer created it, so it was a friendly price. I think music videos and sounds are very important when you create your own images. I want to make more interesting sound and music videos.
I’ve liked your band for a year now, but you’ve been doing this for TEN years. Why do you think it took so long to be heard in Europe and America? Have you changed dramatically over the years?
We’ve been trying to get into the US and EU markets for a long time. I guess the reason we hadn’t is that it might have not been the right time for us. But I don’t know for sure. Only God knows, right?
Were your first eight records this diverse, heavy yet melodic, and well-produced?
Well, some were and some weren’t… Basically, I love both melodious and heavy sounds. We built up the style we play now in the past several years. We’ve finally found our own style.
How important are the words, or is the melody, groove, and power what’s most important?
Definitely the sound! Sound is the most important thing for us. Even if you don’t understand the language, you can understand the sound. We sing about our ordinary life, thoughts, images and sound. It is about The Mad Capsule Markets, after all.
It’s probably a difficult question, but how is it that you can blend fun “party” melodies with distorted vocals and heavy beats? Most bands wouldn’t try such a thing, and if they did, chances are it would sound terrible, yet you can do it!
That’s easy. We’ve been influenced by all different kinds of sound. I mean, those sounds go through the filter called “myself” and they’re already blended when they come out. The point is how I cook after that to make it exciting.
What are your backgrounds – musical training, technical training – and what types of music did each of you grow up listening to?
Punk music influenced me the most when I was a teenager. I was in a studio day after day when I started the band because I had nothing to do but play. From sixth to ninth grade, I was influenced by the ’80s sound. There were good bands, but I don’t remember the names… When I was in high school, I started listening to Japanese punk music, and then punk bands from other countries.
You’ve played with many heavy bands (Fear Factory, Rage Against the Machine, Pitchshifter, and Atari Teenage Riot), but NONE of them would ever attempt “All The Time in Sunny Beach,” “Island,” or “Good Girl.” Do you get funny looks from people sometimes?
All the fans look excited!! The characteristics of The Mad Capsule Markets sounds are heavy and melodic. And audiences know us and expects us to play TMCM sounds.
How was it to work with Alec Empire and DJ Krush?
Since both are my favorite artists, I was very glad that we could work together. It’s interesting because remix works have their own personalities. We’ve also worked with Long Beach Dub All Stars, Adrien Sherwood, and Audio Active. If we meet someone interesting, we like to work with them.
Have you played with Meshuggah? They’re heavy and fun too. But not really melodic…
No. I will listen to their music when I have a chance.
Who else have you played with that you had fun with?
I’ve enjoyed working with everyone we’ve performed with. It was fun when we played with Fear Factory. Burton was such a nice guy.
Is there a big Gothic or industrial scene near you? Are you a part of that, or are industrial and metal two very different music cultures, as they are in America?
Well, I’m not sure because the US Gothic/industrial scene and the Japanese one are different… Aside from Gothic scene, we’ve been influenced by industrial music. I love Ministry so much.
Are you much interested in rap or hip hop? (I’m not, so I can’t ask specifics.)
I don’t know much about hip hop music, but Kyono loves hip hop. I only know and like Public Enemy.
Because I don’t have lyric sheets (and I can’t understand most of what you sing), it’s hard to tell if there are political messages or religious or philosophical ideas being discussed. Are you interested in cultural differences, oppression (government or religious), space exploration, technology, pretty girls, beer, weapons, warfare, science fiction movies and books, what?
The lyrics contain all I am interested in. Music should have all the elements it needs. Sound and math are closely connected to each other and linked with science as well in terms of technology. However, I love pretty girls and go to see movies on dates. The bottom line is everything is connected. It’s like samsara in Buddhism.
What is something you’re interested in that people would not think you would be interested in? (Some metal bands have confessed they love ABBA or Japanese pop, and some punk bands have admitted they had Boni Jovi and Ratt concert shirts and patches on their jean jackets. Me, I really like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin, including Cannonball Run roles!)
I love to play soccer, have 40 to 50 Yoda figures in my room, and my old beat-up Beetle (VW bug) doesn’t have the left mirror anymore.