The Ja­pan­droids ma­chine burn­ing down bound­aries

Com­ing of age in an era of dig­i­tal file-shar­ing was cru­cial for Ja­pan­droids, al­low­ing them to reach au­di­ences which couldn’t phys­i­cally buy their records, as one half of the duo, David Prowse, tells Ian Maleney

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

Af­ter the suc­cess of your first al­bum,

Post-Noth­ing, you got your first op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­ally tour a lot and be­ing on the road seems like the nat­u­ral way for the band to be. How did you find that ini­tial tour­ing ex­pe­ri­ence?

So far, the places we’ve played shows, there’s al­ways been at least a hand­ful of peo­ple who are aware of our mu­sic. Es­pe­cially with the way that mu­sic can travel so eas­ily across bor­ders now, it can be dig­i­tally shared be­tween any­body so it’s a lot eas­ier for us to play places where you can’t ac­tu­ally buy our record. Peo­ple have heard the songs be­fore and are fa­mil­iar with the mu­sic even if they can’t phys­i­cally buy a copy in their record store.

In turn, that dig­i­tal shar­ing must have been im­por­tant for you and es­pe­cially Brian, grow­ing up in such a small town. Do you see it as a way to reach a wider community?

When we were about 16 or some­thing like that, that’s when the in­ter­net first re­ally kind of ex­ploded in terms of dig­i­tal file-shar­ing of mu­sic. That’s when Nap­ster be­came such a pow­er­ful file-shar­ing plat­form, I guess. When you’re 16 that’s also kind of the age when you’re re­ally de­vour­ing new mu­sic as well. It’s a time of your life when you’re just con­stantly dis­cov­er­ing new mu­sic and you’re re­ally ex­cited to hear about all kinds of new bands. Ob­vi­ously there is a down­side, it’s not as easy to be a “pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian” these days, com­pared to those days. We prob­a­bly don’t sell as many records as we might have if we were a band in the nineties, but it also al­lows us to travel to a lot of places I don’t think we would have been able to go to. So it’s a trade-off I think we’re both pretty com­fort­able with.

It seems like you write songs to con­nect with peo­ple, more so than ever on

Cel­e­bra­tion Rock. It’s some­thing you could see as an­other by-prod­uct of grow­ing up some­what iso­lated. Do you think that’s the case?

To some ex­tent, that’s kind of a sub­con­scious thing, but I think with our con­certs and our re­la­tion­ship with our fans, there’s a very com­mu­nal kind of feel to it. On this al­bum, maybe there was a con­scious de­ci­sion to write more in­clu­sively. I think, lyri­cally, Brian thought about that a bit more be­cause of all the shows we’ve played and be­cause of that gen­eral feel­ing we get from play­ing live and want­ing to keep that feel­ing go­ing and ex­tend on that so ev­ery song in the set is like that. Ini­tially it wasn’t a con­scious thing. We were just play­ing the mu­sic we wanted to play, with­out any kind of au­di­ence in mind or any­thing like that. We didn’t have an au­di­ence.

“I think with our con­certs and our re­la­tion­ship with our fans, there’s a very com­mu­nal kind of feel to it”

Of­ten with a two-piece band, there’s this ten­sion be­cause the two are so reliant on each other. It can make per­for­mances of that sort re­ally in­tense to watch. Is it some­thing that you’ve felt?

Yeah, if some­thing goes wrong with one of us, there’s no­body else to pick up the slack! When it’s a two-piece band, it’s just the two of you on stage and you can’t just re­place one mem­ber and keep go­ing be­cause it’s about the con­nec­tion be­tween two peo­ple on­stage. Ob­vi­ously for us, it’s al­ways been the two of us and it al­ways will be, as far as Ja­pan­droids go.

That vis­i­ble re­la­tion­ship of­ten breeds a kind of hon­esty or sin­cer­ity; you just work with what you’ve got and peo­ple tend to re­spect that. And, go­ing on the lyrics and your live shows, it seems like you’re a very sin­cere band.

Well, thank you! I to­tally agree. It is that kind of thing where, when you play on stage in front of a crowd, you just kind of have to go for it. Some­times lit­tle things go wrong and some­times big things go wrong too, some­times your amps blow up on stage, but there’s noth­ing you can do in that mo­ment be­sides play as hard as you can and put on a good show for the peo­ple who have come to see you play. What are you go­ing to do to en­sure that this is a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence? It’s re­ally im­por­tant to us that ev­ery show we play we can be proud of and when we look back on it, we can say we played the best show we could that night.

Ja­pan­droids play the Work­man’s Club, Dublin, on Thurs­day, and Man­dela Hall, Belfast, on Fri­day 17th. Cel­e­bra­tion Rock is out now on Polyvinyl Records

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