Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo to trip through Iowa City

Kikagaku Moyo w/ Art Feynman

The Mill — Friday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m.

Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo bring their psychedelic sounds to The Mill on Friday, Feb. 22. — Jamie Wdziekonski/Kikagaku Moyo

Beginning as a busking collective on the streets of Tokyo, Kikagaku Moyo has spent the six years of their existence gathering an ever-increasing number of fans. Their live shows on the festival circuits are constantly raved about (seriously, check YouTube for their performances at Desert Daze and Levitation), and their four albums and two EPs are drooled over by music lovers around the world.

Kikagaku Moyo (Daoud Popal Akira, Ryu Kurosawa, Go Kurosawa, Tomo Katsurada, Kotsu Guy) will be playing at The Mill on Friday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $12. Being a fan, and insanely excited to finally see them play live, I decided to reach out to the band for a brief interview.

First, I’d like to thank you for speaking with us. I’m a big fan and can’t wait to finally see you guys play. For our readers who may not know you, could you tell us about the name Kikagaku Moyo?

Thank you so much for having us and taking time for it! Kikagaku Moyo means geometric patterns in Japanese. We chose the name because I saw geometric patterns in back of my eyelid after playing jam till morning. I shared what I saw with the others and everyone else also had the experience. Also geometric patterns in the world are very beautiful and you can find them anywhere. At the same time we are intrigued by the perfection, we also feel attracted by the imperfection of things.

2018 seems to have been a break out for you in terms of press coverage. Has it felt any different to you?

Definitely, we could reach more people. But, overall, [2018] was just touring and recording music and touring.

You guys are often called a psychedelic band — do you find the term useful as far as having a ready-built community and sub-culture to interact with?

We like psychedelic music and culture. But we also like certain genres of metal or jazz too. A good thing about psychedelic music is that it gives us way of expanding our set perspective or expectations about genres.

On House in the Tall Grass it sounded like you guys were exploring elements of improvisational jazz. Listening to Masana Temples the elements are even more overt. I was wondering how much of the album was conceived before recording Masana Temples and how much of the album developed in the studio?


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We had all the songs but they were not completed until we got to the studio. We had been already playing those songs on tour, but working with Bruno Pernadas as our producer helped us give those songs structure.

What bands were early influences on you guys?

Psychic Paramount, Incredible String Band, Dead Meadow, Popol Vuh.

What current bands have you been listening to?

Wooden Shjips, Beak>, Tomaga, Dungen

In 2014 you guys also started the Guruguru Brain label. Was this an invention born from frustration with record labels?

Not really. We realized that releasing music is something we can do and we enjoy doing.

What releases can we expect from Guruguru Brain, and are any of the bands planning tours?

Khana Bierbood are touring in Europe now for the first time, which we get lots of good reactions. We will have some more releases too!

You’ve recently been added to Bonnaroo’s lineup; what else can look forward to from Kikagaku Moyo in 2019?

We will have one-month tour in February and will be back for two weeks in June for Bonnaroo, and also planning another month tour in October — hopefully with Minami Deutsch! Also, we are working on new songs, just gathering up the ideas!

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