Formed in 2001, Ogre You Asshole (オウガ・ユー・アスホール) are in the very core of the Japanese alternative music scene. Influenced by Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Yo La Tengo or Can, they’ve always managed to find their own way, becoming one of the most excellent indie rock bands in Japan.
On their latest LP, “Paper Craft”, they got minimal, evoking the feeling of emptiness or something missing. Singer and guitarist Manabu Deto said in the “Guitar Magazine”: “We tried to integrate two conflicting components, repetitive inorganic phrase with mellow, lyrical attitude.” As he explained, during the recording sessions everything served the final effect – from trying out various instruments to omiting even the basic parts in the final mix.
Drummer Takashi Katsuura emphasized the near-absence of electric guitars. “Guitarists usually want to play guitar solos. But we don’t. We only play necessary sounds”, he said in an interview for “Indies Issue”. Guitarist Kei Mabuchi added in the “Guitar Magazine”, “There are various sounds on the album, but each one has a meaning, each one makes sense.”
For their single “Muda ga Naitte Subarashii”, the band decided to bring the rhythm to the front, combining frenetic bongo beat with fragile vocals. “Every song on this record is like that,” Deto said. “We didn’t strengthen what we wanted to express, but rather added opposite elements. It’s like not landing in the right place.”
In their lyrics, Ogre You Asshole simply speak about the world as they see it. There’s some criticism, but according to the bass player Takashi Shimizu – no cynicism. “We don’t shout that something is wrong, because we are also a part of it,” Shimizu said. If you indeed feel emptiness or something missing from the album, it comes from Ogre’s musicians’ own nature. But don’t you think a despaired man can have as much energy as a man with hope?
♪♫ Listen: “Muda ga Naitte Subarashii”
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