miaou’s latest effort – along with the new album by Cornelius – are my favorite electronic albums of the year so far.
After a long time when they were exploring a fusion of post-rock and electronic music, Tokyo-based rock trio miaou shared first album in 12 years, “The Only Way To Find You”.
“It has been 12 years since our last album ‘The Day Will Come Before Long‘. During that time, we have released remix albums and cassette tapes, done some remixes of other musicians, had solo performances by each member, and toured China several times,” says Mayumi Hasegawa (bass, synthesizer and more), who told us about the way they make music what’s behind their album and videos.
“We were always thinking about the next album, but we kept wondering what kind of direction we should take it in. With the last album, we had already done what is called a fusion of post-rock and electronica,” she adds. “While worrying about it, I began to think about why we continue to be a band called miaou. The three of us have been together for more than 20 years, even though we have different ways of thinking, sometimes we quarrel.”
The answer, Mayumi says, was that they still want to play music together as miaou: “After playing together for 20 years, it has become a part of our lives. So, this time, we decided to make new songs based on the sounds of guitar, bass and drums.”
Mayumi admits it is easy these days to create drum sounds on a computer, but that does not make sense for the three of them to work together. So while they had done this on computer before, this time they felt it should be different: they played drums on all of the songs, limiting programmed beats, and played various instruments as much as possible. “I think we ended up with that kind of rock band sound,” she says.
After the key song of the whole album was completed – “Reach For Tomorrow” (watch above), the other followed, with their own roles. “The first song, the last song, some are accents, some are the usuals, and so on,” explains Mayumi. Why was “Reach For Tomorrow” the key song? Simply because “it is catchy and could be cut as a single.”
“The Only Way To Find You” was the first time they mixed the music themselves. When miaou made the demo, they worked on the sound and felt that if they asked someone else to do the mixing, the sound would obviously change. “If it turns out to be good, it’s okay, but if we think it is a little different, we will have to compromise on some aspects. So, we decided to go ahead and do the mixing ourselves this time,” Mayumi says.
After Tatsuki Hamasaki (guitars, programming) mixed a track, he uploaded it to the cloud, and the other two members checked it. “We would tell Tatsuki, ‘we need to lower this note,’ and he would correct it. This back-and-forth was repeated. It took a long time. The more time it took, the more satisfied we were with the result,” says Mayumi.
For music videos, they asked their friends to produce them, knowing some of their works. So they gave them a rough idea of what they wanted and left it to them, thinking it would be more interesting to see what they could come up with that the band didn’t expect.
And why is one of the songs, “Olen Yksin,” sung in Finnish, while the video was shot in Japan? “At first, we only intended to use scenery, but the director said he wanted to include dance,” says Mayumi.
“I was unfamiliar with contemporary dance, and when I first saw the video, I wasn’t sure if it matched the music. But as I watched it over and over again, I realized that this type of expression was possible. I gradually came to accept a sensibility that I did not have. I began to feel that it was fresh.”
And what’s the message of the album as a whole? “It is in the album title,” she adds. “I would like to leave it to your imagination.”