“We’re really inspired by Stanley Kubrick and we want to create a sound that reflects Kubrick’s visual image,” says guitarist Yuzuru Takeda of Molice. The band is due to release a new album titled “Catalystrock” later this month, and we’re here in a small coffee shop on the band’s home turf in Kokubunji, Tokyo, to talk about their celluloid-inspired rock.
The second track on the new album, “Romancer,” demonstrates the cinematic appeal of Molice, with its spiky new-wave angles, the guitar stalks along while the bass jumps to the sleazy rock ‘n’ roll rhythm of a rundown, neon-lit street. “We were daydreaming about turning your personality inside out to become this smooth kind of a person,” says Molice’s lead singer and guitarist, Rinko, who only goes by one name.
On stage, Rinko and Takeda morph into edgier versions of their everyday selves.
“Yuzuru loves the guitar and he’s really into sound. When he plays guitar, he becomes really intense and passionate, totally different from his usual calm self,” says Rinko.
“Rinko is very composed; she always has a clear concept of what she wants. She can express herself clearly with music. She’s so sharp and cool, on stage, she’s like Jim Morrison,” reciprocates Takeda.
Takeda and Rinko are Molice’s founding members. After their former band, China Chop, dissolved, they came together bonded by a vision of how they thought a band ought to be. They then recruited drummer Takashi Koyama and bassist Ikuhiro.
“We’re really on the same wavelength. We have different tastes in music but our way of thinking is the same,” says Rinko. Takeda and Rinko felt China Chop suffered from a surfeit of influences.
“So we thought, ‘let’s make Molice’s sound more simple.’ The concept of Molice is to make simple, cool and solid music.”
Influences range from The Doors, Pixies and The Police to 1950s rock ‘n’ roll, with the diverse elements fusing nicely together to form their distinctive “solid” sound.
While Takeda, a self-confessed movie buff, has some input, it’s Rinko who is the main creative force behind the outfit, writing all the songs herself. Their first album, “Doctor Ray,” was inspired by the movie “Blade Runner.”
“For our first album, we were aiming to sound like a band that might play in the city depicted in ‘Blade Runner.’ We thought, ‘Let’s make an album that sounds like the kind of album that band would make,’ ” explains Rinko. The album gained them a certain notoriety abroad, which led to some live dates in London in December and their video being aired on French TV.
“We played live in London and were really excited. There’s a different feeling at a gig abroad than at a gig in Japan. The audience reaction in London was really direct. In Japan it’s more difficult to read,” says Takeda.
When they were in London, Molice received a lot of interest from promoters. “After we went to London, we got lots of offers to play different countries,” says Rinko. Closer to home, the band are due to perform a number of live dates around Tokyo in the near future.
The new album, according to Rinko, also looks to cinema for inspiration.
“With ‘Catalystrock,’ we also thought, ‘Let’s have a sci-fi theme.’ The last one was a kind of cyberpunk image; this album has more of a ‘Fahrenheit 451’ feeling or perhaps creates a world that resembles (Jean-Luc) Godard’s ‘Alphaville.’ ”
Takeda explains that the title of the album expresses Molice’s hope that the music will allow the listener to plug into the band’s vision. “We hope this CD will be a catalyst for our audience to make a connection with us.”
Catalystrock is released on Velour Voice on March 24. The release party for the album is on March 26 at Tokyo’s Kichijoji Rock Joint GB. Tickets cost ¥2,500. For more information, visit www.themolice.com