Did you know there is a connection between UK and Japan? The Solution, a five-piece band from Ōgaki, Gifu (Japan), are keeping the Uk Punk and Oi!’s flame alive and they’re on casual culture aswell. Now you’re about to read this interview with Prince N., lead singer of The Solution… enjoy!
Please introduce yourself: history, line up, etc.
My name is Prince N. (Vo & G) from The Solution, we got together in 1999 to perform real street rock & roll, we are from Ogaki-city, Gifu, Japan. Original members were Kensei(G), Ryoei(B), Michio(Dr) and myself(Vo). We were all influenced by original UK Punk and Oi!. We released a couple of singles and LPs one a joint venture with then Tokyo Punk band The Basements and played on a various artists compilation comprising of Japanese Skinhead bands. We played the live scene regularly around Gifu and Nagoya. We went through some line-up changes, and from 2008 our music evolved into a more Mod and British Rock sound and style. We released our 1st full Album “Then Now Always” in 2012. Then in 2013, we did a best of album. This album “Now Then” covered all our material from 1999 to the present. And in this year 2014, “Then Now Always” LP was released in Europe on the Bords de Seine in France. The current line-up is myself (Vo & G), Daisuke(G), Ryoei(B), Naoshi13(Dr) and Bazz. Bazz has been working with us since 2004 as vocal coach and co-songwriter while he lived here in Japan, he now lives back in Ireland, but is still very much involved in making songs.
Can you tell us something about your sound? Which bands did influence The Solution?
Well as I said we were first influenced by original UK Punk but in years that followed when I was feeling stuck with Punk music, I was hearing bands like Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene on the radio and I knew we, as lads, were just like these bands, Of course a massive respect for The Jam who made their debut in the time of the punk movement, but kept their Mod style, plus everything else Paul Weller has done has always influenced me greatly.
Can you tell us something about your cd? What’s your favourite track? Are u happy with feedback you’re receiving?
I like all our songs, but especially “Sound From The Street” and “Then Now Always”. I just love the sound of Bazz’s lead-in intro “Oi Oi Listen Up”before my guitar opening of the album, it came along as I imagined. Every song on the album tells a story of our experiences as a band and mates in life. Sound From The Street is what we are about and where we come from. Then Now Always is the closest we will get to a love song but I have a strong feeling for it. “No Freedom” and “It’s Up To you” seem like they have always with us and have become anthemic songs among our fans. We are very happy with our cover of “Maybe Tomorrow” which is just a brilliant song and an acknowledgement to good music and good fans of music everywhere.
How would you rate the current music scene in Japan? Which bands do you like? Are there good venues?
In general, Japanese people often follow what others say, don’t have a strong mind. When non-famous artists have a good reputation outside of Japan, then we start to take notice and listen to these bands. I think Japanese music scene is getting better. Since the magazine “Punk Rock Issue Bollocks” launched, it has been a booster for people to know what is going on, as well as for bands to find an opportunity. Their “Bollocks TV” sometimes has topics about our band. I like artists from Bootstomp Records that we also belong to, we move in the same circles and experience the same difficulties in the Japanese music business, making us stronger and tighter, we know and respect each other. http://www.bollocks-mag.com/
Sensations from your recent gigs?
It got to be the gig in June 2013 in Ogaki. It was a kind of homecoming for Bazz. Emotions were high, we all got too drunk, and very excited then I forgot to add the extra microphone! Then ended up without one half of the time. But it was a great gig.
If you guys could tour with any band, who they would it be?
As I said earlier, there are many bands who have struck a chord with us, so it would be great if we could on the tour with any of them. We have learned about Section 60 through our connections with you guys and like them a lot. Their music and fashion sense is perfect, so I think it would be superb to play with them in UK. My dream is to release our songs on a UK label and going on to tour there one day. Hope you guys enjoy our songs!
You guys seem to be interested in “clothes”… which is our cup of tea. Favourite clothing shops and clothing brands?
Aquascutum / Burberry / MA.Strum / C.P.COMPANY / Stone Island / One True Saxon / Lyle & Scott / 80s Casuals / Casual Connoisseur / Weekend Offender / adidas / Clarks / Pretty Green: These are all brands that we like and wear.We are going to have a Live In-Store performance at the Pretty Green store in Aoyama,Tokyo on April 19th! And of course, THREE STROKE PRODUCTIONS, loving your gear at the moment now too! My favorite place to buy gear is Terraces Menswear for sure. I bought my Torch Jacket (M.A. Strum) and a Naz Jacket(Weekend Offender) through them and will be back again for more. Any tips or recommendations from you guys on places for Japanese people to buy clothes online would be greatly appreciated.
European kids are mad for football (and so are we). Do you like football? Any favourite teams? If not you don’t which other sports do you follow?
I played football for 10years when I was younger, as a goal keeper. I support West Ham, so I went to Upton Park in 2006. I enjoyed the passionate atmosphere. I bought 2 DVDs at Cass’s shop just next to the stadium. Di Canio was a favourite player of mine when he played for the Hammers. Joe Cole was also a favourite, I am happy to see him back there now. I just wish he could produce the goods like he used to. It’s not always easy for me to follow matches because Saturday afternoon games in England are midnight or 1am games in Japan with the time difference. So we are often either drunk or asleep.
We know Japan has a lot to offer, so we need some recommendations for our readers. Tell us the 2/3 best places visitors shouldn’t miss (nice venues, historical sites, shopping, anything)…
Kyoto is a must see for real tradition and culture of old Japan. Maybe it would be cool for you guys to go to Toei Kyoto Studio Park and experience being SAMURAI. Sushi and Sashimi can be enjoyed throughout Japan, but the best of this is to be found in Hokkaido. For shopping, it’s got to be Tokyo.
Plans for the coming months?
23Mar (sun) Gifu Magic Island 6Apr(sun) Gifu Yanagase Ants 19Apr(sat) Tokyo Aoyama Pretty Green In-Store live 6May(tue) Tokyo Shinjuku Loft 3Aug(sun) Nagoya Up Set 30Mar (sun) 13Apr(sun) 16:00~17:00 This is Radio Pounds (FM Senri) http://sweeeteh.blogspot.ie/
Interview translated and conducted by Prince N., Bazz and Kaori
PUNK ROCK ISSUE Bollocks
Find The Solution on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesolutionjapan