Japandroids: First time in South East Asia

Japandroids is a Canadian rock duo formed in 2006, consists of Brian King (Vocals, Guitar) and David Prowse (Drums, Vocals). Although after their two EPs, All Lies and Lullaby Death Jam, by the end of 2008 the duo decided to disband, but in early 2009, the band decided to continue temporarily after signing a contract with independent Canadian label Unfamiliar Records to release their first full-length album, Post-Nothing. This album gained fame and good reviews from music’s most reliable media such as Spin and Pitchfork. In 2012, Japandroids released their sophomore album, Celebration Rock and gained wide praise. The album made it to Rolling Stone’s list of 50 best albums of 2012 and stamped “Best New Music” from Pitchfork.

Prior to their scheduled set at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival on January 26th, 2013, we’ve talked to Dave Prowse about visiting new places, their love of touring, and their success in 2012.

Hello Dave, so, how are you?
Hi! Yeah, everything’s fine.

Straight to our first question of the day, Japandroids has been known for their love of touring, so what’s it about touring that you love?
Pretty much everything about it, you know. Well obviously getting to travel to many different places, but also to be honest, playing music in front of an audience who know your songs, and sing along, and have that kind of moment of connection with a huge group of people, That’s the best feeling that I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t really think you could beat that.

Celebration Rock has gained wide praise from Spin, Pitchfork, even Rolling Stone, did you expect those kind of reactions while making this album?
Um, no I don’t think you can make an album while expecting those kinds of reactions. You just hope that you could make an album you’ll be proud of. To be honest, the accolades and reviews for this record haven’t given us much surprise compared to Post-Nothing. At that time we’d never thought anyone would like it, but then a lot of people heard it and a lot of people liked it. So, yeah this time around it was a little bit strange, but yes, it was strange. Obviously it was very flattering to get all those critical acclaim.

What’s the difference between Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock from the process of the making?
Yeah, we’ve become a very different band by the time we made Celebration Rock. When we made Post-Nothing we were still a local band in Vancouver. So we made Post-Nothing in a very short time, because at that time we didn’t have a lot of money. So that’s the reason why we made this album very quick. When we made Celebration Rock, we just wanted to rebuild the vibe (of the making of the first album). So we decided to work again with Jesse (Gander, the producer of their first album) because he’s a fantastic engineer. During the making of this album, we’ve got a lot more of time, a lot more of money, and also an expectations of our fans, because at the time we made Post-Nothing, we’re just making a record for ourselves. So, yeah, Celebration Rock is a lot more stressful, that’s why it took so long.

Japandroids’songs contains a lot of strong rock n roll lyrics such as “Fire”, “Highway”, and “Adrenaline”. Could you tell us more about your lyrics?
First of all, I didn’t write the lyrics, it was all Brian. But I’m pretty sure he made the lyrics to be easy so all people could interpret it. Figuring the meaning of the song by their will, I’m pretty sure that’s the way we operate.

So, Brian wrote most of the songs, right? Why did you choose to cover (The Gun Club’s) “For The Love of Ivy”?
The Gun Club is a band that we’re really loved and we’re really respect. And “For the Love of Ivy” is a great song that we’re not really capable of writing on our own. It has a different kind of energy and wilderness that we’ve never been able to capture, and also it’s still fit to put it with the other songs in the album.

Have you ever thought about having another member in the band?
Well, you know you’re limited, knowing that you have only 2 people in this band. But I’m pretty sure there are a lot of bands that consists of 2 members and they made a really good music. So that’s why we never thought about an idea of having another member in the band, even though we once thought of having a vocalist because Brian and I loves the way we play guitar & drums, the way it blended, but we’re really struggled to blend it with a perfect vocal.

Lets talk about St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, it’s your first festival in 2013, and Singapore will be the first city in South East Asia that you’ll be going to. What can we expect from the show?
Hopefully it’ll just be a really sweaty fun energetic show, just like all other show. Playing our music as loudly as possible, hopefully having a really good time and hopefully the crowd responded to that and having a really good time with us too. Well, we’ve never been to that part of the world and we’re really looking forward to play in a new place, new country with these new people to enjoy the music with us.

Now, it’s our last question. Even though St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival was being held in Singapore, there are a lot of Indonesians wanting to fly overseas to attend the festival. So, is there any message to Indonesian fans?
Yeah, we wish we could make it to Indonesia sometimes soon, To be honest I didn’t know that people noticed our band in Indonesia, but we’re really love to play in a brand new place, with a brand new people as much as we could. So, yeah, if you guys in Indonesia want us to play with you guys, please let us know, we’re trying to make it possible.

For your information, Japandroids’svinyl were being sold at one of Indonesia’s independent record store.
Oh yeah? Really? Awesome. What’s the name of the record store?

It was Monka Magic.
Wow, cool, I never thought of it.

So Dave, that’s it for today, thanks for the interview, we’re really looking forward to rock on with you at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival.
Oh yeah, see you soon, and we’re really looking forward to play with you guys.

To find out more about Japandroids, check out their official page and to learn more about Laneway this year, check out our trivia article. (Faisal Nugraha)