Japanther Interview

If we could play in space for space aliens we would.

japanther interview

Japanther is an art project founded in 2001 by Ian Vanek and Matt Reilly. They both met at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn while studing art and since then they have worked in a  extense discography and are building a passionate life.

With a mix of punk music, rock and lot of independent art culture, this duo have made their gigs as a reference event to attend if you have the oportunity. Anything can happen in there and everything can fly. Just open your mind and come with me to know more about this terrific band from New York.

 Interview with Japanther

You guys met at college in Brooklyn. How was that first friendship at that moment?

Like lots of best friends we argued and were rivals at first. We became friends by trading cassette tapes we had self each self released freshman year at Pratt*. My tape was called “Songs In The Key Of Menthol” and Matt’s was called “Beef Up On Crack.”

How do you manage a music duo without perishing in the attempt?

Japanther has suffered many hardships and known many triumphs. We still view our group as “on the rise.” We hope to improve our sound and operation with each passing month. Our goal is to stay interested in what we are doing.  

Twelve years of career and an extensive discography. When do you guys sleep?

We are involved in several artist residencies and slow slow projects. This gives us ample time to write and relax. We spend a lot of time at the beach and on our bicycles rambling around New York City. We are also travelling and performing for seven to eight months a year. 

What’s the part of your life as Japanther that you guys more enjoy doing it (composing, rehearsals, recording, gigs, travels, others) and which one the one that you don’t like at all (or it bothers you more).

Part of Japanther’s success hinges on shared responsibility. Matt is great at writing melodies on piano & loves to silkscreen. I enjoy making beats, writing and planning. We have worked with so many amazing artist and professionals in our time. So for us we enjoy every second we work on this project.  

People say that your shows are explosive and anything can happen in there. Do we need to bring an armor to attend your gig in Barcelona and Madrid? 

Yes! if you’re a man bring a condom. If you’re a girl bring your bullshit detector. Hopefully some babies are born nine months later. It’ll be explosive! Fucking dancing, partying screaming and loosing your mind. Hopefully no one steals our gear off the stage while we play…Or in the back alley while we load out.  

You already visited our country some months ago. Do you like the Spanish public so much that you can’t stop repeating? Or it is because of our beers and tapas?

Sadly we had to cancel a tour of the EU at the beginning of 2012. Returning to the U.S. to attend a friend’s memorial. At that time we decided to do two more tour in Europe to play Ketchup with our fans. We love Spain’s food, architecture, skating, graffiti and late night street beers. If I could move there I would. 

About the punk scene in the USA, do you guys feel differences between the west coast scene and the east cost, say LA vs. NY/Brooklyn, like many decades ago?

Japanther love LA, our producer is there and we plan to spend some of our winter there in an artist residency. New York is a much smaller space so audiences can mix easier that in Oakland or L.A. We love it all. The whole spinning blue ball. If we could play in space for space aliens we would.  

And what about American punk vs. British punk? How do you see the punk scene going in general nowadays?

In London we hang out with Upset The Rhythm, The Slits and The Crass collective. We really love the energy and love we feel in the U.K. as a whole. I hope we can import more English punk and hip hop to New York. However the U.K. & the U.S. have made it difficult to get papers and permits to enter and perform. The punk scene means so many different things world wide. We love little bits of punk, we love little bit of the art business and so on. We try not to linger and let rust collect.