Southsea prepares to get psyched for a new festival

Bo Ningen
Bo Ningen

Portsmouth Guildhall is looking for new trustees to help take it through its £15m Renaissance project

0
Have your say

This weekend it’s time to turn on, tune in and drop out as the city hosts its first Psych Fest.

Taking place at The Wedgewood Rooms and The Edge of The Wedge in Southsea, 14 of the best acts from the local and national psychedelic, shoegaze and post-punk scene will grace the two stages.

Performers include Ulrika Spacek, Melt Dunes, Bo Gritz, Drug Store Romeos and a whole host more.

Headlining the Wedge stage will be Japanese art-rockers Bo Ningen.

Although the four-piece are all from Japan, they met in and have made London their base and have made a name for themselves with their intense live shows over the past decade.

Bassist and vocalist Taigen Kawabe explains why the band decided to stick with the UK rather than return home.

‘The UK has many great opportunities for playing shows as musicians, but we could also collaborate with musicians, artists and fashion brands in the UK which I don’t think we could do if we were based in any other country.

‘And I feel that the UK music industry is much healthier than one in Japan, even though I love the Japanese music scene.’

Japan has a great history of producing crazy noise-rock-psych bands, so where do Bo Ningen see themselves fitting in with that tradition?

‘I don’t know how to describe or put our music into existing genres. I don’t think there is a music scene in the UK that perfectly fits into our music, but that’s to our advantage that we can break the boundaries – we can play anywhere.

If 1,000 people are in the venue, I want them to have 1,000 different ideas of the song and 1,000 different experiences of the show

Taigen Kawabe

‘The Japanese underground music scene is great and I do like that kind of music in Japan, but it is pretty closed and it doesn’t have any connection with other scenes or mainstream music.

‘You can call or describe our music as anything you like, It’s not even just music maybe. Please use your five or six senses to experience our performance.’

It’s been three years since their last album, III, and the band are currently writing and getting ready to record album number four later this year.

‘I think there will be some changes but not forced or unnatural changes – we’ll be still us, Bo Ningen,’ says Taigen.

III also saw Taigen sing in English for the first time – is that something he is looking to develop further?

‘Probably, it’s a challenge for me to sing in English as I can come up with new melodies, rhythms and flows but I still want to use Japanese as my main identity.’

Given their strong cult following here, have they been surprised by their success here? ‘I’m pretty happy about it. I’m sure it could be considered a weak point that I don’t sing in English, but it is definitely also to our advantage. I don’t mind if you misunderstand what I’m singing about.

‘If 1,000 people are in the venue, I want them to have 1,000 different ideas of the song and 1,000 different experiences of the show.

‘It gives more space to everyone and I believe that it’ll appear somewhere deeper inside yourself.’

The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Saturday, April 29

wedgewood-rooms.co.uk