It is our great pleasure to hear some thoughts from the noisiest banker on earth, an incapacitant, sake-loving mr. Mikawa-san. To get started, could you share a few words about Gyo-Kai Elegy?
It's my first solo release under my own name. As you may know, early days of Incapacitants were my solo recording project and before Incapacitants, there was Contradictory Bridge. I also released a solo cassette under the name of Peguilla Kinugawa. However, Gyo-Kai Elegy is very special to me, because it's released under my own name.
For many years (or decades, to be more precise) you have been making ear shattering noises. Any changes or progress in your approach over the years?
I started my recording in my high school days. At first, it was guitar improvisation influenced by Derek Bailey and some other improvisers. In those days, I thought I could play that kind of improvisation, of course soon I found I was totally wrong. Then I encountered various kind of "free music" including Jean Dubuffet and L.A.F.M.S. I learned anything was OK and so continued the recording experiments. I made several cassettes under the name of Contradictory Bridge. At that time, I met Jojo Hiroshige and he invited me to join his new unit, originally named Fushoku no Marie, which later became Hijokaidan, by succeeding the original Hijokaidan's name. So, I joined most of Hijokaidan's recording since then (some exceptions recorded by Jojo and Junko only). Contradictory Bridge became Incapacitants, originally my solo recording project. When I moved to Tokyo from Osaka, I was asked to do live performance as Incapacitants and I asked Fumio Kosakai to join as a member. It was in early 90's. As Incapacitants, Pariah Tapes & Repo were my solo recordings. Still, at first, I thought Incapacitants was a recording project and not suitable for live performance. But with Fumio as a permanent member, Incapacitants has changed very dramatically. The reason why I started Incapacitants as my solo recording project apart from Hijokaidan was that I wanted to concentrate on noise itself, keeping myself away from Hijokaidan's disgusting live performance in early 80's. However, doing live performance with Fumio, I came to feel it's fun to me.
More generally speaking, do you feel that noise has changed significantly over the years? How do you see noise of today?
I don't think "noise" itself has changed so dramatically. What has changed significantly within these 30 years is the relationship between "noise" and society. In other words, the way of looking at "noise" by society changed so much that many people misunderstand "noise" is a kind of music. I think Throbbing Gristle should be held responsible for that. Of course, I don't blame them. I would like to point out that without their concept "industrial music for industrial people", such a situation might have been realized much later.
I noticed many young talented noise guys arising almost everywhere in the world. I believe whether noise has a glorious future or not depends on if they continue to make noises. I would like to say don't stop making noise.
Do you feel there is an insurpassable difference between noise and music? Does noise offer something that music doesn't?
What I would like to say is that, for example, "techno pop" is the name of a genre of music, but I can't admit that the same thing can be said about "noise". I believe "noise" should stand as it is and should not be taken on by "music". "Music" always tends to take on "noise" as its part, but "noise" should not yield to that attractive temptation. Keeping away from "music", "noise" can maintain its original power and strength. It's quite important to me.
From a stereotypical perspective, Japanese are known for their lust for new electronic gadgets and devices. How imporant is technology for making noise?
I think technical progress in terms of equipment makes things easy. In my case, if all the effectors can be much smaller and lighter, I feel very good to bring them into the live space with me. But that's all. Using new equipments may kill the taste I like in my noise. So, when employing new gears, I try to be cautious.
Incapacitants are legends of intense physical live action. What is the difference between performing live and preparing music in the studio, or composition vs. imporivisation?
As I mentioned before, I now enjoy live performance very much. Basically, live materials are the source of my composition. Of course, composition doesn't mean making pieces using scores. I improvise.
Art is often harnessed for the extra-aesthetic purposes. In your work, what agenda should we look for?
I don't have any special message in my noise, but being loud.
And finally, if nobody would be listening to your noise, would you still be doing it?
I think so, because I like to listen to my noise.
Doumo arigato Mikawa-san!