THE BLOG

An Interview With Maximum the Hormone

10/10/2014 10:57 BST | Updated 10/12/2014 10:59 GMT

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As many of my regular readers know I have been yapping on rather incessantly about Japanese teen metal upstarts Babymetal since March this year and through them another, very unique, Japanese band smashed into my radar (I would say crossed, but this would be manifestly untrue).

That band is the magnificently styled Maximum The Hormone (MTH).

MTH have risen to mainstream success in their native country thanks to their insane live shows and avant garde approach to song writing and western audiences are finally taking note. The band are currently booked to play Knotfest USA later this month and their first headline show in New York.

As luck would have it, I caught up with Maximum the Ryo-kun (singer, guitar) over the interwebs for an interview and began by asking him to describe MTH's music:

I asked some of your online fans how they would describe MTH and someone said "A chaotic mix of metal, punk, and pop, mixed with several beers, some speed and a liberal dose of LSD". How would you describe your music to someone familiar with none of those things?

Maximum the Ryo-kun:

It's my shit. I devour music I love and digest it. Everything goes through my guts and my music comes out of my asshole.

People seem to be taking notice of Japanese bands at the moment and Perfume, Babymetal, X-Japan and Maximum and Hormone will be in New York around the same time later in the year. Why are western audiences taking greater notice of Japanese music?

Maximum the Ryo-kun:

Those bands you mentioned might be getting noticed, but I still can't believe Maximum The Hormone gets positive attention from western audiences!

It's obvious you value your fans, is this why you prefer playing smaller venues?

Maximum the Ryo-kun:

At real Maximum The Hormone shows, people get splashed with our spit and sweat. We also play at big music festivals and that's actually exciting, too, but MTH playing at small venues is real MTH. Sushi tastes good with that size. If it's too big, it doesn't taste good at all and people would get sick.

You wrote a story about a magic tin can that can transmit sexual touching to any girl on TV. What tin can inspired this moment of creative perversity?

Maximum the Ryo-kun:

There is no creative inspiration. That's a real story!

You're famous for your songs in Death Note and your new album features a 156 page comic book. Can you draw me a quick cartoon of this interview?

Maximum the Ryo-kun:

I've always wanted to be a manga artist since I was a little kid. I still want to. But for now, my guitar is like a pen for a manga artist. I've drawn illustrations for charity merch and collaboration merch.

If you weren't in this band what would you be doing and which one of you do you think would be most likely in jail and why?

Maximum the Ryo-kun:

I think all the members except me would get decent jobs and live happy lives. I remember that I always got too stressed out when I made phone calls to apply for jobs. I stuttered a lot and got embarrassed then often ended up with hanging up. So I know that I'm the one who would be in trouble if we weren't doing this band. I would very likely become an unsocialized homeless manga artist wannabe.

So there you have it. The musical force of nature that is MTH is about to be unleashed in the USA and if you are brave enough, and in New York, then tickets are available for their October 27 show at The Best Buy Theatre here. I seriously think it will be a rather lively show. Just remember to bring a waterproof and maybe a crash helmet.

All photographs copyright Maximum The Hormone