Good Effect And Result

24 March 2012 | 8:46 am | Staff Writer

More Boris More Boris

One often doesn't fully appreciate how totally industry and economics have permeated popular music until uncovering a band unaffected by their influence. For better or worse, Boris are such a band. The Japanese trio have successfully established a history of warm, human, volatile unpredictability that doesn't so much defy industry expectations as ignore them altogether.

Boris' work over the past two decades has been defined almost exclusively through a series of philosophies. Born of Japan's fertile late-'80s hardcore scene, Boris have, throughout their ever-evolving music and performances, always maintained a fierce dedication to punk's fundamental ideals of community, DIY and artistic freedom.

“Our hardcore manner is always with us,” drummer Atsuo Mizuno says of the band's values. “But it is not limited to the hardcore community in Japan. That should not be expressed particularly musically – everyone should show it as their attitude. Boris won't ever try to record specific sound or aesthetic on purpose. We didn't expect anything at first because playing together was just for fun. When I look back on that, it seems like a very long time ago.”

The 16 years since the release of Boris' debut album, 1996's Absolutego, have seen them continually saddled with ambiguous genre tags like post-metal, nu-gaze and avant-rock. The band has flirted with everything from hardcore punk, doom and drone-metal through to pop, ambient music and psychedelic rock over the years. “Various titles or sub-genre tags will only ever show an outline of our music. It won't ever be more than that. I will admit it might be helpful to communicate with someone else, though,” Mizuno says diplomatically. “Obviously, what we communicate is through music, not via language. We would like to do whatever we feel fresh and psyched at the moment. Boris won't be faithful to fans if we neglect that.”

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Their work remains driven by the same basic principles as always – a refusal to be pigeonholed, an intense appreciation of the visceral intimacy of performance and an abiding respect and admiration for their audiences across the globe. Fittingly, their entire mantra seems to oscillate around the very sense of contradiction Mizuno pinpoints as the defining aspect of their catalogue – their practice and career an ongoing negotiation between absolute freedom and commitment.

Boris' longing for artistic freedom is both legendary and obvious. It is, by the band's own admission, one of the key motivators behind their notoriously prolific work ethic. At the time of interview, Boris were recording – despite 2011 having already seen the release of three albums of new material (New Album, Heavy Rocks and Attention Please).

“We're looking forward to our tour of Australia. It is going to be our second proper tour over there. This time we will also be going to where we haven't been yet so we feel excited,” Mizuno announces, relieved to be breaking away from the studio temporarily. “We are writing and recording new music these days and we scarcely see anyone else, so it should be great to meet up with many fans and listeners once again.

“Boris loves studio work and, at the same time, we love to have a time for the immediate connection with our fans at shows too,” Mizuno continues later. “It has absolutely become harder for us over the years to keep up the touring. In general, Japan is an easy place to live so, once we go out to tour, it is often quite hard, but we have had great experiences during tours too. I think health management for touring leads good effect and result to keep going what we do.”