Interview: Electric Eel Shock

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This rock & roll trio have gone all out to get their music heard, from playing in people’s kitchens to being paid in toothpaste and toilet roll.

Amita Mistry talks to Japanese rock band, Electric Eel Shock.

Electric Eel Shock

How did you come up with the band’s name Electric Eel Shock?

We moved to Tokyo because it’s the city for the music business. The first band we formed was quite successful in Japan but only for a short time. Then we formed a 12 piece band (this was the original Electric Eel Shock) but when we found our drummer Gian; he was playing in a Jazz Soul band, but we knew he had Rock & Roll in him and thought he could easily replace 10 people! So we became a 3 piece. Did I answer why we are called Electric Eel Shock?

Maybe you have to work it out from that...

Did you find English a difficult language to learn?

No, it was easy because we listened to so much English heavy metal when we grew up. Mind you when we first went to USA to tour it did make our conversations a little limited. If we asked directions we only ever understood if they answered 'Run for the Hills'...

How would you describe your tour around the world?

Our world tour has been changed to more normal professional tour now - we have booking agents and tour manager a sound engineer and all the things you would expect a band to have. But early our tour was funny and spectacle amateur one.

We went all over the world booking the show by ourselves - sometimes in America we would turn up in town without a show and get one or book it just only one day before the gig. We have played someone’s kitchen, living room, room for dogs, street etc.. We have had people offer to pay us in drinks of course but also by weed or cocaine. One crazy place paid us in toothpaste, deodorant and toilet roll (I think he had stolen from a shop!). We turned up in Kansas one time after a 10 hour drive to find that the venue we were supposed to be playing had a sign saying 'closed down – gig cancelled' we had no money or place to sleep so we just went around other venues in town to get a gig, like a Blues Brothers movie. We got a gig and had a great night - they fed us and gave us beer - we sold lots of merchandise and stopped in a squat with 100 cats who all wanted to piss on Gian. Our tour manager got attacked by two butch lesbians - but we survived and made gas money to drive the 10 hours to the next gig the next day. But I liked our early tour date. We had a lot of fun!

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Biggest festivals? Roskilde or Hultsfred? or Wacken? Or maybe playing with great bands including, Stooges, Sepultura, Presidents of USA. Oh, difficult question! But I think the number of the countries we have been to is the greatest for us. The number is over 30!

When and where are you planning on touring in the UK?

Just straight after releasing new album, I hope.

Gian, why do you enjoy drumming naked and do you feel it helps you play better?

Gian always says he hasn't any reason to do it. But I know the difference of the result clothes on or off. He plays the drums 100 times better without clothes, we know, because he plays drums with clothes on in the practice studio. So I will insist that he should be naked in the recording studio for our next album.

Aki, have you officially ditched the fishing rod and bait to devote your time to your music?

Wow how do you get that impression! Rock & Roll and fishing go together like English fish and chips! If I go fishing two times a week, I make two songs in a week... automatically. If I don't go fishing, then there will be no new songs! So I have to go to fish for EES, it's true, believe me!

Has signing up with Sellaband helped you get more exposure and sales?

We are making the album now, which is yet to be released. But I'm sure it will help us. And we’re working hard to make the greatest album for Sellaband, for us, and for our fans!

Visit: www.electriceelshock.com