O Y: You could say that such things are also influenced by the Corona pandemic in other words.

S O : There are many aspects. For example, this pandemic cut out by music is a bit different from this pandemic cut out by life. Before the pandemic, I wasn’t really working on MONDO GROSSO. At that time, after the flow of the previous MONDO GROSSO album had settled down, I was more focused on RHYME SO. After finishing RHYME SO, should I go back to MONDO GROSSO or not? Should I start producing for someone else, or should I start doing something else? But then the pandemic came. What should we do now?

O Y : Yes,Many conflicts arise.

S O : But the beginning of the pandemic coincided with the release of RHYME SO, so we couldn’t do almost everything we were going to do. We couldn’t perform nearly as much. Even when we did release it, it didn’t turn out the way we thought it would or the way we wanted it to. For about a year after the pandemic, we were so frustrated. We were releasing stuff, but we couldn’t do anything about it, and we didn’t know what to do. So we did a live stream on YouTube every Sunday. It was great that people were happy to see me there. It was also very nourishing for me to know that I was doing something good for someone else, and that I was digging for music at a certain time every week. But after a few months of doing it, you’ve had enough. I can do this and it’s fun but I don’t want to satisfy myself in this routine. That’s when I realised that my main job is to create. That’s what I came back to and started making music again.

O Y : So you started to pick it up and create music again after the pandemic cooled down.

S O : Yes. I’ve still got the images that I wrote under the name SHINICHI OSAWA. There are about 20 songs on there, but they are very rough. It’s not pop at all, it’s very distorted. You can’t really call it electro or techno.

O Y : Come to think of it, even in your Sunday livestreams, there were times when things got a bit crazy, weren’t there?

S O: Yes, yes, there were times like that. You know it well!

O Y: I’d go and check the stream on a Sunday evening, and I’d think it was going well, and then the next week it’d be a mess.

S O: It was a mess. But it was good for me that I was able to get it out there. It was almost ready to take shape, but in the discussion with the team, they suggested that we should go back to making MONDO GROSSO, even though it’s possible to make something distorted like that. That kind of rough stuff, even if it wasn’t at a time when everyone was just as rough and wild as we were, I felt that it would be possible to release the energy of that time as a memoir later on so I thought it would not be a bad idea to start making MONDO GROSSO. So we started working on the MONDO GROSSO album around December 2020.

O Y : I saw in your note on December 7th last year that you started working on it exactly one year ago.

S O: Yes, that’s right. But I think that with the Corona pandemic, everyone had more or less had something going on in their lives, even those who don’t make things in the last two years, especially in 2020.

O Y: It’s almost the same feeling as when the Fukushima nuclear accident happened, isn’t it?

S O: Yes. There were people who thought that anything could happen, that the world could end at any moment. That’s probably what I thought too. I think that what comes out of such a situation is surprisingly honest. It was really good for me to come back to the point that I am a person who makes music.

O Y : Were you able to switch back to MONDO GROSSO from making that kind of heavy stuff? Was there a lot of pain in the making of this album as well?

S O : In the beginning, we were working at the same time, and when we got tired of MONDO GROSSO, we went back to that complecated stuff. But we had about 20 images, so we were able to contrast that with something that wasn’t here. That gave me the motivation to want to work more on MONDO GROSSO. So this time, I think it was more of a trial and error process for me. It wasn’t painful. I just kept coming up with new ideas and trying them out. It’s not so much that it’s hard to make progress, it’s more that the versions keep changing, and sometimes the songs get replaced. That’s part of the fun of making this album.

O Y : And it took about a year to finish?

S O : Yes, it did. Actually, the MONDO GROSSO album was supposed to be released around the end of last summer if all went well. Before that, we had an idea to release a Best Hitsalbum, and when we decided to re-record BoA‘s song “Everything Needs Love”, we couldn’t adjust the recording schedule because of the pandemic. You never know what’s going to happen. So it took a long time, and the whole release was pushed back.

O Y : When we talked about it in 2019, you said it would be the following summer.

S O : In hindsight, I think it was all for the best. Maybe if we had gone ahead with the release as originally planned, we wouldn’t have been able to get this group together.

O Y : Did you choose most of the guest artists this time, Shinichi?

S O: No, I said I wanted to have Donguris, CHAI and that’s about it. And Tajima. I also love Ryuichi Sakamoto. Hikari Mitsushima and the team came up with the idea of what they wanted to do with this song. It’s like some sort of chemical reaction, when we we go with everyone’s ideas and play them like joyful.

O Y : MONDO GROSSO often features female musicians, but I thought it was interesting that Takao Tajima of Original Love participated in the project. In terms of the music, I think it’s close to the original image of MONDO GROSSO. On the contrary, I felt that it was a good discomfort or spice in this album. 

S O : I’ve known Tajima since before his debut at the beginning of the 90’s, when people started to talk about things like acid jazz. We’ve been close, but we’ve never worked together, so I wanted to do something like that for a while, and now it’s finally happened.

O Y : Is there anything that has changed between the last album and this one, or anything that you consciously changed?

S O : Actually, rather than like the last album, we never talked about the concept of this album as a theme like in the past releases of MONDO GROSSO. When we released “Next Wave”, it was just a vague idea of doing something new. This time, the world has really changed drastically during the pandemic. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to go back to the way it was, it’s going to keep changing. In this situation, as a musician, I tried to find out what is the role of music and what is the expression that I can do through music. It’s quite unusual for an album to have a theme like that. I don’t want to put too much into words here, so I won’t, but I started from that big concept and had lyric meetings with each singer, and I even wrote the lyrics myself. I think it’s the first time for MONDO GROSSO that we’ve gone into the world of lyrics and words ourselves.

O Y : So up until now, you haven’t set a specific theme for the album, or dared to put a message into the songs or lyrics?

S O : That’s right. It’s just that I’ve reflected on the theme that I’ve set myself in the lyrics, and it’s not a message that I want people to take that way.

O Y : Do you use a lot of live sound on this album?

S O : Only guitar, bass and strings. The rest is mostly all digital.

O Y : The songs from the previous albums give me the image of a live performance. I think it’s hard to imagine a live performance from this album. Maybe it’s because I’ve already seen the previous albums.

S O : It’s true that when we were making this album, we didn’t really imagine it being played live. That’s why I think the style of live performance we do at MONDO GROSSO will change a lot. I’ve always wondered when I think about the way live music should be played, how much meaning can be found in playing by hand in a live performance where the music is mainly played by drumming. Unless, for example, there is a need for an unplugged arrangement that would be great. I think there are a lot of gigs where the sound is replaced by a live sound, and the goodness of the original source is lost. I don’t want to be like that. For example, there are people who say that Daft Punk is almost just there and not doing anything. But in a way, it’s more correct to say that they can actually play live to thousands or tens of thousands of people to enjoy.

 So I don’t think that someone ‘playing live’ is the most important definition of live anymore. That’s why I want to update my style and try to find out what makes a live performance.

O Y : I’m looking forward to it, and have a particular liking to how you play bass!

SO : I think I’ll play the instruments I can play, but I’d like to be a bit freer, rather than saying I can’t do this without the whole full band.

O Y : The more people you have,  the more calories you burn for it.

S O : The music industry hasn’t fully recovered economically yet, has it?

O Y : Even more so now, because we can’t get as many people as before. We’re still working out what style of live performance we’re going to do. When that is decided, please let us help you with the wiring.


S O: Yes, we will! But now, I’m really interested in VR and spatial effects. I have a team that I’m trying to work with. First of all, I’m planning to do a kind of DJ+VJ tour with this album before a live performance that includes a band or a performance. It’s a bit like the old “Live on the next wave”. It’s an updated version of that.

O Y : You’ve said in the past that your music, and maybe this album too, is a message in itself and that it’s up to the listener to decide how to take it. But from my point of view, you are making good use of tools such as SNS and recently you have been writing notes, and it seems that you are consciously trying to convey various things.

S O: Maybe that’s the result of it. I have negative things to say about social networking sites and complain about them. But surprisingly I like to use new tools to communicate (laughs).

O Y : I get the impression that you’re experimenting with different platforms, not only SNS, but also GINZA MUSIC BAR, and you’re also doing apparel, like OFFICIAL GHOST.


S O : Yes, the remake. I certainly do a lot of things.

O Y : In each of the things you do and the way you act, there is your own message, and I think that’s why it’s easy for the audience to understand. Separately, it’s more complex – but if you collect all the scattered messages, it’s like you can see the whole picture. That’s what I was thinking when I saw your recent work.

S O: That’s something I still need to work on, though. Yesterday, I was talking to an artist about lyrics. I realized that it’s not just about lyrics, it’s also about social networking sites, and if you can get your message across or expand your approach by changing one thing, then you should do it. I think there’s still a lot of room to learn in that area.

O Y : On Twitter, you called out for people to upload 30-second sound recordings


S O : I’m still halfway through that one. I’ve never been, and probably never will be, in a position where I can hook someone up and introduce them to the world. But if there are people who like me, that are creating things, I can make a platform to introduce them.

O Y : I feel like that’s exactly what you’re doing with the MONDO GROSSO album and everything else.

S O : I don’t have to do anything. You can participate in something that I throw at you and say, “Thouch this finger “ It’s always interesting to see the people who come together and start something on their own. It’s nice to see that.

O Y : There’s a music show called MUSIC SHARE which is run by Michiyo Honda. An artist called BLACKUR0 who appeared on the show last year, posted a demo in response to your call on Twitter. Michiyo-san told me that you found him there and booked him.

S O Yes, BLACKUR0 also sent me a demo from that Twitter post. I said, “This girl is interesting!” and MUSIC SHARE thought it was really interesting too! So they invited me to their show. I was really happy about that.

O Y : THE FLYING BED, who later appeared on MUSIC SHARE, also had a connection with you, didn’t he?

S O : Yes, I found him on Twitter and thought his music was interesting. He used to be in a band with a friend of mine. We had that kind of affinity, so we connected. Then he helped me with my remixes. That’s how we got to know each other, so it’s surprisingly interesting to use SNS now.

O Y : I feel like you’ve become a catalyst in that way.

S O: Yeah, it would be interesting if it spread more like that. That’s why we borrow ideas from many people. I can’t hook up all kinds of talents, but I’d like to be a place to expand.

O Y: I’ll keep an eye on what you’re doing.

S O: I hope we can do something interesting together.

O Y : On a different note, recently Oyaide has been making a lot of new cables and power supplies. We’re planning to release some new products in the near future – would you be interested in giving them a try?

S O: I’d love to. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Oyaide cable.I’d like to do some things with it, even if it’s not durability for the cable!

O Y : By the way, what kind of power cables, line cables and power strips do you have in your studio at the moment?

S O: Almost 100%? No, it’s about 95% Oyaide.

O Y: You’ve just finished the MONDO GROSSO album, do you have any plans for the next one? Is RHYME SO next on your list?

S O: In terms of the order of things, yes, RHYME SO has had a hard time doing what we wanted to do for the last two years due to the Corona pandemic. I think there have been a lot of different patterns of communication between Japan and other countries, between Japanese artists and foreign artists, foreigners in Japan and Japanese people abroad. We’re trying to do something that no one has been able to do before.

O Y: I’m looking forward to that.

S O: I’d love to have Oyaide’s help with that, and we could do a RHYME SO gig at MUSIC SHARE.

O Y: If there’s anything we can do to help, please let us know, and please let MUSIC SHARE know. Actually, Michiyo-san and I were talking about doing a RHYME SO show.

S O: It would be great if we could do it when we start releasing music again.

O Y : Please let us know about the cable. I’ll visit your studio soon. Thank you very much for your time today.