Mach Pelican return to WA for a quick run this week, promoting their cracking new single Radio. Bringing fellow Japanese rockers Electric Eel Shock, Mach Pelican will play Amplifier Bar on Friday, May 12; 3 Bears Bar, Dunsborough, on Saturday, May 13; and the Newport on Sunday, May 14. MIKE WAFER caught up with old friend Toshi Maeda to chew the fat.
On first listen to Radio, a single that clocks in just over one minute long, it hits you like a slap in the face… this is unquestionably the Mach Pelican everyone knows and loves.
"We wanted to get a more rock sound. More raw," beams Mach Pelican's drummer / songwriter Toshi Maeda of his band's forthcoming album. "The last record was very different. Very produced. We wanted to avoid too much production on this one, and have something a bit more like our old stuff. More punk rock."
As the first taste of Mach Pelican's next album the catchy-as-hell Radio is already burning up the airwaves around the country. Though they will be back in town in a few months to promote the album (fittingly entitled Radio Action) the Japanese punk rock trio are playing WA haunts this weekend to back up the single.
"We always love to come to Perth," Maeda says with sincerity. "We have so many friends there, and so many bands we like. We love Perth."
Those unaware of Mach Pelican's origins (yet well aware of touring bands' tendency to blow smoke up a city's collective arse) should note that the band formed and existed in Perth for several years before moving to their current home of Melbourne. Of course, Japan is still the motherland to Mach Pelican, but Australia is definitely home.
With Radio Action promising to deliver catchy song after catchy song, 2006 looks to be a great year for Mach Pelican, who are planning on touring Japan, Korea, and Europe again as well as home.
"Europe is amazing. Spain was really good… I think because people there love the same kinds of music as people here. If you play one Ramones cover the crowd goes nuts, and then they understand where your own music is coming from.
"Japan is very different, but it's Japan," he laughs. "We are bigger in Melbourne than in Japan, but Japan has its own music scene and it's very tough for bands."
Tough perhaps, but nothing Mach Pelican can't handle. This is, after all, the band that every city tries to adopt. Having been in Melbourne for over half a decade now, Mach Pelican are a natural part of the music scene over there, with their influence already showing in bands such as The Spazzys, who helped out their idols on a classic Mickey & Sylvia cover.
"The Spazzys helped us record Love Is Strange, which is a b-side on the Radio single. It's great of them to do this, because we're all very good friends, and I think The Spazzys are a great band."
Ironically and fittingly, while The Spazzys recorded with the band they say inspired them to form, one of the key contributors to Mach Pelican forming - Joe Queer of The Queers - also lent his talents to Mach Pelican.
"I brought The Queers over for a tour, and we happened to be in the studio at the time recording King Of The Surf by The Trashmen, and Joe knew the song and said he would sing on it. We were stoked. It's Joe from The Queers!"
It wasn't all that long ago that Mach Pelican were mailing copies of their first EP to bands like The Queers as a sign of respect, and hoping to get their attention, and here they are now touring and recording with the band. If you stick around long enough, Maeda explains, anything can happen.
"That's what Radio is about," he reveals. "We have so many friends in bands that are gone now - broken up - but we are still here. That song is about the feelings and memories that come back when I hear a friend's band on the radio. It makes me realise we are still here."