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Vice Blog

THE PERFECT SOUND: NOBU=WATARU KASAHARA

February 3, 2010, 8:45am

Nobu=Wataru Kashahara is a Japanese noise musician, but if he authored a 900-page book, I'd read every word. And put every single sentence on its own t-shirt. Or make them the answers on a Magic Eightball. Q: Is So-and-So cheating on me? A: I am only a catalyst. All obsessions have already existed in the space. Q: What career should I switch to? A: The animal carcass and junks are gathered.

He's a good-looking guy—I'm guessing. Because you can't see him in any of his photos, and the handsomest ones always obscure themselves. Like Jared Leto, right? Plus he told me that he hates what he does. That's how you can tell who is the most passionate dreamer: by their self-hatred. Nothing actualized can fill the space their ideals create, and so always falls short, always pushes them harder.

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After I wrote the above intro, Nobu changed his mind and emailed me again to retract his hate statement: "I am not to dislike drone/harsh noise—I do not like 'stylized' easy drone/harsh noise made for meditation or paralysis. A lot of they are! I want to pursue pure feeling of quality and movement of sound." No hobgoblins of consistency calcifying anyone here!

Not only do I still not know what Nobu looks like, I don't exactly know, even after weeks of asking follow-up questions, what the man does or thinks. I don't really care what he does, frankly—I've sat through enough experimental music live shows to last nine lives. But his ideas are so stimulating! I think. I wish I were fluent in Japanese so I could know for sure, but actually, I bet I like it better with this pause, this limp of translation. His chunkily expressed shards of beliefs are like those bullets that explode when they enter the body instead of passing clean through. Hollow point Nobu Kasahara.

VICE: What should I call you? Nobu or Wataru or Kasahara?

NOBU KASAHARA: Nobu Kasahara or Wataru Kasahara/Nov Embudagonn, Embudagonn108. I write this word by a strange spelling, and am using it for its alias. It's shady name.

Do you have any obsessions? Something you think about all the time?
Myself as mass of organ that exists in the middle of the past and the future. It receives the wave from the space and the work is made. I am only a catalyst. All obsessions have already existed in the space. I only make the effort to improve accuracy as the receiver. Therefore, I am related with lunatic and eccentric. And, the animal carcass and junks are gathered. The purpose is to make a stronger magnetic field. If someone was asked, "Reality that you believes or fantasy that you believes?" I answer, "It's a fantasy." Reality is the one formed with the chain of fantasy imperfectly achieved. The fantasy is necessary for us. I will want to have make the VTR or Film works some time. These will become the patchwork of sample of human's karma by sounds and visuals.

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What?
The idea conceived first is the one all belonging to the fantasy that has not been realized. People adjust it with the reality to make the feasible vision. However, I often omit adjusting, and try to realize the idea suddenly. As a result, various inconvenient things happen, and then sounds turn to go to the inscrutable way.

What do people think of you?
I think myself to be commonsense man. However, neighbors seems to think me to be strange man. Why they think me so is not understood.

How do you know they think you're strange?
There is what is said by them: "You are strange." My speaking like the strange sound, mimicking the madman, are strange for them. They seem not to understand that I enjoy a clear error. Neighbors before ran away. Because she was very annoying, I does many offense to she. I goes well with present neighbors. I am a thing of feeling it funny, and becoming happy when there is much failure of small communications and inconvenience at life, accidents. I in childhood associated with the mentally deficient person, the elderly person, who lived close by. I mimic the word, the voice, and the behavior of madman, eccentric, and intelligence handicapped person heard in the town. Their words are strong, and it is suitable for expressing the absurdity of life. The person who has been suppressed, it is because feelings of gloom that they mope appear to the sound sometimes. Moreover, their words are fantastic. I absorb their karma like this. It seem surface. But it become self-discipline when I do it again and again. It is discipline to confront of my life. I'm intending the occurrence of these errors by intention. And, I face to the realization. But the sound created as a result exists. This is a wounds of the grapple of the fantasy and the reality. For me, to make things is a fight with karma.

What was your childhood like?
I gathered the animal carcass and was rearranging it. Corpse that tied and was suited was decorated with a small stone and the flower, and I stuffed the bottle. Colored water dyed to thinness was put in the bottle. I was looking at every day until they rotted.

What did your parents or friends think about you collecting bodies in bottles?
I was diplomatic. Friends had connived at this. Parents worried about me. I was taken to the psychiatrist several times. This eccentricity ended when I reached puberty. In childhood I was sickly. And, a mysterious illusion was always seen.

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What kind of sickly?
Autointoxication, autonomic imbalance, gastritis, sleep terror, high fever…

Autointoxication… you ate your own shit?
No. It's acetonemic vomiting or cyclic vomiting syndrome. It's vomiting by the stress.

How do you earn money?
I have been making the sound since the 1980s. I did it while working. It hardly announces. However, I have been concentrating on music and the painting for five years now. My wife works and the cost of living is obtained. Moreover, friends support me.

What is your sex life like?
I like situation in which girl or boy is bullied. However, actually a normal sexual life. When I'm young, now of me it adventured.

What do you want from your paintings?
After I had destroyed it several times on the site of my performance, these paintings was composed again in my room. These paintings is drawing of this act repeatedly. These paintings are the one drawn repeating cruelty and treatment.

I can't believe you don't Skype! Are you afraid or disgusted by new technology?
I am interested in a new technology. However, I'm not interested in the technology for only pursuing convenience so much. After all, it is troublesome. I like to do a seemingly foolish thing. I like to misuse a new technology. However, human thinks that he loses primitive intuition when becoming convenient too much.

Have you ever lived outside of Japan?
I stayed in Bali for one month at the beginning of one's twenties. I went there for myself experiment of the use of magic mushroom. In 2005 I stayed in Switzerland for one month.

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How was Switzerland different from Japan?
A lot of old things had been left in Switzerland. In the city part of Japan, an old town is always lost. Switzerland was clean and elegant. Switzerland might be safer than Japan. It is a place that doesn't suit me. I like more sordid place.

Are you glad you're Japanese?
Japan lives for me and is painful. However, the culture and the climate in Japan are loved.

If the culture and climate are loved, then what part of Japan is painful for you?
There are a lot of people of the culture of Japan who think that it attaches importance to the spiritual aspect. However, it is one side, and there is a materialistic/sordid side in the culture of Japan, too. The tradition of a hell picture, pornographic, and a cruel picture proves it. These influenced me.

There is pornography and cruelty in every culture. What is special or unique to Japanese pornography and cruelty?
Japan is the same as various foreign countries in such a meaning. However, Japan is shame-sensitive society. Traditional. Pornography and cruelty always introverts. Many of people concealed and had them for a long time. A moping sexual simile is put in a lot of festivals and the craft goods. No location of clear Hays Code in Japan. It is the one by the self-imposed restraint by the caller. Media of Japan are lasciviousness, and the people also are requesting these kind of things in reality. I think that Japan is a place where it doesn't live easily for the artist. Neither the country nor the municipality have the system that supports the artist. Or, the system is insufficient. In this country, the one connected directly with money is justice.

What kinds of sounds interest you?
Voice of living things. Stridulation of living thing. Slurping noise as for food. Person's strange speech and behavior. Supernatural voices. The sound of word. Children's term of sound. Madman sound. Woof. Water sound. Bone of chorus. Accident that a crowd sound. Molluscous to be able to play cat's voice. Bubble rubs against each other. Fails rings. Singing of insects. Noise of radio… these bionic sounds are my obsessive sounds. Sound of broken machine. And the shock sound because it peels off and bloody accident is associated—it is suitable for my favor. The sound that the smell of blood does gives a comfortable tension to my life. Sign and fear of the death considers the life more strongly, and tries to unsettle to the intellect. These are indispensable senses to the life.

I agree! And what music do you like?
I listen to various music. I am not so interested in a lot of stylized drone music and the harsh noises. These sounds are agreeable. I keep away ease. I want to stimulate the sense by uncomfortable. I am not basically interested in drone music and the harsh noises though there is exceptions such as Hermann Nitsch and I.Dumitrescu. These are music that pierces, is moved to karma, and purifies it and is repeated. However, I like music that the uniqueness of the brain of the person who makes the sound can be looked and know. They think that they fight unconsciously against karma by the peculiar brain. Selten Gehorte Musik. Caroliner Rainbow. Psycodrama. Suckdog. Costes. Sarenco. Wolf Vostell. Wild Man Fischer. J.S. Bach. Colette Magny. The Ritualistic School Of Errors. Hovlakin. Zurich 1916. They are making the work that demonstrates the primitive magic of music though music is dismantled. And, they are a one and only people not to flatter nobody. Their music gives me courage.

http://www.myspace.com/novembudagonn

LISA CARVER