Interview: In It to Win It with Tokyo Police Club


Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to Tokyo Police Club singer, Dave Monks, about their upcoming record Champ due out on Mom and Pop Records on June 8th. Filled with amazing tracks, trust us, this is TPC’s best album yet.

Modern Mystery:All of your albums have been successful, what kind of pressure did you have going into the studio to make Champ ?

Dave Monks: Not that much, going into Elephant Shell (Saddle Creek) we had a lot of pressure. This time when we were writing we didn’t even feel like we were writing a record. It was way more relaxed. I’m not sure if we turned it off but there wasn’t as much pressure.

MM: What inspires you to write a song? Where do you pull your inspiration from?

Monks: It can come from a many number of things. You have something planned conceptually and musically. Usually girls and stuff…ah that sounds so lame (laughs). There seems to be more light stuff on this record, going out, doing stuff.

MM: Your new record is being released on Mom and Pop Records. How come you decided to split from Saddle Creek?

Monks: Saddle Creek was awesome, and we were trying to gauge our feeling for every record with a fitting label. With Mom and Pop, their ceiling is much higher. When we worked with Saddle Creek there wasn’t a lot of options for us. Mom and Ppo is a good mix of both worlds of indie and major.

MM: You’re starting a contest that is challenging fans to go up in competition with you involving anything. Are you guys really game for the crazy ideas that may be thrown at you?

Monks: Oh absolutely! We’re really excited about the contest. Send in whatever, we’ll do it. I think since the record is called Champ, we thought the champ of what? We decided to find out. If it was called macaroni it would have been totally different.

MM: Will the competitions go up online for fans to see, as in will they be filmed?

Monks: We’re going to film them, then you’ll see how super fun they are and people can submit their ideas.

MM: How long did it take to record Champ? From songwriting to the end of the mastering process?

Monks: “Breakneck Speed” was written in January 2008 but it was definitely three months recording the record. We did six months of actual solid writing time

MM: What is your favorite part about going on tour and playing live?

Monks: When a show goes really well and a crowd reacts, it s a really cool feeling. It’s what you strive for. To be able to connect like that. And the food!

MM: How does the band write songs? Is it a collaboration? Does everyone bring in their own pieces?

Monks: It starts out as kind of…I’ll have a bunch of ideas about the skeleton or the ideas for the song, then the melody comes in. It starts out as it usually starts with me, then halfway through the process we all try to map it out. That’s where all the good stuff comes from.

MM: You guys blog a lot on your website. How important do you think it is to keep that connection with your fans?

Monks: It’s crazy that we can actually do that. For 300 dollars we got flip cams, and we edit the videos in no time, and they get really good response. If that gets fans excited and makes them feel more connected to the songs, that‘s great. Maybe they don’t like the songs and think we’re stupid. We like it and are going to keep doing it.

MM: What is your favorite song off of Champ and why?

Monks: I really like “Big Difference,” which is track 9 I believe. Something really unique came out of it. I don’t know how the song came about entirely but it came out from a chemistry I couldn’t tell you how to get.

MM: What musicians and bands inspired you to play music?

Monks: Definitely Radiohead, Wilco, The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Apples in Stereo. I don’t know, so many bands. When we were in high school there was an amazing amount.

MM: If you weren’t in Tokyo Police Club, what would you be doing?

Monks: Probably be graduated with a B.A. and looking for work. I don’t know. I was in school and it was pretty aimless. I might be out of work (laughs).

Tokyo Police Club “Big Difference” by modernmysteryblog

Major Organ and the Adding Machine FINALLY Being Released

FINALLY ‘Major Organ and the Adding Machine’ is  set to be released! This is a huge project if you are a fan of indie music, most notebly the Elephant 6 Collective. The film which stars nearly most of the E6ers will be out this fall via Orange Twin Records. Previews were given during the winter season during the E6 tour holiday tour that took place. Getting a glimpse of the preview, I can’t imagine how amazing the rest of the film will be. Spacey? Yes, certainly but we wouldn’t have it any other way. The film stars everyone from Kevin Barnes from Of Montreal, along with brother and artist David Barnes,  to Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum. The dvd will be packed with the Major Organ cd that was released in 2001 and was a side project of Mangum and Julian Koster who is in The Music Tapes.

Watch the Trailer for ‘The Major Organ and the Adding Machine’

A Modern Mystery Holiday Party with Sakamoto from Elekibass

Welcome to another installment of A Modern Mystery Holiday Party! Today we have Sakamoto from the incredible indie band from Japan, Elekibass. The band hopes to release their new record in the US in 2009, which we here at Modern Mystery can’t wait for. Elekibass has toured with the likes of Casper and the Cookies, of Montreal and Calvin Don’t Jump which is super impressive.

Here’s to more Elekibass in 2009!

Sakamoto’s Top Favorites in General for 2008

of Montreal/Gronlandic Edit
The apples in stereo/ if you want to wear a hat
Casper&the Cookies/Hey Mr. Superstar
The Olivia Tremor Control/Courtyard
From Bubblegum To Sky/Operation Big Beat
Josh Rouse/Sunshine (Come On Lady)
The Minders/The Loneliest Of Faces
Nick Lowe/Hope For Us All
Sean Lennon/Parachute
Shimmer Kids Underpop Association/Full Color Love Affair

Everysong is great!! every song is No,1

Best Thing that Happened to You in 2008

This year elekibass’s new album recording is finish!!!!! 
I want to release it in the USA. We will release it in japan next year in April.

Merry Mixmas, Part 2.

The Strokes Christmas

I guess its the Holidays that have my head in a fog, but somehow there were a few Christmas songs that I forgot to add to the list this weekend. One of them being a current favorite, ‘Seasons Greetings,’ by Robbers on High Street.

Speaking of Robbers on High Street, we here at Modern Mystery have some Holiday surprises up our sleeves for the next couple of weeks. Not to give anything away, but it includes bands such as Robbers on High Street,  Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Phantom Planet, Sloan, Miniature Tigers, Of Montreal, and more…….

Its pretty awesome if I may say so myself, and you will just have to wait and see what some of these bands had to share with us.

Merry Mixmas Part 2

Robbers on High Street- Seasons Greetings
Belle and Sebastian- O Little Town of Bethleham
Feist- Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming
Great Lake Swimmers- Song for the Angels
Blitzen Trapper- Christmas is Coming Soon
*The Hives with Cyndi Lauper- Christmas Duel
Low- Just Like Christmas
Long Winters- Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas
Pedro the Lion- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Polyphonic Spree-Merry Christmas (War is Over)
Rufus Wainwright-Spotlight on Christmas
Of Montreal- Christmas Isn’t Safe for Animals
Marbles- Gift for You
Fabulous Bird with Bill Doss- Its Christmas Time Again
Summer Hymns- Santa Couldn’t Fit You Under My Tree
The Sixth Great Lake- Always After Christmas Boring
Elf Power- The Winter is Coming
Jet- Back Door Santa
Belle and Sebastian- Santa Claus

Sufjan Stevens- That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!
* The Hives and Cyndi Lauper doing a duet? I know. Its just as weird as it sounds. They seem like a pretty unlikely duo.  Ironically for Christmas when I was about 4, I had gotten my first cassette tape. It was of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘True Colors’ album. I still have it. I had to be the most hip kid in Kindergarten.