Japan’s MONO’s Taka Goto Talks about Jorney

Mono. Requiem for Hell Mono. Requiem for Hell

The Japanese band MONO will be playing in Montreal as part of their North American tour for their latest album Requiem for Hell.

The post-rock band began their career in the late 90s. Since then, they became worldly known for their unique mix between shoegaze, noise and rock.
After releasing 10 successful albums, including a live album with New York orchestra, MONO, releases Requiem for Hell. Taka Goto, who wrote the five tracks, drew his inspiration from Dante’s journey after death: Divine Comedy. This album is the fourth collaboration with Steve Albini, who produced, among others: Nirvana, the Pixies and PJ Harvey.


Requiem for Hell:
Compared to their previous album, Requiem for Hell brings out more colors and more dynamism in Mono’s sound. The main theme inspired by The Divine Comedy is really palpable: descent into hell, the crossing of purgatory, the return to paradise.
Death in Rebirth is a powerful track and it sets the tone for the whole album.

The eponym track is a 17-minute long instrumental song. What’s astonishing is that it really succeeds at keeping the listener interested and glued until the end, probably because of the unpredictable side.
And Mono still likes to experiment, as they do in Ely’s Heartbeat.
The track picks up Ely’s heartbeat, Ely being Jérémy’s daughter, the manager of the American label of the group. I mean you have to admit, that’s a pretty unique concept.
Stellar is my favorite though. I like the celestial feel of the piano and the aerial and dreamy feeling brought by the melody.
The Last Scene is a nice finale that achieves the same peaceful feeling as Stellar.

Going from melodic and classy to a darker and heavier final, the album does a good buildup and reinterpretation of the Devine Comedy.
What’s interesting with Requiem for Hell is the continuous and pleasant mix between delicate and dramatic.



Sarah Bemri (SB): You seem to give a lot of importance to the scenic aspect in your music. Does cinema play an important role; does it have a certain influence in your music?


Taka Goto (TG): We want to express everything with just music, like how novelists express everything only with words. Depending on the listener, we want our music to be almost like life’s soundtrack for each listener.

SB: The apocalyptic and fatalistic side is a recurring theme in post rock. How do you convey it in your music?

TG: When we started the band, the term Post-Rock didn’t exist so I’m not really sure. We always just focused on what we wanted to express.


SB: Requiem for Hell has more metal sonorities. Why is that? Is it a new turning point in your music? Or does it have to do with the themes of the album?

TG: I’m not sure. I wanted to express something related to life and death.


SB: How would you describe Requiem for Hell in your musical journey?


TG: It feels like we got closer to our ideal live set by putting new songs in. A lot of the inspirations like feelings come from tours and live.


SB: My Bloody Valentine is one of your main influences. What bands inspire you nowadays?


TG: I’ve been a fan of Low for almost 20 years, and they gave me a lot of inspiration. We will be doing a co-headlining tour with them in June. We’re really looking forward to it.


SB: What do you think of the current Post Rock scene? Such as: God Is an Astronaut, Explosion in the Sky, Sigur Ros…


TG: I don’t know much about the Post-Rock scene in general, but I think music like Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Rós are very unique and wonderful. The fact they’ve been doing it for such a long time is also wonderful.


SB: You have been touring in a lot of countries. What’s your best and/funniest memory from a concert?


TG: We’ve so far travelled 56 countries. All the shows are our great memories, but the most memorable one would be playing at the legendary venue CBGB in NYC twice. The venue unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore. Another would be the show in NYC in 2009 with 26-piece orchestra. That was amazing. It was our 10 year anniversary and it also became our DVD release.


SB: So Montreal. I couldn’t find any information whether or not you played here before. How would you describe it here, the atmosphere, the people, and your fans?


TG: We’ve played in Montreal for more than 10 times since the first time we played there in 2003. I like the unique atmosphere mixed with French culture. Every time, wonderful music fans are waiting for us and we’re always pleased. We are looking forward to play there again on this tour.


Mono will be playing Wednesday the 26th at Phi Center at 9pm.
To get tickets click HERE .