Posts Tagged ‘Birthday Suits’

Incoming: Birthday Suits

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Minneapolis-based power duo the Birthday Suits will light up The Horned Hand Monday (8 p.m., $2-5 suggested donation) with their explosive live show, a wild and kinetic spectacle that has drawn comparisons to Mt. Punkmore acts like the Ramones and the Stooges. Birthday Suits aren’t quite punk, though; certainly the energy and tempo is there, but Japanese imports Hideo Takahashi (guitar) and Matthew Kazama (drums, like this) trade more in big, hooky garage-rock riffs that erupt like solar flares and rumble like thunder. These two dudes know how to make a racket.

Earlier this week, The Bulletin’s Rachael Rees emailed some questions to Takahashi, and he emailed back some answers. Here’s her report, followed by a video that showcases Birthday Suits’ strengths.

Matthew Kazama, left, and Hideo Takahashi are Birthday Suits

Guitarist and vocalist Hideo Takahashi said audiences might not like the sound of Birthday Suits’ music, but he guarantees they’ll feel it was worth paying to watch them play thanks to their physical energy on stage.

In an email interview, Takahashi described the band’s music as “loud music you won’t like,” but someone must like it; Takahashi and drummer Matthew Kazama have toured across the globe in 2011, from Los Angeles to Spain.

The duo is known and sometimes criticized for placing an emphasis on touring rather than spending time in the studio. Since 2005 the band has released two albums — “Cherry Blue” in 2005 and “The Minnesota: Mouth To Mouth” last year — totaling 37 minutes of music.

“You can write good songs and people will tell you they’re good songs,” Takahashi said. “But if you put out good shows, right away people would tell you to your face it was good with all kinds of expression.”

Takahashi said he’s personally inspired by Japanese pop music, old school punk like the Dead Kennedys and Japanese garage-punk such as Teengenerate.

He admitted it’s challenging to write songs without the second guitar and bass often found in rock bands, but said it has channeled the duo’s creativity, ultimately giving them more freedom when writing songs.

“We write songs together,” he said. “The songs I sing I write the lyrics for, the songs (Kazama) sings he does.”

Takahashi said he started Birthday Suits with Kazama when their previous band Sweet J.A.P. fell apart.

“Sweet J.A.P. ended because one of us had different opinions about the band, ” Takahashi said. “I think less chefs in the kitchen worked better.”