So tell me the backstory of the band? How long have you guys been playing as P.C.2? Formerly you were known as Pay Channel, right?
(Hiro) When I was 8 or so, somehow I enjoyed watching bands appearing music shows on TV. Often I bought records if I heard songs I liked. I thought bands were cool and always thought someday I’d like to start one.
I went the same junior high and high school with Akiller. When we were 16, we formed a band to play our high school festival. That was the starting point of where we are now. We covered songs by Ramones and The Clash. We played a few shows at clubs with high school friends. We were all covering other bands but the crowd loved it. They made us feel like rock stars.
Back then we had a singer and I just played guitar. I didn’t know how to play but the singer taught me power chords. I just jumped around playing power chords and screamed on back vocals.
23 years ago when there was no internet, only punk rock resources was Doll magazine for small town boys like us. Around that time melo-core bands like Green Day, Rancid, NOFX, and Japanese Hi Standard were really popular. Everyone liked that sounds but I didn’t think so.
I was more curious small articles I read on Doll magazine about Teengenerate and Devil Dogs. I bought Teengenerate and Guitar Wolf records at the punk record store Missary in Hiroshima. I was blown by them. That was the sounds I was looking for. I was very shocked. This high speed rock’n roll creates fireball of punk rock was the music I wanted to play. That discovery created who I am today. During college break, I went back to Kanazawa and worked on song I wrote in Hiroshima with friends including Akiller. That was the beginning of Paychannel.
After graduating college, I went back to Kanazawa and Paychannel became more serious. We wrote more songs, recorded, organized shows and played.
I invited my heroes like Firestarter, Supersnazz to Kanazawa many times. Of course sharing stage but also spending time with them, I was influenced by then so much. In 2000, we double released our 1st and 2nd 7”s from our own label Giant Records. After that we joined a few compilations. Then we released our 1st album on 1+2 Records in 2001.
We were based in Kanazawa but here and there we toured to Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.
About 11 years ago we met Frantic Stuffs from Osaka. We’re about the same age. Also we listened the same music and influence. We got along really well and have been good friends.
About 6 years ago with my personal issue, we weren’t able to do the band for a year. When we restarted, we changed the name to P.C.2. I stopped playing guitar which I did in Paychannel. I focused on just singing to make it more punk rock and to refresh the band. So as P.C.2, we’ve been together for 5 years. We had our first released 3 years ago. We had a song on The Reducers tribute comp. Besides us, Firestarter, Frantic Stuffs, Rock Bottom, Gimmies are on it from Japan. It’s a great comp. If you haven’t already, please listen to it!
What music influences do you guys have these days?
(Hiro) I still listen to punk rock everyday that I discovered when I was 14 years old. I of course get influenced by them so punk rock from 1976 to 2016.
Every 5 minutes, I think about what records to buy next, which bands to listen and see. I think about that stupid stuff all day long.
Not rest of the band but myself, I’ve been into 60’s teen punk for a last year or so.
I’ve been listening American obscure bands in Back From The Grave and Garage Punk Unknown, not as garage but as punk rock. It feels to me really refreshing that the explosion of teenagers frustrations at the time. Maybe our band wasn’t influenced by their sound but it’s a fun discovery for me.
(Hiro) First, work hard on your job. Then be kind to your family. Completing those then do what you like to do. If you follow that order, I think it’s not hard.
However, being in a band in Tokyo, you could chose a job having a band as your first priority. The band could come first then the rest. Sadly that won’t work for small town like Kanazawa. Your job is the first priority. Also you need your family’s support allow you to use your small free time for the band.
Are there any other bands you recommend there? Are there any good older bands from there that maybe people don’t know about outside?
(Hiro) There are always bands exist in Kanazawa but I’m not familiar with 70’s and 80’s scene here. When I was in junior high and high school, I was looking forward major punk bands to visit Kanazawa once a year such as Star Club, Street Beats, Cobra, and so on. When they come, I went nuts at their shows.
My older friends and my older sister who were into music didn’t know any local bands. My resource for music was only from TV and magazines. There was no other way to find it out.
When Paychannel started 20 years ago, we didn’t know anything. My old friend, Dai who still play music in this band called Plum Crazys. He was in a punk band back then. He introduced me Kanazawa’s local bands.
We met The Bad Trap and Ultimo Rausea who started 5 to 10 years before Paychannel. We went to each other’s shows and played together. Eventually we learned Kanazawa’s punk history. We also learn from them that if you play punk in Kanazawa, don’t let them look you down.
In the meantime, Akiller’s younger brother started Beat Generation. P.C.2’s guitar player Sei formed his own band Teenage Lovebombs. The both bands are great and we’ve been working together.
Also this garage band, Downs is great. We’ve been friends since their previous band Cover-Up.
We used to play with Shotgun Runners till 10 years ago. They are one of represent Japanese garage band.
There are hardcore and rockabilly scene in Kanazawa but we are not that familiar.
It used to be this venue called Nospace here. Above mentioned bands used to set up awesome events and brought many great bands to Kanazawa. That venue was really important to us. It’s sadly no longer exist. We used to practice and record at Nospace as well.
What’s the Kanazawa scene currently like? My first time there I had no idea what to expect but it was a huge surprise! The people there were really excited and had a lot of fun without pretention.
(Hiro) This is actually the hardest question for me.
Currently the bands I already mentioned, each of us we set up own events whenever we can with our own pace.
It’s hard to know outside view if you’re inside of the scene. Bands visit us in Kanazawa, usually tell us very positive response and put out great shows. Sometimes I feel they play better here than when I see them in Tokyo or Osaka.
There are exciting bands and fans here but to be honest, there are only few of them. But it is okay.
Population of young people keep shrinking here. For twenty years, we tried hard to make punk rock happen in Kanazawa. We tried to spread that music and band isn’t fashion. It is sound! But in reality, it was difficult to have them understand that. Sadly people still tend to go see boring fashion bands instead.
However we haven’t gave up. Above mentioned bands, we do what we believe in. I guess that the our current scene here.
I’ve noticed every city in Japan seems to have a very different feel.
For example, the Tokyo scene has a very insular big city vibe like NYC where there’s so much going on but you’re likely to see the same group of people at all the same kind of shows. Also, there are not many young kids starting bands. But the small towns all have a different feel, it feels very natural and relaxed where people from all backgrounds and styles of music will come to any show and have fun together. How do you feel about it?
(Hiro) I understand what you mean. However, I’m not in the Tokyo scene. Therefore I can only guess from outsider’s view.
I believe bands and promoters try not to make it closed. Also Kanazawa is the same about young people not coming in. We used to play shows for popular events that attract younger crowd. But we couldn’t get better result. I think the reason we couldn’t connect with them is that the feeling toward to music and band is really different from the kids attending that kind of events. We don’t sympathize each other and we couldn’t. We could step closer to them ideally but if we do that, we could lose something bigger. We don’t have that kind of guts.
However, if your band is good, that attract young kids and have them interest in. We just have to write better songs and put out good shows.
(Hiro) When we were in Paychannel, we’ve done handful of mini tours. We’ve also done one off out of town shows to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nigata, and Nagoya.
My top memory is the last show of The Reducers tour at Shimokitazawa Shelter in Tokyo which was organized by Firestarter. That night I was really inspired by The Reducers. Also the conversation I had with Hugh from The Reducers keeps me still going.
As P.C.2, sadly we haven’t been able to tour often because of the jobs. About two years ago, we went to Tokyo and played with Sonny Viencent. Young Parisian and Raydios were also on the bill. It was a great night.
Also we have been Osaka played with Frantic Stuffs and Gimmiesr. It was right before Gimmies breaking up and energetic night.
We’re planning to visit Tokyo in September for our record release show.
I’ve noticed a lot of bands have been stopping through Kanazawa on tour now. Are you guys bringing them?
(Hiro) For oversea bands, most time our Tokyo friends set up their Japan tours. If they contact us for shows here, we try to help them as much as we can. For Japanese bands, we invite them for our events. If friends bands wanna visit Kanazawa for release tour, we set up shows for them. If we don’t have a relation as band and/or friend, we don’t offer them a show or take their request. For unfamiliar bands or labels, we tell them no.
I believe the reason bands chose to visit Kanazawa for their tour is simply because they know bands that they can trust here.
(Hiro) As I mentioned earlier, Nospace used to be the center of punk shows. Sadly they have closed and we needed a new spot. We tried a few different places and Mero Mero Pochi fit perfectly. There are other venues but they have too many rules for punks like us. Mero Mero Pochi is located inside of the market which is awesome location. We’re happy that tour bands tell us they love it too.
What about current state of Japanese rock n roll/punk bands? Who are your favorites now?
(Hiro) Bands old as we are still being active and we get vitality from them. For Kansai bands, Frantic Stuffs, Geros, Louder, Liquid Screen, Sessions of Pink are my favorites. For Tokyo, Wotzit, Gorilla, Knocks and for Mito, Middle Edge.
Tokyo is top of the Japanese scene. Every weekends many shows happening. From oversea not only legends but also current bands visit Tokyo. I’m jealous but it’s a bit too much.
I’m really shocked for Raydios breaking up and Firestarter taking break.
Any foreign bands you guys really like or want to see in Kanazawa?
(Hiro) For current bands, I would like to see bands have releases on Total Punk in Kanazawa. If Giuda ever tour in Japan, I’ll love to see them here too. I hope Rough Kids, M.O.T.O, and Danger Signs visit us again.
My dream was inviting The Reducers to Kanazawa, but unfortunately this dream will not come true.
What do you think about the future of PC2?
(Hiro) This year is 20th year since Paychannel started. The timing is great and our new LP will be out. We are really thankful to Secret Mission Records for releasing it. We’ll have the release shows in Tokyo and Kanazawa this fall. After that, we want to write more new songs, play and record them. That’s all.
And finally, tell us the story of “That guy” at Kanazawa shows. (If anyone has ever been to a show there, they all know who I’m talking about”) He’s pretty awesome and has a great attitude. I’ve learned later that he’s apparently pretty famous for getting drunk and doing what he does, haha.
He is amazing, I think. He started coming to see us about 15 years ago. We started talking and found out we went the same high school. That helped us getting closer. He often take clothes off at shows. However, if bands don’t excite him, he doesn’t do that. He expresses his joy for good bands. The way he look is great. Everyone loves him. Two years ago, we had the Teengenerate movie “Get Action!” showing here in Kanazawa. I’m in the movie and we invited FiFi for the opening event. We formed Teengenerate cover band called FiFi with P.C.2 and played a few songs. We thought Mr. Zazanbo would be perfect for infamous Teengenerate introduction. We asked and he did a great job. There is a youtube video if you wanna check (http://youtu.be/L_ewqFeKJiA).
Any final words you want to say about the band or your hometown?
(Hiro) I think I’ve said enough. Well, cheers! That’s all.