Formed in 1992, Boris boldly explores their own vision of heavy music, where words like “explosive” and “thunderous” barely do justice. Using overpowering soundscapes embellished with copious amounts of lighting and billow smoke, Boris has shared with audiences across the planet an experience for all five senses in their concerts, earning legions of zealous fans along the way. Boris is Takeshi - Vocals, Bass & Guitar, Wata - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard, Accordion & Echo, Atsuo - Vocals, Drums, Percussion & Electronics. Boris has released more than twenty studio albums on various labels around the world, as well as a wide variety of live albums, compilations, EPs, singles, and collaborative albums.
Micaela Rebelo recently spoke with Boris during the anticipation of their latest re-issue releases, Absolutego and Amplifier Worship [out now].
Micaela: What does this remaster / release mean to you guys and is there anything particular you want your audience to take away from it?
Takeshi: Absolutego was our first single, Amplifier Worship was our first album, so both works are markers for the beginning of our careers, and hold important meanings. At the time when we made these works, we lacked recording knowledge and skills, and we hadn’t focused as much on the process of mastering. The Absolutego that was previously released as a US version had a lowered pitch and with heavy mastering, so this time, the band was involved, and carefully remastered it based on the original work. It’s a completely new sound image, so we hope you listen to it.
In the past, we were only interested in constantly creating new work, but in recent years, we’ve realized that properly archiving our past work, and showing / having people listen to them is meaningful.
I hope that long-time fans and fans who’ve recently come to know Boris can both enjoy them.
Micaela: How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before?
Takeshi: In one word, it could be described as “Heavy.” Within, as some examples, there’s beauty, the ugly, pleasure, pain, life and death… there’s various forms of “Heavy” included. When listening to Boris’ work, it’d be great if the listener themself can share the constantly updated “Heavy” with us by circling the various sensations and emotions that emerge within their minds.
M: When listening to Absolutego, I notice that there are many layers of sound and fury that all come together to create an almost hypnotic listening experience. Is this how you would describe the sound of Absolutego is this the experience you want your audience to have?
T: Playing or listening to heavy, slow songs at high volumes brings you an extraordinary experience. Your hearing reaches its limits and your eyes and skin quiver. Pleasure is born from the one riff that relentlessly repeats. It could be called paralysis. There's many things that you can also hear by not listening. I want you to enjoy each method of feeling, listening with your entire body and not just your ears.
M: You guys have been challenging the boundaries of heavy music since the 90’s, are there any current bands or trends in the scene that you are impressed / inspired by?
T: It’s not that we’ve been challenging - it just gets boring if you don’t constantly do new things. I feel inspiration from things that aren’t music. In fact, the situation we’ve been placed in (with the coronavirus) - we’ve been impacted by that as well. The way we continue to be creatively active, express ourselves, and keep updating our music can only be found from what we feel and experience.
M: What are you missing the most about touring? Is there any particular song you can’t wait to perform live again?
T: The motivation for our creativity comes from inputs we gain through touring. We gained power by sharing musical experiences and interacting with audiences from various countries. Now that we can’t do that, we continue to record, which is fun in other ways than touring is, but I feel like there’s emptiness somewhere in my heart. I want to play the latest work “NO” live. We want to have a show where we mosh along with the audience and get messed up, throw up all the frustration and stress we’ve felt up until this point, and when it’s over, we could laugh together.
M: If at all, how does the updated artwork of the album add to the release and what was the inspiration behind it?
T: This updated design was based on the original design. That version’s design leaned more towards the versions that had been distributed overseas.
But rather than keeping the design at the time, we updated it so it strengthened the universality.
There have been updates aesthetically and with knowledge we lacked, so it felt dishonest towards the listeners to release as is (as the original version).
Translated by Kasumi Billington
Absolutego is a trek over a staggering mountain of sound. The tension builds with wave after wave of massive feedback, drums leading into a crushing crescendo of full-band repetition and clarity before descending deeper until finally reaching a surreal divebomb purring drone finale. This song takes notes out of the Melvins playbook and pushes the sound to its absolute logical and visceral extreme. It sets a solid foundation for why Boris is considered to be one of the most important metal bands of the 21st century
Amplifier Worship is Boris’s most intense and unrelenting album to date. Not for the faint of heart, the group incorporates mythic Doom-drones, up-tempo Psych-Sludge and even a refreshing ribbit into their signature concoction of celestial and heavy music. Amplifier Worship is a critical chapter in the Boris canon. The album is a testament to the group's bullishness in pushing metal to its uncomfortable and unfamiliar edges. And it is also undoubtedly one of their best.
Pinstriped Zine is passionate about keeping local music scenes alive. Under the Spotlight coverage provides you with highlights of local and both touring bands from shows ranging around the world. Coverage dates back to August 2018.