Made In Japan - MusicNSW

Made In Japan is an indie rock quartet from Sydney featuring James Cooney (vocals/drums), Jono Graham (guitar), Tom Davis (guitar) and Pavle Vizintin (bass). Since first taking the stage at Vic on the Park in 2007, Made In Japan have released two studio albums and an EP, but recently announced they will be putting the project aside to pursue other musical interests. However, Made in Japan are confident they will come together down the track to record a third album. We decided to catch up with them off the back of their final show at Oxford Art Factory on 8th May.

Describe Made In Japan in 3 words.

Crazy Sexy Cool

How did Made In Japan first come about? 

James and Jono met in high school and decided they both had a lot in common musically around the time of Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm. Tom was soon drawn into the project and the demos starting flowing thick and fast. James couldn’t decide whether he was more of a drummer or more of a singer so he had a crack at doing both. At the first gig at the Vic on The Park we picked up our band mascot and hypnotic dancer Scott and he’s been at every gig every since. I came into the picture around the time of demoing for Sights and Sounds and Bombay Bicycle Club then took over as the main source of inspiration. The original sound is pretty far removed from what it has become but the intricate lush guitar theme carries through.

Your debut album ‘Sights and Sounds’ (2012) was nominated for the Australian Music Prize. How did it feel to achieve such success from your debut?

That was a really nice surprise to be nominated alongside bands like Alpine and Deep Sea Arcade. We were really pleased with ‘Sights and Sounds’, it was a long time in the making and the fact that it was well received only sweetened our sense of achievement.

What attracts you to the dreampop genre?

I think it naturally lends itself to day dreaming, reflection and nostalgia. Listening to albums like Wild Nothing-Nocturne and DIIV-Oshin you get an intense feeling of euphoria that removes you from your immediate surroundings. The desire to incite that feeling in people (and ourselves) is what attracts us to dream pop.

Who are some other Sydney based artists that inspire you?

Swimwear and Bad Jeep. Both have a really original sound that we’re loving. Can’t wait for Swimwear’s wonderfully camp debut album!

How important has community radio been to you in your journey to success?

If we’ve had any success we owe at least 90% of it to community radio, the rest to the music itself. FBI in particular have been incredibly supportive over the years. As a self-managed band it’s been a great way to get traction, community radio helps you reach the perfect market, people who are receptive to new things.

Based on your previous experiences, what advice can you pass on to any emerging bands trying to break into the scene?

Keep a steady stream of content flowing but be strategic about it rather than the spray and pray approach. Make sure you’re able to follow up any release with a string of shows and something to keep people engaged. Make videos, they cost nothing and an audio visual experience is more than the sum of the parts.

What’s on the horizon for Made In Japan? Any upcoming releases or tours? 

We have an upcoming show at Oxford Art Factory on May 8, after that we’re taking a break for a little while. Out guitarist Tom is moving to Canada for an animation role and we decided it would be a good opportunity to put Made in Japan aside for a while to pursue other musical interests. The remaining three quarters of us are working on a new project which we’re really excited about, stay tuned.

To listen to both albums head to: