Tokyo duo Pandagolff delve into the lasting impacts of Hikaru Genji, Yura Yura Teikoku, Led Zeppelin and the Far East Network on their chaotic brand of post-punk.
Pandagolff’s electro-post-punk is a simmering sugar rush of angular guitars and rattling drums. The duo pile energy into a rock style that mixes artsy experimentation, psychedelic pastels and raw, minimal construction; but they always keep their music somewhat danceable, rooted in the new wave.
Formed in 2019, Pandagolff released two short albums in 2020, PANDANCE and MEMAMEMA. Between the former, a grooved psychedelic pop effort, and the latter’s driving, rawer punk, the duo showed the versatility of their sound and songwriting.
We got together with Pandagolff to talk through some of their background interests and personal favourites, taking the opportunity to get to know some of their most revered musical influences.
First song you learnt to play?
Machiko: The first guitar solo I ever practiced was “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.
Eisuke: Laughin’ Nose’s "Get the Glory" on guitar.
First album you bought?
M: I think it was Queen’s The Game.
E: I was listening to a cassette dubbed album that contained “Paradaisu Ginga” [Paradise Galaxy] by Hikaru Genji.
Which song defined high school?
M: Kite’s “Teenage Bliss”. It was released last year and when I first heard it, I thought it was me... it reminded me of when I was in high school. I’m almost the same now... “Teenage Bliss” isn’t just about love: it’s about repetitions of the best and worst of love.
E: Karate Bakabon’s "Keep Cheep Trick" was a cathartic song.
What song changed your life?
M: It isn’t a specific song, but the FEN [Far East Network] – a radio station broadcast from US military bases. In the kitchen of the house where I grew up, the crackling sounds of FEN were constantly on the radio, even when I was asleep. Remembering the radio playing, even when no one was around, still takes me back to those precious times.
What’s your ideal song?
M: A song that is as fast as it is a culmination! A songs that sticks in your gut, but not because of high tempo. In the sense that I want to be ahead of the times.
E: A song with a normal chord progression and a good groove that will sell well.
What music would people be surprised to hear you enjoy?
M: Music that has soul, that is linked to the humanity and inner life of its creator and performer, and that which is mischievous.
M: Unknown Mortal Orchestra's live performance made me want to take them home with me. I want to see them live abroad!
E: Yura Yura Teikoku at Metamorphose Festival, 2009.
M: My house, where I can play the records I’ve bought.
E: I like outdoor festivals and parks.
M: Momoko Sakura’s Kami no chikara [The Power of God].
E: Shin kenchiku jūtaku tokushū [New Architecture Home Features] I love looking at smaller architectural designs.
M: Ramen, Jiro style! Soft and sweet.
E: Ramen and curry. I make my own curry, but for ramen I go on a restaurant tour. I recently went to "Hinshade" in Kawasaki Saiwai-ku, which was interesting. In times of self-restraint, I take out a pot of Jiro-style ramen.
Last film you saw in a cinema?
M: Trainspotting 2
E: I think it was either Trainspotting 2 or Shin-Gojira.
M: The Langoliers and Robocop. I love Robocop and there's not a single thing I don't like about it. My favourite scene is when Robocop is finished and they have a party in the office and a woman in heels with a cracker falls in front of Robocop. I think it's a very powerful film.
E: Robocop and King of Minami. It's amazing how Riki Takeuchi, a trendy actor, became more and more in sync with his King of Minami role as Manda Ginjiro and evolved into a different character from the original.
Pandagolff’s new single “KOREDEWAKARU” is set for release on 21st April.