Imagine, if you will, a band that sounds like J-pop crossed with alt-rock. A band that has the the unorthodox-yet-creative songwriting and peppiness of a BABYMETAL single, mixed with the heavy groove of rock giants like Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden. Sound incredible? You’ll have to hear it to believe it.
TsuShiMaMiRe (pronounced SUE-SHE-MAH-ME-RAY) will be playing a fast and loud set at Cafe Berlin on Oct. 22 with local alt-rock trio, the Many Colored Death. For those who might have never heard of the all-girl Japanese rock trio before, guitarist and lead vocalist Mari Kono has a simple way to explain the group to newcomers: a “Japanese girl-rock sensation that plays with so much energy.”
Kono has exceptional range as a singer — she talk-sing several words a second in one song and growl through a heavy melody on another. After just a few listens to the band's discography, you can hear immense variety in the group's songwriting. For example, one of Kono’s favorite songs to play live is “Night Rider,” a track from the trio's latest EP, Night and Morning. “It’s about a girl who rides a motorbike,” Kono said in an e-mail. “But when I sing the song, I feel like I’m riding a motorcycle and I’m a night rider.”
The band has been going strong since 1999, with newcomer drummer Maiko Takagi joining the crew a few years ago. Although the trio members admit they miss original drummer Mizue Masuda, Maiko’s exuberance behind the kit carries over to the other members of the band. “We were like a family that lost a member, but new family comes, and it makes me super happy to have a new family member like [Maiko],” Kono says.
Yayoi Tsushima, bassist and founding member of TsuShiMaMiRe, cites Blankey Jet City, By-Sexual and Rage Against the Machine as three of her biggest influences to pick up bass guitar and play in a band. Maiko cites the Beatles because her father would play the band’s music at home, and Mari was inspired by the likes of Blankey Jet City, Tomoyasu Hotei, Television and the Velvet Underground.
The band is currently touring through Canada and the United States, but before the members leave town, they'll sit in on a Japanese class at Battle High School. There, the band will be recording a song at the school’s recording studio, where the tune will be mixed and produced by Battle students. In 2019, the trio plans to record a new album and tour the United States once again in celebration of their 20th year as a band.