By Juliet Cote | November 28, 2022
Listening to TEKE::TEKE’s music is like taking a euphoric, exhilarating, and spontaneous sound journey. From pure psych rock to whimsical flutes to head bobbing percussion and jammy brass, their set will make you understand that old cliché, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” The Montreal-based Japanese band includes guitarists Serge Nakauchi Pelletier & Hidetaka Yoneyama, bass player Mishka Stein, drummer Ian Lettre, flutist Yuki Isami, trombone player Etienne Lebel, and visual artist and vocalist Maya Kuroki. Together, they are the masterminds behind psychedelic rock bangers like “Barbara,” and electric ballads like “Kala Kala.” Their music, as they put it, evokes “sound reminiscent of 1960’s and 70’s era psychedelic Japanese soundtracks, with a frenetic, modern twist.”
TEKE::TEKE played at Public Records stage back in November, and guitarist, Serge Nakauchi Pelletier, answered a few questions for the groovement:
What was your first concert you went to?
It was an all-ages punk rock show in a school gym near where I lived (on the south shore of Montreal, QC) when I was probably 12. The headliners were a band called S.C.U.M. I just followed my big brother there.
Where are you from?
I was born in Chiba, Japan and grew up in the Montreal region after my parents moved to Canada when I was just 2 years old.
How did you first get started?
When I was 12 (right about the time I saw my first show), I was pretty much just following everything my older brother was doing. He was really into music and skateboarding. That’s how I discovered punk rock, and it led me to the guitar. What I really wanted was to play drums, but it was easier for my parents to get me a guitar, so they did, and I liked it. I just basically wanted to make noise and start a band at that point.
What was the first concert you performed?
The first show TEKE::TEKE did was as part of an annual psychedelic music festival here in Montreal, organized by some friends of ours. For the closing night, we did a special tribute to Japanese guitarist Takeshi Terauchi and played a bunch of his music. It was after that performance that we decided to keep doing it but to eventually write our own original songs.
How would you describe your music – either by genre or general vibe?
I’d say we like to think of our sound as being cinematic, experimental, rock, perhaps psychedelic and slightly conceptual, with a punk energy and a DIY approach, mixing up a lot of ideas and influences. We want to feel like we have the freedom to experiment with any ideas that might hit us.
What is your pre show routine (anything you need to do, eat or drink)?
Definitely making sure we have eaten, but not too much and not too close to the performance. A good stretching session, maybe jumping rope to get the heart pumping a little, and as cheesy as it may sound, I’ll usually do a little pep talk as we group hug just to make sure everybody’s feeling good, ready and excited.
Who/what do you draw inspiration from?
Life, friends, family, anything and everything really… Then there’s the post-war era of Japan (Shôwa) and the sort of rebellious art scene that unfolded in the 60’s that gave birth to a lot of great stuff. The work and esthetic of film director Terayama Shuji, for example, has always been a great source of inspiration for us. 60’s Pop singers like Nakajima Miyuki or Fuji Keiko. Experimental musical ensembles like Tokyo Kid Brothers and Geinoh Yamashirogumi. We find the work of experimental and theatrical artists like The Residents, very inspirational. Back home, there’s such a vibrant and amazing music scene with artists like Suuns, Jerusalem in my Heart, Godspeed, Big Brave, Kee Avil, Sam Shalabi all pushing the envelope and making some beautiful and strong artistic statements. It’s very inspiring to see that.
Do you have anything you want people to take away from your music?
We want people to feel like they’ve experienced something with the music, they went somewhere, they felt an array of emotions, and hopefully feel inspired and touched.
What’s your dream venue to perform at?
We always wanted to perform in a circus-like tent, with people sitting or standing all around us… yeah, in a circus, and do a theatrical or conceptual show, that would be fun!
What’s next for you?
As shows are picking up again, we will be touring the US, Europe, Canada and make our way to places we’ve never been before in the new year. We’ve also just finished our next record and are excited about that. It should come out next summer with most likely a few singles dropping out with new videos prior to the official release. We’re also working on new content for our online channels and then there’ll be more touring throughout the summer in support of the new album.