Q. How did Mountain/Full Edition come together?
About 8 years ago there was an event where Misako Yabuuchi, one of the band’s members, did a performance for a bed-bound child with a severe physical impairment at the child’s private home. I composed a waltz for this occasion, and this was a start. Then BuBu de la Madeleine joined us and we started our activity like a band. After that, friends started to join. People come and go. The group sometimes gets as big as 12 or 13 people.
Q. What's the origin of the name?
When three of the original members stood in a line, it looked like a Chinese character yama (mountain). At the time we also found a flyer with a text describing a screening of a “full edition” film, then we decided to call ourselves Mountain/Full Edition.
Q. You have occasional members from outside of Japan join the group. What do you feel binds the collective together? Any specific musical ideas, aesthetics, politics?
Friends come from places like the U.S., France or Sweden, and if the timing is good, we do a session or sometimes even a live performance. We exchange ideas online and sometimes do long-distance collaboration where they send material like videos and sounds.
There are musical, artistic and political approaches in the group, but the dynamic changes depending on the band members who are in the band at any given time. With more liberal members in the group, what we would do will be more liberal. If I have left-wing members, we would be oriented towards the left. If we have many artists, the approach towards the work becomes more artistic. Our musical direction reflects our members at any given time.
When we have more parts where performers take part, then the focus of the work will be on the performance rather than how well the music is played. In these instances, I look back and think whether the unbalance reflected well in the work or not, but this also had a tendency to cause arguments.
Mixing various elements however allows me to reflect what is going on in society and the world. Working collectively brings out something that I cannot do on my own. These different factors influence the shape of the band, so it is also a way for me to make adjustments. We think of the politics, visual arts and music with one brain, so it is all connected.
It is difficult, but I don’t want to fall into a trap of intellectual relativism. And I want to overcome the fear that we would be labeled as political people.