Interview: Takafumi Matsubara

Japanese guitarist Takafumi Matsubara made his mark in the past two decades with death metal act Mortalized and later grindcore quartet Gridlink. He returned back to music with Retortion Terror last year after a 4 year break due to health complications. Less than a year later, Takafumi Matsubara will release a solo album next week titled Strange, Beautiful And Fast. Described as “A once in a generation album that will leave it’s mark for years to come”, the 17 track album features the who’s who of the grindcore scene from Richard Hoak (Total Fucking Destruction) to Dylan Walker (Full Of Hell) and many more.

I am glad that Takafumi took time out to do this interview and share more details about Strange, Beautiful And Fast.


Takafumi Matsubara

Hi Takafumi, how are you doing?

Hi!! I’m fine. I really appreciate you giving me a chance to talk about my album and my short tour.

You are getting ready to release your 2nd album (after Retortion Terror) in less than a year, how does it feel?

Ummmm.. I still have many riffs and songs. And I think I can make much more. So I need time. If I had enough time, I could make and record them more.

Your solo album Strange, Beautiful And Fast has been in work for 4 years now, how did the idea for it come about?

Chris ( the singer of Naquro. Hee Chung was the drummer of Naquro) found the data. Hee Chung recorded my song before he passed away. So I was eager to record my guitars on his drumming and release it.

While I couldn’t play the guitar, so many people encouraged me. Some drummers gave me kind words. So I watched their playing again and again. And I imagined their understanding and playing about my riffs. I started writing a song little by little and doing rehabilitation so hard.

What was the writing process for the album? Did you try a different approach from Gridlink and Retortion Terror?

I asked musicians who encouraged me to play with me. And I watched and listened to their playing again and again. The inspiration from their playing made me write riffs and songs.

Gridlink is very difficult to play. And the songs need my middle finger. I still have songs I can’t play.
Retortion Terror is easy to play. Because The songs need only two fingers. And I want to play Retortion Terror songs with various musicians. So I need easy and cool songs.
Solo album…. it was so hard. Inspiration is the most important. If the riffs from inspiration need dead fingers, I must have gone to hospital and electric therapy and practiced so hard.

How did you decide which musicians to get to perform on the tracks?

All Musicians joined this album encouraged me. Their kindness helped me so much.
When they did so, I asked them to play with me.



The album is dedicated to your friend Hee Chung (Unholy Grave). Tell us about your relationship with him.

When I was in Mortalized and took part in Gridlink, only a few bands focused on the possibility and technique of grindcore in Japan. I really wanted to put up with American and European high level bands. So I always said “ practice, practice, practice. Faster, faster, faster”. Many people in Japan couldn’t understand my thoughts at the time. But only Hee Chung could understand that. So we talked about the way to practice , the spirit and the passion for our own grindcore so often.

Now, I have three Japanese support drummers. Atsushi Amano, Kyosuke Nakano and Kenta Nakanishi. They have the same spirit and technique as him. I’m the happiest guitarist in the world.

What are your favourite memories of Hee Chung?

He came to see Gridlink Kyoto show. After the show , he gave me the words “ I really want to form the strongest band with you”. His eyes were so serious.

What does Grindcore mean to you?

Life and Spirit I gave up grindcore once. After recovering , My passion for it became much stronger.

What are your thoughts on the current state of grindcore?

I love many bands like Deterioration, Exposed as rot, controlled existence etc… and all of my friends bands! But I must play my own grindcore. And I do so.

If you weren’t playing Grindcore/a metal musician what would you be doing? Do you have an interest in other arts forms eg. painting, sculpture etc. ?

I really love soundtracks. I made some songs for Jon Chang’s comics and game “Black powder Red earth”. I want to do more.

You are playing a couple of shows in New York to promote the record. Do you have any plans to play more shows and maybe do a tour?

This tour is “ the beginning ” and “ Warming up” for my second grindcore life.

I decided to fight with various things with grindcore. In order to accomplish that, I need to play with good musicians and need inspiration from them.

18th Minnesota.. Formless Master ( my new band)
20th Baltimore..Retortion Terror NY( Eric and Austin) Record release show!!
21th Developing Nations Recording Studio, Baltimore with Chepang
21th Brooklyn.. Retortion Terror NY Record release show!!
23th Texas..Playing with Bryan Fajardo
25th Texas.. Retortion Terror TX( JD and Ryoko from Daggra)
27th LA..Retortion Terror LA( Anthony and Emi from Shitbrains and Ja Net and Mardin)

What are you currently working on at the moment?

Practice and making riffs

When can we expect a new Retortion Terror EP/album?

Next year.. RxT will release 5 or 6 split eps with support members. When the original drummer Nicholas comes back, we will start making an album.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Practice. Writing songs. Recording. Liveshow.

Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?

Tortoiseshell cats are so cute.



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