Get to know: Ryo Arai of PENs+
PENs+ marry tricky guitar wizardry with the catchiest melodies to create some of the best math/emo around. They will be launching their awe-inspiring musical assault on Canadians in just 2 weeks so here is a short interview with leader Ryo Arai to provide enemy intel and advance warning of their unequivocal badassery.
Truthfully Ryo Arai is the one of the nicest guys around. He caught the travel bug recently and has gone backpacking in Europe and the US in the last year. His English is far from perfect but he was nice enough to answer my questions to the best of his ability:
1. Which area of Tokyo do you live in and where would you take your Canadian friends if they were to visit?
I live in Setagaya Tokyo. The place I live in is relatively near to Shimokitazawa where I wanna take Canadian friends. There are fashionable people and cozy atmosphere instead of annoying people and high buildings. Especially if I could, I would take you to “Mintei” where we can eat absolutely delicious ramen and fried rice.
2. How long have you been playing guitar? What guitar and pedals do you use and what is your favorite amp?
I began to play the guitar five years ago, when I was 15 years old. My red cool guitar is “Fender USA American Standard Telecaster”. And pedals I usually use are “Boss Blues driver” and “Tech 21 Reverb with booster”. These are essential for me to perform shows anytime. My favorite amp is Fender Twin reverb. I’m glad that all venues have Twin reverb.
4. You are the only member of PENs+ that has travelled outside of Japan. What countries have you been to and other than Canada, where do you plan to travel to next?
I have been to the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and Philippines in this one year. I can consider about my future deeply and spend splendid time alone. That’s why I love travelling as a backpacker. Next time I plan to go to the east coast of the US to see the member of Algernon Cadwallader haha! One of my acquaintance’s friend is the member of Algernon cadwallader. I’ll try to beg him to see the member.
(steve's note: When PENs+ play Soybomb June 12 I want the crowd reaction to be just like the video directly above!! Let's do it Toronto!! #6ix)
5. If you had a time machine that could travel to the past or future, where in time and space would be the first place you would want to go?
I hate repeating myself again but I really love the band Algernon Cadwallader. So I wanna go to the gig of them!!! When I discovered them, they had been already dissolved. I still hope to watch their awesome gig someday.
6. I think it’s amazing that Nounen Rena knows about your music. Did you ever get a chance to meet or talk to Nounen Rena during Senkou Riot? Who is your favorite actress?
Fortunately, my most favorite actress is Nounen Rena! (steve's note: me too! and Aoi Yu!!) Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to talk to her during Senkou Riot OMG haha. Anyway I was glad that she introduced us on radio!
7. Tell us your favorite: - movie 「The Shawshank Redemption 」 - manga/anime「Death Note」 - video game 「Winning eleven」 - author 「Ayumu Takahashi」 - color「Blue」 - food「Ramen」 - drink「Coffee」 - conbini「Famima (Family Mart)」 - ramen place in Tokyo「tantanmen“Kouki”in my hometown Soshigaya」 - livehouse in Tokyo「Shimokitazawa ERA」
8. You draw all of the artwork for PENs+ CDs, website and posters. What are some of your other hobbies outside of music and art?
It’s kind of hard to find my hobbies except that since I really love music & drawing some artworks. If I have to bring up one, I like studying! Especially, recently I’m into studying English. I wanna improve my English skill more and more.
9. You like to take pictures of your younger brother a lot on twitter. How old is he and what is his personality like? Does he want to be a musician like you?
I’m surprised that Steve ask me question like this haha. My little brother Kanata is 10 years old (I’m 20 years old. The difference in age is 10 ) I’m on good terms with him so much! He is naturally a bit spacy. What he says with small mistakes makes me happy. Right now he absolutely cannot play any instruments. Haha.
— arairyo：PENs+ (@ararararyo) May 25, 2015
10. If you were picking the line-up for NMFT8, which four bands would you bring to Canada?
and PENs+ again, thanks ☺
Follow Ryo Arai on twitter!!