) is a Japanese experimental metal band that combines different music genres including drone metal, sludge metal, noise rock, psychedelic rock, ambient and pop. Currently, the band's personnel consists of drummer-vocalist Atsuo, bassist-guitarist-vocalist Takeshi, and guitarist-vocalist Wata.Boris takes its name from a song on the Melvins' Bullhead
, and released its first album, Absolutego
, on the group's own label, Fangs Anal Satan, in 1996. Since then, they have released 18 studio albums, including Pink
, Heavy Rocks
and Akuma No Uta
, a number of EPs, 7" singles, and full-length collaborative recordings, on various record labels around the world.
Boris was originally a four-piece band, with Nagata on drums. Nagata departed in 1996 leaving Atsuo to take over drumming duties and it has remained a three-piece since.From its formation, Boris' members have made deliberate efforts to avoid being pigeon-holed, or too strongly associated with any musical style. "Having some kind of preconceived message or theme is very boring to me," noted Atsuo, the band's drummer. "It becomes a crutch. Just say what you want to say."The band's influences are eclectic, with Sleep, Nick Cave, Nick Drake, Venom, and the Melvins being a few of the more important ones. The group quickly realized that they did not fit in with the Japanese hardcore punk scene that birthed them, though they retain a fondness for the scene and its music.In Japan, Boris release most of their music on the indie label Inoxia Records. Though relatively unknown in their home country, a recent series of reissues on US label Southern Lord Records has seen their popularity in North America increase dramatically, even gaining them widespread recognition in the mainstream music press. Many of Boris' vinyl releases feature similar artwork for the inner label of the record. This is a parody of the original Roger Dean artwork that Virgin Records used for many of their releases (seen here).2005's Pink
was met with considerable critical praise and a strong response from music fans when reissued in the US on Southern Lord Records. Blender
magazine and SPIN
magazine both named it one of 2006's best albums. The album also topped the metal section of Canadian magazine Exclaim's 2006 Reader's Poll, and was in the top 10 of Pitchfork Media's Top 50 Records of 2006.Boris' 2006 vinyl-only release, Vein
, focused on a sound derived from classic Japanese crust bands, such as Gloom, Confuse, and Gai.Boris has said in an interview with Pitchfork that after being in a band for so long, "it is easier to write songs now.Boris is a band that focuses a lot of their time on touring. In an interview, Atsuo said: "That we tour so much and release so many albums, I think it is representative of what we’re about. Direct communication is something we’ve lost in this day and age. It’s a shame – [even\] interviews are over [the\] phone. I think it's important to see people face to face – that's why it's so important to go on tour. It's something very basic to humans that we’ve lost lately."Boris opened for Nine Inch Nails on part of the fall 2008 segment of the Lights in the Sky tour. They also appeared on the avant-garde metal soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's film The Limits of Control
. Regarding Boris, Jarmusch said that "what's really remarkable is when they play live they're in the mode, in a way, of jazz musicians, not structurally or musically, but the way they listen to what the others are doing and build on it. Each time they play something it's obviously different, every time."Boris played the ATP New York 2010 music festival in Monticello, New York where they performed Altar
in collaboration with Sunn O)))On May 29, 2010, Boris performed a cover of The Doors song The End with Ian Astbury at Vivid Festival on Sydney. Boris and Astbury released a four-song EP in September 2010 on Southern Lord and Daymare Records that contains four tracks entitled Teeth and Claws, We are Witches, Rain (The Cult cover), Magickal Child.In 2011, Boris released three albums: their first major release with a major producer on AVEX/Tearbridge label and an album on Sargent House called Attention Please.
The variety of their music dictates that their setup in a live environment be equipped with many different effects pedals and other guitar accessories. Wata uses an E-bow to achieve bow-like sounds or to manipulate feedback; this device is held in the hand, like a pick, but relies on a magnetic field vibration to move the guitar's strings.Takeshi typically plays a double-necked bass/guitar live, which allows him to drone away on the guitar during longer numbers but quickly switch to bass without needing to switch instruments. He used an Ibanez SG-style model, and a Steinberger Spirit, before acquiring a custom-built double-neck instrument of his own design from First Act Guitars in 2009. He previously used a Music Man Stingray bass. Wata uses Gibson Les Paul custom guitars with Orange heads and cabinets, as well as a Matamp head also favoured by stoner metal groups Sleep and High on Fire and an Ampeg 810 cabinet; Takeshi uses Sunn Model T amps with Marshall 412 cabinet and an Ampeg SVT II bass amp. Wata and Takeshi tune their instruments in a variety of tunings, most of which are lower than standard E tuning (most commonly B flat tuning), often resulting in the range normally associated with Baritone guitars.Since 2006, Boris has had a working relationship with the guitarist Michio Kurihara, previously a member of White Heaven and The Stars, and a current member of Ghost. Together, they have released two full length collaborations, Rainbow and Cloud Chamber, and Kurihara has guested on several Boris recordings. He has also toured consistently with the band as a second guitarist since 2007. With Boris, Kurihara uses vintage Greco clone of a Gibson SG guitar with Bigsby Vibrato bar, a pair of Fender Super Reverb amplifiers, and an array of exotic effects pedals, including several made by the Zvex company.In the studio, Boris records on analog equipment. They use minimal overdubs, recording mostly live.