Radical Face

We talk Tour, Curses and Street Fighter 2 with Ben Cooper aka Radical Face


We recently caught up with Ben Cooper aka Radical Face to have a quick chat ahead of his Japan tour this weekend, taking in Nagoya, Kyoto, Gunma and Niigata supported by a host of artists along the way including miaou and tomharu before playing the final show of the tour in Shibuya at the O-Nest on March 24th.


1. This isn’t your first time in Japan - how do you think shows here are different compared to in the USA?

They’re very different. For one, the crowds are a lot more polite in Japan. In America it can be difficult to get anyone’s attention, especially if you have material that’s slow or quiet. There are exceptions, but that’s often been the case in the past. I didn’t have that issue at all in Japan. It seemed like people really came to listen. It was surprising. I also have to commend you on the quality of sound in your clubs. I didn’t have one night where it was difficult to hear on stage last time I toured there, which was really cool.

2. Before arriving in Japan you had been playing shows all over Europe - can you share some of your highlights of the trip with us?

It went well. The tour almost completely sold out, which I really wasn’t expecting, and it seemed like people had fun. But my “curse” was in full effect, my curse being: whenever I tour, bad things happen. Not so much with the shows, but with everything else. This time, I injured my lower back during my weight lifting just before leaving, and had a limp the entire time and played all the shows seated. It was also the coldest Winter Europe had seen in a while, which made driving tough, and everyone got sick halfway through. And then our tour manager woke up one night unable to breathe and had to be rushed to the hospital where he received throat surgery. We had to finish the tour without him, just managing everything as best we could. He’s still recovering. Two people from the band we were touring with got arrested one night. The list goes on. Hahaha.

So it was very eventful! But I still had fun. It was just a lot of stress. My curse was in rare form for that trip.

3. What are you looking forward to the most during your stay here?

I really love Japan. It’s my favorite place I’ve ever toured. So I’m looking forward to the entire trip. But two things I really enjoy are 1) eating, as there’s lot of new and interesting foods to try, and a lot of great restaurants 2) the arcades. I’ve played fighting games like Street Fighter for about 22 years now, and I still play them regularly and go to tournaments here in the US. It’s an old hobby I never dropped. You guys still have functioning arcades, where most of ours are gone. So I plan to spend a lot of time in them playing fighting games.

4. Do you have any favourite Japanese bands?

Sure. Off the top of my head I really like: Bordeoms, Mono, Shugo Tokumaru, Boris, Radical Fashion, Melt Banana. And I like a lot of the modern composers like Nobuo Uematsu and I’m also a big fan of random things like the soundtrack to the animated show Escaflowne by Yoko Kanno.

5. The new album is the first of a three part series. What do you have planned for the next releases?

The records all follow a family through multiple generations. The first album was the furthest back in time, and therefore the simplest and used the least instruments. I will be getting more modern with the production on each album. On record two, which I’m currently recording, I will be using full drum sets and electric guitars again, and the third album will sound the most modern of the bunch. I also have a series of free EPs that I’m weaving between the albums, called “The Bastards”. So there’s a lot of material for this. I’ve been working on it since the start of 2007.

6. You collaborated with Miaou on a song on their new album - how did you go about working on that?

They contacted me and asked if I was interested in singing on a piece they were working on. They sent me the music and I liked the track, so I said “Sure.” I recorded my vocals in my shed here in Florida, and they liked what I did, so it made it on the final record. It all went really smoothly.

7. When you start writing on a song does it always begin as a song for a specific project? For example, would you start on a song with it being targeted for Iron Orchestra from the outset?

Usually I write for the specific project, especially when it’s a collaboration. But sometimes songs just kind of show up our of nowhere and I have to watch and see how they’re evolving before I can decide what their home will be.

8. What will you be working on when you get back to the states?

I will be finishing the next album in the Family Tree set, working on two music videos, finishing up a movie I have been filming with friends for a year and a half now, and releasing Clone. So it will be a very busy year, but it’s all work I enjoy a lot. I’m looking forward to really diving in after this last little tour.

9. Can you recommend and new artists for us?

Some I have come across recently and enjoyed are: Son Lux, Rachel Grimes, Baths, and Jonsi.

10. Finally, do you have any words for your fans in Japan?

If you’re still reading, thanks for making it this far. Hahaha. And hopefully I’ll see some of you when I’m visiting. Feel free to come say hello. I like to meet new people.


1. 日本ツアーは始めてではないけど、日本とアメリカのショウはどう違うと思いますか?


2. 日本に来る前にヨーロッパでたくさんショウがあったけど、ツアーのハイライト教えて下さい。



そしてヨーロッパは本当に寒い冬だったよ。運転は大変でみんな調子がよくなかったよ。それである夜僕たちのツアーマネージャーが突然呼吸することできなくなって、病院に行ってそこでのどの手術をしたんだ。そこからツアーマネージャーがいないままツアーは終わったんだ。 彼はまだ本調子でないんだ。あとは一緒にツアーしたバンドのメンバー二人が逮捕されたんだ。数え上げればきりがないよ。ハハハ。


3. 日本で一番楽しみにしている事はなんですか。


特に二つのことが楽しみかな。 1)食べる事。たくさんの新しくておもしろいものを食べてみたいよ。素晴らしいレストランにもいっぱい行きたいね。2)ゲームセンター。22年前からストリート・ファイターみたいな格闘ゲームをやってて、時々アメリカでトーナメントにも参加するんだ。辞められない古い趣味だよ。アメリカではゲームセンターはほとんど無くなったけど日本ではまだまだ良いゲームセンターがあるよね。だからゲームセンターでいっぱい過ごしそうだよ。

4. 好きな日本のバンドはありますか。

もちろん。すぐ思いつくのはBoredoms, Mono, Shugo Tokumaru, Boris, Radical Fashion, Melt Banana なんかかな。現代的なコンポーザーで言えば植松信夫。あとぼくはエスカフローネっていうアニメの菅野よう子が手掛けたサントラがすごく好きなんだ。

5. ニューアルバムは3部作の1作目です。次のリリースではどんなプランがありますか?


それとこのアルバムを作ってる間、”The Bastards”っていう無料のEPもリリースしたよ。

6. Miaouのニューアルバムで一曲コラボレートしました。どのように制作されたのでしょうか??


7. 曲を書き始めるときに、いつも具体的な計画がありますか?例えば、この曲はIron Orchestra向きだなとか。


8. アメリカに戻ったら次のプロジェクトは何ですか?

Family Treeの2作目を完成させて、2つのPVを作るんだ。それから友達2人と作ってる映画を仕上げて、それをクローンって言うプロジェックトでリリースしたいと思ってるよ。すごく忙しくなると思うんだけどスゴく好きな仕事なんだ。この最後のツアーが終わってからもとても楽しみだよ。

9. おすすめのバンドはありますか?

最近出会って良かったのは Son Lux, Rachel Grimes, Baths とJonsiかな。

10. 最後に、日本のファンにメッセージをお願いします。


Radical Face kicks off his Japanese tour in Nigata tomorrow night, for ticketing and tour info click here!!

Check out Radical Face online here.

Thanks to Tim!


Radical Face & Miaou Japan Tour 2012

Tokyo’s finest electronic dream pop band miaou hit the road in March with multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter Radical Face from the USA.

Both fresh from releasing new albums in 2011, the tour will see them visit five cities up and down the country starting on March 17th in Nagoya and Finishing in Tokyo on the 24th at Shibuya o-nest. Radical Face guested on miaou’s track ‘Lost Souls’ on their latest album and you can expect to see a collaboration performance at the shows.

Check out Miaou’s video for ‘Lost Souls’ here.


Tour Info.

March 17th - Niigata: gt.moo gallery
March 18th Kyoto: OIL
March 19th Nagoya: K.D. Japon
March 20th Gunma: Block w/ Tomharu
March 24th Tokyo: Shibuya O-nest w/ Water Fai, Teto Records DJs

More info and tickets: FACEBOOK / MIAOU / INAPARTMENT