"Tokyo-based Experimental Hip-Hop trio Dos Monos summon excitement with some truly unusual alchemy. The building blocks of their style balance the dissonance and cacophony of some very un-smooth, uncool Jazz with hyperactive verse trading between their three members. The results have quickly made them a mainstay of festivals around Japan & Europe and even landed them a mini-series on Japanese cable television, in which they both starred and scored all the music.
After the release of a few singles, Dos Monos are now dropping their debut album, Dos City, on Deathbomb Arc—home to other Hip-Hop acts, such as JPEGMAFIA, clipping. and SB The Moor—in America and on bpm tokyo in Japan. The album will come out on March 20th. Two singles, both with music videos, are already out in the world for everyone to see and hear."
- Deathbomb Arc (@deathbombarc)
I. Who are the members of Dos Monos and what is each members' role in the group?
Dos Monos: 荘子it (Zo Zhit, pronounced as "So Shit") is a producer/rapper, TAITANMAN is a rapper, and 没 AKA NGS (Botsu) is a rapper/sampler.
II. How did you come to meet Brian Miller at Deathbomb Arc and decide to release Dos City on the label in conjunction with Dos Monos/bpm tokyo?
Dos Monos: Actually, we haven't met him in person yet (super-excited for it to happen in the future!) In early 2018, we were looking for a label to release our album and Deathbomb Arc was the very first one that we sent our demos to. He responded right away and started talking about the release.
After we officially signed with Deathbomb, some Japanese labels got interested in signing us; bpm tokyo seemed more supportive and conscious about doing new things than the others. It's super-hard to distribute physicals in the record stores without a label in Japan. We wanted our CD's to be in the record stores in the whole country.
III. What might you cite as some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while recording Dos City?
Dos Monos: Everything we have enjoyed together since junior high school: films, comedy, music, TV games, food, and inner-jokes.
IV. Would you mind explaining a bit of your typical recording process while creating Dos City?
Dos Monos: Zo Zhit [called] TAITAN & Botsu when he got a good one. Then, [they] get together at Zo's house and [spent] one or two nights packed together writing and recording one song. We did it again and again over the last 3 years 'til we came up with the tracklist.
V. Where did the concepts and treatments for your "Clean Ya Nerves (Cleopatra)" & "In 20XX" music videos initially come from?
Dos Monos: Since "In 20XX" was the very first thing we put out to the world, we made it impactful. We see ourselves as a bug in the Tokyo music scene, so we decided to simply fill it with unintentional bugs/errors in [our] daily lives.
For "Clean Ya Nerves," we had to go back to Plan B (Space Shower TV.) It was our short TV series in collaboration with a film director, 冨永昌敬 (Masanori Tominaga) [which aired in] September 2018—you can watch them on YouTube! We have been long-time fans of his work. After Plan B resulting great, we asked him to direct our music video, too. It is written by him, too.
VI. What exactly was the inspiration behind your Dos City album cover? All I see is a chimp in a Champion-reminiscent hoodie... but what's the significance behind this image?
Dos Monos: It is [the] Trout Mask Replica (1969) in Tokyo City, 2019.
VII. Now that Dos City been properly released into the world what do Dos Monos, Deathbomb Arc & bpm tokyo have planned for the album roll-out?
Dos Monos: It was so hard just to put the album out...
VIII. If you could choose any of your Deathbomb Arc/bpm Tokyo label-mates to collaborate with, who would you pick and why?
Dos Monos: We always [wondered] how it [would] sound, if Jonathan Snipes & William Hutson (clipping.) [added a] touch of Noise/effect on the edges of the cut samples.
IX. How did each of you initially come to meet and decide to form Dos Monos together?
Dos Monos: We went to the same junior high school/high school. Zo was a guitarist and TAITAN was a drummer in the same Grunge-ish band. Botsu was a Punk drummer in another band. After both bands disbanded, going into different colleges, we discovered Hip-Hop. We pretty much didn't listen to Hip-Hop at all before 2012.
In 2014, Zo started making Rap beats and, naturally, shared them with Botsu, since we kept sharing music. Eventually, Zo asked Botsu to rap over [them], even though he had never rapped before. Botsu called the project "Dos Monos" when he was in London. He was into Latin culture, such as Tropicalia, at the moment. Not before long, Zo asked TAITAN to rap, too, again, with no Rap experience before.
X. For someone who has never heard a not of Dos Monos' music, how would you attempt to best describe the group's overall sound and style?
Dos Monos: Brian [Miller] of Deathbomb Arc had the best one for it: "their style feels like Boom-Bap just exploded into a million tiny Free Jazz [ensembles] playing different rooms all at once."