petite mort In this issueBegin & End No.2 2004
<< 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 >>
contents mailing list about us contribute contact archive
Fantasy's Core
Although he would prefer you to know him as a simple-minded goof ball, Karisu Mao is a humble genius who's favorite phrase is "service for the people". Fantasy's Core's high voltage performance w/ comical antics that can sometimes go over the top, all stems from Mao's intense faith in the power of music to ease, and that's what he does. Underneath the slapstick performer is a highly capable craftsman who knows how to incorporate the seeds of laughter into great writing and musicianship, enabling his audiences to momentarily forget reality, and enjoy a brief but memorable time filled with great music and side-splitting laughter.
Fantasy's Core is: guitar& chorus EveFlower, drums Jackie Maekawa, guitar & chorus Que Que Cola, vocal & song writing Mao Kariso, bass & chorus Fukakusa Velvet

What does Fantasy’s Core Mean?
Well, think of illusions and imaginations. They are all shapeless things right? Are fantasies round, square, triangular?… no, not really… they seem to just expand every which way, and they can easily vanish too. They are very inpredictable.
So, to say that something like this has a nucleus, or a center, or a core, I thought it was an interesting concept. Fantasy’s Core…core of a fantasy….It makes people think and wonder a bit. So in that sense I think that Fantasy’s Core means where imagination stems from. The birth place of creativity, if you will. In Japanese, we would call it the “heart”. Samurai worriers would call it “the state of nothingness”. Americans would probably call it the “soul” or “mind” or “heart”… I’m not sure. Just translate it so that it sounds cool….(hahaha)

What are your songs generally about?
That’s a hard question to answer. First of all I’ve written in about 4 different languages, including a few in kindergarten level English (hahaha) Others include my own take on the languages used back in the stone age period, and there is another song written in my own take of alien language. Then there’s Japanese, of course.

Really?.. tell me a little bit about these stone age language songs.
The song that’s written in stone age language is supposed to be the most direct one because it’s a direct explosion of feelings. I think that back then, people had something close to words, but they were probably more like sounds that conveyed certain emotions. You know the second song we did throughout the 2004 America tour? The super energetic one? That’s called Stone Age Bug . It’s about primitive men falling in love, fighting and loosing in a battle, and it’s really just an expression of general alternation of joy and sorrow in life.

Interesting… and the alien song?
The song is called Alien Party., and it’s about an alien that somehow wondered into a big American style party, and the song expresses the surprises and the excitement of the alien when he encounters this scene. I was thinking of a Halloween Party when I wrote this song. The only understandable lyric in this song is “trick or treat”. It’s the first English phrase the alien learns because that’s what everyone around him is saying. He had no choice. Sounds like a possible scenario right?

Stone Age Bug.mp3 (3.6MB)
Samurai Man.mp3
Potential Power.mp3
Ulta Future Joy Ride Blues.mp3



"Are fantasies round, square, triangular? no, not really they seem to just expand every which way, and they can easily vanish too.  They are very inpredictable"
Fantasy's Core performing at "MixBag", petiteMort's launch party in New York city eairly this year. Photographed by J. Kuwahara, 2004.
above right: Fantasy's Core performing at "MixBag", petiteMort's launch party in New York city eairly this year.
Photo courtesy Junshi Kuwahara, 2004.

I don’t know… what are aliens like?
I imagine that aliens are attracted to drum beats and they always wonder into some kind of a party. They are the ones that put too much Tabasco on their Pizzas and are surprised by it when they go to take a bite. Then they take a bite of the sushi that’s next to the pizza, and is again surprised by the Wasabi. It screams “Oh my Spielberg!!” but they don’t really like Spielberg movies because it gives them a bad rep.

Hahaha… cool. Your songs are certainly one of a kind..
We have some serious songs too. They are written in Japanese. Like the song called Ocue. It’s about these two presidents; president of The United States and Iraq. Basically the song is about these two presidents who have too much oil in their heads and need to be treated. To slim away the surplus of greed, we need to get them a moxa treatment (pronounced ‘okyu’ in Japanese) and cleanse their souls!! Moxa is a treatment in traditional eastern medicine where this medicinal herb called moxa is placed on the patient’s body and lit on fire. It’s like incense on your body, but it’s painful because the moxa is lit directly on top of your skin. It’s like torture and treatment at the same time. It works, and the two presidents need it bad!!

How about that song where you play a tennis racket like a guitar..
The tennis guitar.. yeah, I get asked about that song all the time. The song is called “0 Game” (pronounced “love game”) It’s about women’s tennis match. Men’s tennis ended with John McEnroe. His play was so rock n’ roll. No other male players after him really strike me as anything. I think women’s tennis is much more interesting these days, and it’s NOT because of their short skirts!! The questions people ask me regarding this song always have to do with me having a fetish over female tennis players. I also make these noises during the song, and people always think that it’s about this dirty old man getting off while watching a female tennis match.

I am glad you clarified that.. To be honest, I was a little worried.
Shame on you! It’s a dedication to the player Martina Hinges who retired so young. She was so rock n’ roll because she would fight all these bigger players like Davenport and the Williams sisters and for her, it was such a mental game.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I usually write songs as a tribute to a friend or I’ll write about someone I know or respect. I wished that someone would write one for me. (hahaha) The important thing is for each one of my audiences to have fun. That’s all I care about. Rock n’ Roll is such a powerful force. I want to use that force to the benefit of my audience.

What kind of a band is Fantasy’s Core in your mind?
This is a band that requires a lot of energy and fitness. My dances are not really dances. They are all these weird contortions and jerks of the body, so it requires a lot of flexibility. Took me years to do it. I think at times we are more of athletes than musicians. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m making music or if I’m working out. (hahaha) Our live shows are unique in that typically they consist of 5-6 song medleys. That means 5-6 songs singing straight through with no break. At the end of the set, which is about 45 minutes long, I am totally burned out. But I think that’s the least I can do for the people that come to see us. That’s just manners as a performer. Fantasy’s Core is supposed to ease the audiences… with loud and offensive music….??? (hahaha)
The other important thing about FC is that “songs” and “sounds” are kind of like the same thing to us. Obviously words have meaning, but we don’t expect the audiences to grasp every subtle nuances at our live shows. I mean I didn’t understand everything Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen said in their concerts…(hahaha)

Yeah, well perhaps there is a different reason for that.. …? (hahaha)
Hahaha….Anyway, my point is, people from all over the world go to record stores to get their CDs, because they are drawn to the uniqueness of the sound, and captured by their energy, the one and only-ness about them.
That’s why I listen to all sorts of things including traditional Bulgarian music, Pakistani religious music, and so on. I don’t look for meaning. I just listen to them having in mind of the fact that sound is an expression. Rock n’ Roll is such an emotional style, and I think the sound really is suppose to convey the emotions and the thoughts. If you want nice words, get a book!!
With that being said though, I don’t think that lyrics are unimportant at all. That’s not what I’m trying to say. I just believe that those who can write great tunes, also write great lyrics.

Do you find that all your efforts playing in SXSW for 4 consecutive years and going on tours are paying off?
In Japan Nite 2003, we had people lined up outside the venue waiting to see us. Unfortunately not all were allowed in due to capacity rules. This year at SXSW 2004, we were not on a showcase that is as well known as Japan Nite. We played with other American bands, and a band from New Zealand, but still our show was packed. We had the most people for that showcase. I am extremely appreciative of the fans and press in Texas that have been supporting us. I want to thank SXSW too.


pg. 1 | next page >>

Fantasy's Core

"I also make these noises during Love Game, and people always think that it's about this dirty old man getting off while watching a female tennis match."