On July 5th, 2015, I got to see one of my favorite post-rock bands, Toe, live in Portland. The band’s drummer, Kashikura Takashi, has been an inspiration to me since a friend introduced me to the band many years ago. Takashi perfectly combines a deft touch and technical prowess with expressivism to lend Toe’s music an inherent emotionality.
*Author’s note: This interview was conducted with the help of a translator, Shinya Mizoguchi, who is a friend of the band’s and also performed that night under his project, Starro. The answers, which were given in third person, have been paraphrased to the best of my ability. Thanks again to Kashikura Takashi and Shinya Mizoguchi.
Do you always keep the same approach on the drums from album to album? Or did you do anything different with the new album (Hear You).
The process of the album starts with Yama making a demo track. I try to follow the foundation of the demo track, but I also play around and add my own flavor. For that part, the flavor part, yes, I did try some new things.
What was new?
I tried to be more minimal than my previous work.
Are there specific pieces of gear or drums that you use when you record?
It depends on the songs. I changed the size of my kick drum for this album from a 22 inch to a 20 inch. Depending on the song I will take out a tom, or a cymbal.
You’ve been recording for a long time. Do you have any tricks or secrets to recording that you’ve learned over the years?
I’ve tried to learn how to control the “touch” of the drum, how hitting the same thing in different ways can make it sound different in the recording. I’ve been focused on using more force when I play.
Do you have a favorite song on the new album?
And moving from the album to yourself as a drummer, how long have you been playing drums?
Since I was 6 years old.
Wow. Do you remember why you started? Was there a specific moment in time that led to that?
Ever since I started, the drums are the only thing that I really enjoyed. I tried baseball, you know things other kids do, but only drums really grabbed me.
Do you play any other instruments?
I can play other instruments. I like the feeling of being part of a band, so I’ve tried the typical instruments that people in bands play. But again, drums are the instrument that I most enjoy.
What are your influences in terms of drumming?
As a drummer, I pay a lot of attention to fusion and jazz. But as a person in a band, I also appreciate a lot of West Coast punk bands, like NoFx.
Do you have a favorite drummer?
In Japan, Akira Jimbo is pretty legendary. From the United States, probably Steve Gadd.
That’s awesome. This is kind of a nerdy question, but what is the biggest size crash you would crash?
I’d say 20 inches.
That’s pretty big. Did you take lessons?
A little bit.
From those days, do you have a favorite rudiment, or favorite thing to practice?
I don’t usually like to practice in a way that is structured by anyone else, but when I do practice, I like focusing on syncopation. I’m not sure the name in English, but the third American rudiment (*Author’s note: In the 26 Standard Rudiments, number 3 is the 7 stroke roll).
I think that is it for me, unless you have anything else you want to add.
I really do hope that people like the new album. A lot of things went into the creation process. Hopefully people enjoy it.