By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
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By Christian Schaeffer
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In 1997, the extreme flashing colors of a Pokémon episode sent 635 Japanese children to the hospital with epileptic seizures. If one band is likely to stir up a similar reaction on the aural level, it might be Tokyo new-wavers Polysics. The quartet's R2-D2 synths hit like strobe lights, and its surf-punk backbeats push forth with bullet-train speed. The band's latest full-length, Absolute Polysics, proves that musical intensity knows no language barriers. Interviewing vocalist/guitarist Hiroyuki Hayashi, however, is not quite as easy. In advance of Polysics' rare performance at the Firebird, Hayashi responded to the following questions via e-mail.
B-Sides: MySpace Records mostly houses pop artists. How do you feel about being the odd band out on your label?
Hiroyuki Hayashi: We never intended ourselves to be out of the scale. It's just that no one around us makes similar music as us.
Polysics is fairly popular in Japan but has more of a cult following in the States. How is touring different between the two?
Since we do our tour with a basic backline rider, unfortunately we have several songs that we cannot play overseas. We wish we could have our full backline, then we could have our usual tour with different tastes added to our performances. We always try to have anywhere — everywhere — a fun and radical, crazy live [time].
You recently announced this will be the band's last tour with your synth player, Kayo. What has her involvement been in the creative process, and what will her departure mean for you?
The synthesizer melodies that Kayo creates made Polysics music more catchy and extreme. Her graduation led to the ending of the first episode of Polysics. The second episode of Polysics would start as a fresh new band.
What artist would Polysics most like to collaborate with?
Devo! They gave birth to Polysics. They are like a father of Polysics. We learned from them what "rock" is. Our dream is to tour the U.S. with Devo.
Absolute Polysics relies more heavily on vocoder than Polysics or Die!!!! or We Ate the Machine. Is this a subliminal message? Tell me the truth: Are you robots?
We are not robots. We are Polysics!