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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 16 2010 at 12:34

Midas is an interesting symphonic prog band from Japan which released their first album 22 years ago. Some more albums followed. Their website is a Japanese speaking only so very little is known about Midas outside Japan. Which is a shame. Hence I got in touch with the band and it's founding member Eigo Utoh replied with the answers to my many questions.

As per usual, my questions are in bold and his answers are in red italic bold

An earthquake happens outside the bedroom of an artist in Chile I interviewed for ProgArchives some weeks ago and the following tsunami travels half  the world and ends up in Japan outside your bedroom, where it causes millions of yen worth of damages. All the world's a stage, indeed. How is life in Japan in general for you ? 
Thank you for your kindness. I have no damages  fortunately.
Please tell us more about your background.
I was born  on July 10, 1963 in Osaka JAPAN. I started learning to play the violin when I was only four. Of course, I disciplined classical music.
But when I was thirteen, American & British Hard Rock music changed my thought.  I have been playing the Rock music since then. 
When did you establish Midas and how did you get a record contract ?
Midas was organized in 1982.  And we continued to do many Live Concert in OSAKA, KYOTO and more home places.(1983-1986)
When we did it in TOKYO first time in 1987, we met Mr.Numero Ueno. He was the boss of "Made In Japan Label". 
And we started recording of debut album at Studio JAM in summer 1988.

Please tell us more about your debut album Beyond the Clean Air from 1988. The recording, lyrics, the musicians, the artwork, the tracks.........  
All lyrics were written by me.  All titles were written by me & Eisho Lynn.  The musicians are: Eigo Utoh (Vo & Vln), Eisho Lynn (Key), Katsuaki Mishima (B) and Kazuo Katayama (Dr& Per).

Front cover was painted by me.  All tracks were producted as to my original fairy tales.
We composed "Symphonic Rock Sounds" by intention.  But, we never forgot our originalities.

Please tell us more about your second album Midas II from 1996. The recording, lyrics, the musicians, the artwork, the tracks. 
All lyrics were written by me.  All titles were written by me & Eisho Lynn.  The musicians are: Eigo Utoh (Vo & Vln), Eisho Lynn (Key), Shohei Matsuura (Stick) and Kenjiro Kawakatsu (Dr& Per). Front cover was painted by me.   
I focused the short songs because I wanted to record songs as many types as possible.  On the first album, I intentionally made the share of the forms like a suite large, but on second album, I made the songs short and try to deepen the density and reduce wastes as much as possible.
There was a long break between those two albums. What happened ?
In 1988, I just got my start in life as a dentist.  Because I couldn't afford to play the music, during 1988 to 1991.
But I could not throw away a passion for MIDAS.   And I met Mr.Lynn again in 1992. 
We dragged in two new persons and organized New MIDAS!! (Two persons are : Matsuura & Kawakatsu)

Please tell us more about your third album called Third Operation from 1999. The recording, lyrics, the musicians, the artwork, the tracks.........  
Third album has two precision themes.   The first, Eisho Lynn passed away from MIDAS in 1997.  New Keyboard player "Kohsuke Toji" was fusion, jazz,cross-over musician, not Sympho Prog.....   Because I composed variety songs, not only Symphonic.....
The second, third album's all lyrics had serious themes about social enemy, bad politicians, suicides, juvenile delinquency, environment hygiene.....
Front photo was taken in my UTOH Dental Clinic.
Please tell us more about your fourth album called International Popular Album from 2000. The recording, lyrics, the musicians, the artwork, the tracks......... 
Strictly speaking, this album is not MIDAS's work. One day, Big Record Label "KING RECORD" suggested making popular songs to me.
I consented, and composed eight catchy songs.   Therefore this album was my personal play.  Naturally, I met with severe criticisms of Prog fans.
But, it's experience was a good lesson for me.   Front art work was painted by me.
There was talk about a fifth album due to see the light in 2006 or 2007. What happened ?
I don't know that situation.  I thought that 5th album(IN CONCERT) due to see the light in 2002.
I think it is a mere negligence of Bell Antique Label(MARQUEE).
Please tell us more about the live albums In Concert from 2002 and the 25th Anniversary Concert & Early Rare Tracks from 2009.
"In Concert" is so to speak Best Album.  Therefore we recorded "little failure live selections ".  One side, "25th anniversary Concert & Early Rare Tracks" was historical documents of MIDAS.  Therefore there were rude tracks in it, but it was no problem. Most important & meaning point is that an expression of historical cross section. 
How is the international availability of your albums, your website only being in Japanese ? 
I'm checking up "English version website" now.   Please contact with two distributors of Midas works-for abroad.
 1.  POSEIDON Production (Mr.Masuda) ... for 1st & 6th : [email protected]
2.Marquee Label (Mr.Yamazaki)...for 2nd, 3rd & 5th : [email protected]
What is your experiences with the music industry ?
I have been playing the music with too many musicians as the sessions.   But, my permanent & formal group is MIDAS since 1982.
It is my understanding that you do not accept being called a Symphonic Prog band because of the other Japanese bands and because Midas is a more Eastern/Japanese band than just a Genesis/Yes/ELP copycat. Can you expand more on this..... and how would you describe your music ?
It is not true. MIDAS is a Symphonic Prog band indeed. But, Most important concept of MIDAS is having an own originality as Japanese race.
Many other Japanese bands imitate British Prog Bands,/just Genesis/Yes/King Crimson/ELP/Pink Floyd......
You are using an electric violin. Please tell us more about this instrument and what it adds to your music and sound. 
My electric violins have 5 strings.   They were made in CANADA named ZETA strados model.  I have two same types.
How is the Japanese prog scene today and is there any Japanese bands you would recommend to us ?
I don't know recent scene, but I like KENSO & PAGEANT.  This two groups have more originality than the others.
How do you see the future of yourself and Midas as a band/project ? What is your plans ?
First of all, my most important mark is a continuation of MIDAS to the future. And I would like to play the music till my death.
 What is your five all-time favorite albums ? 
Of course , ALL !!!  MIDAS's all albums are like my children !!

A big thank you to Eigo Utoh for this interview. Midas PA profile can be found here 

I sincerely hope Midas will release more albums because Eigo Utoh has proven that he is an extremely talented musician and composer. But only time will tell. 

Edited by toroddfuglesteg - March 16 2010 at 13:53
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