01.10.2019



Makunouchi Bento







The Makunouchi Bento, or traditional Japanese lunchbox, is a highly lacquered wooden box divided into quadrants, each of which contains different delicacies. It is also one of the most familiar images of Japan's domestic environment. Reading the box as both an object and a metaphor, Felix Petrescu (Waka X) and Valentin Toma (Toma Carnagiu, FKA Qewza) gave birth to this cinematic / experimental / electroacoustic project back in late 2000.





1. First things first, how did you get into music?

VT: When I turned 1, I picked up the (toy) trumpet. Having no clue how to play one, I can only hope I was trying to challenge the definition of music. Or annoy conservatives.

FP: My real parents were faux Russian spies. They used a musical saw for professional reasons, but also they had an obscure musical saw duet. I loved the blood and guts of saw music and that aetherial organic sapiosexual vibes.

2. What's your earliest music related memory?

VT: Needing a cassette tape playing in order to fall asleep at night. Early kindergarden age. It was Elvis back then, John Cage's 4'33" just wasn't working for me.

FP: The birds concertos on our window sill. It was simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I ever met. Except Bach.

3. Do you remember the first song you ever made?

VT: Define song. I do, either way. Not important, though, the latest ones are usually much better.

FP: A better question would be if we remember the last song we will ever make. But to answer your question, the first song I ever made was a remix or a famous Romanian pioneers song on my ZX Spectrum computer. Bleeps and blops, really. The beauty of 1bit doorbell like synthesis.

4. Name 3 massive influences of your sound and why, how they helped shape you.

VT: The first one was the electronic music: I understood there are no limits to sound design. Then it was IDM: there were no precise recipes, no "template" to start from. Third, I rediscovered the beauty and complexity of acoustic sounds, and how that can mingle with the electronic sound, to build what I'd love to hear most.

FP: First and most important was the world of Radiophonic Theatre: it convinced me that anything could be music and all sounds could come together: screams, manic laughters, horse neighs and orchestral strings could be mixed together in a fantastic and memorable aural dream. Second - the music in the Polish films of 60s and 70s: Preisner, Komeda, Kilar etc... Third - my discovery of granular synthesis and my personal experiments into this area. It made me understand that I could shape sound on atomic level. And that made me happy.

5. What does a usual day in your life look like?

VT: As a musician, I'm a hobbyist, so my "usual day" is probably beyond the topic of this interview. But thanks for asking. :)

FP: Waking up, coffee, Radio France Culture, yoga, working for THE MAN, 10 km stroll, documentary or film, sound experiments, 7-8 nighty nacht.

6. What was your most challenging moment as an artist?

VT: No idea. Maybe going on stage for the first time, being relatively shy and having absolutely no clue how to perform live a 100% computer sequenced music. But I got over that quickly.

FP: The moment when you experience 1st hand that nobody really gives a rat's ass about your creation. But I don’t blame ‘em. It is not easy to catch a rat, it is nothing intellectual about it.





7. The highlight moment of your career?

VT: Career, haha.

FP: Career, huhu. He says “rear”.

8. What's your songwriting process like?

VT: Hopefully never the same. Otherwise, the songs might end up sounding similar and boring.

FP: I don’t have a fixed process. A fixed process is no fun. It is safe but it is something that the Industry introduced. Not much creativity unleashed with a fixed process. Always diffrent.

9. What are your 3 desert island albums?

VT: Not being arrogant, but I'd only take Makunouchi Bento music with me. Too hard to choose anything else. Not the bets music - there's no such thing anyway - but that's what I'm the most proud of. If you're a musician and you wouldn't choose your music, you should have tried harder.

FP: Why would anyone take music on a deserted island?! If I end up there I will surely improvise amazing songs under the coconut shower. Be there for the matinée. I’m not shy.

10. Name one person you're most grateful for in your musical journey.

VT: My colleague Felix. We're complementing each other, as a band, for 20 years how. He's filling my gaps and I'm filling his. Luckily, we're so different, in all aspects.

FP: Domnul Isus Hristos. No, really - that was my band mate’s nickname on IRC, a long time ago. So Valentin is the one. I won’t go into graphic details. To friendship! Salute! (it feels so good to be atheist and thank to real people instead of Divinity!)





11. What advice would you tell your younger self?

VT: Fuck off. Do whatever you like. It seems you'll be fine after 20 years of doing exactly that.

FP: Don’t you ever fall in love with witches, Young Me! But I will never listen. I know.

12. Any advice for someone just starting out into music?

Fuck off. Is this how you start, asking for advice? Why do it, then?

FP: Forget all advices and start anew. Don’t recreate stuff you worship. Find yourself. Go mad. Whatever works, mate, whatever works.

13. What does the future hold for you? New releases, tour, interesting projects?

VT: Some remixes, probably. A new album, probably. More Ghostophonia live gigs with Silent Strike, probably. A Makunouchi Bento written and scored mockumentary, probably. Some original soundtracks, probably. Or maybe something else.

FP: More experiments in sound while the World is going down. Composition calls for decomposition.





Makunouchi & Bento appeared on Underdog's own release, Day&Night