Boris (band)

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Boris (band).jpg
Boris in 2008
Background information
Also known as Fangs Anal Satan[1]
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Years active 1992–present
Associated acts
Website Official website
  • Atsuo
  • Takeshi
  • Wata
Past members Nagata

Boris (ボリス Borisu?) is a Japanese experimental band formed in 1992 in Tokyo and currently composed of Atsuo (drums, vocals), Takeshi (bass, guitar, vocals) and Wata (guitar, vocals). The band is named after an eponymous song on the Melvins' 1991 album Bullhead. Their debut album Absolutego was released in 1996 on their own record label Fangs Anal Satan, followed by 23 more studio albums (as well as a number of EPs, singles and collaborative albums) on various labels around the world.


Boris was originally a four-piece band, with Nagata on drums. Nagata departed in 1996 leaving Atsuo to take over drumming duties and it has remained a three-piece since.[6]

Atsuo, Vancouver, October 2011

In Japan, Boris release most of their music on the indie label Inoxia Records. Though relatively unknown in their home country, a recent series of reissues on US label Southern Lord Records has seen their popularity in North America increase dramatically, even gaining them widespread recognition in the mainstream music press. Many of Boris' vinyl releases feature similar artwork for the inner label of the record. This is a parody of the original Roger Dean artwork that Virgin Records used for many of their releases (seen here).

2005's Pink was met with considerable critical praise and a strong response from music fans when reissued in the US on Southern Lord Records. Blender magazine and SPIN magazine both named it one of 2006's best albums.[7] The album also topped the metal section of Canadian magazine Exclaim 's 2006 Reader's Poll, and was in the top 10 of Pitchfork Media's Top 50 Records of 2006.

Boris is a band that focuses a lot of their time on touring. In an interview, Atsuo said: "That we tour so much and release so many albums, I think it is representative of what we’re about. Direct communication is something we’ve lost in this day and age. It’s a shame – [even] interviews are over [the] phone. I think it's important to see people face to face – that's why it's so important to go on tour. It's something very basic to humans that we’ve lost lately."[8]

Boris opened for Nine Inch Nails on part of the fall 2008 segment of the Lights in the Sky tour.[9] They also appeared on the avant-garde metal soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's film The Limits of Control. Regarding Boris, Jarmusch said that "what's really remarkable is when they play live they're in the mode, in a way, of jazz musicians, not structurally or musically, but the way they listen to what the others are doing and build on it. Each time they play something it's obviously different, every time."[10]

Boris played the ATP New York 2010 music festival in Monticello, New York where they performed Altar in collaboration with Sunn O)))

On May 29, 2010, Boris performed a cover of The Doors song The End with Ian Astbury at Vivid Festival on Sydney.[11] Boris and Astbury released a four-song EP in September 2010 on Southern Lord and Daymare Records that contains four tracks entitled Teeth and Claws, We are Witches, Rain (The Cult cover), Magickal Child.[12][13][14]

In 2011, Boris released three albums: New Album, their first major release with a major producer on AVEX/Tearbridge label, Heavy Rocks a sequel to the album with the same name, and Attention Please. The latter two albums were released on the label Sargent House.[15]

In 2014, Boris announce the release of CDs of archival material under the names Archive I and Archive II and on April 8, they announced the album Noise to be released once again through Sargent House [16]

Musical style[edit]

From its formation, Boris' members have made deliberate efforts to avoid being pigeon-holed, or too strongly associated with any musical style. "Having some kind of preconceived message or theme is very boring to me", noted Atsuo, the band's drummer. "It becomes a crutch. Just say what you want to say."[17]

Boris are widely considered to predominantly play in the metal genre, although the band deny their place in it while still accepting being labeled as so.[18][19]

While eclectic in style, Boris's music has been labeled as noise rock, drone, doom metal, psychedelic rock, dream pop, shoegaze, drone metal, ambient and J-pop.

The band's influences are also eclectic, with Sleep, Nick Cave, Nick Drake, Venom, Earth, and the Melvins being a few of them. The group quickly realized that they did not fit in with the Japanese hardcore punk scene that birthed them, though they retain a fondness for the scene and its music.[20]

Instrumental setup[edit]

Wata, Vancouver, October 2011

The variety of their music dictates that their setup in a live environment be equipped with many different effects pedals and other guitar accessories. Wata uses an E-bow to achieve bow-like sounds or to manipulate feedback; this device is held in the hand, like a pick, but relies on a magnetic field vibration to move the guitar's strings. Wata's live effects setup has consistently been centered on the Roland Space Echo and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff.

Takeshi typically plays a double-necked bass/guitar live, which allows him to drone away on the guitar during longer numbers but quickly switch to bass without needing to switch instruments. He used an Ibanez SG-style model, and a Steinberger Spirit, before acquiring a custom-built double-neck instrument of his own design from First Act Guitars in 2009. He previously used a Music Man Stingray bass. Wata uses Gibson Les Paul custom guitars with Orange heads and cabinets, as well as a Matamp head also favoured by stoner metal groups Sleep and High on Fire and an Ampeg 810 cabinet; Takeshi uses Sunn Model T amps with Marshall 412 cabinet and an Ampeg SVT II bass amp. Wata and Takeshi tune their instruments in a variety of tunings, most of which are lower than standard E tuning (most commonly B flat tuning), often resulting in the range normally associated with Baritone guitars.

Since 2006, Boris has had a working relationship with the guitarist Michio Kurihara, previously a member of White Heaven and The Stars, and a current member of Ghost. Together, they have released two full length collaborations, Rainbow and Cloud Chamber, and Kurihara has guested on several Boris recordings. He has also toured consistently with the band as a second guitarist since 2007. With Boris, Kurihara uses vintage Greco clone of a Gibson SG guitar with Bigsby Vibrato bar, a pair of Fender Super Reverb amplifiers, and an array of exotic effects pedals, including several made by the Zvex company.

In the studio, Boris records on analog equipment. They use minimal overdubs, recording mostly live.[17]


All members go by one name only.

  • Nagata – drums (1992–1996)
Support/touring musicians

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Main article: Boris discography
Studio albums
Collaboration albums


  1. ^ "Boris - Live at Amoeba Music". Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  2. ^ a b Walschots, Natalie Zina (17 June 2014). "Boris - Noise review". Exclaim!. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  3. ^ McClure, Steve (March 2007). "Filtering the Flies". Billboard. 119 (11): 14. 
  4. ^ Geslani, Michelle (19 May 2014). "Listen: Boris' fiery new rocker "Vanilla"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Jacobs, Justin (14 September 2009). "Boris to Release Japanese Heavy Rock Hits 7-Inch Series". Paste. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Altar liner notes (Daymare 3LP pressing)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  8. ^ Nicolas Millan Inactive Contributor. "Boris: Interview: | Prefix". Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  9. ^ "Boris, HEALTH, the Bug to Open for Nine Inch Nails". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  10. ^ Jim Jarmusch and Alan Licht, "Invisible Jukebox," The Wire 309, November 2009, p. 23.
  11. ^ "Ian Astbury and Boris The End @ Sydney Opera House 2010". YouTube. 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  12. ^ Tom Breihan (2010-06-02). "Boris Team With the Cult's Ian Astbury". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  13. ^ "DIW PRODUCTS GROUP - diskunionのレーベルグループ". 2016-08-24. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  14. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  15. ^ "Sargent House on Twitter: "Boris to release new albums in Spring 2011: "Attention Please" on Sargent House, "Heavy Rocks" on Southern Lord"". Twitter. 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  16. ^ 8 Apr 2014 (2014-04-08). "Boris on Twitter: "Boris Up Date about New Album and Tour! "". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  17. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-10-24. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-22. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  19. ^ "Boris: Genre Defying Japanese 'Rockers' Are Quizzed By Stephen B Murray". The Sleeping Shaman. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  20. ^ "Boris - Smile". Retrieved 2016-09-28. 

External links[edit]