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Melt-Banana, Ilosaarirock 2011.jpeg
Left to right: Rika, Yasuko, Agata
Background information
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres noise rock, experimental rock, hardcore punk, grindcore
Years active 1992–present
Labels A-Zap, Gold Standard Labs, Skin Graft
Members Yasuko Onuki
Ichirou Agata
Past members Toshiaki Sudoh
Oshima Watchma
Rika Hamamoto

Melt-Banana is a Japanese noise rock band that is known for playing extremely fast grindcore styled music and noise music mixed with experimental, electronica and pop-based song structures. The band has released ten albums and toured worldwide extensively.



In 1991, while attending Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Yasuko Onuki started a band called Mizu and, after a short period rehearsing with another guitarist, recruited Ichirou Agata to play guitar in the band.[1] Mizu's original drummer and bass player quit six months after Agata joined, leaving Yasuko to handle the bass and vocal duties until she found bassist Rika.[1] They briefly performed shows around Tokyo without a drummer. Toshiaki Sudoh then joined as the new drummer in November 1992, and they changed their name to Melt-Banana.[2]

In May 1993, Melt-Banana played a show opening for KK Null of Zeni Geva fame, who was impressed enough to immediately offer them a deal with his label, and would later introduce them to Mark Fischer of Skin Graft Records and Steve Albini.[1][3]

Melt-Banana have released eleven full-length albums and 23 EPs (primarily split releases with other bands, most of which were compiled onto one disc in 2005). In 1997, they created their own recording company, A-Zap (formerly Iguana Coax), and re-issued most of their early albums. Around this time, drummer Toshiaki Sudoh quit. In more recent times, the band has had different drummers helping them on tours and in making albums. They do massive US and UK tours yearly and smaller Japanese tours (the reason for this, according to them, is that travelling in Japan is quite expensive). In 2007 Melt-Banana recorded the song "Hair-Cat (Cause the Wolf Is a Cat!)" for Perfect Hair Forever on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup. The latest studio album, Fetch, was released on September 30, 2013.[4]

They have worked with a diverse range of artists, including Merzbow, John Zorn, Agathe Max, Mike Patton, and Discordance Axis.


Former members[edit]

  • Rika Hamamoto – bass


Melt-Banana does not currently have an official drummer. There have been two drummers who were official members, and a number of guest drummers, for studio recordings and live performances.[5][6][7]


Yasuko Onuki

Melt-Banana's music falls under what many call "noise rock." Agata plays highly unorthodox guitar with extended techniques. For instance, he overlaps two different guitar riffs, simulates lasers and sirens, and has an impressive arsenal of effects, almost all made through his guitar and large amount of effects pedals. Yasuko O. belts out high-pitched screams and raps very quickly.[citation needed] Rika Hamamoto's bass lines are not subdued like in most bands, but are foregrounded as much as Agata's guitar work. The sounds from the bass provide a distinct dimension to the music not found in many other bands. The drums are usually quite straightforward (however, in their recent albums, they have become more complex), especially on the faster songs, where they beat almost straight through with set cymbal crashes, adding a large amount of energy to the songs. The band describes their recent music (especially Teeny Shiny and Cell-Scape) as pop, but it is far from it, except more accessible when compared to their earlier albums, perhaps.[original research?] Essentially, it could be argued that Melt Banana's output, (with special attention brought to their more recent songs) is more reminiscent of quirkier indie pop bands, with definite melodies hiding beneath the distortion, effects and sheer speed.[original research?] Yasuko even sings, as opposed to barking, parts of the track "If It Is the Deep Sea, I Can See You There" on their album Cell Scape. Also of note, most of their albums are intentionally lo-fi, as that is Agata's feeling for the music; however, group members disliked how these recordings sounded on the radio, so they aimed to make their last two albums more hi-fi.

Cover songs[edit]

Melt-Banana is known for covering an eclectic selection of songs.

As an opening act[edit]

Melt-Banana has toured as an opening act with high-profile bands such as:


Studio Albums[edit]

Live Albums[edit]

Compilation Albums[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d MELT-BANANA Band Page. Retrieved on 2011-09-19.
  2. ^ Melt-Banana – news, lyrics, pictures, reviews, biography, videos, best songs, discography, concerts, gossip, pictures and tour dates. (2001-06-18). Retrieved on 2011-09-19.
  3. ^ 2001 archive of Melt-Banana official site
  4. ^ [1] Allmusic
  5. ^ JaME U.S.A. – Jpop, Jrock, Visual kei, all about Jmusic (Japanese music)! | JaME U.S.A. Retrieved on 2011-09-19.
  6. ^ blood sisters: women in heavy music: melt-banana. Retrieved on 2011-09-19.
  7. ^ (2000-05-08). Retrieved on 2011-09-19.
  8. ^ Melt Banana with Mr. Bungle concert review. (1995-11-29). Retrieved on 2011-09-19.
  9. ^ Melvins Tour Dates 1999 – MelvinsWiki. Retrieved on 2011-09-19.
  10. ^ Melt Banana
  11. ^ Melt-Banana prepares for massive tour, supporting Tool in Arenas, Drawer B. Retrieved on 2011-09-19.
  12. ^ "Melvins, Napalm Death & Melt-Banana announce 2016 tour". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 7 December 2015.

External links[edit]